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The Race for Iran


There is an old saying:  “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  Many of the same writers, thinkers, political actors, and organizations that persuaded the American people and others to support invading Iraq in 2003 are now working to build public support for the United States to initiate a war with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Will the American people allow themselves, to their shame, to be fooled once again on a foreign policy matter of life-and-death importance? 

The Atlantic has just published Jeffrey Goldberg’s latest piece, “The Point of No Return,” laying out the case attacking Iran.  Unfortunately, the case that Goldberg lays out for attacking Iran is even flimsier than the false and irresponsible case he helped make for the invasion of Iraq.  We published our own response to Goldberg’s article earlier today, in Foreign Policy.  We offer it for your consideration here

Apart from the arguments that we develop in our article, it should also be stressed that the Islamic Republic does not have nuclear weapons, and there is no evidence that it is seeking to manufacture such weapons.  We also think it is worthy of note that Iran’s highest-level political and religious authorities say that the possession of such weapons would violate Islamic principles and ethics—a consideration of some weight, we believe, in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Everyone should be clear on this point:  if Israel or the United States attacks Iran, it will be because Iran is enriching uranium, at levels much lower than that required for weapons-grade fissile material.  As we have written previously, see here, that is hardly a justification for starting a war.    

Let’s not be fooled twice.         

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



  1. James Canning says:

    Neil M,

    My understanding is that Putin and Medvedev have both told Israeli leaders not to attack Iran, and they have told Iranian leaders not to attack Israel. Iran in any event would not attack Israel unless Iran is attacked first.

  2. James Canning says:


    Would you say that George Stephanopolous and other framers of public opinion in the US indulge the liar neocons and other Zionist warmongers because they see it as financially advantageous for themselves? Are they willing stooges of the largely Jewish cabal of financiers who promote endless war in the greater Middle East?

  3. Kathleen says:

    “Many of the same writers, thinkers, political actors, and organizations that persuaded the American people and others to support invading Iraq in 2003 are now working to build public support for the United States to initiate a war with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    The attack Iran neocon attack Iran PR campaign started immediately after the invasion of Iraq. Micheal Ledeen, Reuel Marc Gerecht, John Bolton, Cheney etc were on Face the Nation, Diane Rehm, Talk of the Nation, etc repeating the unsubstantiated and inflammatory claims about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program all over the MSM. Repeating the debunked “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” false claims. MSM host allowed these warmongers to repeat these claims and never challenged. I have heard David Gregory, Bob Schieffer, George Stephanapoulous, Rachel Maddow, NPR’s Neil Conan, allow guest to repeat these false claims. I have heard NPR’s Terry Gross not only allow quest to repeat this hogwash I have heard Terry Gross repeat these unsubstantiated claims herself.

    The stage has been set. Most Americans believe that IRan all ready has nuclear weapons. Rep Gohmert has sponsored House Resolution 1553 which is filled with false claims about Iran. The Israeli lobby keeps pushing.

    Let’s hope and pray the American public will not go along with Israel’s bloody agenda

  4. Neil M says:

    Here’s some speculation from Gwynne Dyer on why Iran won’t be attacked.
    Purely for balance, of course.

  5. Neil M says:

    Richard, you appear to have little or no understanding of either combat operations or Iran’s military capabilities. Iran has the ability to detect and respond to virtually any type of conventional attack. Any defense system can, in theory, be overwhelmed, but the unaided IOF couldn’t come close to overwhelming Iran’s defenses – and knows it.

    The neocons are flogging a dead horse with their “Israel will/could/might attack Iran drivel. You are reading the wrong disinfo.
    A few threads back you asked for an appraisal of an O.R.G report and an “analysis” posted on a website called mmmbassi or some such.

    I’m not familiar with Rogers’ (ORG)Consequences of a War, however I have read the Impact and Effects report from July, 2010, which supercedes it. Impact and Effects patches up what I assume to be the oversights in Consequences of a War. When the “Israel might do the job itself” spin was first mooted it was greeted with a succession of cold showers pointing out the major flaws. Impact and Effects is, imo, a formalised collection of patch-ups. But my main criticism of it is the palpable absence of focus. It is unduly verbose because it includes EVERY Israeli myth about Iran’s nuclear ambitions which, I shouldn’t need to point out, are completely irrelevant to a MILITARY plan. That fact alone suggests that it is little more than a vehicle for neocon propaganda.

    The essay reproduced on mmabbasi is even worse than the ORG report. It has serious shortcomings on several levels.
    I’ll begin with the most obvious.

    Even if one accepts it as a plan incorporating practical elements, the publicity it has received would be ‘unhelpful’. In the same vein, I doubt that anyone would deploy AWACS or 707 tankers over the Mediterranean ‘near Syria’. Syria has similar radar and AA systems to those in service in Iran, which brings me to another point. The author paints the ‘successful’ raid on Syria’s ‘nuclear facility’ as evidence that Israel managed to evade and/or ‘jam’ the S-300 detection system. I believe this to be incorrect. The S-300 is a distributed, linked system with hand-over (target reassignment) capabilities. The Israeli raid was launched prior to the date Syria had announced as the completion date for the S-300 installation. There are many sound and practical reasons for not activating an incomplete defense system – especially if the system itself is not under threat.

    However, what ruined it for me, as a serious battle plan, was the laboriously detailed info on the hardware and strategy of the attacker versus the total absence of information on the nature of the Iranian hardware and threats which the plan purports to overcome – apparently en passant.

    That approach seems to be aimed at painting an unduly rosy picture of the likely outcome. If any identifiable military strategist of repute has said that attacking Iran will unfold as the casual snack which this plan insinuates, I’d be interested to read the specifics.

    In summary, the ORG report paints a series of alarming word pictures based on excessive and lurid detail. The report reproduced on mmabbasi is an haphazard and thrilling, but carefully laundered, Superman story.

    I’ll add a little fruit for speculation of my own regarding the likelihood of an attack on Iran. I believe that neither Russia nor China takes America’s bluster and threats seriously. Amid the (too loud and frequent) expressions of dismay from Ahmadinejad regarding Russia’s implied repudiation of the S-300 deal, Russia announced that it will supply 6 or so S-300 systems to China.
    I doubt that China feels in imminent danger of becoming the target of an air raid. However, I believe Russia could fulfil its S-300 contractual obligations to Iran via a third party – such as China.
    Another avenue for speculation is contained in Medvedev’s 2009 CNN interview. He stated that Peres had ‘promised’ not to attack Iran – adding “and I believe him.” I need not point out that broken promises can become reliable game-changers.

    The neocon bluster about attacking Iran is a diversion from the accelerated program of dispossession/ethnic cleansing in Palestine (Jerusalem).
    Nothing more.
    But it seems to be working. Israel’s ongoing crimes in Jerusalem rarely rate a mention, let alone outrage, in the MSM.

  6. kooshy says:

    “Maybe you should explain why IRAN has ANY subs then if they’re completely useless in the Persian Gulf?”

    Kilo subs are for sea of Oman , mainly to attack logistic support surface ships that will want to go to North Persian Gulf ports, I ran has learned a lesson or two in the war with Iraq an allies.Smallcoastal suported subs operate in Hormoz and gulf they are painted green, Iranian attack subs do not operate the north gulf ports, no need to since it was not meant for that kind of operation. From the southern tip of Qeshme all the way north all you need and really can use is fast attack missile speed boats and helicopters for air cover and surface attack.

  7. James Canning says:

    Richard Steven Hack,

    I think we are agreed that any Israeli attack on Iran would be virtually guaranteed to embroil the US in war with Iran.

    I think the Israeli claims of a supposed “existential” threat are knowingly false, and that they are intended to serve as window dressing to conceal a vicious illegal attack on another country, on false pretext (in manner of illegal US/UK invasion of Iraq).

  8. Neil M: “Nuking a ‘few significant targets’ in Iran (which is the best Israel could hope to achieve) would merely trigger a commitment to a long-term retaliation without doing much to delay or prevent it.”

    You don’t get the point. Israel DOES NOT CARE how much damage it does to Iran. The WHOLE point of an Israeli attack on Iran is to provoke Iran into retaliating and thereby drag the US into a confrontation.

    “Tactical nukes? What have they to do with this discussion?”

    You argued that Israel didn’t have many city busters. I said they didn’t NEED many, so the rest are tactical for use as tacticals are used – which I described, so I don’t need Wikipedia.

    “They are more trouble than they’re worth and can fall into enemy hands on the battle field. Being small, a tactical nuke is dangerously ‘dirty’ due to the difficulty of coaxing a compact nuke to consume more than a few grams of fuel before the core is dispersed.”

    What does this have to do with anything? The US has them, Russia has them, and Israel probably has them. They’re made for a specific purpose, they exist, and it doesn’t matter what problems might ensue. All weapons bring problems with them as well as advantages. This is not relevant to the discussion. It’s hand-waving on your part.

    “The significance of amassing hundreds of nukes but neglecting the issue of delivery should be as self-explanatory as amassing 10,000 artillery shells but forgetting to buy a cannon would be.”

    Oh, that’s clever. Nonetheless, the US did it when they built the first A-bombs which had to be delivered by PLANE – or did you forget that? Then Russia did it. Did Britain have ICBMs? No. Do they have nukes? Yes. Did France build missiles first? No – They started nuclear testing in 1958 and ballistic missile development in 1959.

    Israel HAS nuclear capable missiles – except not in your own mind. The Jerico development contract was signed in 1963 – well before it had nukes in the late 1960’s. It was identified as operational in 1971, albeit a short-range version which nonetheless was intended to deliver a nuclear warhead.

    You’re flailing. Forget it. You’re just wrong. You need to read Wikipedia, not me. Unless you have some REAL references to cite here, you’re just babbling.

  9. Kooshy: So you’re saying Israel never sent any subs to the Persian Gulf.

    OK, fine, I’ll believe that.

    Nice to be so confident of your enemy’s lack of capability, but I think you’re wrong on all counts.

    Maybe you should explain why IRAN has ANY subs then if they’re completely useless in the Persian Gulf?

    I just found this PDF which analyzes Iran’s issues with submarines in the Gulf:

    csis dot org/files/media/csis/pubs/060728_gulf_iran.pdf


    Iran faces significant operational problems in using its submarines in local waters. Many areas of the Gulf do not favor submarine operations. The Gulf is about 241,000 square kilometers in area, and stretches 990 kilometers from the Shatt al-Arab to the Straits of Hormuz. It is about 340 kilometers wide at is maximum width, and about 225 kilometers wide for most of its length.

    While heat patterns disturb surface sonars, they also disturb submarine sonars, and the advantage seems to be slightly in favor of sophisticated surface ships and maritime patrol aircraft. The deeper parts of the Gulf are noisy enough to make ASW operations difficult, but large parts of the Gulf including much of the Southern Gulf on a line from Al Jubail across the tip of Qatar to about half way up the UAE are less than 20 meters deep.

    The water is deeper on the Iranian side, but the maximum depth of the Gulf — located about 30 kilometers south of Qeys Island is still only 88 meters. This means that no point in the Gulf is deeper than the length of an SN-688 nuclear submarine. The keel to tower height of such a submarine alone is 16 meters. Even smaller coastal submarines have maneuver and bottom suction problems, and cannot hide in thermoclines, or take advantage of diving for concealment or self-protection. This may explain why Iran is planning to relocate its submarines from Bandar Abbas, inside the Gulf, to Chah Bahar in the Gulf of Oman and is deepening the navy facility at Chah Bahar.

    The Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf is about 180 kilometers long, but has a minimum width of 39 kilometers, and only the two deep-water channels are suitable for major surface ship or submarine operations. Further, a limited flow of fresh water and high evaporation makes the Gulf extremely salty. This creates complex underwater currents in the main channels at the Straits of Hormuz and complicates both submarine operations, and submarine detection. There are some areas with considerable noise, but not of a type that masks submarine noise from sophisticated ASW detection systems of the kind operated by the US and UK.

    Further, the minimum operating depth of the Kilo is 45 meters, and the limited depth of the area around the Straits can make submarine operations difficult. Submarines are easier to operate in the Gulf of Oman, which is noisy enough to make ASW operations difficult, but such deployments would expose the Kilos to operations by US and British nuclear attack submarines. It is unlikely that Iran’s Kilos could survive for any length of time if hunted by a US or British navy air-surface SSN hunter-killer team

    In any case, the effectiveness of Iran’s submarines is likely to depend heavily on the degree of Western involvement in any ASW operation. If the Kilos did not face the US or British ASW forces, the Iranian Kilos could operate in or near the Gulf with considerable impunity. If they did face US and British forces, they might be able to attack a few tankers or conduct some mining efforts, but are unlikely to survive extended combat. This makes the Kilos a weapon that may be more effective in threatening Gulf shipping, or as a remote mine layer, than in naval combat. Certainly, Iran’s purchase of the Kilos has already received close attention from the Southern Gulf states and convinced them that they must take Iran more seriously.

    End Quote

    Basically this says something similar to what you claim, but it’s not nearly so confident that Iranian subs are worthless. And the German subs Israel uses are better.

    Finally, subs are used to deliver espionage and Special Forces assets all the time. The North Koreans do it to South Korea occasionally. One of the NK subs grounded itself accidentally some years back in SK territory. The SK military captured most of the crew, but two NK Special Forces guys got away and eluded capture for 53 days, killing 11 of their pursuers. Tough guys, those NKs. The point is Israel could use those subs for espionage purposes, including SIGINT surveillance.

    Nobody’s at war yet so a sub can go anywhere it wants as long as it is careful about straying into a country’s coastal waters where it could be detected. And without a SOSUS type system, Iran probably has very limited sub detection capability even in its own waters, unless they’re wasting fuel flying surveillance aircraft and their speedboats over the whole area, which I imagine is not feasible given the length of their coastline.

    All in all, all I’m saying is that I wouldn’t dismiss the possible presence of Israeli subs in the Gulf so cavalierly without some real evidence other than the difficulty of the environmental conditions.

  10. Neil M says:

    Richard S Hack,

    “That is not relevant to the FACT that Israel isn’t targeting huge countries like Russia, China or the US, but only a couple Arab states with very few significant targets. A dozen nukes would handle most of Israel’s strategic targeting needs.”

    This is mistaken thinking too.
    Nuking a ‘few significant targets’ in Iran (which is the best Israel could hope to achieve) would merely trigger a commitment to a long-term retaliation without doing much to delay or prevent it.

    Tactical nukes?
    What have they to do with this discussion?
    I suggest you read up on them. Wiki is a good place to start and you can branch out from there until your curiosity expires. They are more trouble than they’re worth and can fall into enemy hands on the battle field. Being small, a tactical nuke is dangerously ‘dirty’ due to the difficulty of coaxing a compact nuke to consume more than a few grams of fuel before the core is dispersed.

    The significance of amassing hundreds of nukes but neglecting the issue of delivery should be as self-explanatory as amassing 10,000 artillery shells but forgetting to buy a cannon would be.

  11. fyi says:


    No body has infinite resources.

    And you cannot hide behind “culture” and “force”.

    People have a brain and a mind.

    They make decisions.

    Christias who support Israel had been taught that

  12. kooshy says:


    “Otherwise, explain why Israel would send its subs there at all.”

    Intimidation, only intimidation my friend, just like the planted Goldberg story and the fallow up of the clown’s debate, yes intimidation and propaganda for the political game of chicken, go get a cartography map of Persian gulf you will understand what is going own, not possible to operate subs over 500 ton safely without massive surface and air support, mini and small subs should be painted green, why? Because the average depth is only 50 meters maximum is 90 miters, if you ever been there when you fly over you see the bottom, easier than you think to detect.

    “No, but Israeli subs with cruise missiles can conduct a military attack on a land target, which is the obvious reason Israel sent the subs there. Also subs can serve as espionage outposts, and also can deliver espionage agents on land.”

    Why would you send a sub in harm way when you can agents thorough Dubai, or in a concealed cargo ship, any number of ways , what do you think this is a James bond movie.

  13. Neil M: “The Israeli Nuclear arsenal is imaginary.”

    Prove it.

    “Nukes are not the warmongers answer to a maiden’s prayer. Their primary value resides in their ability to deter an attack. It is limited by the number of nukes the owner can deliver to a strategic target on short notice. Israel cannot deliver many nukes to a remote target, so the total number in the arsenal, astronomical as it may appear to be, becomes irrelevant in this context.”

