Real and Unreal Threats from Iran

Yesterday’s headline topics included unusually “blunt” remarks by U.S. Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba of the United Arab Emirates on U.S. intervention against Iran’s nuclear program:

I think it’s a cost-benefit analysis. I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion … there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what.

If you are asking me, “Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran?,” my answer is still the same: “We cannot live with a nuclear Iran.” I am willing to absorb what takes place at the expense of the security of the U.A.E.

Later, the U.A.E. officially clarified the remarks – by muddying them slightly, declaring them “not precise” and “out of context,” although Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic, who spoke with Otaiba in person at the “Aspen Ideas Festival,” found them quite straightforward.  Otaiba expanded on his thinking to Goldberg as follows:

There are many countries in the region who, if they lack the assurance the U.S. is willing to confront Iran, they will start running for cover towards Iran. Small, rich, vulnerable countries in the region do not want to be the ones who stick their finger in the big bully’s eye, if nobody’s  going to come to their support.

Though fairly elementary, this perspective is more sophisticated than what usually passes for “threat analysis.”  This subject is potentially quite complex, but any attempt to think it through concretely will be subject to gross misinterpretation – easily taken as arguments in favor of ignoring the the Iranian nuclear program.

The discussion isn’t helped much by recycling of dramatic but ill-founded assumptions as though they’re tested truths.  Ed Morrissey’s post attempting to expand on Otaiba’s statements included a typical example of this pattern. I think it’s worth reading Morrissey’s words closely, not to pick on him, but to illustrate how many questionable assumptions can be embedded in conventional political wisdom.

Morrissey begins by expanding on Otaiba’s stated skepticism on “containment and deterrence”:

That policy has led us to where we are today, with the Iranian regime entrenched behind a military police state and well on their way to acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

Is it only the policy of containment and deterrence that “has led us to where we are today”?  Has nothing else occurred in the Gulf region and in Iran itself that has led to the current situation?  And what real world alternative is Morrissey proposing – or wishing we had tried instead?

Maybe “containment and deterrence” is just a phrase for “peace” in the world as we know it.

Next sentence, referring to “weapons of mass destruction”:

They already have the means to deliver them, if they choose to do so in open military conflict.

Like any moderately developed nation, Iran possesses rudimentary means to deliver bombs, and is said to have devoted attention to nuclear warhead technology, but I strongly doubt that Ed Morrissey knows how far Iran has gotten with the daunting technical challenges.  The Iranians themselves won’t know how far they have gotten prior to manufacture and testing, with uncertain prospects.  I also doubt that either Morrissey or the Iranians have worked out how a small nuclear arsenal could be used in “open military conflict.”  No one but the United States has ever done so, and that was under quite unusual circumstances.

While Iran is working on that problem, and perhaps deciding exactly how far to go on the continuum from development, to bomb-making, to testing, to deployment, the country’s friends, neighbors, enemies, and people will all become increasingly interested in the precise state of its cost-benefit-risk analysis and its command and control measures:  No one is going to want to do business with, or to be standing close to, or to be living in a nuclear suicide state, and Iran will likely be at pains to re-assure the world that it’s nothing of the kind.

Next sentence:

However, they would more likely use their proxy terrorist armies, Hamas and Hezbollah, to park a nuke in Tel Aviv in order to claim deniability.

Before I take a long look at this commonplace of rightwing punditry, let me just say that I don’t believe the option will ever be seriously considered by anyone with the ability to make it happen.

Morrissey’s scenario asks us to imagine an Iranian cabal and accomplices [1] acquiring, and [2] transporting a nuclear bomb, then [3] handing it off to Hamas and/or Hezbollah, while [4] maintaining total operational security and [5] effective control, [6]  indefinitely; until, [7] one very bright day, the bomb can be successfully set off in Tel Aviv (see illustration at beginning of post).  They must also (in this scenario) believe [8] that no one will know for sure who did it (“plausible deniability”), [9] that Israel will require absolute certainty before retaliating, and [10] that other reactions will be predictable, controllable, and on balance beneficial to said cabal.

The masterminds have to convince themselves and their accomplices that they have handled all ten assumptions well enough to put their own lives and the fate of their nation and their political or religious movement at risk.

Consider the security challenge:  The moment that someone settles on the plan, and begins to put it in motion, he has given everyone with whom he discusses it a winning ticket in the international intelligence lottery, alongside fundamental motivation (such as survival of self, family, nation) to cash the ticket in somehow.  The lottery ticket is also very close to a death warrant:  Merely learning of the operation would put anyone in danger – not least from the conspirators themselves.  The same is true for any close ally who happens to learn of preparations.

The wider the circle of participants – and a wide circle would eventually have to be apprised of crucial elements – the greater the likelihood of security failure.  The greater the likelihood of security failure, the greater the likelihood of pre-emption.  Furthermore, the greater the mere perception of risk, the greater the urgency and motivation to cash in before it’s too late – before someone else cashes in first, or before pre-emptive measures are taken, or both.  These risks, and the likelihood of catastrophic failure, would intensify every step of the way, constantly, from inception of the plan to detonation and beyond.

Meanwhile, everything that affects security also affects practicality and operational control.  The planners could seek to control distant operatives under extreme pressure handling a dangerous and unique, highly detectable, incredibly valuable, and mostly likely quite delicate technological apparatus.  Or the planners could just send that apparatus into the “void” and cross their fingers, hoping all goes well, and that, for the first time in the history of human life on Earth, everyone does exactly what they’re told, exactly right.  Either option, and every hybrid variation in between, involves difficult and complicated technical and operational compromises – with any mistake quite possibly leading not just to failure of the mission, but to the early destruction of the planners, quite possibly their regime, possibly their country.

What exactly the planners would hope to achieve by this riskiest of all conceivable operations is left unstated, or ascribed to psycho-pathological hatred combined with apocalyptic religious zealotry.  Yet even if the mission is successful, it won’t achieve much.  If we insist on the “religious maniac” theory, there can be no guarantee that the conditions for whatever prophecy (assuming everyone agrees exactly on its terms) will be met.  As for genocidal ambitions, whatever you hear about a “one-bomb state,” especially from non-technical and self-interested observers, a simple fission device “parked” somewhere in Tel Aviv and detonated would not incinerate the city, much less the entire country.

The illustration up at the top of the post is a depiction of the direct thermal effects of a “Hiroshima bomb” explosion in Tel Aviv.  Note that the blast radius would probably be smaller, since much more of the energy of surface level detonation (“groundburst” as opposed to the Hiroshima “airburst”) would be absorbed and dissipated.  Shock-wave effects, whose range roughly approximates thermal effects in an airburst, would tend to be limited in the same way.  Here’s how that same explosion looks compared to the map of Israel:

For reference, here’s how a sizable Hydrogen Bomb’s blast pattern maps out:

To be clear – no one I’ve heard of even has an estimate of when Iran might acquire a Hydrogen Bomb.  The Iranians are likely well aware that building one is far beyond their capacities.  In any event, if you go to the site I used to generate these maps, you can perform the experiments for yourself and look up the assumptions that were used.  Even dropping the 50-Megaton “Tsar Bomba” – the biggest bomb ever built – might not “wipe out” Israel.

