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February 09, 2010


Rob Crawford

This is the kind of person who thinks rioters breaking glass stimulate the economy.


--Let a smile be your umbrella - the NY Times runs a guest oped ed finding many silver linings in the possibility that Iran may eventually develop a nuclear bomb. --

Since use of the R-word is now verboten I have no comment on Mr. Lowther.

As an aside, it seems a commentary on our society, what kind I'll leave for others to judge, that in a few short years we have gone from writing f****** retard, to fucking r*****.


Security umbrella over Saudi Arabia -- or as Osama said in the 1998 declaration of war, our "occupation of the Holy Lands."

So, yeah, how'd that work out the last time?


Come to think of it, rush hour traffic has diminished considerably with higher unemployment.


Tis town is full of geniuses (like this guy) which is why you un-nuanced gun and church clingers just will never get it.


When life hands you lemons, squeeze them into your third double-shot of vodka, and write yourself a column for the NYT. You may not make sense, but the NYT is into providing comfort and solace for its readership, and that warm feeling proivded by that third double shot of Stoli(or is it the fourth? Oh heck, I'll have a fourth, which reminds me I need another fifth...) um, yes, that warm feeling -- you should share that warm feeling, because the world is a very cold place without warmth (but watch sharing the warmth because the enviros like it cold, because that means there's global warming. It's all so fashionably counterintuitive...)

Yes, yes, the warm feeling from lemons and lemonade -- I'll share that, though I'd really rather have another double vodka myself...

What was I doin again -- oh yes, the column for the Times. Well, now I'm sleepy and its deadline. Well, just hit send, here. Like anyone reads the op-ed page? And it's gonna make more sense than Friedman, anyway...

Now where's that send again?

Ohhh....I need a fifth....Sknxxxxxxxxxxx


This specialist in asymetrical warfare, misses the fact that the Pasdaran and particularly the Quds force, would be in charge of the program. And under veterans in the Government like Vahidi, they would encourage a more proactive stance for such instruments

Captain Hate

Too bad the Shitbergers who begat Pinch never hired Jimmy Durante instead of Walter Duranty.



Very good observation.

Cecil Turner

Somebody start an argument so I can use: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" Please.


That's ironic Cecil, because he uses a picture from Doctor Strangelove on his web portal


*brilliant* Appalled


Humm weather balloning reaction on opinion pages to determine how much hostility exists to an Iranian bomb? Send out a heretofore unknown analyst, give him the biggest forum possible, then poll test after a few days...

And on his second point I thought that it was fairly well established that the current US defense umbrella makes OPEC->NOC->oil "security premium" possible, and that a nuclear Iran would only exacerbate the situation. He also seems to forget that with a nuclear Iran, they would then be able to export more terror knowing that no one would take action against them (much the way the Russians were able to spread their revolution to all corners of the world bringing misery and death). I'm not sure how well the current Saudi monarchy would withstand another Grand Mosque Seige.

Ralph L

President Obama could trade security for increased production and a lowering of global petroleum prices.
Except that a large portion of Dems want oil prices even higher, at least in non-election years when they're in power.

Thomas Collins

See LUN for the classic argument on why the slow spread of nuclear armed states promotes international stability. I happen to think Iran is a special case because of the current regime and that Waltz's framework doesn't apply to Iran, but Waltz's argument is worth a read as part of obtaining a variety of views on nuclear proliferation.


Appalled, is Obama making you more conservative?

Mike Huggins

I'm with Ignatz.

This is kind of like saying, "fellow Brits and Frenchmen, there is no need to worry about Herr Hitler. He may be a threat to his small neighbors but not to our great democracies." Yeah, that worked out real well.


It's unfortunate that Lowther wrote a rather silly article on a rather important topic. It's also unfortunate that TM wasted time on a silly article, when he might have contributed to a serious discussion by, for example, addressing the views of Dr. Ariel Ilan Roth. I presented those views in the "The Rats, The Sinking Ship" thread, in which I linked to, among other articles, this one: The Root of All Fears.


Speak for yourself Ignatz. I try to maintain a civilized and reasoned level of discourse.


This one is particularly ludicrous, unless everything since 1979 about their strategy
is forgotten. Abbasi, the head of their WAr College, certainly think this way, nor many
top Pasdaran commanders, so where does he draw this premise, from. wishful thinking.


Here's to all that think they can live peacefully with Iran .

Thomas Collins

In the piece anduril cited it is stated that:

"The possibility that Israel may no longer be capable of forcing peace upon those who deny its right to exist is beginning to dawn on many Israelis. Whether Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear infrastructure or not, the time has come for Israel’s defense community to develop a strategic doctrine for long-term coexistence that does not rely on a posture of invincibility. But, given that widespread Arab acceptance of Israel’s right to exist does not appear to be on the horizon, most Israelis, including the current prime minister, insist that Israel’s most urgent strategic objective is to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Doing so would temporarily remove the threat of a regional nuclear cascade and maintain Israel’s superiority of arms. More important, it would hold at bay the suspicion that Israel may never attain true peace. This increasingly widespread fear has a toxic effect on national morale, is an existential threat to the Jewish state, and lies at the root of Israel’s obsession with the Iranian bomb."

Depending on one's view of the current Iranian regime, it is not the temporary removal of the threat of a Middle East nuclear cascade, but the temporary setback to Iran's own nuclear capabilities that would be the primary benefit of a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Whatever one thinks of the current Iranian regime, it is difficult for me to envision how the present diplomatic approach is viable. Preparation for a nuclear Iran, forced regime change or attack on Iran's nuclear facilities (all nasty options) appear to be the choices.