    That is not relevant to the FACT that Israel isn’t targeting huge countries like Russia, China or the US, but only a couple Arab states with very few significant targets. A dozen nukes would handle most of Israel’s strategic targeting needs.

    Besides, the estimates I believe include the likelihood that Israel has a number of tactical nukes, which probably make up the bulk of its arsenal, for use on concentrations of Arab military forces as needed. Tactical nukes are only valuable for that use and taking out hardened targets of significant strategic value.

    “If Israel had a Nuclear arsenal it would be the firdt and only N-power to develop an arsenal BEFORE it had the means to deliver a weapon. That is a verifiable fact.
    But don’t take my word for it. Verify it yourself, independently.”

    And that is relevant how? Not to mention that Iran is currently being accused of the same thing. By the way, North Korea doesn’t have a delivery vehicle that can handle a nuke either. Just having missiles around doesn’t mean you can deliver a nuke warhead.

    Really, your arguments are nonsense. No one who is informed is going to take them seriously.

  14. Greenwald on Goldberg: “Thus, his pose is objective journalist. He’ll feign “ambivalence” about whether Iran should be bombed — thus showing how thoughtful and non-ideological he is — while infecting the discourse with the kinds of factual falsehoods documented here, all in service of skewing the debate towards ensuring an attack happens.”

    Reminds me of Brill – except Brill is even more subtle than Goldberg. While Brill claims he supports Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, he continually puts the onus on Iran to justify it, which is totally incorrect. It is the US who must justify its suspicions of Iran’s program. And the US cannot and does not want to.

  15. Kooshy: “A submarine navigating in the Persian Gulf (with an average depth of 80 meters) without adequate air and surface support is an easy target, a setting duck”

    Only if you have the detection capability and only if you have a general idea where the sub is. Any body of water like the Gulf is a big place and detection is hit or miss. Iran doesn’t have things like the underwater detection stations the US has set up on its coasts.

    Otherwise, explain why Israel would send its subs there at all.

    “And with the distance from the Arabian Sea or the sea of Oman to Iran’s nuclear sites, you may as well fire your missiles from Israel without sending in the subs around the Arabian Peninsula.”

    Yet Israel has done so. And who says Israel would limit its cruise missile firing at just the nuclear facilities targets? Israel just needs to hit ANYTHING in Iran to start a war.

    “The Israeli subs do not worry Iran; Israeli subs have no practical use as Arab armies have no meaningful navies.”

    No, but Israeli subs with cruise missiles can conduct a military attack on a land target, which is the obvious reason Israel sent the subs there. Also subs can serve as espionage outposts, and also can deliver espionage agents on land.

  16. Fyi: Agree with all your suggestions for US to repair its relations with the Muslim world. As an added bonus, withdrawing support for the Arab monarchies and dictatorships and pushing Israel for a solution to the Palestinian issue, and demanding Israel disarm is nuclear arsenal would also have the effect of influencing Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups from attacking the US.

  17. Neil M says:

    Re: Richard Steven Hack (August 11, 2010 at 9:04 pm) and my ridiculous post.

    The Israeli Nuclear arsenal is imaginary.
    Nukes are not the warmongers answer to a maiden’s prayer. Their primary value resides in their ability to deter an attack. It is limited by the number of nukes the owner can deliver to a strategic target on short notice. Israel cannot deliver many nukes to a remote target, so the total number in the arsenal, astronomical as it may appear to be, becomes irrelevant in this context.
    If Israel had a Nuclear arsenal it would be the firdt and only N-power to develop an arsenal BEFORE it had the means to deliver a weapon. That is a verifiable fact.
    But don’t take my word for it. Verify it yourself, independently.

  18. Novice says:


    Day after day the Israeli-firster Likdniks are exponentially getting more powerful. With their practically infinite resources they have been able to acquire all types of mass communications ranging from entertainment establishments to print-media to Radio, TV. They have been also buying or electing corrupt officials who pass any of their desired legislation etc.

    In US they have succeeded in deceptively convincing majority of the public in incredibly false notions such as ‘Israel is a victim’, ‘Hezbollah is a terrorist organization’, ‘Iran is a threat to America’ etc.

    What can be done with this very urgent concern the whole humanity is facing?

    I think the blame / accusation approaches are crude and not the right way to solve the problem. Like an intelligent analytical scientist in solving any problem we have to identify its contributing elements first.

    You are saying “No one has forced them to make that decision”. Principally I disagree. There exists an ever-present strong force which is beyond their control. Our brains are the control center of whatever we do, whatever we say or whatever we believe in.

    Cultures in which indoctrination is a major element forms and alters our behavior throughout the life, it can convert us, in one extreme, to a ruthless, superstitious, remorseless murderer or, on the other extreme, to a rational, compassionate, non-violent and constructive individual.

    What I think might work is, instead of calling the likes of Goldberg names, ask them to listen to the scientists. There lies a hope if they realize why they are fabricating lies or why they sound so blood-thirsty. Ask them to remember the moments their bloods boiled when a zealous Zionist elder told them about the crimes of the Nazis…etc.

    Most of them are very intelligent. They just might stop advocating Nazi style acts on others such as staging devastating wars, believing they are special people (uber alles), taking other people’s lands and collectively punishing the defenseless human beings and so on.

  19. James Canning says:

    Cliff Kupchan, writing in the Financial Times Aug. 6th (“Sanctions set the stage for a new push on Iran”), called for the US and the EU “to craft a common position on what kind of Iranian nuclear programme can be tolerated.” Clearly this means there is no common position at this time. Kupchan formerly was in the US State Dept.

  20. James Canning says:


    Thanks. To me, it seems obvious that Iran should not make it easier for Hillary Clinton to paper over the serious differences that obtain within the P5+1 regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. When Russia and China both openly support Iranian enrichment of LEU, but have grave reservations about enriching to 20%, Iran clearly should embrace the position of Russia and China (assuming of course Iran receives the TRR fuel as part of the exchange).

  21. Cyrus and Richard,

    Thanks for the additional information on the Argentina attacks. Just two of many examples of “Repeat Makes Right.” It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a mention of either incident accompanied by a mention that Iran’s involvement is nothing more than speculation, and that numerous opportunities to present evidence have yielded nothing so far.

  22. fyi says:


    CSM good day are all behind it.

    You cannot find any depth in its reporting any longer – it has been almost 20 years.

    CFR also used to be a good place to learn of the opinion of people who were dispassionate and concrete in foreign policy. That place also has fallen in the quality of its analysis and the staff that produce it. 30 years ago it was a much better place.

    Americans no longer produce such people in abundance, hacks seem to be the rule rather the exception. And contrary views are seldom heard – in that they are becoming like Iran.

  23. Paul,

    “It’s amazing to read over and over again in various places, including the comments here, that Iran’s ‘tactical mistake’ was choosing to do what it has a sovereign right to do, even a duty to do, as in the case of enriching to 20%.”

    I agree. Though I certainly don’t think Iran – or the US, or anyone else – should exercise every “sovereign right” it has just to remind the world it has that right, if one believes that Iran has the right to carry out a peaceful nuclear program – including operating its TRR – and other countries won’t cooperate in selling or otherwise providing TRR fuel, what other choice does Iran have?

    As James argues, and I agree, if some other good solution appears, Iran would probably be wise to stop enriching to 20%. Doing so does raise suspicions – not enough to stop doing it if there’s no other choice, but probably enough to stop if and when another choice presents itself.

  24. fyi says:


    It was China’s invasion of Vietnam in February of 1979 that caused the re-orientation of Vietnam.

    Reading a dime-store book of Vietnamese fables, available in many bookstores in US in 1960s, which recounted the Vietnamese heroes fighting Chinese dominance of their country, could have alerted US leaders that they were fighting the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

    But they lacked judgement and knowledge to pcikup winners and loosers in that part of the world. Likewise in the Middle East.

    China and Russia slapped Iran in the face because they know Iran cannot do anything else but to bear it.

    They extracted a few concessions from US. But, fundamentally, they further helped US and EU with their (unachievable, in my opinion) regime change project in Iran; thus eliminating them politically and commercially from the Iranian scene.

    Note that US leaders are aware of this and the only way that their current policy towards Iran makes sense is the the expectation of some sort of Iranian surrender within the next 2 years – be it regime change, coup, or some such.

    I think that US and EU leaders have read the Iranian scene incorrectly and the regime change in Iran is a chimera. But I am probably a minority of 10 who thinks that.

    But, on the other hand, I might be wrong.

  25. kooshy says:

    From CSM

    “Jeffrey Goldberg writes in the September issue of the Atlantic Monthly that there’s a more than 50 percent chance Israel will seek to attack and destroy Iran’s nuclear program by next summer and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will probably make his mind up on the issue by December.”

    Ok, gut it, by next summer, and the decision will be made by December, jolly –
    Okai, I UNDER stand it, but Waite a minute, why none of this reporters including the related article on this site doesn’t question the merit of Goldberg’s story instead of the merit of an attack ,
    and after all why the decision will need to be made by this coming December and attack to fallow after that date and before summer,
    I see, but then if they want to attack why would they want the whole world including Iranians to know it before, Wuhu-
    OKAI, I see so the Iranians can have time to get prepared, unlike Israel’s past attacks on its neighbors this time the Israelis really want to have a manly fight and are telling the Persians to get ready we are coming- don’t- don’t try to hold us, please, we want to hit them, these guys, I mean these Iranians, they got to know who they are dealing with.

    This whole western propaganda tactics reminds me of the old school streets fights, back in dear Teheran behind the school in the alley, before the fights start one would beg his friends not to hold him since he wanted to do a complete rearrangement of facial body parts on the opponent, which actually was hoping and beging that someone will hold him so he did not have to go through with the threat he made since there were risks involved if the actual fight would have started .

  26. Fiorangela says:

    pretty violent responses, RSH

  27. Cyrus,

    “But even if we agree that Iran’s acceptance of the AP is limited today as you state, that’s just restating my point: Iran DID implement the AP and exceeded it, nothing was found, and yet the hostility to Iran did not cease. Thus, the suggestion that Iran should once again do the same thing, has no real merit as we’ve all been there, done that.”

    I agree with everything except the first part of the last sentence. I fully understand why you feel it would accomplish nothing for Iran to resume observing the Additional Protocols. You might well be right. Iran’s agreement to observe the Additional Protocols might not reduce the risk of attack from the US or Israel. It might not make Russia or China any less eager to impose additional sanctions the next time the US asks. It might not make the US, Russia, China, France or any other country less unwilling to cooperate with Iran on a TRR-fueling deal. In other words, it might, as you predict, be a total waste of Iran’s time, and be annoying to boot since nothing was accomplished the last time Iran went to the trouble of observing the Additional Protocols.

    On the other hand, observing the Additional Protocols might make a difference on one or more of those important matters. At the very least, I can guarantee you this: It would make it considerably easier for Iran’s supporters to fight back against the daily, even hourly, accusations that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons. When someone like Jeffrey Goldberg asks, in essence: “If Iran is not seeking “nuclear weapons capability,” why does it adamantly refuse to comply with the Additional Protocols like other countries do? What’s Iran trying to hide?” It would be very useful to be able to say: “Iran’s not trying to hide anything. It’s disclosing the same information, and submitting to the same inspections, as everybody else. There’s not another country in the world that discloses more information about its nuclear program than Iran does.”

    Maybe saying that wouldn’t make any difference at all. It probably wouldn’t matter to Jeffrey Goldberg – I’ll grant you that. But it just might matter to some people. Among the educated people I tend to deal with every day, I can tell you it would make a difference.

    Nor does it strike me as that big a deal to comply with the AP. Iran did so for several years, after all, and I don’t recall it complaining about the burden. If the IAEA asks questions that go beyond the AP – for example, questions about Iran’s ballistic missiles that have conventional military applications – Iran can always complain and refuse to answer those questions. That strikes me as a wiser course of action than refusing to observe the AP at all just because such over-reaching questions might be asked.

    I see essentially the following reasons given for why Iran should not resume observing the AP:

    1. Iran finds this request annoying because it got nothing last time it complied – your “been there, done that” argument or, perhaps even better, the “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” argument.

    2. The IAEA might pass on “targeting information” about Iranian nuclear sites to the US, which the US will later use when it bombs Iran.

    3. Iran would like to achieve either the reality or the illusion of “nuclear weapons capability,” and the more it discloses, the harder that will be to accomplish.

    4. Fuller disclosure will induce the IAEA to ask questions it has no right to ask, even under the AP.

    Each of those reasons (except #3, in my view) has some merit, but not much – certainly not enough to pass up an opportunity to weaken the “What’s Iran trying to hide?” argument that presently persuades most of the world that Iran is up to no good – something that most people on this website, myself included, strongly disbelieve.

    On #4, for example, has Iran’s failure to observe the AP prevented the IAEA from asking impertinent questions about the “alleged studies?” Isn’t it already asking those impertinent questions? Is there reason to expect that the IAEA would ask any more than it already does if Iran were to start observing the AP? If the IAEA does ask even more impertinent questions about the “alleged studies,” would Iran find it any more difficult to decline to answer them than it now does?

    Some have argued that Iran has nothing to disclose under the AP, and others (you, for example – see above) argue that Iran has already disclosed everything required by the AP and so there’s no point in doing so again. Bear in mind, though, that a disclosure under the AP in, say, 2006, does not necessarily mean that Iran’s disclosure would be the same in 2010. It may well be the same; we just don’t know. For a simple example, if Iran told the IAEA in 2006 that “We have no zirconium tubes,” but today is saying, in essence, “We’re not going to tell you whether we have any zirconium tubes – it’s none of your business,” those are two different disclosures.

    I have no idea whether “zirconium tubes” are something we should worry about, or even what they are, much less whether Iran has any of them or ever did. All I know is that the IAEA believes “zirconium tubes” are worth asking about in the Additional Protocols (along with dozens of other exotic-sounding devices and materials such as “irradiated fuel element chopping machines,” “heavy water” and “aerodynamic separation nozzles”). Is it really that big a deal just to say “None” rather than “None of your business?”

  28. paul says:

    Greenwald has one of the best takes I’ve seen on Goldberg’s article…


    “Jeffrey Goldberg, in the new cover story in The Atlantic, on an Israeli attack on Iran:

    Israel has twice before successfully attacked and destroyed an enemy’s nuclear program. In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting — forever, as it turned out — Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions; and in 2007, Israeli planes destroyed a North Korean-built reactor in Syria. An attack on Iran, then, would be unprecedented only in scope and complexity.

    Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Yorker, 2002, trying to convince Americans to fear Iraq:

    Saddam Hussein never gave up his hope of turning Iraq into a nuclear power. After the Osirak attack, he rebuilt, redoubled his efforts, and dispersed his facilities. Those who have followed Saddam’s progress believe that no single strike today would eradicate his nuclear program.”

    By contrasting those two quotes from Goldberg, Greenwald pretty much says it all.

  29. paul says:

    It’s amazing to read over and over again in various places, including the comments here, that Iran’s ‘tactical mistake’ was choosing to do what it has a sovereign right to do, even a duty to do, as in the case of enriching to 20%. This is simply yet another form of the favorite sport of many in today’s ‘educated elite’; Blaming The Victim. Blaming The Victim dovetails well with Falsifying History. Of course, as we all know, Iran initially agreed to the Swap in principle, but then expressed some quite reasonable counter objections and proposals. Then, as we all remember, the Obama Regime very angrily denounced Iran for supposedly reneging on the Swap deal, by which Obama apparently meant to convey that ‘diplomacy’, ‘negotiation’ and ‘engagement’ with Iran means that Obama dictates and Iran then obeys without question. Apparently, the Imperial Obama Regime does not stoop to the kind of give and take that led to the Brazil-Turkey-Iran breakthrough. Again, as we all remember, it was AFTER Obama flushed Iranian objections and counter-suggestions down the latrine that Iran announced that it would enrich to 20%. China and Russia – especially Russia – appeared to go along with the Obama Regime’s brutal way of ‘negotiating’, so there was no tactical mistake made by Iran. Iran simply recognized what Russia and China continue to refuse to recognize; that you cannot appease the Hegemon. By agreeing to throw Iran under the bus, Russia and China sacrificed any credibility they might have had as a global counterbalance to US-allied Hegemonic Power; who wants to line up with Russia and China as an ally now? Is it any wonder that Vietnam is more than eager to jump into bed with the Hegemon? They can do without the Russian/Chinese knife in the back, right?