In short, the “park-a-nuke” strategy achieves very little if your objective is genocide.  If you’re incredibly lucky with your long-distance high-wire mass murder plot, you’ll kill tens of thousands of Israelis.  It doesn’t seem like much of a payoff to me, compared to the cost of the effort and the risks, even if I’m a B-Movie Mahdist Maniac.  If you manufactured a large number of nukes, and parked them strategically, you might start to get somewhere… but your security and operational challenges are going to expand synergetically with each additional device, and you’re also using up more and more of your little arsenal.

As for deniability, even if the victims chose to wait for evidence collection and examination, it wouldn’t likely last for long, even assuming (gross assumption here) that Iran’s operational security was perfect.  Nuclear forensics – utilizing methods developed over decades during the Cold War, and also taking advantage of additional efforts to catalog and profile nuclear materials and technologies worldwide – would likely soon determine the type, fuel, and origins of the particular bomb.

I think there would be repercussions.  In fact, I think the Iranian people themselves would tear the perpetrators and suspected accomplices to bloody pieces, and hand them over for inspection, even before the “verdict” was in – then send aid and beg the world for forgiveness and mercy.

Of course, none of this will happen.  My personal guess is that if anyone in the Iranian power structure has thought about scenarios like this one, it’s been strictly for the purpose of getting a good laugh at us and our fears.  If at some point in the next generation, however, Iran actually does approach a real strategic capacity – numerous, powerful warheads or bombs and an accurate long-range delivery system – then any lack of transparency or hint of irresponsibility may be treated as intolerable, not just by Iran’s current adversaries, but by its allies, and by the Iranian people themselves.  To the extent Iran develops a nuclear arsenal at all, political and economic pressure, in some scenarios including the danger of pre-emption by any means necessary, will also be heightened.

Without pre-judging the overall effects, exhaustively gaming scenarios, or speculating about transformations in Iran’s own political culture, we can observe that if Iran “goes nuclear” – a vague  term that can stand for anything from a very limited and uncertain capacity to someday acquiring a major arsenal – the strategic and political calculus will have changed, if not exclusively to the advantage of Iranian adventurists.  If we’re going to talk about a threat from Iran, I think we should focus on things that make sense.

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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

114 comments on “Real and Unreal Threats from Iran

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  1. and I don’t!!

    Iran needs nuclear weaponry to counter the threat from North Korea, which is secretly run by Zionist stooges, who first infiltrated the country using blond Mossad honeytrapping shiksa impersonators pouring Johnnie Walker Blue into President Kim until the Dear Leader’s liver kurdled and his brain dried up.

    Now they’re everywhere and Seoul is awash in gefilte fish and out to blow the caviar out of Qum.

    (thanks to narciso for finding this information originally unearthed by special investigative reporters employed part-time by the Dallas/Ft.Worth Patriotic Home Shopper, a subsidiary of Bristol Palin Enterprises.)

  2. If the UAE wants to stop Iran,they can pay us or someone that will do their dirtywork instead of spending Hundreds of $Billions on Pretty Homes and Bldgs while Airconditioning the Desert.

  3. After the background of Ahmadinejad as a Quds force commander in the Vevak Sepah Pasdaran, (the intelligence section of the Iranian
    Revolutionary Guard, and the background of colleagues like Vahidi
    serving as Liason to Hezbollah, from Beirut to Buenos Aires, do you really want to take that chance

  4. Seeing as they have discovered Hezbollah cells, just across the Mexican border, along with those in the Triple Frontier, it’s not really an idle threat

  5. narciso wrote:

    Seeing as they have discovered Hezbollah cells, just across the Mexican border, along with those in the Triple Frontier, it’s not really an idle threat

    once again, narc, “it exists” does not necessarily amount to “it’s important”

    any and every nasty thing can be found in South and Central America and wends it’s way upward, if it can.

    for as long as there has been a US, there have been reports of threats coming from Mexico.

    for as I can see, there aren’t any greater threats these days but there’s a whole lot less Mexico.

  6. @ narciso:
    I just spent 2,000 words attempting to explain what you have to assume to believe in a threat of Hezbollah or Hamas sneaking an Iranian nuke into Tel Aviv. Your response: Hezbollah cells exist in Mexico! Please construct a real world scenario in which a nuclear bomb is secretly transferred to a boat, the boat secretly off-loads it to Hezbollah cells in Mexico, the Hezbollah cells sneak it somewhere and do something evil with it, and one year, five, ten, or one hundred years later Iran and Hezbollah have gained something – anything – worth the risks.

  7. You want to pretend that Iran’s current regime is not reckless enough
    to deploy a nuclear weapon through third parties, either in the Levant,
    Europe or in the States, that’s really hoping against hope

  8. There is no logical relationship between sentencing people to death by stoning and building a nuclear arsenal in order to risk the lives of one’s citizens by attacking Israel. What these two policies share is insanity motivated by faith.
    Iran has already hurt its economy and its citizens by provoking sanctions. Iran’s leaders don’t care. Pursuing nuclear technology is simply counter-productive.
    And of course, Iran (and the world) is absolutely unaware of the fact that Iran has no quarrel with Israel.
    Hitler embarked on a policy of aggression that necessarily brought defeat and destruction to Germany. He did it because he didn’t understand that he had no quarrel with the Jews.

    @ Parson Logic T ReFog:
    You are right that Iran’s policies are cuckoo. However, you are wrong about the location of Seoul.

  9. Ten years ago, if someone told you they would fly passenger jets into the WTC, and kill 3,000 people, you would have thought it was crazy

  10. @ George Jochnowitz:
    @ narciso:
    Actually, you two should “hope against hope” that the Iranian leadership is “reckless” (absurdly pathological) enough to attempt the extremely unlikely and completely pointless schemes you imagine them undertaking. They would very likely fail at a relatively early point, but, even if they succeeded, they would mainly serve to provide a pretext for the countries that actually do possess a strategic nuclear capacity to use it if necessary to erase Hezbollah and/or Hamas and/or the mullahocracy.

    I would rate the odds much higher of a lunatic American, British, French, Russian, Chinese, or Israeli leader coming up with a reason, or manufacturing a pretext, for committing the kind of genocide that is actually within their technical capacity than of an Iranian attempting one that isn’t.

  11. I use crazy as a metaphor, even then, there was very unlikely that they would have made that connection, or even the more timely
    “Executive Decision” that took it an extra step

  12. Ten years ago, if someone told you they would fly passenger jets into the WTC, and kill 3,000 people, you would have thought it was crazy

    And,nine years ago if someone had told me that we would have spent nine years fighting to an ambiguous finish in Iraq,and a quagmire in Afghanistan,CRAZY TALK.

