Iran: Another War Dance?

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cannon in iran

The photographer’s caption: “Just in case some news magazine ever comes searching Flickr for stock images illustrating Middle East unrest.” [Stewf / Flickr]

New Yorker writer Seymour Hersh warned last spring that the Bush administration was actively planning a possible attack on Iran. For those of us without White House sources, it seemed too frightening to believe. With President Bush now claiming that Iran’s involved in American deaths in Iraq — and that he intends to do something about it — it’s still frightening but a little easier to believe.

Especially if you consider the context: The year-old Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group that’s coordinating US strategy on Iran. The newish Pentagon directorate on Iran that’s apparently being run by some of the neocons who planned the Iraq war. The carrier group now in the Persian Gulf off the Iranian coast. The disagreements between the Bush administration and intelligence officials over the scope of Iran’s nuclear program and its involvement in the Lebanon-Israel war this summer (the administration being the more alarmist). The “proxy war” aspect of that Lebanon-Israel war. Tehran’s alleged desire to talk with the US in 2003 that was apparently not acted on by the US. The five Iranians detained last month in Iraq. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman added up the pieces rather persuasively last week.

Here’s the question: could this possibly be 2003 all over again? One difference is that members of Congress and the media are questioning the administration’s claims more openly this time. Representative John Murtha has declared that he’ll try to prevent any military action against Iran without congressional approval; some news outlets are reporting the not insignificant skepticism about the intelligence on the Iranian explosives.

In response, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said clearly last week that the US is “not planning a war with Iran.” So are those who hear war drumbeats just conspiracy theorists? If so, what’s driving the White House’s focus on Iran — and where will it get us? How do we explain the timing and the urgency of this new round of anonymous intelligence?

Jonathan Landay

National security and intelligence correspondent, McClatchy

Former national security correspondent, Knight Ridder

Sam Gardner

Colonel (ret.), US Air Force

Taught military operations and strategy at National War College and Air War College

Juan Cole

Professor of modern middle east and south asian history, University of Michigan

Blogger, Informed Comment

Trita Parsi

President, National Iranian American Council

Author, forthcoming “Treacherous Triangle: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States”

Extra Credit Reading

AllahPundit, BBC:U.S. plans for attack on Iran revealed (again), Hot Air, February 19, 2007: “I probably missed another half-dozen major media “revelations” between summer and winter of ’06, but why bother digging them up? They all say the same thing: a sustained attack targeting not just the Iranian nuclear plants but the country’s major military targets and infrastructure.”

Seymour Hersh, The Iran Plans, The New Yorker, April 17, 2006: “The President believes that he must do ‘what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,’ and ‘that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.'”

Paul Krugman, Scary Movie 2, The New York Times [Select], February 12, 2007: “Let’s do an O. J. Simpson: if you were determined to start a war with Iran, how would you do it?”

David S. Cloud, Defense Chief Again Says U.S. Will Not Wage War With Iran, The New York Times, February 16, 2007: “‘For the umpteenth time, we are not looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran,’ he said at a Pentagon news conference. ‘We are not planning a war with Iran.'”

Via Nick: Michael Young, Who will blink first, the US or Iran?, Middle East Transparent, February 11, 2007: “There was an exception to international dithering on Iran last December, when the United Nations Security Council passed a sanctions resolution against Tehran. Later this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency will review whether Iran has complied. Though it was watered down, the resolution supposedly took the Iranian leadership by surprise.”

Via jazzman: James Surowiecki, Troubled Waters Over Oil, The New Yorker, February 19, 2007: “This latest confrontation with the U.S. should have been the capper to a bad winter for Ahmadinejad. Strangely, though, it may instead have brought about an upturn in his fortunes.”

6:25

Having cried wolf the first time in Iraq, and having used exaggerated and bogus intelligence to justify the invasion, the irony here may be that the administration does have a stronger case when it comes to Iranian complicity in Iraq, at least on a small scale. The question is why are they pumping it the way they are at this time.

Jonathan Landay

16:40

I think what we see going on, and what perhaps the President was referring to in the clip you played, was some kind of very high-stakes, high-risk strategy to try and create bargaining chips, leverage with the Iranians. And why I say this is high-stakes, is because the fact of what the United States is doing, and what the Iranians are doing, creates a situation where missteps can put both countries on the road to conflict.

Jonathan Landay

20:45

One of the things that the BBC said, and I find it to be totally credible, is that if there were a major attack inside Iraq, that had a high number of American casualties, that could be traced to Iran, that would be the trigger for an operation, to start another war. That’s totally credible.

Sam Gardner

25:40

What I do, and what I’ve done a lot of, is war games. I did a couple for the Atlantic Monthly — one on Iran. And every time I do a war game — which sort of takes it through the next step — it doesn’t stop at diplomacy, but it asks the question of what happens if diplomacy fails, where does this go? And the answer is, it doesn’t go well.

Sam Gardner

34:30

I think the situation right now is extremely tense, particularly with the policies of the Bush administration in Iraq, in which they’re targeting Iranian diplomats, invading Iranian consulates and other types of offices. We’re basically one bullet away from a major escalation into a larger war in the region.

Trita Parsi

40:40

It’s fully understandable that a lot of attention has been given to [Ahmadinejad], but I think that attention has created a false perception that he is far more of a decision-maker than he actually is. In fact recently, now that there’s been a little bit of a backlash against him, he has come out and actually admitted that he is not the one making the decisions: that he is just implementing the decisions that have been made higher up.

Trita Parsi

46:25

Nobody’s plan — that I’ve heard of or has been written about — is about invading Iran. This is punishing Iran for not following the international community. That’s why this is an air-only operation. I don’t hear anybody that’s talking about regime change.

Sam Gardner

Related Content


  • hurley

    To paraphrase Yogi Berra: Groundhog Day, all over again.

    And you still won’t contemplate a show on impeachment?

  • Nick

    For instant access to a sizable and varied cache of background readings, it’s hard to beat what Pierre Akel collects at his site, Middle East Transparent. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find today:

    “Who Will Blink First, the US or Iran?” by Michael Young

    “Rebuke in Iran to Its President on Nuclear Role”

    By NAZILA FATHI and MICHAEL SLACKMAN

    “IRAN’S GREAT GAME IN IRAQ & LEBANON” by B. Raman

  • Lumière

    I’m seeing the build up aimed at Iran as the end-game (blame & run) for Iraq.

    We pull out, but keep Iran in check.

    Does anything in the Middle East make any sense?

    Has it ever made any sense?

  • Tom B

    This is an administration that reflects American national character: lots of bluster, little forethought, and an immense belief in the power of words. But it is an administration that has the power to act prudently while it dreams beyond its capabilities. If any American attacks take place on Iran, it would be a blessing to the Iranian leadership (since they can call for ‘national unity’ — much as the American government did following 9-11). Any attack would have to be by air only… a ground attack by American forces in Iraq would have to take into account Saddam Hussein’s failed attempt to do so in 1980. (Interesting background is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Iraq_War . I take the Administration’s word when it says it has no plans to attack Iran — not because it wouldn’t like to, but because ground attack would involve American KIAs in the tens of thousands. In short, it would be an act of military suicide. The probability of any American army/Marine attack in the next 22 months (yes, the clock is ticking) is somewhere between slim and none, unless one accepts the bizarre notion that the aim of the Administration is to destroy American military power for decades into the future. (Does anyone seriously think this?). As for the air assault option, consider how much success ‘shock and awe’ had over the LONG haul in Iraq. Very spectaculer, yes. Very morale building, yes. A clear demonstration of American might, yes. Militarily decisive, ABSOLUTELY NOT. Even this Adminstration must realize that demonstrating America is a ‘paper tiger’ (thrashing around blindly in its fury) is NOT the way to win any permanent victories….

  • jazzman

    This week’s New Yorker has a squib by James Surowiecki on the cause/effect that oil prices have on Iranian internal political fortunes.

    http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/070219ta_talk_surowiecki

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    And so the board opens “For those of us without White House sources, it seemed too frightening to believe”. What is even more ‘frightening’ is some people’s naiveté on how and why the military does what it does, and their likewise inability to accept the fact that this state of ignorance, or better yet ‘innocence’ are the very precious resources that are being defended in the first place. Unless we want to give up our right to dream, maintain our lifestyle as we know it, relinquish our status as a superpower, kiss all of our history goodbye: the New Testament, the Old Testament, the birth place of Jesus, plan for our children’s future – speak Russian or Chinese within two generations, and yes, ‘oil’ then why don’t we just let the military do what was designed for: protecting the freedom of fluffy asses to sit and pontificate about things they know nothing about.

