Open Thread – 20 October 2013

My dog is back in hospital and I don't feel like writing.  pl

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50 Responses to Open Thread – 20 October 2013

  1. I hope she makes it through. Of, if not, it does not go on too long.

  2. IMO the choice for DHS by Obama a poor choice. Predict his defeat. He gave a speech at Yale [the only Administration to do so?] defending the President’s authority to kill by drone American citizens! A violation of the Constitution IMO!

  3. Lee says:

    Generally not a fan of Huffington Post but thought this was an interesting read.

  4. tpcelt says:

    Prayers for all: Lola, you & yours, and the vet/vet staff taking care of her.

  5. mac says:

    I’m planning on visiting Tehran in early 2014.
    I’m a nobody, but know a few people who may or may not have the pull to clear an interview with a few folks, including Hashemi…we will see. But if it happens and there is anything you would like asked for SST, I will of course gently bring it up…

  6. mac says:

    It is time for Halevy and Dagan to be contacted by folks in Qom. I expect that is the next phase.

  7. Bandolero says:

    That’s not a message from AOL Huffpo. It’s a message from AP:
    Yes, the US and Iran are trying to make a deal, and Israel and it’s lobby (and the Saudis and the Turks) don’t like it.
    I wish your dog the very best.

  8. Jose says:

    Generally not a fan of NewsMax, but this was another interesting read:

  9. Walrus says:

    God bless you and puppy. At least you can be merciful with pup and stop the suffering,.
    My Diesel ( golden retriever) and Roxanne ( Labrador) are waiting for us the other side of the bridge.

  10. Medicine Man says:

    Best wishes to you and your dog, Col. Lang.

  11. Matthew says:

    Didn’t the Saudis threaten Russia? Seems like Russia should teach the Saudis a lesson. See

  12. turcopolier says:

    She is not in any pain. I am bleeding money like a harpooned whale, but I can handle that for a while while the vets see if they can stabilize her calcium levels. pl

  13. turcopolier says:

    Ask them if they understand that they will be free of threat if they allow complete unannounced IAEA inspection. pl

  14. David Michael says:

    In case helpful, there is a very fine animal hospital in Nowalk, CT, which saved our five year old boxer from accidental poisoning this past summer. For reference, their 24/7 monitoring and life support ran about $1500 per day and she had an eight night stay. But she lived. Best wishes. Dave.

  15. Bandolero says:

    As far as I understand the Iranian side they don’t fear threats. Fearing threats of an oppressor is against the core of the Shia resistance theology as it is understood in Iran: “Every day is Ashura, every land is Karbala.”
    The end of sanctions is what the Iranians want in exchange for allowing snap inspections:
    Al Manar: Iran Says Will Accept Snap Visits of Its Nuclear Sites
    Fars News: MP: Annulment of All Sanctions Paves Ground for Iran’s Approval of Additional Protocol
    So, as I see it, the question regarding snap inspections is for Iran: Will allowing snap inspections end all the sanctions or will Obama and the AIPAC-influenced US Congress come with other pretexts for sanctions if Iran allows snap inspections?

  16. turcopolier says:

    IMO you are right that they do not fear threats but at the same time they would prefer not to have the US bomb the s–t out of them. pl

  17. nick b says:

    Because misery loves company, let me share that we carried health insurance on our dog for a few years. Times being what they are, we dropped it as a cost saving measure in this year’s budget.
    So, of course, this would be the year of the five figure doggie medical bill. And on it goes, seven weeks of aqua therapy already, and more to come. I wouldn’t change a thing, and it’s only money.

  18. Matthew says:

    Bandolero: That is a political problem, not a legal one. If the US permits a UN resolution “resolving” the Iranian nuclear issue, then Congress can stamp their collective feet all they want, but so what? The Europeans agreed to the sanctions. They did not have to. Under the WTO, unilateral sanctions are illegal and any additional Congressional-mandated sanctions would fizzle without the Administration actively strong-arming foreign governments.
    For purely domestic reasons, this would be a joyous fight. It would force the Israel-Firsters to publically attempt to sabotage a deal that is clearly in America’s best interests.

