Michael Wolraich's picture

    Panetta: Iran to Enter "Immunity Zone"; Israeli Attack Imminent

    When will the Israelis attack? That's what the world has wondered ever since 1984, when an anonymous source predicted that Iran would develop a nuclear bomb within two years.

    Twenty-eight years later, Israeli may have finally set a date for its long-awaited assault according to United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

    Panetta reportedly told David Ignatius of the Washington Post that Israel is likely to strike Iran sometime in April, May, or June of this year.

    According to Panetta, the Israelis believe that Iran will soon enter what they call the "zone of immunity," which sounds like either a science fiction episode or a game of tag. Soon after the Post reported Panetta's remarks, the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed that the Israelis were very concerned about Iran's imminent arrival in the Immunity Zone.

    But the report raises an intriguing question:

    Why did Leon Panetta announce the schedule for Israeli's surprise attack?

    In his column, David Ignatius suggests that Panetta was "signaling that Israel is acting on its own." But who exactly did he intend to signal?

    There are three possibilities:

    1) The world. Ignatius' interpretation seems to be that the U.S. is denying responsibility in advance for the sake of its reputation. But why in advance? There will be plenty of time for U.S. disavowals if and when the attack goes down, and presenting them ahead of time adds little enough to their credibility.

    2) Israel. Panetta could be trying to deter the Israelis by telling them: You're on your own. But the Israelis clearly get that, and it does not seem to bother them. According to Ignatius, it was an Israeli official who advised the United States, "You stay to the side, and let us do it." Moreover, the one-two Immunity Zone punch by the two defense chiefs suggests that these remarks were a little too well coordinated for the chiefs to be at odds.

    3) Iran. At a moment when the U.S. is pressuring Iran as a hard as it can short of military action, it's a good bet that Panetta and Barak are playing the old good-cop-bad-cop routine on Ayatollah Khamenei.

    But there is a fourth option suggested by the ominous transcontinental echo of the words, "immunity zone." Why call it an immunity zone? Why not just say that Iran will soon be too fortified to attack.

    Because immunity zone sounds a lot scarier, as if Iran will soon pass some mysterious threshold that has eluded it for the past twenty-eight years, at which point it will become invulnerable.

    Those of us who grew up with the Star Wars trilogy are familiar enough with the narrative. In Return of the Jedi, the Empire was building a new improved Death Star that when completed would be impregnable to attack. The rebel alliance had to destroy it...before it was too late!

    In other words, the Immunity Zone is classic war propaganda, the beating of the drums that incites the people to support an imminent act of aggression. If that is the case, then Panetta and Barak intended to send a signal to us.

    H/T to artappraiser for the news flash


    HOLY SH*%!

    Could it be that he was in essence putting Iran on notice and throwing down the infamous gauntlet?!?  At least that's what I'm thinkin'. 

    Panetta is too careful for this to be done without WH approval.

    Of course this leak was done with White House approval, that's why Panetta's non-denial to the press conference is worthy of wire stories saying nothing more than he did a non-denial. I also presume that's why Genghis worded his post as if Panetta announced it, when in reality he didn't announce anything.

    We really can't know why they are doing it at this point; Ignatius, Genghis and you are all guessing on that front.

    One thing we do know from past months' news coverage is that the Obama administration is fed up with the Netanyahu government.

    Thanks for bringing this stuff to the fore AA.  I think the Obama Administration has been fed up with the Netanyahu government since 2009 actually.  And I think it's a mistake to conflate the existential considerations Israel perceives in connection with Iran's development of a nuclear bomb on the one hand, and the Administration's frustration with Netanyahu's failure to at least call the PA's bluff at the bargaining table on the other hand.   The latter I think is where the rubber hits the road when it comes to Obama's relationship with Bibi.  

    I understand the skepticism among many about whether Iran is building a bomb--to a point.  After all we are a nation that just got snookered just a few years back in this area, when the former president and his minions spoke about mushroom clouds and stuff.   On the other hand I guess I think it's a little far-fetched and unfair to base skepticism on what some anonymous source said back in 1984.  And more importantly I don't think that most nations in the world, and I don't think that the IAEA, share such skepticism about Iran's intentions and where Iran is.

    Of course,  I also understand that there are many, indeed a vast majority of Israelis who don't believe they can afford to be skeptical.  I also understand in Israel everywhere you have two people you have three views, and some of us take solace in this or that former Israeli official who questions whether Iran really poses a threat or whether Israel can do anything to stop Iran.  

    As an aside, although I've had problems with President Carter ever since I was pulling for Teddy to unseat him back in '79, I can at least respect his honesty.  At least Carter is willing to state that it's OK if Iran goes nuclear, because as he puts it Israel would still have more bombs than Iran.  Indeed.

    Finally, I really do think it is important for people to separate frustration with the lack of progress at the peace table from the issue of what happens if Iran goes nuclear.  And in doing so I think it's important to give due consideration to whether Israel has a right, or an obligation, to take that threat more seriously than folks around these parts might have to take it.





    Some 200,000 missiles aimed consistently at Israel, top IDF officer says
    Head of military intelligence Aviv Kochavi reiterates army estimates that Iran could further enrich that uranium it already has to create 4 atomic bombs.

    By Amos Harel, Ha'aretz, Feb. 2, 2012 10:32

    About 200,000 missiles are aimed at Israel at any given time, a top Israel Defense Forces officer said on Thursday, adding that Iran's ability to obtain nuclear weapons was solely dependent on the will of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    The remarks by Military Intelligence Chief Major General Aviv Kochavi came after IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said on Wednesday that the threats facing Israel have increased and intensified in recent years due to regional instability [....]

    On Thursday, Kochavi, speaking at the opening session of the Herzliya Conference's closing day, spoke of the growing threats Israel was facing: [....]

    Shin Bet chief: Iran trying to hit Israeli targets in response to attacks on nuclear scientists
    Yoram Cohen tells audience at a closed forum in Tel Aviv that Iran's Revolutionary Guards are working tirelessly to attack Israeli targets abroad in order to deter Israel.

    By Barak Ravid, Ha'aretz, Feb. 3, 2012, 01:58

    and a quick US Push-back to a similar claim by yet another Israeli saber rattler:

    U.S. Plays Down Warning By Israeli Over Iran’s Missiles
    By Ethan Bronner, New York Times, Feb. 2/3, 2012

    JERUSALEM  [....]

    The Israeli, Moshe Yaalon, a deputy prime minister and minister for strategic affairs, said the blast at a missile base of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps hit a system “getting ready to produce a missile with a range of 10,000 kilometers.”

    “That’s the Great Satan,” he said, invoking a name Iran has used for the United States. “It was aimed at America, not at us.”

    Mr. Yaalon was trying to make the point that the Iranian nuclear program s a threat not only to Israel but to other nations, creating “a nightmare for the free world.” He said that it was a concern to Arab states as well as to the United States and Israel.

