Status quo is not an option on Iran

August 25, 2012


— Either Israel is engaged in the most elaborate ruse since the Trojan Horse or it is on the cusp of a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

What’s alarming is not just Iran’s increasing store of uranium or the growing sophistication of its rocketry. It’s also the increasingly menacing annihilationist threats emanating from Iran’s leaders. Israel’s existence is “an insult to all humanity,” says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime.” Explains the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Israel is “a true cancer tumor on this region that should be cut off.”

Everyone wants to avoid military action, surely the Israelis above all. They can expect a massive counterattack from Iran, 50,000 rockets launched from Lebanon, Islamic Jihad firing from Gaza and worldwide terror against Jewish and Israeli targets, as happened last month in Bulgaria.

Yet Israel will not sit idly by in the face of the most virulent genocidal threats since Nazi Germany. The result then was 6 million murdered Jews. There are 6 million living in Israel today.

Time is short. Last-ditch negotiations in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow have failed abjectly. The Iranians are contemptuously playing with the process. The strategy is delay until they get the bomb.

What to do? The sagest advice comes from Anthony Cordesman, military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, hardheaded realist and a believer that “multilateralism and soft power must still be the rule and not the exception.”

He may have found his exception. “There are times when the best way to prevent war is to clearly communicate that it is possible,” he argues. Today, the threat of a U.S. attack is not taken seriously. Not by the region. Not by Iran. Not by the Israelis, who therefore increasingly feel forced to act before Israel’s more limited munitions — far less powerful and effective than those in the U.S. arsenal — can no longer penetrate Iran’s ever-hardening facilities.

Cordesman therefore proposes threefold action.

  1. “Clear U.S. redlines.”  

It’s time to end the ambiguity about American intentions. Establish real limits on negotiations — to convince Iran that the only alternative to a deal is pre-emptive strikes, and to convince Israel to stay its hand.

  1. “Make it clear to Iran that it has no successful options.”

Either their program must be abandoned in a negotiated deal (see No. 1 above) on generous terms from the West (see No. 3 below) or their facilities will be physically destroyed. Ostentatiously let Iran know about the range and power of our capacities — how deep and extensive a campaign we could conduct, extending beyond just nuclear facilities to military-industrial targets, refineries, power grids and other concentrations of regime power.

  1. Give Iran a face-saving way out.

Offer Iran the most generous possible terms — economic, diplomatic and political. End of sanctions, assistance in economic and energy development, trade incentives and a regional security architecture. Even Russian nuclear fuel.

Tellingly, however, Cordesman does not join those who suggest yielding on nuclear enrichment. That’s important because a prominently leaked proposed “compromise” would guarantee Iran’s right to enrich, though not to high levels.

In my view, this would be disastrous. Iran would retain the means to potentially produce fissile material, either clandestinely or in a defiant breakout at a time of its choosing.

Would Iran believe a Cordesman-like ultimatum? Given the record of the Obama administration, maybe not. Some (though not Cordesman) have therefore suggested the further step of requesting congressional authorization for the use of force if Iran does not negotiate denuclearization.

First, that’s the right way to do it. No serious military action should be taken without congressional approval (contra Libya). Second, Iran might actually respond to a threat backed by a strong bipartisan majority of the American people — thus avoiding both war and the other nightmare scenario, a nuclear Iran.

If we simply continue to drift through kabuki negotiations, however, one thing is certain. Either America, Europe, the Gulf Arabs and the Israelis will forever be condemned to live under the threat of nuclear blackmail (even nuclear war) from a regime the State Department identifies as the world’s greatest exporter of terror. Or an imperiled Israel, with its more limited capabilities, will strike Iran — with correspondingly greater probability of failure and of triggering a regional war.

All options are bad. Doing nothing is worse. “The status quo may not prevent some form of war,” concludes Cordesman, “and may even be making it more likely.”

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


Paul R Getto 3 years, 1 month ago

"Give Iran a face-saving way out." ==

An excellent point hère. We won't win this long term with force only.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Here's a more rational analysis of the situation.

Israel's Iran Threats: Blackmail by Suicide? by Robert Dreyfuss


jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

So the entire premise by the author of this article is that Israel will not attack Iran, and that all these threats are about getting more weapons for themselves and moderate Arab countries in the region. Of course, if Israel does attack Iran, then every word written in this opinion piece would prove to be wrong. Given Israel's history of taking out nuclear facilities in both Iraq and Syria, which to you believe to be true, Bozo. Do you really believe Israel has no intention of attacking this facility?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

His point was that attacking Iran would be tantamount to suicide, unlike attacking Syria's and Iraq's nuclear facilities. And I think he's right (and have said so myself a few times.)