  13. Actually not so surprising considering the historical record, specially in Afghanistan, but what is the real alternative

  14. narciso wrote:
    Actually not so surprising considering the historical record, specially in Afghanistan, but what is the real alternative

    Death of a thousand cuts;we know longer have the the ability either to win outright or cut our losses. It’s the Romans versus the “Barbarians” with a likely similiar result.

  15. I have no problem with your analysis of the difficulty and risks associated with sneaking one little bomb into Tel Aviv. And no problem with your damage projections (although I think the psychological effect would be to destroy or near destroy Israel by causing everyone in it with any sort of option to leave to do so.)

    But I think you’re far too sanguine in assuming Iran can’t develop delivery means and build numbers of bombs more powerful than what you’re writing about. The technologies involved are 65 years old and counting.

  16. We have a populace with the ‘attention span of a ferret on double expresso,’ a Dennis Millerism, but one should be reminded how long it took the Romans to subdue Mithridates, the Poison King of Pontus

  17. @ Rex Caruthers:

    Death of a thousand cuts;we know longer have the the ability either to win outright or cut our losses. It’s the Romans versus the “Barbarians” with a likely similiar result.

    No one ever wins outright unless they completely eliminate the enemy, and even then another enemy will inevitably appear. The Romans held off the barbarians for five hundred years which wasn’t too shabby if you were a Roman or a Romanized inhabitant of the empire during ninety percent of that time.

    I’m not a big supporter of our Iraq and Afghanistan strategies; but we’ve carried out those wars at relatively trivial cost. Even in terms of military losses it wouldn’t shock me to learn that an 18 year old male was safer serving in Iraq or Afghan than driving here in the U.S.

  18. Sully/I’m not a big supporter of our Iraq and Afghanistan strategies; but we’ve carried out those wars at relatively TRIVIAL COST. Even in terms of military losses it wouldn’t shock me to learn that an 18 year old male was safer serving in Iraq or Afghan than driving here in the U.S.

    I agree,but not in terms of money spent. If you look at it from a business point of view,not much on the ROI. I hope that we can juggle our books for the next five centuries,but speaking in Economic terms it’s about 400AD, Roman time,here in the good ole USA

  19. Yes because we seem to spending money like from Caligula’s checkbook, trillions of dollars in expenses, but not notably military

  20. Sully wrote:

    although I think the psychological effect would be to destroy or near destroy Israel by causing everyone in it with any sort of option to leave to do so.

    Maybe. But if you’re Madhist Maniac #1, could you be sure that that would be the result, even if your plan succeeded? Would it be worth it to you if, along the way, somewhere between the detonation and the exodus, the bitter remnant went use-it or lose-it with Israel’s much more substantial arsenal on the main suspects and everyone else they didn’t like? Or if, fearing that reaction, the rest of the world got off its ass and intervened first?

    Keep in mind that if your plan failed, you wouldn’t even get to accelerate the exodus, but would still invite the reaction or something close to it.

    As for Iran attaining a true strategic capacity, or even a substantial arsenal, that’s a complex subject, but at that point we also have to begin to consider the prospects of Iranian revolutionary fundamentalism under intensifying internal and external pressure. It will be decreasingly in the interest of the vast majority of Iranians, all the way to the top, to put the consolidation of their power at risk through pointless adventurism. Even Hitler had a rationale.

  21. Long ago, at Olde Contentions I advanced the proposition that Iran’s obtaining the bomb was certainly a necessary and possibly a sufficient condition for the Iranian people to finally unite in overthrowing the mullahs. I recall that to the extent that anyone responded to my suggestion it was mainly to ridicule it. I haven’t spoken of it since, but sometimes I wonder, given how crafty He can be, if I wasn’t on to something. It’s always in the last place you think to look that the key is found, isn’t it?

    Laugh away.

  22. There’s a certain logic to that, but the point is not having to go there, we invaded Afghanistan, in part to prevent another 9/11 level event,
    we set up Gitmo, ‘aggressive interrogation’ protocols, and ‘black prisons’ for much of the same reason. WE would rather not do this,
    you think it was easy for Yoo and company to draft those memorandum

  23. Joe,

    Who’s the “He”,in “how crafty He can be,” refer to?

    What’s the linkage between the Bomb and the Overthrow process?

  24. @ narciso:

    . . . but the point is not having to go there . . .

    Who is “having to go” and where is “there” need clarification. Depending on the answers, yes, that would be the point.

  25. Meaning letting the regime get the bomb, it’s kind of letting Skynet develop timetravel, too big a risk, ‘pronoun trouble’ he says

  26. OT: “Olde Contentions” is good. Much better than “Real Contentions,” as Rex insists on, even after I tried to tell him that WE were Real Contentions!

    I think you’re possibly on to something, although “overthrow” might be replaced by supersede – in other words some version of a relatively soft landing shouldn’t be completely excluded from consideration. As Gerecht, Ansary, Ajami, and others have pointed out, the ideological overthrow of the mullahocracy has already advanced very far. The consolidation of the revolutionary project via establishment of nuclear deterrence might at some point severely undermine xenophobic justification for the revolutionary government. The foreign enemy becomes an essentially less credible rallying point, and the revolutionary elite no longer has any purpose to serve at all except to divert an unfair share of social wealth while endangering and otherwise encumbering the national project. Might lead to desperate acts – a dynamic that arguably is one of the key complicating factors in “allowing” Iran’s program to proceed. But “inclined to desperate acts” and “inclined to nuke Israel” are not the same thing.

  27. @ Rex Caruthers:

    The Iranian people probably have a better sense of just how mad the mad mullahs really are. Most of them (the people), I trust, are not committed “Twelvers” and might be expected to decline the honor of incineration in aid of hastening the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam. That’s all. Their judgment of the danger of Iran’s having a bomb is critical, however. That they have the ability to dislodge the old men in Qom if sufficiently motivated I have few doubts.

    As to who is “He,” please.

  28. @ Joe NS:

    I wouldn’t have laughed before and I certainly won’t laugh now. I think it’s a very dangerous thing for a country to have a minor nuclear capability.

    Once heard an air force general on C-Span testifying before congress. A discussion about missile defense led to him being pressed very hard about our ability to stop a North Korean missile attack if we knew for a fact one was coming. He started to answer that yes we certainly did have options for stopping such an attack, and then he and the congresscritter pulled back from that line of questioning.

    This, of course, is why the Russians don’t fear an Iranian bomb; because their leaders are honest enough among themselves to state the obvious. The Russian leaders have no intention of letting some minor power take out Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev while they have control of thousands of at the ready missiles and they expect their potential opponents to understand that.