    American officials said they believed that Mr. Yaalon’s assertions were at best premature, and at worst badly exaggerated.

    Speaking on the condition of anonymity because assessments of Iran’s missiles are largely classified, the officials said that Iran might harbor the ambition of having missiles that could reach the United States, but that it was not close to achieving that goal. They declined to say what kind of work was being done at the base where the blast took place [....]

    On #2 and #3:

    Not necessarily so intricate and convoluted? Could just be what it appears, as they used to say in WWII: Loose lips sink ships. They wanted to sink that ship of a disobedient client state, nip it in the bud?

    That the response to

    "You stay to the side, and let us do it."


    No way, we're going to tattle the plan so that would be really hard for you to do ?

    That does fit with why it would have to be leaked (to a journalist they would believe) rather than coming directly from his mouth.


    My guess is that they are trying to prepare the US public for a new war, but are taking the long way around on the matter.

    Panetta just gave the official US media a starting gun to begin a round of "Can we let poor Israel go it alone?" stories.  Of course the administration won't have to do anything much here.  The Republican candidates will run with this, and drum up the public support.


    I agree that they are preparing us for a new war.

    How can the Republican candidates run with this... the public will not support it, hopefully.

    We are heading for dooms day.

    I, too, agree. The U.S. government does not need Ignatius to send a message to Israel, they have Panetta and Clinton to directly carry any message from Obama. The message was for Americans. And, does anybody believe that the U.S. will not jump in to help if Iran strikes back with any affect?


    I can't see Panetta tattling an Israeli military op, even if the administration opposed it. And if for some reason he decided to do that, I can't imagine that he would make it so obviously traceable to himself. Finally, the Israeli response--which confirms Panetta's remarks, even using the same weird terminology--exhibits none of the irritation that they would surely feel if the administration had foiled their plans.

    Exactly.  This is some pre-determined PR or diplomatic campaign.  The administration would never start off an election year by kneecapping Israel.

    The administration would never start off an election year by kneecapping Israel.

    Oh really, you have that all figured out for Axelrod?

    Romney has lined up a bunch of PNAC neo-cons as his advisors, and Tom Ricks asks in his headline on that: "Is a vote for Romney a vote for going to war with Iran?"

    See the new WaPo article I posted below, it's basically "administration officials" bitching about Israel on this.

    A PR campaign it is, but clearly not the one you presume.

    Geez, I am disappointed, I really did expect more than standard blogosphere Bush derangement syndrome from some of you on this.

    The administration appears to favor staying out of the conflict unless Iran hits U.S. assets, which would trigger a strong U.S. response.

    This U.S. policy — signaling that Israel is acting on its own — might open a breach like the one in 1956, when President Dwight Eisenhower condemned an Israeli-European attack on the Suez Canal. Complicating matters is the 2012 presidential campaign, which has Republicans candidates clamoring for stronger U.S. support of Israel.

    Administration officials caution that Tehran shouldn’t misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel’s population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel’s defense.

    Well, the administration is now directly telling reporters at WaPo they oppose it, and do not like the language coming out of Israel, so if they are are trying to convince the US public about the necessity of doing something, they are planning some really complex head games to follow. Apparently the leak to Ignatius was just an opening gambit. If that wasn't enough for you, here's some more:

    U.S. officials concerned by Israel statements on Iran threat, possible strike

    By Joel Greenberg and Joby Warrick, Washington Post, February 2, 9:29 PM

    [....]The language [of Ehud Barak ] reflected a deepening rift between Israeli and U.S. officials over the urgency of stopping Iran’s nuclear program, which Western intelligence officials and nuclear experts say could soon put nuclear weapons within the reach of Iran’s rulers.

    Although accepting the gravity of the Iranian threat, U.S. officials fear being blindsided by an Israeli strike that could have widespread economic and security implications and might only delay, not end, Iran’s nuclear pursuits.

    In a series of private meetings with Israeli counterparts in recent weeks, Western officials have counseled patience, saying recent economic sanctions and a new European oil embargo are pummeling Iran’s economy and could soon force the country’s leaders to abandon the nuclear program. Yet Israelis are increasingly signaling that they may act unilaterally if there is no breakthrough in the coming months, according to current and former administration and intelligence officials.

    “The Obama administration is concerned that Israel could attack Iranian nuclear facilities this year, having given Washington little or no warning,” said Cliff Kupchan, a former State Department official who specialized in Iran policy during the Clinton administration and recently returned from meetings with Israeli officials. He said Israel “has refused to assure Washington that prior notice would be provided.” [....]

    Sounds to me, as I suspected, that they are very unhappy about Israel being belligerent  and independent on this matter, that they can no longer control her or trust her on this front and are going public about that.

    I also have hunch that it also may be about the possibility of Israeli actions fucking up special ops of our own that the Israelis are not privy to (on purpose.) But that's only a hunch, coming from the way I've seen the Obama administration subtly changing a lot of ways it is approaching Iran issues over the last six months or so.

    OK, I admit that this piece lends credibility to your interpretation.

    Re: changing a lot of ways it is approaching Iran issues over the last six months or so, one example that comes immediately to mind below. Doesn't sound like US policy is to increase hostility, but rather, to avoid actual hostilities, and further, that our military has actually been charged with coming up with ways to avoid hostility with them:

    Iran hangs up on U.S. hotline
    by Tim Mak, Politico, Oct 4, 2011

    Iran has rejected a plan proposed by senior Obama administration officials to establish a military hotline between Washington and Tehran, reports The Wall Street Journal.

    The military-to-military hot line would have allowed for open lines of communications if an incident between Iran and the United States were to occur, and its rejection increases the potential for misinformation and conflict, American officials fear. Even in the darkest days of the cold war, the Soviet Union and the United States maintained such a hot line.

    The decision by Iranian military officials to reject it may reflect the increasing marginalization of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Ahmadinejad voiced support for the idea in New York last month. “It’s good for us to have warning systems to mitigate unwanted clashes” in the Persian Gulf, he told reporters.

    Adm. Mike Mullen, the recently departed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the day before Ahmadinejad’s comments that the hotline would mitigate risks of a serious clash with Iran. “If something happens [with Iran], it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right, that there will be miscalculations, which would be extremely dangerous,” he said.

    Ahmadinejad’s power in Iran appears to be waning. Indeed, the refusal to set up a military hotline is just the latest episode in what appears to be a deep split between Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [....]


    Those special forces have really been doing some impressive things lately. Non?

    As I think I mentioned to you before, I am also highly suspicious that it is happenstance that the US Navy, rescued not one, not two, but three ships under Iranian flags in a short period of time... And that they were so so willing to accommodate the media about each rescue, too.

    Call it the "War of Happiness" approach.

    I've always been a big supporter of War of Happiness techniques, having once noted that the sooner we humans reach about the same shade of brown and settle in with a beverage of our choice watching dumb TV, the safer we would all be.

    Ok, so there's some loss of individuality there, but compared to the "Fiery Friday" promised by angry people with nukes, it seems pretty good.