Roth's article is summarized as follows (whether by him or FA, I don't know):

Summary: Contrary to popular belief, Israel is not afraid of a nuclear attack by Iran or Hezbollah; rather, it fears losing its nuclear monopoly in the region and the image of invincibility that comes with it.

I think Roth is correct to argue that a coherent Israeli security policy and foreign policy cannot rest solely on maintaining regional military supremacy and persuading superpowers to deliver temporary setbacks to their boogeyman du jour. The world is changing, as it always does, and Israel will need to rely creative thinking for the future, not repeated mantras from the past.


Obama has pretty much already destroyed the idea of "Team America: World Police" so this discussion is moot.
The Sunni Arab states will all be building their own bombs (if they aren't already) soon. Most of them can afford it, especially if the alternative is getting in bed with the US President who also sleeps with Sunni foes, like Israel.

Thomas Collins

Anduril, I suspect you don't agree with my view of the nature of the current Iranian regime, but if you did, would you then acknowledge that Roth's view of the regime's foreign policy as being "conservative" doesn't hold up? That is, there is every reason for Iran's regime to have a "conservative" foreign policy ("conservative" in this sense I am taking to include strategic use of proxies but no direct confrontations with other powers) if it doesn't yet possess a significant nuclear weapons arsenal and a credible delivery system. A nation can bide its time for an attack until it has sufficient strength.

My overall point is that the focus of discussions should be on the regime.

Cecil Turner

Contrary to popular belief, Israel is not afraid of a nuclear attack by Iran or Hezbollah;

If one pauses here and engages in a bit of critical thinking, the only possible conclusion is that the rest of the piece isn't worth reading. If you carry on anyway, you'll find it really isn't. But if you engage in some really creative thinking, you can pretend it's deep. (Which it is, in a way.)


Okay, I think we need a lyric writer..

To dream, five impossible dreams,...



...and W made me more Liberal.

But, no matter when this NYT piece was published, I would have found it stupid.


Roth describes the Islamic Republic's foreign policy as 1) rational and 2) fairly conservative ("traditional" might be another applicable term--the Islamic Republic's overall foreign policy doesn't differ that much from Persian foreign policy of the past). I think it's difficult to argue otherwise. Given Persian history and the Iranian present--namely, that Iran is surrounded by hostile neighbors and great powers that have designs on influencing Iran for their own purposes--it is perfectly rational for Iran to seek regional hegemony or a regional security zone of influence. In fact, that goal is just as rational, if not more so, as Israel's goal of maintaining regional hegemony for itself.

The rational and relatively conservative approach that the Islamic Republic takes in pursuing this overall goal is illustrated by their support for the US invasion of Afghanistan. That support appears to have been based on a very rational calculation of the relative threats posed to Iran by, on the one hand, the radical Sunni regimes of the Taliban and a nuclear armed Pakistan and, on the other hand, a US regime that adamantly supports Israel's goal of continued regional hegemony--a goal that significantly conflicts with Iran's own long term aims. Within that matrix, Iran appears to have come to a very rational conclusion: that it was in their interest to delay their long term goal of excluding or limiting a US military presence in Iran's projected sphere of influence in the interest of the short term goal of dealing a setback to Iran's Sunni enemies. There was also the further possibility of leveraging this support of the US invasion of Afghanistan to obtain some influence over US policy in the region.

All this strikes me as quite rational and fairly conservative. That it hasn't worked out in all respects as Iran would have wished shows that neither Iranian nor Neocon strategists are omniscient.

Iranian support of Hezbollah also strikes me as quite rational and fairly conservative, from a traditional Iranian standpoint. Having observed Israel's relations with the surrounding Arab states--to include Iran's enemy, Saddamite Iraq--it strikes me that the Iranian strategists came to the conclusion that it would be very much in Iran's interest to keep both Israel and the Sunni Arab states occupied with a Shiite proxy group, while Iran patiently sought to build up its regional capabilities. Support for Hezbollah is a relatively inexpensive and relatively low risk way for Iran to accomplish that goal, and this approach would appear to have paid dividends for Iran.

Is all this just a smoke screen, buying time until that moment when Iran will be able to strike a suicidal blow against the Zionist enemy--thus, presumably, delivering what remains of the Middle East to Persia's centuries old enemies, the Sunni Arabs? Roth doubts Iranian suicidal intentions, and I do too. Neither Roth nor I, nor any other rational observer that I'm aware of, doubts that an Iranian attack on Israel would constitute national suicide. Roth believes that the Iranian goal is much more rational: that by acquiring an independent nuclear capability Iran will be able to hold both Israel and other powers--to include Pakistan and the US--at bay and carve out for itself a security zone which it believes, with good reason, is essential for its long term security.

This is not to suggest that an Iran that had accomplished this strategic goal would be content to mind its own business. Roth recognizes Iran's deep antipathy (shared by Sunni Arabs) for Zionist Israel. However, his argument is that it will be very difficult to prevent Iran from achieving goals that are quite rational and realistic and, yes, fairly conservative. Contrary to the hysteria that we hear almost exclusively in the US, Iran is unlikely to overreach--any assessment of the Islamic Republic's foreign policy leads to the conclusion that, rhetoric aside, it is consistently cautious and methodical. To blunt or limit Iran's aims will require a more creative response than has so far been forthcoming. At least as far as we can judge from public statements.

