War with Iran?

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Iraq becomes Iran[PhotoLuna 25 / Flickr]

Seymour Hersh got most of this war’s scoops, and now he says there’s talk of — active planning and possibly messianic lust for — another war. With Iran. With Iran? With Iran. The idea seems so far beyond the pale that it can’t possibly be right, but as Paul Krugman argued this morning, it’s precisely that kind of logic that brought us the war in Iraq.

Hersh’s sources tell him that preparation for Iran runs far beyond the standard contingency planning, and that US combat troops are already operating in Iran, defining targets and building ties to minority groups. He quotes a government consultant who says that George Bush believes that “saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

Oh, and we’re also considering using tactical nuclear weapons to get into the bunkers where Iran keeps its centrifuges.

Could it possibly be true? Are we threatening Iran as part of a diplomatic effort to strip its nukes, or are we just going to invade Iran? Is this a good idea? Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says the administration’s storyline sounds familiar, and Scott McClellan did repeat in this morning’s press gaggle that our focus is on diplomacy but it’d be stupid to take any options off the table. But can the administration sell this war, too?

Joseph Cirincione

Senior Associate and Director for Non-Proliferation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Author, Fool Me Twice, Foreign Policy, March 27, 2006

Thanks to Geoffrey Kirkman of the Watson Institute for sending Joseph our way.

Thomas Donnelly

Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Mansour Farhang

Professor, Diplomatic History/International Relations, Bennington College

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  • Potter

    I am impressed. You guys are nimble! This is truly scary, hard to believe.

  • Nikos

    I recommend Joseph Cirincione as a guest.

    Additionally, I recomend that you don’t believe that I spelled his name right.

    (Oy gevalt!)

  • nother

    Sorry to start this thread with this post, but I just want to prod everyone who can, to march today. I’m leaving for the Boston Common right now to march with the Brazilian guy who washed my dishes at some restaurant last week so I could have a cheaper meal; I’m marching with my great grandmother’s spirit, the one who suffered indignities as an immigrant so I could walk and blog with dignity right now. Please do not watch the immigrants march and make them the “otherâ€?, that is us marching today – come on now, the grass in growing beneath your feet!

  • Nikos

    I’ll be damned. I did spell his name right! Okay, so there is a God after all.

    PS everyone: the Race, Class, & Prisons show is rescheduled for next Monday. If you’re like me and you just link to the comment thread without stopping on the Home Page, you might miss it. So, no complaints now. 🙂

  • Just wanted to include this link to a short piece by Niall Ferguson in the Telegraph (from a few weeks ago) in which he offers some suggestions that, towards the end, veer into this territory.


    After reading Ferguson’s piece (and having a high opinion of Seymour Hersh’s work), this story sounds all too plausible.

  • h wally

    I believe it. I have no books to recommend unless there’s someone out there who knows of a book that covers a lot of ground on this subject. There is so much on the web about this subject, even before it made the news. I feel like I’m in the back seat of a car careening out of control. I don’t so much blame Bush, mainly because he’s not smart enough to come up with anything complex. I think the real powers behind all this are the unelected bad boys and the money brokers. Wake up Neo.

  • Nikos

    h wally’s comment reminded me of these two rare gems from the local NPR station’s recent archives.

    1. KUOW’s The Conversation surpassed (obliterated, is more like it) its usual tepidly interesting local-call-in-show norms with an unparalleled program on Iran.


    “Iran and the U.S.�

    This was by far the single most illuminating show on Iran I’ve ever heard.

    2. Three days later KUOW offered this:


  • Nikos

    Is it overly cynical to note that this is not only an election year, but one in which the Elephant stands to lose seats? And that warmongering typically triggers an idiotic ‘circle the wagons’ mentality that favors the party in power?

  • This programme from the “A World of Possibilities” radio show might also be a good backgrounder.

    Nuclear Nerves: Iran on Edge

    Guests: Reza Aslan, Joseph Cirincione, Avner Cohen, Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, Abbas Milani


  • Nikos

    Oops. I’m having a Tourette’s-lite kind of couple of days, hmmm? Allow me please to revise:

    “Is it overly cynical to note that this is not only an election year, but one in which the Elephant stands to lose seats? And that warmongering typically triggers a reflexive and uncritical ‘circle the wagons’ mentality that favors the party in power?

  • reality_bytes_it

    I would sugest that any time Hersch’s “investigative reporting” is discussed that the scope of the discussion also be widened to include what he has been “right” about in the past. By my suggesting this, I would assume that you can conlcude that he hasan’t been right about much. If I am not mistaken, I beleive that it was he that reported that at Abu Gharab, there were going to be evidence of rape and murder by US military servicemen – there has been none.

    Before the Iraq war, I beleive he predicted that the “Arab street would burn”. I beleive that the only place that it has “burned” was in Lebanon where the “Arab Street” help up photos of Bush and thru-out Syria.

    Unless I am also mistaken, about the last time Hersch was “right” about something major was in the 1970’s?

  • h wally

    I’m sick of all you sadam lovin liberals going on about the President. He knows what’s good for us and the sooner you commies learn that the sooner you’ll be smart. Think about it folks. If you can’t trust the President who can you trust?

