Israel vs. Iran in 2007

Our many shows about a possible showdown with Iran — most recently with Seymour Hersh last week, but also here, here, here, and here, just to name a few — had, in retrospect, a rather myopic focus. They all looked squarely at the U.S.

Israel, it turns out, has been having its own debate, which boils down roughly to this: if sanctions don’t work, and an Iraq-chastened Uncle Sam won’t bomb Iran, should we? Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael Oren, writing in The New Republic , say yes:

According to Israeli intelligence, Iran will be able to produce a nuclear bomb as soon as 2009. In Washington, fear is growing that either Israel or the Bush administration plans to order strikes against Iran. In Israel, however, there is fear of a different kind. Israelis worry not that the West will act rashly, but that it will fail to act at all. And, while strategists here differ over the relative efficacy of sanctions or a military strike, nearly everyone agrees on this point: Israel cannot live with a nuclear Iran.

Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael B.Oren, Contra Iran (registration req.), The New Republic, February 5, 2007

Halevi and Oren linger on Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial. They warn of “a new strain of Shia apocalypticism.” They quote Ayatollah Hussein Nuri Hamdani, who declared in 2005 that “the Jews should be fought against and forced to surrender to prepare the way for the coming of the Hidden Imam.” And they advocate a preemptive, decisive (though conventional) strike on Iran.

After Halevi and Oren’s article came out, The New Republic held an online debate (registration req.) between Halevi and Jerusalem Post writer Larry Derfner.

Derfner is betting on the mullahs’ innate sense of self-preservation: that no matter how abhorrent their rhetoric or scary their weapons, they wouldn’t risk the nearly total destruction that would follow an attack on Israel. In other words, the seemingly terrifying notion of a nuclear Iran wouldn’t change good old nuclear deterrence and its sobering calculus of mutually assured destruction.

It was a civil, if grim debate, one that turns to a large extent on your reading of Iran’s particular balance of rationality and madness. Both Halevi and Derfner agreed that a preemptive strike on Iran would lead to catastrophic reprisals against Israel — including, most likely, the use of chemical and biological warheads. But that’s just the price Israel might have to pay, Yossi Klein Halevi argues:

Why, then, bring certain, terrible war upon us when it is not at all certain that Iran will use the bomb? That’s the question Israelis need to ask ourselves as we contemplate our options. One argument for a military strike was provided by our article: Merely by possessing the bomb, Iran may well trigger massive Israeli emigration and flight of foreign capital, as well as plunge the Middle East into a nuclear arms race. The deeper argument, though, is that, as the state created to offer refuge to the Jewish people, Israel simply has no choice. If the alternative is between certain conventional or even chemical war which Israel will survive, as opposed to possible nuclear war which Israel will not survive, it seems to me that no reasonable Israeli government can opt for the latter. Arguably no other country faces such a cruel dilemma.

Yossi Klein Halevi, A TNR Online Debate: Israel vs. Iran (registration req.), The New Republic Online, February 7, 2007

Is this the dilemma you see?

Michael B. Oren

Senior Fellow, Shalem Center in Jerusalem

Author, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present

Larry Derfner

Columnist, The Jerusalem Post

Special correspondent, U.S. News & World Report

Extra Credit Reading
Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael Oren, Israel’s Worst Nightmare: Contra Iran (registration req.), The New Republic, January 26, 2007: “The French philosopher André Glucksmann has noted that, by threatening to destroy Israel and by attaining the means to do so, Iran violates the twin taboos on which the post-World War II order was built: never again Auschwitz; never again Hiroshima. The international community now has an opportunity to uphold that order.”

Larry Derfner, A TNR Online Debate: Israel v. Iran (registration req.), The New Republic, February 6, 2007: “Where I disagree with you is that 1) I think Israel can live with the risk of Iran launching a nuclear first strike because the chance of this actually happening, in my opinion, is nil, and 2) I think a preemptive Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities poses much, much greater risks.”

The Greatest Threat, SerandEz, February 22, 2007: “Why would Russia et al ever get involved? Why would this be worse than Osirak in 1981, which had more international support and led to… nothing? In the grand scheme of “world peace”, the world now looks back on that incident with a huge sense of gratitude towards Israel.”

Confused, Maybe Not, Iran, Israel, and Apocalyptic Questions, Philosophers’ Playground, February 2, 2007: “A nuclear Iran will be able to conduct its militias, such as Hezbollah, with impunity. (Remember when the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires was bombed by Hezbollah in the early 1990’s? And the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires was bombed? How would one respond to such conduct if Iran had nuclear weapons?)”

Marvin Schick, Containing Iran, Marvin Schick, February 9, 2007: “There are many in Iran, including parliament members and other influential people, who openly oppose Ahmadinejad. There is a decent prospect that containment can work, both to buy time and to provoke political and attitudinal changes within Iran.”

Rick Moran, Israel’s Dilemma Over Iran, Right Wing Nut House, February 25, 2007: “There are those who do not take the Iranian President at his word that he will “wipe Israel off the map.” But if you are an Israeli government official charged with the safety and security of your tiny nation, you cannot afford the luxury of wondering whether Ahmadinejad is serious or not.”

Israel, Iran and Deterrence,, February 8, 2007: “what’s riskier for Israel? Relying on the 100% success rate of nuclear deterrence against nuclear attacks since Hiroshima? Or unleashing a regional war at a time when the furies that would unleash are undoubtedly horrifying, not least for Israel?”


According to Israeli Mossad estimates — and this is from Mossad, which under the current government is really rather left of center — that the current regime in Iran is willing to give up about fifty percent of its population to destroy the state of Israel.

Michael B. Oren


The great danger between a nuclear Iran and a nuclear Israel — a greater danger lets say than existed between the United States and the Soviet Union — is that there’s no relation between Iran and Israel, like there was between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, especially after the Cuban Missile Crisis. There’s no communication.

Larry Derfner


I am skeptical about whether the Syrians would join in, and I find fault in the maximalist logic, the fear that Egypt and Jordan — both of which have peace treaties with Israel, for which Israel has made significant territorial concessions — would join in a war once Israel was perceived as being on the losing side.

Michael B. Oren


Of the many many people we interviewed for this article, Yossi Klein Halevi and I, we found nobody who believed that Iran was acquiring a nuclear weapon to launch an immediate strike against Israel, absolutely nobody. I don’t believe that either. As I mentioned earlier, the far graver danger is one of economic strangulation, and of the nuclearization of the entire Middle East, the end of all non-proliferation. That is a far greater danger. But you can’t eliminate entirely the possibility of a nuclear strike from Iran, and I would hate to be the person who would make that gamble.

