Put up or shut up. (Israeli intelligence and Iran)

Scarlet "Scarlett, 59, is likley to be briefed by Meir Dagan, 63, the head of Mossad, on Israel’s latest information about the Iranian nuclear programme. It is understood that Israel has made a breakthrough in intelligence-gathering within Iran.

There is mounting concern in Israel that Iran’s nuclear capability may be far more advanced than was recognised in a declassified assessment by the US National Intelligence Estimate last December, which concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons development programme in 2003 in response to international pressure.

Israeli officials believe the US will revise its analysis of Iran’s programme. “We expect the Americans to amend their report soon,” a high-ranking military officer said last week."  Timesonline


"It is understood that Israel has made a breakthrough in intelligence-gathering within Iran." 

Oh yeah?  Let’s see it.  Out in the open where the ordinary people of the world can look at it.  No?  Prefer to use it in private where the politically appointed grandees of the world’s intelligence communities can be bullied into accepting a lot of crap in the same way that happened before Iraq?  That’s not intelligence.  That’s just political bullying.

What could the Israelis possibly have?  Something grand from their little photography satellites?  Something spooky from HUMINT in Iran?  How could we possibly verify anything from their HUMINT ops in Iran?  Do they have something from the world banking or technical communities?  OK.  Let’s see it.

"Sources and Methods?"  Ha Ha.  Do they really think that the security of their sources are worth another war to the rest of us? 

I can only imagine the pressure they have exerted on the British and American spooks to get them to accept your views.

Scarlett sounds remarkably like one of the bureaucratic whores who took over "The Circus" in Lecarre’s books, but, I confess that I do not know him.   The Robin Hood legend is a major part of "The Matter of Britain."  {Arthur, etc.} (political science people should ignore this part.  It might interfere with your "clarity")  In the recent anachonistic, but fun, Robin Hood series on BBC America (perhaps they don’t watch this kind of thing in Britain any longer), the legend is described as "lying at the heart of England."  I surely do hope that this is true. pl


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51 Responses to Put up or shut up. (Israeli intelligence and Iran)

  1. harper says:

    Col. Lang, I totally agree with your remarks. And I would add a reminder that Tony Blair’s intelligence mandarins were fully complicit in the pre-Iraq war intelligence fraud. Remember it was the British White Paper that spoke of the Iraqi quest for uranium yellow cake from Niger, which US intelligence checked out and knew to be phony. Israel is playing “curve ball” with the U.S. and what is left of the Cheney neocon apparatus in and around the White House is soaking it up, and trying to do a replay against Iran of what they did with Iraq. But I am reminded of the old saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I was reminded of that ditty watching the Petraeus and Crocker testimony last month, and now we see the same follow-on garbage again. Thank you for puncturing a hole in the vat of kool aid.

  2. jon says:

    “One source claimed the new information was on a par with intelligence that led Israel to discover and then destroy a partly constructed nuclear reactor in Syria last September.”
    That’s all I need to hear on this. That Syrian strike stinks, and the more they crow about what a coup it was, the worse it seems.
    The ‘facts’ are being fit to the policy just as quickly as they can manufacture and sledgehammer them into rough shape. Is this fooling anyone still?
    Next, we’ll have one of these stooges standing next to a black panel and explaining how this is a super-sensitive photo of the sun at noon. Is it lying when they don’t even try any longer?
    Harper, I think the correct formulation is ” Fool me twice….Don’t get fooled again.”

  3. Montag says:

    The Israelis seem to think they’re in a “Godfather” movie and are in a position to “make them an offer they cannot refuse.” Their intelligence services have scored some disastrous blunders over the years. And these are our go-to guys?
    What about “The Oversight,” of 1973, when they ignored the salient fact that BOTH Egypt and Syria were simultaneously mobilizing their armies? They had to work like Trojans to come up with comforting explanations for that threat.
    The same myopic groupthink may be operating here. Since it would be inconvenient for Israel to have the Iranians abandon their nuclear weapons program (which would lessen their value as an existential threat) then they CAN’T have abandoned it. They think it so because they think it so–and all of the Intelligence proof in the world won’t convince them otherwise. Talk to the hand.
    But I wonder if their thinking is more complicated than that. They seem to have created another “Axis of Evil” by inextricably linking in their own minds Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. It’s rather like a chain, where by hammering one link they think they are harming the others as well. Perhaps they even believe that they are encircled by this chain, which makes it all the more imperative to break it. The problem is that they’re putting a lot of different nuts in the same bag and trying to sell them to us as the same kind of nuts, instead of as an honest assortment. If we can’t trust their logic in this matter, how can we reasonably trust their information? Garbage in/garbage out.