  • nother

    Part of this smacks of “wag the dog,” pitch a tangible/palpable enemy to the American public and attention is diverted away from the faceless morass we haplessly wade in.

    What I’m really afraid of is, that GW realizes his cards look real bad, he already has most of his chips in this pot, making him “pot committed,” and he is about to go “all in” with the neo conservative “chaos theory,” which subscribes to throwing a big monkey wrench into the region – a gigantic “clear and hold” strategy.

     If they catch a miracle card and win the pot, they ensure their legacy, if they lose…

  • nother

    “We need a common enemy to unite us.”

    -Condoleezza Rice

    Talk about irony, do ya think Ms. Rice appreciates that those words could be recited by an Iranian as well. Is it just me or is there a direct correlation between a rise in US anti-Iran rhetoric and the rise of human rights violations in Iran. We are the best thing that ever happened to these Mullahs.

    Three Iranian Women’s Rights Activists Arrested

    These three woman will be defended in court by the Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel winner, who said in this article “Respect for human rights in any country must spring forth through the will of the people and as part of a genuine democratic process. Such respect can never be imposed by foreign military might and coercion – an approach that abounds in contradictions.”

  • rc21

    Good post Tom B I tend to agree with your assesment of the situation.

    Godzilla vs Bambi. Another good post.

    I’ll just add my 2 cents. whether we should have gone to Iraq or not is a subject that has merit on both sides. Weather we should allow Iran to assist in the killing of Americans is quite a different story. There is strong evidence that Iran is contributing to the deaths of Americans. The generals on the ground have stated as much. If we support the troops Or even remotely consider ourselves American than it seems mind boggling to me that we would not allow the army to defend itself against people who are trying to kill them.

  • siennaf1

    Last time I looked at a map I saw that Iran actually shares a border with Iraq !

    I hear they also have a long history of cultural and religious cross-pollination.

    It seems to me they have as much right to meddle with Iraqi affairs as we do, or the Saudis for that matter……

  • Lumière

    Good point siennaf1

    Iran has been attacked by Iraq and would love to have a buffer between their border and the Suni folks

    I don’t think we would invade Iran – we don’t have the stuff to do it – the administration is stupid, not crazy

    We would make some air-strikes and the way I feel about that is found in Randy Newman’s lyrics below:

    Lol lol lol

    No on likes us

    I don’t know why.

    We may not be perfect

    But heaven knows we try.

    But all around even our old friends put us down.

    Let’s drop the big one and see what happens.

    We give them money

    But are they grateful?

    No they’re spiteful

    And they’re hateful.

    They don’t respect us so let’s surprise them;

    We’ll drop the big one and pulverize them.

    Well, boom goes London,

    And boom Paris.

    More room for you

    And more room for me.

    And every city the whole world round

    Will just be another American town.

    Oh, how peaceful it’ll be;

    We’ll set everybody free;

    You’ll have Japanese kimonos, baby,

    There’ll be Italian shoes for me.

    They all hate us anyhow,

    So let’s drop the big one now.

    Let’s drop the big one now.

    Song: Political Science

    Artist: Randy Newman

    Album: Sail Away

  • OliverCranglesParrot

    Could this possibly be 2003 all over again? One difference is that members of Congress and the media are questioning the administration’s claims more openly this time. Regardless of a change of majority in the U.S. Congress, there has been an absence of any formal dismantling or re-jiggering from the U.S. regarding the following rhetorical and policy positions:

    President Delivers State of the Union Address

    NSS September, 2002

  • herbert browne

    Hey, Lumiére… you left out our (Randy’s) Compassionate side: “we’ll save Australia… don’t want to hurt no kangaroos..”

    Re the recent charges against Iran (as weapons provider to insurgents, et alia)- why do U.S. authorities immediately accuse the top Iranian officials with authorizing these weapons? Why isn’t it just a case of “a few bad apples”? And why aren’t we going after the Russians & the Chinese- and wherever else all these Kalashnikovs are coming from? Would administration officials feel better if the weapons had come from the CIA, via the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan? It almost seems like a whine of protest over losing market share, coming from the largest purchaser of weaponry, in a country where weapons continue to be a major export item…

    ^..^

  • herbert browne

    (from rc21) >There is strong evidence that Iran is contributing to the deaths of Americans. The generals on the ground have stated as much

  • herbert browne

    Who has gotten more Americans killed in Iraq? Don Rumsfeld & crew?.. or the Ayatollahs? ^..^

  • pryoung

    This might well be Kissinger’s “madman theory” at work. That is, signal to your adversary that the administration is capable of unpredictable, rash or even irrational actions, as a way of throwing that adversary off balance and staking out a better negotiating position.

    We have to always remember that this administration is the second (or is it the third?) coming of Nixon. Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. all began their political careers with Nixon, and everything they do—the rhetoric of cultural resentment, the unrelenting corruption, the shameless mendacity and general thuggishness—shows the hand of the great master.

    Kissinger, of course, still advises these guys as well.

    I have trouble taking what Bush is saying at face value, because it is so transparently silly. I mean most of the IED’s used against Americans are used by Sunnis. Why would Iran be arming its enemies within Iraq? And are we really to believe that this supposed arms flow is

    the difference between Mission Accomplished and grinding civil war and American failure in Iraq? General Pace of the Joint Chiefs of Staff denied the existence of any evidence of Iranian government involvement in any arms shipments, after the President made his (evidence-free) accusations.

    Hard to believe anyone would buy this “product”. Though the comments of rc21 and Godzilla/Bambi above suggest that even the clumsiest saber rattling can reawaken the militarist ardor of some.

  • OliverCranglesParrot

    This might well be Kissinger’s “madman theory” at work. Drunk in charge (part two). Apocryphal? Regardless, it’s all part of the cosmic bridge game which has players like President Nixon and Hunter S. Thompson partnering-up. Just a random thought.

  • hurley

    Nice précis, pryoung. The malevolent ignorance and stupidity of the war-mongers this go-round might almost be funny, but of course they aren’t. US interference in Iranian affairs has been far more destructive to Iran — and to the US — than anything Iran is likely to do to the US. Anyone who doubts that should go read a history of the region or two. And then seek out the 2003 letter from Iran the ghastly C. Rice claims she never saw.

  • loki

    Where is Molly Ivins and Ann Richards when we need him.”Poor George….

    he was born……..

  • Tom B

    If arms are flowing from Iran into Iraq (which would not be surprising), why not seal the border? “Mostly successful” attempts to seal borders include (1) the Morice Line (Algerian War), (2) the Berlin Wall, and (3) the DMZ between North and South Korea. One could even regard the World War I line of trenches running from sea to mountains as a form of ‘border sealing’. If the will existed, an impregnable barrier could be built along the 904 mile border between the two nations. To answer my somewhat rhetorical question, the reason the U.S. Administration and the Iraqi government have both (singly and jointly) failed to do so is simple. There is no will to seal the border. And — as the U.S./Mexican border clearly demonstrates — it requires not only enormous investment to seal a border, but willpower and single-minded determination far beyond that which anyone (apparently) has.

  • pryoung

    Interesting as well that this matter suddenly took on such urgency immediately after the midterm elections in November and the trouncing of the Republicans and the war agenda. At this point no one should doubt that Bush, Rove, Cheney and company see domestic politics as itself a front of the war, after all of the propaganda and deliberate disinformation, and the repressive intimidation of opponents.

    They may well be battling back to affirm before both the American Congress and the world the awesome power of the American executive branch, by signaling its latitutde (if not yet its intention) to act. We all know that is really Cheney’s idée fixe, the thread that runs through almost everything he’s done over these past six years.

  • Tom B

    A few relevant thoughts from Clausewitz’s “On War”: War must never be seen as a purpose to itself, but as a means of physically forcing one’s will on an opponent. … The course of war will tend to favour the party devoting more resolve and resources. … (Cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_War ). One might add that the race doesn’t go to the fastest, nor to the strongest, but simply to the runner who stops running last (known as the Tortoise-Hare Theorem). If you want to read an interesting book on how well/badly a Western democracy is equipped to wage protracted war, an interesting volume is Alistair Horne’s recently republishe classic: A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962.

  • Sutter

    One issue that may deserve some attention here is the way that the Iraq war has placed us in a very fundamentally weak position vis-a-vis Iran’s potential bomb. In other circumstances, if we assume away the Iraq war, it seems to me that discussion of a military option in Iran would not be so far beyond the realm of propriety. I am not saying that I’d support that option, but it wouldn’t be nonsensical to discuss it. But after the failure of Iraq, the sort of operation that would be required to preempt the Iranian bomb is almost unthinkable: We don’t really have the forces, the armaments, the credibility, or the international goodwill to make it work even if we wanted to. And whether or not we’d ultimately choose that route, the fact that it’s just not a realistic option itself is a tremendous weakness: As pryoung notes above, there’s an advantage to having options on the table, and the Iranian leadership knows that this option isn’t really on the table for us. So, yet another disastrous outcome from Iraq — we can’t even really talk about the full realm of options when American interests might in fact be endangered.

