August 14, 2007

Wait, I Thought Our Quota for Epic Debacles Had Been Exceeded!

(Updated below)

McClatchy:

At a news conference Thursday, Bush said Iran had been warned of unspecified consequences if it continued its alleged support for anti-American forces in Iraq. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker had conveyed the warning in meetings with his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad, the president said.

Bush wasn't specific, and a State Department official refused to elaborate on the warning.

Behind the scenes, however, the president's top aides have been engaged in an intensive internal debate over how to respond to Iran's support for Shiite Muslim groups in Iraq and its nuclear program. Vice President Dick Cheney several weeks ago proposed launching airstrikes at suspected training camps in Iran run by the Quds force, a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to two U.S. officials who are involved in Iran policy.

The debate has been accompanied by a growing drumbeat of allegations about Iranian meddling in Iraq from U.S. military officers, administration officials and administration allies outside government and in the news media. It isn't clear whether the media campaign is intended to build support for limited military action against Iran, to pressure the Iranians to curb their support for Shiite groups in Iraq or both...

...For now, however, the president appears to have settled on a policy of stepped-up military operations in Iraq aimed at the suspected Iranian networks there, combined with direct American-Iranian talks in Baghdad to try to persuade Tehran to halt its alleged meddling. The U.S. military launched one such raid Wednesday in Baghdad's predominantly Shiite Sadr City district.

But so far that course has failed to halt what American military officials say is a flow of sophisticated roadside bombs, known as explosively formed penetrators, into Iraq. Last month they accounted for a third of the combat deaths among U.S.-led forces, according to the military.

Cheney, who's long been skeptical of diplomacy with Iran, argued for military action if hard new evidence emerges of Iran's complicity in supporting anti-American forces in Iraq; for example, catching a truckload of fighters or weapons crossing into Iraq from Iran, one official said. [emphasis added]

We've known for a long time that various constituencies--ranging from amateur bloggers dishing propaganda spoon-fed by the Michael Ledeen crowd, all the way to professional bureaucrats in Cheney's circle--have been falling over themselves chronicling varied misdeeds allegedly being committed by Iran in Iraq, so as to heighten calls that something be done about the Islamic Republic of Iran. And yet I think this is the first time I've seen a significant news organization reporting what I've long suspected--that should 'evidence' mount of such supposed Iranian perfidy-- there are still delusional players in this Administration (most prominently the Vice President) who would actually counsel air strikes on Iran.

Call it the Cheney-Lieberman-McCain caucus (as this last grows older, his sanity has more often been deserting him, alas). Condi Rice is reportedly opposed, but if the last six years serve as any indication, we know she'll ultimately do as she's told. Bob Gates is a more interesting question, and one hopes he'd summon the honor to resign should such a catastrophic policy be pursued. As for the Decider, Cheney's spokesperson ominously notes (per the article linked above): "(T)he vice president is right where the president is."

Aside from handicaping Beltway players' views of the merits of an attack on Iran, individuals opposed to a folly-infused attack on Iran must also focus on beseeching the more respected news organizations (like the New York Times, say, and by extension its reporters like Michael Gordon) to stop acting in the main as stenographers for General Odierno and other MNF sources and instead assiduously pursue original reporting on, among other issues, the precise provenance of EFPs, to include what local Iraq-based manufacturing capabilities exist and to what degree of sophistication.

As David Gardner recently wrote in the FT:

...US commanders seem to have no trouble detecting the hand of Tehran everywhere. This largely evidence-free blaming of serial setbacks on Iranian forces is a bad case of denial. First, the insurgency is overwhelmingly Iraqi and Sunni, built around a new generation of jihadis created by the US invasion. Second, to the extent foreign fighters are involved these have come mostly from US-allied and Sunni Saudi Arabia, not Shia Iran. Third, the lethal roadside bombs with shaped charges that US officials have coated with a spurious veneer of sophistication to prove Iranian provenance are mostly made by Iraqi army-trained engineers – from high explosive looted from those unsecured arms dumps. [my emphasis]

We have a supremely underqualified President who has repeatedly proven his capacity for strategic blundering. We have a pugnacious Vice-President who can only be described at this juncture as a dangerous man, not least as he's likely unwilling to simply fade off-stage into ignominy in an undisclosed location near Casper, Wyoming. We have other assorted national security players (Rice, Hadley, etc) who have repeatedly proven their capacity to kow-tow to higher-ups, even when pursuing grossly misguided policies, at great expense to the national interest.