Michael B. Oren


If you judge countries on the basis of what they do, more than on what they say, then there was much more reason to be afraid of Russia and China than there is of Iran. I mean, Stalin had nuclear weapons. Mao Zedong had nuclear weapons. They slaughtered tens of millions of their own people. Some people think they were clinically insane towards the end of their lives. America believed in MAD, but to say that America was sanguine about the threat of Russia or China lauching a first strike against America is not correct. America was scared stiff.

Larry Derfner


You asked earlier, Chris, whether this was a generational divide. Here are people who are rockstars singing about this, and most of them incidentally come from North African background, Jews from Arab countries. Almost invariably their grandfathers, great-grandfathers, parents, were not directly impacted by the Holocaust.

Michael B. Oren

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  • Tom B

    With an estimated 75 nuclear weapons, Israel need not worry too much about an Iran with a handful of nukes. Seventy five weapons could annihilate every town and city over 50,000 population in Iran ; it would be suicidal for Iran to attack Israel with nuclear weapons. The situation is actually very reminiscent of the relations between the USA and USSR fifty years ago, when a balance of terror (and the strategic policy of ‘mutually assured destruction’) kept the peace for decades — since neither side wanted to go up in nuclear flames. — The danger spot in the area seems (in my opinion) not Iran, which may sometime soon get nuclear weapons. It is Pakistan, which already has them, and has a history of nuclear proliferation (Abdul Qadeer Khan). Musharraf has already survived several assassination attempts; alQueda and other fundmentalist forces are militarily active within the borders of this unstable nation; and the intelligence services (ISI) is not reliably loyal to ‘our friend’ Musharraf. (Is it only me who thinks ‘Shah of Iran’ every time I see Musharraf on TV?). Iran is simply too rational and pragmatic a nation to use nukes, in short, and there are much ‘scarier’ sources of instability in the area. We are barking up the wrong tree with the Iran scare stuff… Incidentally, I strongly recommend those worried about Iran read Husain Haqqani’s book: ‘Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military’.

  • Lumière

    An opener !

    The primary issue regarding nukes is the deterrent factor.

    The deterrent factor is easier to see regarding N Korea.

    Prevailing winds? Subsequent world opinion? MAD?

    Timing: Israel would most likely use conventional weapons now, rather than nukes later.

  • Sutter

    Tom B raises the $64,000 question — is Iran deterrable? Is it the kind of mature state that avoids precipitous action in favor of long-term self-interest? I don’t know the answer. I would like to hope so. The ebbs and flows of Iran’s politics are somewhat worrisome — a reformer this year, a firebrand populist the next. And always, in the background, the Ayatollahs. I’d be interested in hearing what the guests have to say on this.

  • Tom B

    ‘Iran violates the twin taboos on which the post-World War II order was built: never again Auschwitz; never again Hiroshima.’ Hmmmm, I guess I missed this chapter about The Post War Order… Apparently the ‘never again Auschwitz’ rule only applies to very narrowly, considering the hundreds of genocides that have swept the world since 1945 (Cambodia, the Congo War, Ruanda, etc, etc, etc.). As for the never again Hiroshima, the developed world has built The Post War Order on an enormous pile of nukes — tens of thousands of them — and most much, much more powerful than the puny midget bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Post War Order HAS been built on ONE taboo: that of opening one’s eyes and seeing the world as it really exists.

  • Tom B

    Sutter raises a good question: is Iran deterrable? As with individuals, the only way to know is to examine history for evidence of past behavior… The only massively destructive war Iran has been involved in since the Islamic Revolution was the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. In that catastrophe Iran was attacked, and was the party that sued for peace. Its subsidies and support for overseas adventures more closely resemble that of the United States in its own backyard (Latin America) than anything else. Unlike the US, which attacked Cuba in 1961 (Bay of Pigs), Iran has so far not invaded or made incursions into any of its neighbors’ territory. Frankly, Iran seems no more or less ‘crazy’ than the United States… Further, I suspect that Muslim hopes for the return of the Mahdi are as little influential in Tehran as fundamentalist Christian hopes for the return of Christ and the Battle of Armageddon are in Washington, D.C. Ther same psychology that sees the United States as a religion-crazed nation bent on bringing The End Times into our generation is the psychology that projects Shia theology as inherently ‘nutty’.

  • Sutter

    Uh oh, Tom, now you’ve asked for it. 🙂

    In case my above suggested otherwise, I don’t have an opinion on Iran’s deterrability. I think you definitely have a point, though, as between Iran and Pakistan.

  • maotalk

    Iran is one of Israel’s clandestine trade partners.


    From an IPS Correspondent in Germany

    HAMBURG (GERMANY) 29 Aug. 2002 (IPS) An Israeli cargo ship transporting Israeli-made military equipments for the Islamic Republic of Iran was stopped by customs officials at the German port of Hamburg, German and Israeli officials confirmed Thursday. It was in the Jerusalem Post, ask Mr.Derfner.

    Where is the logic in Israel bombing the land of their old and dear friend, the late Shah of Iran? They still must have contacts in Tehran.

  • Nick

    Sutter & Tom B: ROS offered a 50 minute palate of answers to this question you’ve both posed:

    “Is Iran deterrable?” – here:

    The rough consensus (if memory serves), was ‘yes’. Without conviction, however. After all, at least the Soviets didn’t believe that choosing Mutual Assured Destruction might earn its leaders a berth in a mythological supernatural paradise.

    After hearing that show, I’m inclined to think that Iran’s religious leaders would solidly prefer self-preservation over self-destruction. At the same time, why wouldn’t they want to wield the one item that allows it to crash the international “Don’t mess with me, I’ve got nukes!” club?

    Over and out.

  • Sir Otto

    Iran has never attacked it’s neighbor in it’s entire history.

  • nabobnico

    Oren says that if Iran gets the bomb, Syria and Egypt and Jordan will follow. Isn’t Israel guilty of being the first nuclear armed “neighbor?”

  • Sir Otto

    Unlike Israel

  • nabobnico

    I think the lost Israel suffered this past summer in Israel—both militarily and publicly—was enourmous and could show the dangers of a premptive strike against Iran. The cluster bombs, the soldiers deaths, the deaths of innocents, the destruction of the Lebanese economy, and now the possible destruction of Lebanons democratic goverment, should keep Israel from launching any attack.

  • Yark

    Israel –> “One of the leading economies in the world”

    So, why does the US give them 3&1/2 BILLION dollars a year?

    Want to be FAIR?

    How about on ‘odd’ years we give the $$ to Israel – – since it IS an odd thing to have been giving money to “One of the leading economies in the world” for decades – – and then on the ‘even’ years we give THAT SAME AMOUNT to the Palestinians, to alleviate their Israeli-ravaged economy and suffering–kind of ‘even things up.’.

    Oh, we don’t think “FAIR” would be any way to appear OR to ACT in the Mideast?