Thomas Collins

Anduril, I depart from the view that an Iranian attack on Israel would be suicidal. I am not of the view that Iran, having amassed a few nuclear warheads and some sort of delivery system that may or may not evade missile defense, is going to lob them at Israel. My argument is that once the world accepts Iran as a nuclear power, the regime's increased clout will allow it to develop a technologically sophisticated system that could plausibly develop into a first strike capability that Khamenei or his successors will use. I suspect that you disagree with this. That's fine, noone has a monopoly of wisdom on this issue. However, positing a scenario in which Mahmoud mounts a nuke and takes off for Tel Aviv is a caricature of the argument that the current Iranian regime views the military destruction of Israel as an achievable goal.


..and W made me more Liberal.

That makes sense in the scheme of things. What did Clinton and Reagan do to you?

..and W made me more Liberal.
Hmmm... Does that make you a reactionary?

(Reactive at least...)


Under the supposedly more moderate regime of
Rafsanjani as opposed to Moussavi's first term
they targeted Buenos Aires, twice to prove a point, Defense Minister Vahidi, was among the
planners for that operation



Loved Reagan, still do. I preferred the triangulating Clinton to the 1993 edition -- thought the Republican Congress/ Dem presdent accomplished a lot until the whole Moica thing shot it all to heck.


My father in law had a saying: "No matter who you elect, the government always gets in." Seems to fit, somehow.


To dream five impossible dreams
To love the unbearable O
To lie with incredible chutzpah
To run when the brave find a foe

To fight despite being wrong
To blame anyone you can find
To make your opponents sound scary
To reach no one with half a mind

This is my quest
To follow Bill Ayers
I promised to bring hope
Now I don't but who cares

To fight against the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to send us to Hell
For editorial applause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest in a t-shirt with my own name on it

And the world will have to live with this
That one man, adored by media stars
Still strove with his last teleprompter
To breach David's six-pointed star


Talk about a stretch:

My argument is that once the world accepts Iran as a nuclear power, the regime's increased clout will allow it to develop a technologically sophisticated system that could plausibly develop into a first strike capability that Khamenei or his successors will use.

1. The amount of "clout," let alone scientific know how, that Iran has at present--which is not inconsiderable; look how they're jerking the US around in a variety of ways--has yet to allow for the development of a SINGLE nuke of any sort. And from this stretch you posit that "clout" could lead to "a technologically sophisticated system" that would then morph into a "plausible" first strike capability? Plausible, like, not just counting on the Israelis being asleep at their controls.

2. To be plausibly non-suicidal, a first strike capability has to eliminate the target's second strike retaliatory capability. I presume, then, that you envision an Iranian first strike that would not only take out Israel's land based nukes (widely believed to be capable of surviving a nuclear strike) but would also take out Israel's submarine based second strike capability? And this remarkable sophisticated capability--one that no other nation I'm aware of has developed--Iran will accomplish by means of..."increased clout?"

3. There are more obvious and rational explanations for Iran's desire for nukes, and Roth (among others) has hit on most of them.

4. I would not count on Iran gaining a decisive technological edge over Israel within the foreseeable future. Roth correctly identifies the real threat to Israel.

you might find that you are more persuasive than you already are ... if you stayed away from the snarky comments and considered the possibility that those engaging with you might be as knowledgable or more so than you

Would it be impertinent to ask which of the available sources on Israel's second strike capabilities you reviewed before postulating a plausible Iranian first strike capability in the future?


I admit it's no Retracto the Correction Alpaca Theme Song.


"n a few short years we have gone from writing f****** retard, to fucking r*****."


Read recently Twain's "Puddinghead Wilson" (1894) to the girls.
The N-word was ubiquitous, but in a section where someone was using vehement language Twain printed "d---ed" for the outrageously shocking and contemptible word "damned."

100 years later I hear "damned" on any sitcom nightly on the Disney Channel, and the only folks who can get away with the formerly ubiquitous N-word, are Rap Stars and Senator Robert Byrd. It's retarded.---Ooops.


--If one pauses here and engages in a bit of critical thinking, the only possible conclusion is that the rest of the piece isn't worth reading.--



One of the commenters at Big Journalism rated the song a 9...because it has a beat and you can dance to it. Hahaha


--If one pauses here and engages in a bit of critical thinking, the only possible conclusion is that the rest of the piece isn't worth reading.--


Posted by: Ignatz | February 09, 2010 at 05:11 PM

Doncha mean "nope"? Ignorant opinion, either way.

Thomas Collins

No, anduril, it wouldn't be impertinent to ask about my level of knowledge about Israel's second strike capabilities, just as it wouldn't be impertinent for you to ask about my level of knowledge of Israel's missile defense capabilities or for that matter my level of knowledge of whether there are models estimating the likelihood of Iran surviving a second strike under various scenarios of Iranian and Israeli levels of technological development or what is required to develop these models and whether the debate about whether Ogarkov contemplated a USSR first strike capability could inform this discussion, but it would be a diversion, because my argument focuses on the nature of the Iranian regime. The calculus of that regime is in my view different from that of you or Kahn or Codevilla (believe it or not, anduril, I may have some knowledge about and given some thought to arguments about dealing with a nuclear Iran (Codevilla) or about the calculations that go into the ability to win a nuclear war (Kahn)). And while we are discussing impertinence, would it be impertinent of me to ask you whether you think supporters of regime change in Iran are ignorant of the items you have mentioned or measure them in a manner different from you?


OK, that's a very long way of saying you won't respond.

Thomas Collins

I have responded to your questions to the same extent you have responded to mine, anduril. But if you think I am hiding an ignorance of Israel's second strike capability and the models of what that could mean for Iran's population, not to mention Israel's missile defenses, please do educate (don't use complicated equations when describing the models, since I no doubt won't understand them). I won't ask again about a good faith discussion about the Iranian regime and how that fits into the calculation, because I have given up that you will engage on that issue.


You're wasting my time. But no more.