So the real question is whether Israel will carry out this attack, knowing full well that it could lead to the very thing they say they want to avoid-- namely, a wave of deadly attacks on the Israeli populace, both in Israel and elsewhere. I tend to agree with this writer that they really aren't suicidal, and are looking to leverage their suicidal threats for all they can get.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

So you, too, believe that this is all saber rattling, and that Israel has no intention of "really" attacking Iran. Should suck attack come, I'm certain you'll be the first to say you were wrong, and that the types of opinions upon which you base your opinions are fatally flawed. Time will tell, Bozo.

BTW - Although I suspect you are wrong, I sincerely hope you are correct. In this case, I would like nothing better than to say it was I who was wrong. I would very much like to see this resolved without the use of force. I'm just not sure an acceptable compromise can be found in what I suspect is a short period of time.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

So you're going to "keep score" based on whether Israel attacks Iran? Super.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm keeping score because I think one very useful tool in trying to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Predict future behavior? What the heck are you talking about?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Is that a real question, Bozo? Every single comment here is related to a variety of players trying to figure out what the other people are going to do. It's all about predicting future behavior.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

"A world war is the very likely outcome of a preemptive strike" - Israel has twice before struck at nuclear facilities, in Iraq and Syria. World wars did not follow. What leads you to believe that a strike against Iran's facility would be different?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

So, you're saying that all the dire warnings about how evil Iran is is nothing but fear mongering and saber rattling?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

It was a question, not a statement. You can provide your own answer to that question, if you want, but that would entail actual content in one of your posts, which I know violates your prime directive.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

I was reading a book not long ago about the U.S. Ambassador and his family's experiences as diplomats in Germany during the first few years of Hitler's regime. Of course, this coincided with the first years of Roosevelt's administration. Many believed Hitler's rants to be mere saber rattling. Many believed more sober minds would prevail in Germany. One statistic mentioned in that book that I found very interesting was that 10,000 Jews who had fled Germany in 1933 when Hitler came to power returned to Germany by 1934. They too, believed Hitler was merely saber rattling. Well, we all know what foolishness it was to believe in the theory of saber rattling. Those who didn't take Hitler's rants seriously paid with their lives. Iran's leaders have been doing quite a bit of saber rattling of late. They've called Israel a cancer. They've called for it to be eliminated. They've done much saber rattling. Is that all it is? Can you look into your crystal ball and give me a precise answer? But the whether retaliation comes in the form of a world war, or in the price of thousands of crude rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon and Gaza, the fact remains that Israel is apparently willing to accept that chance. Why? The only logical answer is that they believe Iran to be that legitimate threat. You may disagree. But they certainly believe Iran poses that great a threat that are willingly putting themselves in that position. I guess they don't own the same crystal ball as you, Bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

So, you're comparing Israel's saber rattling with Hitler's saber rattling. Very interesting.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

No, I was comparing Iran's saber rattling with Hitler's. But you failed to address the key point. Should Israel look at Iran and draw an analogy to Germany? If so, why? If not, why?

The question for you specifically, Bozo, is if you choose to answer with a well thought out answer, then this conversation might actually go somewhere. Or if you choose to answer with snarky one line zingers, then the conversation might as well end here and now.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"Should Israel look at Iran and draw an analogy to Germany?"

No, Iran bears little resemblance to Germany of 1939, and has never expressed any interest in invading Israel for a bit of Lebensraum (as Israel has done with Palestine.)

Given the history of the last 64 years, should Iran look at Israel and draw an analogy to Germany?

Armstrong 3 years, 1 month ago

Like the old saying goes. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Any bells or whistles going off Boz ?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Oh, you just wanna blow something up, and any ole fabricated excuse will do. And that has nothing to do with knowledge or understanding of history.

Armstrong 3 years, 1 month ago

No bells, no whistles I take it. Pretty sad

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Germany's leaders compared Jews to vermin, rats. Iran's leaders compare Israel to a cancer that needs to be cut out. But you say Iran bears little resemblance. If you say so.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

"Given the history of the last 64 years ... " History didn't begin 64 years ago, Bozo. Go back another decade and your world perspective changes significantly.