  • OliverCranglesParrot
  • enhabit

    sir otto,

    huh? please elaborate.

    on another note. iran has an incredibly youthful demographic. when one combines this with what might be described as the closest thing to an islamic democracy in the region…along with some of the other points that have been made here so far…well, one might just hope that the moderates will rise to power. sometimes it takes having a couple of nutcases in the white house..oops, i mean tehran, to awaken moderate opposition to extremism. let’s not galvanise the youth of iran because cheyney likes to play global crisis.

  • Lumière

    The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the old Persian homeland, and beyond in Western Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Persian empire has become what we know today as Persia or more commonly, Iran.

  • nabobnico

    Oren talks about the maximalist and minimalist schools. It doesn’t seem that there is a ‘win’ for Israel in any sort of a military strike. So why do it?

  • enhabit

    sir otto

    please elaborate on “Iran has never attacked it’s neighbor in it’s entire history.”

  • Michael Apodaca

    Yes, the US could destroy the Iran nuclear facilities. But what would this do but create more “enemies” for the US?? Is it to simple to ask, “Why don’t we try to make friends with Iran?” Or are they too evil for that freindship to be had? Where is the real diplomacy??

  • nabobnico

    Not only does Israel risk its own life, it risks the life of the Middle East and wider.

  • nabobnico

    We should all be cringing.

  • Michael Apodaca

    I’m with Chomsky. Iran won’t use the bomb, but rather use it for economic leverage. And that is what the US really fears.

  • enhabit

    if you’re not cringing, your not paying attention.

  • PaulK

    Ted Kazinski, the Unabomber, was an ardent and articulate environmentalist who also believed in letter bombs. He was a nut. One nut should not discredit the environmental movement.

    George W. Bush is a Bible thumper at times. However, I don’t think his actions make him out to be much of a man of God. It’s scary that he got to be in the White House, and worse that any Christians at all voted for him, but our two man elections are crazy choices sometimes.

    You all do know, don’t you, that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s party was trounced in the last elections. He’s a nut, still clinging to power despite the trouncing, and the Iranian people don’t want a nut for their president.

    All this talk about “Iran” being gladly prepared to lose half of its population in a war is just George W. Bush’s talking points, echoed by a thousand Republican operatives. The Iranian people want no such thing. Neither mass suicide nor genocide have anything to do with Islam. Or Christianity. Both religions revere Jesus of Nazareth, who taught us to love our enemies.

  • herbert browne

    Whenever I think of US-Iran relations, my thoughts wander back to Mossadegh- and “what might have been.” Of course, one thing that “might have been” was the continuing rule of the Shah’s father, who was more or less pro-German during WWII (one must appreciate the effect that British control of the country’s oil may have had in affecting those sympathies). The divvying up of Iranian oil resources after Mossadegh’s “departure” by Euro-American companies- which lasted more than 2 decades- had to be a big cause of national unrest among Iranians.

    Re ..” In that catastrophe Iran was attacked, and was the party that sued for peace..” (the Iran-Iraq War)- true. The civilian airliner that the Argus-equipped US warship brought down was the kicker in that… the Iranians weren’t going to fight a US military presence.

    The treatment of US hostages by the Iranians, despite all the posturing and rhetoric offered, was certainly a cut or two above what the US has done, lately, to a slew of “enemy combatants” and others (whose “official” designations defy easy description). Iran is making a laudable effort, in my eyes, to move from, essentially, a feudal culture at the end of the Ottoman Empire to a democracy today, albeit with cultural machinations that few in the US will (bother to) understand… ^..^

  • OliverCranglesParrot
  • Yark

    When Israel bombed the oil storage tanks in Lebanon unleashing a HUGE environmental disaster – – they knew the ocean currents would carry the oil slick Away from them – – they didn’t Give a Care then, and if the winds are blowing the right direction they wouldn’t Give a Care if they institute a Nuclear disaster if they weren’t overly harmed: They’ll bulldoze 700 year old olive groves, run bulldozers over American peace activists, attack American warships WITH IMPUNITY!!!

    Talk about acting with impunity!!!

  • Potter

    Cringing here. There is way too much getting “wierded out” by Ahmadinijad!!! This is really a battle between Israeli’s who are wedded to the notion and fear that they will be annihilated versus those who are ready to face and solve problems principally with the Palestinians.

  • Lumière

    Song: Political Science

    Artist: Randy Newman

    Album: Sail Away

  • enhabit

    thank you paulk

    these nationalist labels can be a kind of racism. iran has a remarkably literate population (@80%). i am certain that a substantial number of iranians feel oppressed and uncertain, as i do with my own government.

  • Peter Bradley

    As I understand it the words “Never Again” are carved over the entrences to Holocaust Museums. If Israel wished to live in this world then why dont they take that “Motto” to heart and go defend moslem natives in Darfor. If and when Iran develops a nuclear weapon, simply add the coordinates of that country to our existing ballistic missles and be done with it! If Israel doesn’t ;ike it we need to let them know that pre-emptive wars are not really all that good of an idea today and we don’t want anything to do with another one!

  • nabobnico

    There is an interesting article by Christopher de Bellaige (sp?) in the NYRB; the link is here.

    What he brings up is that Ahmidenajad holds, actaully, very little power in Iran. It is is not your standard western dictatorial goverment—in other words Ahmadijad is no Hitler, except perhaps in his public statements. He is more like a loose cannon, someone they can let loose and grab headlines, but not someone who has his finger on the bomb.

  • Loay

    Israel is not sustainable what with its Zionist ethos (which hold a privileged status for one ethnic group) and refusal to recognize it own boundaries and the rights op the Palestinians. The best that can be hoped is a five to ten year delay in Iran’s acquiring the bomb while Pakistan is a coup away from changing sides.

    The cost in supporting Israel is too high for us Americans and the in general world. Relocate them back to Europe.

  • nabobnico

    I have been lurking before coming back for a while here, and I notice a few differences. Did we ban JDyer? Theres no way this kind of a disscussion could go on with his presence. It is great to not have had the AS label thrown out at all…

  • enhabit

    and by the way paulk, i have come to feel that cheyney has the most influence on foreign policy in the white house. bush is out of his depth.

    also, i’ll say it again, if israeli apartheid and liebensraum doesn’t end soon we will all suffer the consequences. israel has legitimate post-holocostic wounds, but they have kicked out the palestinians from their homeland and suppress them, sometimes brutally. do people not know how nasty it is to live in palestine? middle eastern resentments die hard.

  • Lumière

    resolution 181 ?

  • enhabit

    thanx lumiere,

    the complete text is well worth a revisit.

    kinda like warning about global warming back in the fifties.

  • Sir Otto

    Exactly that. Iran has never attacked a neighbor. Unlike Israel.

