Conffederate
Confederate

May 16, 2007

The Storm Builds

Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.

That will be the take-away for most on this Telegraph article published today, and while that is an extreme bastardization of what former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolten actually said--he actually advocated an escalating course of significant economic sanctions, regime change, and the use of force only if nothing else works--the headline of "We must attack Iran before it gets the bomb" does accurately describe what appears at this point to be the probable end game.

Melanie Phillips does an admirable job of almost describing the stakes:

The choice is not between a negotiated peace with Iran and a war with appalling risks. It is a choice between a war with appalling risks and an Iran that will hold the world to nuclear ransom, having destroyed Israel as a throat-clearing exercise. It is a choice between war with Iran, and war with a nuclear Iran; war on our terms, and war on Iranís terms; war in which we take the initiative and thus have every prospect of winning, and war in which Iran holds the trump card, which means we have a near certainty of losing.

At the same time, as Bolton also emphasised, making such a grim choice must be a last resort. All-out war with Iran is a prospect fraught with appalling perils and uncertainties. Only a fool would embark upon such a war precipitately. But only a fool would rule it out as a possibly inevitable last resort. The problem is that the EU ó and parts of the US government ó are behaving as if such a last resort is totally unthinkable. This has powerfully undermined the diplomacy, since Iran clearly believes ó and with good reason ó that the west simply isnít serious about enforcing its will and will never go to war against Iran in any circumstances.

I this Phillips is right on the generalities of her statement, but would disagree with her comment that, "Iran that will hold the world to nuclear ransom, having destroyed Israel as a throat-clearing exercise."

Israel has developed an air force over the past decade with the express purpose of targeting Iranian nuclear facilities, which explains their purchase of long-range F-15I "Ra'am" and F-16I "Sufa" strike fighters. Israel has purchased 25 of the F-15I "Ra'am" strike fighters and 102 F-16I "Sufa" strike fighters, the last of which will be delivered in 2008. These aircraft have the capability of hitting Iranian targets without in-flight refueling, and with in-flight refueling, could target any location in that country. Both aircraft are capable of carrying "bunkerbuster" bombs thought to have been purchased from the United States, and would almost certainly be designed to carry the 60-85 nuclear weapons (according to the DIA) thought to be in Israeli inventories.

A U.S. Army paper cites the data of a fired Israeli nuclear technician, Mordechai Vanunu, who went public with his information in 1985, which seems to indicate:

...a sophisticated nuclear program, over 200 bombs, with boosted devices, neutron bombs, F-16 deliverable warheads, and Jericho warheads.

The same paper also indicates that Israel's military may already have official government authorization for a retaliatory nuclear strike if Israel was struck first with nuclear weapons.

Iran may very well destroy Israel as a nation in a nuclear first strike, but Israel's nuclear arsenal would answer holocaust with a holocaust, and as noted yesterday, the Hojjatieh cult running Iran may very well be depending on an Israel response to force a messianic return.

Iran will either be stripped of its nuclear weapons program, or Iran (and other countries) will be stripped of life.

While the headline was perhaps a bit misleading, it was nonetheless true: if economic sanctions and regime change efforts fail, we must attack Iran before it gets the bomb to avoid the deaths of tens of millions.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 16, 2007 11:48 AM
Comments

I have a few questions for anyone who has the info to answer them.

First, do we even have the resources available to fight another war at this time?

Second, would the war with Iran be yet another front on the GWOT, or would it be its own war? This doesn't seem to be a semantic difference; in the first instance, the administration could make the case that the use-of-force resolution from 2003 could be stretched to cover this as well, but if it's a new war, there would have to be a new resolution/declaration, right?

Finally, when (if ever) would a nation's possession of nuclear weapons fall into the "terrorist" category?

Posted by: Doc Washboard at May 16, 2007 01:25 PM

Just so you know the GWOT is actually the Global War on Extemist Islam. Iran would be included.

I dont know for a fact, but I do think we could fight a war with Iran. I dont think it would be a full on invasion, but more of a massive air campaign. Seeing as our air power isnt being used extensively in Iraq, I think we could pull it off.

Lastly if Iran, having major connections with Hezbollah, was in possesion of a nuclear bomb, that would absolutly fall into the "terrorist" category. I dont think we should be worried about it going off on American soil, but if I lived in Tel Aviv I would be extremely worried.