    Similarly, Israel, with enough nuclear weapons to devastate every potential threatening target in Iran, will not allow Iran to take out Tel Aviv. It will attack on warning or perhaps even on achievement of capability if it believes the Iranian regime capable of launching a surprise attack. Iranians serving the regime or tolerating the regime can figure this out also.

  29. Joe NS wrote:
    @ Rex Caruthers:
    I’m not a Satanist and the uppercase “H” is not a typo. Infer away

    It’s hard to communicate with you through all those defenses,but I’ll try,and I never intimated you were a Satanist. What I was thinking how like Satan it would be to create a temptation of a new “Legitimate” regime in Iran if only we allow them the use of a Satanic weapon.

  30. @ narciso:

    It may in fact be too big a risk. I’m just musing. But “letting Iran get the bomb,” as you write, is the sticky point, isn’t it? Obama’s not going to stop them, so I guess that’s equivalent to “letting” them get it on our part. So giving them that impression, as Obama clearly is, is certainly a spur to their finishing the thing before January, 2013. They’re not afraid of us, at least not now.

    No, the only people who will or will not do any “letting,” on their (the Iranians’) timetable, seem to be the Israelis. I don’t envy them their choice, sort of like Travis and Bowie and Crockett at the Alamo. In that regard, Colin, I am much more in agreement with Sully than yourself. If the Iranians get the bomb, whether or not they use it, but especially if they do and regardless of its potency, it will likely amount to an end to the State of Israel over the not so long term.

  31. Joe NS wrote:

    If the Iranians get the bomb, whether or not they use it, but especially if they do and regardless of its potency, it will likely amount to an end to the State of Israel over the not so long term.

    Over the not so long term we’re all near dead, or closer. But actually I didn’t venture an opinion as to the impact of Iran’s “getting the bomb” on Israel’s long-term survival chances. I did venture opinions on the realism of popular smuggled nukes and Mahdi-genocidalist punditisms (may need a better word for that, perhaps you can help).

    “Get the bomb” is like “go nuclear” – an abstraction that can mean a very wide range of concretely very different things. In a lot of ways, we act as though Iran is already a nuclear power – just as we act as though the Jewish state is already being shuffled off the historical stage and just as some of us act as though we’re a couple election cycles at most away from the Islamic Republic of North America and Nancy Pelosi in a burqa (there’s a bright side to everything).

    As far as I can tell, regardless of nukes, there’s at least a good chance that Israel will be the last independent “nation-state” on Earth as that it will be among the next few to be dissolved, annexed, wiped out, merged, etc. If I had to bet which was going to last longer, Israel or Iran as presently constituted, I’d bet on Israel.

  32. If I had to bet which was going to last longer, Israel or Iran as presently constituted, I’d bet on Israel.

    Not much of a bet based on todays #s,Israel 200 Nukes backed up by America,Iran 0 Nukes,backed up by Nobody.

  33. Iran is not Somalia, and nobody has been executed in Iran for watching a soccer game.

    Nevertheless, Iran and Somalia are part of the same continuum that executes people for unacceptable reasons and in unacceptable ways. Besides, now that Somalia has done it, Iran’s leaders may feel a need to copy.
    Will Iran’s educated and moderate civilians prevent watching sports from becoming a capital offense? Maybe. But they haven’t ended stoning women for doubtful allegations of adultery.
    Monkey sees, monkey does, as I explain in my essay on Ionesco’s play RHINOCEROS. Ionesco was talking about Hitler’s supporters. Hitler was as impractical as Ahmadinejad. Executing people for watching soccer is a threat to the security of the world, ridiculous as it may sound.

  34. @ CK MacLeod:

    Even Hitler had a rationale.

    And that man came quite close to winning his bet, so it wasn’t a completely preposterous one. Of course, on the other hand, the Japanese militarists perceived themselves as having to roll the dice against quite steep odds, assuming Yamamoto and others who knew the military capability of the U.S. were listened to at all.

    Pretty dangerous to rely on the strategic calculations of a bunch of fellows whose education was pretty much confined to memorizing sacred texts, and whose grip on power depends on religious posturing, even if we assume they doen’t really, really, really believe it’s their duty to set the stage for the return of the Twelfth Imam no matter what the cost in this life.

  35. You know there’s a topsy turvy land when it comes to media, for instance, the season finale of NCIS LA centered on a former Savak agent who was after some treasure in order to build nuclear weapons
    ans attack Iran, and the Continental version, MI-5, had an organization
    out to disable the entire internet, in order to prevent an American attack on Iran, they earlier had an episode where the transfer of nuclear power, to Saudi Arabiawas interrrupted by some evil Mossad agents

  36. Is there a touch of irony with Awshat, commenting on this, seeing where they are based. One recalls the premier radicalizing experience
    of Qutb was that church social dance in Dry Greeley, Colorado

  37. narciso wrote:

    One recalls the premier radicalizing experience
    of Qutb was that church social dance in Dry Greeley, Colorado

    It’s an anecdote. It’s like attributing Washington’s life to the cherry tree or Isaac Newton to the apple or Stalin’s sadism to his webbed toes. Actually, the webbed toes are a little more convincing.

    Qutb represented a classic alternative for the Islamic world in the shadow of the crisis of secular modernism, which was exacerbated by the Cold War. And I don’t think there’s any special irony in a S.A. publication embracing a slightly less than ludicrous position compared to the nuutjabbi. We discussed this article when The Frog brought it to RecBrow, around the same time as the article about the “anti-takfiri” conference.

  38. It’s an anecdote he brought up in his own book, yes I find the irony of Awshat a little arch, since you don’t have to go to Mogadishu, you can
    find it only a few blocks away with the mutawakil (religious police) some of the same sentiment expressed by Qutb were seen with Atta
    nearly 50 years later

  39. I’m going to quote from Victor Davis Hanson in NRO today.

    “The U.S. military defeated both Saddam Hussein and the Islamic insurgency that followed him in Iraq, while fostering consensual government. With the same determination, there is no reason why it cannot do the same in Afghanistan. Certainly neither enemy is comparable to Nazi Germany or imperial Japan, which a much poorer America helped to defeat simultaneously within four years of engagement.
    Nearly 70 years ago, a far less scientifically sophisticated country developed the atomic bomb in three years. It could likewise plug a leaking oil well in three months.”

    I adore it when NeoConservative thinkers bend toward logical discourse. The next piece of the Logic is National Unity which is demonstrated by a Congressional Declaration of War,and a Draft. You can’t fight a WW2 without genuine national support,you can’t get that kind of national unity via an all volunteer Military,and you can’t get national Unity via an Executive decision to fight a piecemeal war AKA Korea,Vietnam,Iraq,and Afghanistan. I want to thank Professor Hanson for moving the discussion forward. If we can’t have a True Declaration,and the nation won’t put up with a Draft,that communicates clearly to not get involved as our Representitives and Citizens say No.