  • tbrucia

    nabobnico brings up an interesting point — “Ahmidenajad holds, actually, very little power in Iran.” Many (most?) Americans seem to be under the impression that Ahmadinejad, because he bears the title ‘president’ is the ‘top dog’ in Iran. (It’s as if there were a common belief that the president of France or of Italy were ‘the ruler’, and not just second fiddle to the prime minister.) It’s past time for people to start learning about the complex and convoluted theocratic constitution that Khomenei left in his wake… I suspect few Americans realize that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei retains ultimate power (likened by Vali Nasr to that of a caliph), and that in Iran, the ‘Supreme Leader [is] appointed for life by the Assembly of Experts’ . Moreover, as noted in this blog, the pasting Ahmidenajad’s faction took in recent municipal elections shows his populist and demagogic appeal may be wearing thin among Iranian voters. WE might remember that Iran’s nuclear program has been a work in progress for a long time — well before Ahmidenajad came to office. It would be fascinating to know about Ali Khamenei’s position(s) regarding the value to Iran in obtaining a nuclear deterrent force. Does anyone here know anything about the Supreme Leader’s pubic statements (if any) about the nuclear issue?

  • enhabit

    i suppose that sir otto talking about the period after the fall of the shah. retaliatory strikes and attacks by proxy still count. a sovreign nation’s embassy is considered foreign soil if you would like to split the hairs of a few hostages.

  • tbrucia

    At the head of this blog: “Halevi and Oren linger on Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial. They warn of ‘a new strain of Shia apocalypticism.’ They quote Ayatollah Hussein Nuri Hamdani, who declared in 2005 that ‘the Jews should be fought against and forced to surrender to prepare the way for the coming of the Hidden Imam.'” — According to the wikipedia (yeah, I know) there are currently 18 marja (aka Grand Ayatollahs) in Iran, not to mention 13 in Iraq, and three elsewhere in ‘Shia-dom’. It might be a good idea to see whether this one quote from one marja is representative of thinking among the clerical establishment. Otherwise, it’s like quoting Pat Robertson to demonstrate what Christians in America think! (Lest there be any doubt, I don’t think that any of Pat Robertson’s provocative sound bites ‘proves’ that there’s ‘a new strain of [Christian] apocalyticism’ abroad in the US…)

  • enhabit


    are there not some iranian newspapers that are considered “official”. you may find a clue there.

    my family has old friendships with iranians. the hospitality of that culture is the stuff of family legend. my father in law (US passport) was sheltered by friends as revolution filled the streets. they risked the lives of their entire families to hide him and get him out. it is sinical and ignorant to believe that iranians, or any other nation for that matter, are nothing but a bunch of extremists.

  • Nick

    Skimming the thread 4 hours before the show airs our West:

    Neither people — Israeli or Iranian — deserve to be villified. Both peoples are ‘led’ by opportunists — i.e., politicians!

    One government might well be more democratic than the other, but that same nation is burdened by a centuries-long history of persecution nearly (if not wholly) unique among the world’s peoples currently able to claim self-governance.

    Both nations are saddled with their own fair share of bigots and chavaunists.

    But NEITHER people deserves to be demonized.

    They’re both nations of humans, not fiends.

    Sorry to vent. But some posts here got my dander up.

    Looking forward to the show…

  • enhabit

    there are plenty of holocaust deniers in the usa and europe as well. they are ignored or silenced. i wonder how their words play elsewhere.

  • enhabit

    i hope that nick understands, that for my part, i feel that demonization lets humanity of the hook. we all have the capacity to cause evil by the most banal of activities. no one has more to account for on this point than us gluttenous and vilified americans. still the world looks to our leadership.

    israel was created out of passion and pain. this has left unresolved issues that must be addressed…by israel, and therefore israelis. the legacy of ages of jewish persecution must not be this. that culture that brought us such richness and secular intellectual traditions must not have this on its soul.

  • Nick

    enhabit, I’m feeling more than thinking. I don’t know nearly enough about either country to do much more than that. I’m certain only of this: both states are inhabited by humans. Not fiends.

    When it comes to converting my feelings on this subject into thoughts, I usually find Potter’s articulations representative of my feelings. See Potter’s comment at 8:35 PM. Potter has relatives in Israel, wants them and that country to thrive, and understands, along with rays of sunshine like Daniel Levy, that Israel cannot thrive in perpetuity with a people next door under what most of the world perceives to be an unfair occupation.

    This, I think, closely matches the closing sentiment of your 9:41 PM. Yes?

  • Nick

    Left out a word: “understands, along with rays of sunshine like Daniel Levy, that Israel cannot thrive in perpetuity with a people next door living under what most of the world perceives to be an unfair occupation.”

    Sorry. Time for me to shut up, methinks.

  • enhabit

    i have had the good fortune of seeing a great deal of the world. this includes Aceh after the tsunami. i was raised in a phenomenally multi-cultural city..don’t laugh..pittsburgh! where i went to school with people of nearly every ethnic group that you can think of. i grew up in a jewish neighborhood; was warmly welcomed by the families of jewish friends and girlfriends. i have attended passover feasts, even an orthodox one.

    my experiences have been full of positive relationships with people of many backgrounds. i say this in spite of numerous disapointments. if i have learned one thing it is this.. good friends should tell good friends when they are messing up. help them if you can but give them your perspective because you will stand by them unless they morph into something monsterous.

  • enhabit

    i hope that we understand each other now nick

  • Nick

    Yup, enhabit, we do.

    I’m calmer now and have time to type responsibly instead of emotionally.

    So, what prompted my possibly unwarranted reaction was a sense – perhaps mistaken and daft – that the vilifying rhetoric employed by the most xenophobic elements of both nations has found unwarranted currency on our thread. Small currency, if any. Little more than loose change, perhaps; but currency nevertheless. (I’ve fallen prey myself to the milder versions of the usual bombast regarding Iran’s leaders – but, thank goodness, realized it when Bush laid that comic-book nonsense called the “Axis of Evil” onto an incredulous world.) That sort of rhetoric destroys trust, willingness to communicate, and credibility too.

    I won’t point to any particular post—especially since my interpretation of any post’s words might be dead wrong. I just, while skimming, got the ‘feeling’ that whispers of recognizable examples of vilifying rhetoric had wafted over the thread.

    Of course, the governments and policies of both countries are fair game. But I’m leery of our all-too-human tendency to conflate governments with the people they purport to represent.

    I hope that we here on ROS largely feel that the current Iranian president responsible for quotes like these doesn’t represent his whole nation as he might wish, and as he must claim to do in the deceitful game of international politics and posturing.

    Does he represent a significant minority of bigoted opinion in Iran? Almost certainly.

    Does the existence in Israel of xenophobes like this influence that country’s political debate, working in effect to ‘mainstream’ the bigoted Israeli lunatic fringe? Almost certainly.

    But both nations are bigger and wiser than that. Their genuinely mainstream, majority centers can produce inspirational folks like Daniel Levy and the brave people who made sure the world heard this: Iranian Scholars Denounce Conference That Denied Holocaust.