Given this alarming reality, I'd suggest Democratic Presidential hopefuls stop the sophomoric pissing matches about who might attack Pakistan and under what circumstances, or whether the nuclear option is on, off, under or plastered prominently atop the table, or whether Obama has a secret hankering to give Hugo a big wet kiss over cocktails in Caracas, before racing to Havana for a spot of Cohibas in Fidel's hospital room. Instead they might deign to focus on the chance that another catastrophe might occur, this time in Iran, because of this Administration's recklessness.

But I digress. Let's for a second assume Iranians have assisted on occasion with the manafacture of more sophisticated EFPs, and let's further assume some U.S. personnel have died as a result. Well, I suppose you could argue this constitutes some casus belli, but let's stop kidding ourselves. There's an intricate game of cat and mouse underway. Amidst all the clamor for regime change emitting from points Washington, the Iranians aren't just going to sit back in prone position to see what the coming months might portend (it would be far different, of course, and more actionable in my view, if they were up to such trouble-making with good faith foreign minister level meetings between the two countries underway, though that would also necessitate having a capable Secretary of State in office, alas). And we all know they could be playing a far nastier game, don't we? After all, didn't they smuggle anti-tank guided missiles to Hezbollah for use against the IDF (you can be assured it would be a lot easier to get them to Iraq)? Nor, as Tony Cordesman has recently pointed out, have the Iranians smuggled in advanced MANPADS and SHORADS to JAM and other Shi'a militias, which would put our airforce pilots active over Iraq at much greater risk.

Regardless, I don't recall us attacking Iran when Hezbollah bombed our Marine barracks in Beirut, say, and I'd suggest it's quite possible more Americans died in that single attack than have due to firmly proven Iranian assistance to rogue elements in Iraq, which in turn, have verifiably led directly to U.S. loss of life. To stress, aren't we constantly reminded that Hezbollah is but an arm of the dastardly Mullah's ensconced in Teheran? If true now, and so back in '82, was Reagan then a Chamberlain-like appeaser for, not only refusing to attack Iran, but also vacating Beirut whole-sale, after the attack on the Marines? Or did he perhaps instead display some realism, statecraft, sobriety and a sense of proportion (something sorely lacking in today's cretinized Washington), that the associated risks and continuing costs weren't worth the potential benefits of the deployment? (ed. note: cue assaults on my 'pre-9/11' thinking).

So let us not, as proud Americans who care about the future of our country (or other concerned individuals besides), let us dare not allow again a growing drum-beat of vague allegations to gather momentum, with the attendant formation of a new consensus among group-thinking Beltway agitators whose strategic lens have proven disasterously faulty, but nonetheless still have the President's ear (mostly via Cheney), so that launching of attacks on Iran gains traction as a plausible policy option. And even if you were to be tempted by some of these gung-ho chest-beaters on the Potomac, do you genuinely believe this grossly incompetent national security team would be able to handle the potential fall-out of such an operation, given the very real possibility that Iran, in response, would (source) :

• Retaliate against US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan overtly using Shahab-3 missiles armed with CBR warheads

• Use proxy groups including....Sadr in Iraq to intensify the insurgency and escalate the attacks against US forces and Iraqi Security Forces

• Turn the Shi’ite majority in Iraq against the US presence and demand US forces to leave

• Attack the US homeland with suicide bombs by proxy groups or deliver CBR weapons to al-Qa’ida to use
against the US

• Use its asymmetric capabilities to attacks US interests in the region including soft targets: e.g. embassies,
commercial centers, and American citizens

• Attack US naval forces stationed in the Gulf with anti-ship missiles, asymmetric warfare, and mines

• Attack Israel with missile attacks possibly with CBR warheads

• Retaliate against energy targets in the Gulf and temporarily shut off the flow of oil from the Strait of Hormuz

* Stop all of its oil and gas shipments to increase the price of oil, inflict damage on the global and US economies.

