What Ahmadinajad said at Columbia

Cushield I listened to it all.

His remarks were "bracketed" for me by those of Bollinger (the Columbia president) who sought to distance himself from any possible accusation of hospitality and Nora O’Donnell (MSNBC anchor) who sought to distance herself from any possible accusation of neutrality.

Ahmadinajad said:

– Scholars should seek the truth.

– That he does not dispute the facts of the Holocaust, but that he thinks that scholarship should continue on the details and on the effect on his part of the world.  He particularly stressed the innocence of the Palestinian people in the matter of the Holocaust.  Since scholarship continues on the matter of this subject (the Holocaust) under the sponsorship of the US Holocaust Museum, this was an interesting point.

– He said that the nature of Palestine/Israel should be determined by referendum among "Jewish Palestinians, Muslim Palestinians and Christian Palestinians."  This is a variation on the long standing Arab desire for either a bi-national state or a state that is not specifically a Jewish state.  He did not specify whether his referendum would include Palestinians of the diaspora.  That, of course, would make a difference in the outcome.

– He said that the Iranian nuclear enrichment program was forced on them by foreign defaults on agreements for nuclear electric assistance.  He said that the Iranian sites are all under IAEA inspection and will remain that way.  He also said that the concentration level of their enrichment did not meet the requirement for weapons production.

– He abjured the idea of nuclear weapons and said they do not want any.  Presumably the IAEA inspection regime applies.

– When challenged on Iranian government support of international terrorist groups, he said that Iran herself is the victim of extensive terrorist attack sponsored by foreign governments.  He clearly had in mind the MEK.  He said that all parties should stop this kind of activity.  There may have been an implied offer in that.  The Persians are subtle people.  Perhaps they are too subtle for his audience

– He accepted the idea of wide negotiations with the US to resolve all differences..

– In response to a challenge by Bollinger, he invited Columbia to send delegations of faculty and students to any or all of Iran’s 400 universities.

– He insisted that Iranian women are free.

– He made a lame joke out of Iranian capital punishments for homosexual behavior.  The esoteric gist was, "we don’t care what you think about it."

– He made some goofy reference to "the real story on 9/11."  This was at the end and I guess he just couldn’t "hold it together" any longer.

It was quite a performance.  If this were a presidential debate, I would judge him the winner based on rhetorical skill and coolness under fire.  The student audience got quieter and quieter as he spoke.  There was no booing at the end.

On the whole I think this event was meaningless.  I think that the die is cast and that this will have no effect on the international game.  pl

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65 Responses to What Ahmadinajad said at Columbia

  1. J says:

    You are correct in that the ‘die is cast’ in that that Iran is being mis-characterized by western press. Cheney, trans-national corporations, along with the Israeli govt. want ‘total control’ of the Mideast where there is no longer a vibrant neighborhood, but one master and the rest all servants, one master of all available neighborhood resources.

  2. Walrus says:

    Col. Lang, thank you for posting the substance of the speech. I don’t see the visit or speech as meaningless however.
    I think Ahmenijad is trying to do an “End Run” around the Neocons and the Mainstream media to try and develop some form of direct relationship with the American public.
    His purpose of course is to try and stop the Administration from bombing Iran, but I’m afraid that train has already left the station unless the American public can be persuaded that Ahmenijad and his fellow Iranians are flesh and blood and not ogres, and therefore worthy of some form of dialogue instead of war.
    However, I don’t think he will succeed. AIPAC and the NeoCons have the mainstream media by the throat – that much is obvious.

  3. J says:

    It is so sad watching the neocon war against Iran opera unfold with its propaganda against the Iranian leader putting words in his mouth by accusing him of saying that he wants Israel wiped off the map, when he made no such comment. The Iranian prez quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for ‘this occupation regime over Jerusalem” to “vanish from the page of time.’ Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. ‘If’ the Iranian prez is such a homicidal maniac, then why are there 20,000 Jews in Iran along with one who is a member of the parliament?
    The ‘intentional’ mis-translation of what Ahmadinejad said, is ‘on purpose’ designed to ‘intentionally’ give the wrong impression.
    Now where have we seen wars started in the past over bad translations? Hmmm……
    It is as you said ‘the die has been cast’.

  4. David Solomon says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I watched the entire event on the web and I must say that President Bolinger made a very bad impression.
    Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, clearly presented himself as a skilled politician. He definitely did not come across as the country bumpkin that the “decider” and the corporate press have portrayed.
    I was particularly fascinated by the way he managed to combine his religious ideas with those of Jews and Christians alike. I realize that Muslims believe that the Prophet Mohammad is the last in the line of great prophets. Personally, I can do without the religious rhetoric. Nevertheless, it was consistent and appeared to be designed to enfold the Christian right.
    The only place he seemed to really falter was in his comment that their were no homosexuals in Iran.
    Altogether, I thought it was an interesting event.

  5. Well we do have one thing in commmon with Iran. Saddam Hussein misjudged them in 1980 when he launced his attack (invasion) and he misjudged the rationality of the US. Was it his problem or Iran and the US?

  6. jonst says:

    The last sentence in your post says it all.

  7. JohnH says:

    Now if only Bush would agree to be interrogated at Columbia, we might get some answers as to what on earth he thinks he’s doing!

  8. J says:

    Now the clueless come out of the woodwork — the latest — [Rep. R-CA Duncan] Hunter: I Will Try To ‘Cut Off Funds To Columbia University’ Because Of Ahmadinejad Speech
    Now what will cutting off funds to Columbia univ. do except hurt American kids. And to think that Mr. Hunter wants to be our prez. Such statements for political pandering purposes show a candidate’s true light — as in not running on all their ‘candidate’ cylinders upstairs.
    Cut off Columbia’s funding and hurt American kids all because of one individual’s speech? Sheez louize.

  9. Lysander says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Do you believe an American attack is possible without serious retaliation from Iran? Much is made of their means to hit back, but this was also the case in Gulf war I, with Saddam’s “battle hardened million man army” and “elite Republican Guard.”
    In the end all that talk made opposition to the war based on enemy capabilities a moot point.
    Do you think the current white house has concluded Iran can’t really retaliate? Or that it can but they’re ready to pay any price?
    Thank You

  10. graeme says:

    “On the whole I think this event was meaningless. I think that the die is cast and that this will have no effect on the international game.”
    Do you think it will have much impact in Agitprop terms? I watched NBC tonight and Ahmadinejad was described as a holocaust denier who is actively killing Americans, wants to destroy Israel and is pursuing nuclear weapons.
    That’s par for the course, but it was prominent coverage. Or, is it not much of a factor? I don’t know to well about what sort of a press campaign they’d need before they would bomb Iran.