    It’s unfair and foolhardy to vilify any people based solely on that people’s bigots and xenophobes. Xenophobes influence popular opinion from the fear they traffic, and have much greater influence than we should allow them. That holds largely true in our good ol’ US of A, too.

    Anyway, if I misinterpreted any posts, whether specifically, in aggregate, and/or simply carelessly, I gladly apologize.

  • Levi

    An attack against Iran would be disastrous and could only be executed by someone who is either truly insane or someone that deliberately wants to bring down the United States economy. If we, or Israel using the F-15’s we gave them, were to attack Iran, the following would happen.

    First, the four US carrier groups that are in the gulf region will be attacked and sunk by Iran’s SS-N-22 Sunburn anti-ship cruise missiles. These missiles travel at 2.1 mach, carry a 750-pound conventional warhead, and have a range of 100 miles. But most important, our Navy currently has no proven defense against these missiles. Iran has purchased an undisclosed number of these missiles from Russia in the past years.

    Second, Iran will close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, which would not be difficult for them to do. The strait is only 21 miles wide in its narrowest section and is conveniently located at their boarder. A few mines and the continued risk posed by the Sunburn missiles would do that job just fine, not to mention the barrage of Exocet-class missile that Iran can lob at potential anti-mine ships.

    Third, the closing of the Strait will effectively cut the supply lines for the over 250, 000 Americans currently in Iraq. That’s a quarter of a million American who would be trapped ‘behind enemy lines.’ You can use your imagination to understand how bad that would be.

    Fourth, 20% of the world’s oil supply travels through the Strait of Hormuz. Its closing will cause massive oil shortages around the world and result in the price of oil shooting to over $200 a barrel.

    Fifth, the US economy will collapse under the weight of the massive hyperinflation sparked from the rise of oil prices. Our economy is already on shaky ground due to massive deficit spending, excessive debt leveraging, and excessive investment in high risk financial derivates. This would be plenty to knock it down.

    And last, we will start seeing the National Guard patrolling our streets to contain the panic and chaos that would result from the economic collapse. Why National Guards? Because Bush would make use of the present that the outgoing congress gave to him in the passing of the National Defense Authorization act of 2007. As I hope most listeners know, the NDA act of 2007 contained a provision that makes it much easier for the President to declare Martial Law, essentially undoing the Posse Comitatus Act. Now many are thinking ‘they would never do that!’, but I ask, why would ‘they’ take the effort to add this provision to the NDA act if there was no intent to use it?

    Once again, I only see two possibilities: Insanity or the deliberate destruction of the US.

  • Y6U1ri

    I have listened to your show off and on for the past 8 months You seemd on solid ground hosting dialolgues on lofty, philosophical and intellectual topics from your ‘chair in the sky.’ Your recent foray into as you would put it ‘entertaining dialogue and important ‘stories’ of the day, leave me horrified and disgusted. I submit you are supporting a dangerous extremist movement supported by this administration whose mission is to destroy soveriegn states in the middle east without provocation. Targets include entire muslim populations of sovereign states,assassination of islamic leaders and government leaders.

    I have heard retired generals state the current aggression in Iraq is in viloation of international law, American law and a violation of the Armys field guide army code of field conduct. Further, in the specific case of Iran, these same generals, along with nuclear power analysts, former cia and intelligence agents, economists, knowledgable journalists posted in the middle east for 5 10 20 years provide a view that is 180% from what we are being fed. I urge you to get out of denial and acknowledge this is the reality not some fantasy show. or ‘story’ of the day. Check out Amy Goodmans daily radio broadcast, Democracy Now, linvite Amy or one of the guests she has had – wesley clark, robert fisk. middle east bureau chief for 30 years. You are in a position to save lives. I pray you do so.

  • Potter

    Rarely do I talk with my niece living in the Golan about “the situation” (and we are close) b/c we know each other’s feelings. Yet she admits that she has a real sense of foreboding about the future of Israel but she does not want to think about it in order to be able conduct her daily life. For me, this means that she finds it very hard to let go of her ideas or dreams about Israel which do not mesh with her emerging sense of reality, (the reality of where she sits, so close to the Syrian border). The measly wire fence surrounding her moshav is not going to protect her family from rocket fire coming from Syria as Syria heats up about having the Golan back.

    This summer’s Lebanon War was wake up time for Israeli’s. Life in the north of Israel and the Golan had been idyllic, so far from the Sinai and Gaza, even the West Bank. No more.

    A dear friend of ours living within striking distance of Hezbollah rockets from Lebanon, a veteran of five Israeli wars, he has for years had this sense of foreboding about the future of Israel too. They wonder if Israel will be at all in 100 years. My people represent two poles (with all the gradations in between that may exist within each Israeli). One side is ready to take the risks for peace, the other side will never trust, never believe that Jews can let their guard down, because of history, enough to even begin. But until recently the fantasy that Israel can win conventional wars with neighbors easily has prevailed.

    So now we turn to nuclear bravado. Maybe this discussion is necessary.

    Jews have not survived this long by being stupid. They have always taken stock of the situation and dealt with reality. King Abdullah of Jordan put it well last night in the Newshour interview: Israel has to decide whether the furture is “Fortress Israel” or whether she wants to become part of the Middle East.

    To that end there is risk but less risk than the risk of attacking Iran. Israel must admit to having nuclear arms. I don’t understand the phony policy of ambiguity. 180 degrees from the trajectory of this chilling discussion starts a discussion, multilateral, bilateral, start somewhere. After all the fantasizing about brinksmanship (again, maybe necessary) and all the fear-mongering and threatening and pulling each other’s chains ( Netanyahu needs a muzzle as much as Ahmadinijad) the fact is Iran may be several years away from “going nuclear” and prudent countries in the area will soon start, as they have threatened, if they have not already, planning their own nuclear programs.

  • rc21

    After reading several of the anti-Isreal posts on this site by supposed intellectual thinkers. I have come to the conclusion that Isreal will be wiped of the face of the earth within the next 100 years. Or at the very least the Arab world with the help of leftist Europe will enslave the Isrealis. After all it is quite obvious that they are responsible for all the worlds problems.

  • Potter

    Netanyahu, in a poll just released (see today’s Jerusalem Post), leads the pack of potential candidates to succeed Olmert at 30% to the next closest at 18% (Ayalon-L abor) then Barak at 12%. 72% want to see Olmert gone, 57% want elections now.