    And sanctions are showing signs of having the intended effect, see the article below from only 2 days ago--

    (Especially if, like me, you believe that their main purpose is to get Iran to submit agreeably to an extended game of cat and mouse for many years, which would slow nuclear development down until the people of Iran change their own regime--kinda like what we had with Iraq before Bush got elected):

    Iran Praises Nuclear Talks With Team From U.N.
    By Rick Gladstone, New York Times, Jan 31/Feb 1, 2012

    Iran said Tuesday that a team of United Nations nuclear inspectors visiting since the weekend had concluded “constructive and positive” talks with Iranian officials, with further discussions planned at an unspecified date.

    The Iranian appraisal of the talks, reported by the semiofficial Fars News Agency, said nothing about what was discussed or seen by the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency in their three-day visit. Part of their aim was to discuss the agency’s concerns, as stated in its November report about Iran, that some Iranian nuclear work seemed military in nature.

    The tone of the Iranian description of the visit suggested that Iran, which has previously called the agency a stooge of American bullying, was seeking to portray itself as flexible and accommodating to the inspectors in the face of the tightening vise of Western sanctions over the country’s nuclear program.

    On Monday, Iran’s foreign minister even invited the team members to stay longer, and it was unclear why they did not.

    “The atmosphere of the talks was constructive and positive,” Fars said, quoting an unidentified person. It said both sides had “reached agreement on the continuation of these talks.”[....]

    Dear Americans,

    Israel is probably going to attack Iran some time early this year.  We're not entirely happy about this.  But of course, we're not going to do anything to stop it either.   We've "signaled our displeasure".  But what can you do?   It's Israel.  They're our buddies.

    We would like to stay out of this business, but obviously these things have a way of getting out of hand.  When Israel attacks, Iran will probably respond, and then we'll probably find ourselves in the fight too.  Plus, we've got a bunch of Republican candidates breathing down our necks, and they will ratchet up the political pressure to get involved.  So hang onto your hats and don't be surprised if we all get spattered with some serious global shit this spring.


    Dear Iran,

    Israel is probably going to attack you this year.   That is, they will step up their attacks beyond assassinating your scientists into something involving planes and missiles and stuff.   We're not completely happy about this, but we're not exactly unhappy either.   We're not going to do anything to stop it other than wag our fingers at Israel a bit in the press.  Sucks to be you, but it serves you right for meddling with the exclusive western science of nuclear physics.

    We would like to stay out of this business, but obviously these things have a way of getting out of hand.   Here are a few simple steps for keeping  Uncle Sam out of the fight: When you get hit, just take it on the chin, suck it up, and move along.  Please do not respond in any way.   Do not launch anything back at Israel.  Make sure Hizbollah doesn't do anything either.  Don't close the Straits of Hormuz.  Don't blow any stuff up anywhere or take any hostages.  Keep the ayatollahs off the airwaves and take it easy on the "death to America" stuff.   If you manage to shoot down a plane or two over your own soil during the attack, that's OK.  But don't counterattack against Israel the way they're attacking you.

    We know this is a tall order, but that's life.   If you respond to the attack don't say we didn't warn you.


    A Special Message to Our Democratic Friends,

    Israel is probably going to attack Iran some time early this year.  We are so, so sorry about this.   We're sick to death.    I mean, can you imagine how we feel?   Just when we were starting to get all of last decade's Middle East shit behind us.   It's sad; really sad.   Sasha and Malia can hardly eat.   Same with Bo.   We really feel your pain.

    Keep your poems and peace quilts coming!   And the candlelight vigils.  Top government scientists have told us that candlelight vigils are an exceptionally effective method of spreading world peace.  Then go to Obamaforamerica.com and make a donation peace offering.  We shall overcome.   Peace out.


    A Special to Some of Our Republican and Independent Friends,

    Israel is probably going to attack Iran some time early this year.  Yeah, we know.  About time, right?

    Listen, we might have to wag our fingers at Israel a bit while this is going on.  Don't read too much into this.   It's for show.  What would you do if you were in charge of a party of stupid commie hippies?

    Gas prices might go up and put a crimp in your summer vacation plans.  Lay off on that, OK?  We's huntin' ayatollahs, and it comes with the territory.  And chill out about the beefed up airport scans.  What's up with that?   So some TSA worker might get a fuzzy eyeful of your privates.  Get over it.


    Dear Rest of World,

    Israel is probably going to attack Iran some time early this year.   This could be a terrible setback for the international community.   But our hands are tied politically.   So keep pouring on the sanctions.  You know those Israelis - they're crazy.


    Looks like you covered just about everything except a letter to the Pope explaining that all Christians can get behind the attack because secret opinions by secret lawyers have assured the administration that the starting of this next war will be justified under the rules of "Just War". What the lawyers said is, "What the hell Mr. President, it is just war."

    I hope these letters are never sent. 

    In fact, I'm gonna have a vigil about it.

    You nailed it, Dan. Ain't it something when the only way a U.S. secretary of defense dares to warn his countrymen of the likelihood they will be dragged into a conflict more dangerous than the two wars they are currently trying to exit is by a leak to a friendly reporter, which he then declines to confirm? 

    Panetta "believes" the Israelis will attack in April, May or June. I conclude the tentative date is May 15 at midnight Tehran time, although Israel says it may give the U.S. 12 hours' heads-up if that changes.

    Unlike some commenters, I don't see this as any elaborate dance. There's been cajoling and there's been head-butting, but we're down to the fact Netanyahu and Barak are dead-set on this war and the White House is dead-set against it. The U.S.-orchestrated oil embargo and central-bank boycott were a last-ditch bid to placate the war lobby, and Israel's answer was "Too little, too late." Now Obama is faced with his own existential question.

    Panetta's leak was both the minimum and maximum the White House could do -- along with the lower-profile leak that Dempsey had told the Israelis they're on their own if they do this. The purpose was to get this very real threat into the open, and so far it's worked; for one night at least, CNN treated it like an important story, not "Did Panetta speak out of turn?" We'll see how long the MSM can keep its focus, and how the Republicans decide to play things. So far, despite their innate urge to back plucky little Israel, they have been astonishingly circumspect.

    Perhaps, deep down, they grasp -- as Obama clearly does -- what war with Iran might actually entail for the world economy and U.S. interests. They want to go hard-line, but they sense it's a minefield. Yes, it's an issue that might cost Obama the presidency. But then a Republican would inherit the resulting catastrophe.

    On the Israeli side, I'm amazed at the degree of myopic self-delusion. Five or so days of intense Israeli bombing, then a UN-brokered ceasefire. And ... back to business as usual. They may have another rosy scenario in mind, but surely no sane person could think that, could they? Clearly, they are counting on Saudi clout to keep the Arab League at least neutral on the war. But I think they and their Wahhabi friends are overestimating the depth of Sunni-Shia animosity.