    So what did Russia and China get for their massive STRATEGIC BLUNDER? Well, it looks like Russia will be getting a US military base right in Georgia!! And China is getting a lovely US carrier looking right down on Beijing. Iran gets it that there’s no appeasing the Hegemon. And despite reports in the US media that the Whole World Hates Iran, much of the world feels some degree of common cause with Iran. When a Bully is beating the hell out of someone, there may be a crowd of people around, and it may look like all those people agree with the beat-down. But it’s perhaps more likely that most of them are just glad they aren’t the ones getting beat down. Most probably don’t have Chavez’ courage to declare solidarity with Iran, but many may secretly wish they could. What Iran needs to keep doing is pressing the case that it is standing up for the principle of sovereignty, not just for itself, but on behalf of all nations.

  30. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    Why doesn’t he release $ 1 billion in Iranian money?

    Why did he vote for UNSC and additional EU sanctions?

  31. James Canning says:

    Charles Krauthammer, a neocon propagandist, stated on April 19, 2002: “Time is running short. Saddam [Hussein] has weapons of mass destruction. He is working on nuclear weapons . . . for use against us.”

    The CIA knew Saddam had destroyed his nuclear weapons programme in the 1990s.

  32. James Canning says:


    William Hague told The Times of London, July 3, 2010: “I don’t really see the world in [terms of enemies] any more. The Cold War is over. But we have countries with whom relations are more difficult than others.”

    Where is the call for “regime change” in that statement?

  33. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    Facts do not support your statement.

  34. James Canning says:


    Do you think Iran should proceed with the nuclear exchange (sending LEU to Turkey), and thus obtain the needed TRR fuel? Iran suggests it will suspend enriching to 20% as part of the deal.

  35. James Canning says:


    The UK is not seeking “regime change” in Iran. Nor is the EU.

  36. James Canning says:


    Re: Aug. 11th, 11:48am – – Isn’t it fair to say that the only reason Israel’s “survival” as a “Jewish” state, could come into question, is in the event Israel is unable (or unwilling) to withdraw from the West Bank? Saudi Arabia leads the effort to achieve an Israeli withdrawal. Does this make the kingdom a “colony” of the US?

  37. fyi says:


    You are correct – the US and EU posture is one of regime change.

  38. Cyrus says:

    Well things aren’t so clear cut as you make it sound even today when it comes to Iran’s observance of the AP, Eric. After all, lets remember that there are no real ambiguities left regarding Iran’s nuclear program to start with, since the IAEA declared the issues resolved in the Feb 2008 report. THe only remaining issue is the laptop of death, and those allegations cannot be refuted and are irrefutable since they allege a future course of conduct which no amount of inspections today can prove or disprove.

    But even if we agree that Iran’s acceptance of the AP is limited today as you state, that’s just restating my point: Iran DID implement the AP and exceeded it, nothing was found, and yet the hostility to Iran did not cease. Thus, the suggestion that Iran should once again do the same thing, has no real merit as we’ve all been there, done that.

  39. James Canning says:


    Jeffrey Goldberg is a neocon propagandist devoted to deceiving the American public about the real reason the US had bad relations with Iran. Iran is seen as preventing Israel from crushing Palestinian resistance permanently. Israel wants to oppress the Palestinians, courtesy of the ignorant American taxpayers.

    Would Russia and China have supported the latest round of UN sanctions, if Iran had not been enriching U to 20&? I think that was the key tactical error made by Iran.

  40. James Canning says:

    Richard Steven Hack,

    King Abdullah II of Jordan has it right (as indicated by the statement you quoted): why would Iran squander limited funds on “a military programme” if the Israel/Palestine problem had been resolved, and Iran has so many pressing social and economic concerns?

    Didn’t Elliott Abrams do his best to block a peace deal between Syria and Israel? He was involved in the planning for the coup in Gaza, that resulted in the counter-coup by Hamas.

  41. James Canning says:


    You make an excellent point: that Americans moved by the Time magazine cover of the Afghan woman whose husband had cut off her nose (and ears), should support good US-Iran relations because Iran is the country best placed to encourage change for the better in Afghanistan.

  42. fyi says:


    Again, I disagree.

    Had Iran had nuclear weapons – say at the level of the Chinese – US & EU commentators would not have discussed military action against Iran.

  43. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, neither China nor Russia may be accused of having exercised their power wantonly.

  44. fyi says:


    You are correct about the list.

    And only 2 speak Persian, none Azeri Turkish.

    They should have had Shaoul Bakhash.

  45. Cyrus,

    “I’m sorry Eric but we’ve been over this before. Iran may not have formally ratified the Additional Protocol, but has regularly gone beyond [the AP’s] requirements in disclosures…”

    I think each of us would prefer to drop discussion, at least for now, of the remaining points in your post, but this one calls for a clarifying observation.

    Iran did observe the AP for a few years several years back, even though it never formally ratified the AP, and sometimes it did go “beyond [the AP’s] requirements in disclosures” during that time frame. But Iran explicitly declared several years ago that it would not ratify the AP and that it would stop observing it voluntarily. It may have had excellent reasons for doing that, but my only point here is that it did.

    At times, Iran may still be cooperating with the IAEA in ways that exceed the requirements of its existing Safeguards Agreement, and that may even exceed the AP’s requirements – for example, by answering some of the IAEA’s questions concerning the “alleged studies.” And the IAEA routinely confirms that it has found no evidence of “diversion” of Iran’s “declared” nuclear material. None of this is in dispute. But this should not be mistaken with present-day compliance with the Additional Protocol, which Iran still refuses to ratify or to observe voluntarily.

    We disagree as to whether this should Iran’s position, but I believe we agree that it is.

  46. fyi says:


    You use the concept of “brainwashing” in your post.

    That is not an explanation, it is an excuse.

    The people you have alluded to and Mr. Goldberg specifically, are making a moral choice.

    That moral (or immoral) choice is something personal to them. No one has forced them to make that decision.

    They thus have personal responsibility for their choices.

    For they know the difference between Right and Wrong.

  47. kooshy says:


    A submarine navigating in the Persian Gulf (with an average depth of 80 meters) without adequate air and surface support is an easy target, a setting duck
    And with the distance from the Arabian Sea or the sea of Oman to Iran’s nuclear sites, you may as well fire your missiles from Israel without sending in the subs around the Arabian Peninsula. The Israeli subs do not worry Iran; Israeli subs have no practical use as Arab armies have no meaningful navies.

  48. fyi says:


    Catholic America is not at war with Islam.

    And I do not beleieve that US planned on being at war with Islam.

    It is something that happened willy-nilly over decades.

    I speculate that as US support for Israel deepened, in tandem but totally uncaused by it, was the rise of Islamic-based political activism among Muslim polities against many US-friendly as well as some US-unfriendly establishments.

    Thus, almost by definition, Islamic political movements and US were on a collision course.

    In 1980s, the view that US and USSR were out to destroy Islam was a fringe/small minority view.

    Now that view has become an accepted fact – certainly among vast numbers of Sunni Muslims.

    You asked: “How can it desist and move towards peace?”

    There are inexpensive ways of doing so:

    1- The President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense can start making speeches with explicit references that US is not at war with Islam, that US is defending herself against terrorism, and once the terrorists are defeated US is going to stand-down.

    2- US can facilitate Muslim students/scholars in studying at US universities. Likewise for artists, athletes, etc.

    3- US must leave Afghanistan and Iraq – military operations there must be terminated forthwith.

    3- US must lower the rhetorical temperature vis-a-vis Iran.

    4- US must not give diplomatic coverage to Israel unconditionally – right now she is a co-belligerent with Israel.

    5- US must articulate a postive, credible vision of the future for Muslims and US – if she insists on being involved in the affairs of Muslims. A security based- starategy will get US no where.

    6- If US cannot articulate a positive and credible vision of the future for Muslims and US, then she should dis-engage from her deep involvment in the affairs of Muslim states. This includes cancellation of all aide to all Muslim states that currently receive US money, reduction in the number and profile of US Embassy staff, and other such things.

    In regards to the girl with the cut-off nose: If American people want to help, they need to support Islamic Republic of Iran to the hilt. For multiple reasons thatI cannot get into now that state is the only state that can have any positive impact on Afghanistan mores and customs.

  49. Interesting comment by a well-informed source on another website:

    “Also to be borne in mind…and which Goldberg (and almost everyone else) forgets to acknowledge, is that Iran attacked Osirak on Sept. 30, 1980, eight months before the Israelis did. According to a document (McNair Paper 41) on the Australian Institute for National Strategic Studies website , Israel’s Chief of Army Intelligence publicly encouraged the IRI to attack Osirak. The damage was promptly repaired. When the Israelis bombed it during Operation Opera on June 7, 1981, they were assisted by Iranian intelligence.”

    What’s even more worth mentioning about Osirak is Goldberg’s flatly incorrect description of the effect of the Israeli attack:

    “In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting—forever, as it turned out—Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions…”

    As US investigators learned from Iraqi scientists shortly after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the effect of Israel’s attack on Osirak had been exactly the opposite: until then, Iraq’s nuclear program had been focused exclusively on peaceful nuclear energy; after the Osirak bombing, Iraq abruptly switched its focus to development of a nuclear bomb, in the not unreasonable belief that it needed to achieve “don’t mess with me” respect before it could ever hope to build nuclear power plants.

    True enough, Saddam might have switched his focus to nuclear weapons somewhere along the way anyway but, at least according to those Iraqi scientists, he hadn’t done so before the Osirak bombing and did do so, quite suddenly and firmly, right after the bombing. More important, regardless of whether those Iraqi scientists were telling the truth, there’s no dispute that Saddam had been working on nuclear weapons just before the Americans attacked in 1991, a fact sufficient all by itself to refute Goldberg’s assertion above.

  50. Cyrus says:

    The list of candidates for this “debate” about Iran is ridiculously one-sided.
    Abrams, Clawson, Gerecht are all on the pro-Israeli side.
    Milholin was the fellow who accused Hans Blix of being “irrelevant” for his “failure” to find the non-existent WMDs in Iraq, and was hyping the IRaq WMD threat and is now similarly hyping the Iran “threat”.
    Sadjadpour is a greenie, and we all know about Goldberg. Robin Wright is the only one who has some real qualification about Iran but has been predicting the regime fall for a while now.

    This is the most unbalanced panel ever. They’re only missing Bolton and someone like Tanter to represent the MEK.

  51. Cyrus says:

    Eric writes: “Right now, by stubbornly refusing to “upgrade” its nuclear-program disclosures even to the level accepted by 100 other countries years ago, Iran is doing exactly the opposite: making life very easy for its chuckling enemies,”

    I’m sorry Eric but we’ve been over this before. Iran may not have formally ratified the Additional Protocol, but has regularly gone beyond its requirements in disclosures. Furthermore, as stated repeatedly before, it is quite apparent that no amount of Iranian disclosures will satisfy its enemies, since 1- they’re opposed to Iran have a CIVILIAN, IAEA-MONITORED program, and not just nuclear weapons, and 2- the entire nuclear issue is pretextual anyway, and 3- no amount of disclosure or inspections or transparency can disprove a negative.

  52. From Foreign Policy Web site:

    The Atlantic announced it will kick off a debate series on Monday, where it will run responses to Goldberg’s piece from the following:

    Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations)|
    Nicholas Burns (Harvard University)
    Patrick Clawson (The Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    Reuel Marc Gerecht (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
    Marc Lynch (George Washington University, Foreign Policy Magazine)
    Gary Milhollin (Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control)
    Karim Sadjadpour (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
    Robin Wright (United States Institute of Peace)
    Jeff Goldberg, and others at The Atlantic

  53. More trouble for Israel in Lebanon: Lebanese Prime Minister takes Hizballah’s evidence of Israeli complicity in the Hariri assassination seriously.

    Lebanon PM: UN must probe claims of Israeli complicity in Hariri murder

  54. Cyrus says:

    Regarding the Argentina attacks. Iran’s former ambassador to Argetina was later arrested by British authorities while he was completing a doctorate degree there, and held for extradition to Argentina. The Argentinians, however, failed to provide sufficient evidence to justify their extradition request, and so Soleimani was released. They were given two opportunities to provide sufficient evidence but failed both times. Note that The standard of evidence used for an extradition request is legally the lowest standard — not “beyond a reasonable doubt” but only “prima facie”.


  55. What do Arabs really think about Iran?
    mideast dot foreignpolicy dot com/posts/2010/08/11/what_do_arabs_really_think_about_iran

    No, they really don’t want Iran attacked.


    There are three points to remember concerning Arab – Iranian relations:

    * Arab governments seek a “balance of forces” in the region – not regional conflagration.
    * Arab governments and the Arab publics tend to be in slightly different places on concern about Iran and entirely in the same place in their concern about Israel’s continued occupations of Arab territory.
    * A U.S. war with Iran which would have disastrous consequences for Israel and the United States, would only be that much more destabilizing to the current security of pro-U.S. Arab regimes.

    End Quote


    ZAKARIA: But could you in Jordan live with an Iran with a nuclear weapon?

    KING ABDULLAH: If we solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, why would Iranians want to spend so much money on a military program? It makes no sense.

    I mean, the country has social challenges. It has economic challenges. Why push the envelope in getting to a military program? For what cause? If you solve the problem, you don’t need to pursue that path.

    End Quote

    Well, much as Brill thinks he speaks for Iran, I guess I speak for King Abdullah – and Iran – because I agree that Iran has no need for a nuclear weapons program.

    The author also agrees with Arnold’s position:

    “A final note on those misconstruing the nature of Arab government concerns – at the end of the day, Arab governments want to remain in power. A strong and popular United States is the ultimate guarantor of that until there is a transition to representative forms of government.”

  56. Arnold: “Israel cannot, physically cannot attack Iran.”

    Don’t forget the subs and their cruise missiles.

    Also, I posted a link in one of the previous threads to an explanation of how Israel might be able to do it. Ah, here is is, finally found it again:

    How Israel may attack Iran
    mmabbasi dot com/2010/06/30/how-israel-may-attack-iran/

    It would not be easy, but it would be feasible. And that’s even if Israel doesn’t have any help from the Saudis, or attacks using any of the other countries like Georgia.

    Cordesman’s “Outline of Study on an Israeli Strike On Iran’s Nuclear Development”

    “We can conclude that a military strike by the Israeli Airforce against Iranian Nuclear Facilities is possible, however, it would be complex and high risk in the operational level and would lack any assurances of a high mission success rate.”

    csis dot org/publication/study-possible-israeli-strike-irans-nuclear-development-facilities

    No surprise there, but the important point is it would be feasible.

    What Israel CANNOT do is seriously damage Iran, short of using nukes, or even seriously destroy many of Iran’s facilities. Israel would need many, many air strikes to do that, or a really large number of bombers on the first wave – and that would make them much more detectable and unlikely to bypass the US.

    But of course Israel doesn’t NEED to damage Iran significantly. All Israel needs to do is PROVOKE Iran’s retaliation well enough to bring the US into the war.

    It WOULD be smart of Iran, IF it is not significantly damaged by Israel’s attack and is NOT immediately attacked by the US, NOT to attack US assets, but instead merely complain to the UN, and covertly ratchet up terrorism against Israeli assets around the world. More Israeli embassy bombings, for example, including right in the US. Send even more heavy hardware to Hizballah. Assassinate Israelis abroad. Assassinate people like Haim Saban in the US, or other rich Jews who are supporting Israel in the US. Send their subs to sink ships with Israeli cargoes in the middle of the ocean. Send IRGC into Kurdish Iraq to kill the Israelis training the Kurdish peshmerga. Send suicide bombers into Israel. Hijack and blow up Israeli airliners (that’s still doable, despite its rarity these days.)

    Which would be a more effective response to a limited and mostly ineffectual Israeli airstrike: some ineffectual missile retaliation, or a massive ratcheting up of terrorism against Israel. I say the latter. Make Netanyahu and every other Israeli official afraid to step out of their bunkers, and certainly be unable to step outside Israel for fear of their lives. This is what Hamas should be doing in any event.

  57. Arnold Evans says:


    Finally, while Goldberg reports that US forces have been ordered not to shoot down Israeli planes in the event of a strike, we should note that there are ways of forcing planes laden with ordnance and extra fuel to abort a mission besides shooting them down.