  • pryoung

    It’s a good point you make, Sutter, and I might expand upon it. Another consequence of the Iraqi failure is that we make it impossible for ourselves to identify and creatively exploit the very real fissures within Iran itself.

    For example Ahmadinejad is hardly a beloved figure within the country, and many in both the government and public have taken issue with his dismal management of the economy, and his disgraceful posturing on the Holocaust. That public is also disproportionately comprised of young people, whose ardor for the pieties of Islamic Revolution is often lukewarm at best. Witness the recent student protests and heckling of Ahmadinejad. The reformist movement of the 90’s has receded somewhat (for reasons having everything to do with American policy in the region), but could very easily resurface should economic and political conditions change. Iran’s population is actually perhaps the most American-identified of all the countries in the region, which is something few Americans realize.

    A savvy foreign policy would work with these tensions, involve other countries to build incentives and disincentives, and therefore be able to “confront” Iran with a package of actual resources at hand. But instead we get this threatening and inscrutable “Iran” led by a dangerous lunatic that we must stop immediately to forestall global disaster. As you say, Sutter, nuclear proliferation in Iran is a real concern, so why not actually confront it in a resourceful way.

    The Bush-Cheney foreign policy is all about rushing headlong to the spot where you have the fewest options, it seems. I think that’s deliberate.

  • rp

    So much of the commenting on this subject assumes that the outcome remains in US hands. The 21st century was bound to end as the century of China, but Bush and the neocons have accelerated this by ninety years, destroying our world partnerships and good name, as well as burying our economy in trillions of dollars of debt. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization began meeting several years ago and now unites China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Mongolia, four former Soviet stans, and most recently Iran. The dollar will soon lose its prestige as international currency, and oil will be priced in euros. The US will rapidly become more and more irrelevant as the magnitude of the Bush/neocon failure continues to emerge.

  • Ben

    Like the Iraq misadventure, the Iran chatter is another reality challenged smoke and mirrors project from an administration that can’t find Wajiristan on a well marked map. The holler over the wall threats that substitute actual foreign policy and diplomacy are nauseating and logic defying. While the Bushco thumps its chest and howls down the gulf, I hope they have enough short term memory left to remember how delicately Iran’s next door neighbor Musharraf holds power in Pakistan, a declared nuclear weapons state with as much or more radical anti-western sentiment boiling than the rest of the greater middle east combined, and is certainly more of a probable threat to the west than Iran currently is.

  • Sutter

    I agree 100%, pryoung. We had a great opportunity for supporting and promoting the student reform movement in Iran, and instead our sabre-rattling cause Iranians to close ranks and to elect a nutcase. Ultimately that’s on their heads, but we played a very real role in getting things to where they are today.

  • todd french

    forgive me for being crude, but at every bush2 announcement I can’t help thinking, ” you’ve got to be shitting me.” Shadow governments. violations of the geneva convention. turning down the Kyoto Protocol. The thing that I’m most alarmed at, as another announcement blares over the radio, is mly lack of shock and outrage about it. shame on me and shame on everybody. six years wears on hard.

  • Yark

    God BARKING Damn – – THE NAME OF THE OPERATION IS: ‘Operation Iranian Freedom’

    Bush all set to attack Iran: Report

    Press Trust of India

    Posted online: Saturday, February 17, 2007 at 1644 hours IST

    London, February 17: The Bush administration’s preparation to strike Iran is complete with the top commander of the US Central Command having received computerised plans for ‘Operation Iranian Freedom’, a report has said.

    WHEN ARE YOU PEOPLE GOING TO WAKE UP – – WE ARE PLANNING ON BOMBING THEM!!!!!!!!

    Bush All Set to Attack Iran

    Shortcut to: http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=81587

  • lammypie4

    From the LA Times, relevant: BBC program says Al Qaeda doesn’t exist

    http://www.latimes.com/news/columnists/la-wking-scheer11jan11,1,6229669.column?coll=la-news-columns&ctrack=1&cset=true

    ROBERT SCHEER

    Is Al Qaeda Just a Bush Boogeyman?

    Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times

    January 11, 2005

    Is it conceivable that Al Qaeda, as defined by President Bush as the center of a vast and

    well-organized international terrorist conspiracy, does not exist?

    To even raise the question amid all the officially

    inspired hysteria is heretical, especially in the

    context of the U.S. media’s supine acceptance of

    administration claims relating to national

    security. Yet a brilliant new BBC film produced by

    one of Britain’s leading documentary filmmakers

    systematically challenges this and many other

    accepted articles of faith in the so-called war on

    terror.

    “The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics

    of Fear,” a three-hour historical film by Adam

    Curtis recently aired by the British Broadcasting

    Corp., argues coherently that much of what we have

    been told about the threat of international

    terrorism “is a fantasy that has been exaggerated

    and distorted by politicians. It is a dark

    illusion that has spread unquestioned through

    governments around the world, the security

    services and the international media.”

    Stern stuff, indeed. But consider just a few of

    the many questions the program poses along the

    way:

    . If Osama bin Laden does, in fact, head a vast

    international terrorist organization with trained

    operatives in more than 40 countries, as claimed

    by Bush, why, despite torture of prisoners, has

    this administration failed to produce hard

    evidence of it?

    . How can it be that in Britain since 9/11, 664

    people have been detained on suspicion of

    terrorism but only 17 have been found guilty, most

    of them with no connection to Islamist groups and

    none who were proven members of Al Qaeda?

    . Why have we heard so much frightening talk

    about “dirty bombs” when experts say it is panic

    rather than radioactivity that would kill people?

    . Why did Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claim

    on “Meet the Press” in 2001 that Al Qaeda

    controlled massive high-tech cave complexes in

    Afghanistan, when British and U.S. military forces

    later found no such thing?

    Of course, the documentary does not doubt that an

    embittered, well-connected and wealthy Saudi man

    named Osama bin Laden helped finance various

    affinity groups of Islamist fanatics that have

    engaged in terror, including the 9/11 attacks. Nor

    does it challenge the notion that a terrifying

    version of fundamentalist Islam has led to

    gruesome spates of violence throughout the world.

    But the film, both more sober and more deeply

    provocative than Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit

    9/11,” directly challenges the conventional wisdom

    by making a powerful case that the Bush

    administration, led by a tight-knit cabal of

    Machiavellian neoconservatives, has seized upon

    the false image of a unified international

    terrorist threat to replace the expired Soviet

    empire in order to push a political agenda.

    Terrorism is deeply threatening, but it appears to

    be a much more fragmented and complex phenomenon

    than the octopus-network image of Al Qaeda, with

    Bin Laden as its head, would suggest.

    While the BBC documentary acknowledges that the

    threat of terrorism is both real and growing, it

    disagrees that the threat is centralized:

    “There are dangerous and fanatical individuals and

    groups around the world who have been inspired by

    extreme Islamist ideas and who will use the

    techniques of mass terror – the attacks on America

    and Madrid make this only too clear. But the

    nightmare vision of a uniquely powerful hidden

    organization waiting to strike our societies is an

    illusion. Wherever one looks for this Al Qaeda

    organization, from the mountains of Afghanistan to

    the ‘sleeper cells’ in America, the British and

    Americans are chasing a phantom enemy.”

    The fact is, despite the efforts of several

    government commissions and a vast army of

    investigators, we still do not have a credible

    narrative of a “war on terror” that is being

    fought in the shadows.

    Consider, for example, that neither the 9/11

    commission nor any court of law has been able to

    directly take evidence from the key post-9/11

    terror detainees held by the United States.

    Everything we know comes from two sides that both

    have a great stake in exaggerating the threat

    posed by Al Qaeda: the terrorists themselves and

    the military and intelligence agencies that have a

    vested interest in maintaining the facade of an

    overwhelmingly dangerous enemy.

