“I will never surrender in Iraq! Never! Never!” McCain

Rothko20ocre20y20amarillo_3 "The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.

Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.

The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that that the US plans an  air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC’s elite Quds force. With an estimated strength of up to 90,000 fighters, the Quds’ stated mission is to spread Iran’s revolution of 1979 throughout the region.

Targets could include IRGC garrisons in southern and southwestern Iran, near the border with Iraq. US officials have repeatedly claimed Iran is aiding Iraqi insurgents. In January 2007, US forces raided the Iranian consulate general in Erbil, Iraq, arresting five staff members, including two Iranian diplomats it held until November. Last September, the US Senate approved a resolution by a vote of 76-22 urging President George W Bush to declare the IRGC a terrorist organization. Following this non-binding "sense of the senate" resolution, the White House declared sanctions against the Quds Force as a terrorist group in October. The Bush administration has also accused Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, though most intelligence analysts say the program has been abandoned."   Asia Times


Churchill20and20lincoln20photolan_2 McCain said today that "he will never surrender in Iraq!"  What the hell is he talking about?  Surrender to whom?  To Al-Qa’ida? (alkayda) They have been beaten to a pulp by the Sunni rising against them and Petraeus’ new-old tactics.  McCain would have to find Al-Qa’ida before he could surrender to them and then everyone else in the country would have to go along with the idea.  This is unlikely.  Surrender to Muqtada al-Sadr?  Have I missed something?  "Mooky" is now the leading Shia factional leader in the country?  I guess you never know…  Maybe the Mahdi has anointed him.  Surrender to Maliki and actually let him run the country?  I have had a couple of people (American) say to me recently things that demonstrate a reflexive idea that we are going to "call the shots" in Iraq indefinitely.  Is that what McCain means?

And then there is the matter of the IAEA’s plaint today that Iran has not yet answered all its questions.  That’s what it said, folks.  Read it.  This was immediately seized upon by McCain as proof that the Iranians are intent on bomb making.  Then that was followed quickly followed by a CNN lady anchor who asked Christiane Amanpour what the IAEA statement had said about Iranian INTENTIONS.  Sweet Jesus, save us from these people. Iranian intentions? 

Bush/Cheney will bombs things in Iran?  Well, why not?  At least that would be consistent with the stupidity of the rest of their reign.  Things have come to an interesting pass when Olmert appears to be a real statesman by comparison.  pl

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs

Download IAEA_Iran_Report_May2008.pdf

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47 Responses to “I will never surrender in Iraq! Never! Never!” McCain

  1. Sven Ortmann says:

    Someday we’ll wake up and it’s all over.
    No more Neocons with power, no more Iraq Civil War with Western troops involved, no more Afghan Civil War with Western troops involved…
    Some weeks later we might actually begin to do something about our own, real, domestic problems.

  2. Mongoose says:

    If it’s a stupid idea that causes enormous suffering, further isolates and weakens the US, then you can bank on Shrub/Darth Vader doing the deed. Attacking Iran meets all these pre-established criteria, thus Shrub will attack. He must fulfill his destiny. To hell with US strategic interests, to hell with prudent diplomacy, to hell with the comity of nations. Shrub needs to blow things up so that he can remind us how tough he really is. I’m sure the Iranians will learn their lesson and slink away, never to be heard from again.

  3. b says:

    “former assistant secretary of state”

  4. Andrew Kitz says:

    Col. Lang
    It seems to me that if we are going to somehow justify attacks on the IRGC, can we the public please undertake to construct a comprehensive conception of our adversary? Could you perhaps speak to claims that the IRGC is determined to “spread the revolution”? This is still a common fear (and a convenient causus bellus) among even some more or less “informed” observers. Iranian leaders, post-Khomeini, have repeatedly disavowed any continued intent to do so, having learned the attendant difficulties in such a costly manner in the 80s. Deeper analysis also suggests that the IRGC is a bureaucratic institution whose raison d’etre stems not primarily from its ideology, but from its utility as a military/industrial money-making machine that lines the coffers of regime and IRGC elites. Also, much beyond its ideology, it is simply the most reliable national defense asset for the clerical regime. Any elaboration would be most informative and welcome. Thanks

  5. kao-hsien-chih says:

    It’s kind of off topic, but the byline in the Asia Times article is a real kicker, given the topic in question!

