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The Race for Iran


Law professor and former Justice Department official, John Yoo (right), with former Vice President Cheney's legal advisor, David Addington

Our colleague Eric Brill has produced a detailed analysis of John Yoo’s recent article, “An Unavoidable Challenge—Now is the Time to Make the Case for Military Action Against Iran,” which we are pleased to publish below.  Last month, we noted and discussed Yoo’s piece, which purported to develop a legal case for a U.S.-initiated war against Iran, but which struck us as largely an argument that the United States should and could disregard international law.  In the course of Eric’s deconstruction of Yoo’s reasoning, Eric notes that

“Whatever his views on Iran may be…any president or candidate may safely overlook John Yoo.  He advocates nothing profound or complicated—merely that the US ignore its most important commitments under the UN Charter whenever they are inconvenient, while continuing to claim all benefits of UN membership.  If this inconsistency does not bother the leader in question, he will feel no need for any thinker to provide a legal justification.  If he does feel such a need, John Yoo will be of no use to him.”   

On this point, we were struck recently by a Rick Santorum campaign event broadcast on C-Span.  After Santorum had finished speaking, he milled informally with the crowd.  Before C-Span cut away for its next program, viewers could see and hear a man come up to Santorum and ask, in an utterly non-hostile, non-challenging way, that since Congress had not declared war on Iran and the United Nations has not authorized the use of force, “are we [the United States] allowed” to go ahead and attack Iran anyway.  Santorum confidently assured the man, “Yes, we are.”  The camera cut away then, so we could not hear Santorum’s further explanation.  But we strongly suspect that Santorum, like all of the Republican candidates save Ron Paul, has already found his inner John Yoo. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


A Review of

“An Unavoidable Challenge –
Now is the Time to Make the Case
for Military Action Against Iran”

by John Yoo, National Review, December 31, 2011

Reviewed by Eric A. Brill

John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is best known for his brief stint at the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration (2001-2003), where he authored a controversial memorandum approving the use of torture in prisoner interrogations at Guantanamo Bay. In the reviewed article, Yoo argues that the US should attack Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons because this “would cause a radical reversal of the balance of power” in that part of the world, a prospect that “justifies action in itself.” The US need not and should not seek authorization from the UN Security Council, Yoo argues, because the UN “has no armed forces of its own, has a crippled decision-making system, and lacks political legitimacy.”

John Yoo’s article becomes most interesting when one reaches this passage:

Obama has [failed] to build the legal case for attacking Iran. Instead, the administration has tethered American national security to the dictates of the United Nations.

The reader naturally anticipates that Yoo will “build the legal case” that Obama has neglected, but he does not. He simply asserts that the US has a right to ignore its commitments under the UN Charter (while remaining a UN member) whenever it perceives a “grave threat to American interests.” Yoo believes Iran fits that description and so he recommends that the US attack Iran without asking the Security Council whether it approves, just as the US did when it invaded Iraq nine years ago.

Yoo sets the bar high for himself:

… the U.N. Charter guarantees the “territorial integrity” and “political independence” of each member nation, and prohibits the use of force except in self defense [or] war to prevent threats to international peace and security, but only if approved by the Security Council. … Just as national governments claim a monopoly on the use of force within their borders and in exchange offer police protection, the U.N. asks nations to give up their right to go to war and in exchange offers to police the world.

But Yoo insists that the UN is incapable of upholding its “policing” side of the bargain: “[The] U.N. has no armed forces of its own, has a crippled decision-making system, and lacks political legitimacy.” The conclusion Yoo draws from these three UN shortcomings is not explicitly stated but nonetheless clear: they invalidate the Security Council’s exclusive peace-keeping authority under the UN Charter.

Does Yoo’s first observation – that “the U.N. has no armed forces of its own” – entitle the US to engage in world-policing on its own initiative? There are several reasons why the UN has never had armed forces, but they do not matter here. What does matter is that all UN members, including the US, have always understood that the Security Council would carry out approved military interventions by calling upon member countries for ad hoc contributions of armed forces, and that is what has happened. The US has never recommended that a standing UN military force be created, and probably never will.

Yoo complains also about the UN’s “crippled decision-making system.” He has in mind the veto rights of the Security Council’s five permanent members – the US, Great Britain, France, China and Russia – which enable especially the last two to block military interventions proposed by the US. It is unlikely, however, that Yoo would describe the Security Council’s decision-making system as “crippled” when the US vetoes a proposed Security Council action, as it has done many times. That system is no more “crippled” when China or Russia blocks a US-proposed military intervention. The Security Council’s decision-making system works well enough – just not always to Yoo’s liking.