The real danger we face as this criminally incompetent Administration winds through its final days is compounding the Iraq imbroglio by a catastrophic intervention in Iran. Any American concerned about this possibility needs to remind their representatives of the possible ramifications thereto and suggest to the Democratic Presidential candidates (on the Republican side, all but Ron Paul and Chuck Hagel on the side-lines have evinced a smidgen of sanity on foreign policy matters of late) that they cease their petty internecine skirmishing (at least occasionally, if possible) and focus on the danger of the Iraq conflict spreading to Iran (it is quite clear Shi'a-U.S. relations are set to deteriorate significantly in Iraq in the coming months, adding more fuel to the fire, and margin for error leading to a wider conflagration). Meantime, all of us must demand unimpeachable evidence about Iranian activity in Iraq rather than relatively thin gruel, to include summoning journalists to, if they are capable of it at least, digging into this story as genuine truth-seekers who skeptically monitor MNF claims rather than report them as undisputed fact. We're tired of lackadaisical hoodwinking, aren't we?

UPDATE: Breaking...the armed forces of countries we don't like can simply be designated foreign terrorist organizations (sorry, "specially designated global terrorist(s)"). Just like that, with some EFPs thrown in. Oh, and it might buy Condi six more months vis-a-vis mean Uncle Dick, who's clamoring for air strikes, but may be temporarily mollified by this (mostly) empty display of semiotic cojones. Regardless, #43 will look rather odd on this list.... But, B.D. tsk, tsk, you party-pooper you. 'Transformation' is in the air. Armies of sovereign states become foreign terrorist organizations, with the stroke of a pen, and reading Rudy Guiliani's sweeping Foreign Affairs manifesto (Walt Rostow meets The Sopranos, to a fashion, of which more soon), NATO should be opened to all comers, the UN more or less relegated to the ash-heap save the odd humanitarian mission, and so on. Heady times!


Posted by Gregory at August 14, 2007 03:14 AM
Comments
Cheney, who's long been skeptical of diplomacy with Iran, argued for military action if hard new evidence emerges of Iran's complicity in supporting anti-American forces in Iraq.
How could this dangerous lunatic even be contemplating military action, given the degraded and overstretched state of our armed forces? We have neither the will nor the resources for sustained combat in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. Hell, we're having trouble fighting the two wars we now have, thanks to the hopeless incompetence, if not downright criminality of this administration. Posted by: Redhand at August 14, 2007 04:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Excuse me...."lackadaisical hoodwinking"? Is this a phrase with some meaning? Perhaps it loses something when translated from the French.

In any event, it's probably not a good idea for us to kid ourselves about the extent of Iranian involvement with Shiite factions in Iraq. This isn't something that's generated out of the Vice President's office, unless we accept that OVP's influence is felt down at the level of, for example, the soldiers quoted here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/09/AR2007080902412.html

This is a situation of puzzles within puzzles. It is not clear how much of the Iranian government is involved in support for Iraqi Shiite factions, or if different parts of the Iranian government have affiliated themselves with different factions in Iraq. It is logical to assume that Iranian thinking about involvement in Iraqi affairs is strongly influenced by factors other than the coalition presence, at least if one believes the Iranians think the coalition will leave within the next couple of years. But does that assumption require belief in a coordinated Iranian strategy? Or has Tehran, or individual agencies within the Iranian government, allowed its policy in Iraq to become reactive and client-driven, responding to importunate Shiite factions and sub-factions whose use of Iranian-supplied arms and training Tehran cannot control? The frequency with which Shiite factions are said to battle one another in the south and even in Diyala would be evidence for the latter possibility.