  6. In fact I am going to pray to exactly the One you name to save us all from more war. Somebody’s been praying for Lebanon, that’s going all right so far. At this point, human reason and rational argument have made no dent.
    One Who has all power can heal all wounds and mend all that is broken. All of you who pray, get on it.

  7. jon says:

    If true, an attack on Iran will lead to terrible calamity in the Middle East. Ultimately, it would harm the US and Israel, make it far more difficult for the US to have a diplomatic and military presence in the region, an likely reduce the US’ ability to purchase oil at any price, and spike prices far higher than they are now. What’s not to love?
    Domestically, this may provide some short term advantage to Bush, and to McCain’s campaign. The electorate tends to rally behind the government and the more bellicose party when faced with threats and wars.
    As a tactic, this might backfire, as the country is fed up with Bush and the war. Unprovoked and unwarranted military attacks on Iran could lead to Pat Buchanan’s polity rising up with torches and pitchforks against Republicans and the military, and all those who enabled, supported and failed to prevent such rash and destructive behavior. Maybe they think they have nothing left to lose. Maybe Dick Cheney never had any intention of vacating the Naval Observatory, much less his secure, nondisclosed location he seems to have grown so fond of. I do have my worries about what might be tucked away in those Continuity of Government plans.
    But seeing the flag attacked, US forces under strain and taking moderate losses, might swing enough people to McCain. He has the military background, and has suggested a propensity to apply force. An attack would upstage the conventions and skewcoverage and outcomes of those events, and completely alter the character of the presidential campaign leading to the election.
    Of course, these stories about attacking Iran come with remarkable frequency. And aside from some low level looking around, picking off a few officers, blowing up the odd mosque, and enabling a couple of ragtag terrorist groups, not much has come of it, so far.
    The suggestion that Iran is working closely with the Taliban sounds extremely unlikely. If the rest of the article’s sourcing is no better, there may be little to their main claim. Given that Iran nearly invaded Afghanistan over the prior activities of the Taliban, I would think that any assistance would be relatively discrete and low level, and unlikely to materially improve Taliban operations.
    It is interesting to ponder what Iran’s response to these threats or potential attacks might be. Certainly they don’t want to see their entire infrastructure to go the same way as Iraq’s and Serbia’s. I imagine that they’re realistic enough to know that they could not win a full dress war, or a head on contest between militaries. They might decide to weather the blows, and reap the benefits of world opinion. It might also clear the way for them to actually develop a nuclear weapon.
    I would also imagine that in any hostilities, no Navy vessel in or near the Persian Gulf would be out of harms way. I would also expect Iran to act through various proxies, such as SIIC, perhaps the Mahdi Army, perhaps Hebollah. US ground troops in Iraq might only find respite in the fastness of Anbar’s deserts, or in Kurdish redoubts.
    Oil lifting in Saudi Arabia might also become touchy, due to their Shia becoming riled. And we might well lose our welcome in Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait and other points.
    Iran certainly wouldn’t surrender. Ahmadinejad and hardline mullahs would be empowered.
    I really can’t see what the strategic or long term upside for the US might be. And all because Iran might be withholding some unspecified documents relating to uranium processing and refining?

  8. Duncan Kinder says:

    This YouTube video shows that McCain has been using the phrase, “Never Surrender” to evoke a Churchillian aura, with which he identifies.
    He combines this with images of Theodore Roosevelt as well as of his captivity in Iraq.
    The overall thrust is that of gritty courage in the face of overwhelming force.
    Going to to any length to achieve energy independence would make some sense, within this Churchillian theme.
    But Iraq? All I can make sense of is that he believes that we cannot retreat and must endure. Sometimes, on other blogs, I have described Iraq as a “No Exit” scenario and signed myself, “John Paul Satre.” Subconsciously, this must be what McCain thinks.
    Except he thinks that, through grit, we shall prevail.
    I wish that were true.