  19. turcopolier says:

    how much would the doggie insurance have saved you? pl

  20. nick b says:

    I don’t rightly know. My version of SWMBO, will know when she gets home. I know we had a deductible and paid premiums like a regular policy. All our services were also ‘in network’ so I think it would’ve made it more than cost effective.
    Penny wise, pound foolish, as usual.

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You may wish to visit Mashad and ask Agha to resolve any issues you might be facing.

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Do you mean this in all seriousness; that snap inspections will be sufficient to accomplish this goal?
    Will that be enough for Obama & Kerry to declare victory and go home?

  23. mj says:

    We who choose to surround ourselves
    with lives even more temporary than our
    own, live within a fragile circle;
    easily and often breached.
    Unable to accept its awful gaps,
    we would still live no other way.
    We cherish memory as the only
    certain immortality, never fully
    understanding the necessary plan.
    — Irving Townsend

  24. nick b says:

    Col., we had a 80/20 copay and a $200 deductible, up to $14,500 in total benefits. Our out of pocket, had we maintained the insurance, would have been about $2500 all in. The premium was just shy of $500 per annum.
    In hindsight, it was foolish and costly to let it lapse. Live and learn.

  25. turcopolier says:

    I am going to have you beat before I am through with this. pat

  26. mac says:

    You got it Colonel,
    I doubt I will be trusted, and may end up with an extended stay in Evin before they allow me to leave. But as the entrance on Independence Avenue reads, “VOA-Journalism School for the Fearless.”

  27. mac says:

    Babak agha,
    I’m happy to help bring Qom, DC and Tel Aviv back into the fold. I look at the region since 1979 and think we are all better off facing reality. And the reality is Iran, the US and Israel are NATURAL ALLIES.

  28. nick b says:

    Beat me? Well, I guess the upside is that I would get to meet you in person.

  29. nick b says:

    Oh wait! You meant beat me on the bill. Geez, I hope not. We’re still not done.

  30. YT says:

    Funny how your comment reminds me of something from when I was a child.

  31. Mj says:

    We have a similar policy with Embrace. They have paid in a timely fashion on three claims. After we dropped many thousands on our previous spaniel our vet said “people like you need pet insurance. One thing to note is that they do a thorough history of the critter and, as a result, our rescue cocker with tons of “pre-existing” conditions was not insurable.
    This website may be helpful

  32. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not find your phrase “Iran, the US and Israel are NATURAL ALLIES” persuasive.
    You can look at the United States, the ostensibly secular state, which is willing to go to the ends of the earth for Israel, a religious state.
    What is natural there?
    I also think that as long as Israel occupies Al Quds, all of these would be pipedreams.
    Israelis have to leave Jerusalem – that is part of the price they have to pay to get to a modus vivendi with the World of Islam and the Islamic Republic.

  33. shepherd says:

    My experience with pet insurance is poor. While the policy (I think it was from the ASPCA, or some organization like that) looked good on paper, the insurance company reserved the right to pay what it felt was fair. Its concept of fairness was much less than the actual cost of care, so I still ended up with big bills. When I looked at other policies, they seemed to have similar loopholes, though that is a few years ago.

  34. nick b says:

    Thank you MJ! We used PetPlan pet insurance. We never filed any claims, so I can’t say if their service is any good. But like Embrace, they do any exhaustive check for pre-existing conditions. We got the insurance for our Staffie when he was just a month old, so it wasn’t a factor. Anyway, serves me right for violating a deeply held tenet: insure everything and hope for the best.

  35. different clue says:

    I had a cat once whom I spent a lot of money and time getting cared for. Even a cat becomes more than “just” a pet . . . more like a sort of animal person.
    Very different subject: hearing recently about ever fresher waves of terrorist bombing violence in Iraq makes me wonder if some of it could be due to ongoing Baathists hoping to make Iraq so ungovernable for so long that the Iraqis turn back to the Baath in utter despair. Is that a thought even worth thinking?

  36. Bandolero says:

    In my opinion the Iranians think that in the current situation the US is not capable of bombing “the s–t out of” Iran anyway. Press TV reported something like that a couple of months ago. Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Naqdi said:
    “Due to its economic woes, the US has to cut its military budget. Moreover, there is no internal cohesion in this country [the US] for launching military strike against any country, not to mention a powerful Iran…”
    Simply put: Iran doesn’t believe that there currently exists a serious military threat from the side of the US against Iran. Israel isn’t considered capable of a serious military operation against Iran neither. If Israel could do it, it had long ago already done it.
    So, for Iran, allowing snap inspections for taking the military option of the table would mean giving away a bargain chip for receiving nothing or almost nothing.
    So for me it’s no wonder that Iran wants for it’s bargain chip “snap inspections” something more tangible: end of sanctions.
    That’s how I interpret the Iranian position.