    I was wrong when, at the outset of the Iraq war, I predicted the overthrow of U.S.-allied rulers like Jordan's. But this time around, some things have changed. The Arab Spring has taken on a more Muslim hue. Egypt's Brothers, for example, aren't parroting the U.S.-Israeli line on the Iranian threat. And this time the aggressor won't be the U.S. but Israel itself.

    A lot will depend on how Iran reacts and retaliates to an outright act of war. Some of the same people who argue that, as soon as they can get a bomb, the mad mullahs will use it simultaneously put forward comforting claims that, once bombed, they will respond coolly, rationally, and with restraint. Fascinating. Absolutely delusional but fascinating.


    I'll try to respond to each letter in turn:

    1. On your letter to Americans--First, you presume erroneously that vocal threats from Israel signifies an imminent attack.  I know you think Israel is crazy (and apparently Iran is not crazy in your view based on what you've written below), but I think Israel is as rational and calculating as any nation (including Iran), if not more so, and the notion that Israel puffs its chest before it attacks is just too simplistic to spend much time responding to.  It's just not how it works.  Now, as far as America's involvement, I submit that there is hardly a political figure in the United States who is prepared to sit by and allow Iran and go nuclear.  Why is that?  I know some might posit the standard historical trope that it's because the Jews/Israelis are forcing us into war (as has been asserted with respect to WWI, WWII, not Korea or Viet Nam, but most recently Iraq).  But until our automobiles and other stuff runs on something other than oil, I submit that the notion that we are only concerned about Iran's nuclear capability because of Israel and its supporters in America is ridiculous at best, and disturbing to those of us who recognize the historical relationship of Jews in the Diaspora to their host nations since the time before Jesus. 

    Now I think that the consensus in the American government right now is that an imminent attack is not wise.  But the notion that we will send messages to Israel through statements by Leon Panetta to the press is just plain silly.  In the public realm, I see many things, including irritation with Israel, but also including deliberate ambiguity on America's ultimate intentions.  Remember the president you voted for Dan, even before you lost faith in him and indeed when you were pushing him with abandon (I remember that you urged us on because you had read his books :)), made it clear that if he were elected he would do whatever was necessary to prevent Iran from going nuclear. 

    So, in short, I think you should work on your letter to Americans.

    2.  Letter to Iran--You ask Iran, tongue in cheek, to suck it up if Israel attacks, but Dan are you not asking Israel to do that very thing with your tongue firmly in place?  Seriously, how else can we describe your position beyond suggesting that Israel should just sit back and do nothing while Iran goes nuclear.  It is not just Israel that believes Iran is going nuclear Dan.

    I know some folks scoff at Israel's concern about an Iranian nuclear threat.  As our good friend acanuck reminds us above, Iran is not so irrational that it would drop one on Tel Aviv without fear of massive Israeli retaliation.  But Israel--and every other neighboring state of Iran that is hiding behind Israel while condemning her at the same time--trembles about a nuclear Iran.  And why does Israel fear a nuclear Iran most directly?  Because Iran's client non-state state, Hizbullah, sits on Israel's border, 30 miles or so from Haifa, 70 or so from Tel Aviv, with thousands upon thousands of missiles aimed at Israel's population centers, despite its pledge in the 2006 peace accord that it would disarm and despite the UN's guarantee that it would enforce that peace.  A nuclear Iran will embolden Hizbullah without tolerance.  Even without a nuclear Iran, that border is one of the hottest places on earth.  You can just ignore that, but no country in the world that is rational could ignore that.

    I think I've covered whatever points you've made to the political parties, so I'll move finally to:

    3.  Your letter to the world-Here's where you say Israel is crazy, and I know you mean it sincerely and with all your heart.  I respect your consistency.  But Israel is not crazy about the existential threat it faces.  What is closer to crazy is your refusal to acknowledge that reality, with due respect.  And Israel will do whatever it can to prevent Iran from going nuclear, as it doesn't have the luxury to take your word, and the word of the rest of the world that largely despises her very essence, that it need not worry. 

    Now is Israel crazy?  No, she is not.  She will rattle and roar and push the rest of the world and maybe convince the world for tighter sanctions, like clamping down on Iran's central bank or whatever else is left.  And if that doesn't work, Israel will do what it can and it will not do what it cannot do.  And it will not signal what it will or will not do by bellicose statements to the New York Times. Neither will it do anything without deferring to the United States to the extent that that is possible. It will do what it has always done, with or without assistance from the United States, to protect its citizenry.  And that my friend is the antithesis of crazy.  Unless of course you continue to think that Israel and Iran's Arab neighbors who hide behind Israel on matters like this, should just take one for the team.

    I wrote above that folks should take care not to conflate their frustrations with Israel over its failure to at least call the PA's bluff at the bargaining table--a frustration I share--with what Israel's position is vis-a-vis Iran.  I guess at this point I can only hope that that conflation explains much of what I'm reading.  Israel does, indeed, have the right to exist and to protect its people.


    Bruce, the letters had little to do with my own opinions.  They were only meant to describe the message that I believe the administration is trying to send to various different audiences and constituencies.  The point is just that they want different people to interpret their statements in different ways.

    Shit, Dan, now you tell me.  I wasted a good friggin' rant.  Man am I one challenged dude sometimes.  Cheers buddy.

    Why are putting our country on alert because the Jews are afraid of Iran.  Iran should be afraid of Israel, they have the nuclear. What kind of games are we playing, Panetta is supporting Israel, I think Obama made a big mistake in appointment Panetta. He's for war, and the support of Israel... Let Israel fight their own battles. They love war, they have been at war with Palestine for 40-50 years, they are assassins, they know how to do it! Now they will involve the  U.S. in this war... We are tired of war, we've been fighting 2 wars for too long and we've suffered for it. This is not the time during elections. The world is in the process of being destroyed... No one can help, hopefully, Israel will be  the first!!!!!

    Panetta is supporting Israel

    Clearly, you have not read the Ignatius article, nor any of the related news It's also clear you have not read of the news reports about his recent meeting/discussions with Israel. If you wanted to make sense, you could argue that he is pretending not to be very supportive of Israel for some reason, but really secretly is.

    "the Jews are afraid of Iran."

    ​You must have missed the memo.  You're supposed to make the distinction between Joos and Israel.  You love the former, it's the latter that gives you pause.  Lather, rinse, repeat.


    Nuclear weapons are old technology, sooner or later, bombing or no bombing, short of invasion and occupation, Iran will have nuclear weapons if they want them. It's a huge county many times bigger in area and population than Iraq. Why does a relatively tightly controlled power structure in Iran with a prospect for maybe a handful of nukes lead to thoughts of an attack on Israel, while a 100 nukes (and more every year) in politically unstable, radical Islamist overrun Pakistan cause such minor concerns?

    North Korea, with a similar tightly controlled military and government as Iran, also has nukes and missiles that could hit Japan or even the US. The Japanese are not talking about bombing them. Nukes provide security not only from bombing, they also are good for reducing calls for revolutions or uprisings against the regime, which might result in loss of accountability for the safekeeping of the nukes. These are likely the reasons Iran would seek nukes, not some fantasy of attacking Israel, which would result in the annihilation of Iran.