    “The United States still remains the most racially diverse, stable, free, productive, and militarily strong country in the world. Its current crises are largely the political and cultural creations of the most affluent and leisured generation in civilization’s history — not due to longstanding civil unrest, structural weakness, or a sudden shortage of natural resources.
    “America may well soon decline and become no different from any other nation. But such a depressing future would largely be our generation’s own free choice; it is not a historical inevitability.”

  40. Hanson is an American Nationalist, not a NeoCon, although there is a certain commonality in the distaste for ‘realpolitik’ that is often disguised appeasement. We fought brushfires all through out the Americas, from Havana to the Managua up until Wilson, then FDR.
    and we had a brief insurgency in Nicaragua was well, which was solved
    with a local proxy, which worked about as well as the Shah in the East

  41. Narciso wrote:
    Hanson is an American Nationalist, not a NeoCon

    Whatever he is,this is a sea change in his thinking;Arthur Herman in a recent comment on the Korean War shows a similiar tremor,”

    “Korea also set the precedent for formally undeclared wars, from Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, wars that divided more than united public opinion, and for relying on the UN and international coalitions to lend moral support to US military muscle — with steadily diminishing returns over time.”

    Is this a trend towards Caruthian logic?,if the Conservatives start talking about currency devaluation via Fiat money strategies,well,let’s hope there’s hope for us yet.

  42. NARC,wouldn’t it be amazing if The Original Unamended Constitution was right about how to manage War as well as how the Manage the Economy?

    “The Supreme Court has had relatively little to say about the Constitution’s war powers. Many interesting legal questions–such as the constitutionality of the “police action” in Korea or the “undeclared war” in Viet Nam–were never decided by the Court. (Although the Supreme Court had three opportunities to decide the constitutionality of the war in Viet Nam, it passed on each one.)”

    ” “Coinage Clauses” in Article I give the power of coining money and regulating its value to the government. Article I, Section 8 states that Congress shall have the power “To coin Money, regulate the value thereof …” and “To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States”; Article I, Section 10 gives Congress this power exclusively by stating that “No State shall…coin Money.”

  43. @ Rex Caruthers:

    You go back to this theme regularly about declarations of war and I tend to be sympathetic toward your position. But here’s what Wikipedia has to say about a war fought under the direction the guy who wrote the Declaration of Independence and who presumably understood the constitution along with those who were in Congress and on the Supreme Court.

    “On Jefferson’s inauguration as president in 1801, Yusuf Karamanli, the Pasha (or Bashaw) of Tripoli, demanded $225,000 from the new administration. (In 1800, Federal revenues totaled a little over $10 million.) Putting his long-held beliefs into practice, Jefferson refused the demand. Consequently, in May 1801, the Pasha declared war on the United States, not through any formal written documents but by cutting down the flagstaff in front of the U.S. Consulate. Algiers and Tunis did not follow their ally in Tripoli.

    In response, Jefferson sent a group of frigates to defend American interests in the Mediterranean, and informed Congress. Although Congress never voted on a formal declaration of war, they did authorize the President to instruct the commanders of armed vessels of the United States to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli “and also to cause to be done all such other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war will justify.””

  44. CKM et al,

    I just figured out something,all the people I enjoy debating with to include CK,Sully,Narc,Adam,JoeS, Fuster,JED,Geoffrey Brittain,Alex Alsimov,Barbara,Seth,JEM,and many other even The Contentionistas themselves,NPOD,JPODmJRUB,Pete Wehner,Max BooT,Mike Totten et al,all of you,without exception are smarter,better educated than I am.
    However, I have my teeth bitten deep into a very few issues like a bulldog:
    (1)Volunteer Armies don’t work real well for America
    (2) Gold works better than paper in our Economy
    (3)The Conservatives are generally correct in their positions,but sometimes the Progressives get it right. So,you have to carfully study the Progressive side of any issue,so you don’t miss their rare nuggets.
    (4)Let Congress declare War

    And is this a radical agenda? And yet these commonplaces create chaos on the NeoCon WorldView.

  45. Sully,In response, Jefferson sent a group of frigates

    This ain’t a War,let’s discuss Vietnam,Korea,and Iraq;
    there is no doubt that Bush could have gotten a Declaration on 9/12/01,but he chose not to;he certainly had his reasons,but,we have a War now that has no Declaration,No widespread Support,and we’re fighting it with a small all volunteer army that won’t Win it unless we change the Definition of Win like we did in Iraq. (The Russians had 100000 troops in Afghanistan for a Decade.)
    Jefferson didn’t trust Presidents to follow the rules,including himself,BTW,how mant Americans died in this Massive War that you are arguing from?

  46. We really didn’t have much of an experience with conscription, except with the Civil War, and we disliked it so much we didn’t take it up for 50 years, came back 20 years later, and then promptly collapsed during Vietnam, most interventions were like the ones mentioned above
    or the 19th Century British expeditions into the NorthWest Frontier.
    THe French settled Algeria in 17 years, halfway through the time that
    Tocqueville wrote his notes on Islam, but after Democracy in America

  47. we disliked it

    Then,Afghanistan is the War we have,not the one we want. We have less troops than did the Russians,we couldn’t possibly get a Declaration,and how’s the recruitment going?,even in this job market?
    We can pretend it’s a war,we’re experienced at that.

  48. The Russian comparison is unwarranted, ‘tell us o muse’ of the tales of Yermolov, the terror of the Caucasus, and Velyaminov, his successor
    who nabbed Sheik Shamil twenty years later. When faced with a comparable power, Meiji Japan (the background to Bely’s Petersburg) or Wilhemine Germany, they fell apart, they were savage in the Second war, equally so, in the old hunting grounds of the Khyber,
    and then back again, in Lermontov’s old haunts, even puny Georgia
    which I read from Reiss’s The Orientalist, one of the oldest Christian kingdoms, was a stalemate for them. So apples to apples, oranges to oranges

  49. The British experience on the NorthWest Frontier, the French in North Africa, the first time around, The American experience in the Phillipines, if you go way back the Roman republican campaigns in Numantia and Pontus

  50. narciso wrote:
    The British experience on the NorthWest Frontier, the French in North Africa, the first time around, The American experience in the Phillipines, if you go way back the Roman republican campaigns in Numantia and Pontus

    The Advantages of Comparing/Contrasting the Russian War in Afghanistan:
    (1)Recent History
    (2)Similiar size Force/Similiar Expense
    (3)Similiar Time Frames(Russia ten Years-US 9 years so far)
    (4)Similiar Results so Far/Similiar errors in Strategy-Tactics

  51. @ Rex Caruthers:
    There’s a major difference. As far as anyone knows, the Russians and the government they installed were extremely unpopular. There was immensely greater destruction and a much larger number of casualties – estimated at 1,000,000 Afghan civilian casualties and 500,000 Mujahadeen, vs. 15,000 killed, 35,000 wounded Soviets. That level of carnage completely dwarfs the post-2001 war figures – ca. 2,000 US, ca. 30,000 Taliban, ca. 10,000 civilians.