    This opportunism from Netanyahu is on a par with Ahmedinijad’s in my opinion:

    Netanyahu: It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany; Ahmadinejad is preparing another Holocaust

  • enhabit

    yes, the situation is tragic..with people on all sides, good and bad, dying and living in fear. there are forces in this world that wish to encourage chaos. Israelis suffer, Palestinians suffer, Lebanon has suffered. There is blame enough to go around in all quarters.

    however, the current Israeli position is being exploited by those that wish to do her harm. Israel can do more to diffuse this than anyone. we can start with giving up ALL of the west bank settlements. they are a divisive issue both physically and psychologically. this will go a long way to making up with the palistinians which will go a long way to the beginnings of settling down.

    speaking up against Israeli policy does not make one anti-Israeli or God help us..anti-semetic, as some would have it linked, any more than speaking up against American policies makes one anti-American…

    the holocaust was the result of an absence of debate and the presence of bourgeois indifference. we have to keep on this topic..pushing on all sides or the chaos fertilizers will have their way.

    it wasn’t so long ago that South Africa was treated as a pariah. remember the SA disinvestment push with harvard and others getting publicaly embarrased? if SA can come to terms with its dislplaced and disenfranchised anybody can.

    by the way rc21..i hope that you are being sarcastic…a tone that is difficult to interpret in translation or writing

  • enhabit

    netanyahu is bad news. a creature that seems to thrive on fear.

  • rc21

    To enhabit; Only the last part. Unfortunatly the first part I fear has a fair chance of taking place. Once the far left gains power in the US Isreal will have no allies left in the world. Then it will be open season. I think the Arab world is just biding their time until someone from the more liberal side of the Dem party becomes president. Its hard to predict the future but history has a way of repeating itself. The Jews and by extension Isreal have always made a good scape goat.

    Walk onto any college campus, read Reuters listen to BBC. Heck listen to this forum, Juan Cole, Noam Chomsky,etc You dont see much love for Isreal do you?

    A recent world wide poll just came out and I believe Isreal was at the top of the list for most feared countries in the world. No my friend the seeds of hate have been sewn.

    Just look at this topic You have a government that seeks nuclear weapons, They deny the holacaust. They swear to wipe out Isreal. Yet we have people on here who downplay the threat. They suggest it is up to Isreal to compropmise or make ammends for their brutal govt. One which they claim does nothing but provoke peacful Arabs and create chaos.

    Sorry to say it is just a matter of time.

  • Tom B

    I sometimes assume that folks interested in what’s going on in Israel read the Israeli press online — but we all know what ass-u-me spells, so here’s a link to Ha’Aretz (in English) and to the Jerusalem Post (in English) . Incidentally, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, has a very interesting web site (really!): . Relying on American secondary (or tertiary) sources of information about Israel and Iran is like trying to follow Texas politics from Poland or Kenya.

  • Thank you Potter. And thank you Tom B. When C.L. read Tom B’s post I welcomed it as relief from listening to the guest who seemed to be suggesting in very stark black & white terms that Iran is solely responsible for all that is evil.

    rc21: Speaking as an American leftist, wanting Israel to be a just democracy is not the same as wanting Israel to be eliminated. My hope is that a new more liberal government in the United States will inject diplomacy into the middle east situation as opposed to our current government that seems always to be fanning the flames of aggression. Demonizing Iran while pretending Israel is completly innocent will not pave the way to diplomacy. Some may wonder if Israel can survive as a just democracy but it may be the only way Israel will survive. Criticizing current Israeli policy is not an act of hatred. It is a hope for survival.

  • Forton Twelve

    Oren dismisses Iran’s antipathy as a result of insane leadership and an insane religion. This is usually how far the popular US media will go to explain what’s happening in the Middle East. But this is myopic: think about it – does this really make sense? Given what is known about Israel’s incursions on neighboring territories isn’t it possible that there are genuine pragmatic greivances that give rise to the problem?

    Our media dis-serves the US public by paying so much attention to conflationists like Oren. “Is the tail wagging the dog?” The guests skirted this question; hiding in the ambiguity of the metaphor. A better way to put it: Did the US invade Iraq based on the interests of the Israeli right wing? If so was it because the Americn Public only heard the conflationist rhetoric offered by the Neocons? Does the American Public really know what’s going on in the Middle-East?

    Is it possible that our myopia has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, thousands of american casualties, a trillion dollars gone from the US treasury, … and all without any apparent benefit to the United States?

    This show called itself ‘an Israeli debate’ – yes – this was the israeli point of view; presented with no rational analysis of what is happening in the nations surrounding Israel or the conditions of the Palestinians. The show was symptomatic of the same myopia that got us into the Iraq quagmire: one emotionally-charged, overly-simplistic point of view.

    Open Source: I’m happy to hear the Israeli right-wing point of view on your show -but considering that this point of view is already well-covered by the mainstream media and considering the derth of coverage of the interests of other Middle Eastern countries I urge you to focus doubly hard to present programing which represents the Palestinian, Iranian, Lebanese, Syrian points of view. Without a better understanding of the region’s issues it is possible, even likely, that the American Public will be saddled with another useless war.

  • VJ

    As I listened to the show, everyone seemed to be using Ahmadinejad as a shorthand for “the government of Iran.” I’m no expert, but as I understand it Iran doesn’t have the same strong executive we do in the US. They have a much more peculiar structure with the Supreme Leader, Guardian Councils, etc. So just how much does Ahmadinejad speak for Iran when he says his awful things? I’m not saying Iran is one way or the other, just that we should listen carefully to all the signals coming from it, and not just select out a particular blowhard with a figurehead position as “the next Hitler.”

  • 1st/14th

    After reading several of the anti-Isreal posts on this site by supposed intellectual thinkers. I have come to the conclusion that Isreal will be wiped of the face of the earth within the next 100 years. Or at the very least the Arab world with the help of leftist Europe will enslave the Isrealis. After all it is quite obvious that they are responsible for all the worlds problems.

    Amen! One of two things, demographics or a nuke are going to see to that, the left better be careful what it wishes for, What the mainstream left, like Chomsky and Sy Hersh see in assclowns like Nasrallah is beyone me, but listenign to those two talk about Nasrallah reminds me of a bad porno.

  • Thank you for blatantly showing the hypocrisy of Michael Oren and the people’s views he was portraying – when he said “I think it’s too hypothetical to say if Hitler had nuclear weapons…World War 2 wouldn’t have happened” he contradicted the fact that he is basing his argument on the hypothetical situation that if Iran gets a nuclear weapon it will use it against Israel. I say, open the dialogue, but let Iran dig their own grave – do not fear the unknown, let the world work itself out. War is war, doesn’t matter who starts it – everyone always has a “good” reason to strike, but they are always wrong!

  • rc21

    Peggysue; I think your last post pretty much proves my point. You are right, why should we demonize Iran. They only threatened to wipe 5 million people of the face of the earth. Maybe we should put them up for the Nobel peace prize. They are really just a fun loving bunch of people.

    You are also right about Isreal. Who would ever think that Isreal was a Democracy ? They are nothing more than brutal fascists who want to rule the Middle East with the help of imperialistic America.