    Such a state of national ignorance about an

    endless war is, as “The Power of Nightmares” makes

    clear, simply unacceptable in a functioning

    democracy.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/3755686.stm

    Where to purchase DVD or video of “The Power

    Of Nightmares”:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index%3Dblended%26field-keywords%3Dthe%20power%20of%20nightmares%26results-process%3Ddefault%26dispatch%3Dsearch/ref%3Dpd%5Fsl%5Faw%5Ftops-1%5Fblended%5F11101997%5F2/002-8950179-8785668

  • jazzman

    Tom B asks: If arms are flowing from Iran into Iraq (which would not be surprising), why not seal the border? and says: If you want to read an interesting book on how well/badly a Western democracy is equipped to wage protracted war…

    If the border were to be sealed (defended by interdictors) not only would it be regarded as provocative, if enforced could actually quickly escalate in to a full blown ground war with Iran. Nervous National Guard patrols now in the untenable position of being sniped and picked off (by anyone who wishes to destabilize the region – Sunni, Shi’a or al Qaeda or any of the 100+ tribal factions) , shoot first and ask questions later, providing all parties with a justification for retaliation. We have no business there, and have never had any justification for meddling in this area.

    As for waging a protracted war, why would any sane person want to wage war, unless they were defending against incursion by another state inside their sovereign delineations? Not that I condone even that hypothetical example. The only just war is the war of ideas and we are failing miserably as the general idea is: We’ll kill anyone that stands in our way of imposing Democracy whether you want it or not. As your Clausewitz quote says: We intend to use violent means to physically force our will on an opponent.

    War and violence are the resorts of those who are too impatient or lack the imagination and ideas required to peacefully co-exist.

    Sutter says: it seems to me that discussion of a military option in Iran would not be so far beyond the realm of propriety. I am not saying that I’d support that option, but it wouldn’t be nonsensical to discuss it.

    By what justification would it be in the realm of propriety to discuss a military option in Iran? Is pre-emption justified? What possible use would it be to discuss it? As Ben notes: Pakistan is far more apt to present a serious nuclear threat than Iran.

    That other axis-of-banality member (thanks to OCP’s neologism) North Korea is capitulating to a degree without discussion of the military option or war. The old model of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD – an apt TLA) is no longer viable given the alternative systems of logic that currently hold sway.

    As I’ve stated before: Wars are started by ideas and they will be rendered obsolete by ideas. Peace is obtained by loving peace, not by hating war.

    Peace

  • Yark

    Here’s the story, read it and tremble! Does ” HAVING RECEIVED COMPUTERIZED PLANS ” give you a warm fuzzy feeling???

    Press Trust of India

    Posted online: Saturday, February 17, 2007 at 1644 hours IST

    London, February 17: The Bush administration’s preparation to strike Iran is complete with the top commander of the US Central Command having received computerised plans for ‘Operation Iranian Freedom’, a report has said.

    “American military operations for a major conventional war with Iran extend far beyond targeting suspect WMD (weapons of mass destruction) facilities and will enable President George Bush to destroy Iran’s military, political and economic infrastructure overnight using conventional weapons,” the journal New Statesman has claimed.

    In a story titled Attack-Revealed: America’s Plans to Invade Iran, the journal quoting British military sources, said ‘the US military switched its whole focus to Iran’ as soon as Saddam Hussein was removed from power. The White House continued this strategy, even though it had American forces bogged down in Iraq.

    The US army, navy, air force and marines have all prepared battle plans and spent four years building bases and training for “Operation Iranian Freedom”. Admiral Fallon, the new head of US Central Command, has inherited computerised plans under the name TIRANT (Theatre Iran Near Term).

    Even as the sending of a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf has been highlighted, the US navy can put six carriers into battle at a month’s notice.

    The report said any US general planning to attack Iran could now assume that at least 10,000 targets could be hit in a single raid, with warplanes flying from the US or Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

  • Lumière

    Kubrick:

    Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

  • OliverCranglesParrot

    Another war dance? Two left feet required for the war dance, the weapon dance, and other ceremonial dance:

    Category:War dances

    Ceremonial Dance

    Weapon Dance

    Weasel war dance

    Haka

    Sabre Dance

    Panther Dance

    Khattak Dance

    Capoeira

    Korybantes, or Pyrrhic Dance, Gymnopaedia

    Fire Knife

    Maasai Jumping Dance

    Dirk Dance

    Hula

    Whirling Dervishes

    Some hybrid from the above, plus others, should be required by all sovereign leadership before any hegemonic conflict. The length of this hybrid dance should last until all participants fall over with exhaustion. Problem solved…

  • OliverCranglesParrot

    “Feigned insanity.” I see no feigning?! I see no evidence of feigning anything regarding foreign policy. This is the “you’re either with us or against us” crew. Though Vice President’s Cheney’s cabal has been somewhat neutralized, it should be observed that the chief protagonist of this cabal is still in power.

    jazzman says: Peace is obtained by loving peace, not by hating war. I couldn’t agree more. Well stated.

  • Yark

    Brenden – – I’m disappointed – – no, DISGUSTED – – that you wouldn’t even MENTION the name of the PLAN – – – The Bush administration’s preparation to strike Iran is complete with the top commander of the US Central Command having received computerised plans for ‘Operation Iranian Freedom’

    Just let the ostritches stick their heads in the sand – – and BELIEVE BUSH????!!!!

    sick. Sick, and sickening. stay sweet, don’t get alarmed, everything’s under control, move along, nothing to see here folks, go back to sleep……

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    OliverCranglesParrot Says: Whirling Dervishes!

    ROFL …

  • Lumière

    Spinoza: opinion is the lowest form of understanding

    Lots of opinions on the show.

    The last comment about ‘supposition’ makes me wonder. If Sweeden started ramping up its nuke program, we probably would not be too upset.

    Is there a reason to keep a close eye on Iran?

    lol

  • Sutter

    Jazzman: To me, the scope of positions suitable for debate is far more broad than the range of positions with which I agree. So, I agree with you that making war on Iran is probably a bad idea, but in a world in which we hadn’t made war on Iraq, I don’t think that an attack on Iran for purposes of preventing acquisition of a nuclear weapon would be beyond the realm of acceptable debate. As I said, not an idea I support, but we’d live in a very very narrowminded world if we weren’t willing even to entertain ideas that differed from our own.

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    “What’s driving the White House’s focus on Iran”, this board asks. I will attempt to some extent to answer the question.

    Due to limited space I will skip the propaganda part of the differences between military and civilian thinking. I trust that the reader can and will distinguish between those things that are kept from public scrutiny. The American propaganda and disinformation issued by the Pentagon to the press is based on the necessary concealment or “shaping” of this kind of information. If the reader wishes to continue to hallucinate that he/she knows something that the military planners and think tanks do not know, he most certainly has the right and the obligation to express himself.

    ……

    I will now oversimplify the answer to the question.

    Saddam Hussein was once on the American payroll in the Middle East. In the early part of the last decade of the 20th century he declared his independence by threatening to “Burn half of Israel”, and by invading Kuwait. Saddam was also in debt to Vladimir Putin for over $9B! Vladimir Putin supplied Saddam with, among other things, satellite jamming equipment and anti-tank weaponry during the first Gulf War. This last point is significant to the War Dance because Russia has always tried to obtain prime oil contracts in the Middle East, and has repeatedly been beaten to the punch by the Americans and the British. (One can just cursory through the German White Papers from WWI for background on Russian frustration before the war).

    If we simply gave Saddam to Putin for no other purpose than to be nice, where would that leave us as a player in the Middle East? But before you answer this question, answer the following question. If someone was in the process of taking food off of your plate – not asking but in the middle of ‘taking’ – what are your options? If someone was not asking but ‘taking’ money out of your bank account, what are the options? If our country, America, can be thought of as an ‘entity’, and not just some piece of geography that we happen to live on, then maybe we can begin to get a sense that this entity is the place that provides life to its inhabitants. When it comes to respecting this place that we dwell in and nurturing it with the history of our sweat and blood, then these thoughts we have in our heads about politics, religion, utopianism and other crazy things don’t seem all that important when they stack up to what we have accomplished in the past. We must provide for our children a quality of life equal to or better than the one we leave behind. If we simply leave the Middle East that is the dream we would willfully destroy. What is going on in Africa and Poland and in the South Pacific now, in the North, and Down Under, is all part of the pragmatic American genius of invention, and adaptation to the changing global strategies and tactics of survival.

    Some say that the Soviet Afghan War is what led to the economic collapse of the Soviet Union. I’m not so sure about this. I think it was more a question of not having any laws to prevent insider trading, thus creating a sort of quasi “private sector” for the oligarchs to dominate. The point is that the Russians blame us for their miserable condition by preventing them from getting those oil contracts. (This is why I think it is not too far of a stretch to speculate that Russia or China, or both, are providing shelter to the most wanted terrorist). Alcoholism, murder and corruption are still at intolerable levels in Russia. To some extent Putin deserves credit for keeping food on the plate by arresting and assassinating certain individuals who were threatening to destroy his country. I do not however approve of the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko ‘inside’ the UK. That could have triggered things right there. Then again he was Russian born. I guess the Brits are ahead of me on that one.