  11. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “One of the few remaining neoconservatives in America was recently granted a private audience in the White House to deliver a 45-minute sales pitch to convince President Bush, accompanied by political deputy Karl Rove, to bomb Iran.
    Norman Podhoretz, who is among a dwindling class of aggressive defenders of President Bush’s Iraq invasion, argued the United States needed to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities, the author tells The Politico Monday. The longtime editor of Commentary magazine, Podhoretz is now serving as a foreign policy adviser to Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign.
    Although Bush “didn’t tip his hand,” Podhoretz says he believes that “Bush is going to hit” Iran before his term ends, The Politico reported.”
    Course Elliott Abrams is married to a daughter of Podhoretz’s current wife, Midge Decter.
    “His family ties have helped propel Abrams into the center of neoconservatism’s inner circles over the past few decades. In 1980 he joined one of the two reigning families of neoconservatism through his marriage to Rachel Decter, one of Midge Decter’s two daughters from her first marriage. As a member of the Podhoretz-Decter clan, Abrams became a frequent contributor to Commentary and Norman Podhoretz’s choice to direct the magazine’s symposiums on foreign policy. As one of the leading neocons in the Reagan administration, Abrams also served as a liaison between government and the right wing’s network, as exemplified by his appearances at the forums organized by Midge Decter’s Committee for the Free World in the 1980s.”
    Perhaps the post bombing scenario will catastrophic enough for the US foreign policy elite to sober up…but I don’t think it will matter…will take a more powerful nemesis of some kind I imagine.

  12. Richard Whitman says:

    I also listened to his speech. I do not agree with you that the event was meaningless. Anti US and anti western Muslims around the world have a clear leader now. His performance also is bound to affect professional diplomats and elites from Muslim countries. The effect in the US is probably neglible.

  13. Peter Principle says:

    On the whole I think this event was meaningless. I think that the die is cast and that this will have no effect on the international game
    The event may have been meaningless, but the willingness of Big Media to turn themselves (again!) into cheerleaders for a neocon-induced war hysteria is anything but.
    On the Iran issue, at least, it’s increasingly difficult to tell the difference between MSNBC and the old Pravda — with the single exception that the cynical old Pravda hacks just wrote what the party bosses told them to write, while their modern American counterparts appear to believe the neocon party line in their hearts and souls (Or what pass for souls among these journalistic zombies).
    I would have thought that after the Iraq experience orchestrating another PR war frenzy in this country would be impossible. I guess even I gave Big Media too much credit.

  14. Steve says:

    What I find demoralizing about this episode is how the US media in lock step demonized his appearance as if it were the second coming of Hitler. The chorus today was overwhelming and, as you say, abandoned any pretense of objectivity.
    Such demonizing has taken the place of and therefore seemingly precluded any critical analysis of US-Iranian policy (not that there was much to begin with in the mainstream media).
    Three or so years ago, after Iraq had clearly become the ill-fated adventure it is, I at least felt assured that the Iraqi mistake would preclude any support for a US attack on Iran.
    Boy, was I wrong. The media can whip up the hysteria as well as ever.
    It’s frightening.

  15. Charles I says:

    Given the Arab and Persian culture’s notorious codes of etiquette etc, I was a mite boggled by the intro. But heartened by applause for the reproach to the host.
    This will be all over the Iranian tv like a cheap hostage crisis. Super-President A. bearded the Infidel in its’ den, taught the boorish Americans a thing or two about Persian etiquette and patiently attempted a serious intercourse with a host too lacking in culture to sustain one. Welcome to America, thanks for accepting our invitation. Sheesh!
    The speech was what the President has said many times before, exact details many times ignored. It’ll have as little effect as before.

  16. Will says:

    ” On the whole I think this event was meaningless. I think that the die is cast and that this will have no effect on the international game. pl”
    from Raw Story
    “Although Bush “didn’t tip his hand,” Podhoretz says he believes that “Bush is going to hit” Iran before his term ends, The Politico reported.
    ““I did say to [the president], that people ask: Why are you spending all this time negotiating sanctions? Time is passing. I said, my friend [Robert] Kagan wrote a column which he said you were giving ‘futility its chance.’ And both he (Dumbya) and Karl Rove burst out laughing,” Podhoretz said. ”
    Podhoretz, a member of the L. Paul Bremer Medal of Freedom club, is father inlaw of Joshua Bolton.

  17. Kevin says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Laura Rozen has posted a copy of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment on Iran:
    Does this amendment in conjunction with the previously passed Authorization to Use Military Force provide Bush with all the authority he would need to launch an attack on Iran?
    I’m thinking specifically of paragraph 5 on page 9 which designates the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

  18. Mad Dogs says:

    Regarding Ahmadinajad’s visit, Cheney just loves it! Give’s him and his “Bomb Iran” buds more opportunity to fan the flames and demonize Iran.
    “The Script” is already in play, but is flexible enough to welcome improv moments should any Iranian take the stage.
    And the OSM (Old-Stream Media of which Nora O’Donnell is a proud member), in its role as the mighty chorus, happily blasts the airwaves with gusto:
    “Bad, bad Iranians! Devils, all! They belong in Hell. Help us send them there!”
    As the nuts in the A*P*C peanut gallery turn to each other, wink their eyes and applaud the loudest and say:
    “Only in America! Isn’t this the greatest country or what?”
    Anything, anything at all about Iran, that Cheney and his mendacious acolytes can possibly interpret in a negative way, will be so interpreted.
    And funneled via all his willing mouthpieces in the Media.
    One more ratchet up today. More ratchets tomorrow, and the next day, and so on.
    All to the goal of further cornering the willing Dubya with that faux binary decision of: “Bomb or Appeasement”.

  19. pallen says:

    Thank you for a very intelligent and concise review of this event, and for your conclusion. Thanks for taking the time to listen to his speech and respond to it for us.

