Thursday, April 13

Your turn.

I had a big post in mind about Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article on what he claims are the Bush administration's plans to wage war on Iran, as well as the possible consequences of such an attack -- particularly if nuclear weapons are involved. But I'm still trying to figure out what I want to say about that, so in the meantime I'll turn it over to y'all. Consider this a semi-open thread to discuss the following questions:

1. Do you think the possibility of an attack on Iran is real?

2. Do you think such an attack is (or will be) necessary, and would you be in favor of it?

3. Do you think there is credibility to the fear that the U.S. might use tactical nuclear weapons in such an attack, and if so, does that influence in any way your answer to #2?

Let's try and keep this civil and ad-hominem-free -- and on topic. I'm really interested in finding out what people are thinking about this, or if they're thinking anything at all.


Anonymous said...

No at present

Kanu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J_da_F said...

1. No--I think/hope Bush's popularity is too low, especially with it being an election year.

2. Doubt it. I'm not sure they have all the necessary equipment to enrich uranium to produce nuclear weapons or reactors.

3. Yes

So, it's my turn for a question. I took government class too long ago to remember. Can Bush authorize a tactical nuclear weapon strike against Iran by himself, i.e., without approval from other parties or the military?

Kanu said...

After reading the article the other day my initial thoughts with regard to 1)assuming that an attack will result in the people of Iran rising up against their hardline rulers and 2)that bombing is much prefered to diplomacy, was "wow, they have really learned from their mistakes in Iraq and will apply their newfound knowledge to new situations as they occur going forward."

So you can imagine my relief after reading the piece.

That's smartass for:

1)With these dudes, anything is possible, so, yes.

2)No and fuck no.

3)With these dudes, anything is possible. Fuck no - answer to #2 is still fuck no.

One single shred of evidence would be a good place to start.

Look, I can't just go beat up a dude if I think my girlfriend is cheating on me with him. But once I call Cheaters, and Joey Greco and his boys get me some proof, then I can confront them at the mall or movie theater and beat his ass for all the world to see.

Shit, maybe we need to send JOey Greco & Agent Gomez into Iran with a camcorder...

ACG said...

One of the reasons I think that a strike on Iran is a possibility is because it's an election year; he knows that when the numbers are looking grim, he can excite his base with a nice bombing or invasion or something. I think it's likely because he's saying now what he said right before we went into Iraq, and we saw how that turned out. Besides, even if he sincerely wanted to start with diplomacy, we lost any credibility we had when the weapons inspectors said, "No weapons" and we bombed them anyway.

With that in mind:

1. Unfortunately, yes.
2. No, and hell no.
3. Unfortunately yes, and hell no.

Michael said...

1. It's very real. It'll probably happen within the next 3-4 months.

2. I do think an attack is probably inevitable. Both sides are doing too much posturing, too much "my dick is bigger than yours" mentality. I will support an attack if it has UN backing. As a nation we can't afford another war of cowboy diplomacy.

3. Tactical nuclear device is one of the most bullshit words ever created. Call it a mini nuke, but there is no tact to a mushroom cloud and nuclear fallout, even if it is small and semi contained. Besides, if we were to use nukes, to stop someone from possibly having nukes, would make us the biggest hipocrites in the world.

Anonymous said...

Can Bush shoot off a nuke without anyones approval? It depends on how one reads the war powers act. Given that this administration reads the constitution to grant Bush the powers of a monarch I think we can imagine how the WPA would be interpreted...

Flop said...

1.) Yes, and it scares the hell out of me.
2.) The attack isn't necessary, and I'd never be in favor of it.
3.) My evil theory is that there's no plan to use nuclear weapons, and that once the attack happens using conventional aerial bombs, the absence of U.S. nuclear weaponry will make the conventional attack appear more moderate and acceptable. Those who expected the worst will be pleasantly surprised when the airstrike just bombs the hell out of people instead of nuking them. This will make the conventional attack look more moderate and limited than it really is.