Posted by: Justin at May 16, 2007 02:37 PM

To declare war, Im pretty sure we would need another declaration. Seeing as we have a far far left congress, I dont think that would happen. Thats the problem with the far-left. They wont declare war even in the face of a clear threat.

See, in 2003, the Democrats weren't far-left but more centrist-left. They read the intel, they made the only logical choice, as did our president.

Posted by: Justin at May 16, 2007 02:41 PM

Justin,

Just so YOU know. The resolution authorizing the use of force doesn't include the term Global War on Extremist Islam. the term hadn't been invented yet because we were still all believeing the lie that Iraq had something to do with Al Qaidas attack on the World Trade Center. Iran isn't included and it was a real stretch to include Iraq. Constitutionally it's been longer than two years so Congress would have to reauthorize it anyway.

A "massive air strike" does not a war make. It isn't a substitute for ground troops. This was proven in Viet Nam and later in Bosnia/Kosovo. Even the first Gulf War required a ground component and that after 6 months of continual bombing. If we can't mount a ground war, and right now we can't even continue the one we're in unless Bush gets the balls to institute a draft, then we shouldn't go.

The "they'll give the terrorists the bomb" theory was a lie when it was Saddam who was supposedly developing one and it's a lie now. Both the US and USSR have had much smaller and more powerful weapons for decades. Both have supported organizations that used terrorist tactics and neither have ever given anyone "the bomb".
Iran is a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty. Thay have the right under that treaty to refine uranium for civilian power production. There is proof that they are enriching it for other reasons and to a far higher level than they are yet capable of there isn't any reason to invade.
Then there is the issue of who might get "the bomb". Palastine is holy ground to Hezbollah. They're not fighting because they're "evil" or because they like "killing Jews", they want their country back. Setting off nukes in a country they expect to occupy some day is contraproductive.
Finally, if you really expect Muslims to set off nuclear weapons in a very small country that contains some of Islams most sacred sites you'd better ask yourself what has been done to them to make them so angry and desperate.

Posted by: iaintbacchus at May 16, 2007 03:17 PM

Justin,

Maybe you should define what you mean by left and right. and where the "center" is. Almost a quarter of the Dems in the Senate and about a fifth of the house are "blue dogs" who vote consistantly with the Republicans. I think that your definition of "centerist" is being in agreement with you. That isn't where the center is unless you're pre-Galleleo world view puts you at the center of the universe.
And the only "intel" that congress got in 2002/3 was hand picked by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. And all of it turned out to be, to put it kindly, inaccurate.

Posted by: iaintbacchus at May 16, 2007 03:26 PM

Folks, I'm going to ask you to please re-read the comments policy, and stop with the profanity and personal insults.

I can delete 'em a lot fast than you can write 'em, and I can ban your IP even faster than that.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 17, 2007 12:38 PM

Well then Mr. Fair-Play,

Since Oldcrow started it on this thread, delete his offending post. Or is it only liberal profanity and insults that get cut?

R. Mutt

Posted by: R.Mutt at May 17, 2007 12:52 PM

Mutt, I tend to delete comments fairly evenly (a certain conservative regular would lead my deleted comments by far, if I kept score), but don't claim to be able to catch them 100% of the time.

You'll note that Crow's comment is now gone. I missed the insult the first time around because his comment was long, and I only quickly skimmed through it.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 17, 2007 01:14 PM

Whether it's a good idea or a bad idea from an ideological point of view, the bombing of Iran appears to be a nonoption for the foreseeable future if only because so many people in the military oppose it. If Bush ordered a new war, I think there would be mass resignations of general officers. Again, you may think that the military would be wrong to prevent a new war; but assuming war is out, isn't it time to think about other approaches to Iran that don't involve feckless saber-rattling?

By the way, an Israeli attack on Iran at this time would probably have the effect of putting us at war with Iran in short order. One can only hope that Bush doesn't encourage Israeli air strikes as a way of getting us into another war without securing the consent of Congress or the willing participation of the professional mililtary. That could happen. Legality and plain dealing are hardly the hallmarks of this administration.

Posted by: Jim Harrison at May 17, 2007 02:56 PM

"were still all believeing the lie that Iraq had something to do with Al Qaidas attack on the World Trade Center"

Who thought that? I didnt. Bush never said Iraq had anything to with 9/11. Im not sure what lie you're talking about exactly.