  20. CSTAR says:

    Ahmadinejad and his political context in Iran in some ways reminds me of Noriega and his political context. There are clear differences though, which clearly suggest the outcome of an Iranian intervention will be wildly different from the Panama affair.
    Unintelligent, pompous individuals (I would say verging on buffoonery) mostly very poorly advised.
    A convenient focal point to rally prowar sentiment. Noriega was an unsavory character indeed, but his faults, were wildly exaggerated including accusations of bestiality.
    Unwillingess to accept the fact of the relentless destructive power of american military. Regardless of the political outcome, the US military does one thing well: inflict destruction, pain and suffering.
    Unpopularity within much of the middle class and virtually all the economic elite.
    These similarities may lead our decision makers to miscalculate yet again on the outcome of military action.
    The similarities end there: Ahmadinejad is a functionary (leader is too string a description) of a country of 70 million with a long history, a military far, far more significant, better trained, more disciplined than the piddling defense force that supported Noriega.
    Strikes that do not cause significant damage in Iran, may not lead to retaliation but will certainly increase Ahmadinejad’s prestige, within Iran and elsewhere. The alternative, crippling strikes will either lead to retaliation from Iran or leave widespread devastation within Iran; In that case it is not likely the US will garner much support within (what’s left of ) the middle class.
    There will be lots of pain and suffering to go around. And the guilt will be mostly ours.

  21. confusedponderer says:

    Podhoretz is father-in-law of Elliott Abrams. From what I know neither Josh Bolten nor John Bolton are in any way related with then Pod-person. Could you please clarify?

  22. Edward Merkle says:

    Kevin: “Does this amendment in conjunction with the previously passed Authorization to Use Military Force provide Bush with all the authority he would need to launch an attack on Iran?”
    Authorization? You mean like law? Shrubs don’t need no stinking laws.
    Now that the regime has the media in its pocket the game is manipulation.
    One of the more interesting things the boy king said about Americans, they are addicted to oil. Look to see the threat of oil shortages used to get us more entrenched into the ME quagmire.
    Easy to counter though, oil is such a massive and volatile commodity.

  23. Aseem Kumar says:

    What is the question he should be asked?He is very correct when he questions the displacement of native palestinian after world war 2.Right now,What we want? Our boys should come back home safe from Iraq now that Saddam is gone.The question is What is this Sunni-Shia divide in Iraq?What role can Iran play to settle this.If this man is as true as he appeared yesterday he will have the answer.

  24. Will says:

    my bust, Elliot Abrams, not Bolton Podhoretz’s relative.
    Chris Matthews and Pat Buchanan again save MSNBC from being the channel of idiots

  25. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Here’s a scenario:
    “It might be useful to imagine just how war with Iran could play out if the Iranians don’t roll over and surrender at the first whiff of grapeshot……
    To which I would add some Machiavelli per mercs as background:

    I say, therefore, that the arms with which a prince defends his state are either his own, or they are mercenaries, auxiliaries, or mixed. Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were. Thus it was that Charles, King of France, was allowed to seize Italy with chalk in hand;* and he who told us that our sins were the cause of it told the truth, but they were not the sins he imagined, but those which I have related. And as they were the sins of princes, it is the princes who have also suffered the penalty.”

  26. Will says:

    What is it about these CENTCOM commanders. we now find out from silent Abizaid that he’s not in favor of war to castrate a nuclear Iran and that we could live w/ a few Persico bombs. Note, the UN agency says they are not making bombs.
    Now Fallon in a story in the financial times based on an Al-Jazeera interview says
    “In a partial interview transcript released on Sunday by al-Jazeera, the television news service based in Qatar, Admiral William Fallon, head of US Central Command, gave one of the strongest indications yet that the US military is deeply reluctant to consider military action against Tehran.
    “This constant drum beat of conflict is what strikes me, which is not helpful and not useful,” he told al-Jazeera, according to the transcript. “I expect that there will be no war and that is what we ought to be working for. ”
    Fallon is thus on a collision course with Petraeus who seems to be Dumbya’s boy in drumming up the beat for a wider war.
    I think Moveon.org was correct on him. he’s pushing dumbya’s flathead political agenda.

  27. DH says:

    I’m wondering what the chances are of Putin staving off this fiasco?(Thanks to CK for posting this article in another thread.)
    “At a joint press conference with visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in Moscow on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained the Russian position on the Iran nuclear issue. He made it clear at the outset that Moscow is second to none in insisting on preventing the nuclear non-proliferation regime from being violated by Iran.
    In other words, Russia wouldn’t countenance a “nuclear Iran”. But having said that, Lavrov added that the problem has to be solved in accordance with international law. In other words, Moscow will reject any “unilateralism” on the part of Washington.
    Second, Lavrov argued that the steps taken by the international community so far – in the direction of the IAEA board of governors’ decisions and the United Nations Security Council decisions – have proved “effective”. This is borne out by the fact that last month Iran and the IAEA agreed to address outstanding issues conclusively; the two sides elaborated their agreement in an appropriate document. Lavrov said that in Moscow’s estimation, the implementation of this document is proceeding satisfactorily and “we want this process to conclude unimpeded”.
    Third, Lavrov spoke in strong support of the IAEA’s professional capabilities and asserted, “We will rely upon the professional assessments of the experts from the IAEA.” He added a punch line: “We remember well what ignoring the professional opinion of this agency [IAEA] led to in the situation vis-a-vis Iraq four years ago.” He virtually anticipated the US strategy, which aims at discrediting the IAEA and sidelining it on the Iran issue, if not elbowing it out of altogether, so that the UN Security Council gets into the driving seat.
    Fourth, Lavrov spoke emphatically against any military attack on Iran and instead stressed the “necessity to conduct negotiations in a persistent and consistent manner”.
    Fifth, what was most interesting about Lavrov’s statement was that he revisited the big-power discussions last year leading to the creation of the so-called Five Plus One format. (This comprises the five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US – plus Germany.)
    He recalled the understanding given by Washington at that time to Moscow and Beijing to the effect that the Security Council’s involvement on the Iran issue would be with “a sole objective – to back the IAEA and ensure Iran’s compliance with the IAEA”.
    Lavrov’s message to the Bush administration was plain: “Do not arbitrarily shift the goalposts now.” ”

    “Russia remains Iran’s main arms supplier. Russian oil companies have been marginalized in Iraq. Russia would be loath to see the Bush administration steamrolling yet another “regime change” in Iran – under whatever pretext – and thereby proceed to appropriate the oil and gas resources of the Middle East. Besides, an unfriendly, pro-US regime in Tehran (like the one engineered by the US in Georgia) would have catastrophic consequences for Russian interests in a wide arc of regions in its “soft underbelly” in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
    During Putin’s visit, there is bound to be renewed focus on cooperation between Iran and Russia in the field of energy. Russia would always seek a broad understanding with Iran so that they didn’t end up competing with each other in gaining market access. Iran is a keen enthusiast of the idea of a gas cartel modeled on the lines of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that was first mooted by Moscow. Russia is hosting the next meeting of gas-producing countries in early 2008. On its part, Russia has been advocating an “SCO energy club”, which would gain traction if Iran becomes an active participant.
    Of course, Russia and Iran have a shared interest in calibrating the “great game” over Turkmenistan. British Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks, who arrived in Ashgabat on Tuesday, was the first British minister to visit Turkmenistan in nine years. He promptly told the Turkmen leadership that Europe would pay market price for Turkmen gas, hinting that it was time Ashgabat looked beyond Russia and Iran in its energy-export policy.
    If Ahmedinejad succeeds in nudging his Turkmen counterpart Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov to join the SCO, that would no doubt please Moscow (and Beijing). The East and West are vigorously courting the Turkmen leader. Berdymukhamedov is due to visit the US next week at Bush’s invitation – just ahead of the Caspian summit in Tehran. Amid the cacophony over the Iraq crisis, Bush has understood the meaning of Putin’s forthcoming visit to Iran.”