  • reality_bytes_it

    But a New York Times piece quotes four Pentagon, military and administration officials involved in strategic discussions about Iran – all rejected Hersh’s contention that the administration was considering a nuclear option.

    U.S. Stepping Up Plans to Attack Iran, New Yorker Article Says


  • So, what are the economic interests at hand?

    Can anyone speak to how this would further any religious goals?

    And, no, I don’t think its too cynical to see this as an election year ploy. If they don’t move, looking like they are ready to is redirecting the public to national security and away from all the other failures of this administration.

  • reality_bytes_it

    This war was launched in 2003, more than 1 /2 years prior to the election. Doesn’t anyone remember how the war was suppsoed to be a “negative” for Bush in ’04?

    No, if the bombs fall, they will begin on Nov 5th, after the election in ’04 but as far from the ’08 elections as possible.

  • Nikos

    h wally: yur a jeenyus!

    Reminds me of an old avian friend of ours who came back briefly in a mock ‘serious’ guise.

    Good work.

  • Moreover, is there anything we can do?

  • cheesechowmain

    “Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy” Redux…

  • Let’s turn this around and ask why wouldn’t the US go to war in Iraq? Hmmm…

    International opinion


    Loss of life for US military and contractors

    Against international law

    Destabilize region

    Death of innocent civilians

    Unpopularity at home

    No post-war planning

    Not viewed as liberator

    Indeed, why go to war?

  • Nikos

    Allison (5:29): do you think that maybe a growing citizen’s movement to constitutionally amend the government out of its ineffective lyin’ existence might possibly scare the bejezus out of ’em?

    Can it hurt to try?

  • cheesechowmain

    Leonard Zelig last seen working as a target planner at the Pentagon.

  • h wally

    Nikos, I’m just trying to keep this thread balanced. I’ve had diner with people who spoke along those lines. I was polite and pretended to be choking on a meatball. I’m really not sure I’m prepared to get into tonites discussion. I have the kind of mind that gets the essence of things but isn’t real great with the details. I’m counting on your library of congress sized memory to keep the show on track. My take on all of this is that it is a part of something that’s been in the process for some time. I can’t name names but I’ve got this uneasy feeling that somethings going on and it isn’t about Bush dressing up in a white robe and passing out breads to the sick and starving.

  • Nikos

    Sidewalker (5:35): I don’t think you can assume that ‘rational reasons’ would ever stop W from ‘doing the Right Thing’. (JMHO)

    Reasons? We don’t need no stinkin’ reasons!

    We’re the USA, fer cryin’ out loud!

    We’re Exceptional.

    God sez so.

    Well, Reagan did, anyway. And he’s close to God. (They play golf together.)

  • h wally

    Interesting comment Sidewalker but none of those things hace stopped us before.

  • Nikos

    h wally & CCM: thanks and keep it funny.

    I gotta disappear for a while.

    (Don’t everyone cheer at once. It might start an earthquake or somethin’.)


  • h wally

    Nikos you chicken liver. I was counting on you. You’d better have a letter from your doctor or priest when you come back.

  • Nikos

    Okay, I’ll hang til the end of the show. But the sun just came out and I want to RUN!

  • Nikos, I’m up for a movement. But what kind of alternative would you be offering to the government. I need to hear how we’re going to govern. I’m all for a big shake up of the current system.

    Nother, I’m sorry I didn’t know about this early enough to plan. Gotta get the kid to bed. Some of my ancestors immigrated here in the 1600s. Though I have some serious criticisms of what they did once they got here, I am still very attuned to the vision of the US as an immigrant country.

    Besides which, I think we ought to take in everybody who lives in a country that we have exploited.

  • Blah. this is eclectic ROS making room for bandwagon ROS. All of this is rather predictable: One should expect the administration to consider tactical nukes for bunker-busting; one should expect the dissenters to spill to Sy Hersh; one should expect a media frenzy over non-news.

    If we want to piggyback on the news, the Sunday Times‘s 6+ pages on CEO pay would have been much more interesting– especially in light of our national schizophrenia over paying undocumented workers.

  • h wally

    Thank you Nikos, I do believe we can solve this problem if we just concentrate. Fire up that brain of yours. IT’S SHOWTIME!

  • Nikos

    Allison: join me here http://www.radioopensource.org/frank-rich-our-politics-our-theater/#comments some time to discuss why it might be worth the mental effort. We can hardly decide what to do before first identifiying the problems and asking a few intelligent questions. Is it Moonbatting? Yes: at first it will be.

    But so was the first American Revolution. And the French (who then turned it into a habit). But it might not be a bad habit, so long as every time you reinvent your government, it serves the People better than the last one.

  • reality_bytes_it

    The only thing worse than a war with Iran is an Iran with Nuclear weapons.

  • cheesechowmain

    Max Boot looks great wearing an M-16…

  • Potter

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said ( today) that this is psychological warfare? I s this a dangerous game of chicken? Bush played a phony game of chicken with Iraq. Now that we have acted upon Iraq isn’t Bush trying to use the fact that we went through with our threats then to play this new game?