Thomas Collins

I agree, anduril, I am wasting your time. You appear insistent on demonstrating that if the Iranian regime is viewed as a typical regime in the Hobbesian world, it would not launch a nuclear attack against Israel. I never argued against that proposition. I would have thought you would have recognized that by reason of my LUNing the Waltz article. So, if you insist on demonstrating your ability to establish a proposition that I am not contradicting, engaging with me on this is no doubt a colossal waste of your time.

Henny Youngman


Your kids have a great dad.


I don't know what the hell Henny Youngman was doing posting with my avatar, so let's try that again.


Your kids have a great dad!

The Henny Youngman applied to...oh, never mind. somewhere on some future post.

And speaking of Scotch. My BP Aberdeen bud's were bummed because it got that the distilleries were making so much money exporting the high priced, greater aged Single Malts to Asia, that they complained it was tough to find anything beyond a 10 year in the homeland. Still have never found your Bruichladdich yet, but am still on that mission.

Say hey to our Deadhorser.

If's she's doing OK, please let us know in some future post in an aside.

Cecil Turner

Just a quick note about the Israeli "submarine based second strike" capability.

It's important to understand we're not talking about a fleet of 19,000-ton Ohio-class Trident submarines (with 24 MIRVed ballistic missiles each), but three (eventually up to six) 1900-ton Dolphin diesel-electric boats--less than a third the size of one of our attack boats--that may have a few limited range nuke-capable cruise missiles on board. (There were reports of a SLCM {Popeye Turbo} launched at nearly 1000mi, but considering the air launched range is about a tenth of that, the likelihood is that it's propaganda by a factor of ~5.)

Regardless, the obvious response is to deploy SAMs capable of intercepting cruise missiles, which the Iranians continue to do:

TEHRAN, Feb 8, 2010 - Iran boasted on Monday it is manufacturing a home-built air defence missile system which would be better than the Russian S-300, which has been ordered by Tehran but yet to be delivered by Moscow.
Yeah, right. But you never know . . . they might believe their own press releases.

Thomas Collins

Daddy, I just hope that Northern Illinois earthquake was not caused by my Deadhorser partying in Evanston. In any event, she continues her gender studies studies and has made it through the first round of a competition for students starting their own business (her business plan is for a student dating service that will be classy [different from the usual anonymous online stuff] and deal with all possible romantic combinations (MF, FM, MM, FF, ZZ and who knows what else).

In any event, I'll send the Deadhorser your greetings.


You appear insistent on demonstrating that if the Iranian regime is viewed as a typical regime in the Hobbesian world, it would not launch a nuclear attack against Israel.

I demonstrated at length that your bare, unsupported assertions that Iran would be able in future to develop (via "increased clout") a plausibly non-suicidal first strike capability against Israel are just that--bare, unsupported assertions. Not surprisingly, you rigidly refuse to address these issues, since they render irrelevant your entire construct of Iranian exceptionalism. Without such a capability, Khomeinist ideology is no more than pissing into the wind.

Thomas Collins

Anduril, I thought you weren't going to allow me to waste your time any more. Oh well, at least you have responded in a summary manner to what I have posited as the key issue, the nature of the Iranian regime. You dismiss my view of the Iranian regime as a construct. Just to show you there are no hard feelings, I offer in the LUN an analysis of the development of Israel's nuclear program (with background on the prior use of unconventional weapons in the Middle East), the strategic purposes of that program and Israeli use of the "nuclear card" in the 1973 war. Although this article and Waltz's are somewhat out of date, I believe they provide the best introduction to the general arguments of those who argue that a nuclear proliferated world is not necessarily a more dangerous one and the overall strategic objectives of Israel's nuclear program. These articles actually present anduril's case without anduril's fulminations.

Now, back to you, anduril. Let's look at your last post, in which you refer to my "unsupported assertions" about an Iranian nuclear attack against Israel that would be "plausibly non-suicidal." You are once again cleverly avoiding the issue of the nature of the Iranian regime. An attack that is "plausibly non-suicidal" to Thucydides, Hobbes or Kahn may have a different meaning from one that is "plausibly non-suicidal" to a follower of Khomeini. Now, perhaps you think you are so versed in Khomeini's jurisprudence that it is not worth engaging on this issue. But please, anduril, so I don't continue to waste your time, at least acknowledge that it is the nature of the Iranian regime that is the basis of our disagreement, and not assertions about first and second strike capability. In other words, it's fine that you reject my request to engage on the issue of the nature of the Iranian regime, but don't go pretending that we can discuss strategic nuclear issues as applied to Iran unless we come to terms with such nature.

Thomas Collins

Whoops! Anduril has me so intimidated that I forgot the LUN. Let's try again.

Cecil Turner

A first strike has to reduce the enemy's capability to an acceptable level, not zero. Considering the obvious imbalances in productivity and vulnerability, a nuclear Iran will eventually have that capability versus Israel. How soon is a matter of conjecture, but we're talking years, not decades. Add in a sponsor (e.g., PRC) and that becomes a very few years.

Moreover, considering the history of Iranian attacks against Israel (using catspaws not even plausibly denied), there are obvious options that don't require a technological edge. One might mistakenly conclude from reading the above that a first strike capability was somehow more difficult than a second strike one.


No, I'm not going to play games. I note that you continue refusing to address my position directly and keep shifting your own markers--you first state forthrightly:

1. I depart from the view that an Iranian attack on Israel would be suicidal.

but then offer an unclear formulation without explanation, but implying (in contradiction to your first statement) that Iran would contemplate risking national suicide:

2. An attack that is "plausibly non-suicidal" to Thucydides, Hobbes or Kahn may have a different meaning from one that is "plausibly non-suicidal" to a follower of Khomeini.