    An important observation from the Stanford Review: Goldberg suggests, but does not say that the US has already made a commitment to allow Israel through US controlled airspace to attack Iran. He claims that two sources have told him there is a US order not to shoot Israeli planes down.

    He does not claim that there is a US order to allow Israeli planes to pass, and since there is a distinction, the second is what would have been important.

    With Goldberg unable to say that Israeli planes would be allowed to pass US controlled airspace – when it is clear that he inquired about that question – the entire exercise becomes meaningless. Israel cannot, physically cannot attack Iran. If the US decides to attack Iran it will not be to forestall an Israeli attack because the US has a perfectly effective way to forestall an Israeli attack which is to just continue to say “Israel, we’re not going to allow you to attack.”

  58. Castellio says:


    “What is largely absent from the discussion regarding shady imam Rauf’s grand plan is the inherent nature of the religion he is promoting and is practiced everywhere in the world. Please remember that in his understanding of Islam, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are apparently not terrorist entities.

    This brand of Islam is completely intolerant, misogynistic, expansionist and unapologetic.”

    It’s easy enough to find this kind of thing. You hear this from the media, the politicans, religious figures in synagogues and churches.

  59. Castellio says:

    Sorry, FYI, not your email, your post at 10.38 pm of last night.

  60. Castellio says:

    FYI: I’m surprised at your email. The US has long been at war with Islam. I don’t say that lightly, but really, where is your red line? Palestine, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, sanctions and encirclement of Iran, the support of totalitarian regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, throughout the Maghreb … what, is it a war on Islam only if Iran is attacked? Is it not a war on Islam because Indonesia or Bangladesh aren’t yet part of it?

    Do you think that the American citizens of the Holy Land Foundation were treated fairly? Do you think any of those held without charge for the best part of a decade and casually tortured received justice? Is there a common element among them you’d like to point to?

    The question is why is America at war with Islam, and how can it desist and move towards peace.

    In the minds of most Americans they are at war with Islam so that the friends of the pretty girl on the cover of Times magazine won’t have their noses cut off, too, and so the awful and immoral men who did that won’t come back to America or continue killing Israelis.

    At the basic gut level at which I am talking, America is at war with Islam because it is frightened by Muslims. Deeply. And because Muslims are weak. When you are frightened by something weak you crush it. When you are frightened by something strong you build protective walls, you negotiate, you make nice. Only in rare, soon forgotten speeches does America make nice with Islam.

    The deformed babies of Fallujah and the bodies like bacon left after drone attacks in Afghanistan are not on the cover, they are not anywhere. And besides, they would be justified by that girl’s nose, because it is a war of essential values, a holy war, a religious war and yes, a sexual war. The west protects women and children while the Islamists abuse women and children. Do you know how old the Prophet’s youngest wife was?

    On this site we have a certain kind of conversation, but among the great majority, the terms of the war aren’t defined by Eric or Arnold or the Leveretts, they are defined mostly by the media (which supports the war), then the political parties (both of which support the war) and finally, religious figures (many of which support the war).

    Don’t think for a minute Jeffrey Goldberg doesn’t know in which world he is writing.

    This is a situation of world historical importance. Neither side is going to come out the same. Both sides are too far in.

    I hate this on-going war. I really do. It is a war for profit, a war of lies, a war of racism and religious intolerance, a war abetted by those who prefer ignorance to truth, and a war which acts as a incredibly convenient screen to the class war prosecuted against the poor just about everywhere.

    And rather than pull back, America might (as the then senator Obama correctly recognized) just “double down”.

  61. Novice says:

    Who are those who try to provoke and excite their gullible‘friends’ to go to unjustifiable wars, to mercilessly kill life, men, women and children, to ruthlessly destroy to ruins whatever was built by pride, hope and hardship, to inflict all kinds of wounds that might not heal for ages, to scar the conscience of non-partisan people with everlasting humiliations….to decisively crash the involuntary masses who happen to live in their opponent’s land, crash so devastatingly and collectively metaphorically making the rivers of tears and blood flow into wadis of foulest form of savagery, primitiveness and absurdity.

    Who are those who blatantly fabricate big lies, use all kinds of tricks to send their supposed friends to wars which are not of the real choice….and then stay aside and watch from afar how their ‘friends’ kill and destroy the falsely forged ‘enemies…..and then…..when the war is over, when their enemy is smashed to pieces and their victory chanting ‘friends’ have suffered invisible, ubiquitous, multifaceted and profound losses they symbolically smile and go to work, to start brewing plots and lies for another war..in order to bring about another saga of yet intenser more painful war with another illusory enemy which is created in psychidelic unreal ways..

    Who are those who, after infliction of so much intense pains and destructions, after making their ‘friends’ descend to canyons of lower levels of goodness….after all that, feel no shame, no sense of guilt or remorse…..and while the wounds are sill fresh from the last war or while other wars are ongoing continue their routine of deceitful agitations as if nothing had happened.

    Who are they?

    With some exceptions they are like us, like I and you, the difference is they were indoctrinated viciously. The chemistry of their brains were altered when they were little kids or when they were hired as some kind of foot soldier, or when they had vulnerable minds, minds that any grotesque savage idea can be easily planted in it.

    In such kind of brainwashing we might earnestly believe we are god’s chose people, we are privileged and blessed to use any possible kind of deception for the destruction of our enemies and so on.

    Scientists hypothesize when we are brainwashed in such a sever way we lose our ability to see all sides of any story. We then can see only the effects and events we ‘want’ to see or we are ‘pre-programed’ to see. We are then blind to the rest, the members of our opposing tribes become appalling objects like insects never arousing any minute sense of empathy inside our mind.

    In indoctrinated minds the path of normal remorse is blocked thus no guilt is felt when the entire swarm of ‘enemy’ is ‘squashed’.

    I said ‘with some exceptions they are like I and you’. There are other types, there are some who are born psychopathic and insanely criminal also possessing the ability to fool very effectively the simpler exploitable people.

    After reading Goldberg’s article I couldn’t decide which type he was, a born pathological liar or a brainwashed soul who honestly believes in his false perceptions, who really believes in lunatic logic of ’ war is the only way’.

    I think in this age of triumph of science over superstition, when any imaginable complex political issue can be easily solved without resorting to primitive forms violence (especially if the stronger side is not a psychopathic bully) then the promotion of unnecessary wars reveals either the promoter is a heavily brainwashed character or is a psychopathic dangerous warmonger.

    (I would welcome criticism, appreciating any idea that could prove me wrong)

  62. Castro: Nuclear sage or siren?
    www dot atimes dot com/atimes/Middle_East/LH12Ak01.html

    Kaveh L. Afrasiabi comments on Castro’s warnings about a war with Iran.

  63. khurshid says:


    Iran HAS MADE life miserable for US:

    1) It is because of Iran that US cannot dominate middle east the way it wants to.

    2) It is because of Iran’s support for Hezbollah that Israel was defeated in 2006 war by Hezbollah.

    3)It was because of Iran’s support for Palestinian Hamaz that Israel has not been able to defeat Hamas.

    4)It is becasue of Iran that Israel’s doctrine of using military power whenever it wants and whereever it wants is restricted.

    5)It is because of Iran that US cannot impose a puppet government on Iraq – almost all of Iraq’s politicians are Iran friendly.

    This is precisely why Jeffrey Goldberg has written the war mongering article WITH FULL WILLINGNESS OF AMERICAN PUBLIC TO ABSORB ANY MANUFACTURED EVIDENCE.

    Jeffrey Goldberg would not write so about Russia and China because they are not giving headache to US and Israel in middle east. Russia and China are willing to follow what ever path US takes without challenging it – agreeing to four round of sanctions againt Iran is a proof of that. If China and russia could stand up to Israel and US like Turkish Erdagon than there would surely be provocative articles written about them by Jeffrey Goldberg and other like minded individuals. Look what happened to Erdagon when he condemned Israel’s terrorist attack on fotilla in May; Jeffrey Goldberg and gang wrote provocatively about Turkey and and Erdagon.

  64. fyi says:

    Fiorangela et. al.:

    Be advised that the communal war in Palestine has now metastasized into a pan-Islamic opposition to Israel.

    US joining Israel on an attack on Iran, under any circumstances, will make her a de facto enemy of Islam.

    I am cautioning you very very strongly to not pit USA against Islam. US will loose.

  65. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    In regards to to the anti-missile defenses and IRBMs, let us wait and see which one is going to be more effective.

    In regards to Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal, I suspect Niel is closer to truth.

    In regards to Iranian response, it will be immediate and massive. Launch on warning makes a lot more sense than waiting – during which you may loose your assets.

    IRG will not attack US assets unless and until she does attack Iran.

  66. fyi says:


    You are wrong.

    Goldberg can write so because Iran does not have the power to make life miserable for US.

    He would not write like this about China or Russia.

  67. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela: There is class contempt in American intellectual writing on Iran, contempt for the stupid poor of Iran, which is an echo of their contempt for the American stupid poor. In the New Yorker? Well yes of course.

  68. khurshid says:

    There is no point blaming Jeffrey Goldberg for writing the war mongering article; neither it is right that Jeffrey is an idiot. Goldgerg and people like him can write so provocatively because a large cross-section of American public are WILLING to believe MANUFACTURED EVIDENCE. To this day a big cross section of American public STILL BELIEVES THAT SADDAM WAS INVOLVED IN 911. This example alone shows how ignorant and foolish American public is. It is a simple case of DEMAND AND SUPPLY. The American public demands manufactured evidence and Jeffrey, and others like him, are simply supplying the product.

  69. Castellio: You may be right about the UK and France, although I think after the Iraq war, the UK government is a bit concerned about being perceived by its population of being in a hurry to join in a war with Iran. They’re going through investigations of just how they got stuck in the Iraq mess now, and they aren’t in the mood for another war. Of course, the government would be, but it’s easier to dump a government in the UK than it is in the US. They have to be a little more concerned about the voters than the US government does. Something similar in France.

    In any event, after an Israeli unilateral attack on Iran, I think EU attitudes will harden against Israel, probably enough to prevent any more sanctions on Iran and certainly enough to block a UN resolution authorizing war on Iran. Regardless, China and Russia will probably block any more UNSC resolutions, especially if the US doesn’t back a resolution against Israel for attacking Iran.

    Now, if the US attacks Iran before Israel, then I would agree with you. The EU will pile on and support the US. Russia and China will oppose the war, but it won’t matter because the US will go ahead unilaterally without a UN resolution, just like Iraq. Or the US will try to “spin” previous UN resolutions to justify the war, like Bush did.

  70. kooshy says:


    “I actually live in San Francisco proper. They don’t issue us daily rations of arugula and carrot juice, as they do in Marin County.”

    I knew you live in SF, but I wonder considering our CA budget impasse and lack of funds for schools if it’s a good idea to continue feeding folks in Marin for free, but if they do continue this program, I just hope the daily free juice program get extended further north to Healdsburg since I was hoping to retire in the wine country and become eligible for free juice instead of my SS return. However I am tempted to believe that a daily dose of kool-aide instead of the usual carrot or the arugula is more appropriate for the current residence of the western countries.

    “I actually don’t advocate for “a world without nuclear weapons” – not because I don’t think it’s a good idea, but rather because I think one is naive to expect that any country will give up nuclear weapons once it’s got them (though I’ll acknowledge that Castellio made a persuasive argument that the UK might do so some day,”

    Yes in that regard I thought you are being naïve, others including Richard think you are trying to be claver, and actually hiding behind a mask. You see, to me a form of naivety or insecurity is accepting an static situation, if the people who made SALT 1,2.3 and whatever the number is now were naïve we would not had the active number of US’s war heads reduced from some 13000 to the current 5300 as per recent Obama administrations announcement. So if you genuinely care for a world without nuclear bombs, like the example Castellio brought up that people in UK are trying to convince their government to eliminate its useless nuclear arsenal, you need and must become dynamic and not to be naïve with accepting the static, that change is impossible, especially since some of your readers may think that you are actually an exceptionalist which is actually a form of prejudice.

  71. Brill: “I actually live in San Francisco proper.”

    So do I actually. And I’m far from being a “North Bay” liberal, too. I’m an anarchist and atheist (not to mention Transhumanist), so Iran is hardly my favorite country.

  72. Mr. Canning: “Is it fair to say Jeff Goldberg is an idiot?”

    LOL! It’s generally recognized by just about everybody outside the neocon cult that Goldberg is an idiot. He’s regularly trashed in centrist and left blogs such as Matt Yglesias, Talking Points Memo, etc.

    But he IS more influential than the left gives him credit for, unfortunately, because he writes in “The Atlantic.”

  73. Brill: ““Iranian-guided terrorist teams bombed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and slaughtered Argentine Jews at a community center there in 1994.” Has Iran’s involvement actually been established in either of these incidents?”

    Far as I know, no, but I haven’t been following either case closely. I believe Hizballah was specifically accused of these attacks, but it’s hard to see why it would have been involved in the second case. I could see the first case – any Israeli embassy is a legitimate target for Hizballah.

    According to Wikipedia on the Israeli embassy attack, “Islamic Jihad Organization, which has been linked to Iran and possibly Hezbollah, claimed responsibility; their stated motive for the attack was Israel’s assassination of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Abbas al-Musawi in February, which in turn was in retaliation for the kidnapping and death of missing Israeli servicemen in 1986 and abduction of US Marine and UN peace-keeping officer William R. Higgins in 1988.”

    That is hardly conclusive.

    “Messages intercepted by the American National Security Agency revealed Iranian knowledge of the impending attack, as well as the complicity of Hezbollah operative Imad Mugniyeh.”

    True? Who knows?

    “The Argentine government expelled seven Iranian diplomats from the country, stating that it had “convincing proof” of Iranian involvement in the bombing. However, none of the suspects have been prosecuted. In fact the attack occurred when Iran and Argentina were hoping for a resumption of nuclear cooperation, although Argentina had announced the suspension of the shipments of nuclear materials to Iran a couple months before the bombing. A number of sources report on Hezbollah involvement with the assistance of Syria. Hezbollah denies these claims.”

    So in other words, there is no proof Hizballah was involved, but it is possible that Mugniyeh, the guy who was killed in Syria a while back and for which Hizballah still promises retaliation, might have been involved.

    As for the community center bombing, Wikipedia says:

    “On October 25, 2006, Argentine prosecutors Alberto Nisman and Marcelo Martínez Burgos formally accused the government of Iran of directing the bombing, and the Hezbollah militia of carrying it out. According to the prosecution’s claims in 2006, Argentina had been targeted by Iran after Buenos Aires’ decision to suspend a nuclear technology transfer contract to Tehran. This however, has been disputed, because this contract was never terminated, and Iran and Argentina were negotiating on restoration of full cooperation on all agreements from early 1992 till 1994, when the bombing occurred”

    Not to mention this:

    “Over the years, the case has been marked by incompetence and accusations of cover-ups. All suspects in the “local connection” (among them, many members of the Buenos Aires Provincial Police) were found to be not guilty in September 2004. In August 2005, federal judge Juan José Galeano, in charge of the case, was impeached and removed from his post on charge of “serious” irregularities and of mishandling of the investigation.”

    Not very promising.

    This is interesting, too.

    “On March 6, 2007, former Congressman Mario Cafiero and former government official Luis D’Elia provided evidence at a press conference that Abolghasem Mesbahi, along with two other Iranians that gave alleged evidence implicating Iran in the bombing, were members of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), which is an Islamic Marxist organization that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran and is designated as a terrorist organization by the US. They also said that there were arrest warrants issued by Interpol for the other two Iranians, Hadi Roshanravani and Hamid Reza Eshagi.”

    So all in all, nobody knows. It could have been Iran, it could have been Hizballah, it could have been Mugniyeh acting on his own, it could have been M.E.K.

  74. Fiorangela says:

    what a ridiculous article Lee Anderson wrote for New Yorker.

    right off, he established that HE’s in with the In crowd:

    “I took a walk in Alborz Mountains today.”

    wow, narly dude. I took a walk in Rocky Mountains yesterday.

    then it gets worse.

    “Such places offer a respite from the restrictions of life in the Islamic Republic, away from the roving units of religious police and the paramilitary Basij, the plainclothes zealots who attacked Green Movement supporters in last year’s protests.”

    Basij wear blue uniforms.

    The tea houses and walkways along streams just at the edge of North Tehran are popular places for young people to flout the restrictions enforced by morals police. One sees more bright red lipstick and more short skirts in N. Tehran than in S. Tehran.