If we were discussing borders and I suggested we return to the 1968 borders, you would surely say I was being disingenuous. Any discussion needs to include the events of 1967. The same is true with your arbitrarily selecting 1948. The events of that year are very closely related to the previous decade's events.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

We've been through this too many times before. You have one standard for Israel, and an entirely different one for anyone else. That's been well demonstrated.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

As I've said, I have many standards. Because not every situation fits neatly into each and every scenario. But for each situation, I'm perfectly willing to explain my position.

You, on the other hand, are the person who claims to have the same standards, except when it comes to two entities. Those two being Israel and yourself. Israel must adhere to a higher standard while you do not have to adhere to any standards at all. How convenient.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"Those two being Israel and yourself. Israel must adhere to a higher standard while you do not have to adhere to any standards at all."

Credit where credit is due-- that has to be the strawiest of straw man statements ever uttered. Jolly good show!!!!

Armstrong 3 years, 1 month ago

Boz you still don't get it, wow. This has little to do with Isreal and everything to do with Iran regardless of who they are threatening. Do you really want a terrorist country to have nuclear capability ? Let's save time and call that a rhetorical question. Think outside the bubble.

Armstrong 3 years, 1 month ago

This is comical. How long has the free world been trying to reason with the chuckle heads in Iran ? The result of all that reasoning, Iran is still full steam ahead with their nuclear program. Hmmm, Barry your sit down and discuss plan does not seem to be working. Shocking I know.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Charles K is pushing his favorite foreign policy: "Second, Iran might actually respond to a threat backed by a strong bipartisan majority of the American people "

The current never ending war never had nor does it have the support of a majority of the American people. Congress is not representative of a majority of Americans when it declares war for no reason.

Charles K is pushing his favorite foreign policy which he endorsed:

"Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination” . A Very dangerous position which threatens OUR freedoms and the nations security. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today.

Here are four consequences.

We need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global protection for Wal-Mart,Oil,Coca Cola,Pepsico,diamonds,gold etc etc etc.

We need to strengthen our ties to dictator regimes friendly to American interests and Bogus values.

We need to promote the cause of the political right wing and economic rape for corp USA abroad.

We need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in forcing others to accept our corrupt principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and immoral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the extortions of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness no matter how many innocent USA soldiers die.

The Plan /

  1. http://www.antiwar.com/orig/stockbauer1.html /

  2. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century /

  3. http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1312540,00.html /

  4. http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm /

Followed by taking down our nations financial institutions !

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Israel = 5th largest nuke power in the world

Pakistan and India have nuke power

Why not Iran? They are being threatened by the USA and Israel. China and Russia have stated they will back Iran.

The USA is invading several countries in that oil rich area. None of which ever attacked the USA and could not attack the USA.

Who are we to decide?

Despite six years of promises, U.S. officials say Saudi Arabia continues to look the other way at wealthy individuals identified as sending millions of dollars to al Qaeda.

"If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia," Stuart Levey, the under secretary of the Treasury in charge of tracking terror financing, told ABC News.

Despite some efforts as a U.S. ally in the war on terror, Levey says Saudi Arabia has dropped the ball. Not one person identified by the United States and the United Nations as a terror financier has been prosecuted by the Saudis, Levey says.

ABC News

Abdu Omar 3 years, 1 month ago

All I can say is that if Israel feels threatened, let Israel remove the threat without the cowtow Americans sniffing behind them. We do not need a war in Iran, nor does Israel, but we are going to get one if people like Charles K keep pushing it.

Can't we Americans remember when we went to war in Iraq for the protection of Israel? How many Americans died in that foolish war? 5,000 or more? How many lives were lost in Israel? None!! That war was for them, Iraq could never hit the USA. Why must my fellow soldiers, Marines and Sailors die in a war for someone else. Israel is not America nor are we Israel. Let them fight whomever they want, but we need not join them. No American should die for another's country.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Yes The Middle Eastern Wars are All About OIl http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/10/yes-the-middle-eastern-wars-really-are-all-about-oil.html

Iran is kinda special. They also have tons of natural gas.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Plans to build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq to Israel are being discussed between Washington, Tel Aviv and potential future government figures in Baghdad.

The plan envisages the reconstruction of an old pipeline, inactive since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, when the flow from Iraq's northern oilfields to Palestine was re-directed to Syria.

Now, its resurrection would transform economic power in the region, bringing revenue to the new US-dominated Iraq, cutting out Syria and solving Israel's energy crisis at a stroke.