All the same, and much as we may have cause to distrust the judgment of senior officials in the Bush administration, it is asking a lot to expect the American military in Iraq to simply ignore evidence of Iranian support for Shiite militias attacking American troops and carrying out ethnic cleansing. I am not any more anxious than Greg is to see military operations extended beyond the borders of Iraq, but I recognize as he may not that Iran bears some responsibility to prevent this from happening as well.

Posted by: Zathras at August 14, 2007 04:59 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Zathras:
Did you miss the raid in Italy over the weekend? Sounds like certain groups in the Iraqi government are profiting off the illicit arms trade. We have a lot bigger fish to worry about than Iran.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience at August 14, 2007 06:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, yeah, we're tired of it, but that doesn't mean we're actually going to DO anything about it -- see the Dems' FISA fiasco. As Bush pointed out the morning after his hairbreadth reelection: under the bizarre American political system, the President has virtually unlimited power to do anything he damn well pleases in military and foreign policy for 4 straight years, even if everyone but Laura, Barney and God (or His opposite number) disagrees with him.


To Zathras: See Yglesias' more detailed retelling of Gardner's "Financial Times" column: http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/08/someone_i_should_be_reading.php . I trust the Iranian government as far as I could throw it; but our current governing dolts are perfectly capable of getting into a war with them for the WRONG REASON. After all, they have experience in that sort of thing. And Bush has quietly been pulling strings to ensure that the new Congress won't be able to stop him from unilaterally expanding the war into Iran any time he chooses.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at August 14, 2007 08:07 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg, you bought Iraq - for copious well-wrought reasons. Why not Iran? Is it the incompetence, the impracticability, the counterproductivity, the ulteriority, the illegality, or the just plain wrongness that bothers you now? (speaking as one bothered by all six - especially the last - back in 2002)

Have any canonical assumptions - about the world or the place of the US within it - changed?

Posted by: AlanDownunder at August 14, 2007 11:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
Meantime, all of us must demand unimpeachable evidence about Iranian activity in Iraq rather than relatively thin gruel, to include summoning journalists to, if they are capable of it at least, digging into this story as genuine truth-seekers who skeptically monitor MNF claims rather than report them as undisputed fact.

We can demand all we want. Whether we get what we ask for is another question.

But to even address this question, I think we need to know:

1. What, precisely, is the charge lodged by the US? (Gardner's linked article is unhelpful)

2. What are the questions that should be asked?

I am also wondering whether this is a time to call for a blogswarm of the types the TPM folks have been using, to get at the question -- is Iran really at war with us in Iraq using proxies.

I will help out, with two links. The first is to a powerpoint presentation the military gave, showing the evidence they had for Iranian involvement. The second is a leftist critique of the evidence, which come with a series of very good questions:

http://www.iraqslogger.com/downloads/Iran_in_Iraq__English_.pdf

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=67&ItemID=12139

I imagine more has hapened since Feb 2007, but this is enough to get 'y'all started...

Posted by: Appalled Moderate at August 14, 2007 03:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

One would hope that the powers-that-be realize the possibility of a closure of the Straits of Hormuz on the supply of oil to the US. Unfortunately, I doubt that Bush cares. He's perfectly willing to bring the US economy crashing down around our ears because "he's the Deciderer" and "gotta fight those terrists."

I decided long time ago that if the US attacks Iran, I'm emigrating. There are certain levels of stupidity that I don't want to be anywhere near.

Posted by: grumpy realist at August 14, 2007 05:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I decided long time ago that if the US attacks Iran, I'm emigrating. There are certain levels of stupidity that I don't want to be anywhere near.

Yes, but I don't think it will be so easy to do, in that event.