  37. turcopolier says:

    “…the Iranians think that in the current situation the US is not capable of bombing “the s–t out of” Iran anyway.” If you mean that the US is not united in wanting to bomb Iran, then IMO you are correct. If you mean that the US lacks the capability to bomb Iran into the stone age, then you are sadly wrong. I hope the Iranians have not deluded themselves about this. pl

  38. confusedponderer says:

    I wouldn’t say ‘even a cat’.
    Cat’s empathise just like dogs, they just express it differently. My old one I had for sixteen years and first held her in hand when I returned home from primary school, and she was 15 minutes old. She had, in us family, absolute trust, and a peculiar considerateness. Both, somewhat rare things in cats.
    Of course, cat’s can’t be companions that work for you or walk out with you like dogs. They aren’t pack animals. But in their own way they do something that. When I worked in the garden, I was never alone for long. My cat would come over to sit and watch.
    When she had kidney failure I brought her to be put down and held and felt her during the procedure and later buried her. That was hard. She is missed.
    As for Iraq, I wonder, is Baathism still a factor after the civil war, or has it been supplanted by an Islamist leitmotif?

  39. confusedponderer says:

    A report on Iraq said that, in the First Gulf War already, the US had bombed the Iraqi electric grid back into the 1920s.
    A recommended read IMO.
    By now the US arsenal is far more formidable than what Iraq faced then, which was what was state of the art at the end of the Cold War.
    Just for perspective: Iirc there was a concept during the Cold War named TABAS – total base attack. That was a misile with submunitions to attack WP airfields. The program never went anywhere.
    Today, an F15 E with GPS guided bombs can do just that – attack an entire base in a single sortie – probably with greater accuracy.

  40. Charles I says:

    God Bless you and yours.

  41. Medicine Man says:

    My sympathies confusedponderer. I had one of mine put down three years ago as he hit rock bottom from an autoimmune disease that had ravaged him his entire life, poor thing. Like you, I decided I had to be there for reasons of trust and responsibility. I find it still quite hard to think about it.
    It sorta sounds like your cat was a working animal though. Patrolling the farmer’s land for rodents is rather traditional work for our feline wards.

  42. Bandolero says:

    As I understood the Iranian thinking war capability is a combination of technical and psychologial aspects.
    I think Iranians very well understands that the US military is technically able to spread large scale death and destruction. They have all that seen close to their borders, from Afghanistan to Iraq, and, they had further opportunities to study live Israeli campaigns against Lebanon and Gaza, and the Saudi campaign in northern Yemen.
    And, of course, I expect, Russia is passing additional information on technical US capabilities to Iran, when people like Lieutenant General Viktor Bondarev visti Iran:
    Knowing that US bombs can do a lot of death and destruction, the Iranians at the same time think that the US cannot achieve a military victory against Iran. I think their calculation is that if the US would take military action against Iran, the US would shy away from a ground campaign to do a regime change, because that is too expensive and the US would’t like to borrow more money from China to invade Iran.
    So the remaining option for the US would be mainly an air and missile campaign, and here I think the Iranian thinking is that such a US aggression would lead to
    a) Iranians rallying around the flag, thereby strengthening the resistance and the Iranian leadership.
    b) the Iranian military is strong enough to run some successful counter attacks on US targets in the region, thereby making the campaign a mess for the US leadership.
    c) After the US finished it’s bombing campaign because it ran out of targets – or the western public is outraged – Iran will be able to declare “victory” in the style of Hamas and Hisbollah do it after they survive an Israeli campaign.
    In short, I believe the thinking is that for such an Iranian “victory” against a US aggression a lot of Iranians would die, a lot of things would be destroyed, but the Iranian leadership and the resistance will would be lifted higher while the US government and the strategic US position would be weakened.
    I think that’s the thinking behind statements from people like Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, that Iranian Armed Forces Fully Prepared to Give Crushing Response to Threats:
    I think that’s the Iranian thinking and that’s why they want trade sanctions against snap inspections, not the removal of threats. I agree that it may be a miscalculation, though.