  4. Curious says:

    timesonline.co.uk is owned by Murdoch. The same person who brings us FoxNews and friends + happy Iraq war talk.

  5. Grimgrin says:

    The intelligence breakthrough might have been when Iran decided to let the press tour it’s Natanz facility.
    The Iranians may be trying to make their program seem less threatening by being more open about it. It’s certainly harder to make these photos seem threatening than it is to point to satellite photos and say “our covert sources say this secret heavily guarded facility will soon turn out enough enriched uranium to kill us all”. Which may have been the point of the tour. I don’t know enough about it to do anything more than speculate.

  6. Walrus says:

    Rupert Murdoch is beholden to Israel from the days when News Limited almost went bankrupt.
    Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and other Arab states are not an existential threat to Israel they are in existential threat to INVESTMENT in Israel.
    To put it another way, “follow the money” stupid.
    The existence of a group of moderately democratic free market Islamic economies on Israel’s doorstep is a nightmare for Israel because the West’s business community will then start engaging and investing in said economies – and engaging with Islam and ignoring Israel.
    To put it another way, why do you think Israel bombed Lebanon when it did? Why do you think they targeted Lebanese infrastructure, especially the airport? Lebanon that Spring was on the verge of a major push for Western Tourism – Beirut didn’t get its nickname as “The Paris of the East” for nothing, but the last thing Israel wants is for the western community to engage with Islamic countries, and they will do anything in their power, covert or overt, to prevent that engagement.
    Do they really want a free, secular and democratic Iraq or Iran? Nope. They want Arab states and Arabs to be seen by the West as backward, despotic, dirty, ugly, primitive, corrupt, brutal and rotten.
    That is why Arabs are portrayed the way they are in movies like “True Lies”. That is why their are any number of disinformation websites and operations aimed at demonizing Islam – for example going on about female circumcision and suchlike.
    That is why Iraq is such a mess – the Israelis wanted it that way, and the ultimate source of orders that created that mess, for example the disbanding of the Iraqi army, is Israeli operatives.
    Yes, they will bomb Iran, because doing that will strengthen the hand of the hard liners in Iran and weaken the moderates.
    That is the Israeli nightmare folks – people like you going unescorted to see Petra, or lounging on the beaches in Beirut, or eating Iranian Caviar on the shores of the Black Sea.

  7. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    The AIPAC extravaganza hits DC June 2 so this latest in Zionist propaganda is well timed. Reminds me of the run-up to the Iraq War; they old yellow cake and aluminum tubes thing. I suppose anti-Iran hysteria will build over the next three weeks to usher in the AIPAC conference.
    “The AIPAC Policy Conference is the pro-Israel community’s preeminent annual gathering. The event, to be held June 2-4, 2008, attracts more than 6000 community leaders and student activists from all 50 states, and more than half of the U.S. Senate, a third of the House of Representatives and countless Israeli and American policymakers and thought leaders. Over three jam-packed days, Policy Conference participants choose from hundreds of informative sessions and participate in the pro-Israel community’s largest and most important advocacy day.” http://www.aipac.org/about_AIPAC/Learn_About_AIPAC/2841.asp
    As I recall the sequence of 2002-2003:
    1. We have rising hysteria about “terrorism” and the Iraq threat in Spring 2002 which builds toward the annual Spring AIPAC conference in DC.
    2. Then we have members of the House and Senate in a frenzy holding forth on the Iraq threat and parading their “support” of Israel against “terrorism” (it’s an election year after all).
    3. Meanwhile, during the Spring, Israel is upping the pressure in the West Bank. The “terrorism” frenzy in Congress triggers pledges of undying support for the Zionist state. It is also skillfully used by Rove and company to build towards Congressional support for a war against Iraq. Israel’s spring offensive plays into the AIPAC meeting nicely.
    4. Congress goes out of session for summer recess.
    5. Congress comes back in and rolls on to the Iraq War resolution in October.
    Same old, same old? Part of an overall Israeli-US propaganda campaign leading to an Iran war in the fall? Would such a war coming before the election “help” McCain and the Republicans?