I'll revise that. Having first declared that an Iranian attack on Israel would NOT be suicidal, you clearly state that that Iran would undertake actions that Westerners DO regard as suicidal. This is hide the ball behavior.


--Doncha mean "nope"?--

No, I meant "yep" which is why I wrote "yep".

"Plausibly non suicidal" seems a rather thin reed for a nation to stake its survival on when one of its opponents main exports is devices for suicide bombers and its president appears to subscribe to the theology that he can help bring about the appearance of the 12th Imam by igniting an Armageddon-like conflagration.


"Having first declared that an Iranian attack on Israel would NOT be suicidal"

That does not compute elf lord.

The view that "an Iranian attack on Israel would be suicidal" is an absolute statement.

To say "an Iranian attack on Israel would be suicidal by our standards but not theirs" is a departure from that view. So your paraphrase of the position is a straw dummy.

Thomas Collins

I'm through playing games with you too, anduril. I thought that perhaps I hadn't been clear enough earlier that confronting the nature of the Iranian regime was a necessary first step in evaluating what Iran would consider to be suicidal. Upon rereading my posts, I realize that I have been crystal clear, and it is you who are hiding the ball. I also note that your selective quotes from my posts leave out those portions demonstrating that I am speaking about the Iranian nuclear threat developing over time in the context of Khameinei or his successors. Finally, I note that I have cited analytical studies supporting your position in an effort to indicate that I acknowledge that this is a difficult issue. Anyone who has an interest in this (perhaps noone but you and I), can reread our posts and determine who is hiding what ball and who is willing to look at all sides of the issue. From my perspective, however, I have to conclude that the essence of your response to engage on the nature of the Iranian regime is that my notion of the Iranian regime is a "construct of Iranian exceptionalsim" that you find not worthy of discussion. Fine, don't discuss it. You indicated that you thought engaging with me was a waste of your time. So, stop wasting your time.


boris, you're just a dummy. A total waste of space.

Ignatz, feel free to document your contention.


Collins, you're simply a liar--my selective quotes are scrupulously fair and DO NOT leave out your blathering about "development." Here's what you just wrote:

your selective quotes from my posts leave out those portions demonstrating that I am speaking about the Iranian nuclear threat developing over time in the context of Khameinei or his successors.

And here's a selection from my post yesterday in which I directly quote your February 09, 2010 at 03:29 PM nonsense post about "development"--your words are italicized:

My argument is that once the world accepts Iran as a nuclear power, the regime's increased clout will allow it to develop a technologically sophisticated system that could plausibly develop into a first strike capability that Khamenei or his successors will use.

Posted by: anduril | February 09, 2010 at 05:01 PM

You're unable to engage on the issues and so resort to downright dishonesty. But you're right. Trying to dialog with a liar is a waste of time. That's a mistake I'll learn from.


"boris, you're just a dummy. A total waste of space"

Elf Lord, feel free to document your contention.


Ignatz, feel free to document your contention.

I mean, re "its president appears to subscribe to the theology that he can help bring about the appearance of the 12th Imam by igniting an Armageddon-like conflagration." I'd be interested in documentation that he personally subscribes to that as a matter of policy. I don't doubt he subscribes to many wacky beliefs, but I contend that the Iranian state is directed under guiding principles that are susceptible to rational analysis.

As for the suicide belts, I note that they're for export. They seem to have learned something from the war with Saddam.


BTW elfin crank, your 10:31 and 10:42 straw dummy comments left out the "over time" detail in order to construct a silly "hide the ball" conclusion. So the claim of selective quotataion is accuarate in at least one case.

Your defense would be like saying "but officer I wasn't speeding yesterday".

JM Hanes


"I try to maintain a civilized and reasoned level of discourse."

"Ignorant opinion, either way."
"You're wasting my time."
"boris, you're just a dummy. A total waste of space."
"Collins, you're simply a liar."


Ahmadinejad was a Basij, he's part of the Hojatieh, a group so radical Khomeini banished
it. Vahidi, the defense minister has been involved in these 'martyr' operations from the beginning, from Beirut to Buenos Aires, where are the countervailing facts

Thomas Collins

Perhaps one thing on which we'll agree, anduril, is that by calling me a liar, you are characterizing me as someone who intentionally deceives. All I can say is that anyone who desires can look at your quotes from my posts in the context of what you were asserting, and my responses, and determine for themselves whether I am a liar and determine for themselves what you are. In addition, anyone interested can take a look at my LUNs and determine for themselves whether someone who was trying to intentionally deceive would LUN the type of articles I have LUNed.

Let me add that I have a view, which I realize may not be shared by many JOMers, that the insight gained from your posts outweighs the tedious nature of your insults. Perhaps someday you will realize that you step on your own arguments by such insults.


--As for the suicide belts, I note that they're for export.--

I note that their nuclear weapons are also intended for the export market.

Thomas Collins

Following up on narciso's post, see LUN for a brief summary of Basij thought, including the aspect of martyrdom. This is one aspect of an examination of the nature of the current Iranian regime. It is not the only aspect, and it is certainly the case that stalwarts of a cause may be used by the regime notwithstanding that the center of gravity of the regime is not as radical as the stalwarts. However, in examining the pros and cons of a concerted effort at regime change in Iran, study of Basij thought is an important componenet.


--I don't doubt he subscribes to many wacky beliefs, but I contend that the Iranian state is directed under guiding principles that are susceptible to rational analysis.--

That statement is close to meaningless.
Many things, including quite irrational or insane things, are "susceptible to rational analysis". That doesn't mean the things themselves are rational.
You, relatively safe here in America, apparently believe the Israelis should stake their existence on the alleged non suicidal tendencies of the regime in Iran.