It would also create an end less and easily accessible source of cheap Iraqi oil for the US guaranteed by reliable allies other than Saudi Arabia - a keystone of US foreign policy for decades and especially since 11 September 2001.

Until 1948, the pipeline ran from the Kurdish-controlled city of Mosul to the Israeli port of Haifa, on its northern Mediterranean coast.

The revival of the pipeline was first discussed openly by the Israeli Minister for National Infrastructures, Joseph Paritzky, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz .

The paper quotes Paritzky as saying that the pipeline would cut Israel's energy bill drastically - probably by more than 25 per cent - since the country is currently largely dependent on expensive imports from Russia.

US intelligence sources confirmed to The Observer that the project has been discussed. One former senior CIA official said: 'It has long been a dream of a powerful section of the people now driving this administration [of President George W. Bush] and the war in Iraq to safeguard Israel's energy supply as well as that of the United States.

'The Haifa pipeline was something that existed, was resurrected as a dream and is now a viable project - albeit with a lot of building to do.'

To resurrect the pipeline would need the backing of whatever government the US is to put in place in Iraq, and has been discussed - according to Western diplomatic sources - con't


jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Geez, Merrill, the link is an article that is more than 9 years old. Maybe if George Bush is re-elected this November, maybe these talks can get jump started.

BTW - Plan "B" is a pipeline from the lost continent Atlantis to the moon where we will harvest fairy dust.

Katara 3 years, 1 month ago

I think Iran will be too busy with their own internal problems.


Take a look at the fields that women are no longer allowed to study in. It will undermine their ability to maintain a nuclear program.

woodscolt 3 years, 1 month ago

The war Hawks will always be harping for war. The Bush regime had plans to attack Iran as well as other countries in the area after they quickly disposed of Iraq. Their goal was to be able to fight several wars at one time. Their comrades made their money on the Iraq war and now they need another war to keep burying themselves in their profits.

Let Israel fight their wars and stay the hell out of it.

cowboy 3 years, 1 month ago

Let all these 15th century countries duke it out if they feel the need. They have had the world in turmoil for decades and all are completely unwilling to compromise on anything.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Several comments have suggested "we" just stay out of it and let them fight it out. I might agree if I thought the implications of their fight stayed with them. But if nuclear weapons start exploding over there, radioactive materials will find it's way into the milk we feed our children. If oil stops flowing over there, farmers' tractors will stop producing food over here. While that would cause inconvenience over here, third world countries will see their people starve. If you think $4/gal gas is bad now, what happens when it's $20/gal. within weeks. The recession we're in now will look like a little dip in the economy compared to what would happen. The bottom line is this, whether we're talking the middle east, Mexico, Canada, or our upper atmosphere, a policy of isolation will cause greater harm than good. It will make us feel good in the short term, but do little to protect us in the long term.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

The only ones "over there" with nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them are the Israelis.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

If you want some sort of analogy, here's one. Suppose twenty guys come at you, each with a knife in their hand. And you have an automatic weapon.

You want to eliminate the automatic weapon, as it gives that person an unfair advantage. Or should shots be fired, be critical of the gun toting vigilante, not the twenty guys with knives. Or allow the twenty to arm themselves with automatic weapons, to level the playing field.

Yes, the only one over there with nuclear weapons is Israel. Another way of saying that though would be that the only country that has shown decades long restraint in not using nuclear weapons is Israel. Will Iran be able to say that in 40+ years? Look into your crystal ball and tell me, Bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

By that logic, Hamas should be given nuclear weapons to protect the Palestinians against the predations of Israel.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

If, and only if, you believe that they would show the type of restraint that would last for decade after decade, AND, you were willing to risk your life and the lives of every person you've ever known, or ever will know on your assessment being correct. Is that your assessment of Hamas?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

israel has never practiced restraint. They attack whenever they feel the urge.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

First, we're talking restrain when it comes to nuclear weapons. So, yes, Israel has practiced restrain. The question remains, will Hamas? Iran? You keep avoiding answering, why? Might it be because you really believe they would not feel such restraint? Is it perhaps you believe it is they who are suicidal and willing to take out as many as they can, much like the suicide bombers that have plagued that region for decades?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

There's only one nuclear power who has failed to show restraint with nuclear weapons-- the US.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