  9. Walrus says:

    Col. Lang
    On 26 September 1983 off Newport, Rhode Island, the Twelve metre yacht “Australia II” passed “Liberty” at the leeward mark in the last race. She had only to beat Liberty to the upwind finish line to win the series and take the America’s Cup off the New York Yacht Club’s trophy shelf where it had remained since 1851.
    Now on that last upwind leg, Dennis Conner, skipper of Liberty, knew there was no way he had the speed to catch Australia II. The one thing he could do was to tack (alter course) as fast and as often as he could in the vain hope that Australia II would break some gear as it covered his moves.
    I think that’s what we are witnessing right now. We have a “let’s throw all the pieces in the air and maybe they will come down in our favor” moment.
    It is no accident that following visits to the ME by Rice and Cheney, Siniora suddenly decided to provoke Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is no accident that Maliki suddenly decided to get tough with the Sadrists first in Basra and now in Sadr City. These are not accidents, but deliberate attempts by desperate men to elicit reactions which might hopefully be turned to America’s and Israel’s favor.
    I note in passing that the new Lebanese President has already been “invited” to Washington, where he will no doubt be alternatively bribed and threatened into support yet more fighting against Hezbollah. Fat chance!
    As far as I can tell there are only two ways left that Bush can try to provoke a reaction (ie “throw the pieces in the air”) that might possibly lead to America’s advantage if his opponents blink.
    These are attacks either on Syria or Iran with the intention of provoking a response that “might” be able to be turned to our benefit.
    Of course the downside of this occurs if none of the Neocon / Israeli allegations about Iran and Syria are true.
    Suppose Iran has not been actively supplying IED’s, training and munitions to Iraqi militias, what if they start?
    Suppose Iran has not been secretly rearming and encouraging Hezbollah in Lebanon, what if they start?
    We are told that Iran’s Chinese cruise missiles are no match for American defence technology. What if they are?
    When I think Of President Bush, I keep thinking of the quote about Phillip II of Spain; “No experience of the failure of his strategy could shake his belief in it’s essential excellence.”

  10. J says:

    sadly it appears that bush-cheney are intent on more americans dying on the altar of israeli sacrifice. funny i don’t ever remember reading in either our bill of rights or our constitution where we americans were supposed to be israel’s sacrifical lambs, do you?
    a strike on iran has ‘nuthin’ to do with protecting the u.s., it has everything to do with doing israel’s dirty work for them, even though israel has stabbed our nation in the back so many times it’s a wonder that we can still hold fluid when we walk for all of israel’s back stabbing wounds on u.s..
    it would be great if cjcs mullen would exercise his constitutional responsibility and just say ‘no’ to bush-cheney, and making sure all-the-while that stratcom’s cc doesn’t become the pliable bush-cheney yes-man stick figure. one can ‘hope’ anyway.

  11. JohnH says:

    History will judge Bush (and possibly Bush/Mccain) legacy as a failure, in part because they totally mismanaged energy futures.
    Iraq was Bush’s energy strategy. He had no Plan B. Instead he insisted on doubling down after each setback, first in Iraq, then Iran.
    Knowing what he knew in 2000, when he promised to convince OPEC to open its spiggots, he could have hedged his bets by promoting rapid transit, high speed rail, research into ultra-lite cars, conservation, etc.
    But no, it was Iraq-Iran or bust.
    And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air over Iran will be the sights and sounds of Bush’s strategy going bust, with America waking up bewildered at their devastated economy the morning after.
    Neither will history will judge those “good American” Congressmen and Senators who blithely followed Bush to Armageddon without ever seriously considering impeachment and removal.

  12. J says:

    so your readers know, the iran safeguards report sent to the u.n. security council by the iaea, is now being circulated at the u.n. security council’s request
    the nytimes article yesterday [ http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/27/world/middleeast/27iran.html?em&ex=1212033600&en=3cf74493ed3f24d8&ei=5087 ] is full of inaccuracies and bush-world propaganda.

  13. wisedup says:

    interesting defense ploy?
    The article mentions only 10 tankers being used by Iran to store crude — a rather effective attack deterrence?
    But the below quote indicates a shortfall of 38 tankers.
    “Iran’s use of ships for storage cut the supply of available supertankers, owned by companies including Hamilton, Bermuda- based Frontline Ltd. and Euronav NV, based in Antwerp, Belgium. The number of double-hull very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, available to rent within the next 30 days dropped to 21 from 59 a month ago, according to Paris-based broker Barry Rogliano Salles.”

  14. Green Zone Cafe says:

    I can’t really believe that such an insane act will be done. It would be the final break from international norms and American tradition, waging aggressive war and setting the world on fire.
    If it happens, there will be some hairy times in Iraq. All those Quds force cells will go active and all the Special Groups will join them. Probably Badr, too, and you might see Iraqi regular forces attacking us. Fajr missiles hitting FOBs and the IZ. Glad I’m not there now.
    For what it’s worth, I think it would hurt McCain. At a minimum, the oil price rise would croak him. The American people, most especially its military families, are not going to fall for this production of cable news. We’re tired.