They, as the target, understandably are less sanguine about the mullahs reasonableness.

I do however hope our DoD is not as complacent toward the twelvers' alleged self preservation instincts as you, considering their explorations of the feasibilty of an EMP stike on the US.

Thomas Collins

Following up on Ignatz's remarks on the regime, see LUN for an article on Iranian power struggles in 2005 which article summarizes the idea of martyrdom under Ahmadinejad's conception of Islamic justice. The article itself acknowledges the various factions in the Iranian regime, not all of which factions necessarily subscribe to martyrdom. The martyrdom faction is strong enough, however, that it is understandable that Israel might be "less sanguine" (in Ignatz's words) about reason prevailing in the Iranian regime.


the insight gained from your posts outweighs the tedious nature of your insults.

ass kissing doesn't influence me--except to rapidly seek distance from the ass kisser.

so you admit you were deceptive but claim you weren't intentionally so. based on this string of posts i see no reason to take your word for that. if i did, it would only mean you're stupid or reckless in you're represenations. either way, i've learned my lesson.

Ignatz, it was documentation that I was looking for, not speculation. If you don't have the documentation, just say so--there's nothing to be embarrassed about; I don't have that documentation either. For the rest, Israel should not base its security policy on the type of speculation that JOMers routinely engage in.

I note that their nuclear weapons are also intended for the export market.

1. They don't have nuclear weapons.

2. Once again, I'd be interested in documentation that the Iranians intend to export nuclear weapons when/if they're able to develop them. I think the Iranians are smarter than that, and so does Roth...Oh, but you didn't read Roth, deeming it "not worth reading." You're loss:

Since it is doubtful that Iran will use nuclear weapons against Israel or surrender control of the ultimate weapon to Hezbollah -- a point made recently by retired General Shlomo Gazit in Ma’arachot, the quarterly journal published by the Israeli military -- one can safely assume that the root of Israel’s Iranian obsession lies elsewhere.

You, relatively safe here in America...

Do you know, lately I feel less so...


"rapidly seek distance from the ass kisser"

You misspelled "kicker".

Thomas Collins

I think anduril has found an ally, the blogger known as a. So I'm being double teamed. Well, a, I don't recall saying I was deceptive, but I'm sure you'll come up with some quote to make your case. As far as posterior pecking goes, what makes you think I have any desire to gain your favor or anduril's favor that would lead me to peck either posterior? As far as your distancing yourself from me and anduril's distancing himself or herself from me, I earlier acknowledged (forgive me for not having the exact quote at hand; perhaps I am trying to lie or deceive again) that I believed anduril was correct that I was wasting anduril's time. So, stop allowing me to waste anduril's time and your time, a, and simply ignore me!

JM Hanes

ass kissing graciousness doesn't influence me.....



Since it is doubtful that nuclear weapons will be used ... one can safely assume any expressed concerns are misplaced.

WRT nuclear attack "doubtful" does NOT lead to "safely assume".

Also the whole Islam suicide belt thingy argues against over reliance on rational analysis.


--Since it is doubtful that Iran will use nuclear weapons against Israel........--

I'd say most of the world, including a good many Jews, considered it rather doubtful in the mid 30's that Herr Hitler would carry out his threats in quite so effective a manner as well. Perhaps, unlike some, the Israelis learned to take threats to wipe them off the planet somewhat more seriously next time, which is to say this time.

--Once again, I'd be interested in documentation that the Iranians intend to export nuclear weapons when/if they're able to develop them.--

That was a joke that apparently sailed over your head; the implication being they would be exported to Israel on the business end of a ballisitc missile.

--Ignatz, it was documentation that I was looking for, not speculation.--

Don't much care what you're looking for. If you are looking for something I can highly recommend the internet; it's a world of wonders at your fingertips.
I consider it unlikely you will find what you appeared to request; a document laying out that the president of Iran has explicitly made as his official policy his crazy theology.
You will find it pretty easy to locate chaps such as Bernard Lewis who are able to, not unreasonably, connect the dots between the twelvers' theology, such as Ahmadinejad', and their threats.

As the title of this thread suggests it only takes one slim camel jockey to get those explosive bolts to pop and ride the big one into Tel Aviv, a whoopin it up and a wavin his turban.

But you appear willing to take that chance on behalf of those benighted Jews. I'm sure you'll light a menora in their memory should you be a bit off in your rational analysis.


With regard to Hitler, there were a fair number of people, including Jews, who saw what was coming--if not in detail, at least in general outline--and who got the hell out. The greater part of Holocaust victims, who lived outside Germany, didn't have that option. Hitler had his Mein Kampf, so why shouldn't Ahmedinejad have some parallel confessional document? I suspect that the Iranian leadership is one helluva lot more rational than the Nazi leadership was.

Anyway, it's my belief that Israel can't take out the Iranian nuclear program (if they truly believed their hype and had the ability they would have done so by now) and the US won't. What's Israel to do if this is true?


"I suspect that the Iranian leadership is one helluva lot more rational than the Nazi leadership was"

Maybe "rational" as defined by a crazy elf.


For those who claim to know the voice of the Iranian people, this is a fascinating blog: Listen to the Iranian People. Here are some of the highlights:

Thursday promises to be another dramatic day in Iran, and to lift hopes here in the West. It’s the 31st anniversary of the 1979 revolution, and opposition leaders have scheduled rallies of the sort that the increasingly repressive government has had trouble gracefully repressing. As we watch reformers once again face off against the black-clad motorcycle-riding Basij militia, it will be tempting to hope that maybe, somehow, the good guys will win this time; and with a new, liberal regime ascendant, maybe the “Iran problem” — in particular, the nuclear standoff, which took a turn for the worse this week — can at last be solved.