But the guys calling the shots are monsters, so who knows.

Anonymous said...

1) yes. have you read PNAC's work? it's faint, but i can hear the warmonger machine from pre-Iraq warming up. may i also add that Iraq has demonstrated the BushCo learning curve is completely flat.

2) NO, unless Iran actually attacks someone. the pre-emptive strike is a dumb strategy. it gives license to every other nation in the world to do the same thing to us.
3) i don't know. this administration has displayed extreme short-sightedness and unwillingness to listen to reasonable, evidence-based rationale for what is and is not an appropriate course of action. however, there is also the possibility they are doing that whole "reframing the debate" tactic- ie, if we think they want to use the nuclear option, it looks like a compromise when they "only" pre-emptively strike with a reg'lar bomb.

Anonymous said...

1. It is very possible that we will attack Iran. If you recall, the Bush administration started dropping subtle hints about Saddam and his regime's crimes. More recently, Bush has claimed that Iran makes bombs for the Iraqi insurgents:
And suprisingly, Juan Cole wrote about Bush laying groundwork against Iran in July 2004(!):
These guys are leading us in one way: war.

2. It will not be necessary. Iran wants a bomb for one reason--they saw what happened to Iraq and don't want that to happen to Iran. If we directly negotiate with the Iranians, we can solve this. Throughout recent history, although the Iranians talk "crazy," they have behaved rationally in international relations. However, this administration feels that diplomacy is fundamentally flawed, as Sy Hersh says.

3. Yes, and no, it doesn't affect my answer. An attack can't be an acceptable course of action until we at least *try* to negotiate with Iran.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and for whatever it's worth, no one besides the "unnamed sources" and Bush think that Iran is actually making those bombs.

Anonymous said...

1. Probably not. I see at least 20 UN resolutions and a decade before any attack is considered. Any attack will be led by NATO. It will take the testing of a nuclear device and at least 10 more UN resolutions after that before any overt action is considered.
2. No attack is necessary and I wouldn't favor one. I don't give a crap if Iran wants to dominate the mideast with a Sunni theocracy. It's time we let Israel fend for themselves. What have they EVER done for us?
3. The US won't go it alone in Iran. The use of ANY nuclear device is wild speculation. There are other more effective options. No credibility here.

Anonymous said...

(1) They are going to pursue all vehicles of diplomacy first - but as Bush thinks they did this with Iraq too, yes, I think there's the possiblity of us going in. If they know what is good for themselves politically, then of couse they won't go in blithely!
(2)I keep thinking Iran is a lot of loudmouth posturing types, and thus nothing to worry about, but Ahmadinejad is a loose cannon, and seems the type to shoot first and never bother explaining. I don't think us going in is going to change one thing there, and will muck things up more if we do it alone.
(3) Someone has to be seriously out of their minds to push the button on a nuclear strike, and start everyone shooting. I don't think Iraq will be doing it first - and neither should we.

Anonymous said...

1) Yes

2a) Possibly. The current leadership are nuttier than a fruitcake, or perhaps mad, bad, and dangerous to know, but by all accounts they are not close enough to having enough fissionable materials to make for a crisis yet.

2b) Only if there were an actual threat, as opposed to the "judgment" of some guy in the White House with a mad gleam in his eye.

3) Sort of. I suspect that the genesis of the Hersh article is a series of leaks frm the Pentagon trying to get a crazy civilian proposal off the table. Since the current administration doesn't appear to be participating in the "reality based community," and they have a track record for picking a fight in an empty room, it's plausible. It doesn't change my answer to #2b, it just means I have no confidence in the current administration's capacity to deal with this.

FWIW, I think people going on about Israel or the rest of the Middle East are missing the point -- it's the prospect of a real sponsor of terrorism being able to cascade nuclear devices to anyone with a grudge, a map of the US border, and a pickup that worries me.