  28. eaken says:

    “THe Persians are subtle people. Perhaps they are too subtle for his audience”
    Spot on except I would extend the definition of audience to include the executive and legislative branches of the US Government. In fact, I would extend it to include most countries with less than 500 years of history.

  29. Cold War Zoomie says:

    “…this was also the case in Gulf war I, with Saddam’s “battle hardened million man army” and “elite Republican Guard.”
    You read my mind, Lysander. Back then, every time some naysayer was on TV explaining how formidable Saddam’s army was, all I could think of was that they couldn’t beat Iran after eight years of fighting. And if my memory is correct, there were reports on television in the late 1980s about Iran throwing 16 year olds into the fray with two weeks training. So if Saddam couldn’t beat Iran back then, what was he going to do to us?
    And vice versa, what could Iran do to us?
    This time, though, it’s not conventional warfare.

  30. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I guess you missed my earlier answer to someone else.
    The Iraqi DID beat Iran. They beat them like a drum. pl

  31. David W says:

    CSTAR, limited analogies can be helpful in order to begin an understanding of a situation, however, they always have limits, and you overreached in two very critical areas in your analogy between Ahmadinejad and Noriega.
    First, Ahmadinejad is not stupid, nor a buffoon, and to try to cast him in this role would be a mistake. What was really on display at Columbia and the UN is a very shrewed, calculating man who has control enough of his emotions to walk into the lions den and play with the lions.
    Second, and most importantly, Noriega was corrupt to the core, and easily bought off, before he wanted even more, which was one of the reasons he was deposed by the US govt. Ahmadinejad has a reputation of incorruptibility–you can believe this or not, but the truth is self-evident; if he were able to be so, he would have been bought off on the side a long time ago. The carrot always comes before the stick!

  32. Michael says:

    How ironic that the North American media (yes, they are talking about it here in Canada as well) uses Iran’s punishment of homosexuals as ‘proof’ of its psychotic and evil nature.. and yet completely ignores the fact that there are many in the US (and Canada) who feel exactly the same way. A la Matthew Shepard. While it might not be ‘legal’.. it’s happening all the time..

  33. Will says:

    “The Iraqi DID beat Iran. They beat them like a drum. pl”
    The Col. was there. The War appears to have cycled back and forth with the Iraki’s coming back in the second half due to international resupply.
    this is what wikipedia says and we know how inaccureate it can be
    “Towards a ceasefire
    “1987 saw a renewed wave of Iranian offensives against targets in both the north and south of Iraq. Iranian troops were stopped cold by Iraqi prepared defenses in the south in a month-and-a-half long battle for Basra (Operation Karbala-5), but met with more success later in the year in the north as Operations Nasr 4 and Karbala-10 threatened to capture the oil-rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk and other northern oilfields. However, the Iranian forces were unable to consolidate their gains and continue their advance, and so 1987 saw little land change hands. On 20 July, the Security Council of the United Nations passed the US-sponsored Resolution 598, which called for an end to fighting and a return to pre-war boundaries. Iraq, which had lost important pieces of land over the course of the war, eagerly accepted the resolution. Iran, however, was loathe to surrender its gains when total victory seemed close at hand, and so the fighting continued.[21]
    By April 1988, however, the Iraqi forces had regrouped sufficiently to begin a new series of devastating attacks on the Iranians, and in quick succession recaptured the strategic al-Faw peninsula (lost in 1986 in Operation Dawn-8) and territory around Basra and also struck deep into the Iranian north, capturing much matériel.[22] Following these major setbacks, Iran acceded to the terms of Resolution 598. However Iraq, which had seen major victories in the end of the war, thought it could invade Iran once more, Iraqi forces managed to make small gains in Khuzestan but were halted by the Iranians and so Iraq also accepted the peace and on 20 August 1988 peace broke out.
    The People’s Mujahedin of Iran started their ten day operation after the Iranian government accepted UN Resolution 598. While Iraqi forces attacked Khuzestan, the Mujahedin attacked western Iran and battled the Pasdaran for Kermanshah. Close air support from the Iraqis contributed to whatever gains the Mojahedin made. However, under heavy international pressure for ending the war, Saddam Hussein withdrew his fighter aircraft and the sky opened for the Iranian airborne forces to be deployed behind Mojahedin lines. The operation ended in a Bay of Pigs style disaster for Mojahedin. Casualties ranged from 2,000 to 10,000. ”

  34. Binh says:

    Will, I addressed your Q in a post in my blog when the amendment passed: http://prisonerofstarvation.blogspot.com/2007/07/senate-dems-vote-for-war-with-iran.html
    I read the Raw Story piece about Bush and Rove laughing at the idea that sanctions and diplomacy will alter Iran’s stance on its nuclear program. Make me believe even more that we’re slowly turning to head down the path to war.

  35. alnval says:

    Col. Lang: Why is no one distressed by the lack of common courtesy extended by Columbia University to its invited guest? I realize that times have changed since Cordell Hull said that gentlemen don’t read each others mail, but, what can possibly explain the decaying of good manners in this ugly way? Is it that Iran’s president was invited to speak at Columbia University because we really wanted to throw stones at him? If true, who is we?
    Certainly, the behavior of the University’s president suggests that his guest was never meant to be seen as someone to be treated courteously and that academic freedom was to be used as a cover to publicly insult a world figure the president had no need to insult otherwise.
    What does this tell us about the independence of academic freedom if a university president needs to invite someone to the campus so that he/she can demonstrate to the country at large that the university is not being run by a wimp.
    The alternative, that Columbia University’s president was ‘encouraged’ for political reasons to invite Iran’s president is even more terrible to contemplate.
    I’m sure that there are other, similar tribal rituals that cultural anthropologists could tell us about that might help to explain how we got here, but, at this point, why would we want to know?