  15. Mark K Logan says:

    The article cites a rational of needing to “punish” the Quds for their interference in Iraq.
    But to me it appears that the Quds have played a key role in reining in Sadr.
    It seems unlikely that role went entirely unappreciated by Petraeus.
    Is it possible the author is not up to speed on events? I would like to believe that.

  16. Mad Dogs says:

    As the clock runs out on this Administration’s psychopathy, it can hardly come as a surprise that they would again paint the rest of us further into a corner than we already are.
    This Administration’s unspoken strategic agenda has been to continually
    limit our choices in this world.
    The fait accompli to be presented to our next government is as follows:
    1. Iraq – Screwed if you leave, screwed if you stay.
    2. Military Commissions for GTMO Detainees – Screwed if you try them, screwed if you don’t.
    3. War Crimes Trials for Torture – Screwed if you try Bush and Cheney et al, screwed if you don’t.
    4. Shutdown Warrantless Surveillance Programs – Screwed if you try, screwed if you don’t.
    5. And now with an attack on Iran – Screwed if you’re against it, screwed if you’re for it.
    The Republicans under Bush and Cheney have discovered their own psychopathic “Golden Rule”:
    Heads we win, tails you lose!

  17. robt willmann says:

    The purported name of the referenced article’s author is–as pointed out by kao-hsien-chih above–just about 100% funny!
    Nearly as humorous is the effort by “Muhammad Cohen” to identify his “anonymous” source.
    The source is described as–
    1. A retired
    2. U.S. career diplomat
    3. Former assistant secretary of state
    4. Still active in the foreign affairs community
    [and later in the article]
    5. An ambassador
    6. During the administration of President Bush Sr.
    My first guess at the “source” was Lawrence Eagleburger, who fits the description to a “T” except that he was an ambassador for Jimmy Carter and not during the Bush Sr administration, according to published descriptions of his career.
    Mr. Muhammad Cohen, who describes himself as a “former broadcast news producer” and “U.S. diplomat”, then discloses the names of two U.S. Senators who planned to write an op-ed article for the New York Times newspaper (that has not yet appeared) expressing their opposition to the military strikes on Iran, about which they had received “secret briefings”. They are Senators Richard Lugar and Diane Feinstein.
    If the Asia Times article is serious, it represents another effort to slow the train down. But neither Lugar nor Feinstein are in the House of Representatives, where impeachment proceedings must begin, and we have not yet heard protestations from either of them, nor, to my knowledge, have they voted against continued full-bore Iraq War funding.
    Meanwhile, ElBaradei has submitted a report to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors and the UN Security Council, but its “circulation is restricted” and it will not be released to the public unless the IAEA board decides otherwise.
    Predictably, the New York Times newspaper saw a copy of the report, but failed to publish it on the Internet or on paper. Instead, we get the Times’ biased article.
    The political conventions are in late August for the Democrats and in the first week of September for the Republicans. An attack on Iran in June, July, or early August would fit that timetable.
    Rather than slowing the train down for an attack on Iran, the hapless Congress has, by its inactivity, been left on the platform, helplessly staring at the departing train.

  18. Will says:

    “Muhammad Cohen ”
    yes, indeedy,
    very interesting byline, but apparently a real author.

  19. rc thweatt says:

    Now we know why W insists on continuing to fill the strategic petroleum reserve, in the teeth of record prices- he figures he’s going to need it. Not that it will actually help; the Iranians won’t even have to retaliate, NYMEX will do it for them. The oil traders will freak so bad that mass medical intervention will be required. Bush & Cheney might reflect that what’s left of “the Base” isn’t likely to live near public transport or drive Priuses, nor will the ‘have-mores’ care for financial chaos.
    If the Iranians do retaliate, and don’t do it piecemeal, the scenarios get pretty frightful-the Millenium Challange exercise for example; what do Bush and Cheney want to do, make Nancy Pelosi President?
    Such an order, even with Kyl-Lieberman,would be, at least arguably, illegal; the chain of command might consider that following said order,with its potentially dire consequences,coming from the lamest of lame ducks, could look pretty foolish in a few months.
    And aren’t we running operations inside Iran?