  8. arbogast says:

    Let me tell you something. The American economy is imploding. All the, “The bottom is near,” stuff you are hearing is just the greater lie.
    The plutocracy desperately needs a distraction from their criminal conspiracy to defraud millions of Americans of their livelihood and thousands of their lives.
    This was predictable. The twilight of the Gods. I wonder if there is anyone who will stand in their way?
    And, of course, it must happen before the election. Absolutely must. So you know the timetable.

  9. Mark K Logan says:

    FOX had Bolton on this morning. Stated that plans to hit camps within Iran, that are purportedly staging areas for suppling weapons to “terrorists” in Iraq, are being finalized now. The commentators were quick to chime in to wonder with a tinge of outrage why we haven’t bombed these “camps” in Iran already…
    Looks like the full court MSM media press is gaining considerable steam.
    Unless there is some sort of massive public outcry and soon, I fear this train
    is going to leave the station, if it hasn’t already.

  10. Curiosity! What do we know about Israel aid to Iran during the 1980’s Iranian-Iraqi War? Is Iran completely embargoed across the board for Israelis? Is Israel embargoed for Iranians?

  11. Patrick Lang says:

    Israel obtained spare parts and munitions for Iran throughout the Iran-Iraq War. They bought them on the black and grey arms market after a monthly conference with the Iranians in Europe.
    That is what set off the Iran-Contra Affair. The Israelis finally decided that it would be easier to get the Americans to supply the Iranians directly and to have them pay for the materiel at inflated prices. This money could then be used against the Sandinistas. The US op could then be made even better by selling more stuff to the contras to be paid for with appropriated US covert action money thus by-passing the Boland Amendment and creating a “slush” fund illegally.
    I was the chief DoD witness before the Tower Commission. This all came out in sworn testimony after all the documents were released to me for analysis. I had a hard time keeping a lot of this out of the published report but I thought at the time that it would be a bad thing to damage US foreign relations by revealing the stupidity of North/Poindexter et al. I was mistaken. pl

  12. Robert C says:

    Wondeful comments, but the sad reality is that all this will proabaly work. What forces do any of you see stopping this? No one in the administration will stop it. The Congress? No way, it is an election year. The Pentagon? Another war is job security. The electorate? no way. too dumb. Are only true hope is elements in the intelligence community step up and shoots this down. Sadly, most of thopse types have been weeded out.

  13. J says:

    it seems that the israelis nor the brits have had their fill of slain american blood, and are doing everything possible to incur the spilling of more american blood. it’s sad to think that both israel and britain think that we the u.s. are their colony/state to use and abuse at their whims. and to think, our politicians call the both of them ‘allies’. with such ‘allies’, who needs enemies?

  14. robt willmann says:

    It appears as if the final step of a propaganda operation is at hand: creating the impression that the thing you are promoting is now “inevitable”.
    I did not see any of the Sunday television programs, but Mark Logan says in a comment above that Fox News had John Bolton on today to inject the idea that plans are being “finalized” to attack certain camps in Iran. Mr. Kiracofe also lists methods used before the Iraq War which are reappearing now.
    On the non-public front, Israel is peddling its so-called “intelligence” behind closed doors here and in Britain to try to push the policy makers forward, that is, those policy makers who are not already essentially agents of influence for Israel.
    We should keep in mind that this administration makes decisions on the basis of what it thinks it can get away with, regardless of what the Constitution, laws, or social traditions say. Thus, its calculation goes roughly like this–
    1. Will the U.S. military obey orders to attack Iran without a Congressional declaration of war? With Adm. Fallon gone and Gen. Petraeus being promoted to be head of the U.S. Central Command (CentCom), the answer is almost certainly “yes”.
    2. Will the mass media, including newspapers and magazines, support an attack on Iran? Yes, since the media is consciously helping to promote it.
    3. Will Congress pass articles of impeachment and have a trial of those impeached in the Senate if Iran is attacked without a declaration of war? No, because all money to continue the war and occupation in Iraq is being approved by the Democrats, and Congress is just as compromised and cowardly as it has been over the last 8 years.
    4. Will there be huge public demonstrations and masses of people going to Washington D.C. to demand the ouster of the administration if it attacks Iran? Probably not, because the mass media will continue consciously to work to dampen any dissent and prevent publicity of contrary views, and because the terrible economic situation and high gas prices make travel to Washington to protest difficult.
    5. Will other large countries, such as China, Russia, India, Brazil, or Canada cause trouble, or will oil producing countries withhold oil if there is an attack on Iran? This is potentially a wild card, but since there has been no public effort by any of those countries to head an attack off at the pass, their interference is unlikely.
    All this hype about Iran could just be political smoke to keep the public stirred up and diverted from the destructive banking and other domestic problems here at home, and to help the candidacy of John McCain, with no attack on Iran contemplated.
    But given the aggressive war on Iraq and the continuing cruel occupation and societal destruction of it, a new aggressive war on Iran, even in the form of “air strikes”, cannot be ruled out.