    A reminder that Obama started out his administration really gung ho on nuclear arms reduction, even chaired a related UN meeting. I have no idea whether he's lost the loving feeling for that issue or not. Just sayin' And I do believe he featured that passion in his campaign, though few were interested.

    I kind of agree with you, though--

    "da terrorists" haven't managed to get any nuke material out of Pakistan to this day and I can't imagine a worse case scenario than Pakistan where some in charge of  nukes may even have sympathy with rogues. Hey wait a sec, didn't that already happen, re: AQ Kahn?

    If some local Pakistani 'lawless tribal region' renegades got hold of one of the nukes, it seems likely they would blow it off almost immediately to settle one of a multitude of their local grudges, taking out 1/2 a Pakistani city along with the gov't target. Pakistan would then blame Israel, India or the US, and go on building more bombs while continuing to give aid and support to radicals.

    Dempsey Told Israelis US Won’t Join Their War on Iran

    by , February2,2012.
    Maybe the plan is to try to keep it just between Iran and Israel. The U.S. lets Iran believe that it will stay out as long as Iran does not attempt to close the Straight of Hormuze. Win/win for everybody except Iran. Of course if it started getting dicey for Israel all [Iranian] bets would be off. 

    I'm a fairly easy person to win a bet against, and speculating ain't my thing.  But sifting through all of this stuff leads me to conclude that it is anything but unusual to hear mixed signals, publicly and most likely privately, from the Administration when it comes to things like war and peace.  That said, I'm also going to go out on a limb and speculate that the U.S. does not think a military strike against Iran is a good idea-- rignt now--and that ultimately if that's the case, even if Israel was ready to pull the trigger at this point in time--and I don't think it is because I would think there would be a heckuva lot less chatter from folks like Barak at that point--they are going to be really careful about doing something without the Administration's blessing.  Put it all together, unless I'm totally wrong, which is possible, very possible, we're not going to see an imminent attack on Iran from the Israelis.  Tightening the screws on Iran's central bank remains an available option, and that as much as anything is likely to sow discord inside Iran where it counts--because money talks and the lack thereof bites.  I think the U.S., and probably Israel are going to want to see how that plays out. 

    On the other hand, taking comfort in the fact that so far as we know, to date, the Pakistanis or the North Koreans have maintained tight control over their stockpile, is not something I would do.  I'm not one to believe that the Iranian leadership is made up of a bunch of irrational fools, but that hardly means that nuclear proliferation doesn't increase the chance that this stuff gets in the hands of non-state actors.  Yikes, it only has to happen once.


    In other words, the Immunity Zone is classic war propaganda, the beating of the drums that incites the people to support an imminent act of aggression. If that is the case, then Panetta and Barak intended to send a signal to us.

     This is a repeat post to get around the spam filter. The re are a few slight differences in the original. I will give a link in a follow up comment.

    Anyone reading this is invited to consider a few things about their views of Iran and the threat it poses to the United States, to Israel, and by extension, the rest of the world.


    The people of the U.S. have been, for many years, bombarded with misinformation, exaggerations, and outright lies coming from their own government and various interest groups from within and without the country.

    You, the reader, either believe this opening premise or you do not. I ask you to right now consider whether you believe that your government and other allied governments have deliberately lied to you about Iran and other countries in the Middle East.

    Next, decide if there was a considered purpose for those lies and what that purpose might be. Ask yourself why, if something as significant as a war is necessary and justified, is it necessary to sell its justification with lies and exaggerations and demonization?

    Among the fairly small group of people that I directly interact with, if I tell them that I am traveling to some foreign country, any foreign country, they believe me even if their first reaction is “No shit?” A few times lately I have run a little experiment. I have said I am planning a trip to Iran. First I am told that I am nuts, then I ask why they think so. I believe that the reaction and ensuing conversation reveals a lot and which I extrapolate to be revealing about Americans in general. Their reaction may be quite like yours would be, we are all melted in the same pot, but try it yourself, its kind of fun. For me, anyway.

    I have not performed the same experiment with the country being Israel, but I know a number of people who have been there and I think I already have a fair idea of the reactions if I were to give that as a planned destination. The reaction would be very much different, not just as regarding perceptions of safety but of expectations of acceptance by the people of whichever host country.

    I am convinced that Iran and its people have been unfairly demonized for the purpose of getting us to accept bombing them. The lies of Iran’s leadership do not put them in a separate category from our own government, Israel’s government, or very many other governments that have ever existed. We, though, have the chance to know more of the truth about them all if we are willing to look for it and then are willing to recognize it. We also have reason to believe, or at least like to believe, that our vision of the truth will have some affect on the actions of our government.

    I do not plan to go to Iran or any other middle East country in the foreseeable future, I lied to friends about that for a little while, but I have seen a very good travelogue by a very experienced traveler [as opposed to tourist] and I think it is well worth watching his experience in Iran. Its not like being there but I wish every American would watch it also as to have a more accurate view of Iran when listening to any news about it that is always affected by the never ending drone of black noise surrounding anything Middle East related. I wish that everyone who thought I was planning to enter a snake pit if I went to Iran would take the chance to get a more honest view of that country. Look at the faces of some of the people we may choose to incinerate rather than give honest diplomacy a chance.

    I thought a single link would go up in a comment. Soampfilter said no again. The video I was trying to promote can be googled using Rick Steves Iran Hulu. It is worth a watch.  

    I don't agree with you Lulu that Americans have demonized the Iranian people at all.  I don't think that's at all true in fact.  There are a group of boobus americanus who demonize everyone who ain't an American, and who couldn't tell the difference between someone who speaks Farsi and someone who speaks French.  But those folks don't need to be told anything.

    I think there is quite a bit of distaste for the dictatorial theocratic and repressive Iranian regime.  In fact, I think quite a few Americans felt an incredibly strong bond with the brave Iranian protesters who were so brutally suppressed in the Green Revolution a few years ago, and who were ignored by all too many around the world as they focused on the usual suspects instead.

    Personally, in the 70s I thought the Iranian people deserved better than the Shah, and it didn't take me long to think and hope that they would someday get something better than the thugs who suppress the Iranian people now.  And they are thugs Lulu, particularly if you are gay, or a member of the Bahai faith, or anything other than totally submissive to the powers that be.  And for that reason I think many of us feel a special bond with the Iranian people.

    Those are the same folks who are in Rick Steve's happy tour.  You think Rick was able to go wherever he pleased when he took his trip?  Think he was watched?  I bet he was, and like a hawk.  And that has nothing to do with the Iranian people; it's the thugs in charge.  And, no, I don't believe we should incinerate anyone.


    Try to give an example where Iranians of late are bigger thugs than Egyptians beating down protesters, or Israelis bulldozing homes in the West Bank. It's a bit hard when you do real-world comparisons.