  20. anna missed says:

    I might suggest you change that Mark Rothko painting above with a more fitting one, like say his “Black on Blue”. To go with all the implications said above. He did after all commit suicide at the height of his career, or is that it?

  21. Dana Jones says:

    “interesting defense ploy?
    The article mentions only 10 tankers being used by Iran to store crude — a rather effective attack deterrence?
    But the below quote indicates a shortfall of 38 tankers.”
    Interesting indeed. Looks like they are holding a significant part of the tanker fleet hostage. Just think what will happen to world oil prices if we attack them and they sink those tankers, blaming our hot-shot fly-boys for it. The transport cost for oil will skyrocket. Who’s got dibs on the remaining boats? If its not us, we be in deep doo-doo.
    BTW: Just what is the transit time between the Gulf & the Gulf?

  22. Background on Muhammad Cohen, born Eliot Cohen:
    it’s all self-reported. He married a Muslim Indonesian woman in an Islamic ceremony. He claims they were only concerned that he was circumcised. It’s my understanding that Muslim women are not allowed to “marry out” and he would have had to convert. All it takes is saying “I witness that there is no God but God, and Muhammad is His messenger” 3x in front of a witness. (Two witnesses? It’s been a long time since I took Islam: Beliefs and Institutions)
    I know a journalist in Cairo who converted to Islam when he married his Egyptian wife. I have no idea if he “believes” or not. Doesn’t really matter.

  23. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    McCain obessing over Iran is nothing new.
    Speculating on the timing of a Cheney-Bush attack on Iran, wouldn’t October be logical? This way the White House creates a “spike” in public opinion to usher McCain to victory at the polls.
    McCain’s wild language is in line with the man I saw in the Senate of the United States…highly unstable, problems with anger management, and etc. A staff buddy (Vietnam vet/Marine Corps and other federal service) of mine used to call him the “Manchurian Candidate” …this was back in the 1980s.
    Meanwhile, the United States international position has disintegrated over the past 8 years.
    Says Rami Khoury:
    “So we now have a rare moment in the Middle East. Iran, Turkey, all the Arabs, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Israel all share one and only one common trait: They routinely ignore the advice, and the occasional threats, they get from Washington. Rice was correct in summer 2006 when she said we are witnessing the birth pangs of a new Middle East. But the emerging new regional configuration is very different from the one she fantasized about ….
    When Hezbollah and its erstwhile foes exchange kisses, a befuddled Condoleezza Rice should take care not to fall off her exercise bicycle…..
    Now that we have a draw in the broad ideological confrontation throughout the Middle East that pits Israeli-Americanism against Arab-Islamo nationalism, we should expect the players to reconsider their policies if they wish to make new gains on both sides….”
    For McCain’s “Scoop” Jackson style Zionism refer to his 2006 speech to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs where he was awarded a “Scoop” Jackson award:
    “Tehran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons clearly poses an unacceptable risk. Protected by a nuclear deterrent, Iran would feel unconstrained to sponsor terrorist attacks against any perceived enemy. Its flouting of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty would render that regime obsolete, and could induce Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others to reassess their defense posture and arsenals. The world would live, indefinitely, with the possibility that Tehran might pass nuclear materials or weapons to one of its allied terrorist networks. And coupled with its ballistic missile arsenal, an Iranian nuclear bomb would pose an existential threat to the State of Israel.”…
    It is realistic to posit a McCain victory and four more years (at least) of disastrous Ziocon foreign policy. Under such circumstances, the US will inexorably be further isolated in the emerging multipolar world.

  24. Patrick Lang says:

    Yes. That is his molten core. pl

  25. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Rothko! Arrrrgh…where’s my blood pressure medicine?
    My view is unchanged: we will not bomb Iran. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part.
    Every month that goes by means the GOP will run farther and farther (or should I say further and further?) from Bush with the hopes of keeping some seats in November. They’ve finally figured out that America wants “change.” Well, more war isn’t a change.
    Of course, I was predicting that Bush would “declare victory and leave” back before the 2006 elections, and we see how well that analysis worked out!

  26. wisedup says:

    It seems that all the GI bills addressing PTSD are just too painful for him to consider touching. He can’t be sure that he has really pulled through his experience, and no doctor could ever give a clean bill of mental health.