  15. CeeHussein says:

    It doesn’t matter what fraud they manufacture next Annie Oakley Clinton will go along with Bush and the neocons like she did the last time.

  16. condfusedponderer says:

    Interesting statement by Mullen: Jerusalem Post reports that Admiral Mullen said “has been at Israel’s side for all of 60 years, it will be for the next 60 years, 100 years and 1,000 years”
    Hard to tell, but it could read as ‘Don’t be rash, we’re on your side’, no?

  17. condfusedponderer says:

    I think this is the bluntest post I’ve read on this blog. “Ha ha”?

    It does sound a little scornful.
    But I guess he’s right: US satellite capability is superior to Israel’s. What Israel sees, the US see better. As for HUMINT, sure, Israel can dig out another ‘dissident source’ it decides to keep secret. It’s he-said-she-said then. An independent source, like the IAEA, or the like, has a much greater credibility, at the very least because they don’t tend to have national interests involved in this (as indicated by, in contrast to Israel, a clear lack of previous bellicose rhetoric on their part).
    Without verification the Israeli’s are just making either paranoid or reckless assertions. ‘Trust us’ doesn’t exactly work with the Israelis, who are, like nations tend to be, quite selfish an actor. I wouldn’t put it beyond them to engage in information operations.

  18. Grimgrin says:

    robt: I doubt Canada will do anything but keep selling Tar Sands oil south, while the resulting spike in oil prices sends Calgary’s economy goes further into overdrive. We have a long history of quietly profitable hypocrisy in these matters. I knew a man who worked in the Cominco Sullivan Mine in Kimberly BC during the Vietnam war. They used to joke about selling lead to the Americans to be made into bullets. Canada was a non-belligerent in that war, and more than a few draft dodgers wound up in BC during the same time. But it was still our lead in your bullets.
    more here: http://archives.cbc.ca/war_conflict/vietnam_war/clips/1413-9128/
    Russia seems well placed to stir shit up in the area. Maybe they’d like to field test some of their new missiles? Aside from that, why would they do anything? The US has opened both it’s wrists and is still looking for veins to cut, they’re probably quite content to watch.

  19. hjmler says:

    all seems pointed at another disastrous action but what advantage can GWB’s admin hope to have out of this? what’s the payoff? to pitch the country into such an economic and military crisis that they can impose a dictatorship? the country would go nuts if we lost a carrier, if our actions cut off mideast oil for a prolonged period and gas went to $10 a gallon or worse. what the hell can they possibly be thinking?

  20. Patrick Lang says:

    “Scornful” would be the right word. pl

  21. TomB says:

    Interesting and seemingly ominous news, but as a matter of intellectual integrity (and fun, and an example of how very damn difficult it is to do so too) shouldn’t all of us put up or shut up as well and hang our straight up or down predictions out there so we too can be judged upon them later?
    (With amendments certainly being allowed as time goes by and new information comes in, but of course with it also being valid to lessen to an appropriate degree the respect we accord to the amending opinion giver.)
    So, given that going first would now seem unavoidable, for my part I adjudge that neither the U.S. nor the Israelis will embark on a military strike of Iranian nuclear targets by the time Bush leaves office.
    (I would add that I hold this opinion with a moderate and still gulp-inducing degree of confidence only, but I don’t think we should allow hedging and thereby agree not to cite same in my defense when it turns out I’m wrong.)

  22. Richard Whitman says:

    Intelligence services almost always get some of the details wrong. It is just the nature of the craft. How much they get wrong depends on the quality of the raw data, the skill of the analyst and the amount of spervisory interference.
    I have long believed that Iran already has some nuclear weapons. The US and the USSR manufactured between 80,000 and 100,000 nuclear weapons during the last 50+ years. Do we know the precise history and location of each one?