True. Which means Israel, China, the Soviet Union, etc. all exercised restraint. But the question remains, and you fail to even speculate, would Iran? Would Hamas, given your suggestion that they should be given the right to develop nuclear weapons?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

The same constraints apply to any political entity when contemplating the use of nuclear weapons-- the threat of retaliation that could lead to its demise. That retaliation doesn't have to be nuclear for that effect to take hold. And, yes, I believe it would constrain Iran the same way it does Israel, and likely Hamas, as well.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

There is a problem with your logic, Bozo. What constrains people from hijacking planes and flying them into skyscrapers? Or course, the prospect of their own demise. Using your logic, Bozo, no person should ever fly planes into buildings. In fact, no person should ever commit to things like suicide bombings. The only question then is if that type of behavior can be extended to political entities such as Hamas. And of course the answer is yes, as al qaeda along with 19 hijackers proved.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Al Qaeda isn't a sovereign political entity. And neither are suicide bombers. Hamas may use them as a weapon, but the organization itself is not suicidal. And as crazy as Israel's and Iran's leadership may be, they aren't suicidal, either. They very much want to remain in power, and the use of nuclear weapons by either would pretty much ensure that their tenure (and maybe even their lives) would soon end.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

I've never been one to say Iran will attach a nuclear weapon to a warhead and send it on it's way to Israel. Look at the recent bombing of the tourist bus in Bulgaria, that on the anniversary of the bombing in Buenos Aires. That bombing was done by one suicide bomber, a member of Hezbollah. That's how I see these things playing itself out. Iran can deny responsibility all it wants, but we all know who gives Hezbollah all of it's support. And who was killed? Not Israelis. No, just Jews. Ordinary Jews. Seventy five of them. It's very suggestive of who their real targets are.

So how would I see things if Iran develops a nuclear device? A small amount of nuclear materials, a suicide bomber, a mall in Tel Aviv. Plausible deniability. An entire neighborhood unlivable for a couple of centuries. The goal being that Israel will finally simply decide that it's not worth it. Another exodus. What I don't expect is Iran to accumulate several large devices and send them towards Israel and then they retaliate with a massive counter-attack. Do I think the leaders of either Israel or Iran are suicidal? No. Do I believe they can find people who are? Yes. And do I believe that for every possible scenario, there is so much room for miscalculation that the consequences are unthinkable for all sides? That would be a very big yes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Iran is going to get at least partial blame for any attacks against Israel, regardless of verifiable facts. So even if they could manage to build a suitcase bomb (quite a technological feat in itself) and slip it into Israel undetected (yet another major feat, both technological and logistical,) retaliation against Iran would be immediate.

Bottomline, Iran and Israel face exactly the same constraints in using nuclear weapons, just like any other sovereign government in the world.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

So you believe that every country has the exact same right to build nuclear weapons and because they would be under the same constraints, the world would be no less safe as a result. That's an interesting position. So, a decade ago, if the Taliban had nuclear weapons, if Sudan, if Somalia, if Libya, heck, let's throw in Syria today, Iraq under Hussein, North Korea, etc., all these examples would be examples of the world becoming safer. Once India had it, the world became safer because it's extremely responsible neighbor Pakistan developed them. Interesting position.

What you've always failed to recognize is that if Israel never developed nuclear weapons, then they would forever be a small, vulnerable country facing a far greater adversary. And while the Israeli military seems invincible now, based on it's 1967 conquest and the reputation they gathered as a result, the fact is that Israel's military dominance has not always been the case and there's no reason to believe it will always be true. Israel's nuclear weapons was then and still is an attempt to measure how many oranges equals an apple specifically because if you eliminate oranges, the other side has always had more apples and always will.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"So you believe that every country has the exact same right to build nuclear weapons"

I don't believe any country has a "right" to build nuclear weapons, and I find it extremely hypocritical of nuclear powers such as the US's (the only country to ever use them) and Israel's adopting such holier than thou attitudes about other countries' possession of them.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

We don't buy oil from Iran unless it goes by way of Russia or Saudi Arabia...... then it is okay.

Iran was å darling during the Reagan/Bush years for their participation in a Reagan/Bush weapons smuggling operation known as Iran-Contra.

The Reagan administration had been negotiating with terrorists (despite Reagan’s repeated public position that he would “never” do so).

There were illegal arms transfers to Iran, flagrant lying to Congress, soliciting third country funding to circumvent the Congressional ban on financing the contra war in Nicaragua, White House bribes to various generals in Honduras, illegal propaganda and psychological operations directed by the CIA against the U.S. press and public, collaboration with drug kingpins such as Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, and violating the checks and balances of the constitution.