    It’s people like you who give Isreal good cause to worry about their survival.

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    Elliot Sneider,

    Interesting post.

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    Since there is an endless supply of suicide bombers in Palestine and in Iraq – who, arguably, come from Iran – then how much of a leap is it to imagine, given the apocalyptic thinking of Shiitism, that Iran could become a Suicide ‘Nation’?! From a mathematical point of view they may have already concluded correctly that Israel has much more to lose than they do.

    If Iran is attacked by Israel or the United States, or in some way both, I wouldn’t be surprised – and I would support it because there should be some sort of end to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Imagine if all the Warlords in Africa had nuclear weapons? Obviously a situation like that should not be tolerated. Who’s next – Bangladesh? Mexico? East Timor? Ireland? Do they all get the bomb? Where does it stop?

    It seems to me that relying on Patriot technology in the event of an Iranian strike on Israel, as a prerequisite to an Israeli response, is too high a risk. This over-the-mark risk factor may have already prompted certain reactions. My hunch is that we will not see a preemptive strike; there are different ways to skin a cat. Much depends on what is going on behind closed doors, especially with Russia who supports Iran and Syria with military technology. Much depends on how hard they (Russians) want to push.

    In consideration of the reality of the outsourcing of war, which inevitably will prolong any conflict, along with the hiring of private mercenaries and security firms, thus far no one has been willing to acquiesce. A very far cry from capitulation; but like I’ve always said … the best soldiers work for free! That is something that the Russians do not understand.

    In the history of the planet, oppression and subjugation of the native population by nation builders – good, bad, or indifferent – is par for the course. When it comes to Israeli survival I see no reason why the Israelis should treat the Palestinians any differently than Columbus and his bandoleer of thugs treated the Native Americans.

    HaShem is not very reliable in battle. But this is something that religious hypocrites will never admit, because people like that always want it both ways. There is a saying in Israel: “We believe in God, but we don’t rely on him”. Israel is no different in this respect, and they have their fanatics under a watchful eye. Trust me. I think the Israelis know exactly what they need to do to survive. Who am I to rewrite the rules of the game? All I can do is sit and express my ignorance.

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    Now ‘this’ looks interesting…!

    Tomorrow, 21:00 GMT-5, Discovery Channel.

  • herbert browne

    Perhaps Capitalism and global commerce will save us, in the end… ^..^

  • tbrucia

    And: “how much of a leap is it to imagine, given the apocalyptic thinking of Shiitism [Christianity], that Iran [the United States] could become a Suicide ‘Nation’?!” When the Mahdi [Christ] returns, won’t the rivers run with blood? — My point should be obvious… realpolitik is where policy is decided, not in theology!

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    [This post was deleted for not following the commenting guidelines.

  • rc21

    tbrucia, Your point is silly and bares little semblance to reality. Please give me the name of the last christian suicide bomber? Who was the last American suicide bomber?

    In case you live in some other world where fiction rules,let me remind you the USA is secular nation with laws and rules that have only their foundations in christianity. There is no US foreign policy that is dictated by Christian rule. Please come back to earth.

    Your post is just another in a growing list that proves the point that Isreal has every right to be concerned about it’s survival. Keep em coming.

  • 1st/14th

    And: “how much of a leap is it to imagine, given the apocalyptic thinking of Shiitism [Christianity], that Iran [the United States] could become a Suicide ‘Nation’?!” When the Mahdi [Christ] returns, won’t the rivers run with blood?

    Funny, I dont remeber Bush building a major boulevard so that the 12th Jesus could travel on it when he comes back to earth like Ahmadinejad did for the 12th Imam. Or did I miss something?

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    Re:[This post was deleted for not following the commenting guidelines.

    Well then, I would like to know why Allison’s (March 11th, 2007 at 1:31 am) post was not pulled for supporting the anti-Semitism of CookiesAndCream? Other than the attempted trap set for me on this board, Jew bashing is permitted elsewhere on the site. How come CookiesAndCreams’ Jew-baiting and Jew hatred is tolerated? And why is Allison’s support of it tolerated? You guys are really sad and un-American. “Freedom of speech”, LOL. If anyone needs to be watched by FBI & NSA it is you people!

  • Potter

    GVB – In my opinion Allison’s was not pulled because her comment followed guidelines and in fact did not address the ZOG comment which probably should have been deleted. The thing to do if you are offended is email as per the instructions below the reply box.

  • GVB: Potter is right on all counts. Allison’s comment wasn’t supporting CookiesAndCream at all. She was arguing the opposite — that far from a shadowy, Jewish conspiracy-led government, WE are the government. And the ZOG comment hadn’t been deleted simply because we failed to notice it in time. I’ve now deleted it, and I apologize for the delay.

    But, as Potter also mentioned, if you want to help us in the future, please alert us to comments that flout the commenting guidlines by sending an e-mail to flag ((at)) radioopensource ((dot)) org.

  • rc21

    GVB; You have not been on this site very long. If you had you would have already figured out that Jew bashing-sorry I should say anti semitism- oh no what I really mean is legitimate criticism of imperialistic, repressive zionist policy practiced by the state of Isreal is a common theme for many of the people who listen and post.

    This theme is closely followed by bashing the USA, A close third would be the condemnation of Christinity/religon.

    Im still waiting on a list of all the christian suicide bombers tbrucia alluded to.

  • Potter

    RC21-Israel not Isreal. Thank you.

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    If you are wondering whose survival I prefer, then that is the same as asking if I have any self respect. Do ‘you’ have self respect? Answer: the more Palestinian heads the Israelis crack the better off the Israeli’s will be, simple. I guess you can compare me to Christopher Columbus in THAT sense. You guys are a sad bunch of leprechauns who need to learn a bitter lesson about the freedoms you abuse!!

  • GodzillaVsBambi

    Now go and organize some kind of usual lynch mob response. So much for rugged individualism.

  • bjamin96

    How can you dare say that the US is like Iran. Our actions, right or wrong, are usually wrapped up in protecting the US or our allies. Also, a great amount of resources are emplyed in weapons technology to spare, as much as possible, civilian casualties. Iran is threatening to simply wipe Isriel off the map; and their goal is to kill as many Jews as possible. Has history not taught us anything? Do you hate your country that much, or are you simply that femenized?

  • davidman

    “Iran is threatening to simply wipe Isriel off the map; and their goal is to kill as many Jews as possible.”

    This is a deliberate mistranslation. There is plenty of evidence for this is you search the internet. What he said has been completely taken out of context and is part of an excuse for a pre-emptive as happened in Iraq. How many Americans still believe Iraq was connected to 911. Its just another lie as were the weapons of mass-distruction in Iraq. Iran, in modern history has never attacked another country. Ok, I’m not sure there developing nuclear technology solely for the purpose of energy, but how can America continuously kick Iran in the head over the nuclear issue, when America is the only country in the world to have used a nuclear weapon on another country. Not many civilian lives were spared there where there?