  23. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    1. Good piece by Nir Rosen entitled “Selling the War with Iran”:
    ….”In April I testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to attempt to explain what was really happening in Iraq, where I have spent most of the last five years, so that they could better challenge General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker during their Senate testimony. But it made little difference…..”
    As over half the Senate of the United States dutifully attends the annual AIPAC extravaganza, it follows that Rosen’s testimony and similar would make little difference. Politicians, such as they are, on Capitol Hill have abandoned over the past two decades the “deliberative” function with respect to policy. They listen to their campaign finance people. So we have, as a former colleague of mine on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee quipped, “the best foreign policy money can buy.”
    2. For some of us who worked directly or indirectly on the Iran-Contra case, the presence of the Neo-con network, in the new Bush 43 Administration was an important indicator. Republican policy specialists who had opposed over the years the Neocon/Zionist penetration of the party were generally not welcome in the new Admin with its “pro-Israel” tilt and fundamentalist Christian Zionist ethos.
    When the Bush 43 Admin in October 2001 broke with past precedent and placed Hamas and Hizbullah on the official terrorist org list, that was another indicator. Before they had not been on the list as they had been categorized as “resistance organizations” which are legal under international law. The organizations were duly resisting Israeli occupation of Palestine and southern Lebanon.
    “The exclusion of Hamas and Hezbollah — as well as organizations associated with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat — had dismayed Israel and many Jewish activists.
    “Danny Ayalon, the foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said these organizations are driven by the same ideology as terror suspect bin Laden and have a global reach.”
    “We think it is important that they be on the new lists in order to give fighting them high priority,” Ayalon said soon after the executive order was released.
    Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said there is “no doubt that Hezbollah has a global presence.” Hamas, he said, also has a global infrastructure and Palestinian Islamic Jihad has global ties.”
    3. The Iran war should be placed into the overall Neocon/Zionist foreign policy vision of the Bush43 Administration which at the outset included: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Eqypt, Sudan and others as subjects of interest. Little Bush following up on the “New World Order” of daddy Bush? A family-dynastic thing? Skull and Bones, 322 and all that, thing?

  24. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Remember our “Train Travel” discussion months and months ago? My guess was that Republican congress-critters wouldn’t support any action against Iran due to the coming elections, and may actually exert enough pressure to stop it. As long as the Dems don’t completely implode, I think this is even more of a possibility now than then. Bush and Cheney are one big albatross for the GOP. My only concern is that the GOP congress-critters’ lizard brains no longer consider self preservation to be more important than authoritarian party cohesion.
    My ever prescient gut tells me that this is the neocon’s Battle of the Bulge – the one last push for victory before all is lost?

  25. Curious says:

    The chatter about “bombing Iran” increases again. This insane.
    The oil was already at $120 or so without a single bomb dropping. Projected budget deficit is $500, while tax receivable is falling all over.
    And they still want to push for one more war?
    I can’t imagine what the Iranian is thinking right now in term of hedging long term strategy.
    Just a note:
    1. East asia is forming Asia monetary system (ie. they are preparing for massive financial turmoil, jsut like in ’97) This group alone hold about $3T of US bonds. (They can buy our reserve ten times over)
    2. Brazil, Russia, India, China will have major economic coop conference in mid may. (They think the current global economy set up is not sustainable)
    This is insane. Never mind various discussion of military option and counter moves. A war with Iran will be very destructive economically. The crazies inside the Whitehouse need to stay away from the button.

  26. mlaw230 says:

    An attack on the Quds force has already been legally legitimized by the inclusion of that “entity” as a terrorist organization.
    As I recall, McCain and HRC voted in favor while BHO voted against. Public reaction could go either way, perhaps this is the “game changer” that Hillary is counting on?

  27. John says:

    A war with Iran before this autumn will preempt perfectly the Wall Street/international economic crash that is most likely coming.
    Then the evil Iranians can be blamed for shutting down Persian Gulf oil. And the resulting oil crash will conceal the banking and asset deflation crash caused by complete mismanagement of the economy.
    Get ready to rock and roll bitches. Looks like the perfect storm could be heading our way.

  28. Binh says:

    Forget the nuclear program, it looks like the U.S. is planning a “limited” strike on a Revolutionary Guards facility:
    Also, the Israelis will never shut up.