“If ever the constitutional democracy of the United States is overthrow,” the leading political analyst of the scandal, Theodore Draper wrote at the time, “we now have a better idea of how this is likely to be done.”


Armstrong 3 years, 1 month ago

Just curious. How many of the "enlightened" out there think it's a good idea for a terrorist country to have nuclear weapon capabilities ?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

And what have they done with those 200-300 nuclear weapons that they possess? If the answer to that question is that they've held them in check, that they've not used them even in times of war. If they've shown the type of restraint that we've come to expect from nuclear powers, then you might have to change how you define a terrorist nation. Or if your definition is so broad, then you might need to define many, many more nations as terrorist, so many more that the term terrorist becomes meaningless.

deec 3 years, 1 month ago

So possessing nuclear weapons and not using them means you're not a terrorist nation?

Given that only one nation ever has used atomic weapons, I guess we know who the world's true terrorists are, then.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Well, you've twisted my words a bit. When I look at China and their actions in Tibet, or how they treat other groups, you might classify them as terrorist despite the fact that they possess nuclear weapons and haven't used them. The former Soviet Union and now Russia, and then look at Chechnya, and again the word terrorist might apply. The U.S. certainly has much to answer for. India, the same. So, too Pakistan. Certainly, Israel. Then look at the actions of non-nuclear countries and we see some pretty deplorable policies. My point was that if one wants to say Israel is a terrorist state, fine. They will have a lot of company. But if anyone suggests that Israel alone is a terrorist country, that would be false.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

I am absolutely stunned at how some posters on this forum that have virtually no knowledge of history, geography, international politics, studies of different religions, and sociology present themselves as experts on matters that they have obviously not ever bothered to read anything about.

But, I suppose it makes sense to not read anything if you already know everything.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Opposition to US support for Israeli militarism is often painted with an anti-semitic brush, and people like you give it the legitimacy that uncritical supporters of Israel need.

tbaker 3 years, 1 month ago

I suppose honoring treaties isn't really a national interest so long as we don't care what other nations think when we fail to.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

With regards to Israel, no one has a more selective reading of history and all that other stuff than you, Ron.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

Selective? Supply some sources then, many of my sources are directly out of the Middle East. Here is where I got some information.

This is what former Saudi Shura Council Member Ibrahim Al-Arabiy, filmed and broadcast in Saudi Arabia, on MEMRI TV, an Arab TV station, had to say on February 26, 2012. He made a very interesting claim. Of course, it's in Arabic, but it is subtitled:


This is Fathi Hammad, the Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security, broadcast on Al-Hekma TV (Egypt) March 23, 2012. He makes another very interesting claim. Of course, it's in Arabic also, but it is subtitled as well:

tbaker 3 years, 1 month ago

The anti-Israeli rhetoric coming from Iran’s leaders is designed to bolster support for their many proxies (Hezbollah, etc) Without them, Iran’s ability to influence the region is greatly diminished. They need this ability because the (Sunni) Arab world despises Shi’a Iran. Israel is just a prop on the stage in the grand scheme of Iranian geo-political interests. The nukes they are building are show pieces in an attempt to back-up the rhetoric and reinforce the loyalty of their many proxies. This is necessary now more than ever because their proxies haven’t been seeing as much money coming out of the severely sanctioned regime. This is also greatly compounded by the looming collapse of their long-time ally Syria. Syria is predominantly Sunni Muslim, but the ruling family is Alawite, a Shiite sect. The last thing Iran wants to see is another Sunni Muslim-lead country on their border. The anti-Israeli rhetoric and the nuclear program are also designed to intimidate the single biggest threat to the government of Iran: it’s domestic population.

Since the reform movement could use a successful attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities as a spring board for a second revolution to overthrow the religious dictators and the Revolutionary Guard, it would be in the regime’s interest to back down and agree to real reforms / inspections, etc. It will only do this if it is convinced the West will come together and attack the nuclear facilities. US foreign policy has so far failed to do this. We are seen as weak and vacillating. We have put forth no “red lines” because the war-weary US electorate would not respond favorably to a presidential candidate who would put us in yet another one.

So, Israel will attack Iran alone, right after the US election.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Umm ... you do realize that sometimes, people mislead, don't you? That they are not always 100% honest in their statements, don't you? And that politicians especially are afflicted with this inability to to be 100% honest, don't you?