    What we’ve been doing hardly counts as a war compared to what the Soviets did – or to what we did in Vietnam or Korea. It’s closer to a constabulary operation. To call it a quagmire is like calling Detroit a quagmire.

    Opinion polls still give the insurgents extremely low approval among the populace. Though the Karzai govt may not be well-liked it is nowhere near as hated as the Communist regime and the Russians were. The British experience compares poorly in a different way, since its main purpose, as I understand it, wasn’t to conquer or transform Afghanistan so much as to prevent the Russians from threatening India.

  52. The parallels are closer with the fate of the three major offensives in 1837, 1877, and 1919. The Deobandi can train fanatical fighters, as
    Charles Allen’s “God’s Warriors” can attest. the Buner and Malakand expeditions, nearly 50 years apart, not to mention the role of the
    Wahhabis in trying to overturn the Raj, in the mid 1800s, a detail seeming forgotten by the Foreign Office, when Philby came calling

  53. CK/On Russia in Afghanistan

    Of Course,(Detroit is a quagmire as is East Saint Louis),but what you’re saying has another side, if the Russians had placed 500000 troops there with the same intensity of destruction,would they have won? Winning in War only means one thing,the other side puts up a white flag. You’re position has consistently been that we can define victory subjectively,based on our strategic/tactical/political goals. That exactly what you did in Iraq,you call in a Victory by redefining the word. (Explain again your problem with Douglas Macarthur) The point about the Russians in Afghanistan is Win or Don’t have a War. We have totally forgotten about winning,we even managed to turn victory into ambiguity in the Persian Gulf. The entire paradigm of modern American Warfare is a loser. And here’s why the Draft is so important,The Civilians are in charge of our military,the civilians get Drafted,The Professional Military HATES civilians. Right now,The Professional Military is the problem,not the solution.

  54. This moral equivalence garbage is really getting insufferable, we aren’t the Soviets, their goal in Afghanistan is manifestly different then ours, maybe 50 years earlier as part of an anticolonialism campaign it might have worked, as it did in Azerbaijan, and the Kirghiz (re; Ressi’s the Orientalist,) or the last quarter of Reds.
    But when Arabian oil reignited the Deobandi engine, that opportunity
    was over

    Why do you think the number one proponent of renewedconscription is BP’s pal, Charlie Rangel, is it nostalgia for his bootcamp, 60 years ago, why did MTV try to suggest it was on the way. The history of American intervention is rather very antagonistic to the draft,

  55. This moral equivalence garbage is really getting insufferable, we aren’t the Soviets, their goal in Afghanistan is manifestly different then ours

    Our goal should be to Win,and nothing more. What is insufferable is the idea that war is something else than defeating an enemy.

  56. As for my fellow paisan, LPC we notice a certain agenda, both he and
    Mohammed Oudeh, fellow men of science, when they lost their homelands, they turned to ‘direct action’. One did not directly target
    non combatants in a international arena, and one did. One received
    the approval of the likes of Peter Jennings and another didn’t. One probably helped target American diplomats, well you get the picture

  57. The history of American intervention is rather very antagonistic to the draft

    WW1/Declaration+ Draft=s Victory
    WW2/Declaration+draft=s Victory
    Korea/No Declaration+draft=sStalemate*
    Vietnam/No Declaration+draft=sDefeat
    Persian Gulf/No Declaration+no Draft=sVictory**
    Iraq/No Declaration+No Draft=sTo Be Determined***
    Afghanistan/No Declaration+No Draft=sTo Be Determined

    *Stalemate=s a Defeat
    **Very Weak Opponent,not relevant
    ***In terms of Economic Cost,Difficult to assess benefits.

  58. ‘direct action’

    Shooting Down Airliners and killing Olympic Athletes is always bad business,no exception.

  59. Like I told you, before, there is no real proof that he was actually involved in that, in fact he had tipped off the US Govt to a smilar plot three months earlier, but CAP was kind of the Venezuelan version of Obama, interested in empty gestures, plus he had been the subject
    of a surveilance by LPC when he had worked for the DISIP

  60. Like I told you, before, there is no real proof that he was actually involved in that

    I respect your opinion on that,but I would prefer to see the results of a trial regarding that incident,Miami would be an acceptable location for the trial.

  61. Just like when they tried those plotters in Puerto Rico, and the plot was dismissed, did Ann Marie Bardach render an apology, or when
    the Christic Institute’s crazy lawsuit was tried in Miami, more than twenty years ago, did that stop the libel, no, facts don’t matter.

  62. It’s not an opinion there are two documents on file, the 1982 deposition in the tick tock case, and the ARDE report commissioned
    by the Barbados Govt itself

  63. narciso wrote:
    It’s not an opinion there are two documents on file, the 1982 deposition in the tick tock case, and the ARDE report commissioned
    by the Barbados Govt itself

    Good,let a Jury decide;the Jury should consist of Returnistas,that way he’d have a fighting chance. Bambi’s personality is quite toxic. *

    *I’m sure it’s all lies, therfore please post something that agrees with your opinion

  64. So lets some up, shall we, the current puppet of the Pasdaran in Iran, is a former commando in their security services, who reasonable info suggests started out his career kidnapping American diplomats, then moved on to at least overseeing the ‘erasure’ of foreign dissidents in say Vienna. His war cabinet, includes a Defense Minister, who ran operations against Americans and other targets in at least two continents. Yet he is given carte blanche, not only to berate one of the only genuine democracies in the region, with the silent acquiescence of the President of the United States, but apparently his nuclear program should go uninpeded despite the protest of one of the neighbor countries

  65. narciso wrote:
    So lets some up, shall we, the current puppet of the Pasdaran in Iran

    Let’s put him on trial,in Miami along with LPC

    Still waiting for the Posada is innocent Link.

  66. That’s what your friends at Counterpunch would have us do, Cockburn reprinted McCain’s North Vietnamese iinterrogation from Granma, about a dozen years back, isn’t that a violation of the Geneva convention somewhere.

    Is it a wonder why Shamir for instance had to take action, against Alois Brunner’s network in Cairo, or the Israelis had to roust Eichmann
    from his house on Garibaldi street, roughly around the same time. They ultimately had to go after the Black Prince in more direct ways as well

  67. That’s what your friends at Counterpunch

    The Ad hominem rears its ugly head,I also have Friends at WSJ,Weekly Standard,St Louis Post Dispatch,Financial times,NRO,Culture of Life News,and ZC.
    I still don’t have a Posada is Innocent Link.