    So, the focus on Iran is not the focus on Iran. It is the focus on the extent to which Russia and China are willing to support the north-north eastern portion of the Middle East while we support the west and the south. While they pour military technology and recourses into Iran and Syria, we hold position in Baghdad and defend west and south of that position. In other words … our position as a super power comes at a price both for us and for those who challenge our access to the control of the planets recourses.

    There are more dimensions to it for us than for the other side. We have much more to lose than they do!

    Daniel: BramGolah@gmail.com

  • joan

    We need journalists to look at a wider picture. We know that jihadists from muslim countries all over the region have come into Iraq to join the fray in one form or another. Why are we not commenting about weapons from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, etc? These countries are “friendly” (and Sunni) but I would bet dollars to doughnuts that if you looked for sources of weapons from these countries they would also be found.

    What percentage come from Iran? What percentage come from elsewhere? Let’s put the weapons issue in perspective.

  • herbert browne

    My thanks to rp for some germane observations & relevant prognostications… It seems likely that, although at present, most foreign nationals still differentiate between the fear & loathing that they experience as a result of U.S. foreign policy, and the feelings they have towards the population of America’s private citizens, the two will ultimately become one, in many minds. Of all the “fallout” from the tyrannical explosions that have emanated from the White House (and flagrant disbursement of “political capital”), the general loss of belief in the image of American ideals (& the hope that it engendered in so many hearts & minds around the world) is by far the greatest casualty of the Bush43 presidency, to me. Those who dreamed, as I did, that the term “full faith & credit” could grow to mean even more- something between nations, not just States- can pretty much give it up, now, for a generation or so. If one outcome of all this posturing, ruthless bungling, etc has been to encourage a return to the preferred conservative position of isolationism inside FortressAmerica, well, it’s been a hell of a show… and we have Homeland Security as an iconic program, to take home and cherish, among our souvenirs… ^..^

  • darwhin

    well of course they are going to defy the world, they see their friends china and russia defending them since anything that hurts america is frankly not that big a thing for those countries. the europeans are spineless, the liberal left in general is spineless toothless and easily ignored. the neocons are mired in a quagmire, why not say f*ck you to the world, its the perfect time.

    as for irans unconventional response options in war being terror? well sure you can bring that up, but what is the us response if it really gets bad? we start bombing all their industry and frankly the whole country into oblivion, if you want to think it through to their response, think it through to ours. they can hurt us indirectly sure, but if they do hurt us bad they can expect to be destroyed. all their progress will be lost for decades. so talking about only bad options for us doesn’t consider their options “leverage” isn’t quite as strong as you’d like to think.

  • darwhin

    frankly we are taking the wrong path on iran, long ago we should have just started building up a massive stock pile of cruise missles to destroy whatever progress iran has made towards modernity if they decided to stay on their path towards the bomb. and no, bombing does work, don’t bring up vietnam, this isn’t civil war, and iran doesn’t have a massive supplier of arms in the soviet union. you could easily destroy all their industry, the power plants and everything else they need to just keep their society going. we aren’t talking little villages in the jungle here, they have cities. its a different thing. vietnam is brought up way too often. not everything is vietnam.

  • Lumière

    randy says: a little pitchy dude, but u da bomb

    paula says: see you in the next broadcast

    simon says: thank gawd this is not a dance contest – yes we Brits are ahead of you

    Nixon was drunk, and he said, ‘Henry, we’ve got to nuke them.’

    They all hate us anyhow,

    So let’s drop the big one now.

    darwhin Says: …why not say f*ck you to the world, its the perfect time.

    Our way of life is dependant on the rest of the world.

    We need to de-militarize.

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    allison Says: The dignity that we be believe is rightfully inherent in each of us and the mutual respect we believe we all deserve is what keeps us from anything quite as horrific as the acts you mention above.

    The cliché “all men are created equal” works in Church or in anthropology class, yet it needs to be qualified. Why? Because all me are not created equal. Hold on now … I believe that from a Judaeo-Christian perspective the cliché is true morally, but not when it comes to aptitude or, say, nation building. The fact is that different people are better at certain things than other people. Does this translate geopolitically? Yeah. During WWII the US Military put Jews in code breaking tasks and in communications because they typically scored higher on language aptitude tests. Gentiles on the other hand have a higher aptitude for mechanical engineering and consequently make better pilots.

    You said: This is the land that was built on slavery, let’s not forget. Plenty of Christians were brutal masters.

    I don’t see it that way. I see it as an *organic evolutionary process* in which all people have free choice – to contribute to the momentum of progress, or to cocoon and brood and perpetually complain about those around them who prosper. We (Jews) lost a lot of people during WWII, but we got on with it and seem to be doing pretty good now. Conversely, you can give the descendants of slaves all the time in the world and nothing will ever change. The Chinese were instrumental in building the American Railroad. So what do we do now – exalt them? At least they don’t say “if it wasn’t for us” blah, blah, blah. Some Jews run around saying and writing that if it were not for The Jews of Amsterdam who “associated with fringe Protestants” that thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke, and Hume never would have developed their [ideas] which led to the United States Constitution and the rule of law. LOL … this is a good one. I would have tons of fun disproving this. But, other than reminding us that their ancestors made good slaves, what have the descendents of slaves contributed to our society? Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make my views clear on the subject of slavery, Allison. I shure does thanks you.

    You said: The dignity that we be believe is rightfully inherent in each of us and the mutual respect we believe we all deserve is what keeps us from anything quite as horrific as the acts you mention above.

    Yes dear. It keeps ‘us’ from doing these things, but the others I mentioned: the baby killers, women burners, communists and atheists do not believe, as you say, “…Is rightfully inherent in each of us”. No amount of Christian love and good intention is gonna convert them to humanity. Christian love to them is a joke and a weakness to exploit. What stops them from walking in and running the show here too? Milk and cookies? Hillary Clinton? I don’t think so. There is a price that is paid for the maintenance of our freedom. And you should count your lucky stars that we got some bad boys up in here, and elsewhere, ready willing and able to do what they got to do to protect it. You wanna know what the difference is between us and them, Allison? We could act like them when we have to – to preserve what we have and make it better, but they could NEVER act like us! ‘We’ possess the history of The Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy, not them!! You have the freedom not to like it Allison, but you do not have the luxury to prevent those of us who are willing to defend it from doing so.

    You said: Of course, we simply seem to have exported our dark behaviors. Not to mention that plenty of ugly stuff goes on right here.

    You have a big heart Allison. I wouldn’t trade you for anything in the world.

    You said: New Orleans. Count the number of women who have been raped in their lives. Children who have been abused.

    So why don’t you go and do something about it then? Go there and convince those who are in a permanent state of taboo, tribal war, crime and anarchy to “see the light” and start weaving baskets or something. Lord knows they had enough time to figure out how to jump on board. Don’t waste your time Allison. It’s a question of containment and some other things I better not talk about.

    You said: so we have right to ‘fight” for ourselves, which seems to mean the right to invade a nation that did nothing to us.

    Ah, but they did, they did do something to us Allison. If Saddam had decided to stay on the payroll; refrain from what amounted to a bid for total independence; expressing what at first looked like an astonishing ignorance of the political dynamics of his own backyard (which in reality turned out to be an attempt to make new friends up north); a total lack of respect for other people’s interests – then, we would no doubt still be there – but more than likely not to the level we are now. Please read my post about Saddam’s $9B debt to Vladimir Putin. These aspects are synchronized in space and time. Taken together they were enough to threaten American hegemony, and stability in Saudi Arabia via Kuwait compliments of Saddam. China is also on the move. Although I’m not certain if they were part of the strategic equation in 1990-91, our new African Command is a bastion not only against Islamic terrorism there, but I’m sure plays a roll against any future Chinese aggression.

    To summarize. We had no choice but to set up shop in the Middle East. These are the protocols when someone chooses to break the rules. Or, we could brush up on some Russian.

    Thanks, Dan

  • darwhin

    “We need to de-militarize.”

    yea we need to believe in the goodness of evil regiems like Neville Chamberlain. that worked out well last time.

  • heaviest cat

    Russia’s a fat weak giant what are you afraid of ,Bambi?America needs a lesson in humility as most of the rest of the world will tell you.Hegemony is not accpetable to a democratic society.