    There was actually quite a bit of democratic movement in the 1990's, but a lot of that faded after 2000 as Bush took his primate foreign policy on a world road trip. It's so easy to forget the 1990's, isn't it? 

    Yes, we can try to pick out an example such as "if you're gay", and well, you can have gay beatings in Poland or Russia or Serbia as well - does that mean we're going to send in air strikes?

    In any case, we've been pretending a nuclear warhead is imminent in Iran for a decade now - they're so far away it's not funny. And even the latest news - oh, they'd use up all their 20% processed uranium for non-military purposes, so that means they're closer to a bomb? Uh, well, they just used up their stock, start over.

    But another good excuse to attack a Muslim country - after all, Hussein wouldn't let in inspectors either.... oh wait...

    Yes, that's just what this is all about Peracles, it's all just about blowing up another muslim country.  Makes it easy.  How quaint.

    "I don't agree with you Lulu that Americans have demonized the Iranian people at all."

    What I said in slightly different phrasing is that the American people have had the Iranian people, as well as its government, demonized for a very long time. I did not suggest that the American people as a whole are doing the demonizing but that a hell of a lot of them have bought into it to some extent or a lot. A parallel example is the fact that some political operatives that know better push the idea that Obama is a Muslim. They do not do that to improve his image. They do not have to explain anymore why being a Muslim is something to despise him for.

     My wording again:

    "I am convinced that Iran and its people have been unfairly demonized for the purpose of getting us to accept bombing them.The lies of Iran’s leadership do not put them in a separate category from our own government, Israel’s government, or very many other governments that have ever existed."

    Your next two paragraphs just demonize the Iranian government. Fine with me, I don't like thugishness by governments either. I don't like it in the thousands of examples by local cops in the U.S. I don't like it as it is often demonstrated by our country's actions all over the globe, and I do not like it as it is exhibited daily by the Israelis in Palestine.

    "Those are the same folks who are in Rick Steve's happy tour.  You think Rick was able to go wherever he pleased when he took his trip?  Think he was watched?  I bet he was, and like a hawk."

    I will suggest again that you actually watch the video. Steves says that he was watched, so we can agree that he probably was watched. If an Iranian documentary crew came into the U.S. would you expect that they would be watched? Could they go anywhere they wanted?  How about a Palestinian crew in Israel? Could they go to Dimona? Can you give an example of a place that Steves should have tried to see but would not have been allowed to? And, do you have reason to believe that Steves slanted his presentation of what he saw on "his happy tour" for any ulterior reason? Do you think he edited his film under the gun of Iranian authorities?

    "And that has nothing to do with the Iranian people; it's the thugs in charge.  And, no, I don't believe we should incinerate anyone."

    OK, you're against incineration too but so far you only recognize thuggery by the government of one side. I am saying that we should try to get a more informed and more honest view of the larger Iranian situation than our various usual sources have provided, one without a slant intended to justify being thuggish towards the entire country. There are many thugs in positions of power in you own country too and the same is true for Israel as well as for Iran.

    It's not about recognizing thuggery on one side.  It's this notion that I thought you were pushing that this is not about the Iranian leadership but rather about the good people of Iran.

    And, yes, I'm sure we would monitor Iranians touring our country because so far as I know, non-governmental Iranians would not, except under the most exceptional circumstances, be permitted to travel to the United States for a tour of the Grand Canyon.  Palestinians in Israel?  There are over one million Palestinians who are citizens of the State of Israel, and they are free to travel where they wish.  And before the Second Intifada led to the suicide killings of more than one thousand civilian Israeli men, women and children (in a nation of 7 million), Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza had fairly good, albeit not perfect, access throughout Israel.  I'm glad the security fence is up now because I think Israel has the right to prevent terrorist attacks on its people--just like any other nation in the world has that right.  And, like you apparently, I'm incredibly disheartened that we can't turn the clock back to the late 90s when many of us, perhaps naively, thought that real peace between  Palestinians and Israelis was just around the corner.  I remember traveling in the Golan Heights in '99, expecting that within a year or two where I was travelling would be returned to Syria.  It's a damn shame indeed lulu.

    I just do not understand your first sentence.

    As to you second sentence, does it say anything that you or I or Rick Steves can go to Iran but it would be extraordinary for a citizen of Iran to even be allowed to see the Grand Canyon, much less travel the entire country talking to any American he came across about America and in some cases about American's attitude towards Iranians and about our differences that might lead to war? Could you imagine that traveling Iranian being greeted with the warmth that Steves encountered. Could they travel the entire country and find a native born American who could talk to them in Farci?

     Honestly, I can't know, I can only guess based on what I see and my life experiences, but who do you think is probably best informed and has the least biased opinions of the other's country? Those middle class Iranians of America or middle class Americans of Iran?

    I think we can't know how well informed the Iranian people are, because they live in a totalitarian state without a free press and without the ability to speak their minds. I do believe in the fundamental and genuine goodness of people throughout the world, including those in Iran.  I just don't believe they have the freedom to tell us how they really feel.

    But again, this is not about the Iranian people--this is about whether the dictatorial leadership is building a nuclear weapon and, if so, what if anything should be done about it.  I appreciate what you're writing lulu to the extent you believe that we should just try harder at diplomacy.  No problems on my end with that.  Unfortunately, for the reasons I have stated above, I don't think that the story ends there, and I nor do I agree that it ends with Peracles' assertion that it's all about bombing another Islamic state.   



    It's all about regime change and access to oil ad keeping the Hormuz Straits open.

    All these crazed ramblings from people like Steven Harper that Ira is fanatical and unpredictable - pretty strange, considering Iran hasn't been attacking its neighbors like typically unhinged states (say Iraq? North Korean missile launches over Japan and sinking others' boats?)

    Even with the famed 2009 elections, the West conveniently forgot Ahmadinejad's popularity with his home Azeri base - instead pleading wonder at how he could survive against the obvious merits of reform & democracy (if that's exactly what the opposition brought) - the conclusion? it all must have been corrupt.

    The west has been making a big deal out of uranium processing for a decade, as if 20% purity achieved now is anywhere close enough to produce a bomb. But it's been 1 minute to midnight for a decade - doesn't someone realize the shepherd boy has been crying wolf out his ass all this time?

    Instead we've surrounded Iran - north, east, west, with our friendly nuke-laden boats to the south - what do they have to worry? If you just cooperate, like Hussein opening the doors to inspectors, it will all work out.

    There's nothing terribly fanatical about the Iranians at this stage - their foreign policy has been pretty straight forward for a long time, and while there are some missteps, evey other country in the world makes those missteps too.

    We'd all be better off by trying to pull Iran into the EU satellite where it wants to be, rather than this mass wagging of fingers by countries with pathetic track records on fighting real battles.

    As for "totalitarian", that well-worn word comes out whenever we need to demonize the opposition. Whether the absence of a free press exists, the Iranian internet is full of holes to the outside, and even on-line cafés and blogs aren't monitored that successfully - this is not a Chinese operation. But many people like to pretend Iran is a huge Gulag - servers our long-term designs on the country.