    Iranians go to the mountains, and to tea houses, the river’s edge, monuments in Shiraz, Ferdowsi’s tomb in Nishapur because that’s what Iranians do, not to seek “respite from roving units of religious police. . . .” We saw police at the mountains and the tea gardens. People deal with it. In the US, cameras track our movements at pizza shops and grocery stores and toll booths; cameras cause tickets to be sent to our homes for making incorrect turns. We get arrested for waving political signs in areas 2″ outside a perimeter that policemen with guard dogs and automatic weapons patrol; we deal with it.

    Goldberg in Atlantic mag; this Ahmadinejad hit piece in New Yorker. The propagandists are out in numbers.

    Over reach. It’s a bad thing.

  75. Castellio says:

    RSH: Yes, I had read and do agree with Giraldi’s comment as well.

    I was just trying to make the point that the European public’s fatigue with the Israeli wars won’t translate into a change of international response either from the EU or UNSC. Maybe James will add his voice here to say that the UK is on a new tact, but it won’t surprise anyone to say I have doubts. As to Sarkozy…

  76. Stephen Walt weighs in on Goldberg’s piece and he makes some points I agree with.

    Mainstreaming war with Iran
    walt dot foreignpolicy dot com/posts/2010/08/11/mainstreaming_war_with_iran


    In short, a central purpose of this article is to mainstream the idea that an attack on Iran is likely to happen and savvy people-in-the-know should start getting accustomed to the idea. In other words, a preemptive strike on Iran should be seen not as a remote or far-fetched possibility, but rather as something that is just “business-as-usual” in the Middle East strategic environment. If you talk about going to war often enough and for long enough, people get used to the idea and some will even begin to think if it is bound to happen sooner or later, than “’twere better to be done quickly.” In an inside-the-Beltway culture where being “tough” is especially prized, it is easy for those who oppose “decisive” action to get worn down and marginalized. If war with Iran comes to be seen as a “default” condition, then it will be increasingly difficult for cooler heads (including President Obama himself) to say no.

    You’ll recall that a similar process of “mainstreaming” occurred over Iraq: What at first seemed like the far-fetched dream of a handful of out-of-power neoconservatives in 1998 had become a serious option by 2001. By 2003, aided in no small part by the efforts of journalists such as Goldberg, the idea had been embraced by liberals and others who should have known better.

    Thus, articles like this one (and some other recent sallies), are intended to box Obama in, and create a win-win situation for the war party. If Obama eventually caves, they get the attack on Iran that they (wrongly) believe is necessary to ensure Israel’s survival. If Obama doesn’t take the bait, they can beat him up for being spineless. And by portraying him as soft on Iran, they make it even more difficult for Obama to exert the kind of pressure on both sides that is necessary to bring about a genuine Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

    In our 2007 book on the Israel lobby, John Mearsheimer and I wrote (emphasis added):

    Although there is still some chance that President Bush will decide to attack Iran before he leaves office, it is impossible to know for sure. There is also some possibility, given the inflexible rhetoric of the presidential candidates, that his successor will do so, particularly if Iran gets closer to developing weapons and if hard-liners there continue to predominate. If the United States does launch an attack, it will be doing so in part on Israel’s behalf, and the lobby will bear significant responsibility for having pushed this dangerous policy.”

    End Quote

    You see the effect of this “mainstreaming” even here in the comments. People start talking about issues other than the bottom line FACT that Iran does not have and probably never had a nuclear weapons program and that the US is LYING about it.

    The most important FACT is that the US is LYING about it. If the US is lying about Iran, then what must we conclude? Either that it’s all a bluff intended for domestic political consumption (Walt gives that some credence in his quote above), or THEY REALLY MEAN IT! Well, Bush REALLY MEANT IT when it came to Iraq. The notion that Obama “doesn’t really mean it” is Pollyanna thinking and is merely a reflection of cognitive dissonance. The downside of an Iran war is so extreme that people simply refuse to believe it is possible, even as ALL INDICATIONS are proceeding toward making it very possible, even probable, if not a certainty.

  77. Castellio says:

    This is a change of tone: “Defense Minister Elias al-Murr [of Lebanon] told reporters any party that wished to help the military had to do so without conditions.

    “That person who said in [the US] Congress, ‘I will stop aid to the army’, he is free to do so … Anyone who wants to help the army without restrictions or conditions, is welcome,” Murr said. “This person wants to make military aid conditional on not protecting (Lebanon’s) land, people and borders against Israeli aggression. Let them keep their money or give it to Israel. We will confront (Israel) with the capabilities we own.”


  78. Castellio: An important comment was posted on Pat Lang’s blog in response to his post on Goldberg’s article from Phil Giraldi, the ex-CIA agent. Here it is:

    The only thing in the Goldberg piece that I believe to be absolutely true is that Washington has already given the order not to shoot down Israeli planes under any circumstances. I do not think that the US can avoid getting involved if the Israelis start fighting (which might be their intention in the first place), nor do I think that Israel is overly concerned about a possible rift with its great patron in Washington. Obama and Hillary have said repeatedly that Israel is free to make its own security decisions and Congress and the media would immediately jump on the Israeli bandwagon while the American people would be led to believe that somehow Israel was the victim. The only inhibition on Israeli unilateralism might come from Hezbollah.

    Posted by: Phil Giraldi | 11 August 2010 at 03:18 PM

    I agree entirely with Phil’s comment.

  79. Castellio says:

    Paul: Thinking of Russia and Georgia:

    “Russia said on Wednesday it had deployed high-precision air defense missiles in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, sending a defiant signal to Tbilisi and the West two years after a war with Georgia.

    The S-300 missile system bolstered Moscow’s military presence in the disputed territory and drew an angry response from Georgia.”


  80. Neil: Your post is ridiculous.

    First, it is ESTABLISHED that Israel has plenty of nuclear weapons. Get over your “it’s all a scam” conspiracy theory.

    “However, if Israel were to detonate one of its 2 or 3 viable nuclear weapons at a time, and in a (Palestinian) location, selected to look like an inaccurate nuclear strike by Iran”

    Please – this is on the level of “Dr. Evil”. It would take the world community five minutes to disprove that nonsense.

    The US can’t even convince the world a North Korean sub sank a South Korean ship.

    We don’t appreciate nonsense here.

  81. Brill: “I have no idea how you’ve concluded I’m ‘blaming the victim.'”

    Because your IMMEDIATE response was to conclude that “an Iranian who wants Israel to end might well conclude that encouraging this Israeli perception of an Iranian nuclear threat will accelerate this “dilution” process.”

    In other words, you IMMEDIATELY return to your premise that Iran is DELIBERATELY refusing to “solve” the “crisis” by not “disclosing more”. In other words, once again you put the onus on Iran, which is precisely “blaming the victim”.

    Which is BULLSHIT as we’ve established here over and over.

    And this is not offset by your “CYA” provision in the last paragraph that “some Iranians” might wish the opposite.

    Your notion that Israel could stimulate a new influx of Jews by “cracking down” on Palestinians and Hizballah is ludicrous. Israel is in no position to “crack down” on Hamas – that would merely start a new Intifida. And Israel can not win against Hizballah in Lebanon, either. Any attempt to do so will massively reduce the security of Israeli civilians. Hizballah is in a position to strike anywhere in Israel now using missiles that can do real damage. While I have no doubt that Israel intends to attack Lebanon again in the near future, the fact remains that Israel can not win such a war, regardless of how brutal it is against the Lebanese population.

    Therefore there will be no spike in Jewish immigration to Israel any time in the future.

  82. Castellio says:

    RSH: “And the UN will be against the US and Israel. Even the EU will probably stop supporting sanctions against Iran. The EU is already fed up with Israel to some degree over Gaza, the flotilla, etc.”

    My take, nurtured through years of watching this unfold, is that the UK leadership and France will line up with the US, and Germany will remain indifferent. And they are 3 of the five permanent SC members.

    When history is written, the case of blindly preferential treatment for Israel will go down as a primary cause for the collapse of the UN.

  83. Rehmat says:

    Here is The New Yorker’s character assassination of Dr. Ahmadinejad and the distorted picture of the Islamic Iran – as an Israeli hasbara piece.


  84. Castellio says:

    RSH points to an article and writes: Turkey backs petrol sales to Iran despite sanctions

    Good news.

    Question for all: Why oh why, or how oh how, did Germany give nuclear weapons capable subs to Israel. I mean seriously, talk about weapons proliferation. Is anyone privy to a critique of this from German sources?

  85. Fyi: “Note that Israel is a much smaller country as a target and she does not have the air assets to supress IMB Missiles being fired at her from Iran.”

    Israel does have anti-missile systems, although there is considerable controversy over how effective they might be. If Iran can’t do better than Iraq did with their SCUDs, Israel is going to laugh at Iran.

    “Almost certainly Iran should leave NPT at that time.”

    No, they shouldn’t. They should stick with it. BUT they definitely should pursue major efforts to get Israel sanctioned in the UN because Israel will have SERIOUSLY violated the UN Charter by attacking a country which has NOT been sanctioned by the UN under Article 39. And if the US vetoes a UN Israel sanction, then Iran can threaten to leave the NPT.

    And I think both Russia and China will definitely support a UN sanction against Israel if Israel attacks Iran. And Russia and China will definitely not support any more sanctions against Iran from then on.

    So if Israel attacks Iran, it has to be “go for broke” time, because after that the world will support Iran, not the US and Israel. And the UN will be against the US and Israel. Even the EU will probably stop supporting sanctions against Iran. The EU is already fed up with Israel to some degree over Gaza, the flotilla, etc.

  86. Fyi: Dude, the US has said over and over that it will support Israel unconditionally. And since the US definitely wants to attack Iran at some point, the US WILL attack Iran even if Iran limits its attacks to Israel. It will just be too easy for the US to “justify” the attack in that case.

    However, I think it’s pretty clear that Iran will attack US assets if it is attacked by Israel. The IRGC has made it clear they would view any attack on Iran by Israel as involving US complicity – and Arnold is right that if the Israelis go anywhere near US military assets and are not prevented from attacking Iran, Iran will be justified in saying the US is complicit. The one option that might evade that is if Israel uses cruise missiles from their subs in the Gulf – that would be hard for the US to prevent and could provide cover for the US to claim it was not involved.

    However, all THAT said, it IS possible that Iran MAY decide to limit its IMMEDIATE response to an Israeli attack to assess what the US will do. IF the US decides not to attack Iran within, say, X days of an Israeli attack, Iran MAY decide to go the diplomatic route and petition the UN for sanctions against Israel.

    However, this is extremely iffy. And since Israel has ALREADY decided to attack Iran SOLELY for the purpose of dragging the US into a war with Iran, by definition Israel will simply continue to attack Iran until the US IS dragged into the war. Israel has no reason not to, since it will have already incurred whatever problems may accrue with the US for attacking without US permission (if any other than some mild criticism.)

    And in that case, Iran eventually would probably escalate the war to include US assets, since it will be clear the US is using Israel as a “proxy”. Certainly Iran would then activate its assets in Iraq and Afghanistan to turn up the heat there as a means of pressuring the US to stop Israel’s attacks by backing a UN resolution to do so. And if the US vetoed such a UN resolution, Iran would be justified in escalating the war further.

    Anything is possible, but I think it’s pretty clear that an Israeli attack on Iran is going to spark a much bigger war. The odds are way in favor of that.

  87. Well, Turkey is helping Iran evade the sanctions on gas imports. That’s more proof the sanctions are useless.

    Turkey backs petrol sales to Iran despite sanctions
    www dot reuters dot com/article/idUSTRE67A25J20100811

  88. Kooshy,

    A clarification, and a note of irony:

    You describe me as a “North Bay liberal who wishes and advocates a ‘world without nuclear weapons’…”

    I actually live in San Francisco proper. They don’t issue us daily rations of arugula and carrot juice, as they do in Marin County.

    I actually don’t advocate for “a world without nuclear weapons” – not because I don’t think it’s a good idea, but rather because I think one is naive to expect that any country will give up nuclear weapons once it’s got them (though I’ll acknowledge that Castellio made a persuasive argument that the UK might do so some day, and it’s often occurred to me that France gets so little out of its nukes that it might drop them in exchange for a decent offer – I just can’t imagine who might care enough to make that offer).

    Since I’m quite pessimistic about persuading nuclear weapons states to give up their nukes, I’d say I’m hardly the “naive” one on that question. That still leaves me open to the “naive” label when it comes to keeping non-nuclear states non-nuclear but, as you’ve noticed, I’m inclined to lean pretty heavy on those non-nuclear states to that end. So even there I may be less naive than you think.

  89. kooshy says:


    This guys have no idea what they are dealing with, do they think they can play chicken with a jahadi suicide bomber,
    After while this continues rounds of pre announced propaganda media campaigns becomes jokes for the informed reader.

  90. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio, on Pat Lang’s blog (thanks for the link) several comments question the sanity of Israelis.


    In about 2008 the US State Department office for International Religious Freedom conducted a hearing to discuss religious freedoms in Iran. Rev. Michael Cromartie was chair of the group. When Barbara Slavin took the witness chair, Cromartie boomed out the first question: “Is Ahmadinejad sane?”

    Slavin laughed a nervous laugh and demurred, saying she is not a psychologist. To her credit, she did not give Cromartie further grist for his mill.

    On the other hand, Israel-born psychologist Avigail Abarbenal, Professor Ian Lustic, ex-professor Norman Finkelstein, and Professor of sociology Haggai Ram have all questioned the sanity and worried about the psychopathology of Israel’s leaders, and of how those “lunatic” leaders are infected Israel’s population with “perpetual PTSD;” creating “almost a death cult.”

    To my mind, the contrast between the mental status of Israel’s leaders AND OF ITS PEOPLE, and the corresponding status of Iranians, is striking. As Stephen Kinzer has pointed out, Iranians were democratic enough to vote and to protest discrepancies in their vote, a phenomenon unheard of in any other Arab Islamic state in the ME. Further, Iran’s leaders were rational enough to restrain themselves from a brutish display of force such as we have become all to accustomed to seeing in Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as well as peace activists, and the Iranian people were rational enough to suspend their protests in order to “live to fight another day” for the freedoms they seek from their government.

  91. Anonymous says:

    Good one, kooshy.

    I was trying to come up with something witty, myself, to describe this whole odds making nonsense. You summed it up well.

  92. kooshy says:

    Blink; Blink, ok now the chance of an attack is down to 40-60
    Blink, Blink, if keep blinking we will be closing on 30-60
    If Iran keeps its eyes closed, by the time of September negotiations we will be back down to 10% which is our normal temperature for an Israeli attack.
    Nice and very intimidating try

  93. Fiorangela says:

    James, you wrote:

    “Is it fair to say Jeff Goldberg is an idiot? He claims that an Israeli attack on Iran “will have removed. . .the immediate specter of nuclear-weaponized, theologically driven, eliminationist anti-Semitism”! Is it possible he does not know that the religious leaders of Iran oppose use of WMD? And oppose possession of WMD?”

    no comment on Goldberg’s mental status.
    For the rest, he’s simply reflecting the prevalent view among Israelis. Israel’s military, political, economic, and, perforce, academic elites are firmly committed to the view of Iran that Goldberg spells out. In fact, members of academia who deviate from the view required by the military and political establishment will find themselves censored or unemployed. Abraham Cohen, who broke another serious taboo, writing about Israel’s ‘third temple’ — nuclear weapons — was forced to seek refuge in the US; he is not welcome back to Israel.

  94. James Canning says:


    Is Jeffrey Goldberg a media whore of the idiot Israelis trying to keep much if not most of the West Bank?

    Mahmoud Abbas said he will renew negotiations with Israel, only if they pick up where they left off in 2008. Israel’s stooges in the US Congress will try to force him to accept even larger thefts of Palestinian territory and water.

  95. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio, thank you for mentioning the Menuhins’ efforts to counter zionism. I’ve studied Gertude Stein’s antizionism; it’s good to have a supporting antizionist to research.

    I have been studying Jabotinsky’s speaking engagements in the US in his early efforts to gain adherents to the zionist cause. Jabotinsky was author of the Iron Wall doctrine; was likely Israel’s ‘Osama bin Ladin,’ and was mentor to Benjamin Netanyahu’s father. It is also likely that Jabotinsky or one of his associates was instrumental in giving the Scofield bible a zionist slant. The evangelical/Christian zionist movement in the US traces its roots to the Scofield bible.