  36. David Solomon says:

    Colonel Lang,
    This was posted on The Nation’s website sometime this afternoon and I thought it might add a little to the many interesting comments already posted.
    This article can be found on the web at
    Debating Ahmadinejad at Columbia
    [posted online on September 25, 2007]
    A tall man with white hair, wearing a US-flag print shirt and pants, patrolled the sidewalk at 116th and Broadway. He waved a huge American flag as he marched, in movements that were nearly metronomic in their consistency. Stacks of brochures sat on a bare and rickety table, waiting to be handed out to anyone who didn’t look away quickly enough. Bystanders stared.
    I hadn’t been back to my former school almost since I graduated. Returning as an alumna of the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the school that sponsored Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s talk here on Monday, I felt the puff of pride that Columbia had not backed down in the face of media pressure. I also felt just a little bit cheated that it was happening now, when I was attending as an outsider, rather than the first time his talk had been announced, in 2006, when I was still a sleep-deprived student.
    The police officers stationed in and around the university, beginning at the platform of the subway that I had taken to get there, looked at everyone suspiciously. Women in dark, severe suits monitored the entry of the press, taking signatures and examining credentials. Everywhere, people in uniforms directed the human traffic and at certain entrances demanded identification. Fliers lined the walkway to the main quadrangle and littered the brick paths. Students milled around the campus, talking excitedly in tight groups or listening to the speakers outside Low Library. Homemade placards offered silent counterpoint to some of the speeches delivered at the podium. “Ahmadinejad Is not Iran Just Like Bush Is not America,” said one. “We Say No to War on Iran,” proclaimed another. And a third, my favorite, in black paint on a wood sheet: “Free Speech for All, Even Douche Bags.”
    Representatives of various organizations were eloquent in their denunciation of Ahmadinejad’s professed views on Israel and the treatment of women and homosexuals in Iran, yet many supported his right to speak at the university. Many declared that they had never felt prouder to be associated with Columbia. Some said that they had never felt more ashamed.
    Matteen Mokalla, an Iranian-American student at SIPA studying the Middle East, spoke of the mood on campus. “Before the talk, the entire campus was electrified,” he said. “Everybody was talking about it. When we were standing in line, we joked, ‘Is this the line for the Rolling Stones?’ Because it felt like that.”
    But that pride and excitement was tarnished by the opening remarks of Columbia President Lee Bollinger. In his statement, combative and unduly vicious, Bollinger accused his invited guest of being nothing more than a “petty and cruel dictator,” of having a “fanatical mindset.” He claimed that this exercise was valuable in knowing one’s enemies and understanding “the mind of evil.”
    These words were prefaced by his describing the invitation to Ahmadinejad as the “right thing to do.” As abhorrent as Bollinger’s parroting of Bushisms is, the invite was the right thing to do. Not because the Iranian president has a right to share some of his more odious views but because of “our right to listen. We do it for ourselves.”
    But where were all these references to freedom of speech just last year, when Bollinger first endorsed, then rescinded, the SIPA invitation to Ahmadinejad? Then-SIPA dean Lisa Anderson had invited the Iranian leader to give a lecture. Bollinger has claimed that the invitation was taken back because he wasn’t sure that the exchange would reflect the “academic values” that the platform stood for. He also called Ahmadinejad’s views “repugnant.” Campus gossip, however, put the reason as outside pressure. What else could it have been, the whispers went, when the university president at first endorsed Dean Anderson’s invite but backed off the next day?
    That’s why it was all the more disappointing when students showed up to hear their president uphold all the values of free speech in the face of withering media criticism–only to hear him stoop to name-calling.
    “Bollinger’s remarks were uncalled for,” said Julie Payne, a second-year SIPA student and co-editor of SIPA’s student newspaper, Communique. “There was no need for a fifteen-minute tirade, nor for using some of the adjectives he did. Everyone disagrees with [Ahmadinejad’s] rhetoric, but debate shouldn’t be so debased by using that language.” Bollinger’s opening remarks changed the nature of the discussion at Columbia. After the talk, said Mokalla, “the discussion was not about Ahmadinejad at all. Bollinger was outrageous. If he feels this way about him, why invite this man? Twenty of us were talking about it for two hours afterward. It was a bit embarrassing because he sounded like President Bush or like a neoconservative ideologue.”
    Bollinger’s comments were radically different from other introductions he has given in the course of the World Leaders Forum, an annual cluster of talks hosted by Columbia, where visiting heads of state are invited to address students on campus.
    I remember attending a similar lecture two years ago, in the fall of 2005, in my first semester as a SIPA student. It was a talk by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, a leader closer to my home country. As one of many Indian students at the event, I burned with questions I was dying to pose about democracy, women’s rights and peace with India.
    Then, as yesterday, we arrived more than an hour in advance. On each of our seats was a pamphlet with a brief history of the leader. I was astonished to find that, according to his biography, Musharraf “assumed the office of chief executive of Pakistan in October 1999.” There was no mention of the coup through which Musharraf seized power. Not once did Bollinger refer to the military man, who had overthrown the elected government and then refused to hold elections as promised, as a dictator–a word he seemed to have no problem using to describe Ahmadinejad. The question of how Musharraf “assumed office” was delicately avoided, a diplomatic skill that has clearly been forgotten in these two intervening years. No one seemed curious to know how Musharraf’s rhetoric about democracy fit in with his continued reign as a dictator–at least, no one with access to a mike.
    Neither Bollinger nor the press has been so forgiving of Ahmadinejad. He has been attacked in all quarters–from the front pages of New York’s daily newspapers to the sidewalks outside Columbia’s main gates to the podium where he was invited to speak. He has been called “thug,” “madman,” “tyrant,” “dictator” and more. And in this volley of words, an important opportunity was lost.
    Sitting with a bunch of his Iranian friends on the lawn with the thousands who couldn’t get into the lecture hall, Bill Berkeley professed himself disappointed with the direction of the debate. An adjunct professor at Columbia’s School of Journalism, Berkeley is the author of a book on Rwanda and is currently at work on another on Iran. “I didn’t feel the discussion moved forward,” he said.
    For in the melee of questions about the Holocaust and wiping Israel off the map, Ahmadinejad got off with mouthing generalities about loving all nations and admitting that the Holocaust had indeed taken place. (“Given that the Holocaust is a present reality of our time,” said the Iranian president, “we should have research to approach this from different perspectives.”) He got a free pass on issues that many Iranians would have liked to see raised, such as women’s rights, homosexuality (according to Ahmadinejad, homosexuals simply do not exist in Iran) and the misdeeds of the Revolutionary Guard.
    Iranian SIPA student Hani Mansourian knows what his question would have been. “I would have asked him, ‘If you support a referendum in Palestine, and if you say that women are free in Iran, why don’t you hold a referendum in Iran and ask women whether they want to wear the hijab or not?'” For all his evasion of questions posed to him, on some points Ahmadinejad was eloquent and passionate. His support for the Palestinian people dominated the speech. “For sixty years, these people are being killed. For sixty years, on a daily basis, there’s conflict and terror. For sixty years, innocent women and children are destroyed and killed by helicopters and airplanes that break the house over their heads.”
    He was persuasive when it came to Iran’s nuclear policy. Recalling the after-effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he asked, “What can a perpetual nuclear umbrella threat achieve for the sake of humanity?”
    In this face-off between Bollinger’s prefacing remarks and Ahmadinejad’s speech, the university president “made Ahmadinejad look the winner,” said Mansourian, “and that’s not what I wanted.” The Iranian, like the rest of us, wanted a real debate, one in which Bollinger would practice what he had preached the previous year in a campus-wide e-mail to students.
    “In a society committed to free speech,” it had said, “there will inevitably be times when speakers use words that anger, provoke, and even cause pain. Then, more than ever, we are called on to maintain our courage to confront bad words with better words.”
    Sadly, what Bollinger had in his arsenal were not better words but Bush’s words.