    (things actually were going pretty well before Bush - even though missteps and disappointments among the reformers, the opening was great. But Ahmadinejad serves the purposes of the neo-cons: eternal vigilance and proxy war against Iran)

    I used the term "totalitarian" Peracles, because that's what I believe the Iranian regime to be.  That's my choice, and I'm not trying to demonize anyone, except for the Ayatollah Khamenei  and his underlings to the extent that they are building a nuclear weapon and supply missiles to Hizbullah and thereby ensuring the kind of war you claim to be trying to avoid.  It is what I believe, it is what I observe, and it is based on nothing that any neo-conservative or warmonger or bigoted American idiot has drilled into me.  I have no interest in pursuing regime change in Iran.  

    I have no problem believing that the Iranian leadership is bad for the world and the region.  But that, standing alone, has nothing at all to do with my thoughts on the the issue at hand, to wit, what if anything should be done to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.  The whole totalitarian thing was simply my response to lulu's focus on the friendly Iranian people in Rick Steves video, and it is a diversion that you have chosen to focus on for your own reasons.  But your reasons are not my reasons.

    I understand that you appear to have a huge investment into the whole moral equivalence line of thinking.  Unlike your apparent presumption with respect to how I have acquired my views, I will try not to presume that you have arrived at the whole moral equivalence thing on the basis of some garden-variety, one-side fits all faux lefty mindset on the way the world works, where America and its allies are always wrong.  Instead, I will try to presume that you have arrived at your position that everyone is equally good and bad--except for evil Israel--on the basis of good faith considerations of the material facts and circumstances.

    Heck Peracles, I'm not getting any younger, and I've been around the block and then some on matters relating to all  kinds of things political.  I would have made you look like a Likudnik back in the day.  Respectfully, I haven't arrived at my views on matters pertaining to the Middle East and world peace based upon on what some idiot on Fox News is spewing.

    I understand that your position would have much more credibility if you could simply place everyone who fears a nuclear Iran into the category of neo-con, war-mongering, regime change showroom dummy.  Sorry I can't help you.


    I fear a nuclear Iran - it's just that Iran won't likely go nuclear in my lifetime.

    While you may fear it, it's another hyped up unrealistic jingoist rallying call - join it if you wish, I'll pass.

    And bullshit on "moral equivalence" - it's equivalent actions, not kinda similar things on greatly different magnitudes. But if anything, it seems Iran was more controlled than Egypt for election protests. And then look at Syria - imagine if Ahmadinejad had committed that deliberate bloody crackdown.

    Regarding leadership bad for the world and region, I can list dozens. Our fickle picking winners and losers has lost any moral objectivity. We don't mind that East Libyans fill mass graves with Africans, as long as they're not named Qaddafi and they go easy on oil sales.

    While I don't claim Iran is progressive or open or benign, they're actually not much of a threat to their neighbors, unlike Iraq was. The Hezbollah stuff is pretty much a joke - curiously Hezbollah actually responds to needs of the people in those regions, versus the rather neutered Lebanese government. And the amount of damage Hezbollah has done to Israel is close to nil. And without Hezbollah, well, Israel would just overrun another territory. (it's easier to bomb Beirut than remove Hezbollah). Guess an occupied North Bank (smiley) would match the occupied West Bank.



    I really don't get what audience you are trying to address here!

    You are presuming a demonization that doesn't exist except for knuckle draggers who talk about towel heads and mooslims like they claim President Obama is. Those types really don't have much of a power input in this situation at present, though if you want to try to convince them Iranians are people too, go for it.  I just don't think it will effect anything much. As a matter of fact, I suspect a sizeable percentage of those knuckle draggers would be of the isolationist Pat Buchanan type who would not like to see the US help any of those mooslims even via military attack. The rest of them have no input into the situation about whatever might be done by the US regarding Iran ; those few who have US House representatives of their caliber are satisfied by their votes of outrage on a bunch of useless toothless Congressional resolutions repeatedly and regularly put out over the years condemning the Iranian government for this or that or something other that just was in the news.

    The Americans pushing for regime change in Iran aren't those people. They are neo-cons and some neo-libs who just adore the Iranian people, they think they are all wonderful heroes, and (like Russian people during the Cold War,) they are happy to invite them all to come to the US, and stay as long as they like!


    Iranian immigration to the United States has been continuous since the 1980s. Between 1980 and 1990, the number of foreign born from Iran in the United States increased by 74 percent.[7] Today, the United States contains the highest number of Iranians outside of Iran. The Iranian-American community has produced significant numbers of individuals notable in many fields, including medicine, engineering, and business. The community chiefly expanded in the early 1980s, following the Iranian Revolution and its abolition of the Iranian monarchy.

    Furthermore, if you really check up on who is behind the loudest drumbeat for military intervention by the West in Iran, really do your homework, you will often find that it is not Americans but Iranian exiles in the United States, the UK  and France, who are at the base of that movement They are the old, well connected in political and media power circles, and the young, knowing how to use cyberspace.

    So the way I see it, if you are actively against the West demonizing the Iranian regime, it is you who should be against Iranians visiting and staying here, you should be suspicious of Iranian exiles in the West, as they are the source of a lot of demonization of the Iranian regime .

    Once again, I don't get who you are trying to lecture here about the Iranian people. Iranian exiles are very welcome in the US and in the EU and have been for a long time,; furthermore they are given preference over other emigre groups. Not all of them take citizenship of their host countries, either, many are just in the West waiting for Iran's regime to change.

    Another point. You say:

    Look at the faces of some of the people we may choose to incinerate

    Can you please point me to an actual example of someone in power anywhere that is threatening to incinerate them?  I believe the case is that the ruling faction of the Israeli government is threatening to bomb a so-called nuclear bomb facility, like they did in Syria, September 2007. See A Strike in the Dark; What did Israel bomb in Syria? by Seymour M. Hersh, February 11, 2008, and everyone would really do well to  read the whole thing, or re-read it, as it does give a very  good set up for what is going on now There were zero casualties reported by the Syrian government (or anyone else) as regards that event, and few complaints, and the Syrians scrubbed the area, whatever happened to be there. Seymour Hersh can only find evidence of the incineration of a building, that's it, nothing else.

    It is mostly likely that current Israeli hawks are thinking they will be able to do same thing now with Iran with similar results (as is suggested in the Hersh 2008 article, ) no casualties, few after effects, little blowback. (Not even any "shock and awe," nothing of that sort is being suggested at this time by anyone in power.)

    And it is the current US government and Israelis on the other side of the Israeli political aisle from the ruling government that think that that kind of op is delusional on the Israeli hawks part, and risky to even try that, and think that it won't turn out like the Syrian hit, but could have dangerous blowback.