    Has history not taught us anything?

  • rc21

    davidman,It has taught us that holocaust deniers are alive and well. and that people who would love to finish the job are still out there. Some of their supporters apparently live in London.

  • Jonathan Cano

    Why does Iran hate israel? Sure, Israel’s abuse (e.g. the settlements continue to be built and steal land from Palestine) of the Palestinians is atrocious but why should Iran be particularly concerned about Palestinians? Is it about the holy city of Jerusalem?

    Why does Iran deny the holocaust? Iran’s denial is not like Japan’s denial. In the case of Japan they are trying to whitewash their past. Iran’s denial is not about whitewashing their past crimes so what is it about? I would love to hear a show with Iranians (e.g. citizens or expatriots) explaining to me the Iranian regimes viewpoints. I’m not asking for anyone to justify the Iranian regime’s view, just to help me understand it because it completely baffles me and I really want to understand.

    On the topic of Israel: I amazes me that the US media consistently reports on the “terrorist” Palestinian groups attacking innocent Israelis but just as consistently ignores the never ending theft of Palestinian lands by state sponsored Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory. If you think about to so called injustices visited upon the American colonies by the English crown that prompted their rebellion, these pale in comparison to the ongoing theft of Palestinian land.

  • funkyj

    @rc21 who says “Walk onto any college campus, read Reuters listen to BBC. Heck listen to this forum, Juan Cole, Noam Chomsky,etc You don’t see much love for Israel do you?”

    I’m one of the people you are talking about. I don’t want to see Israel destroyed but I feel I MUST compensate for the US governments and the mainstream US media’s portrayal of Israel as the innocent victim of Palestinian violence. Count of all the times you hear reports of Palestinian terrorism on FOX, CNN, MSNBC et cetera verses all the times you hear about the ongoing theft of Palestinian land by Israeli settlers. I for one have not heard mention of the ongoing Israeli settling of Palestinian lands in at least 5 years (Chomsky not withstanding but Chomsky is the antithesis of mainstream media).

    If the US government and the mainstream US media would recognize Israels sins as regularly as they point out the sins of the Palestinians then you would not hear folks like me only chiming in on the side of Palestine.

  • The Crisis Papers.

    CheneyBush’s “Mercenary” Legions By Bernard Weiner

    “Outsourcing” jobs overseas is only the tip of the iceberg. How about the CheneyBush administration “outsourcing” our military, our intelligence-gathering, our nation’s soul? […]

    History shows us the dangers involved when leaders have large extra-institutional forces at their command, such as the Praetorian Guards and Legions of ancient Roman Caesars, Hitler’s Brownshirts, Saddam’s Republican Guards, the private militias of political and religious leaders today in Iraq, Blackwater forces in control of New Orleans after Katrina, etc. By and large, these mercenaries swear allegiance to their employer, not to the rule of law, not to any constitution. The catastrophic damage done to democracy by the existence, and power, of these private forces can’t be overstated. […]

    Thinking the Unthinkable

    And, if CheneyBush are unable to keep the U.S. public from demanding that Congress close down this quagmire of a war, they might well decide to unleash their ultimate weapon of mass distraction by finding a good reason to attack Iran “pre-emptively” (via a false-flag operation?). When Iran responds in self-defense by attacking U.S. assets in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere, the American public will be told that it’s imperative that the U.S. must fight in Iraq and Iran to stop the Muslim hordes from taking over the world, and controlling “our” oil.

    Think it won’t happen? Think Iran is not in the planning bombsights right now? Dream on. The CheneyBush gang is desperate and will do anything, including using nuclear weaponry, to maintain its power and control. Former Middle East CIA specialist Bob Baer says senior intelligence officials told him recently that CheneyBush are likely to attack Iran within six months.

    See entire article at

  • Ray McGovern, a member of the American Legion, was an Army infantry/intelligence officer in the sixties. He then served for 27 years as an analyst with the CIA and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He currently works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC.

    Do We Have the Courage to Stop War With Iran? by Ray McGovern.

    Friday 31 August 2007

    Why do I feel like the proverbial skunk at a Labor Day picnic? Sorry; but I thought you might want to know that this time next year there will probably be more skunks than we can handle. I fear our country is likely to be at war with Iran – and with the thousands of real terrorists Iran can field around the globe.

    It is going to happen, folks, unless we put our lawn chairs away on Tuesday, take part in some serious grass-roots organizing, and take action to prevent a wider war – while we still can.

    President George W. Bush’s speech Tuesday lays out the Bush/Cheney plan to attack Iran and how the intelligence is being “fixed around the policy,” as was the case before the attack on Iraq. […]

  • Bush Setting America Up for War With Iran by Philip Sherwell and Tim Shipman. The Telegraph UK. Tuesday 17 September 2007

    Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

    Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.

    Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.

    Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.

    In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq – arming and training militants – would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories.


  • A Little Scoop on Bush, Chirac, God, Gog and Magog by Jacques Sterchi. Rue89 in partnership with La Liberté, Fribourg. Monday 17 September 2007

    In 2003, University of Lausanne theology professor Thomas Römer received a telephone call from the Elysée. Jacques Chirac’s advisers wanted to know more about Gog and Magog … two mysterious names pronounced by George W. Bush while he was attempting to convince France to enter the war in Iraq at his side. In its September edition, the University of Lausanne’s review, Allez savoir, reveals this story that could seem fantastic did it not, as Allez savoir’s Editor-in-Chief Jocelyn Rochat emphasizes, reveal the religious underpinnings of Bush’s policy.

    Apocalyptic prophecy: Bush would have declared to Chirac that Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East and that the Biblical prophecies were in the process of being fulfilled. That was several weeks before the intervention in Iraq. The French president, to whom the names of Gog and Magog meant nothing, was stupefied.

    In Allez savoir, Thomas Römer details: Gog and Magog are two creatures who appear in Genesis, and especially in the most arcane chapters of the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel. An apocalyptic prophecy of a global army giving final battle in Israel.

    “This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins,” continues Thomas Römer…


  • herbert browne

    Re ..”Apocalyptic prophecy: Bush would have declared to Chirac that Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East and that the Biblical prophecies were in the process of being fulfilled. That was several weeks before the intervention in Iraq…”-

    Well, now… at least the Pres was reading SOMEthing… or maybe just listening to bedtime stories… ^..^

  • Potter

    Jonathan and funkyj- Regarding Israel’s theft of Palestinian lands- to be absolutely correct, it has to be noted that these are not Palestinian lands yet but land that would become Palestinian if there were some resolution of the conflict. The land may or may not actually belong to individual Palestinians. According to the UN charter,Israeli settling of this land is illegal. Israel claims or has claimed the land is “disputed”.

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