  37. zanzibar says:

    The Iranian military is probably not much better than they were during the war with Saddam. If that is the case they would be destroyed pretty quickly. What happens next?
    If Dick&George think there will be regime change – that may not happen. Would it be likely that another hornet’s nest gets stirred and now there are several thousand Persians with vengeance on their mind and in their hearts as their families were killed in the air & cruise missile attacks? Wouldn’t low grade terrorist attacks in “weak” spots be what we see instead. Again more innocent civilians that perish. A battered theocracy may still survive in Iran and a more afraid US happily giving up constitutional freedoms and civil liberties in the aftermath. Not a very appetizing future!

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Decorum is a heavenly crown,
    Put it on your head,
    Go wherever you want.

  39. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Will et al
    Yes. I was there. I sound like Patton.
    You still do not “get it” about the outcome of the Iran-Iraq War. By the end the Iraqis had virtually destroyed the Iranian Army and only the sacrificial lunatics of the Revolutionary Guard were left. They were good at one thing. That was absorbing buillets. Without Iranian Army Artillery, Armor and Engineer support they were not capable of dong anything except dying well. pl

  40. zanzibar says:

    The talk radio shows that I listen during my commute were blathering on about how kooky Ahmadinejad is – focused on the gay and holocaust issues. And of course insinuating how dangerous Iran is with this guy at the helm and specially if they get nuclear weapons – of course letting listeners draw conclusions that Iran was just days away from getting nuclear weapons. And this was not Rush or Hannity.
    Not sure how the rest of corporate media is spinning his speech and Bollinger’s intro. One thing I am certain is that it would not have the clarity nor the penetrating analysis that our PL has provided in this post.
    But it seems that Dick’s all point bulletin to ramp up the Iran propaganda is right on schedule. What’s actually amazing to me is the feebleness of the opposition to the propaganda considering the lessons of Iraq. Its clear our country has not learned anything from Iraq and the elites are doubling down on their ME bet.
    I would be interested to see analysis of what likely happens assuming that Iran’s military is basically incapacitated in the initial strikes.

  41. Jose says:

    After Bollinger’s introduction, Ahmenijad won the forum by default..lol
    If you look at the new networks, you would think that Iran declared war on the United States…lol
    Col, O’Donnell and the whole MSNBC crew lost all credibility and objectiveness but you must remember what happened to Ashley Banfield…lol
    Pat Buchanan was the only one who was objective and reasonable which shows how out of whack American has become under Dumbya..lol

  42. Montag says:

    But what did Saddam GET out of the war? Yes, he got some scraps of Iranian territory–which he later had to abandon when his Kuwait adventure made him more enemies than he could handle. And then he had to fly his warplanes to Iran to keep them from being destroyed by the Allies–good luck getting them back. And his massive foreign debt which to his mind forced him into Kuwait. As the Greek King Pyrrhus said, “Another such victory and I am lost.”
    That’s like saying that Vietnam won their six-week war with China in 1979. But China set out to prove that Vietnam couldn’t rely upon their alliance with the Soviet Union–and they succeeded. The Soviets did diddly squat to help the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese were playing checkers while the Chinese were playing chess.
    I firmly believe that the South actually won the U.S. Civil War. Yes, yes, Lee surrendered and all that, but we made the Yankees take us back, didn’t we? Checkmate!

  43. CSTAR says:

    I think it is a mistake to view the event at Columbia yesterday as a debate, or anything that could be called an ideological exchange or confrontation, where people actually listen. It was a performance, each actor playing a role for an audience situated elsewhere –even the audience that physically there was one of these actors. Ahmadinejad himself was one these performers, with his own target audience located elsewhere, in Iran and the 3rd world. Ahmadinejad achieved his goals stylishly and admirably; but so did Columbia’s president, perhaps in a less stylish way, (but does he care) and so did the (for the most part) pretentious protestors that showed up.
    In this sense Lang is right– the whole affair was meaningless. We have to much meaningless discussion.
    Poseurs, poseurs ils sont tous des poseurs.

  44. Eric Dönges says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I don’t get it either. If Iraq defeated Iran, why did Iraq agree to a ceasefire that didn’t give them anything except a return to the pre-war status quo ?