Unfortunately, we’ll be kidding ourselves. Even if the reformers miraculously swept into power, that wouldn’t help much on the nuclear front. Here the opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been at least as hard line as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The reason is that the Iranian people — reformers and conservatives alike — feel pretty strongly about the nuclear issue. The sooner we get clear on why, the better our hopes of resolving this mess.

The inimitable Ahmadinejad has made it easy to frame the power struggle in Iran with gratifying simplicity: an authoritarian religious zealot bent on acquiring a nuclear bomb versus reasonable moderates who see things our way. But this framing suffered a little-publicized setback a few months ago.

In October, negotiators in Geneva reached a deal that could have defused the nuclear issue, at least for a while: Iran would send much of its low-enriched uranium abroad, where it would be further enriched and then returned in a form suited for medical use and not weaponizable.

Then, after Ahmadinejad hailed this deal as a “victory” for Iran, it was denounced not just by some conservatives in Tehran but by the “progressive” Mousavi. The deal collapsed, and Ahmadinejad eventually discovered the wisdom of Mousavi’s position. Just this week he proudly announced that the uranium in question would be enriched by Iran — not to weapons-grade levels (90 percent), but to medical-use levels (20 percent), an achievement that would move Iranian scientists along the learning curve toward weapons-grade.

The timing is convenient. Coming right before Thursday’s demonstrations, the move may be an attempt by Ahmadinejad to seize the mantle of nationalism — in effect, to beat Mousavi at the game Mousavi started when he helped sabotage the Geneva deal in the first place.


Why such strong support for nuclear energy in a country whose natural endowments don’t exactly leave it devoid of energy sources? The history of Iran’s nuclear program is long and tortuous, and there have definitely been periods (possibly including now) when the government was trying to develop nukes. But at the popular level, a separate motivation has taken shape: pride in the technical prowess embodied in the program.

This pride may have grown more intense and nationalistic under Western pressure to constrain the program. Though most Iranians say sanctions already imposed on the country have hurt it, 86 percent of them — and 78 percent of Mousavi supporters — say that Iran should not “give up its nuclear activities regardless of the circumstances.”

This resistance to external punishment suggests that a new round of United Nations sanctions might not be a game changer even if, as now seems unlikely, China let them get through the Security Council. Less auspicious still are the blunter, and unilateral, sanctions that have gotten overwhelming support in Congress.


When asked about Iran’s having a nuclear energy program but not doing the enriching, only 31 percent of Iranians — and 43 percent of Mousavi backers — were on board. fThis helps explains Mousavi’s political logic in denouncing the Geneva deal; for many Iranians enrichment on their soil has become the focal point of pride.

However, a follow-up question was posed to those Iranians — slightly more than half — who had flat-out rejected this idea of a nuclear program sans enrichment: How about if Iran were allowed to enrich uranium but gave “international inspectors unrestricted access to all Iranian nuclear facilities to make sure that it is not making an atomic bomb?” Most said they were fine with this.

When you collate the results for these two questions, the upshot is good news: only a minority of Iranians insist that Iran be able to enrich uranium without international monitoring.

[Me again.]

There's more interesting discussion. One conclusion to take away is that the cartoonish caricatures of Iran so prevalent here at JOM are of little real use for understanding the situation.

Cecil Turner

Oh, but you didn't read Roth, deeming it "not worth reading." You're loss:

. . . the only possible conclusion is that the rest of the piece isn't worth reading. If you carry on anyway, you'll find it really isn't. [emphasis added]
Didn't read that bit too well, didja? (Can't spell "your" either, but I won't stoop to being a grammar Nazi. Nope. Yep. Whatever.)

One conclusion to take away is that the cartoonish caricatures of Iran so prevalent here at JOM are of little real use for understanding the situation.

The funny part of this is that the only one who claims to've divined the will of the Iranians is the one who insists they won't attack. (Despite public assurances they're not building a bomb . . . which they obviously are; and equally public assurances to wipe Israel off the map, which is a bit more plausible.) BTW, Ol' Bill Ockham suggests the enrichment deal was just a play for time, as is the 20% explanation.


I won't stoop to being a grammar Nazi.

But a spelling Nazi? But that's OK--I try very hard to get both grammar and spelling right and don't usually mind being reminded, as long as there is no lying.

public assurances to wipe Israel off the map

There seems to be some debate about that--including from this non-fan of Ahmedinejad: 'Wiped off the Map' – The Rumor of the Century:

Across the world, a dangerous rumor has spread that could have catastrophic implications. According to legend, Iran's president has threatened to destroy Israel, or, to quote the misquote, "Israel must be wiped off the map." Contrary to popular belief, this statement was never made.

That's just the first paragraph. The details follow.

When you're done with that, you can carry on to this wide ranging discussion of what was meant: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israel.

Mutually Assured Destruction only works with people who are not mad.

a, would you move to Tel Aviv?


What a silly question. I'm an American. Why would I move to Tel Aviv?


A preview of coming events in iran:http://pajamasmedia.com/michaelledeen/2010/02/10/another-showdown-at-the-mullahs-corral/

Cecil Turner

. . . as long as there is no lying.

Someone else gets a quote wrong, they're lying. You dick one up, it's okay? Wouldn't bring up the "lying" subject on this one if I was you.

There seems to be some debate about that . . .

Not really. There's some dispute about which idiom is the correct translation, but little that he said it. He obviously wasn't wishing the Israelis well. Neither antiwar.com nor Juan Cole are disinterested.

a, would you move to Tel Aviv?