Yes, I absolutely believe that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons. And I believe that with the same clarity that I believe Israel possesses zero nuclear weapons. Now, about that bridge in Brooklyn that's for sale ...

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

"Meir Dagan ... he's pretty knowledgeable". Did you read the narrative I wrote near the top of this thread, the one about the 10,000 German Jews. That number left in 1933 when Hitler came to power and returned in 1934, thinking the worst had passed.

First, the collective wisdom of 10,000 should be great, maybe more than one highly placed individual. Yet they were wrong.

Second, hindsight is a wonderful thing. We can now look back and see the results of all sorts of things and see some very unexpected occurrences. Those 10,000, they saw. What will Mr. Dagan see in a few decades?

Third, North Korea recently joined the nuclear club, long before U.S. intelligence thought they would. Maybe Israel's intelligence is vastly superior to our own. Maybe Mr. Dagan knows things even our intelligence doesn't know. Maybe.

tbaker 3 years, 1 month ago

Your speculation is contrary to the statements made by the Iranian leadership. One must take them at their word.

tbaker 3 years, 1 month ago

"This is a step forward, but this means that others are to produce the fuel and sell it to us to use and for us to be always dependent on others - this is outside the NPT and this is not acceptable to my nation." Ahmadinejad, Sep 2005

"….however, if some try to impose their will on the Iranian people through resort to a language of force and threat with Iran, we will reconsider our entire approach to the nuclear issue." Ahmadinejad, Sep 2005

“Our dear Imam [Khomeini] said that the occupying regime (Israel) must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. … Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor (US) in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. … For over fifty years the world oppressor (US) tried to give legitimacy to the occupying regime, and it has taken measures in this direction to stabilize it.” Ahmadinejad, Oct, 2006

"…any freedom lover and justice seeker in the world must do its best for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the path for the establishment of justice and freedom in the world.” Ahmadinejad, Aug 2012

Three facts are not in dispute:

Iran is developing nuclear technology of the sort capable of producing weapons-grade nuclear material.

Iran's nuclear program is not transparent. The international community does not have complete access to it.

The leadership of Iran has a long history of making public statements calling for the destruction of Israel.

Check your reasoning.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

I suppose there is a certain amount of hypocrisy involved. Or we may call it common sense. Not every country can be nor should be judged equally. You're always saying you want the same standards, and am critical of me when I profess a multitude of standards. But sometimes, that's exactly what is needed. You can't judge a country of 6 million equally when they are facing a multitude of countries with forces of hundreds of millions.

Your definition of hypocrisy changes at will. Each Koch Brother has one vote, the exact same as you. But you say it's different, because they have so many more resources to bear. So their behavior becomes wrong, your behavior correct, though you each have but one vote. the same is true in the middle east. Do you know the reason Israel won such a smashing victory in 1967? It wasn't because they had superior forces or because they had better anything. The reason is because Jordan delayed entry into the war until Egypt's forces were completely destroyed. And then Syria delayed entry until Jordan's forces were destroyed. The bottom line is this, had the Arab armies been more united, more coordinated, the result might have been very different. Israel's military superiority is largely myth. Arab lack of coordination is the truth. But should they ever become united, Israel will face a far greater adversary. And that could happen tomorrow. Or never. Who knows. But that's the justification for them having more oranges that the other side, because they will never have the same number of apples.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

Reference to Israel: "a country of 6 million"

You're a bit off, I caught that in less than one second. After that, you lost a whole lot of my credibility. The population of Israel is estimated to be 7,590,758 (July 2012 est.).

Breakdown by religion:

Jewish 75.6%, Muslim 16.9%, Christian 2%, Druze 1.7%, other 3.8% (2008)

Source: The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America (CIA)


Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

No big deal. But I wonder how many of the posters on this forum realize that since freedom of religion is guaranteed in Israel, there are so many Muslims that live there now, and their families have lived there for many generations.

They are the descendants of the Palestinians that stayed in Israel in 1948. The Palestinians that ran away to other nations in 1948 were never accepted by the other Arab nations, who set up refugee camps for them, and only recently have they been awarded any real civil rights. Citizenship in the other Arab countries has never been offered to the Palestinians. I've been told two reasons for that, usually one person is swayed by one explanation, and others believe the other. I believe the truth is somewhere in between.