Posted by: sglover at August 14, 2007 10:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,

Do you really have hope that the Dems candidates are going to head this off? AIPAC.......that simple. AIPAC. Criticize it if does not work? (and it won't work...it will make things stunningly worse) Yes, they will knock themselves over to be the first and loudest. But come out in front it? No. And that they won't speaks volumes. You want hope to stop this? Look to the military. Though I don't put much stock in them either. But you are right...we have to try and stop this regardless of our chances for success.

Posted by: jonst at August 15, 2007 12:11 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The US isn't going to start a war with Iran on AIPAC's say-so. Cheney's the one who'll start the war, if there is to be one, and Cheney doesn't dance to AIPAC's piping, but to the voices in his head. And Bush, when he's not listening to his own imaginary friends, is listening to Cheney.

National security concerns won't drive the war, nor events in Iraq, nor Iran's alleged nuclear weapons development program. The only thing(s) driving the Bush-Cheney Axis are their bottomless appetites for power and money.

If there is going to be a war with Iran, I figure it'll start somewhere between Election Day 2008 and January 21, 2009.

Posted by: CaseyL at August 15, 2007 02:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If there is going to be a war with Iran, I figure it'll start somewhere between Election Day 2008 and January 21, 2009.

I see that, too. Might be kinda nice if our Congressional geniuses put in some effort to head off that scenario. Jeez, the nuclear trigger got yanked out of Nixon's reach toward the end, didn't it? Another Bush era first -- nostalgia for Al Haig!

Posted by: sglover at August 15, 2007 05:45 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Had it occurred to any of you that Petraeus and Odierno wouldn't have actually let these charges surface with any specifity if they knew they were going to get hammered about them in front of a Congressional Committee in September?

The Iranians, smart and clever rug merchants that they are, understand the overwhelming skepticism of Greg and others in the intellectual and opinionmaking classes in the West. In fact, they are counting on it, I suspect, to allow them to complete their atomic bomb program.

The Quds Force could set off EFP's in the Mall of America and claim responsibility, and I suspect Greg would find a way to blame Dick Cheney. Such is the operational advantage enjoyed by the Revolutionary Guards.

The EFP project, which I believe is more widespread than Greg is prepared to admit, is merely an adjunct, designed to cause us more pain and drive us from the region. As a result, the Bomb program is still protected.

The Iranians do these things because they act in what they perceive to be the regime's interests, which they conflate with Iran's state interest. This appears to be hard for everyone around here to understand, so convinced are they of Bush and Cheney's wickedness. In all his criticisms of Bush, Cheney, and Rice, allow me to suggest that it is they who have not lost sight of what the Iranians are up to, while Greg appears lost in a wilderness of mirrors of Iran's devising.

The American people haven't forgotten that the Iranian state has been at war with us since shortly after its founding. While many of you may find that hard to believe, they don't. Expect Iran to be a huge issue in the campaign next year, but not because we're going to attack them.

It will be good to be Rudy.

Posted by: section9 at August 15, 2007 05:58 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

section9:
Get serious. Petraeus and Odierno have not shown themselves to be the most trustworthy guys. Part of that is them wanting to please the boss I am sure. But given what we know about BushCo, are you seriously gonna take them at face value? Did you miss the news about the raid in Italy over the weekend?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience at August 15, 2007 07:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I miss the days when Greg was less emotionally invested and more intellectually invested in the discussion. Gardner's piece seems to qualify him as at least an amateur polemicist, but it doesn't inspire much confidence in his expertise as a strategist, explosives expert or psychologist. Similarly, I'm not sure attaching oneself like glue to the opinions of other J-School (or, in other cases, unschooled) "experts" is the best analytical strategy.

One lesson relearned on 9/11, but operative far longer is that when a state or sub-state group loudly proclaims it's at war with you, it's prudent to at least suspect they might not be lying.

Posted by: Jem at August 15, 2007 09:24 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Section 9

It wound no more occur to me that our Generals in the region were uttering anything other than self serving sound bits divorced from reality, than it would occur to me to fly to Venus on my own power.