  45. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Meanwhile, it’s not just W:
    “WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US House of Representatives aimed a sharp jab at Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday, slapping new energy sanctions on Tehran, and branding its Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.
    A measure targeting the elite military corps and the lucrative Iranian energy sector sailed through the House by 397 votes to 16, hours before Ahmadinejad’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly.”
    Note the vote: 397-16.
    The Senate “wiser” than the House???
    “And now Senators Jon Kyl and Joe Lieberman, who’s already advocated attacking the country, are introducing a sense of the Senate resolution, possibly up for a vote today, that accuses Iran of fighting “a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq.” The resolution states that “it is a vital national interest of the United States” to prevent Iran from turning Iraq’s Shiite militias into a “Hezbollah-like force” and says that US policy should “combat, contain and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies.” To accomplish this task, Kyl and Lieberman advocate “the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq.” Finally, the resolution dubs Iran’s largest military branch, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, “a foreign terrorist organization.”
    Lieberman most folks know about by now. Kyl gets foreign policy cues from Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, for which see:
    and from ZOA which works with Frank and CSP on Capitol Hill, for which see:
    It’s an inside the Beltway thing…

  46. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    From Just World News website today per Prof. Ramazani at UVA under whom I studied some three decades ago:
    “Ramazani: “Bridging the Divides”
    “posted by Scott Harrop
    As regular justworldnews readers will recognize, Helena and I have presented and commented on numerous essays here by R.K. – “Ruhi” – Ramazani. Here’s one on Jefferson & Iraq, another on “Making Gulf Security Durable,” and this one on why massive arms sales are not the answer. Tomorrow, he faces a complex heart surgery.
    “On the eve of this potential life crossroad, the University of Virginia, via UVA Today on-line, published a multimedia tribute to Professor Ramazani’s generous service to students, the University, and to the cause of “understanding” between Americans and peoples of the Middle East.
    “I especially like Professor William Quandt’s comment at the essay end:
    “One of Ruhi’s great hopes has been that he could personally help bridge the divide between the country of his birth, Iran, and the country where has lived for most of his adult life, the United States,” said William B. Quandt, the Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs and an expert on the Middle East. “It remains to be seen whether Ruhi’s hope for reconciliation between the two countries he knows best will take place, but if and when it does, he will have played an important role behind the scenes.”
    For Ramazani on “Jefferson and Iraq” see:
    I recall one project I helped him with as his research assistant. It was a study of Iran and India as regional factors. When we commenced, I asked “Which sources would you like me to begin with?” Said he, “Just use your imagination.”

  47. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Six or seven years of war, national exhaustion and the realization that Iran was far too big a place to occupy. p

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    This was not about a pose. It was about Whites treating an uppity fakir who does not buy into the White-man’s kitsch.
    There was a strong racialist under-currents to this.

  49. Tuli says:

    President Ahmadinejad spoke in front of a potentially hostile audience at Columbia. This is something that President Bush would never do. Our President’s hand picked and vetted audiences are designed to eliminate any dissent. So, say what you will, Iran’s President Ahmadinajad took a chance with the First Amendment that our President Bush is either afraid of, or unwilling to chance.
    Heresy, I know!

  50. J says:

    The current politk in D.C. doesn’t understand Iran and its culture, and apparently have no interest in trying.
    In addition to Blackwater ‘mercs’, it appears that we have both White House and Congressional ‘mercs’ who are working in the employ on behalf of a foreign government, planning and executing wars that have no bearing on our ‘American national security’, it all has to do with the ‘security and interests’ of the ‘foreign government’ that is paying them both in dollars under the table (both literal, and political contributions) and ego stroking (flattering articles about the decide-n-tater as a modern day Jonah).
    When will our politk in D.C. return to the interests of America, and not a foreign government, ‘when’?

  51. Binh says:

    I watched the Ahmadinejad interview with 60 Minutes and was very surprised to see the “reporter” telling the President point-blank that Iran was killing U.S. troops. Back in January/February when the EFP charges first surfaced, they got no traction because the media was skeptical due to lack of any meaningful hard evidence. It seems the campaign to demonize Iran and create a causus belli has really sunk in.
    Secondly, I’ve been thinking about what a war with Iran would look like, and from your writing it seems you aren’t terribly worried about Iran’s military capability. I’m thinking the war would be a lot like Gulf War I – major air bombardment, no regime change, a few missiles fired at Israel/Iraq/Afghanistan, and maybe some Hezbollah rockets into Israel. Am I totally off base on this? Are the predictions of “disaster” for the U.S. in the wake of such a strike more about how it would re-align the politics of the region?

  52. Michael says:

    I would be interested to see how President Bush (and the people of the USA) would have responded if he faced with the same kind of introduction Ahmadinajad received. Lord knows there are things to be said there as well.. I am sure it would have been met with outrage and indignation.. and the host would have been branded as boorish and ‘pro-terrorist’

  53. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The air war will go well. The Iranians will not surrender or change their policy. They will step up the war against us in Iraq and across the world and we will be committed to another protracted war in the Islamic World. pl

  54. DanaJone says:

    Binh: I think that what you described is what the warmongers here wish for. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be much like that.
    People tend to both over & under estimate the Iranian military and it’s capability to inflict major damage on US forces in the ME. While it may be true that in the end the US may be able to eliminate IRAN as a threat, they will not just lay there and take it either, they do have the capability to do serious harm to US forces in the Gulf. And no matter the sales job the defense industry pulled on the Pentagon, I’m pretty sure that a few missiles will get through. I recall the video from GW1 when an Iraqi SCUD was detected coming into Kuwait and Patriots were fired to intercept. You watch the P’s arching up to the SCUD, then they FOLLOWED the warhead down. The SCUD didn’t explode, but the Patriot warheads did causing most of the casualties on the ground amongst our own troops. Big embarrassment for our defense contractors, but you can bet nobody paid a price for that little fiasco. And it will take only one relatively cheap missile to get through the naval defenses to put one of our multi-billion dollar carriers out of commission, not to mention the hundreds or thousands killed & maimed. The people running THIS Circus managed to avoid the little inconvenience called Viet Nam. Dick had more important things to do then, but he doesn’t seem to mind sending others sons & daughters off to the meat grinder. I have absolutely no respect for these “people”, none.

  55. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think a possible scenario for the US – Iran War will be something similar to the Arab-Israeli Wars of the last 60 years.
    Israel could not leave the Arabs alone and the Arabs would not accept defeat. As the war, initially over land & power, continued over the generations, it metastasized into a religious war between Judaism and Islam.
    Likewise, US, being determined to remains the hegemonic power of the Middle East, cannot leave Iran alone. And Iran will not accept defeat. And there are other states that will make certain that Iran is not defeated so that they can tie up US in the Middle East and dissipate her strength. The war could last many years, some times hot, sometimes not so hot, but never ending. As it goes on, the transforming power of war could eviscerate all pretenses and leave us with a religious war between Shia Islam and Protestant Christianity.
    One needs to run simulations to determine the contours of this war as it evolves over years and possibly decades.

  56. J. Rega says:

    It’s starting to feel like Spring, 1914, as if things are long past negotiation and diplomacy. Whatever the Persians are up to they at least seem to have progressed past the binary pattern thinking that affects our side: “The only thing worse than war with Iran is an Iran with nuclear weapons”. Brilliant, and easy to remember, too!
    Is the situation really this dialectical or have we made it so? If it is, the synthesis that emerges might not be to the liking of the current administration. My own feeling is that the Iranians are aiming for moral and political authority in the Muslim world, a vacuum forever waiting to be filled. It may take 50 years but Muslim unity will be one consequence of any attack on Iran; regional hegemony will follow.