1) The Palestinians are very useful for propaganda purposes, therefore they are kept in refugee camps in other Arab nations.

2) Palestinians are not liked at all by the citizens of the other Arab nations, therefore they are kept in refugee camps.

It's worth noting that the Palestinian refugee camps you hear about all the time are all in Arab countries, not a single one is in Israel.

Palestinian: The only refugee status in the world that can be inherited. In all other cultures, citizenship is granted to anyone born in that nation. But not for the Palestinians, the other Arab nations do not allow them to be citizens.

An interesting aside to history is that 75% of Palestine was appropriated by a new nation that never existed before 1922, Trans-Jordan. Later the name was changed to Jordan. There has never been any clamor that Jordan should return at least part of Palestine to the Palestinians. Maybe that's because 75% of the population of Jordan consider themselves to be Palestinians.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

This is a good read out of 'Middle East Quarterly', December 1999, far too long to clip and past here, I clipped only the introduction.


'Why Arabs Lose Wars', by Norvell B. De Atkin December 1999

Norvell De Atkine, a U.S. Army retired colonel with eight years residence in Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt, and a graduate degree in Arab studies from the American University of Beirut, is currently instructing U.S. Army personnel assigned to Middle Eastern areas. The opinions expressed here are strictly his own.

Arabic-speaking armies have been generally ineffective in the modern era. Egyptian regular forces did poorly against Yemeni irregulars in the 1960s.1 Syrians could only impose their will in Lebanon during the mid-1970s by the use of overwhelming weaponry and numbers.2 Iraqis showed ineptness against an Iranian military ripped apart by revolutionary turmoil in the 1980s and could not win a three-decades-long war against the Kurds.3 The Arab military performance on both sides of the 1990 Kuwait war was mediocre.4 And the Arabs have done poorly in nearly all the military confrontations with Israel. Why this unimpressive record? There are many factors—economic, ideological, technical—but perhaps the most important has to do with culture and certain societal attributes which inhibit Arabs from producing an effective military force.

It is a truism of military life that an army fights as it trains, and so I draw on my many years of firsthand observation of Arabs in training to draw conclusions about the ways in which they go into combat. The following impressions derive from personal experience with Arab military establishments in the capacity of U.S. military attaché and security assistance officer, observer officer with the British-officer Trucial Oman Scouts (the security force in the emirates prior to the establishment of the United Arab Emirates), as well as some thirty year's study of the Middle East.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago


Iran Opens Nonaligned Summit with Call for Nuclear Arms Ban

Iranian diplomatic leaders called for an international ban on nuclear arms by the year 2025 on Sunday, as the nation kicked off this year's Non-Aligned Nations Movement (NAM) Summit. Over 120 nations met in Tehran this weekend beginning a week-long gathering aimed at tackling global issues ranging from the conflict in Syria to nuclear proliferation.

Will the US, Israel, and other nuclear powers join in this call?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

They also called Israel a cancer and an embarrassment to humanity and they called for it's elimination.

You choose to believe some of the statements they make and you choose to explain others away as empty rhetoric. Perhaps you do so because you have the luxury of knowing that if you're wrong, nothing of substance will happen to you, sitting in your living room in Lawrence, Ks. Those living closer to the front lines don't have the luxury you have. Perhaps that's why they don't have the same world view that you have.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

No, I choose to call them on their call for the elimination of nuclear weapons. But that would take a commitment that the US and Israel are too hypocritical to make.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

So you're an apologist for people who make those sorts of statements. Sieg heil, Bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

And really, Israel would annihilate every Muslim within 1000 miles if they could.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Israel does indeed have the ability to annihilate every Muslim within 1000 miles. They had the ability to do that yesterday, but they chose not to. They had the ability to do it the day before, but they chose not to. They had the ability to do it last year, but they chose not to. They had the ability to do it the year prior, but they chose not to. They had the ability to do it a decade ago, but they chose not to. They had the ability to do it the decade prior to that, but they chose not to.

At some point in time, when someone has the ability to do something, yet chooses not to, it must be assumed that they have no desire to do that something. Israel has no desire to do what you claim they want to do. Your statement has no basis in fact. It is without merit. It is, Bozo, a lie.

Almost one in five people living inside Israel today is a Muslim. Would you like to go around that region and compare Jewish populations inside various countries and compare that to Jewish populations of say 65 years ago. If it were any other group, you'd be saying "ethnic cleansing". But it's just "them", so it doesn't really matter, anyway.

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