  96. James Canning says:

    Is it fair to say Jeff Goldberg is an idiot? He claims that an Israeli attack on Iran “will have removed. . .the immediate specter of nuclear-weaponized, theologically driven, eliminationist anti-Semitism”! Is it possible he does not know that the religious leaders of Iran oppose use of WMD? And oppose possession of WMD?
    Or, is he just a shameless liar trying to facilitate an idiotic Israeli attack on Iran, which would bring the US into another insane war to “protect” Israel!

  97. Fiorangela says:

    Steve Clemons studied Goldberg’s Atlantic article thoroughly, and corrected on critical omission in Goldberg’s narrative:

    Clemons wrote:

    I was in the audience at the 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival when Jeffrey Goldberg conducted the astonishing interview he recounts in his article with UAE Ambassador Yousef Otaiba who essentially said that if Iran continued on its current course, the UAE would support a military strike against Iran. What Goldberg failed to mention is that Otaiba also strongly emphasized that the most important radicalizer in the region was the unresolved Palestine-Israel dispute and that the smart strategy to deal with the Iran challenge was to unwind the Israeli occupation. He and other senior Arab leaders have told me that in their view, this would neutralize much of Iran’s growing power in the region.

    In one of my own interviews with a very senior UAE diplomat, I was told that the best way for the US and allies to confront Iran was to deliver on Palestine and then to work with the Saudis, UAE, and other oil-producing Arab states in making the price of oil crash to very low levels. He said that this would generate “humbling conditions” for Iran and “knee-cap Iran’s ambitions.” And then he said, Iran would work with us “and these games would end.”

    Haggai Ram makes the same argument from a different direction in “Iranophobia” — Ram says that Israel justifies its oppressive behavior toward Palestinians by casting Palestinians as well as Mizrahi Jews (Orientals) and Iranians (Orientals) in the same category of backward people spoiling the Ashkenazi dream of planting Western Europe in the Middle East — akin to Ephraim Sneh’s fear that Iranian influence will drive Jews, especially young American Jews, out of Israel. Israel has conflated its oppressive tactics against Palestinians with the US ‘war on terror'(indeed, Ehud Barak labelled and wrapped the package from a TV studio in England on Sept. 12, 2001, before US had had a chance to think about what had happened) calling Palestinian resistance to occupation “acts of terror,” and granting itself leave to react ever more harshly to Palestinians by citing the US-Israel JOINT mission to cleanse the world of terrorism.*

    Israel’s Arab neighbors have been insisting for some years that the solution to Iran is first to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict. Goldberg elided that part of King Abdullah’s statement. It is a recognizable phenomenon: Israelis simply do not process information that runs counter to their constructed version of reality.

    * Herzl, on zionism’s salvific mission:

    “Prayers will be offered up for the success of our work in temples and in churches also; for it will bring relief from an old burden, which all have suffered.
    But we must first bring enlightenment to men’s minds. The idea must make its way into the mast distant, miserable holes where our people dwell. They will awaken from gloomy brooding, for into their lives will come a new significance. Every man need think only of himself, and the movement will assume vast proportions.
    And what glory awaits those who fight unselfishly for the cause!
    Therefore I believe that a wondrous generation of Jews will spring into existence. The Maccabeans will rise again.
    Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews who wish for a State will have it. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes.
    The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness.
    And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare, will react powerfully and beneficially for the good of humanity. “

  98. Castellio says:

    Eric: Not that I am aware of…

  99. From Marc Gerecht’s article discussed in Leveretts’ Foreign Policy article:

    “Iranian-guided terrorist teams bombed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and slaughtered Argentine Jews at a community center there in 1994.”

    Has Iran’s involvement actually been established in either of these incidents?

  100. Castellio says:

    Col. Pat Lang’s site in a post dealing specifically with the Goldberg article:


  101. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela: It’s not as if a wide swath of people didn’t see through Herzl even then. A story yet to be told is the struggle between Jewish Zionists and Anti-Zionists in America prior to 1947. The work of Yehudi Menuhin’s father, Moishe Menuhin, is an important starting place. In my mind, very important work, and if it hadn’t been ‘forgotten’ during the last half century, perhaps we wouldn’t have such an uphill battle now.

  102. James Canning says:


    what “wanton use of power” has been employed by Russia or China since the collapse of the USSR in 1991?

  103. James Canning says:


    The phrase I used,”virtually nil”, is tantamount to zero (as to the likelihood the US would employ nukes in an attack on Iran). I very much doubt Iranian leaders expect such an attack – – from the US or from Israel.

    My understanding is that the KGB were instrumental in the ill-fated Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and that the generals were opposed to the scheme. A number of countries achieved independence (in wake of collapse of USSR) in part because of this very bad decision. US Senate refusal to ratify the SALT II treaty was a motivating cause of the invasion.

  104. Fiorangela says:

    apologies for blaming Israel for something it did not do.

    in a digital age it’s too easy to become binary.

  105. fyi says:


    It was not Western treachery.

    USSR and China were complicit as well.

    In fact, I recall at that time some poor soul in Israel protesting against it for obvious reasons and asking the then Israeli government to do something in support of CWT.

    These countries are going and teaching us benighted backward people bitter lessons.

    And these people are learning.

    The Permanent Five have succeeded in making the world a more dangerous and more angry place. No doubt!

    I held them responsible due to the wanton exercise of their asymmetric power.

    Sharon and Begin did not have to invade Lebanon in 1982.

    US (and France) did not have to take sides in the Civil War in Lebanon.

    US, EU, Russia, and China did not have to support Iraq’s use of chemical weapons.

    USSR did not have to invade Afghanistan.

    US did not have to go and recruit pyscopaths, rapist pedophiles, and others like that to wreck Afghanistan.

    US & EU did not have to go to war with Yugoslavia – an informal allie during teh Cold War.

    And the list goes on.

    This is what goes by the name of statesmanship.

    Metternich and Bismarck these leaders are not – they cannot create Peace Interest.

  106. Fiorangela says:

    To call Shimon Peres to account before the International Criminal Court at the Hague would be to “safeguard the future of the West.”

    Norman Finkelstein has said: “Israel needs to suffer a major defeat . . .to shake it out of its lunacy.”>

  107. Fiorangela says:

    On my flight from Frankfurt to Tehran, my seatmate was a young Iranian woman who had been in Germany to visit her brother in a hospital in Berlin. She was very distressed throughout the flight. She showed me the X Rays of her brother’s lungs; he would never be able to breathe on his own again.

    The US and the West and Israel, who thinks itself the outpost of Western civilization in a backward Oriental region, are doing their best to make it even more difficult for young women like my seatmate to find employment so that they can at least visit and support their family members whose lives have been destroyed by US and Western treachery.

  108. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    You state: “…virtually nil probability..”.

    This means that there is a very small but finite probability of a nuclear attack by US on Iran. Not zero probability.

    In addition to US, there are others with nuclear weapons around Iran: India, Pakistan, Russia, and Israel.

    Any number of other states could also be seduced into a war against Iran and later supplied with nuclear weapons or its ingredients by someone else.

    I believe that the Iranian people and their leaders have this in the back of their minds as a possibility.

  109. James Canning says:


    The vicious employment of poison gas by Iraq in its war with Iran, was truly abhorrent. And Iran’s refusal to reply in kind is morally commendable. I am aware, too, that Ahmadinejad had a number of friends killed or mutilated by Iraqi poison gas.

    However, there is virtually nil probability of US employment of nukes in any war with Iran. And I think there will be no war between the US and Iran if sane people keep their heads, and the effort continues to expose the idiocy and viciousness that set up the Iraq War and the efforts of the same group of wsar criminals to do the same thing with Iran.

  110. James Canning says:


    What total rubbish from Shimon Peres: that the issue of attacking Iran is a matter of “safeguard[ing] the future of the West”! I suppose the idiotic Iraq War (and the squandering of $3 trillion) was also a matter of “safeguarding the West”!

  111. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    In the war with Iraq, Iran was attacked repeatedly by WMD – chemical weapons in this case.

    US, EU, USSR (to which Russia is legaly the successor state), and China supported Iraq to the hilt in that endeavor.

    Every day, for the past 25 years, someone in Iran dies due to injuries sustained by chemical weapons.

    These people have families and relations.

    There are millions of people who personally know a victim of these banned weapons.

    You think they are going to put their trust in pieces of paper and words of analysts or statesmen?

    And the President of the United States, has specifically designated Iran – a non-nuclear NPT state – a target of nuclear weapons by the United States.

  112. Fiorangela says:

    edit: the portion in italics in my earlier post is quoted from Der Judenstaat.

  113. Fiorangela says:

    Neil M. wrote:

    “Imo, Goldberg’s reference to an Israeli ‘brain drain’ was an ill-conceived attempt to insinuate that there exists within Zionist society a branch of intellectual philosophy sufficiently humane and unique as to make it worth preserving.”

    I share your impulse, and I’m reminded of this passage, quoted below, in Herzl’s “Der Judenstaat.”

    I really don’t like the way Israel conducts itself, nor do I like the influence Israel exerts on the US, and I really resent being stigmatized and intimidated for expressing my dislike of a state that behaves in a beastly manner.

    Which is why I’m doubly appreciative of the Leveretts’ ability to wring a positive rejoinder and conclusion out of Goldberg’s ragged bit of inhumane, intellectually disintegrated and ethically challenged propaganda.

    A week or so ago we discussed in this forum the advisability of giving attention to works of propaganda, such as Goldberg’s article. I proposed that focus should be reserved for writers who served American interests in a positive way, but it was also suggested that it is important to dismantle the arguments of propagandists.

    The Leveretts did both.

    “We are what the Ghetto made us. We have attained pre-eminence in finance, because mediaeval conditions drove us to it. The same process is now being repeated. We are again being forced into finance, now it is the stock exchange, by being kept out of other branches of economic activity. Being on the stock exchange, we are consequently exposed afresh to contempt. At the same time we continue to produce an abundance of mediocre intellects who find no outlet, and this endangers our social position as much as does our increasing wealth. Educated Jews without means are now rapidly becoming Socialists. Hence we are certain to suffer very severely in the struggle between classes, because we stand in the most exposed position in the camps of both Socialists and capitalists.”

    Herzl’s complaint that Jews were forced into or out of certain lines of business is not quite accurate, or at least it wasn’t in 1881, when Eclectic Magazine published an article citing Jewish dominance in mortgage lending, ports and shipping, media and printing, among other areas. Furthermore, Italian banks, in Rome and, most notably, the Bank of St. George, dominated Europe from the 13th to the 19th centuries. The Grimaldi family of Genoa established the bank; it employed Italian, Spanish, French, German, and Jewish, Moorish and Arab people, etc.

  114. James Canning says:


    Let’s remember that John F. Kennedy adamantly opposed Israel obtaining nuclear weapons. His successor, Lyndon Johnson, was rather a stooge of the Israel lobby, partly because he knew his idiotic military adventure in Southeast Asia would be over if Jewish financiers came out in strong opposition to it.

  115. James Canning says:


    Surely you do not think Iran is likely to be attacked by Russia, China, Pakistan or India. And any Israeli attack, insane as it would be, would not include nukes.

  116. From Goldberg’s piece:

    “When I asked Peres what he thought of Netanyahu’s effort to make Israel’s case to the Obama administration, he responded, characteristically, with a parable, one that suggested his country should know its place, and that it was up to the American president, and only the American president, to decide in the end how best to safeguard the future of the West. The story was about his mentor, David Ben-Gurion.

    ‘Shortly after John F. Kennedy was elected president, Ben-Gurion met him at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, Peres told me. ‘After the meeting, Kennedy accompanied Ben-Gurion to the elevator and said, ‘Mr. Prime Minister, I want to tell you, I was elected because of your people, so what can I do for you in return?’”

    In my most recent post, just a few minutes ago, I confessed to the possibility of naivete concerning another subject. I’ve recovered enough to roll my eyes at this one. Is there anyone out there who believes that Kennedy actually said such a thing to Ben-Gurion?

  117. James Canning says:


    Thanks. I think there is good reason to take Iranian religious leaders at face value when they condemn nuclear weapons (and other WMD) on moral grounds.

  118. Michael Kerwick says:

    For a historical perspective on Iran one should watch this video on Youtube

    Double Vendetta- The Insanity of the Iran Confrontation

  119. fyi says:

    Eric A. Brill and others:

    Iran faces an existential threat from all these nuclear powers around her.

    She should have left NPT in 1998 immediately following the nuclear explosions of Pakistan and India.

    It is now too late to leave NPT.

    But, if Iran, a signatory of NPT, is attacked and her declared sites are even marginally damaged, then she has to leave NPT. There will be no choice left to any responsible Iranian government.

  120. James,

    “An Iranian decision to build nukes would virtually guarantee catastrophe for Iran. And you seem to give littel merit to Iran’s condemnation of nukes on moral grounds.”

    I’d like to second what you say in the second sentence. I might be naive, but I’ve always put a great deal of trust in Khamenei’s (and others’) words when he says that Iran never will seek nuclear weapons.

  121. Neil M says:

    With due respect, I was disappointed that the Leveretts dignified Goldberg’s comprehensive collection of Bomb Iran tropes by publishing a rational response to a long-winded disinfo tract.

    But while almost everyone is exploring fantasies, here’s one which should satisfy the conspiracy speculators.

    Israelis are too spineless and incompetent to risk their own necks attacking Iran. They OBVIOUSLY don’t have a deterrent-sized nuclear arsenal and they would like someone else to destroy Iran for them. I think it’s highly unlikely that the USA can be drawn into attacking Iran, for wholly American reasons, for at least 2 years.

    However, if Israel were to detonate one of its 2 or 3 viable nuclear weapons at a time, and in a (Palestinian) location, selected to look like an inaccurate nuclear strike by Iran, the USA, deprived of time to leisurely consider the consequences, might feel obliged to hastily retaliate via nuclear overkill on (helpless) Israel’s behalf. Unchallenged access to every part of Occupied Palestine by the IOF would make planting the device a simple matter of logistics. Seasonal wind patterns in the region would make it just as simple to minimise the fallout risks to Israelis.

    Optimised, this plan has the potential to kill several birds with one stone.

    1. Harnessing American nuclear capability for Israeli purposes.
    2. Instant reduction of the ‘demographic problem’ in Palestine/Greater Israel.
    3. Instant diminishing of the Iranian threat.
    4. Enhancement of the myth of Israeli victimhood.
    5. America’s war hawks are sufficiently feeble-minded to shoot first and examine the evidence later – if ever.

    Imo, Goldberg’s reference to an Israeli ‘brain drain’ was an ill-conceived attempt to insinuate that there exists within Zionist society a branch of intellectual philosophy sufficiently humane and unique as to make it worth preserving.

    60+ years of theft, viciousness and dishonesty suggests that this is highly unlikely.

  122. James Canning says:

    The Iranian foreign minister, Mottaki, quite rightly has called for the resumed talks with the P5 +1 to be conducted out of the glare of the news media.

  123. James Canning says:


    An Iranian decision to build nukes would virtually guarantee catastrophe for Iran. And you seem to give littel merit to Iran’s condemnation of nukes on moral grounds.

    An Israeli attack is unlikely, if intelligent concerned people act to prevent it, by exposing the web of lies and deception that have been part and parcel of Israel’s rampages in the Middle East over the past 30 years.

  124. Fiorangela,

    “a favor please, Mr. & Mrs. Leverett: can you figure out a way to have ten, fifteen, twenty children just like you, and still write just like you do, justly and rationally?”

    I agree, though they turn out so much good writing that I suspect they’ve already trained their new-born daughter to take on some of the writing burden. More seriously, Ben Katcher also deserves a lot of credit.

  125. Kooshy,

    Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful response.

    “I wonder why you would disagree, that Israel can be joining the NPT?. Frankly I and perhaps many of your readers on this site are disappointed that you don’t believe Israel can be forced to join the treaty for non proliferation.”

    You’ve misinterpreted my response entirely. When I said I “disagreed” with you, I meant that I disagreed with your view that Israel (if it didn’t already have nuclear weapons) should be free to stockpile fuel sufficient for thousands of bombs, free to manufacture “fuel free” bombs, free to limit its nuclear-program disclosures – free to do all the things that you and others feel Iran should be allowed to do. By “disagree,” I meant that I would not consider it appropriate for Israel do any of those things, any more than I consider it appropriate for Iran to do them. I’d feel that way whether or not Israel joined the NPT, by the way; my question didn’t even address Israel joining (or not) the NPT.