Iran is not at war with us. Iran is a regional power attempting to do what all regional powers have done...they are trying to dominate their region and shape it so it works best for them from a national security perspective. When the Shah was in charge (read US) we were all for Iran being an aggressive regional power. And we helped make them one. Suddenly, oh, around 1979 we were NOT for Iran being a regional power. We are in their region. On both sides of them. And above them. With our military. And that is what world powers do. They attempt to dominate regions. All regions, especially the one's with oil. Inevitably, those conflicting goals run up against one and another and something has to give. In this case I suspect, given how the hand has been played the past 4 years, it will be us that will give.

As to their A bomb program....they have a right to an A bomb and if they have a wit of, short term, common sense, they will create one as fast as they can. Though I suspect in the long term it will be a massive strategic blunder. (one they may never get to make again as a nation)

You are correct about one thing..... some people (many) are convinced of Bush and Cheney's wickedness. But that's not your problem. Your problem is ALL, friend and foe, are convinced of their gross incompetence and 'cluelessness'.

Jem,

Yes, its tough how 4 years of fruitless, counter-productive war, and numerous meaningless deaths, tend to make one emotional.

Posted by: jon stanley at August 15, 2007 11:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg-

I love juxtapositions, don't you? They often smell like victory in the morning.


On the importance of playing softball with Tehran.

"Or did he perhaps instead display some realism, statecraft, sobriety and a sense of proportion (something sorely lacking in today's cretinized Washington), that the associated risks and continuing costs weren't worth the potential benefits of the deployment? (ed. note: cue assaults on my 'pre-9/11' thinking).

-GD 8/07

On the importance of playing hardball with Teheran (maybe the situation shifts if you spell it differently.)


"The current American Administration understands that the greatest threat to international security in the 21st Century will come from the perilous intersection between transnational terror groups and rogue regimes with WMD capability. We must hope that Europeans understand that the religious forces that actually need combating are busy manufacturing poisons like Ricin in London or finding the next discotheque to blow up. The sooner Europeans leaders fully understand that, the better for re-invigorated cooperation across the Atlantic to better secure the international system from future shocks like 9/11."

-GD 3/03


Posted by: reshufflex at August 15, 2007 01:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Had it occurred to any of you that Petraeus and Odierno wouldn't have actually let these charges surface with any specifity if they knew they were going to get hammered about them in front of a Congressional Committee in September?"

Has it occurred to you that Petraeus and Odierno are Bush people first and last? That they were picked from a set of generals for a reason, even though their performance has not be stellar.

Also, has it occurred to you that Petraeus and Odierno don't have to worry about what the Democratic Congress will do since (a) they don't have the votes to do anything meaningful, (b) they don't have the balls to do anything meaningful and (c) the only purpose of this whole charade is to buy time until Bush can leave office?

Jem: "I miss the days when Greg was less emotionally invested and more intellectually invested in the discussion. "

Yes, when he could see the lies and not care. I realize that right-wingers don't like emotionally-involved analysts; they like analysts who understand the go along to get along principle.

Posted by: Barry at August 15, 2007 03:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Iranians, smart and clever rug merchants that they are, understand the overwhelming skepticism of Greg and others in the intellectual and opinionmaking classes in the West. In fact, they are counting on it, I suspect, to allow them to complete their atomic bomb program.

Wow. I guess this blog is vastly more influential than anyone could have guessed.

Look, idiot, you need to ask yourself: What genuine difference does it make if Iran does develop an atomic bomb? Look at a map of the region. There's another country right nearby (name starts with "P", ends with "n"), and it's a nuclear power also. That cat is out of the bag. So quit wetting your knickers. No power with sane leadership should consider the possession of nuclear weapons a sensible cause for war.