  • maotalk

    What is this! There has not been a clarification of this! Did Israel help Iran with its nuclear program? How about Uncle Sam helping the Shah with a nuclear program in the 1970’s?



    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


    This was a big story in Ha’aretz at the time.

  • reality_bytes_it

    Chris is back on his old theme of “its been a bad 5 years in Iraq”. 3 votes and millions of people think otherwise.

  • Nikos

    reality: I dither on this one myself: “The only thing worse than a war with Iran is an Iran with Nuclear weapons.”

    All I know is that a whole lotta other countries think the same thing about the world’s biggest bully.

    That would be US.

  • Potter

    ( sorry no question mark after “psychological warfare”)

  • reality_bytes_it

    Who cares what they think? Example – France just committed econiomic suicide and screwed generations to come. So, I say once again, who cares what THEY think?

  • cheesechowmain
  • h wally

    I agree Reality but let’s make sure what the facts are this time. We don’t need another “weapons of mass destruction” scam. Also, I think there are many other options available.

  • cheesechowmain

    Thomas Donnelly: “Even the Bush Administration has some contact with reality” as in reality TV…

  • Nikos

    “3 votes and millions of people think otherwise.”

    I would submit that this is at best debatable, if not highly questionable.


  • mulp

    Why would Iran not retaliate to any attack on Iranian soil with missiles into the Saudi Arabian oil processing infrastructure?

  • h wally

    Reality are you talking about France or the US when you wrote: They just committed economic suicide and screwed generations to come.

  • reality_bytes_it

    The “weapons of mass destruction scam” is the right way to put it. The latest reports show that Sadam was bluffing – he wanted to create “strategic abuiguity” because he could only stay in power by making his enemies within Iraq and his nearest neighbors think that he MIGHT have WMDs while hoping the Bush wouldn’t have the cohones to call his bluff. He lost the world won.

    If Iran is bluffing then they are also proving that the world cannot live with their existence in the current state.

  • Nikos

    ‘toss the pieces up in the air and see where they come down.’

    Right! Who cares how many stinkin’ a-rabs an’ persians we kill!

    They ain’t even christians. Snort. they’re goin’ to hell anyway, right?

  • Catherine

    Please cover the bigger picture, the military-industrial-congressional complex and its need for constant war to maintain its profits. And PLEASE cover the informatin that is emerging about what really happened on 9/11. See especially the documentary on DVD “Loose Change 2nd Edition” by Dylan Avery, and the websites http://www.st911.org and www911truth.org. Recommended speakers: David Ray Griffin, retired theologian, Steven Jones, physicist, Jeff King, engineer, Michael Ruppert former detective for LAPD. WHY is NPR silent on this???

  • h wally

    Maotalk, Tell us more. I, for one, like looking under rocks. What you’ve brought up seems to be a thread worth investigating.

  • Ben

    If the the intelligence was so weak in Iraq that it had to be interpreted and defended with such extreme bias, what confidence could even the most hawkish have in planning to attack what may turn out to be non-existant facilities? Does Iran even have anything worth attacking beyond their rhetoric? As the stated reasoning for the Iraq engagment continues to fall away as irrational at best, what is anyone supposed to believe when evaluating a supposed threat from Iran?

  • John

    I don’t know about you, but this talk about a nuclear option for Iran reminds about a scene early in The Day After. A congressman, just briefed on just such a nuke option at the White House, holds court with the press shortly thereafter, loudly beseeching “They are talking about using nuclear weapons in there!”

    Hello. This White House is considering using nuclear weapons. Not as a rhetroical deterrent but in real, honest to goodness, push the button terms. In the world of who to believe, I’ll pick Hersh over the White House goons any day of the week.

    This administration has not only forgotten any lessons of the Vietnam War, they have forgotten the most serious lessons of WWII. Once a nuke is released (and few will make a distinction between a bunker buster versus a kiloton or two), we will have crossed the deadliest line in the 21st century. We have been lucky to have avoided the use of nuclear weapons for more than 60 years. Thank god.

    Do we really want to unleash the nuclear genie again? And do we want to accept responsibility for the chain reactions that will follow?

  • reality_bytes_it

    I love how Cirincione brings up examples of military history on shows like this where almost no one listening to show can understand what he is talking about.

    Comparing the current situtation in Iraq to Napoleon’s march on Moscow makes him look stupid.

  • Nikos

    Brendan: ask mulp’s question! at 6:29!

  • reality_bytes_it, why would you assume that almost no one who listens to this show would be able to grasp an analogy taken from military history?

  • This ticks me off. The answer to war in Iran is simple: NO!

    We’re in two wars, one of them is costing $6B A MONTH

    The national debt is stratospheric.

    We’ve done jacks**t about New Orleans.

    This administration has screwed things up in ways that have exceeded my imagination, and what I want our President to do is STOP. Stop making things worse. We’re in a hole. Just stop digging.

    I have no hope that the current administration can make things better, I just want them to stop making things worse, so that they’re not adding anything to the to-do list of the next administration and the generations who will have to clean up the spectacular mess this Administration has made.

  • h wally

    I love the leaps in logic our guests are making. Those stinking democrats have been complaining about Bush’s lack of action on iran. Now he’s doing something and they’re still complaining. Is it at all possible that there may be some other option beside nuclear war.