    In short, we agreed that Israel should be treated the same as Iran, but we disagreed on what that treatment should be. What surprised me about your response is that you would allow Israel much more free rein than I would. Like Iran, Israel is in a volatile area of the world, where many countries understandably are tempted to acquire nuclear weapons that could make this world even more dangerous than it already is. I wish Israel didn’t have nuclear weapons, but it does, and I don’t think that unfortunate fact justifies granting Iran the right to acquire them. After all, if declaring Israel to be an enemy were sufficient for a country to justify a nuclear weapons program, we’d see bomb-development programs springing up instantly all over the Middle East.

    “Is it really pointless [to ask the US to give up its nuclear warheads]?, or rather is the accepted American exceptionalism that I brought up a while back, this exceptionalism makes one to believe that Americans are the privileged people or the chosen people that should be privileged since they are the light on the distant hill who brought justice and democracy and all that other junks that they continuously put in us, and our children’s head, I believe this is culturally and firmly embedded in Americans to surpass their morality and sense of justice.”

    My goodness! I said it was “pointless” – not “unjustified.” I didn’t say the US deserves special status, much less that Americans are “chosen people” who’ve brought “justice and democracy” to the world. I don’t believe any of that any more than you do. I just said it’s pointless, meaning it would be an utter waste of time to ask the US to give up even one warhead. Same goes for every other country that has nuclear weapons: they aren’t going to give them up. If it makes you feel better to demand that they do, by all means make such a demand. Just don’t kid yourself that your demand moves us even a centimeter closer to any solution to any problem. It’s a waste of time, plain and simple.

    I hope you’ll reconsider what I wrote. You do seem to be approaching it with such a prejudice that you’re misunderstanding some of it.

  126. fyi says:


    They would need servants.

  127. Fiorangela says:

    from Flynt and Hillary Leverett’s FP article:

    So, what should Obama do? Goldberg concludes with a story told by Israeli President Shimon Peres about Israel’s founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. When Ben-Gurion met U.S. president-elect John F. Kennedy in late 1960, Kennedy asked what he could do for Israel. Ben-Gurion replied, “What you can do is be a great president of the United States.”

    Regarding Iran, what constitutes “greatness” for Obama? Clearly, Obama will not achieve greatness by acquiescing to another fraudulently advocated and strategically damaging war in the Middle East. He could, however, achieve greatness by doing with Iran what Richard Nixon did with Egypt and China — realigning previously antagonistic relations with important countries in ways that continue serving the interests of America and its allies more than three decades later.

    a favor please, Mr. & Mrs. Leverett: can you figure out a way to have ten, fifteen, twenty children just like you, and still write just like you do, justly and rationally?

  128. kooshy says:


    I thank you for your reply of last night since we both live in the same time zone.

    With regard to Israel joining the NPT you wrote

    “I appreciate your candor (Arnold has consistently ducked the question, as you probably noticed). I disagree, but I understand your reasons.”

    I wonder why you would disagree, that Israel can be joining the NPT?. Frankly I and perhaps many of your readers on this site are disappointed that you don’t believe Israel can be forced to join the treaty for non proliferation. I thought Richard and Arnold will jump on your opinion ducking to strip Israel from having a first strike capability. After all, a North Bay liberal who wishes and advocates a “world without nuclear weapons” must feel much closer to his wish, seeing Israel has joined the NPT which therefore is technically prevented of having its current nuclear posture. To reemphasize, I was very disappointed to see you ducking, by brushing it aside as a “solution with a snowball’s chance in hell for ever being implemented”

    Now by reading your next sentence I and perhaps more of the non American observes are even more disappointed with your morality which actually surpasses the naivety I thought you have, when I wished if you would have ask my opinion on US’s stock pile of loaded threatening nuclear weapons, you simply ducked again by saying.

    “I won’t ask, for the simple reason that I have less patience than I probably should for “solutions” that have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever being implemented. It’s pointless, bordering on irresponsible.”

    Is it really pointless?, or rather is the accepted American exceptionalism that I brought up a while back, this exceptionalism makes one to believe that Americans are the privileged people or the chosen people that should be privileged since they are the light on the distant hill who brought justice and democracy and all that other junks that they continuously put in us, and our children’s head, I believe this is culturally and firmly embedded in Americans to surpass their morality and sense of justice.

    And then when I brought up that the world fears the first strikers more than anybody with a second strike capability, you again chose to completely ignore with your usual sarcasm.

    “Anyone who honestly believes it’s useful to talk about “first strike capability” and “second strike capability” probably should be locked in a room with a week’s supply of video games and a copy of John Hersey’s “Hiroshima.” He’ll end up entirely in one world or the other – fantasy or reality – but at least he’ll know for sure which world he’s in, a far preferable state than his present delusion.”

    Exactly and that person should be the American Exceptionalist who believes it can’t be stripped of its nuclear bombs and capability to threaten and bomb at will.,

    I thank you and wish you lock, with your quest for easily excluding the Americans and Israelis from a” World” without nuclear weapons.

  129. Arnold Evans says:

    Iran hasn’t tried to make clear that it has nothing to hide. Quite the contrary.

    Nothing to see. We’re dealing with a moron here.

  130. Fiorangela says:

    Cyrus, you wrote: “The high levels of immigration in the early 1990s, especially from the former Soviet Union, have disappeared, with fewer than 22,000 immigrants registered for 2003.”

    Eric Brill mentioned Ephraim Sneh in his brilliant elucidation of Beinart’s piece, relative to Goldberg’s article.

    Sneh designed the strategy that made Iran’s nuclear project the “Pearl Harbor” of Israel’s program to destroy Iran, and he did so in 1992, just as those last Russians were migrating to Israel. Sneh rose to prominence in Israeli politics on the strength of a series of presentations he made to Knesset, presenting the results of his research into “open source” documents on Iran’s nuclear research. He convinced an initially reluctant Knesset that it should shift its military readiness priorities and purchases to systems focused on Iran and Iranian nuclear ambitions was the advertising slogan that seemed to have greatest Luntzian, focus-group appeal.

  131. Paul,

    “Eric, you truly are a master of the currently so popular principle of Blaming The Victim. Yes, you are right. Iran is at fault for the way Israel is faking up the false ‘Iranian threat’. Of course.”

    I have no idea how you’ve concluded I’m “blaming the victim.” Like nearly everyone on this site, I believe Iran has no nuclear weapons program. It’s just that I can’t help but notice that Israel is on the verge of attacking Iran because it’s convinced Israelis and most Americans that Iran does have a nuclear weapons program. That’s not Iran’s “fault,” but it will be Iranians on whom the bombs fall.

    If I were Iran and wanted to challenge Israel most effectively, I wouldn’t passively complain about being “misunderstood” – at least not until I’d made it very clear that I had nothing to hide. If I had tried that and it hadn’t worked, then I might sit around and whine about being “misunderstood,” and complain that war is “inevitable” so that we might as well sit around discussing missile throw weights, second-strike capabilities, fall-out shelters, gas masks, how long the Strait of Hormuz might be closed, and what all this might do to oil prices.

    Iran hasn’t tried to make clear that it has nothing to hide. Quite the contrary. And many on this website think Iran shouldn’t unless and until it gets “something in return.” As I hope the wake-up call of Goldberg’s article gets across, Iran indeed might get “something in return” – the absence of a devastating attack by Israel and, possibly, the US – by making a stronger effort to show that it has nothing to hide, rather than continuing to engage in naive “hide the ball” efforts aimed at worrying the US and Israel that Iran might have “nuclear weapons capability.”

    Right now, by stubbornly refusing to “upgrade” its nuclear-program disclosures even to the level accepted by 100 other countries years ago, Iran is doing exactly the opposite: making life very easy for its chuckling enemies, who effortlessly whip Americans and Israelis’ into a war-frenzy simply by asking “What’s Iran trying to hide?” Indeed, if you’ve read the opening portion of Goldberg’s article carefully, he no longer even needs to persuade his readers that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. That’s just a “given” from which he quickly proceeds to consider what Israel and the US ought to do about it.

    Before people on this website immerse themselves in discussions of military matters about which they know next to nothing, and smugly announce their absolute certainty that fuller disclosures about Iran’s nuclear program “wouldn’t make any difference, just like last time,” they ought to consider how the actual Iranian people whose lives will be at stake feel about the prospect of war. They may be less eager than the hang-tough posters on this website (few of whom will actually experience the war) to continue pointless “hide the ball” efforts aimed at tricking the world into believing that Iran poses a nuclear threat. They might say instead: “Why not just answer the same questions everybody else does? Iran’s got nothing to hide.”

    Iranians also may be less confident than those who speculate on this website about how well Iran would fare in a war with Israel and the US. For years now, I’ve been reading pundits’ chest-pounding predictions about the overwhelming resistance that would follow an attack on Iran. Consider, for example, this statement posted today right here: “At that time [a US attack on Iran], all bets are off: in the Levant, in Iraq, in the Persian Gulf, in Afghanistan, and also in Pakistan.”

    Please. Does anyone really, truly, in their heart, believe that a US attack on Iran will lead to uprisings in those places? Any of them? For more than a week or two at most? Didn’t we hear the very same predictions just before the US attacked Iraq in 2003? And just before the US attacked Iraq in 1991? How did those sympathetic uprisings work out?

    True, it was different then: people didn’t like Saddam; they were glad to see him get his come-uppance. But how do people in these countries feel about Iran? Maybe Goldberg and others exaggerate Arab support for a US attack on Iran (I think so), but how many Arabs are likely to pick up a rifle to fight and die for Iran?

    And it’s not just Iran. How many Arabs came to the aid of the Palestinians in Gaza when Israel last attacked? Any Pakistanis or Afghans? How about Lebanon in 2006? Lebanon in 1982? Let’s look farther back – to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war: How long did Arab resistance last in that “Six-Day War”?

    Many have argued here that Iran should continue to refuse to cooperate fully with the IAEA on its nuclear-program disclosures – no Additional Protocols, no more answers on the “alleged studies,” and so on – since cooperation did little good for Saddam in 2003. But let’s not forget that the decision to attack Saddam (irrevocable, I later came to understand) – the Congressional “blank check,” the UN Security Council “threat to the peace” resolution, the “mushroom cloud” speech – all occurred before Saddam started permitting inspections to resume, after several years of adamantly refusing to let a single inspector set foot in Iraq. By then, most Americans were firmly convinced that Saddam opened his doors only because he’d spent the several preceding years hiding everything.

    I don’t deny that Iran is cooperating quite extensively with the IAEA, despite its refusal to adopt the Additional Protocols and answer further questions about the “alleged studies.” Nor do I deny that Iran is treated very shabbily by the US, the EU and the UN Security Council. Nor do I know for certain that agreeing to expand its nuclear-program disclosures will make any difference. One thing about which I am confident, however – having figured this out only after the fact during the 2003 Iraq war – is that the window of opportunity closes earlier than one might expect.

    If I were running Iran, and I had any illusions about being able to achieve “nuclear weapons capability,” or to trick the US and Israel into believing I had it, before one or both of them attacked me to prevent that from happening, I’d give up those illusions immediately. Once I’d done so (or if I’d never had such illusions in the first place), I’d make a strong effort to enable Iran’s supporters to give a persuasive answer to the “What’s Iran trying to hide?” argument: “Nothing.” If that failed, as I acknowledge it might, I’d gird my loins and prepare for war. But I’d try that first.

  132. Castellio says:

    Someone taking the name of Sayanim (volunteers in Hebrew, with a usual meaning of helpers to the Zionist cause) writes: “the most dangerous enemy is the one who hides in plain sight.”


  133. Sayanim says:

    the most dangerous enemy is the one who hides in plain sight.

  134. fyi says:


    There is, in fact, no pragmatic reson for either US or Israel to attack Iran.

    There is no margin in that for them.

  135. fyi says:


    US dependence on military Keynsianism is at a dead-end.

    It worked for 60 years, now it has to be dismantled.

    It will be quite painful few decades ahead for US as this process works its way.

    Another war will not save US from the need to do so.

  136. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    If declared and safe-guarded nuclear installations of an NPT member are attacked by an unacknowledged or acknowledged nuclear-weapons state, then NPT will become a dead letter.

    Iran should withdraw and start builiding nuclear weapons.

    There is no other way.

  137. James Canning says:


    I am astonished to see you recommend that Iran withdraw from the NPT! What better gift could be dropped into the laps of the warmongers, including Jeff Goldberg? It would be an act of insanity ranking with Saddam Hussein’s expulsion of the UN weapons inspectors. And not least, because Iran wants a stronger NPT and a Middle East free of nukes.

  138. James Canning says:


    Let’s remember that after Leon Panetta went to Israel (in May last year, if I recall correctly), and told the Israelis not to attack Iran, a number of idiot US senators rushed to Israel to tell the Israelis in effect to ignore what the CIA director had told them. These senators included Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and John “Bomb Iran” McCain of Arizona.

  139. James Canning says:


    I agree with you that the promoters of an insane attack on Iran would make sure any such attack went forward, if preparations for it went ahead. We saw this with the Iraq War, where Bush lied through his teeth and continued to say the US would not invade unless necessary. (This assumes Bush knew there were no WMD, but it is quite possible Bush was duped by Dick Cheney’s gang and the neocons in the Pentagon.)

  140. paul says:

    What amazes me is that I keep hearing that all the threats against Iran are just bluffs. Some pundits and even alternapundits even go so far as to try to persuade us that the threats against Iran are a Wonderfully Wise Obamian Way of stopping war and making peace!!! All this bending over backwards not to see what is happening in front of our eyes would be really hilarious if so much wasn’t at stake, starting with many lives. If nothing else, the constant threat of war is erasing the boundary between peace and war. Relentless ABUSE of harsh sanctions, = economic war, is also erasing those boundaries. In fact, I think it would be appropriate to say that the boundary between peace and war have truly been erased already. Look, for example, at the relentlessly escalating Obamian military encirclement of Russia and China, constantly highlighted as more than just window dressing by endless military ‘games’; we are supposedly at peace with Russia and China!
    We now live in a world where war is peace, and peace is war. Yes, Orwell would have recognized this world. Ask Chavez what it is like to be living under the constant threat of war, and whether that is truly distinguishable from actual war, or is it on a CONTINUUM with war?

    If we hope to stop the wars, we cannot do this with the kind of pragmatic arguments I see over and over again. They will not work. They ignore the fact that our economy and our society are increasingly organized around war, to such an extent that war is the breath of our society. Our dollar would have no value without war. Our industries would not exist without war. And, as the neocons realized long ago, no society can cohere without a central myth of some kind, and the easiest and most manipulable myths center on war. Put simply, war is our reason for being and our way of being.
    The Iran war is not the first war based on lies. Nor is the Iraq war the first such war. Virtually every war we have been involved in has been such a war, to lesser or greater extent. If anything has changed, it is that the lies are more shameless and flimsy. It’s as if the fiction needs less and less credibility, as if everyone secretly understands that the reasons given for war are just for show, and to consider that it ought to be otherwise is hopelessly quaint.

    The pragmatic reasons for war will always overwhelm the pragmatic reasons for peace. I know that it’s conventional in elite American intellectual circles today to dismiss ethics, to dismiss any conception of what things mean and how they work that isn’t based on behavioristic principles – thus, for example, the possibility that Israel is becoming less attractive to young Jews must be interpreted on the basis of self-interest alone, that young Jews feel less safe in Israel. We must never consider that Israel is a country whose existence depends on its ability to inspire, and the increasing darkness of Israeli society does not inspire.

    But I think this trend, admittedly a long term trend, in elite American ‘thinking’, is delusional. The most important things cannot be reduced to considerations of perceived self interest on the part of actors motivated only by self-interest. Ethics do matter, and in the end, they matter more than anything. If we want to stop the wars, we have to base our arguments in ethics. War is wrong, unless it is truly in self-defense. Pragmatic arguments always slip away. They are not solid. They have no chance of stemming the rising tide of hunger for the latest war. Some want war because they want shock and awe on television. Others want to distract public attention from domestic concerns. Others want a bump in polls before the election. The high level smarties want control over Eurasia. Others, even smarter, want to break down the cohesion of society, because they think that chaos favors concentration of power. There are many reasons on many levels. Many think that wars mean more jobs.