"A "massive air strike" does not a war make. It isn't a substitute for ground troops. This was proven in Viet Nam and later in Bosnia/Kosovo."

No, it doesnt. However, that might be all we need to stop Iran's enrichment program. And, I thought we used ground troops in Nam. Maybe I'm wrong.

"Iran is a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty. Thay have the right under that treaty to refine uranium for civilian power production. "

Let me get this straight, you think its a good idea to trust Iran to not make bombs? Wow.

"Maybe you should define what you mean by left and right. and where the "center" is. Almost a quarter of the Dems in the Senate and about a fifth of the house are "blue dogs" who vote consistantly with the Republicans"

That one is my mistake. I meant the Democrat leadership. However, the Blue Dogs do follow their leadership, or they will be go the way of Leiberman.

"And the only "intel" that congress got in 2002/3 was hand picked by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. And all of it turned out to be, to put it kindly, inaccurate."

Really. And the Dems only have access to supposed hand picked intel? If thats the case, then they are pretty negligent in authorizing a war without doing some reasearch. Oh maybe its because the leading Dems were screaming since 1998 we had to take out Saddamn for his WMD's and for not listening to the world community. Do I have to post the quotes from Mr. Clinton?

Posted by: Justin at May 17, 2007 03:27 PM

Only three-year olds think they've got a right to kick you in the shins and then to be surprised when the victim kicks back. Sheesh! Of course bombing Iran is an act of war, and I guarantee that the consequences of such a strike will not be pleasant. We can attack Iran with planes and missiles but they can't retaliate in kind, which just means we'll be dealing with terrorism, economic warfare, and probably a protracted land war in Iraq.

What's missing here is any sense that other people have rights and that it's not a small thing to order air strikes or murder anybody we chose. That's a crazy attitude; and, granted that we don't have a monopoly on the power, increasingly a stupid one. It's also not to bright to bring on a two- or three-front war when you don't have to.

Posted by: Jim Harrison at May 17, 2007 04:51 PM

Justin,

Bush said in his 2003 SOTU address that Iraqi intellegence officers has had meetings with high level Al Qaida operatives. What other point was he trying to make since the entire speech was a pitch for his dishonest war? I could if I wanted to take the time find mant other examples of Bush, Cheney, Rice and even Powell trying to make the case that Iraq was somehow responsible for 9/11. So could you. you're just being dishonest.

As for an air strike. Do you really think it would be a good idea to use a large number of bombs to stop Iran's enrichment program? The effect would be to spread enriched uranium, most of which is in gaseous form over most of central Asia.

Let me get this straight, You have some concrete reason to believe that Iran has managed to enrich uranium to a 80% u236 content? Gee, maybe you should be working for the CIA. As signatories to that treaty ourselves, by constitutiional law, we can invade them for simply having an enrichment program. Not that legality has stopped this president from doing anything for the last 6 years, but it would be nice to get back to the rule of law in the US.

I'm well aware that Clintons position was for regieme change in Iraq. He upheald and increased the sanctions against Iraq and enforced the no fly zones in northern and Southern Iraq for 8 years. But I don't recall him using a terrorist attack by people from another country as an excuse to invade. Clinton understood the concepts of Soveriegn Statehood and international law. As for congress doing some research, every single organization tasked with gathering foriegn intellegence falls under the executive branch. And all of that intellegence, before it was given to congress was filtered through the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon. Which gets us back to Pearl and Wolfowitz. Bush was even providing intellegence breifings for the Republican members of the intellegence commitee only. Weren't you reading the new in 2002 and 2003?
And for that matter, if what Clinton said or did was of so much importance, why did both State and Justice ignore the outgoing administrations warning that Osamma Bin Laden and Al Qaida were the biggest current theat to national security. 9/11 could have been avoided if Justice and John Ashcroft haddn't been more interested in busting whorehouses than catching international terrorists. Give up on the "Clinton did it, too" defense. It's wearing thin and it isn't true anyway.

Posted by: iaintbacchus at May 17, 2007 05:04 PM

Iaintbacchus, this just flat out a lie: "And all of that intelligence, before it was given to congress was filtered through the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon." It took an act of Congress to get these folks to even share info. Remember?

Posted by: CoRev at May 17, 2007 08:46 PM