  • Nikos

    btw, Brendan, I failed to include a ‘please’ in my 6:35. Apologies.

  • cheesechowmain

    So who is going to be part of the Coalition of the Willing for this posse ride?

  • mulp

    [[[Nikos Says: April 10th, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    “Right! Who cares how many stinkin’ a-rabs an’ persians we kill!

    They ain’t even christians. Snort. they’re goin’ to hell anyway, right?”

    Muslims aren’t Christian? They believe in Jesus Christ, don’t they? How is their view of Jesus, Prince of Peace, different from half the Christian sects, especially the more militant and proselatizing evangelicals?]]]

  • Nikos

    h wally: your 6:30 is stellar.

    I’m proud to be a small game bird living in the same gutter with you. 😉

  • reality_bytes_it

    Cirincione began, and Chris backed him up with claims that the US military is practically in full mutiny against the Bush Admin because of the war in Iraq. Let my just ask, is Chris only beleiving the facts that he wants to?

    WASHINGTON, April 10, 2006 – Recruiting and retention rates released today demonstrate that young people see military service as a viable career option and, once they join, they want to continue serving, Defense Department officials said today.

    Active-duty statistics for March reflect continued across-the-board success for the 10th consecutive month, Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokesman, told American Forces Press Service.

    Krenke said the numbers prove that recruitment-age men and women aren’t dissuaded by the possibility of combat duty and want to serve in the U.S. armed forces.

    More than 13,000 people joined the active services during March alone, almost 5,400 of them in the Army, the service with the most members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, retention remains high among troops already serving who choose to re-enlist in the active as well as reserve force, Krenke said.

    The Army achieved 104 percent of its active-duty recruiting role for March, and the Marine Corps attained 102 percent, with almost 1,700 new members. The Navy and Air Force both met their monthly goals, recruiting more than 2,800 sailors and almost 3,200 airmen, respectively.


    And this is the face of the one of the best jobs environment in the history of the US.

    US economy’s latest output: better jobs

    Newest job numbers show that businesses are expanding opportunities in high-wage fields.


  • Nikos

    Beats me, mulp.

    I’m an infidel, doncha know.

  • h wally

    Lisa just relax. I’m sure that our President can do just as good a job as he did in Iraq and the Gulf Coast. Besides this is probably nothing more than psychological warfare. The Bush administration has shown us repeatedly that they have a precise understanding of how all those foreigners over there think. Any one for a true regime change.

  • Nikos


    We don’t need no stinkin’ Coalition!

    Besides, they’ll want a cut on the oil action.

  • reality_bytes_it

    h wally – France. No one with any credibility thinks otherwise.

  • reality_bytes_it

    How can the US have relations with a country without a legitamate government?

    The current leader of Iran was “elected” in process where the ruling theocracy picked the candidates and prevented reformers from running.

    Iran, if it were to become like Iraq, would be of great benefit to the world.

  • Typing this on the counter next to the stove as I cook dinner.

    Best thing: Bush Administration does nothing; Iran does nothing. Both do nothing for long enough for both of us to hold elections and vote sanity.

  • Nikos

    “No one with any crediblity”?

    You mean, like, those wizards of proper thinking, the three magi called Hannity, O’Reilly, and Limbaugh? 😉

  • hwally: I’d just feel so much better if they’d send Vice President Cheney over there.

  • OMG, he mentioned Sam Brownback, the total nutjob from Kansas who’s been making appearances in New Hampshire and Iowa. Previously I was assuming we could elect any old stumblebum from any party and we’d be better off, but that was before I contemplated President Sam.

  • Nikos

    “The current leader of Iran was “electedâ€? in process where the ruling theocracy picked the candidates and prevented reformers from running.”


    The current leader of the USA was “elected� in process where the ruling oligarchy picked the candidates and prevented reformers from running.

  • reality_bytes_it

    I guess Bush doesn’t understand how Italians think – but one of his biggest allies in war does!

    Italy – Italian election swings towards Berlusconi


  • h wally

    Damn Reality I’m convinced. I’ve never known the government to go oogie boogie with their statistics. I’m always amazed when I hear a program with a couple of politicians from both parties. The air is filled with facts and figures. Each side has a comlete argument backing up their point of view. There are people out there who’s jobs are to manipulate public opinion by manipulating facts and figures. I was in the Viet Nam conflict and many young guys had their minds changed in a hurry once the fighting started. The military has a slick pr campaign.

  • reality_bytes_it

    So, let me recap how Bush doesn’t understand how fureners think.

    UK – Blair, reelected

    Aus – Howard – reelected

    Japan – reelected

  • Potter

    Neither Israel nor the US can act and Iran knows this. This is a game of chicken.

  • cheesechowmain
  • h wally

    Please forgive me Reality I thank you for exposing my lack of credibility. I would suggest that the rest of you uncredible bozos out there shut up and learn something

  • reality_bytes_it

    h wally – did “agent orange” bramage your draim so you can’t read? The article says that the REENLISTMENT rates are at historical highs. You can’t PR that. The people that are there are voting with there feet.