  43. turcopolier says:

    I note that you are Russian. You must be the frequent visitor here who is located in Moscow. The US has never entertained the possibility of a ground campaign in Iran. We lack the forces necessary and the JCS made that clear to the WH long ago. The army/marine corps need a prolonged period of recuperation from the last decade. The new financial situation that they face requires a major effort to re-structure and downsize. On the other hand the USAF/naval air side of US forces is in good shape. That is where the action would be. As someone mentioned here, these forces literally “made the rubble bounce” in Iraq during the first gulf war. US air and missile forces would simply flatten much of Iran’s modern infrastructure. There would be many, many sorties. I agree that such a war is unlikely but there should be no doubt about the capability. pl

  44. Bandolero says:

    I would say that was a near miss. Actually I’m a Russian-speaking German, and I’ld say that I’m quite familiar with Putin’s way of thinking and I also undertook some efforts to try to understand Khamenei’s way of thinking. But in the end I’m much closer to Schröder and Voscherau, the two guys seen in this picture here:
    Let’s hope together that there won’t be a deal regarding Iran. The guys running Iran are feeling so strong recently and they are so full of self-confidence, that I too see the danger, that that might lead to a disastrous miscalculation.

  45. Bandolero says:

    I wanted to say: Let’s hope together that there WILL be a deal regarding Iran.

  46. David Habakkuk says:

    “Actually I’m a Russian-speaking German, and I’ld say that I’m quite familiar with Putin’s way of thinking and I also undertook some efforts to try to understand Khamenei’s way of thinking.”
    I am interested in your view of the As-Safir report of the conversation between Putin and Bandar. It is very difficult to make any confident judgement as to the authenticity of reports of this kind.
    However, for what little it is worth, my guess has been that the report was based upon leaks from the Russian side authorised at the highest level — Putin. Also, I think it likely that the account it gives of the conversation, while perhaps selective, is not fundamentally misleading.
    What do you think?

  47. rjj says:

    at Fred’s link above there was this —
    More mandated citizen-to-client conversion from Not-the-Nanny State?

  48. Bandolero says:

    David Habakkuk
    I think, it’s obvious that your idea is fundamentally correct. It was reported by Russian media as well, and I didn’t see any dementi by the Kremlin, but ever more precise accounts of the events.
    What I wonder a bit is the amount of delusion by Bandar. It looks like Saudi Arabia hasn’t even someone reading Russian newspapers to stay informed on what’s going on.
    If they had, Bandar should have known that Putin was elected because Medvedev was seen as a sell-out regarding Libya. Strictly commercially speaking, he arguably made a fine deal for Russia with the abstention, a free hand in Georgia, WTO access, a EU technology partnership, but nevertheless he was seen as selling out Russia’s foreign policy, Russia’s values and Russia’s honour. Putin was the first to criticise UNSC 1973 as a “medieval call for a crusade” and that’s why he was put up as presidential candidate of United Russia and elected as president.
    And then, after two years of work to prevent the Libyan scenario in Syria, comes Bandar, introduces himself as the godfather of terror in Russia, tries to threaten Russia with terror and tries to bribe Putin with some small change – couple of bn USD worth of weapon purchases from Russia? He should have known that Putin is quite experienced in crushing powerful mafia guys – ask Khodorkovsky. That was a serious insult to Putin and Russia alike.
    With Bandar Putin simply did what every Russian shop owner is adviced to do when some freak comes in and asks to be paid for “protection” – record it on video and publish the offer in the media.
    Why did Bandar go to Putin when it was clear beforehand that Putin would smear him his protection and bribe racket sauce in his face? I don’t know. I guess Ali Khamenei would say, such arragance and ignorance is just typical for zionists and wahabis and that’s why he doesn’t like them.

  49. mac says:

    Of course you do not think so…The statement “Israelis have to leave Jerusalem – that is part of the price they have to pay to get to a modus vivendi with the World of Islam and the Islamic Republic” belies an exclusively religious, parochialist approach to foreign policy.
    Iranians are Persian first, Islamic second. Lest you believe Shia’ism is a consequence of history born out of events in Karbala. It is not.

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