    But no one besides a few Joe Tea Party Idiots are threatening to incinerate some "ragheads" in Iran. (The prejudice that is more likely operational here is that many interventionists probably think Iranians are  better and finer people than many Americans, rather than having the same percentage of jerks.)

    It just seems to me you are working yourself up into a frenzy over a scenario that isn't there. If you want to get angry about something, get some understanding of what is going on first; don't get angry about imaginary things based upon what happened in other places at other times with other governments.

    I really don't get what audience you are trying to address here!


    Duh...uh...I was thinkin' 'bout dem that might read it.

    It just seems to me you are working yourself up into a frenzy over a scenario that isn't there. If you want to get angry about something, get some understanding of what is going on first; don't get angry about imaginary things based upon what happened in other places at other times with other governments.

    Your seemingly casual, comfortable condescension does not bother me. It is so common in your discourse that I take it as just part of the territory when you respond and with the knowledge that amidst it is quite often something of value and insight. Not this time, though.
     So, I just “want to get angry" and so I am just "working myself into a frenzy" over "imaginary things" and the simple solution is for me to “get some understanding” rather than thinking that seeing the same thing happen that has happened so many times before might lead to the same result as we have seen so many times before. Or maybe you know better than to think that a buildup to war has always included preparing the population to at least accept the necessity of war against the Evil Empire. Or maybe you think that the "news" we hear contains the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.    So help me God, I don't know where you are coming from if you believe that.

    You are presuming a demonization that doesn't exist except for knuckle draggers who talk about towel heads and mooslims like they claim President Obama is.

    Perhaps I need to define my terms. The demonizer is the one putting out the propaganda. At the upper levels where it is important, they are usually not considered to be "knuckle draggers". The ones who come to the mind-set that the demonizers want them to hold are the knuckle draggers plus all those that would have thought differently if they had been influenced by a more honest message. The "demonized" are the ones who will get bombed while the second group supports the attack at levels ranging from acceptance of necessity to outright glee.

    Do you really believe that a process of attempting to convince the American people that an attack on Iran is both justified and necessary is not going on? Skim the headlines in this piece. None of them stand out as unusual. They fit what we have been seeing for a long time. As is mentioned somewhere in the article, they don't even respect us enough to offer a fresh plot.


    “Can you please point me to an actual example of someone in power anywhere that is threatening to incinerate them?”

    What in the hell do you think is meant by the statement, “All options are on the table.”, if not a threat. The hawks, and then the wise level headed pundits, say that the threat cannot be hollow, Iran must know that an attack is a real option. We must have the fortitude to follow through on our threats. It is the American way. But incinerate is really too narrow a term. I used it as a shortcut rather than go into a long gory list of the many other rather obvious results of being in the vicinity of a tremendous explosion. A grenade with an ounce of explosive makes a tremendous explosion. A five-hundred pound bomb is a small weapon in the plan for an initial attack on Iran.

    You say about the Israeli strike on the facility in Syria:

    ...and everyone would really do well to  read the whole thing, or re-read it, as it does give a very  good set up for what is going on now There were zero casualties reported by the Syrian government (or anyone else) as regards that event, and few complaints, and the Syrians scrubbed the area, whatever happened to be there. Seymour Hersh can only find evidence of the incineration of a building, that's it, nothing else.

    Is this an example of your best reasoning? Is this statement actually meant to be a strong argument? You emphasized that there were zero casualties reported. Do you think a secret facility dedicated to nuclear research and possible development of a bomb is locked up at five and everyone goes home? Do you think that because the Syrians "scrubbed" the area and Hersh could not find any evidence of bodies that we can conclude with any confidence at all that nobody was killed. If not coming to ridiculous conclusions has any meaning for you I suggest you rethink that one.

     "You are presuming a demonization that doesn't exist except for knuckle draggers who talk about towel heads and mooslims like they claim President Obama is."

    I guess you know that you just called a very large percentage of America's finest, our proud heroic soldiers, "knuckle draggers". They call "mooslums" ragheqads and towelheads and hadgis[sp?]

    Furthermore, if you really check up on who is behind the loudest drumbeat for military intervention by the West in Iran, really do your homework, you will often find that it is not Americans but Iranian exiles in the United States, the UK  and France, who are at the base of that movement They are the old, well connected in political and media power circles, and the young, knowing how to use cyberspace.

    So, the Iranians have their equivalent of Chalabi. Gosh, if some politically connected Iranian ex patriot who ran away from what was happening in his ex-country now wants us to bomb that country into submission then who am I to disagree? Besides, did Chalabi's lies and the war monger's vouching for him really make any difference? Well, somebody, some group, apparently thought so. Do you recall how his views were pushed?

    Once again, I don't get who you are trying to lecture here about the Iranian people.

    Seems kind of ironically funny that you are accusing me of giving a lecture in my original comment.What I did was to say,"Anyone reading this is invited to consider a few things about their views of Iran and the threat it poses to the United States, to Israel, and by extension, the rest of the world."  During the course of our recent wars one of the controversies has revolved around whether pictures should be shown of the casualties, or in some cases of the remaining pieces of those casualties. I just felt like showing some pictures of what could very easily devolve into the target before they become casualties.



    How about a quick Google of "Joe Lieberman attack Iran" - say inciting military action against Iran since at least 2007.


    "We have a choice here: to go to tough economic sanctions to make diplomacy work or we will face the prospect of military action against Iran," Lieberman told the annual Munich Security Conference.

    Top U.S. commanders are already working out how such a strike should be conducted, and although "no-one wants this to happen ... unless we together act strongly and do more than talk that is exactly what will happen," Lieberman said.

    Pretending this is a movement of Iranians-in-exile trying to save their homeland is rather fantastical. Of course the steady assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists *could* be an inside job by Iranian exiles, but somehow it has all the markings of professional Mossad work.


    Canada's foreign minister, John Baird, is in Tel Aviv right now, where he just equated the Iranian threat to the Holocaust and Mein Kampf. Literally.

    A few days ago, the Israeli deputy prime minister proclaimed that Iran was building a missile with a range of 6,000 miles, capable of hitting the U.S. American officials politely said no, that's total bullshit.

    The pro-war hysteria is sickening. There are some voices of sanity, but far too few:


    Speaking of voices of sanity, see the list of Israeli intelligence experts that this column starts with. Do you suppose maybe they understand where the real threat to Israel comes from? It's from its current leadership and its closest "friends."

    That is an excellent article.

     Straying somewhat off-topic, but the Superbowl will becoming on soon. Is there any doubt that we will see a strac military unit on the field during opening ceremonies. At some point there will be a fly-over by truly amazing fighter/bomber aircraft, probably timed right after the pledge of allegiance. The camera will pan to members of each branch of our military standing proud in their dress uniforms with hands over their hearts. There Will be Flags. [I'm copywriting that last sentence for the title of my new book]

    Hey, good title. I guess There Will Be Blood was already taken.

    And yeah, Caplan's column is pretty good. I like the quote from ex-Mossad director Meir Dagan that an attack on Iran is “the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”

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