    I am sorry that the current war, fought with professionals doesn’t conform to Vietnam, fought by a bunch of (mostly) Class 4 draftees.

  • Nikos

    reality, re your 6:55 — you don’t think that maybe domestic policies were more important to the voters than the Iraq War — which all of the peoples of those countires diaspprove (even here, nowadays)?

    Gotta run. Great show, ROS gang.

  • h wally

    Excuse me Reality. Perhaps you could enlighten me. Are we now tying Bush’s great intellect and understanding with how the elections go in other countries.

  • reality_bytes_it

    I just heard on the BBC that the Italian election is too close to call. How can this be if the War in Iraq is such a disaster and Burlesconi supports the war?

  • cheesechowmein: Wouldn’t that make his poll numbers go *up*? ;>

  • reality_bytes_it

    Bush leads these countries into a world changing war where these leaders support him. In the midst of this “disasterous war” they must run again, face their voters, and win.

    He doesn’t have to understand countries poeple, the leaders of those countries do and they win when the follow him.

  • Chris & gang — forgive my preemptive outburst; I caught the last twenty minutes, and it was indeed a good show. Compare your guests to Chris Matthews who was able to land… hold your breath… Ron Reagan and Hugh Hewitt. Catching the last twenty seconds of that was too much.

    Yes, clearly, what was articulated on your show was the aspect to the story that was news. Usually when charged with a question he can’t answer, the President shrugs it off with a dopey laugh and a self-deprecating joke. But the “that’s wild speculation!” outburst was the most facile acting I’ve ever heard from him.

    I hope for diplomacy here, but the mistakes of “axis of evil”, depressing the vote, and Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitic rantings have all but buried any hope for raprochement.

  • h wally

    Well Reality, as a matter of fact I was damaged by Agent Orange but a really fun encounter with chemo therapy cleaned me up. My brain still works alright thanks for asking. Your pal old class 4-HWally

  • reality_bytes_it

    Nikos – but how can a “disasterous war” not trump domestic policies?

  • h wally

    You know Reality. I went to “fight for my country” I found out later it wasn’t so. I have lots of friends who are veterans from many of our fun adventures into other peoples lives and countries. I only wish that you could understand even a little bit of what war is like and what it does to all involved. I’m talking about those in actual combat. Go to your local VA and do your commercials. Let me know when you get back from your recruiter.

  • Potter

    It seems as though this new Hersh/Wapo brouhaha has unnerved Ahmadinejad. The powers that be in Iran know a SANE Bush cannot do anything. The question (for everyone) is: is Bush rational?

    this was a good show. Chris maintained a credible incredulity throughout. Good guests. Joseph Cirincione and Professor Farhang were terrific.

  • reality_bytes_it

    h wally – first, if you are serious regarding your illness then I regret my flipant remarks but I do not regret pointing out that, whether you like it or not currently, the US military isn’t fighting YOUR war.

    I am a combat vet and maintian contacts with dozens of people who are now combats vets and many have volunteered to go back for their 3rd time. Now, well over 50% of the current combat vets have either joined or reelisted since the war has started.

    Seeing the current situation through your eyes may make things seem different but the facts simply don’t bear them out. Everyone has to live through their own past but you can’t force others to.

  • reality_bytes_it

    h wally – I was a recruiter for 6 mos during the interlude before the first Gulf War. Now I am assistant editor for this website.


    It specializes getting stories straight from the people who know the Iraq war the best so that everyone can read them for themselves.

    P.S. As it turns out, the best recruiters for the Iraq war are vets of the war so by the end of this year, all recruiters will be vets.

  • Just wanted to clarify that my April 10th, 2006 at 5:35 pm comment was heavy on tongue ‘nd cheeky side.

    CCM, here is another leader from the Coalition of the Wanting (Japan’s PM Koizumi) mixing sex and politics.


    Fine bed-fellows, these.

  • reality_bytes_it Says:

    April 10th, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    h wally – did “agent orangeâ€? bramage your draim so you can’t read?

    reality_bytes_it Says:

    April 10th, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    h wally – first, if you are serious regarding your illness then I regret my flipant remarks but I do not regret pointing out that, whether you like it or not currently, the US military isn’t fighting YOUR war.

    RBI, was that an apology? Expressing regret is not saying sorry for a personal attack, and it is a further insult to doubt h wally’s credibility (if you are serious).

    Having a heated debate is fine, just keep it on the kinder gentler side of “compationate conservatism”.

  • Peter Kerlin

    WE DO have bunker busters and they are NOT “CONVENTIONAL” weapons. they use Uranium tips. American soldiers are getting sick from exposure to sites that were hit with these.

    tom donnely was a VERY MISLEADING there.

  • Good Lord. At least if you happen to be at ground zero when the nukes start flying being instantly vaporized wouldn’t be such a bad way to go. I wonder if we are close enough to the navy base to get vaporized. It’s watching my own skin fall off in big chunks that I’m not looking forward to. Maybe Nikos will see God for real.