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    heaviest cat,

    You are correct. “Hegemony” is the wrong word here. Within the context, ‘protectorate’ was what I was thinking, as in providing military protection in exchange for regional stability and a stable oil price. On the other hand, “hegemony” can also mean ‘economic security’ when one considers our ability to move armed forces and equipment anywhere on the globe in a relatively short period of time. New democracies stand to gain wealth by coming under the ‘protectorate’ of a sort of economic hegemony.

    You did not pick up on my point about Russia. There are three things here. One, we fight Russia not directly but by proxy. Two, they are perpetually involved in covert anti-Western activity: supplying Iran, Syria, and the Chinese with military weaponry and technology. Three, they don’t have a roof over their head and because of that their country is “pizdetz”. Bunch of Mongolian inbred atheist Bastards that they are.

  • jazzman

    Sutter Says: I don’t think that an attack on Iran for purposes of preventing acquisition of a nuclear weapon would be beyond the realm of acceptable debate. As I said, not an idea I support, but we’d live in a very very narrowminded world if we weren’t willing even to entertain ideas that differed from our own.

    Sorry it took so long to reply to this but from my POV whether it is an acceptable subject for debate depends on who is doing the debating. Nothing is off the table for debate among those (such as you and me) with no means to move that debate from the subjunctive to actuality (i.e., forensic, intellectual, or hypothetical) but when it is among those whose agenda is to move from a position of less violence to one of greater violence (e.g., violent pre-emption) and they have already committed to that position then debate is mostly a formality and a sham.

    We saw this when Colin Powell, the intelligence community and most of the Pentagon was on the non-invasion side of the debate for unilateral pre-emptive military action in Iraq.

    Certain narrow minded actions such as taking a dim view regarding violations of what I call the principles of Absolute Morality or the 2 laws system IMO is not a undesirable. Broad minded approaches to all other human behavior IMO is desirable. BTW if you haven’t noticed, we DO live in an extremely narrow minded world as far as the vast majority of humans are concerned.

    Peace

  • tbrucia

    It’s interesting (once again) how often in these posting folks use the word “WE” when referring to possible planned attacks by (1) military forces of the U.S. Federal Government and (2) the George Bush Administration. We? Or they? And if THEY get themselves into trouble, isn’t that good for those who wish the neo-cons all the bad luck THEY can manage to bring down upon themselves? — The lines need not be drawn vertically at the borders of nation-states and the cabals that run them. We can also also draw them horizontally: between citizens and the cabals that hold bureaucratic power. Just a suggestion on peering at events from a slightly different perspective….

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    Hi jazzman,

    When people accuse others of being “narrow minded” it is most often a reflection of one or two things. A: a lack of understanding of the subject. Or, B: they themselves are guilty of the thing they are accusing others of. Sometimes it is both. I enjoy reading your writing on metaphysics or science – or perhaps we can say your metaphysics of science and the Universe. It reads like poetry. Very nice. On the other hand, if my hard drive is broken I do not call a plumber. If I need to resole a pair of old boots I don’t go to someone with a law degree. By the same token, and with the greatest amount of respect intended, it simply does not make sense to take seriously someone who applies the same poetic prose to military intelligence as they do to cosmological protestations and string theory. Poetry and existentialism has nothing to do with National Security.

    Dan

  • jazzman

    GVB says: By the same token, and with the greatest amount of respect intended, it simply does not make sense to take seriously someone who applies the same poetic prose to military intelligence as they do to cosmological protestations and string theory. Poetry and existentialism has nothing to do with National Security.

    By the same token with the same respect I give ALL life, the double oxymoron of poetic prose and military intelligence notwithstanding, your writing betrays a certain paranoia and FEAR. Fear of the Russians, Chinese (to whom you refer as animals – kind of an Aryan untermenschen sobriquet,) Iranians, bogeymen, and any number of other certain to occur events that you fear would transpire if the nation’s guard is not on high alert 24/7 or intervening preemptively and that our National Security would be compromised by pacifistic liberal agenda if not squelched by those who have expertise and the will to act precipitously in such affairs. You seem to advocate a fanatical “end justifies the means” approach and would sanction mass murder of those you FEAR would destroy western civilization if given the proverbial camel’s nose. Just because I have a penchant for physics and meta-physics and philosophy, ad hominem characterizations are as invalid as any other fallacy. Specialization is for those who cannot multitask.

    Peace to ALL (even the FEARFUL)

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    jazzman Says: your writing betrays a certain paranoia and FEAR.

    I am old enough and settled enough not to be “paranoid”. I do not “fear the Russians”. I understand them. Please do not pretend that you know what others are thinking. It’s dangerous.

    Re: Chinese (to whom you refer as animals

    In the context of people who kill female babies ‘after’ they are born because they wanted a male son? Yes, absolutely! In the context of people who tape babies mouths shut so they don’t have to hear them scream in the hospital? Yes, absolutely! In the context of people who sell children into sexual slavery? Yes, absolutely! Now I must ask you to respond ‘directly’ to the following question: is being against this kind of Evil “fearful”? Have you chosen to make the claim that it doesn’t exist? Do not replace the rule with the exception. I have nothing against decent people from these same cultures. Can you no longer make a basic distinction between good and evil? Does all that moral relativism have ya blind and uninsured? Tell me that you choose to ignore it, or that you do not understand it, or that you do understand it but do not approve of it, but please, don’t tell me that it “doesn’t exist”.

    Re: Iranians, bogeymen, and any number of other certain to occur events

    LOL. Not only do you not understand how and why the Military does what it does, but you have taken the liberty to suggest that a struggle for the planets natural resources is a figment of my imagination. Governments compete for these resources. Some compete fairly, others not. When someone takes food off of your plate there are a limited number of responses. By crude analogy this is what the civilian population does not understand about the Military. Then there’s propaganda. Just because you’ve discovered yours, that doesn’t mean that you have to reject it.

    Re: intervening preemptively and that our National Security would be compromised by pacifistic liberal agenda if not squelched by those who have expertise and the will to act precipitously in such affairs.

    Actually, from a Military point of view liberals are quite useful in the sense that the enemy is drawn to them ‘first’ because they are the self loathers, and the self centered intellects who think that what they think and feel as ‘individuals’ is somehow – don’t ask me how – more important than the collective security of an entire country. Can you imaging the level of selfishness that is required to ignore such a priority? That is the dark side of liberalism which needs monitoring, I think.

    Re: You seem to advocate a fanatical “end justifies the means” approach and would sanction mass murder of those you FEAR would destroy western civilization if given the proverbial camel’s nose.

    This is exactly the kind of (and now this is related to what I said before about judging others by ones own standards – when I said [of the uninformed] ‘they themselves are guilty of the thing they accuse others of’). Does “narrow mindedness” ring a bell? I need you to really think about your accusations for a few minutes. Think about “A fanatical end justifies the means”. Think about “Sanction mass murder of those you FEAR would destroy western civilization”. You are projecting onto me those uninformed thoughts you have about the world. You are accusing me of your own lack of understanding and knowledge of a subject. You are accusing me of wanting to kill the demons that you say do not exist. Meanwhile you are the one who has created them. You have your head in the sand my friend. You are only partially conscious. One must first tear down those very things he holds dear before he spends the entirety of his time jumping from one delusion to the next. I am indeed learning from you and I thank you for that. You are teaching me more about the ‘why’. I think the ‘why’ part is more about egotism, intellectual dishonesty and selfishness than anything else.

    Dan

  • rc21

    Excellent post. I could not agree more.

  • jazzman

    GVB says: I am old enough and settled enough not to be “paranoid”. I do not “fear the Russians”. I understand them. Please do not pretend that you know what others are thinking. It’s dangerous.

    Age and lack of discomfort with one’s local environment have nothing to do with paranoia; it is a mental construct mainly created by responding to secondary information as if it were primary information. It is identified by irrational fear that others will do them harm and manifests as suspicion, hostility and a conviction that their beliefs in that regard are beyond question (i.e., you understand little or nothing of X, whereas I am an expert.) When you say:

    One, we fight Russia not directly but by proxy. Two, they are perpetually involved in covert anti-Western activity: supplying Iran, Syria, and the Chinese with military weaponry and technology. Three, they don’t have a roof over their head and because of that their country is “pizdetz”. Bunch of Mongolian inbred atheist Bastards that they are.

    That is textbook paranoia and overtly hostile and fits the “narrow-minded” definition above very well (both A & B.)

    When you state that without military intervention (or the threat thereof) that:

    Unless we want to give up our right to dream, maintain our lifestyle as we know it, relinquish our status as a superpower, kiss all of our history goodbye: the New Testament, the Old Testament, the birth place of Jesus, plan for our children’s future – speak Russian or Chinese within two generations

    That is NOT understanding , that is FEAR talking. There is no evidence or crystal ball to predict that or any social outcome. One can never know what anyone is thinking, I only observe what is written and comment from my vantage. Even if one were pretending, why would it be dangerous? The concept of danger has FEAR coupled tightly within its connotation.