  29. LeaNder says:

    Now that the PNAC democratization workforces have closed shop in the US (no?)and moved on to Albion’s shores, shouldn’t we expect some motions over here in Old Europe?
    “They” are out to get us, them evil Arabs. How do we call the pan-Islamist threat scenario: The Orientalist Matter?

  30. NattyB says:

    Dear Col. Lang,
    Perhaps you have written this earlier.
    But I am wondering what is your opinion on the Israeli strike on the alleged “nuclear site” in Syria?

  31. Montag says:

    Cold War Zoomie, I’d say it would be more like the Arnhem Airdrop (Operation Market Garden), “A Bridge Too Far”–in which the cult of Air Power and the irresistible lure of that harlot Rosey Scenario produced one of the most hare brained schemes in military history. There’s a scene in the 1977 movie where the Polish General (Gene Hackman) is being briefed by a planning officer and is increasingly alarmed at how haphazard an operation his men are going to be fed into. He stands very close to the briefer and eyeballs his uniform. When asked what he’s doing, he replies:
    “Just wanted to see whose side you’re on.”

  32. Post-script! I was assigned by the GC FEMA to read the entirety of the Iran-Contra hearings to see if FEMA was mentioned. It was not. Oliver North did enter FEMA HQ’s 44 times primarily as the NSC liaison on NSDD-47 (issued July 1982) developing a mobilization strategy for both war and peace and staffed by detailees from all the major departments and agencies. In futuro, should the US attack Iran this time a number of Iranian sponsored groups will launch attacks against Israeli, US and SUNNI interests throughout the middle-east. And the Russians will back the Iranians, and probably the Chinese. Now you have heard from “Nostradamus.”

  33. londanium says:

    Once again, the Times moles at the heart of the Israeli and US mil-intel establishment have blown another secret military operation that was going to teach those cussed Iranians a lesson.
    What’s really surprising is that after nearly 4 years of such revelations in the Times ( and elsewhere in the UK press, which should clue you in to the “sources” for the reports ) they still don’t appear to have been caught!
    It’s truly surprising that Murdoch and John Bolton are actually so desperate to stop an attack on Iran that they are willing to disclose secret military plans…thereby tipping off the Iranians as to US intentions and enabling them to make provisions…it’s shameful really.
    Oh, wait, the above is all nonsense, as indeed is the latest Times attack on Iran plan installment report.
    It’s called propaganda, it crops up whenever US aircraft carrier groups cross over during their rotation into and out of the fifth fleet area, and at sundry other points in the diplomatic schedule ( ie IAEA board meetings, EU-Iran sessions, UNSC P5 meetings to discuss the Iran dossier/further sanctions ).
    The Friedman unit is truly the default measure of US historical and current affairs amnesia.

  34. Walrus says:

    This is going to end in treason trials. However I don’t know who is going to be running them.
    As far as I can tell, the Neocons are going for one last roll of the dice by attacking Iran. They are hoping that a conflict in Iran will:
    1. Take peoples minds off an economic meltdown and allow their backers to make off with yet more billions.
    2. Get John McCain elected as a “War President”.
    3. Cow Congress permanently into abrogating the Constitution during an endless “war on terror”.
    4. Cement the power of America’s ruling Republican elites.
    5. Get American hands on Iranian oil fields
    As for health care, campaign funding reform, global warming…..don’t you know there’s a war on?
    The plan is to achieve as much possible of items 1 to 5 and then at some later point pull back and consolidate the wonderful gains that have been made.
    Should the general public have the temerity to dispute this wonderful course of action, then examples will be made of the more prominent miscreants.

  35. Mark K Logan says:

    Cornered animals are dangerous critters. My impression is they are selling this as “Don’t worry. They are harming our troops. You love our troops, now don’t you? There now, we are only going to bomb an itty-bitty piece of Iran. What could happen?”
    I don’t think it’s a snow job aimed at Congress, more
    the public. I think they hold Congress as being out of the loop now for whatever they do militarily
    I’m not even sure it’s a snow job. They might really believe that. Tunnel vision
    on “winning” against Sadr.

  36. matt says:

    Fascinating comments from everyone as usual, but as a former political science major…well, what’s so bad about poli sci? I thought it was a pretty good subject area – and Ted Lowi’s a pretty smart guy! (maybe its a reference to “Neocons” and since I’m not a trained Straussian… 🙂

  37. Feeney says:

    TOM B
    My prediction is the bomb in the Fall. If Mcain is elected they get the easy green light. After all the new boos would be the same as the old boss Clinton she will ask for and get some tempid denialbilty Obama – they try and steam roll him or just say it is not your call yet.