  • Dave Hemp

    just picked up Noam Chompskis new book “failed states” speaking of which we have done such a great job of creating in Iraq on the shoulders of our unwitting troops. Four years, no safer folks, just broke. Our kids could have all had first rate education for what it is costing us to bomb Iraq into submission. I have to think that if I were in Iran, I would be very scared of the USA. Who’s the crazy nation with “nuculer” weapons and fanatic leadership? At least the administration won’t have to teach the numb brainers in America how to pronounce a new word, Iraq…..Iran…..what’s the difference, Bin Laden is there too right?

    Dave, Santa Cruz, Ca.

  • Nikos

    Ben @ 6:33 PM. None of us plebians know the answers to your questions.

    But here’s what we do know:

    Them Persians got a bad attitude.

    They don’t respect us.

    And they got oil.

    Black Gold!

    Texas Tea!

    Let’s git ’em!

  • reality_bytes_it

    Total mistke on my part re: h wally – but if my joking reference to events in Vietnam seem insensitive to his claims of ailments caused by his presence in Vietnam then so is Eddie Murphy in “Trading Places”. If true, it is uncommon and that is why anyone who knows that it is isn’t shy about amking jokes about it.

    Ok, I see a comment above regarding our “unwitting troops”. It seems that others thought Chris was close to the mark when referring the Iraq as a “diasaster” when seeming to agree with guests. Well most all (80% of all active duty Army personell) have been to Iraq and “Two of every three eligible soldiers continue to re-enlist, putting the Army, which has endured most of the fighting in Iraq, ahead of its annual goal.”


    So, I bet Chris or none of the guests on show today have been there and yet most of these “unwitting” Army troops have and chosen to go aback again. Chumsky is smarter than these poor wrethces though.

    Maybe they know something that many don’t. How about that the CW is crap and, despite Chris’ “informed view” (I mean, after all, if it isn’t in the NYT’s how could it be real?) things are going very well?

    “First off, US soldiers killed in Iraq continues to fall. This is the 5th straight month. Even IED deaths, after a brief surge in February are down to their lowest level since I started keeping track. Let me say that again. The #1 cause of death for US soldiers in Iraq was at its lowest level in March.”


    Maybe Chris needs to “get out more”?

  • Nikos

    Odds and ends:

    Sidewalker, I assumed your 5:35PM – http://www.radioopensource.org/war-with-iran/#comment-9247 — was a big ol’ softball floating belt high over the plate just for clowns like me. I assumed indeed that you were playing Straight Man – and I appreciated it in my 5:42 PM.


    Now then, in addition to h wally & CCM, whom I’ve already lauded, a big Thank You to sidewalker, Allison, Jon Garfunkel, Potter, maotalk, mulp, Catherine, Ben, John, Lisa Williams, Peter Kerlin, Peggy Sue, & Dave Hemp (and anyone I inadvertently failed to mention) for your dutiful expressions of citizen-outrage. You may not approve the affiliation, but in my book you’re all Guttersnipes.

    Thanks for being concerned enough to speak up.

    Reality bytes it, I think the 3rd sentence of your 6:58 PM carries the seeds of my answer to the question in your 7:05.

    Here’s what I mean: this war isn’t like Viet Nam – which you already concede to h wally. It’s not like WWII. It’s an elective war instigated in an atmosphere of public fear and a desire for retribution for the atrocities inflicted on our citizens on 9/11.

    This gained it massive early support; but the persistence of that (now fading) support is in no small part due to the nature of the soldiers: volunteers (mostly, depending on your view of the Reserves & Guard).

    No draftees means no civil unrest. No draftees means no anti-war demonstrations (of consequence).

    Moreover, the lethality of the American weaponry is unprecedented in world history. This makes the conventional fighting hopelessly one-sided – especially since the night-vision gear our guys wear makes them into crosses between the Terminator and ravenous gangs of forest lemurs. They attack in the dark and with unbeatable firepower.

    So, small casualty counts means no civil unrest. And this is true for the nature of the other “Coalition� forces: they are assigned tasks not only appropriate to their forces’ armaments, but are given more trivial tasks that can hardly be seen at home as controversial.

    The war is unpopular among the “Coalition� other members’ bodies politic, but managed by its perpetrators to create the least amount of public unhappiness.

    Meanwhile, domestic policies are more important to the voters in those countries (and in this one too) than this carefully managed war. That explains the all the recent reelections.

    Lastly, the lethality of the American forces meant that the war could be prosecuted differently from every other previous war. I expect that you know that in conventional military thinking, a three-to-one advantage in manpower is recommended for any attack on a defending force expecting the attack. And, the more, the better. But our military technology and our crack, professional soldiery allowed this war to be launched with an inferior ratio of attackers to defenders. That’s unprecedented.

    Bully for us, right? Maybe not.

    This small but deadly crack military was the right size to conquer Iraq in less than 3 weeks – but not big enough to hold is secure from the unpredicted insurgency.

    To remedy this, Rumsfeld should have instituted the draft – but that would have translated to a President Kerry – or a President Dean!

    Which to me means that we’re willing to sacrifice the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis to keep our current government-of-malfeasance in power.

    Which ought to condemn them to war crimes trials. Or worse.