  • jazzman

    GVB asks in response to my observation: Russians & Chinese (to whom you refer as animals – kind of an Aryan untermenschen sobriquet,) to which he replies: “Yes, absolutely!” in the context of various inhumane behaviors.

    Now I must ask you to respond ‘directly’ to the following question: is being against this kind of Evil “fearful”?

    First of all the “Evil” is your psychological construct. FEAR arises by imagining that it is happening/might happen in one’s primary reality. There is no first hand empirical experience of this; there is hearsay. (Correct me if I’m mistaken regarding your China tour.) I believe that all people are well intended but many are misguided by their beliefs and their actions due to those beliefs.

    Have you chosen to make the claim that it doesn’t exist? Do not replace the rule with the exception. I have nothing against decent people from these same cultures. Can you no longer make a basic distinction between good and evil? Does all that moral relativism have ya blind and uninsured?

    I not only choose that it doesn’t exist, it doesn’t exist in my reality and I seriously doubt that it exists in yours outside of your imagination. I’m not sure what you mean by replacement but if there’s an exception then the rule is in need of adjustment. ALL value judgments are intrinsically neutral and peoples’ beliefs are what charge them. I only make distinction between what I consider ideal and that which falls short of it. I don’t subscribe to relative morals, only Absolute Morals, and I assure you my eyesight is adequate and while I maintain whatever insurance is required by others, (state, lenders, etc.) I am philosophically opposed to the concept of Insurance (see my disquisition on that subject in the Katrina thread.)

    Tell me that you choose to ignore it, or that you do not understand it, or that you do understand it but do not approve of it, but please, don’t tell me that it “doesn’t exist”.

    It exists solely in the abstract, as a subjunctive or hypothetical event and has no concrete basis unless one manifests it in one’s personal reality.

  • jazzman

    GVB states: Not only do you not understand how and why the Military does what it does, but you have taken the liberty to suggest that a struggle for the planets natural resources is a figment of my imagination. Governments compete for these resources. Some compete fairly, others not. When someone takes food off of your plate there are a limited number of responses.

    The military is not an autonomous entity, it does what it does by following someone’s orders, I don’t know where the Malthusian struggle was inferred so it IS a figment of your imagination. The model of any (personal, national or otherwise) competition for resources is Darwinian, outmoded and again, fear-based, the model of cooperation is the appropriate paradigm and the natural order of the universe. In my reality everything is fair and there is no competition, if I find myself in a situation in which someone wants food off of my plate they are welcome to it. That is my limited response.

    Actually, from a Military point of view liberals are quite useful in the sense that the enemy is drawn to them ‘first’ because they are the self loathers, and the self centered intellects who think that what they think and feel as ‘individuals’ is somehow – don’t ask me how – more important than the collective security of an entire country. Can you imaging the level of selfishness that is required to ignore such a priority? That is the dark side of liberalism which needs monitoring, I think.

    Observe the paranoiac, fearful and ad hominem language: enemy, self-loathers, self-centered, intellects (disparaging use), collective security of an entire country, selfishness required to ignore such a priority, dark side, liberalism, needs monitoring.

    This is exactly the kind of (and now this is related to what I said before about judging others by ones own standards – when I said [of the uninformed] ‘they themselves are guilty of the thing they accuse others of’). Does “narrow mindedness” ring a bell?

    More textbook paranoid projection. (Any judgment is by one’s own standards or tacit acceptance of others’ standards.)

    I need you to really think about your accusations for a few minutes.

    Whence your need vis-à-vis my observations? Meta-physician, heal thyself!

    Think about “A fanatical end justifies the means”. What makes you think I haven’t thought about that statement? If as you say, you have read my posts here, you’ll recognize that this is a common theme that I have advanced multiple times as it is the basis for practically all human violence that has occurred since humans have existed. A fanatic believes that a desired outcome (in their belief system) warrants any action (including violence) to bring about the desired result.

    Think about “Sanction mass murder of those you FEAR would destroy western civilization”.

    Advocating a pre-emptive (fear-based) military incursion into any society no matter how “evil” you believe it to be, for whatever torts you think they may have committed or how FEARFUL you are that they mean you harm, is a sanction of mass murder. War is sanctioned mass murder, sanctioned by anyone who supports it.

    You are projecting onto me those uninformed thoughts you have about the world. See the “narrow-minded” definitions above (A & B)

    You are accusing me of your own lack of understanding and knowledge of a subject. You are accusing me of wanting to kill the demons that you say do not exist. Meanwhile you are the one who has created them.

    Again, these are examples of paranoia (I observed that many of your statements demonize others and your reaction to those observations constitutes the classic form of paranoia: Persecution.)

    Meanwhile you are the one who has created them. You have your head in the sand my friend. You are only partially conscious. One must first tear down those very things he holds dear before he spends the entirety of his time jumping from one delusion to the next.

    I take responsibility for my creations (even for the chimerical Godzilla that has metaphorically run amok at ROS) and beliefs regarding the position of my head, amiability, degree of consciousness, time management and my putative deluded states are further examples of paranoid projection.

    You are teaching me more about the ‘why’. I think the ‘why’ part is more about egotism, intellectual dishonesty and selfishness than anything else. I observe, one teaches oneself thru the winnowing of that which comports with preconception. The “why” is a function of whatever you believe it is.

    The handle GodzillaVsBambi (along with the accompanying insights) speaks volumes.

    Peace

  • jazzman

    rc21 says: Excellent post. I could not agree more.

    As you are fond of stating rc: “To each his own” and I say “rightbackatcha.”

    Peace

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    To jazzman,

    “There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the persistent refusal to analyze the causes of happenings”. Dorothey Thompson.

    Please keep in mind that the concept of “fear” has cross cultural implications because different cultures have different *systems* upon which their own unique brand of “fear” can be generated. An atheist or religious fanatic will have a different definition of “fear” than others. What makes a Russian or Chinese “fearful” does not necessarily make an American “fearful”, and visa versa.

    Furthermore, since everyone experiences “fear” I think it is disingenuous to repeatedly use the motif of “fear” just to remind people that it exists. That would be like using the idea of sexual desire to qualify everything one says because all people desire sex.

    ……

    jazzman Says: That is NOT understanding , that is FEAR talking. There is no evidence or crystal ball to predict that or any social outcome.

    If you treat that particular quote of mine (the ‘Unless we want to give up our right to dream’ quote), in a vacuum that came at the end of my point to the ‘exclusion’ of the overall context – along with the evidence I sited elsewhere on the Middle East in general and about Saddam Hussein in particular – then I guess you really don’t need me to continue the debate. I will however make one final attempt to raise you from the dead.

    “Crystal balls” are not necessary when you have human intelligence, satellites, and other kinds of reconnaissance techniques and forensics to create a total picture. These facts present themselves – they are not as you suggest, “Bogymen”. That is the same as saying evil doesn’t exist. This is a ridiculous claim. (See my other posts on this thread and elsewhere about how Evil is defined). To suggest that we do not nor should not make distinctions between good and evil is the same as saying that Christians were not thrown to the lions. Or, that there was no holocaust. Or, that there were no Nazis occupying France in 1942-44. Revisionism is for the scoundrel and the socially inept. Denying reality doesn’t make it go away. By denying it one aids and abets Evil.

    Would you agree, jazzman, that in order for our society to function properly, in the dispensing of liberty and the right to the ownership of property etc, that there must be centurions at the gate to protect who we are and what stand for? You certainly do not understand the roll of the military my friend, nor does it seem that you understand democracy per say. You are not “dreaming the dream”. You are hallucinating and suffering from serious delusions.

    Would you admit, for example, that organized crime is a reality? Would you admit that 911 was a reality? Would you admit that people in the world do bad things to other people such as selling children into sexual slavery? Or would you deny this too? ‘Why’ would you deny it?! And how would jazzman tend to these problems if God forbid he were in charge? Do you see how dangerous your line of reasoning is to progress itself and why evil gravitates toward that which is intentionally ignored and swept under the rug?

    Re: Even if one were pretending, why would it be dangerous? The concept of danger has FEAR coupled tightly within its connotation.

    It would be dangerous when a distinction between reality and fantasy is not made. On the other hand it depends on what your stock and trade is. If you are a fiction writer then it isn’t dangerous. If you are a prosecuting attorney then it is. If you are a garbage collector or driver for FedEx then it doesn’t matter. But if you are a pilot or a probation officer then it does. In general, if the decisions you make in your own life directly affect the lives of others, then the danger level rises. It is all a matter of degree.