A question better asked of Ariel Roth.


Grammar Nazi: if I were you. Contrary to fact condition in subjunctive?

Debate/dispute seem synonymous here.

Where did I ever say that Ahmedinejad did not say what he said? I won't say you're lying, but I will say that you, uh, goofed this one up. (See, I prefer to avoid pointless vulgarity.) The point is, a correct understanding of the idiom is very important to determining the intent of the speaker.

Are you disinterested? I'm not. I'm passionate about the truth--the disinterested I will vomit out of my mouth.

What's your problem with Ariel Ilan Roth? As far as I can tell the guy's an ardent Zionist, an actively religious Jew who's involved in his community, he graduated from Hebrew U. in Jerusalem and he served in the IDF. He's devoted his life's work to ensuring the security of Israel. I would've thought he'd be a guy after your own heart. I quote him for his strategic thinking, not for his Zionism.

I won't go through the translation stuff, but here's the heart of the Ahmedinejad article:

On December 13, 2006, more than a year after The World Without Zionism conference, two leading Israeli newspapers, the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, published reports of a renewed threat from Ahmadinejad. The Jerusalem Post's headline was Ahmadinejad: Israel will be 'wiped out', while Haaretz posted the title Ahmadinejad at Holocaust conference: Israel will 'soon be wiped out'.

Where did they get their information? It turns out that both papers, like most American and western media, rely heavily on write ups by news wire services such as the Associated Press and Reuters as a source for their articles. Sure enough, their sources are in fact December 12th articles by Reuter's Paul Hughes [Iran president says Israel's days are numbered], and the AP's Ali Akbar Dareini [Iran President: Israel will be wiped out].

The first five paragraphs of the Haaretz article, credited to "Haaretz Service and Agencies." are plagiarized almost 100% from the first five paragraphs of the Reuters piece. The only difference is that Haaretz changed "the Jewish state" to "Israel" in the second paragraph, otherwise they are identical.

The Jerusalem Post article by Herb Keinon pilfers from both the Reuters and AP stories. Like Haaretz, it uses the following Ahmadinejad quote without attribution: ["Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out," he added]. Another passage apparently relies on an IRNA report:

"The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom," Ahmadinejad said at Tuesday's meeting with the conference participants in his offices, according to Iran's official news agency, IRNA.

He said elections should be held among "Jews, Christians and Muslims so the population of Palestine can select their government and destiny for themselves in a democratic manner."

Once again, the first sentence above was wholly plagiarized from the AP article. The second sentence was also the same, except "He called for elections" became "He said elections should be held..."

It gets more interesting.

The quote used in the original AP article and copied in the Jerusalem Post article supposedly derives from the IRNA. If true, this can easily be checked.

There you will discover the actual IRNA quote was:

"As the Soviet Union disappeared, the Zionist regime will also vanish and humanity will be liberated."

Compare this to the alleged IRNA quote reported by the Associated Press:

"The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom."

In the IRNA's actual report, the Zionist regime will vanish just as the Soviet Union disappeared. Vanish. Disappear. In the dishonest AP version, the Zionist regime will be "wiped out." And how will it be wiped out? "The same way the Soviet Union was." Rather than imply a military threat or escalation in rhetoric, this reference to Russia actually validates the intended meaning of Ahmadinejad's previous misinterpreted anti-Zionist statements.

Whichever translation you use, "wipe out" or "vanish", it seems clear that the comparison with the fall of the Soviet Union leaves his statements wide open to non-military interpretations. He obviously doesn't like Israel, but that's a different matter. What, do you want to nuke every nation whose president takes a dim view of Israel? Of America? Should we nuke China because one of their generals says people shouldn't buy our bonds. Putin was urging that, too--nuke Russia?


BTW, Cecil, if you go back and read (!) what went before, you'll see that it wasn't a matter of "get[ting] a quote wrong." The issue was the false and quite baseless assertion that I had selectively quoted someone else on the forum and had misrepresented the core of their views. The actual fact was that I had, quite characteristically, quoted the relevant passage in full, because I'm passionate about the truth.

Thomas Collins

There you go again, anduril. The 2/9/10 5:01 pm post to which you referred when you called me a liar was not the one to which I was responding when I made my selective quoting assertion. Folks can read your 2/9/10 5:01 pm post and subsequent posts and judge for themselves. Of course, even in the case of your 2/9/10 5:01 post, you were selectively quoting to ignore my acknowledgment that noone has a monopoly of wisdom on the issue and my clear statement at the end that this was not a matter of Mahmoud acting immediately. Both the tone and substance of my posts are far different from what is reflected in your posts.

I think a review of our back and forth will indicate even more selective quoting on your part than I originally asserted, anduril. You clearly wanted to move the discussion away from the issue of the regime to your analysis of Israel's second strike capabilities. Now, I never argued that this topic was unimportant. It simply wasn't the one on which I was focusing (Cecil Turner, I note, did post on this topic, anduril, so you certainly weren't being ignored).

By the way, I am surprised that you haven't enthusiastically agreed with my assertion that Iran will have increased clout as a result of becoming a nuclear power. The Foreign Affairs article you cited makes that very point, anduril. Why would the strategic balance in the Middle East change significantly as a result of Iran becoming a nuclear power unless Iran increased its clout as a result of achieving nuclear power status?

I don't claim that this back and forth is of consuming interest to many JOMers. To any who are interested, before accepting anduril's characterizations of me, I would suggest going back to the full posts and decide for yourselves.

Thomas Collins

I think you would also agree with me, anduril, that the issue on which Israel is focusing at the moment is Iranian regime change, not military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. See for example LUN.

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