  • h wally

    Reality, I don’t want to drag this out. I accept your apology. I’m not sure what your Eddie Murphy reference is all about or what you mean by:”If true, it is uncommon and that’s why anyone who knows it is isn’t shy about making jokes about it.” Are you saying that being affected by agent orange is uncommon so it’s alright to make jokes about it?

  • darcy23

    I’ve never logged on before, but I listen to the show a lot. Lots of responses. First, when is Seymour H not right? He’d been dead on about repeated issues nobody else bothered to bring up. That others tried to cover up. On Iraq, I recommend the George Packer article in last week’s New Yorker. H and P go out and talk to people, go into the trenches. Read about the guys holed up in the bases terrified at the thought they might have to leave the safety of the walls. Read the quotes, with names and even faces, of some of our officers who are in Iraq. lAs for questioning whether anyone was damaged by Agent Orange in Vietnam? Most of the guys who survived it initially are not still with us. Only the military continues to deny it; imagine the liability. Finally, the PR cited by RB about how great the military is as an alternate career: I review Web sites, and of hundreds, the military recruiting sites are the slickest ever. Our tax dollars at work. I’m a college prof for our current active military, including special forces and officers in training. It’s true that many enlisted because they happen to be brown or black or poor, and this was a way they could get to college. Sadly, these smart sweet men and women are coming home in pieces. Then the military drops them. Maybe the ones in my classes are different from those RB knows, but they cry because they feel they’ve polluted their own souls. I feel sorry for people who post to use the forum as a basis for ridiculing the host, the guests, or the other posters. Or (for heaven’s sake,) ridiculing someone for introducing military theory into current war discussion–again, see George Packer’s New Yorker article on Iran. The discussion about yet another threat on yet another middle eastern country is serious, folks. Chatter about attacking Iran, the Axis of Evil, did not start yesterday; it’s been going on since we attacked Iraq. SH is not pulling this stuff out of a hat. Doesn’t anyone remember how Bush made the threat of the nuclear clouds about to enfold us from Iraq led us into this crazy imbroglio? People believed it because we’d watched the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on fire, then turn to ash. Now we’ve got the same ‘threat.’ So let’s toast em? How many tens of thousands of (brown) civilians do we have to kill and maim to avenge the Towers? OK RB, now turn your withering scorn on me. I can take it. I’m a girl.

  • Nikos

    Wow. Great debut, Darcy23. Especially: “How many tens of thousands of (brown) civilians do we have to kill and maim to avenge the Towers?”

    This is the most damning failure of Rummie and Crew. The ability to conquer is one thing; the commitment to ‘democracy’ another. In fact, in Bush-speak, democracy = ‘a favorable climate for US-based multinational corporations’ (and control over the oil — even if it doesn’t flow freely. They don’t need to pump it so much as control it in perpetuity. Mucking up the Iraqi oil industry is no problem in the long run, like Saddam’s selling it to China would have been.)

    Please favor us with your time again, soon, and often.

  • babu


    Thank you for your remarks. I’m intertested in your reaction to the idea that, since the troops in Iraq are drawn from our current all-volunteer Army, they are self-selected for affinity — perhaps strong or just incipient — to militarismand therefore should not be construed to represent a broader majority of the American public.

  • babu

    Darcy23: “the Axis of Evil, did not start yesterday; it’s been going on since we attacked Iraq.”

    The Axis of Evil has been going on since we exterminated the First People of this land, made believe they were never here and went right on with our xenophobic nation-building. As a nation, this is how we started.

    Has anybody out there seen Martin McDonogh’s play, the Pillowman? An Irishman who grew up in London during ‘the troubles’, his voice is the most direct and succinct summary of the gruesome double-speak of modern politics.

    Nikos and Seattleites, it’s been on Broadway but right now it’s being staged by Seattle’s ACT Theater. Excellent political theater.

  • Potter


    Welcome and thanks for your good post and perspective.

  • Potter

    “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” —President George W. Bush, Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

  • Ben

    Nikos, 9:24 thanks – I retract some of that, IAEA said nothing happening on Iraq, and voiced opposition to the military action there, they are much less certain about Iran.


    and here http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4617398.stm

    My cynicism has me assume anything coming out of the administration as false first, especially claims of foreign threats, and military facilities… my knee jerk there. your fellow plebe -b

  • maotalk

    Somebody clarify this, please!!

    Copyright 2002 The Jerusalem Post

    The Jerusalem Post

    August 30, 2002, Friday

    LENGTH: 722 words

    HEADLINE: Latest incident puts spotlight on illicit arms trade industry

    BYLINE: Matthew Gutman


    While many Israelis’ faces registered shock Wednesday night when the news broke that a ship carrying Israeli military parts destined for Iran was seized by German authorities, illicit Israeli military sales to the hard- line Shi’ite state is hardly a new phenomenon.

    This latest, and possibly most benign, link in a long chain of Israeli arms sales to Iran began when a Netanya- based company under the name PAD tried to ship a container full of Israeli-made rubber treads for armored personnel carriers to Iran via Germany. The company had received a license from the Defense Ministry to send the shipment to Thailand.

    According to defense industry experts, the name of PAD’s chairman, Avihai Weinstein, piqued the Germans’ suspicions, causing them to more closely inspect the ship’s docking request and the ostensible transfer of its contents to a Malaysian ship.