Yoo’s third assertion – that the UN “lacks political legitimacy” – is the most puzzling of all. The UN achieved political legitimacy when its members (nearly every country in the world) adopted the UN Charter and agreed to be bound by it. No country has ever been forced to join the UN, and every UN member is free to withdraw at any time. The UN’s political legitimacy is not diminished merely because a member nation disagrees with a particular Security Council action. Yet the following sentence warns the reader that Yoo will soon be arguing just that:

[The Security Council’s exclusive authority to approve military interventions] is contrary to both American national interests and global welfare because it subjects any intervention, no matter how justified or beneficial, to the approval of authoritarian nations.

“Authoritarian nations” – not a flattering description – refers to the 15 members of the Security Council, exercising their clear authority under the UN Charter. “Authorized” would be correct.

Yoo points out that a Security Council decision may conflict with the US’ national interest, an obvious possibility that the US undoubtedly considered before joining the UN. As a veto-wielding permanent member, the US can prevent the Security Council from taking any action, and it has done so many times. It is Security Council inaction that bothers Yoo, however, since the US has no power to prevent that. Inaction highlights the veto power of China and Russia, who “generally oppose intervention in what they consider ‘internal’ affairs…[and] can usually be counted on to protect other oppressive regimes by blocking U.N. approval for war….”

Yoo adds that the Security Council may not always decide correctly what is best for “global welfare.” In his view, there are military interventions that are “justified or beneficial” even if the Security Council does not think so. That may be, but the key question remains: Other than the Security Council, who should be authorized to approve a military intervention to protect international security? By agreeing to abide by the UN Charter, every UN member has given the same answer: no one. If asked again, very few would add the US to the list.

In short, the proper response to each of Yoo’s two points is the same: The US clearly understood these risks and accepted them by approving a UN Charter that grants the Security Council exclusive authority to approve military action other than in self-defense. If Yoo believes the US should withdraw from the UN, he should say so, which he does not. Unless and until the US withdraws, it should honor its commitments, just as it often demands of other UN members.

Given these feeble challenges to the Security Council’s authority over military interventions, it is not surprising that Yoo turns to the single recognized exception: the sovereign right of each UN member to defend itself. He introduces this “self-defense” exception in a hypothetical argument that the US might present to the Security Council if it does seek approval to attack Iran:

But if the president seeks U.N. authorization for a military action against Iran, his administration will have to make a case much like the one that the Bush administration made regarding Iraq. It can argue that destroying Iran’s nuclear weapons is a combination of self defense and protecting international security.

As Yoo recalls well, however, the “international security” prong of this argument failed to impress the Security Council in the lead-up to the Iraq war. Several members, including usually reliable US allies, openly disagreed that attacking Iraq was necessary to protect international security. This left the US with only its “self-defense” argument, which fared much better because the US felt obliged to persuade only itself and other members of its small “coalition of the willing.” That proved not to be difficult, and the US soon attacked Iraq without even asking for Security Council approval. Though the US nevertheless claimed broad support, the Security Council’s skepticism appears to have reflected world opinion: only three other countries contributed troops to the invasion force – the United Kingdom, Poland and Australia, homes to about 2% of the world’s population.

Hindsight has enabled most observers to conclude that the US’ self-defense argument was flimsy regarding Iraq; foresight was sufficient for many who actually evaluated the US’ proffered evidence. Yoo nevertheless believes a similar self-defense argument justifies an attack on Iran. Although he offers an unpersuasive analogy to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis – in which the US blocked Soviet ships from delivering ready-to-fire nuclear missiles to Cuba, where they were to have been placed on already-built launching pads and aimed at Florida targets 90 miles away – Yoo makes clear that “self-defense” has the same broad scope and vague limits it had before the Iraq war. It does not require that Iran have nuclear weapons or be likely to obtain them in the near future, nor that Iran actually could attack the United States if it ever does. It is sufficient for Yoo that, in his opinion, the balance of power in that part of the world would change:

A president need not wait until an attack is imminent before taking action. Iranian nuclear capabilities would cause a radical reversal of the balance of power, and that fact justifies action in itself.

Yoo does not explain why this “justifies action in itself.” As with most elements of his “legal case,” he merely declares it and moves on, as if his point were self-evident. What “justifies action” under the UN Charter, however, is either (1) self-defense; or (2) Security Council approval. There is no third choice – unless a country withdraws from the UN, which Yoo does not recommend.

Yoo makes a fair point that “self-defense” should not require a country to wait until enemy troops are massed at its border, much less streaming across. One can easily understand why he nonetheless prefers not to dwell on whether an unprovoked US attack on Iran, for the purpose of maintaining the strategic “balance of power” in a region halfway around the world, can fairly be characterized as US “self-defense.” Unless that label fits, however, the best that can be said about such an attack is that its aim would be to protect international security – in which case it would require Security Council approval. If a UN member’s right of self-defense were deemed to have no limit short of what the country itself might declare, the Security Council’s exclusive authority to determine threats to international security would be meaningless. Any UN member could attack whomever and whenever it sees fit, simply claiming “self-defense” to insulate itself from any claim that Security Council approval is required or that its war-making threatens international security.