  38. Fromthebleacher says:

    TOM B
    My prediction is they bomb in the Fall, after the election. If Mcain is elected they get the easy green light. After all the new boss would be the same as the old boss. Clinton she will ask for and get some tempid deniability. Obama – they try and steam roll him or just say it is not your call yet. Either way they will not this opportunity pass.

  39. Patrick Lang says:

    The science part. pl

  40. Montag says:

    I guess Political has the same oxymoronic relationship with Science as War has with Game.

  41. TomB says:

    Fromthebleacher wrote:
    “My prediction is they bomb in the Fall, after the election. If Mcain (sic) is elected….”
    Your thinking makes me nervous to have disagreed.

  42. Andy says:

    What could such a “breakthrough” in intelligence be? I can think of few choices besides Iran restarting its weaponization work that the IC says was halted in 2003. That would be a breakthrough, but it would seem rash for the Iranians to continue along this line while the world still has it under the microscope. A nuclear weapons program with Saddam next door was, in my judgment, a completely rational course of action. Now that he’s gone and Iraq is no longer a threat, Iran’s need for a defensive deterrent has lessened considerably. Taken together, it seems unlikely that Iran would restart weaponization at this time.
    As for an attack on Iran, my assessment continues to be that Israel does not have the capability to conduct an effective attack or it would have already done so. Additionally, barring some solid evidence of weaponization work, or proof that Iran is still lying to the IAEA with regard to its CSA, the US is unlikely to attack as well for a variety of reasons.

  43. Montag says:

    Here’s an article on Israel’s nuclear arsenal, “‘Obliterate? Israel Can Defend Itself:”

  44. Walrus says:

    Andy, you appear to be applying logic to the Iran situation on the premise that a nuclear armed Iran is somehow a bad thing that must not be allowed to occur at any price.
    1. The above is merely an assertion by the Neocons.
    2. There is no reliable, testable evidence to support the existence of a military nuclear program.
    3. There are other reasons that the Neocons favour an attack on Iran that have nothing whatsoever to do with it’s nuclear program nor its activities in Iraq.

  45. Andy says:

    I’m not quite sure how you divine from my logic a belief that Iran must not have a nuke at any cost. I think preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons is a worthy goal, but attacking Iran is unlikely to achieve it, especially when one considers the costs and risks (both known and unknown) of such an attack.
    You’re right there is no “reliable, testable evidence” for a military nuclear program in Iran, but one might argue the evidence available is not inconsistent with such a program, nor is it wholly consistent with a peaceful program. Furthermore, prior to 2003, such a program was strategically rational as long as Iraq – Iran’s greatest threat – intended to build nukes.
    FWIW, in my estimation, Iran’s strategic environment has changed considerably since 2003 and the demise of Saddam’s Iraq. Although I am convinced Iran had a weapons program prior to 2003, I think Iran’s intentions going forward could be quite different because of this change in strategic environment.
    With that in mind, I think getting Iran under the provisions of the additional protocol to the NPT should be a top priority, which will likely require some substantial accommodations to bring about.

  46. kim says:

    did anyone mention that it only takes one “wheel and fire” sort of, um, “loose cannon” in a position of power and opportunity and close enuf to arrange 45 seconds (or, who knows, maybe more)of “presidential authority” to screw us all with his paint brush.
    still, i got the optimism thing workin’. provisional.

  47. Curious says:

    k. Obama seems to be in solid ground. Time to reassess.
    1. Neocon plan to put Hillary seems unlikely now. (still possible but very small)
    2. outright war with Iran has to happen inside the remaining Bush administration, or else it will not happen. I don’t think it is possible to create a comprehensive military plan that can finish inside the remaining time.
    3. Regime change in Israel is now very likely. Olmert will fall one way or another soon. If he still survives, probably a soft economic sanction that will crash Israel currency is likely.
    4. Relationship with Israel will now take another tone. Most likely it will be more academic, balance and not heavily tainted with aipac related money. (But congress is still owned by aipac. I suspect they will strong arm Obama Israel related bill, but the public baclash will be so large, every rightwing pro-israel senators will be kicked out one way or another in mid-term.)
    5. No progress in Palestine until regime change happens in Israel. (probably after 2010)
    6. I seriously doubt there will be fundamental change with US-Iran relationship. But at least it will not be as dangerous as during Bush/neocon administration.
    Europe will warm up to Iran, as with China and Russia (Basically, the entire planet except us)
    the neocon is running out of time. They have to pull all or nothing during the remaining time of Bush administration.
    I seriously doubt Israel strategist will want to bet their farm inside 8 months. The effect of Iraq without US alone is highly uncertain. On top of global economic meltdown.