    All but the most jaded can be reached with PERSISTENT ethical arguments.

  141. Cyrus says:

    Israelis have been “running to the airports” for a while now, no fault of Iran’s.

    See http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2010/01/is-iran-a-nuclear-threat-to-israel.html

    As Ian Lustick of the University of Pennsylvania wrote in a 2004 paper about Jewish emigration out of Israel (aka yeridah) due to violence on the Palestininas:

    The high levels of immigration in the early 1990s, especially from the former Soviet
    Union, have disappeared, with fewer than 22,000 immigrants registered for 2003.
    Other reports indicate that since 2002 no more than 30% of these immigrants have
    been classified by the government as Jewish. In mid-2003 it was reported a
    “moribund” annual rate of 1,000 immigrants from North America, with 50% of them
    leaving Israel after their arrival… Market Watch poll commissioned by the newspaper Maariv in January 2002, found 20 percent of adult Israelis had recently considered living in a different country andthat 12 percent of Israeli parents “would like their
    children to grow up outside Israel.”

  142. James Canning says:


    An Israeli attack on Iran would be a catastrophe for the region, and for the American taxpayers because the costs of any Israeli war are footed largely by the grossly ignorant and rather stupid American public.

  143. James Canning says:

    Jeffrey Goldberg: shameless liar and Israeli militarist propaganda artist, working for a crazed neocon seeking endless war to “protect” Israel – – at unlimited expense to the ignorant American taxpayers.

  144. Arnold Evans says:

    I wonder if Israelis worry about [the costs to the US of an Israeli strike].

    My point is that contrary to what Goldberg asserts, the US does have the option of telling Israel it will not allow Israeli planes to pass airspace it controls. That’s a decision the US has to make, and hopefully it will be an informed one that takes into account the expected costs.

  145. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans:

    Yes, that is what I am saying.

    Certainly as the missile war between Israel and Iran drags on into weeks, there will be great benefits to US (but not to her local allies).

    Note that Israel is a much smaller country as a target and she does not have the air assets to supress IMB Missiles being fired at her from Iran.

    Almost certainly Iran should leave NPT at that time.

    Which would be the death of that treaty as well as CTBT etc.

    It destorys Mr. Obama’s non-proliferation agenda for good.

  146. Arnold Evans says:

    FYI: If that’s the case, and Iran would be satisfied by that result, and the US does not intervene beyond giving Israel permission to use the airspace of its colonies, then the US it would not be a total catastrophe for the US if Israel attacks Iran alone.

    If something goes wrong though, it would be very dangerous for the US position as a global power.

  147. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans:

    Israel cannot destory either Bushehr or Natanz.

    Iranians have already publicly stated that they have identified targets in Israel including Dimona. They think they can destroy it.

  148. Arnold Evans says:

    FYI, what do you think Iran would do in response to an Israeli attack that went through US and Saudi-controlled airspace, if Israel destroys Bushehr and Natanz?

    Attack Israel only with long range missiles from Iran? Unless it has a lot of them, more than I’m aware of, I don’t see that is sufficient. If a dozen or two dozen random sites in Israel are bombed with fairly inaccurate missiles causing at most 30 or so deaths, I think Iran might not consider that punishment enough.

    I’m not saying I’m right, Iran’s decision makers are better able to calculate both exactly how many missiles they have and exactly how much damage they consider sufficient. But if attacking Israel alone is not sufficient, attacking US positions is an option.

  149. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans:

    Iran will not drag Hezbullah into war with Israel.

    This will damage Hezbullah’s political standing and Lebanon needlessly.

    Iran will wait for Israel to attack Lebanon.

    In regards to punishing US; US having to carry the load of Israel for decades to come is punishment enough.

    Not unless Iran is attacked by US that you will see a generalized war.

    At that time, all bets are off: in the Levant, in Iraq, in the Persian Gulf, in Afghanistan, and also in Pakistan.

    What is stupid in this is that US and her leaders do not squash all these speculations once and for all. Are they supposed to frighten the Iranians?

  150. paul says:

    Eric, you truly are a master of the currently so popular principle of Blaming The Victim. Yes, you are right. Iran is at fault for the way Israel is faking up the false ‘Iranian threat’. Of course. Those Wicked and Wily Easterners, always up to no good…

  151. paul says:

    But Leverettes, even if Iran actually had or was building a weapon, which it almost certainly doesn’t and isn’t, that STILL would not be a reason to attack Iran and any attack on Iran would be a war crime.

  152. Arnold Evans says:

    Assume, for the sake of argument, that Iranians start firing their rockets at military and nuclear target of Israel but live US assets alone.

    Let’s assume that Iran gets Hezbollah to attack Tel Aviv and Hezbollah has enough weapons to do severe damage to Tel Aviv – enough that after Iran rebuilds its nuclear capability, Israel is deterred from trying again.

    In that case, if that’s possible, then that would be a fitting response to an Israel attack.

    If that’s not possible, though. If Hezbollah cannot inflict much much more pain on Israel than it did in 2006 then Iran has the option of inflicting much much more pain on the US than the US has faced since the 1970s, and would for many reasons be justified in exercising that option.

    Iran’s leaders can determine if it is possible to punish Israel alone enough for an attack, or if it should punish the US as well.

  153. From Goldberg’s piece:

    “‘The real threat to Zionism is the dilution of quality,’ [Ehud Barak] said. …The real test for us is to make Israel such an attractive place, such a cutting-edge place in human society, education, culture, science, quality of life, that even American Jewish young people want to come here.’ This vision is threatened by Iran and its proxies, Barak said. ‘Our young people can consciously decide to go other places,’ if they dislike living under the threat of nuclear attack.”

    “Ephraim Sneh, a former general and former deputy defense minister, is convinced that if Iran crossed the nuclear threshold, the very idea of Israel would be endangered. …. ‘It will not be that people are running to the airport, but slowly, slowly, the decision-making on the family level will be in favor of staying abroad. The bottom line is that we would have an accelerated brain drain.'”

    This passage suggests that the perceived Iranian nuclear threat may be the principal cause of an Israel-ending “dilution of quality.” If one accepts this premise, an Iranian who wants Israel to end might well conclude that encouraging this Israeli perception of an Iranian nuclear threat will accelerate this “dilution” process. The high risk of an attack on Iran by Israel (joined by the US, if Israel has its way), and the consequent loss of Iranian lives and economic ruin, may seem to be a price worth paying.

    But many other writers have mentioned the same “dilution of quality” threat to the continued existence of Israel – see Peter Beinart’s article I cited earlier, for example – without arguing that a perceived Iranian nuclear threat is the principal cause of the decreasing desire of young Israeli Jews to remain in Israel. In their view, this would be happening anyway, and seems likely to continue. To be sure, the perceived lack of physical security in Israel is a principal reason that more young Israeli Jews are opting for life somewhere else, mostly in the US. But for most of them that fear is more physically immediate: terrorist attacks and general hostility from Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel proper, together with relentless pressure from Hezbollah in Lebanon. Through its support of Hezbollah and Hamas, Iran presently helps to stoke that fear, and thus contributes in that “non-nuclear” way to the growing disenchantment with Israeli life among young Israeli Jews.

    Whatever long-term results might flow from an Israeli attack on Iran, one likely immediate and continuing consequence would be a very severe and unapologetic Israeli crackdown on Palestinians, and on their Hezbollah and Hamas supporters in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. Israelis’ sense of physical security would be greatly reduced in the short run (principally due to fear of terrorist attacks, and in the very short term from Iran’s military reaction to an Israeli attack). But the impact of that short-term insecurity on Israel’s long-term prospects would be offset by a near-certain spike in support from diaspora Jews, predictably resulting in a substantial inflow of young American Jews and a drop in outflow among many young Israeli natives who had previously been considering emigration. Ironically, if the crackdown on Palestinians is as severe as I expect it would be, young Israeli Jews – both natives and new immigrants from the US – might soon perceive Israel to be a safer place than it had been before Israeli attacked Iran.

    If that occurs, it could be goodbye to “dilution of quality” and a consequently dying Israel, hello to a revived Zionist spirit – a patriotic zeal among Israelis not seen since the years just after its birth, unrivaled since the heady days immediately after the 1967 war. And all this while Iran has necessarily become pre-occupied with its own survival, no longer able to offer much help to Hezbollah or Hamas in their efforts to resist the Israeli crackdown on Palestinians.

    Some Iranians may conclude from this plausible scenario that they might accomplish their anti-Israeli objectives more effectively in the long run by slowing down the march to war on Iran. The “dilution of quality” that many believe will be the end of Israel may be more likely to continue, and possibly to accelerate, if Iran merely continues doing what it’s doing to help the Palestinian cause, rather than helping Israel to force the issue by encouraging the Israelis’ belief in an Iranian nuclear threat.

  154. Arnold Evans says:

    From the article:

    In other words, Israeli elites want the United States to attack Iran’s nuclear program — with the potentially negative repercussions that Goldberg acknowledges — so that Israel will not experience “a dilution of quality” or “an accelerated brain drain.” Sneh argues that “if Israel is no longer understood by its 6 million Jewish citizens, and by the roughly 7 million Jews who live outside of Israel, to be a ‘natural safe haven’, then its raison d’être will have been subverted.”

    This is the question that the American electorate has not faced.

    Obama, as Richard points out very importantly, is lying when he says “weapon” but means “weapons capability”. It is a lie to say an Iranian weapons capability is the same thing as a weapon. It is a lie to say an Iranian weapons capability poses any more of a direct threat to the US than a Japanese weapons capability. Obama indicates that he intends to continue the Bush program of telling this lie about Iran’s nuclear program. This is not a mistake, unclear language or a semantic difference in terms. This is language intended to mislead its audience, to create a false impression, to lie.

    The question remains though, especially among those who see past that lie, how much is it worth to the US, how many US soldiers, how much of the US economy or the global economy is it worthwhile to sacrifice to delay Iran’s acquisition of a weapons capability.

    To add more words to the argument the Leveretts make very well: Let’s assume that Israel cannot survive as a Jewish state if the US colonies of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia etc, are no longer subject only to US pressure. Let’s assume that if Iran is three months away from being able to make a weapon, it would render Israel’s nuclear monopoly less effective and that would impact Jewish people’s decision on whether or not to remain in Israel which ultimately would lessen Israel’s ability to prevent an apartheid-type dissolution of the Zionist project.

    Assuming that, how much should the US be willing to pay to prevent it? How many West Point graduates should die to ensure the long-term viability of a politically majority-Jewish state? How much should US citizens pay for gas, how many should be unable to find jobs for how long for the sake of the Zionist idea?

    This discussion should be held in the open, with participants other than Rahm Emanuel and Jeffrey Goldberg. If after an open discussion, the US decides it should attack, then the US will attack or allow Israel to attack and the US will suffer consequences that, unlike Iraq, are clearly foreseeable in tangible form long before those costs are incurred.

    Goldberg brushes over the US option of stopping Israeli jets from crossing its airspace and telling its Saudi colony not to turn off its radar. Israel does not have to believe it can fly over US-controlled airspace to attack Iran. That is another decision to be made openly.

    If the US military opposes an actual attack on Iran, it does not make sense that it would not oppose an Israeli attack that uses US or client airspace since the consequences, at the very least potentially, would be exactly the same.

    My position is that an attack would be a terrible idea, that preventing an Iranian nuclear capability is nowhere near worth the cost the US would have to pay. This is a debate that deserves to be held in an honest environment though. The voters of the United States deserve the ability to make an informed evaluation.

  155. fyi says:


    Yes, Israelis are quite willing to fight Iran to the last American.

  156. fyi says:

    Arnold Evans:

    Assume, for the sake of argument, that Iranians start firing their rockets at military and nuclear target of Israel but live US assets alone.

    Why should US intervene then? – the rockets would be flying towards Israel at the same time that the Israeli bombers are entering Iranian air space.

    If Iranians do not attack US, I do not see US attacking Iran.

    It will be better for US to let Israel stew in her juices. Demonstrating the limitations of Israel, will make Arab-Israel War settlment nearer.

  157. Fiorangela says:

    Arnold wrote: “Not only will the attack not ultimately prevent Iran from becoming nuclear capable but it will result in a tremendous amount of US losses of lives, money and strategic resources.”

    I wonder if Israelis worry about that.

  158. Arnold Evans says:

    A war between Iran and Israel which does not involve US can benefit US.

    I don’t believe a war between Iran and Israel which does not involve the US is possible.

    I really don’t know Iran’s response to an Israeli attack. Iran at least has the option to escalate it to a full war with the US in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan and may do that on the principle that attacking Iranian territory must result in the most severe consequences.

    Iran’s leaders have a lot more information than I do. Possibly they will be able to exact a cost on the US and Israel that they consider sufficient without attacking US troops in the neighboring countries. If that’s their calculation, they are more likely to be right than I am because they’ve thought about it more under conditions of better information.

    Given my limited understanding of the regional situation, I expect an actual attack on Iranian soil to lead to either a war or full evacuation under fire of Iraq and Afghanistan by the US, as well as attacks on oil facilities in the US colonies and shipping.

    I expect the Iranian response to be “they’ve just imposed a war on us. Now we have to fight this war fully. We’ve been preparing, while hoping never to have to put the preparations into action, for the next major war since the Iran/Iraq war and that is what the US just started.”

    I’ve talked before about what that would entail. Basically a lot more unlimited and open support to anti-US forces in both countries but enough support that the anti-US forces in each country will be far more effective than the US has faced at any point over the last decade and more, possibly multiples more, US killed in action than at the peak of Iraq 2006.

    If the US makes a decision not to shoot down Israeli jets flying to Iran, then the US failed to prevent an attack by its client that it easily could have prevented.

  159. Fiorangela says:

    sorry, wrong Goldberg.
    click the link in the Leveretts’s text, Matt.

  160. Fiorangela says:

    I’ve almost finished Haggai Ram’s “Iranophobia: The Logic of an Israeli Obsession.”
    It is frightening.
    Ram identifies the mental habits of Israelis that cause them to believe, truly, that Ahmadinejad is Hitler and that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel. Israel’s leaders infect their polity with this mental framework, to create a profoundly traumatized population. Americans have been propagandized through main stream media and the fulminations of our government leaders as well as of Israel-based activists functioning in the US at every level of government and institution from the community meetings of city council delegates to the right hand of the POTUS. In Israel, even the architecture and landscape compel Israelis to believe they are being threatened by the ‘Other.’

    This is an extremely dangerous situation.

    Beinart’s piece did raise quite a stir. For Jews and Israelis.

    Where is the American voice? Don’t we get a say in the actions of our government, when they contemplate such a heinous and immoral act?

  161. fyi says:

    A war between Iran and Israel which does not involve US can benefit US.

    In particular, it gives Mr. Obama more leverage over Israel and at the same time, more political capital in US to negogiate with Iran to save Israel.

    For Iranians, it will be an opportunity to burnish their resistance credentials.

    For Israelis, it is an escalation to nowhere – but they could try – for they will be incurring Shia wrath for generations. And it will be US that will have to carry their load for them, against Iran, for those many generations.

  162. Matt says:

    Who’s the picture of??

  163. Arnold Evans says:

    I read the article. If Goldberg is right that the US has issued an order not to shoot Israeli planes headed for Iran over Iraqi airspace, then the US is a participant in any Israeli attack on Iran, as is the US colony Saudi Arabia.

    Not only will the attack not ultimately prevent Iran from becoming nuclear capable but it will result in a tremendous amount of US losses of lives, money and strategic resources.

  164. Pirouz,

    “I wish I had the temperament to read all the way through Goldberg’s piece. But it reads too much like that other piece advocating war, Mein Kampf, on which I also couldn’t make it all the way through.”

    Then you do have the temperament to read through Peter Beinart’s “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” in the New York Review of Books (June 10, 2010). For those, like I, who think that trends in the political opinions of educated Americans on Israel and Iran count for a lot, Beinart’s piece is encouraging. Many here undoubtedly have read it (it received quite a bit of commentary, pro and con). If not, I wouldn’t wait much longer to do so.


  165. Pirouz says:

    I wish I had the temperament to read all the way through Goldberg’s piece. But it reads too much like that other piece advocating war, Mein Kampf, on which I also couldn’t make it all the way through.