    Weinstein, 34, along with his brother-in-law, Eli Cohen, had been involved with a previous arms smuggling incident two years ago when they allegedly tried to sell Iran surplus Canadian military equipment through European intermediaries.

    Prior arms trafficking incidents involving Eli Cohen compelled the US State Department’s Bureau of Political- Military Affairs in September 1993 to ban business with any subsidiaries, associated companies, or successor companies he was affiliated with.

    While Israel continued to illicitly sell parts for Phantom jets to Iran even after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979, by far the most severe cases of Israeli arms trafficking involvement with Iran came under the aegis of US National Security Council staffer Oliver North, and other American officials in the mid 1980s. This became known as the Iran-Contra affair, or “Irangate.”

    Throughout 1985 and 1986 Israel arms dealers connected to the Israeli government and with ties to American intelligence agencies including the NSC’s North, allegedly supplied Iran with more than 1,000 LAW anti-tank missiles and parts to Hawk anti-aircraft missiles in deals worth over $ 100 million.

    The proceeds of this trade were then funneled into the coffers of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Meantime, the US and Israel tried to leverage these sales by asking Iran to pressure Shi’ite groups in Lebanon to release Western hostages.

    According to reports, much of the arms trading was allegedly conducted through a private Israeli company called International Desalination Equipment, Ltd., then run by Ya’acov Nimrodi, who from the 1950s until the Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979 was Israel’s military attache in Tehran. Nimrodi was often aided and counseled by then- prime minister Shimon Peres’s adviser on terrorism, Amiram Nir – who also had close connections with North and later died in a mysterious plane crash in Mexico.

    While Israeli arms merchants’ dealings with Iran appear treasonous and even suicidal given Iran’s efforts to attain nuclear weapons, such clandestine contacts have served Israel’s interest for years, according to Dr. Gerald Steinberg of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

    “There is overriding Israeli political interest to maintain informal ties with Iran, in anticipation of a formal change in Iran’s perception of Israel,” he said.

    Steinberg, an expert on the arms trade industry, said arms smuggling has long existed on the margins of Israel’s legal system. Such illicit trade, often involving large sums of money, serves the interest of arms producers who have high overhead operating costs, he said.

    “The large sums of money often involved in such trade and a significant amount of jobs on the line creates an incentive to sell.” Steinberg said. This need, he added, is also what enables Defense Ministry officials to allot arms- selling licenses to dealers, like Weinstein, with known ties to staunch enemies like Iran.

    Given the lack of strategic relevance of rubber treads used for APCs, and the pace of recent events in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, many Israeli experts reportedly believe the PAD affair will blow over quickly, according to Steinberg.

    He said the most severe political fallout will likely occur in Iran, where President Muhammad Khatami’s pro- reform administration will have to weather the accusations of Iran collaborating with the “little Satan,” Israel.

    LOAD-DATE: September 1, 2002

  • Potter

    Suppose we let the Iranians have their moment of pride and now we try to embrace them and bid them to abide by an agreement with a verification program. Is that too sane?

  • cheesechowmain

    Potter @ 5:58: It’s so sane it’ll never happen. The protagonists are having too much pleasure playing mutual antagonists.

  • nother

    We saw worse rethoric echanged with the old Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan was secure enough in himself as a man and a leader to personally engage. Can you imagine if Bush Jr. said he would like to have a meeting (summit) with Ahmadinejad. At least give these guys the dignity of discourse. If we treat them with dignity, they might act with dignity.

    As far a Chris’s post game concering “history actors.” I bring back the following quote:

    “Whoever today speaks of human existence in terms of power, efficiency, and ‘’historical tasks’’ is an actual or potential assassin.â€?

    -Albert Camus

  • nother

    Whoops! – “rhetoric”, “exchanged”, “concerning”

  • jazzman

    Concerning a war with Iran: NO – A THOUSAND TIMES NO The current philosophy (oxymoron) in this administration (end of days cult) seems to echo this Randy Newman ditty. Change the lyrics to suit Iran and it could be Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s philosophy. We would do well to remember that real world logic systems are not formal Quinian symbolic constructs. They are only consistent within each logical belief system. The logic of Islam doesn’t comport with Judeo-Christian logic or what the U.S.A.’s general population would think of as logic (I’m not sure that GW’s logic comports with any other system.) Diplomacy with an acute sensitivity and understanding of the disparate logic systems to achieve common purpose is what is needed to resolve this potentially explosive situation. The neo-con pipe dream of the U.S. Empire must be countered aggressively if our children are to inherit a world worth inheriting.

    Political Science by Randy Newman

    No one 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

    Asia’s crowded and Europe’s too old

    Africa is far too hot

    And Canada’s too cold

    And South America stole our name

    Let’s drop the big one

    There’ll be no one left to blame us

    We’ll save Australia

    Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroo

    We’ll build an All American amusement park there

    They got surfin’, too

    Boom goes London and boom Paree

    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 will be

    We’ll set everybody free

    You’ll wear a Japanese kimono

    And 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.

    Let’s NOT Peace to ALL