  48. Walrus says:

    Andy, I don’t even think that stopping Iran from having a nuclear weapons program is a worthy goal. But that’s beside the point.
    You are correct in stating that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but you cannot make strategic decisions, in fact any decision, on such a basis.
    My view is that even if Iran had no nuclear program at all, or suddenly , today, announced the abandonment of its enrichment program and surrender to the IAEA, another Causus Belli would be trumped up, probably biological or chemical weapons.
    The reason is the Israelis fear of the emergence of moderate Islamic states with technically advanced economies that would command Western investment, and with that would come engagement and a lessening of Israeli influence in the world.
    The Neocon fear is slightly different – the emergence of more economies that will compete with the West for natural resources and political influence. Do we really want to have to engage with Iran as well as China and India?
    To put it another way, this is all about money.

  49. J says:

    here we go ‘again’, ‘more’ israeli lies and ‘propaganda’ about ‘what if’ nonsense regarding iran.
    Israel: Iran could have nukes by ’09
    i hope at some future point in time that the nuremburg war crimes tribunal is brought back so that israeli govt. officios along with bush admin. officios and propagandists like ledeen and kristol can be brought up on war crimes charges to have to face responsibility for their war propaganda actions which mirror many nazis whom the nuremburg tribunal found guilty.

  50. Andy says:

    Thanks for your reply. You said,

    You are correct in stating that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but you cannot make strategic decisions, in fact any decision, on such a basis.

    It’s not a question of absent evidence, it’s a question of ambiguous evidence. Nations make decisions on the basis of ambiguous evidence all the time. Rarely is there a true “absence of evidence” and, by the same token, it is rare to have unambiguous clarity that makes decision-making easy. Typically there is a greater or lesser degree of ambiguity and often significant ambiguity still exists even when the totality of evidence appears very strong.
    Instead, interpretation of evidence is affected by perception and bias – cognitive effects that are well-documented in psychology and intelligence literature. People, by nature, often perceive and interpret ambiguous evidence as unambiguous. This effect is more powerful and ingrained than most people realize.

    My view is that even if Iran had no nuclear program at all, or suddenly , today, announced the abandonment of its enrichment program and surrender to the IAEA, another Causus Belli would be trumped up, probably biological or chemical weapons.

    Maybe so – what is the evidence? Pretty ambiguous in my judgment, though I do believe the current administration is completely capable of trumping up something else to remain hostile to Iran. The flip side of your argument, however – that any negotiation/agreement with Iran is pointless because Iran will not honor it – is a common one in neocon circles and, in my view, flawed.

    The reason is the Israelis fear of the emergence of moderate Islamic states with technically advanced economies that would command Western investment, and with that would come engagement and a lessening of Israeli influence in the world.

    Why would Israel fear such a thing? Western governments already invest more in the Arab/Islamic world than Israel. Even the US sells more military hardware to Arab nations than it does to Israel. Then there is the example of the UAE – a nation Israel is actively courting – which directly contradicts your conclusion. If it is truly “all about money” I would think Israel would want the benefits it would reap from trade with its neighbors – trade that would be of immense benefit to Israel.
    PS. I may have hit the post button before finishing this comment – if so please delete/ignore it in lieu of this one.

  51. confusedponderer says:


    I would think Israel would want the benefits it would reap from trade with its neighbors – trade that would be of immense benefit to Israel.

    You are suggesting reason and motivation by rational self-interest on the part of Israel. I think this is misleading.
    Probably the reason why it would not want trade with their Arab neighbours is simply because the Arabs have conditions to do that. That price might just be too high. Israeli politicians and a sizeable chunk of the Israeli electorate value the territorial integrity of (Greater) Israel, higher than trade with the Arabs. For a real zionist it is still about blood and soil. That doesn’t leave much room for maneuver.
    Sure, the Israelis want an end to terror and, eventually peace, but there is a limit beyond they are unwilling to go – and since Rabin that hasn’t been very far. And when Rabin suggested to go further, he paid the ultimate price for his attempt.

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