    Many on what we call the far right are stuck in a bad place,believing in American Exceptionalism,they can’t accept that “By Accident” we have created policies that could bring down our exceptional nation. So they spend all their energy fighting against any analysis of what might be bad for the Nation such as undeclared,perpetual limited war,and a Fiat money economy,and the all volunteer military. The Leftist agenda is an easy target,that’s why I don’t Blog at The Nation,CounterPunch,or Newsweek. Obama is a terrible president,but attacking him is like Nuking an Ant. Getting the Conservatives/NeoConservatives to accept what the “Deeper”Problems are,requires patience. The source of something true isn’t important,the something true should be able to be analyzed without the Ad Hominem.

  68. Really now, you’re comparing the American soldiers in Afghanistan to the Russians, you ignore that the international community gave both
    Oudeh and by extension Abu Mazen, a wide berth after the Munich
    revelations in the former’s book. I’m being adhonimen, Cockburn has a better writing style then the nudnik that replaced him at the Journal; the Frankfurt School’s Thomas Frank, and he was rightly skeptical of global warming, but that’s the extent of his gifts

  69. I assume that you can’t produce a Posada is Innocent Link,so i’ll get off your back

    Compare and CONTRAST, The Russians were defeated there,I don’t want to Copy their record.

  70. The Innocent Posada part of this is minimal. Here’s some other quotes from your link.

    “In October, 1976, the midair explosion of Cubana Flight 455 flying out of Barbados killed all 73 people aboard. This included all 24 young athletes on Cuba’s gold-medal fencing team. Police in Trinidad arrested two Venezuelans, Herman Ricardo and Freddy Lugo. Ricardo worked for Posada’s security agency in Venezuela and admitted that he and Lugo had planted two bombs on the plane. Ricardo claimed the bombing had been organized by Posada and Orlando Bosch. When Posada was arrested he was found with a map of Washington showing the daily route of to work of Orlando Letelier, the former Chilean Foreign Minister, who had been assassinated on 21st September, 1976”

    “Posada was interviewed by Dollan Cannell for his documentary, 638 Ways to Kill Fidel Castro (2006). So also was Orlando Bosch. He was asked if he and the CIA were involved in the bombing of Cubana Flight 455. Bosch replied that he was not allowed to talk about such matters. He was therefore not able to answer “yes” or “no”. He then pointed out that he had been accused of organizing the placing of bombs on three Cuban planes. He then went onto to justify this action by claiming that as far as he was concerned he was a soldier carrying out orders in a war against Castro.
    The film then showed a clip of George W. Bush making a speech where he says “people who harbour terrorists, are also terrorists”. This was followed by an explanation of how the Bush family had protected Bosch and Posada over the years. Wayne S. Smith then appeared on camera to argue that by his own definition, Bush was a terrorist.”

    “(5) Duncan Campbell, The Guardian (18th May, 2005)

    A commercial airliner is blown up in midair with the loss of many lives. Nearly 30 years later, a man accused of organising the bombing is traced to Miami. With the “war on terror” in full swing, it would seem likely that the American authorities would leap into action to arrest the suspect and dispatch him for trial to the country where the plot was hatched.

    Luis Posada is a 77-year-old Cuban exile who has been involved in many attempts to overthrow Fidel Castro since the abortive Bay of Pigs operation in 1961. He has long been seen as a prime suspect in the 1976 midair bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. He was arrested in Caracas many years ago and charged with the offence but escaped from custody in suspicious circumstances. He has since made his way to Florida, a place that has, over the years, become something of a rest-home for the heavy-mob enforcers of Latin American military dictatorships
    The Venezuelan supreme court approved an extradition request for Mr Posada last month. Yesterday, after he cheerfully gave a newspaper interview in Miami, saying he did not feel it was necessary to lie low any more, he was finally detained by immigration officials. The department of homeland security now has 48 hours to make an official determination of his immigration status. Posada, meanwhile, has already let it be known through his lawyers that he is now seeking asylum in the US.”
    The Posada affair is top of the agenda in Cuba, where Fidel Castro has this week been repeatedly calling on President Bush to act decisively against terrorism by arresting Mr Posada and deporting him for trial. The case is an important one because at its heart is the belief, held in many parts of the world, that the US has one standard of morality for its allies and another for its enemies”

    This guy needs a trial.

  71. No, only Posada in his capacity at DISIP, really was in a position to arrange an assasination of Fidel, notably in Chile in ’71. Duncan Campbell who along with Hosenball burned GHCQ in the 70s, and worked with Agee to burn American CIA officials there, no bias there

  72. @ Rex Caruthers:
    You persist in comparing relatively minor military expeditions mainly intended to preserve gains or curtail threats to the massive engagement that put us in a position of needing only to preserve gains and curtail threats. The US is a maritime power (aerospace is an exponentiation of maritime power) whose main strategic interest is to prevent any other power from dominating the Eurasian land mass, imperiling international trade and communication, which implies the nullification of our maritime superiority. The Islamists have an intermediate potential on the latter. The Chinese, Russians, and a handful of others, possibly coming to include the Iranians due to their position on the Persian Gulf, have the intermediate potential to achieve local dominance.

    Drafts and war declarations and the like our in this context relics of a prior age, or temptations that we need to avoid – and, in the economic terms you prefer, not very likely to be profitable as business ventures. It’s not inconceivable to me that we’ll need to resort to such measures again some day, but it would be a sign of massive strategic failure.

  73. The interesting thing, Lagushka, is that they are regarded as impartial
    by many. They repeat what ever the party line is about a rogue state, necessary to ‘pick, polarize, isolate’ if the fig leaf to a country that has trained tens of thousands of terrorists over the years, it is necessary to pull this shestnut out of the fire. If it becomes necessary
    to return State property, as with Elian, they repeat the father’s rights
    canard, even though there is no such thing under the ’76 constitution

  74. @ Rex Caruthers:

    Our goal should be to Win,and nothing more.

    Afghanistan is an isolated sideshow. We “won” when we forced out the Taliban government and ruined the lives of its key members for years because that sent a message to other leaders about what happens to folks who let their countries be used to plan and stage attacks on us. We would have won more thoroughly had we managed to kill them all; but that was never to be expected, although we should have done better.

    What we’ve been doing since setting the Talibanis on the run, namely trying to create some sort of (to appearances, wink, wink)quasi democratic government in a tribal land, has always been impossible given the constraints we operate under. Imposing a government on those tribesmen even proved impossible for the Russians, who operate under much less in the way of constraints and who were willing to sacrifice a whole lot more lives than we are.

  75. It’s not inconceivable to me that we’ll need to resort to such measures again some day, but it WOULD BE a sign of massive strategic failure*.

    That is exactly what IT IS,as the fiat money Economy with its “Free Trade,Floating Currency,and Shadow Banking” are components of a massive strategic economic failure.