Yoo probably would acknowledge that the Security Council may set limits on a UN member’s right of self-defense. For example, it is unlikely that he questioned the Security Council’s authority to reject Saddam Hussein’s “self-defense” objection when it ordered the return of nuclear inspectors to Iraq in 2002, or to reject Moammar Qaddafi’s insistence that his army was defending Libya against lawless rebels in 2011. If Iran should ever reverse course and insist it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself, the Security Council undoubtedly would reject that claim as well, and Yoo would not challenge its authority to do so.

Nonetheless, Yoo’s broad self-defense justification – based here on nothing more than his predicted shift in the “balance of power” in Iran’s part of the world – would leave the US free of any practical restraint. Instead of requiring Security Council approval for military intervention, it would permit the US to attack any country whenever it likes – unless and until the Security Council affirmatively rejects the US’ claimed justification. That, of course, will never happen. Unlike Saddam Hussein or Moammar Qaddafi, the US can veto any action by the Security Council. In effect, Yoo’s practically limitless definition of “self-defense” would transform the veto power of the Security Council’s permanent members from an annoying obstacle, as the US considers it when Russia or China (or France) opposes a military intervention proposed by the US, into a useful tool with which the US can prevent the Security Council from ever challenging its characterization of aggressive military action as self-defense.

Though Yoo’s prose sounds tough at times, his arguments lack the boldness necessary to give them any claim to validity. Most important, he does not recommend that the US withdraw from the UN, which would terminate its commitment to abide by the UN Charter. Yoo apparently prefers that the US remain a UN member but pick and choose among the burdens and benefits of membership. For example, he does not question the Security Council’s authority to adopt resolutions of which the US approves. Nor does he object when the US insists that other countries comply fully with those resolutions, or demands that even harsher resolutions be adopted. He does not complain that the UN Charter permits the US to veto any Security Council proposal it does not like – only that Russia and China are permitted to do the same thing. Yoo’s complaints about the UN are reserved for situations where the US desires military intervention but the Security Council declines to authorize it. Only then does he insist that the Security Council lacks “political legitimacy,” that its decision-making system is “crippled,” and that the US is being short-changed in its UN bargain because “the U.N. has no armed forces of its own.” That is when an unapproved US attack on another country, based on Yoo’s broad “balance of power” view of self-defense, strikes him as justified by the Security Council’s failure to recognize what is plain to Yoo: “global welfare” requires such an attack.

Yoo believes the US wasted precious time before the 2003 Iraq war. Initially it tried to fit its attack decision within a UN Charter framework, insisting that the Security Council’s 2002 resolution ordering the return of nuclear inspectors to Iraq (1441) was sufficient authorization for an attack, or that resolutions left over from the 1991 Gulf War (678 and 687) could be dusted off and used again. It even considered requesting explicit attack authority until its closest ally (Great Britain) advised that this would be futile. In the end, however, the US despaired of these efforts and fell back on its “self-defense” argument, appointed itself as the sole judge of that argument, and, not surprisingly, concluded that the argument was compelling.

Yoo worries that Barrack Obama might dawdle with Iran as his predecessor dawdled with Iraq, and he sees danger signs in Obama’s handling of the 2011 Libya uprising:

In Libya, Obama delayed launching the air war until the Security Council approved the intervention, allowing a popular revolution to metastasize into a prolonged, destructive civil war. The same craving for international approval may lead the administration to put off military action against Iran until it is too late.

If Obama will not act without seeking UN approval, Yoo thinks he should be replaced by someone who has laid the groundwork for Yoo’s plan to be carried out:

The United States has assumed the role, once held by Great Britain, of guaranteeing free trade and economic development, spreading liberal values, and maintaining international security. … The Republican presidential candidates should begin preparing the case now for this difficult but unavoidable challenge.

Whatever his views on Iran may be, however, any president or candidate may safely overlook John Yoo. He advocates nothing profound or complicated – merely that the US ignore its most important commitments under the UN Charter whenever they are inconvenient, while continuing to claim all benefits of UN membership. If this inconsistency does not bother the leader in question, he will feel no need for any thinker to provide a legal justification. If he does feel such a need, John Yoo will be of no use to him.



  1. Harald says:

    An unique article:

    An analysis of the events in the Arab world should take the Iranian perspective into account, argues Mahmoud Ayad

    The Arab Spring: Has Iran Passed its Peak of Power in the Middle East?


  2. Uncle Weasel says:

    OMG! That’s ME!! Am I having an out of body experience?