Posted by: sglover at August 15, 2007 03:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The reason for designating the Pasdaran a terrorist organization seems to be to be blindingly obvious: with the stroke of a pen it changes 'they might share atomic weapons with terrorists' from a foolish (and easily discounted) longshot to a near certainty.

It's about the rhetoical case, and this is a smart move for the Cheney-ites.

Posted by: CharleyCarp at August 15, 2007 05:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Can I take the centrist position of saying that, if we DO attack Iran, it had damn well better be limited to the goal of trying to knock out their nuclear program -- which will make a nice full dinner plate for us by itself?

Seymour Hersh (admittedly not the most reliable source in the world, but one who is noted for major exposures of some stories which the Powers That Be very much wish he hadn't uncovered) has quoted officials in the New Yorker as saying that our guiding geniuses are instead fixated on bombing the hell out of Iran as a whole in order to try and set off a popular revolt against the government, with relatively few of our bombing runs actually devoted to Iran's nuke program. (After all, this worked so well for the Olmert government in Lebanon recently. In truth, people, for some reason, seem to have difficulty developing sympathy for any foreign power that is currently dropping bombs on their heads.) The current stories being spread about Iran's sinister guerrilla forces in Iraq, and the need to take them out, suggests that this is exactly what we are about to see -- and it would certainly be in character for the Cheneyites.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at August 15, 2007 09:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bruce,

If we hit Iran how will we protect the supply lines of the US troops in Iraq? If you think it is bad now, wait until we hit them. The fact that we 'limit it' sites will be irrelevant. If we cannot protect the supply lines of the troops how will protect the troops? Love to hear someone answer these questions. Love, even more, to hear some Dem raise them. Or are we so smug, and so powerful, that we can't imagine our troops being overrun by a mass attack in Iraq?

Posted by: jonst at August 15, 2007 10:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

bruce and zathras can form a centrist-wing here....only attacks on nuclear installations and assorted SDGTs....(that's specially designated global terrorists..). kidding, as these are two of my favorite commenters, but please folks, let's all keep jonst's cautionary words in mind, yes?

p.s. i find charley carp's comment quite interesting, in a devious addingtonian kinda way....

Posted by: greg djerejian at August 15, 2007 10:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If we hit Iran how will we protect the supply lines of the US troops in Iraq?

EXACTLY!!

We got 150,000 troops at the end of long supply lines and surrounded by hostile natives.

I would not be surprised if we had another "Little big Horn" in our future.

Posted by: r4d20 at August 16, 2007 05:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sounds to me as if your making an excellent case for a massive pre emptive strike. But would turning Iraan into a massive parking lot truly enhance the chances for world peace.


You bet your bottom it would.

Posted by: Thomas Jackson at August 16, 2007 09:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That IS an important point, of course -- and it's yet another reason for wishing we'd had the sense to stay out of goddamn Iraq in the first place.

I remain convinced that the sole motivator for our getting into Iraq was insane overconfidence. The Neocons (and Tony Blair, judging from his comments in the leaked Downing Street memo) were insanely overconfident that we could very easily occupy and reform the place. Cheney and Rumsfeld weren't interested in trying to reform Iraq -- but they were both insanely overconfident that we could (in the immortal words of Jonah Goldberg) throw that Crappy Little Country Against The Wall and thus terrify all the rest of the Moslem world (including the stateless Moslem terror groups) into cowering before us in the future. Wrong-o... And the same overconfident goofballs are still in charge, which is why I tremble at the thought of the kind of attack they may plan against Iran.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at August 17, 2007 12:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Fotnote: by "That is an important point", I was NOT referring to Thomas Jackson's proposal for Victory Through Preemptive Cremation. That one is strictly absolute last resort. Moral considerations aside, consider how the Pakistanis would view it...

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at August 17, 2007 12:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Don't think the Chinese would be that happy, either. They've got a lot of projects going with Iran.

Posted by: grumpy realist at August 19, 2007 05:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Gregory Djerejian comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site. The views expressed herein are solely his own and do not represent those of any organization.


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