  27. Curious says:

    Market is not reacting to Iran war. So everybody is still chill and watching China earthquake and olympic. Come july, it will be interesting.
    btw, I don’t know how they can fit another war into the budget, economy is going down fast. a troop pay can’t support family these days.
    “Perhaps not in the sense as defined by economists. … But people are already feeling the effects of a recession.” “It will be deeper and longer than what many think,” he added.
    Foreclosures in Military Towns Surge at Four Times U.S. Rate
    Dow Chemical hikes prices 20 percent, citing costs
    strategically, I think Iran simply has to conclude as long as there is neocon they are in state of war one way or another. So they will react and anticipate.

  28. jonst says:

    Do you get the sense that any (much?)thought is going into how to protect the supply lines from any Iranian reaction if we do bomb Iran?

  29. Andy says:

    The anonymous source for this article is intriguing. Unfortunately, the article only provides a timeframe for one position – ambassador under GHWB. Some very quick and rough research only provided one candidate that was both an assistant secretary (at some point in his/her career) and an ambassador under GHWB and is retired: Thomas Pickering. I would caution that my 15 minutes of research is not exhaustive and so other possibilities may exist – assuming the author’s description of the source is accurate – but I think my choice is probably correct – the list of possibles is pretty small.
    Many commenters here believe an attack on Iran would give a boost to McCain politically – I don’t see much evidence for that especially since an Iranian attack is quite unpopular in the US. The only exception I can see that would provide a true “rallying” effect is an attack in response to some clear provocation and even then it might help Obama just as much as McCain.
    One quite annoying misrepresentation in the article is this line: “The Bush administration has also accused Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, though most intelligence analysts say the program has been abandoned.” No intelligence analyst that I know of has said Iran “abandoned” its program, much less “most” analysts. The NIE itself and senior analysts on record have said the program was “halted” which carries a substantially different meaning from “abandon” in the context of a nuclear weapons development program.
    Finally, on McCain’s use of “never surrender,” such terminology annoys me to no end, but politically it’s probably helpful to McCain. First, it feeds the red meat crowd that believes the “victory” or “surrender” dichotomy. Secondly, such terms are so vaporous in meaning that they can be redefined on the fly to suit the situation at hand. This provides political flexibility that doesn’t allow McCain to be tied to a course of action.

  30. Martin Knutsen says:

    If I may break the doom and gloom a bit, I would ike to point out that things did not go so bad. Lebanon is quieting down, with a military rational man at the nominal helm and Hezbollahstan a semiautonomous region inside the federation of Lebanon. Thats OK. Maliki used his US muscle to whup Sadr and bloody his forces, Sadr survived but got rattled. He then swung around to Mosul. This is not so bad either, if we really see the Maliki government as the vessel for leaving Iraq. (That they are horrible people, and tied to Iran is none of my concern in analysis mode). Israel has engaged in talks all round, wich surprised the f out of me, but then Olmert got toppled today so it kind of makes sense. The only looser is Bush/Cheney.
    They tried one last play, but their oppos played it well back and they failed. Nasrallahs speech yesterday is discussed over at Abu Muqawama (an excellent blog) but is noted for being mute and internally non-provocative. So unless Bush does something completely irrational, (Tonkin, Cole) I think he will have little excuse to cross the border of going to War with Iran.
    Btw, does anyone have any info on wich folks Hezbollah targeted except for the media fireworks? I wonder how they deal with the jihadi-problems… Its ironic that Hez could be the greatest anti AQ weapon you could get, together with the chechens…

  31. londanium says:

    It’s amazing how many times this article has been written – the only things that require substitution are the dates and the targetting details. Nuclear sites are out and IRGC facilities are in.
    Frankly, I find it hilarious that the US ( and Israeli ) defence/political/intelligence establishments are so leak-prone that the intended recipients of bombing campaigns get extensive advance warning of the target sets via the media. Then again, it could just be more propaganda guff that should be dropped in the bin.
    Seriously, does anyone really think that the US is going to attack Iran, one of China’s biggest crude oil suppliers, in the period leading up to the Beijing Olympics? What do you think the reception for the US Olympic team ( assuming it, er, participated ) would be at the opening ceremony?
    Re the SPR, the Bush administration added some 160 million barrels to the total in the period Jan 2001 to August 2005, taking the total in storage up to 700 million barrels – in the past 33 months or so the net added has been 3 million barrels.