  57. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    <"we will be committed to another protracted war in the Islamic World. pl">
    <"The war could last many years, some times hot, sometimes not so hot, but never ending. As it goes on, the transforming power of war could eviscerate all pretenses and leave us with a religious war between Shia Islam and Protestant Christianity.Babak Makkinejad ">
    pl and babak may well be presenting the scenario that unfolds.
    Digging into the Scahill book last evening, the Preface and Chapter One are must reads per the “Christian” Fundamentalist issue.
    My own book, working title “Dark Crusade: US Foreign Policy and Christian Zionism”, will hopefully be out next year from a well known London publisher. I present a technical analysis and make a distinction between mainline Protestant churches and the Fundamentalist movement.
    While most folks are aware of the Falwell/Baptist link and the Robertson/Pentacostal, Charismatic, Holiness link, few examine the influence of a breakaway movement within the Calvinist Dutch Reform tradition. The latter is the milieu of the Prince and DeVos families raised in threads on Blackwater.
    Scahill is on the right track in his Preface and Chapter 1. I would point out the relationship between some of the American breakaway Dutch Reformed sects to the breakaway sect in the Netherlands which gained political power in the late 19th and early 20th century over there through the establishment of its own political party. The ideology of the party and church in the Netherlands appears to have been quietly embedded in Michigan over the past century and has spread into the US Religious Right. For background start here:
    [excerpt from Wiki: “In the United States Kuyper’s political and theological views have had a significant impact, especially in the Reformed community. He is considered the father of Dutch Neo-Calvinism and had considerable influence on the thought of philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. Others that have been influenced by Kuyper include Francis Schaeffer, Cornelius Van Til, Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Chuck Colson, Stephen Perks, R Tudur Jones and Bobi Jones. In 2006, Reformed Bible College, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan was renamed in honor of Abraham Kuyper and is now Kuyper College.”]

  58. Binh says:

    Based on what the Colonel and Babak have said, I’m guessing they would argue something like this would be all but impossible:

  59. Eric A Blair says:

    I understand some scholars from Iran’s University system has sent Mr. Bollinger a letter asking 10 questions. It would be interesting if this were presented to him and he answered them at a public forum.

  60. Bobo says:

    Before running off into a skirmish with Iran hopefully our Diplomats and Military have answered the question, “which country(s) will come to Iran’s defense”.
    We came to Afghanistan’s aide in their spat with Russia, China and Russia assisted the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam war, China helped North Korea in the Korean war and many more examples are out there.
    I believe we have alienated part of the world in our Iraq invasion, now before we jump into a big pile of doo-doo hopefully the powers to be have thought through the consequences of our potential actions.

  61. danajone says:

    “now before we jump into a big pile of doo-doo hopefully the powers to be have THOUGHT THROUGH the consequences of our potential actions.”
    Sorry, but the only consequences they can conceive is the Iranian people greeting our cruise missiles with flowers and candy and promptly overthrowing thier government for one more of our liking, perhaps even asking Lieberman & McCain to come run it for them. What kind of cloud coo coo land they live in I’ll never understand. Oh, wait, they are constantly remaking reality so I’ll never understand it. The Flatheads are mentally ill.

  62. The real question about a US war in Iran is: how will the Iranians fight it?
    Will they be stupid and throw human wave attacks against US gunships? I kind of doubt it, although anything is possible.
    If they have been paying attention to how Hizballah fought the Israelis, and how the iraqi insurgents have fought the US, the smart thing to do, of course, would be to lure the US into Khuzestan – which, after all, is Cheney’s real objective here – then turn it into a guerrilla war. So it would be easy for them to lure the US into Iran into a ground war.
    What is the US going to do if Iranian forces make incursions into Iraq and try to hook up with Iraqi Shia militia? Of course the US is going to push back and push into Iran to blunt such incursions. Especially since, as I said, Cheney’s goal is to get the oil in Khuzestan – ostensibly to “cut off Iran’s economic income with which they finance terrorism” (yeah, right, Dick…)
    And once the US is in Iran, well, it’s IED heaven again. Aided by the Iraqi Shia militias and Iranian agents already in Iraq who will be screwing up our supply lines and increasing attacks on US troops in Iraq.
    There will be no “safe rear area” for US troops in Iraq or anywhere in the ME – except possibly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia – and the latter will just stimulate bin Laden again.
    As for the US Navy, I suspect that while the Iranian small craft armada will take humongous casualties, they have over 1,000 small craft loaded with anti-ship missiles and mines. And I suspect that the US Navy has never dealt with “swarm tactic”. The only statement the Navy has made about it is along the lines of “it’s difficult to organize swarm attacks”. Which demonstrates that they just don’t get it – because the point of a “swarm tactic” is that it’s unorganized enough that it confuses the defense.
    So I would expect to see at least one US Navy ship ship in the Straits of Hormuz – no matter at what cost to Iran.
    And we know the US Air Force is NOT going to hit EVERY Iranian missile site – which means some US base in Iraq or elsewhere is going to get pounded.
    Beyond that, if we expect Israel to coordinate an attack on Syria and Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley, we can count on Israel getting the same treatment – guerrilla war in the front by Hizballah, and guerrilla war in the rear by the remnants of the Syrian military.
    The logical outcome of this war: both Israel and the US lose – big time – bled to death militarily, economically and geopolitically over the next ten or more years.
    Iran and Syria will have their economies and infrastructures utterly destroyed, as will Lebanon and Iraq (again).
    But the US and Israel will lose in the end.

  63. Martin K says:

    Sirs. I agree with the spring 1914 analogy.
    If a hot war with Iran happens, there are so many possible outcomes its nindboggling. They have a really good foreign intelligence crew, as does Hezbollah (who have office in Oslo, btw.) I would also worry about targeted missile-barrages at targets in Irac. Green Zone, camp Anaconda etc. They have had quite a lot of time to prepare. Also swarming attacks on the fleet.
    Sir, I do not mean to accuse, but why dont people of your position howl certain questions of accountability and consequence from the rooftops and streets? Because this sounds like insanity to me.

  64. ked says:

    & here’s what Ahmadinanjad did in NYC…
    {I find this to be the most clever response to his visit than anything that actually went down (pardon the pun). If only our State & NSC were so out-of-the-box (or closet, as the case may be) in infowar, psyops & diplomacy.}

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