    When you say “Danger has FEAR coupled tightly within its connotation”, this strikes me as a poorly conceived colloquialism to camouflage your own ignorance. Central to our debate is the contradiction you have created. You do not understand the difference between likelihood and probability on the one hand, and deliberateness and intent on the other. If someone is in “fear” of losing their job it is not the same as being in “danger” of losing it. Wouldn’t you agree? One is essentially irrational or incidental, and the other empirical and factual. Yet for some reason you cloak your intentions with the former. Your polarities are inverted jazzman. When it comes to reality i.e. empiricism and facts and evidence, you are irrational and delusional – or at least you pretend to be. When it comes to philosophy and religion and faith you are a rationalist! LOL, this is not the first time I have encountered the entity that speaks through you – and probably not the last – but I will give you credit for being the most stubborn.

    Re: i.e., you understand little or nothing of X, whereas I am an expert

    Yes, that’s correct. There are experts in the world and there is nothing you can do about it. Are you automatically offended when someone knows more about something than you do? Why do you reflexively accuse people of being “narrow minded” and having “bogymen” when they know something you don’t? Sort of like when one child teases another with an object he has in his hand that the other does not have. You are accusing others of what you yourself are guilty of: a lack of tolerance of other people’s point of view and knowledge and understanding. If everyone used this strategy we’d still be in caves rubbing sticks together. At this point I don’t even think you are serious. I think you are just trying to impress your friends by living up to some literary agenda you set for yourself.

    Re: First of all the “Evil” is your psychological construct. FEAR arises by imagining that it is happening/might happen in one’s primary reality.

    Wrong! People kidnap children and sell them into sexual slavery. This is reality! Men in China still to this day kill female babies ‘after’ they are born because they wanted a male baby instead. This is reality, and it is Evil! Hospital workers in Russia tape babies mouths shut so they don’t have to hear them scream. This is reality, and it is Evil! In Pakistan and in some parts of India a man can set his wife on fire and get away with it because he only ‘suspected’ adultery. This is reality, and it is Evil! Jazzman, I know you are kidding when you say that all this is my imagination. If someone put you or someone you loved in a plastic shredder feet first the way Saddam Hussein did to many people, do you think that by the time they got to your knees reality might set in?!

    Is organized crime my imagination too? Would you like to give 90% of your paycheck to a guy named Tony? Who the hell do you think prevents Tony from collecting it in the first place? And if you saw someone beating a child in front of you what would you do? Get a new routine jazzman. This one is played out.

    Re: I not only choose that it doesn’t exist, it doesn’t exist in my reality and I seriously doubt that it exists in yours outside of your imagination.

    That’s the most stupidest thing I ever heard. LOL … you don’t believe in the past tense, do you? Mixing convoluted existentialism with rationalism and Zen? Why don’t you throw in some Philosophical Anarchy while you’re at it? Oh wait my bad – you’ve done that already. You make a wonderful cosmological poet or whatever, but when it comes to the military or the affairs of the state or defining Evil, I think you need to give it a rest before you hurt yourself or someone else.

    Re: I only make distinction between what I consider ideal and that which falls short of it.

    You remind me of the satanic literature I used to read when I was a teenager. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”; all the pro-Ãœbermensch and “Will to Power” and anti thou shalt not crowd. Flesh worship, Anton LaVey and narcissism are still big business I see. Say hello to Bacchus for me and tell him to keep his hands off the children. Oops … too late.

    Re: I don’t subscribe to relative morals, only Absolute Morals

    And that is why you and the “Will to Power” crowd are so dangerous. You just hack your way through life like an epileptic bull in a china shop. Literalism and extremism combined with a lack of subtlety and issues with authority usually add up to not paying the rent on time. The conversation is interesting only to a point. Like Natural Law it does not progress and soon becomes circular and non-productive. Moral absolutists are known for making sharp distinctions between good and evil. I am both a moral absolutist and a moral relativist. It depends on the culture and the context. What you really mean is that you are a moral inconsequentialist – because you don’t give a crap one way or the other.

    Re: The military is not an autonomous entity, it does what it does by following someone’s orders, I don’t know where the Malthusian struggle was inferred so it IS a figment of your imagination.

    This whole sentence doesn’t make sense, but I’ll respond to the part that does. The Commander In Chief does not invent military strategy and tactics. You are hallucinating. He is briefed by upper military brass on what is going on and how ‘they’ think is the best way to continue, or not to continue. It is true that The Commander In Chief may step in at any time and make critical decisions. You are correct only theoretically, and for the wrong reasons. Key: the situation on the battlefield dictates the overall approach to the conflict. Even the Generals who make the decisions in real time must adhere to what the circumstances on the ground are saying. So when you say “Following someone’s orders”, please understand that there is a much bigger, synergistic picture here than the one you have chosen to filter through your own ego!

    Re: The model of any (personal, national or otherwise) competition for resources is Darwinian, outmoded and again, fear-based, the model of cooperation is the appropriate paradigm and the natural order of the universe.

    I essentially agree. However, I harbor no illusions that ‘all’ people are altruistic and ready to accept Jesus. There are some truly evil people out there. But you say they are from my imagination. They are “bogymen” – and they don’t actually exist. Give this one up. Even you don’t believe it anymore.

    Re: In my reality everything is fair and there is no competition, if I find myself in a situation in which someone wants food off of my plate they are welcome to it. That is my limited response.

    You are describing how things ‘should’ be, not how they are. Idealism is not “reality”. It is an escape from or denial of reality. It can also be a way brainstorming ideas that may come to pass in the future. Herein subjective idealism coupled with a rigid and non-negotiable world view is exactly what you have been accusing others of: “narrow mindedness”. Those who do not agree with what you say are “Narrow minded”. You say “That is my limited response”. You walk in-between the raindrops as if being non committal is some kind of a virtue. You know as well as I do that this is a simple matter of feigning ignorance and immaturity.

    Are you willing to sacrifice yourself to feed others? I didn’t say “share” so don’t waste your time with it. I said ‘sacrifice’. How much food will you allow them to take, and over what period of time? Would you impose guidelines or would you leave it up to them to stop taking? Key question: would you give your life to feed others? How about this – would you give the lives of other members of your family to feed others?

    Obviously these questions are analogous to our debate on the military. This is not about you or I – it is about the well being of America.

    Re: More textbook paranoid projection. (Any judgment is by one’s own standards or tacit acceptance of others’ standards.) Whence your need vis-à-vis my observations? Meta-physician, heal thyself!

    One does not judge others by one’s own standards. One judges them by theirs. This is the undoing of many a scoundrel. Your quote “A fanatical end justifies the means” – when inserted just for the hell of it – serves as a sort of intoxicating agent for your own intolerance and lack of understanding. It also acts as a buzz phrase in an attempt to bond with like minded individuals of who in the process of coming of age may take you seriously.

    Re: Advocating a pre-emptive (fear-based) military incursion into any society no matter how “evil” you believe it to be, for whatever torts you think they may have committed or how FEARFUL you are that they mean you harm, is a sanction of mass murder. War is sanctioned mass murder, sanctioned by anyone who supports it.

    You see the whole issue in very black and white terms. Again, it is not about you or I. It is about the collective security of an entire country. This is what you’re not getting. When you say [referring to me] “No matter how evil you believe it to be”, you must understand that military decisions in a modern democracy are not based on sentiment and personal predilection. As I explained before it is based on intelligence gathering. This information creates its own picture and must be interpreted by those who know how to read it. It has nothing to do with what you or I do or do not believe. We do not live in a feudal society and there are no kings here.

    ……

    I don’t believe that you believe half of what you say. You are just putting up a facade; maintaining consistency and streamlining the whole process for your readers. The “Do what thou wilt” and “Will to Power” crowd will love you for it. To me you seem more and more like an accident waiting to happen. It is as if you are being consumed by your own bitterness, and ego. You slash and dash your way through a debate with misplaced clichés and isolated prepositions. Generation-xers and those even younger who make a career out of not having any discipline in their lives must think that your routine is all that.

    A good debate is when the participants learn from each other and on occasion acquiesce on certain points. But you deny facts and reality and communicate as if you had all the answers. I tell you that the rent is due and you tell me that there is no such thing as rent. I feel like I’m communicating with an adolescent who doesn’t understand his own mortality. You are an incredible writer, and, a wasted talent. Your prowess is what kept me going for so long. But now, I see who I am dealing with, and I must announce a parting of the ways. Thank you for the exercise. Life calls.

    Daniel: BramGolah@gmail.com

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