  32. JamesL says:

    Say something enough times and it becomes real. So the many hints of an attack on Iran. “Off the table” Pelosi’s (the Enabler) name will go down in history right along side that of Bush as the team that broke the what was left of the spine of America. Real courage in America is no longer patriotic.

  33. Binh says:

    Question to all:
    What would Iran’s response be if the U.S. did indeed launch a “limited” strike on IRGC facilities, i.e. 1-5 targets? It seems to me that any overt or covert retaliation on their part would invite an even greater, more destructive barrage from the U.S. on their entire military and their nuclear program, which it seems Iran’s ruling class wants to avoid as much as possible.
    So my question is, what would Iran do?

  34. johnf says:

    L A-S
    A friend of my son is about to marry a Muslim. At 10.30 in the morning he becomes a muslim and marries his fiancee. At 3 o’clock, provided he isn’t arrested by the anti-terrorist squad, he again becomes a Christian and remarries her in the Methodist Chapel he grew up attending.
    My son, a half-Palestinian Catholic, is the best man.
    I think that about covers it. Religion made easy.

  35. Binh says:

    The source is described as–
    1. A retired
    2. U.S. career diplomat
    3. Former assistant secretary of state
    4. Still active in the foreign affairs community
    [and later in the article]
    5. An ambassador
    6. During the administration of President Bush Sr.

    Sounds like Armitage. According to Wikipedia (for what it’s worth) he was sent to the newly created states in E. Europe after the fall of the USSR with the title of Ambassador in 1991. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Armitage
    If he is the source, I would be a little surprised. Talking to the media has gotten him in trouble in the past and I thought he’d be a little more reluctant.

  36. rjj says:

    so we get to decide between volatile old coot and biddable empty suit.
    “Choose wisely.”
    — Woody Allen
    After twenty-five years in the Washington worm close “molten core” could be perfectly appropriate.

  37. Curious says:

    What would Iran’s response be if the U.S. did indeed launch a “limited” strike on IRGC facilities, i.e. 1-5 targets?
    So my question is, what would Iran do?
    Posted by: Binh | 28 May 2008 at 12:50 PM

    I would say the Iranian would attempt to inflict massive economic and diplomatic pain to topple Bush instead of frontal war. They are afteral in good position right now.
    1. make sure no ICRG facility worth anything is exposed.
    2. make sure when there is attack oil price climbs to $180-200 for at least 3 months. (eg. naval blockade against Iraq supply line and the gulf. by now I think Iran has real capability to do it. Tho’ not effectively.)
    3. make sure hezbollah control Lebanon economy. (port, basic industry, farming) And can supply bullet and RPG on it’s own.
    4. arm syria with medium range missiles technology.
    5. high explosive, small thermobaric weapon, medium range UAV, light motorized infantry, light sub surface ship. Combined with effective missile and nuclear deterrence they pretty much in solid ground.
    initially they will try to make us go broke without actually going into full open war. The higher oil price go, the better their position is. All out war is bad, until they have key weapons.
    I would say under optimum condition if they can hold it 3 more years, they will have the ability to win open war against us in Iraq, the persian gulf, and Lebanon.
    under a decade, Iraq will have a version of Hezbollah if we still around. West bank will flip to Hamas.

  38. An attack on Iran would be to avenge Iran’s hand in American military deaths in Iraq. Were Iran to seriously retaliate then shock and awe could be the plan.
    Scale of short term blowback is imponderable. BUT, the oil markets would go kablooey.
    Since Maliki is trying to wring the Sadris’ political leverage out of their electoral ambitions, the effect on Provincial elections is also hard to gauge.
    It would be a complete roll of the dice–politically–here in the US. McCain’s problem is different than the legal jeopardy Cheney Inc.. is looking at.
    Are there potential chaotic scenarios which could postpone the US election?
    It seems unlikely.
    But the psychological inflation necessary to go ‘all in’ is already in the make-up.

  39. Dana Jones says:

    “What would Iran’s response be if the U.S. did indeed launch a “limited” strike on IRGC facilities, i.e. 1-5 targets? So my question is, what would Iran do?”
    In my opinion, the wisest thing they could do is do nothing. If they strike back, they only risk losing it all.
    But by not doing anything, they have the world stage upon which to claim that they have been wronged, and We would be the villains. It could work out well for them because with out a reason for further strikes against their military or nuclear sites, any further attack by us would just make us look worse, plus the Iranians would then have full right to strike back with everything they have against us.
    If they are really clever they will quietly empty the IRG sites, move in Iraqi refugees (the elderly, women & children), then when the cruise missiles have done their damage, they can bring in the int’l press to view the further suffering that the US is inflicting on the poor Iraqi refugees.
    Of course if they are really stupid, they will try to retaliate militarily and they will lose, altho they could take out a carrier or two. I don’t think that they are that stupid.
    Just my humble opinion.