    The massive strategic failure is not seperate from the Economic Strategic failure. That why Afghanistan is so important. The USSR fell apart soon after it withdrew from Agghanistan because of the massive Strategic failure called the Cold War. We’ve still an Imperial power 20 years after the USSR split up,but we’re experiencing the same stresses today that they were feeling throughout the Seventies that imploded them in the Eighties. Ironically,Symbolically we are in Afghanistan with a leader that is as committed to the Transformation of “Exceptional” America,as their leader was in Transforming International Communism.
    “You persist in comparing relatively minor military expeditions mainly intended to preserve gains or curtail threats”
    Was that not the Russian Mission in Afghanistan? We have taken a pounding for 40 years,and how hard a tap is it going to take to break the vessel?

  76. Sully/What we’ve been doing since setting the Talibanis on the run, namely trying to create some sort of (to appearances, wink, wink)quasi democratic government in a tribal land, has always been impossible

    What is it called when a nation repeatedly tries to do the impossible? It’s called Failure. Insanity is said to be the process of repeating the same actions and expecting a different result. Failure can be therfore defined of trying various tactic/strategies to achieve the impossible. It sounds like Insanity also.

  77. @ Rex Caruthers:
    No, Rex, we’re not tied to creating a wonderful government or a democratic one. we need do no more than set up one that the people prefer to Taliban governance, prevent the use of territory for training transnational terrorist camps and havens, and press the nations in the area that harboring transnational terror organizations will ill-serve their interests.

  78. Yes, and giving the country up to the Taliban is the definition of failure, with long standing consequences we have yet to fathom.

  79. Ill Papa Fuster wrote:
    @ Rex Caruthers:
    No, Rex, we’re not tied to creating a wonderful government or a democratic one. we need do no more than set up one that the people prefer to Taliban governance, prevent the use of territory for training transnational terrorist camps and havens, and press the nations in the area that harboring transnational terror organizations will ill-serve their interests.

    Another name for this is Perpetual War like Orwell predicted,which is needed to hold Oceania together. So the plan is Perpetual War without a Declaration,and how many tours in Afghanistan will the Volunteers be limited to. No Draft is possible for Perpetual War,that would ignite American Revolution 2. And what happens to this war when our Creditors cut us off,we print our sovereign dollars until Gold is worth a Trillion$s Oz,then we declare victory and come home. Oh Shit,I forgot,we could do that today,at a much lower cost.

  80. Ill Papa Fuster wrote:
    short-term cost, Rex, very short

    I agree in the sense that if we’re going to exit in July 2011,let’s just exit today but we have maintain the pretense,so, let’s keep an eye on Iraq,we may have to re-enter there in July 2011,with our experienced Afghan Corps.

    Oh Hi Fuss,I didn’t recognise your new name,are you Ill?,are you a Papa?

  81. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    Oh Hi Fuss,I didn’t recognise your new name,are you Ill?,are you a Papa?

    What, you some kinda specist? Cain’t be bothered recognizing me from any other formally dressed frog on the blog?

    I’ll be illing some and may be popping off a few at ya, you don’t shape up some.

    We’re not going to be exiting the area in July 2011. We’re gonna be there a while past then.

  82. short-term cost, Rex, very short

    We’re not going to be exiting the area in July 2011. We’re gonna be there a while past then

    Veering toward Medium, El Froggo

  83. @ Rex Caruthers:

    Rarely, Rex.

    But I was trained to parse a sentence or two and when Obama says

    “Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011,” Mr. Obama will tell the American people, according to the excerpts released by the White House.

    “Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground,” the president says. “We will continue to advise and assist Afghanistan’s Security Forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul

    I don’t read that as a promise to leave in July 2011.

    BTW, I’m not sure that the additional 30,000 have finished arriving.

  84. Probably not, it took him three months just to make the decision, with
    the ‘harsh Afghan winter’ and the loss of our base in Manas, it probably took longer

  85. “The US military has been turned into a French Foreign Legion sort of thing now that we have no draft. The Vietnam War killed not only the draft but our entire economic system. That is, the addiction to a long, fruitless war proved all too alluring to the military industrial giants so they had to figure out how to have endless wars without public uproars.The creation of the French Foreign Legion concept worked wonderfully. Low-octane wars that are tremendously expensive can run effortlessly for many years, even decades…” says Elaine Meinels

    Fuster,Long Term or Short term?

  86. So you do figure why the transition to fiat, money, only took 10,000 posts or so, Casey is the Westmoreland of the picture, a very conventional sort, in a totally unconventional threatre, Shinseki, for
    what’s worth, would have been mostly the same thiing, despite the great accolades the media gave him,

  87. 10,000 posts or so

    Whatever it takes,those that believe the Fiat money system has brought geat wealth and prosperity,not just to America,but to the Global Economy are Hard Core&tough to convince. . They remind me of Agamemnon’s conception of his wife Clytemnestra as a loving Wife,and loyal queen,just before she butchered him entrapped in her snare.

  88. Yes, I hate when that happens, so what is the real value of goods and services in this country, that relates to the value of the money, the farther we move away from that, the more dangerous it becomes

  89. narciso wrote: so what is the real value of goods and services in this country

    That has dropped around 40% since July 2007,and not 40% of the Phoney $16 Trillion GDP that was a fantasy. We topped out at about Ten Trillion which has shrunk to 6-7 Trillion,which is why we are much closer to National Insolvancy than is admitted. Similiar to the USSR,whose economy was vastly overrated by our economists as well as the Soviet economists. In order to comprehend those GDP #s,you have to look at the Government’s finances via a standard audit,only with full disclosure.

  90. Ill Papa Fuster wrote:

    BTW, I’m not sure that the additional 30,000 have finished arriving.

    Pretty sure they haven’t. But in the modern era it’s possible to chafe under the strain of a long-term deployment before the deployment has actually commenced. Please make a note of it. In the future, we will give medals for valor to soldiers who haven’t even finished basic training.

  91. @ CK MacLeod:

    we will give medals for valor to soldiers who haven’t even finished basic training.

    Why not? We give Nobel Prizes to politicians who haven’t done anything.

  92. @ Sully:

    And I do recall that Joe McCarthy wrote letters demanding medals for Joe McCarthy and, managed to write a book denouncing a General who earned more than a few.

    “If Marshall were merely stupid, the laws of probability would dictate that part of his decisions would serve this country’s interest.”[33]

    That really had nothing to do with anything, but I wanted to throw it in.

  93. One of those little factlets that obscured the reason for the invesitigation in Ft. Monmouth, hopefully after the Iranians get
    the bomb, we don’t have to repeat it

  94. @ Sully:

    he probably found it on one of those wads of bar napkins that he liked to say were lists of Soviet agents employed in DC hotel lounges.

  95. Yes, Frog he liked to drink, unlike that other Solon in the Senate, he wasn’t thinking about how to please Andropov by spreading the latter’s anti nuke propaganda, then again wasn’t Marcantonio, the only declared Communist congressman, from your neck of the woods

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Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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