  40. DT says:

    I have suspected for a long time that the principal motive for invading Iraq was to find a new home for the troops now stationed in Germany since Saudi Arabia is off limits. “Success” and “a hundred years” type comments would bear this out. Am I nuts?

  41. Again an interesting post and comments. Let’s assume for a moment an Iranian target of the Quds HQ as a given if there is an aerial attack. The Iranians learned many lessons from the war with Iraq in the 80’s. First they learned that dig dig dig is a real defense mechanism and in particular when you have the money, skills, and manpower to do just that. In additon the foremost diggers in the world and specialists on subterranean fortification are the Germans. I myself have been in a completed fighter factory never bombed in WWII because unknown to American forces at the time. The fighters flew off the top level completed and into combat.
    Anyhow the Iranians have used German contractors since the 80’s to help them move key facilities below ground. The only competition they had for those contractors were Serbians, and the Iraqi Regime and interesting that I have never seen open source assessments of exactly what subterranean fortifications the US forces found in Iraq. That might give an indication of exactly what kind of work the same German contractors did and are doing for Iran. We have known since 1914-1918 how deep to dig to protect against a 105mm round. Interesting to find out what is needed against 500kg smart bombs. Or are nuclear penetrators contemplated?

  42. Patrick Lang says:

    Yes, you are nuts. The establishment in this country would like nothing better than to reduce long term costs by building the armed forces down as they did massively in the ’90s. pl

  43. Juan Cole implies that Cheney is punishing Iran for not rolling over to Halliburton’s terms, even though Iran paid Halliburton extra on an oilwell drilling deal. The article he references is here:
    Halliburton doing biz with Iran through 2007. Not getting terms they want, if I understand. Now Cheney hell bent on bombing.
    Simple explanations for real world politics make me suspicious, but, with Cheney and company, anything is possible. We are right to follow the money when trying to make sense of Bush Co. foreign policy.

  44. Cole’s article on Halliburton and Iran here:
    I don’t know how to evaluate Jason Leopold or his claims. I am just going on my trust of Cole as a historian – he is not infallible but I doubt he would print stuff that was badly sourced.

  45. Steve says:

    But of course, though, one of the reasons these types of stories flourish is because Bush has made the unthinkable ordinary.
    I’m a lawyer who went to Law School many, many moons ago.
    If anyone in law school, professor or student, liberal or conservative, would have suggested that a time would come when habeas corpus was shredded, when telecoms would be encouraged by a US president to commit felonies by spying without warrants on citizens, or when American citizens could be held without trial, without counsel, and without charges, that person would have been laughed out of class.
    I’m glad I’m not having to take Const. Law nowadays. I would have no clue what they’re talking about.
    Nadia Mandelstam, the wife of the imprisoned Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, said of life under Stalin (no, Bush isn’t Stalin) that “we had lost our sense of awe.”
    Same thing with many Americans nowadays–again, the unthinkable has been made ordinary.

  46. Curious says:

    Well, we are all family. (in term of nuclear technology.)
    I guess we’ll have to wait how fast that australian laser enrichment techniques will spread. (after that, enriching uranium is like buying microwave oven at walmart.)
    In his book, Bhatia writes that Bhutto brought up the North Korea visit during a discussion in 2003 about her difficulties with Pakistan’s military. “Let me tell you something,” she declared, before telling Bhatia to turn off his tape recorder. “I have done more for my country than all the military chiefs of Pakistan combined.”
    At the time, Pakistan was in desperate need of new missile technology that would counter improvements in India’s missiles. Bhutto said she was asked to carry “critical nuclear data” to hand over in Pyongyang as part of a barter deal.
    “Before leaving Islamabad she shopped for an overcoat with the ‘deepest possible pockets’ into which she transferred CDs containing the scientific data about uranium enrichment that the North Koreans wanted,” Bhatia writes. “She implied with a glint in her eye that she had acted as a two-way courier, bringing North Korea’s missile information on CDs back with her on the return journey.”

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