  3. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Foolish opposition from the Israel lobby wrecked the proposed nuclear exchange. I would be surprised, though, that Obama would try to block the Iranian IAEA application even if Iran shipped the 1200 kilos of 3.5% U to Turkey.

    It seems Obama’s grasp of the facts of the matter is incomplete.

  4. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Is Obama too sensitive to accusations (by foolish Republicans seeking presidential bid) he is appeasing “America’s enemies”?

    Or too sensitive to concerns of Democrats in US Congress facing re-election?

  5. Eric A. Brill: “This is hardly the first time that the US’ “backtracking” on Obama’s April 2010 letter to Brazil’s President Lula has been blamed on Iran’s announcement that it would soon begin enrichment to 20% on its own.”

    As I indicated in my last post, that isn’t even correct in the order of events. Iran threatened to enrich to 20% in December, 2009, and began doing so in January or February, 2010, just as they promised.

    And since Obama’s letter offering the deal came MUCH LATER than that, just before the Brazilians and Turks went to Iran to negotiate the deal, how Obama can claim that sequence of events is just ridiculous. It CLEARLY shows that he is manipulating the sequence of events to cover his exposure as a liar.

    “Other than the explanation Obama offered here, has there been any other US explanation offered for its disavowal of Obama’s April 2010 letter?”

    The explanation I read most was that Iran’s stockpile of LEU had increased so much during the months between the fall 2009 and negotiations and the May-June Tehran Declaration that the original deal, from the US perspective, was no longer useful. This of course was nonsense, but it was at least plausible nonsense. The problem with that notion is nothing stopped the US from going back to the negotiating table and requesting a higher percentage of the LEU under the terms of the Tehran Declaration.

    Clearly the problem for the US was that the Tehran Declaration specified that the LEU to be shipped out was to be stored in Turkey under IAEA seal, but that if the US reneged on the deal – which was the obvious point of the original deal – then Turkey would give the LEU back to Iran.

    This is another reason the US reneged on the Tehran Declaration. They claimed that “Iran would still own the LEU and not the IAEA” – which is not true. The deal said the IAEA would have the LEU under observation while in Turkey.

    As I’ve stated before about this, the notion that “Iranian ninjas would swoop down and recover the LEU even if the US gave them the fuel” was so much BS to cover the US basic deception that the US ever intended to give Iran the fuel.

  6. Canning: “thanks for link to Zakaria’s interview with Obama, which quotes Obama as saying that “when finally the Brazilian-Indian [sic] proposal was put forward, it was at a point where they were now delcaring they were about to move forward on 20-percent enriching uranium…”

    Obama doesn’t even have the sequence of events correct.

    In fall 2009 the negotiations over the TRR fuel were done. The Iranians accepted the deal in principle, but haggled about the conditions, since the conditions were bad. Obama told them it was “take it or leave it.”

    In return, Iran said it gave the US thirty days to reconsider or it would begin enriching to obtain the fuel itself. In return, the US threatened further sanctions.

    In late January or early February, Iran began to enrich to 20% since the US had not come back to the negotiating table.

    For the next two or three months, Obama pushed sanctions in the UN.

    Then Turkey and Brazil got their Tehran Declaration. By that time Iran had already been enriching to 20% for months.

    Then Obama got the sanctions approved in the UN.

    An aside for you, Canning: This was due to the stupidity of Russia and China who went along with it, for no other reason than to delay further action. It had nothing to do with fear of Iran enriching to 20%. Neither Russia nor China could care less about that.

    See, Obama is an inveterate liar. Nothing he says can be taken as truth. So he’s lying about the sequence of events to avoid being exposed as a liar about the deal he offered via Brazil and Turkey.

  7. Humanist: “Good news? ‘Obama recognizes Iran’s N-rights’ http://presstv.com/detail/222283.html

    Obama has always claimed this. What he doesn’t recognize is the central genuine right under the NPT and international law: the right to enrich.

    More interesting in that article are the questions raised about the CIA-Mossad cooperation.

    One question I’d like to see answered is how the CIA allegedly FOUND OUT that Mossad was posing as CIA in working with Jundallah. It’s not like Mossad would have told them. It pretty much implies that the CIA has contacts and assets inside Iran who are working with or at least approaching Jundallah directly.

    And are we supposed to believe the CIA has done nothing with the M.E.K., despite endless numbers of high-ranking US politicians trying to get them de-listed as terrorists? I find that one hard to believe.

  8. James Canning says:

    Let’s not forget David Addington, who served Dick Cheney by arguing that the president need observe virtually no boundaries, in pursuing delusional “war on terror”. “It’ Addington. He doesn’t care about the Constitution,” said Colin Powell (according to Jane Mayer’s profile of Addington in the New Yorker in 2006).


  9. James Canning says:


    Was I “defending” the expulsion of the Pontic Greeks, by Turkey? I was merely giving the reason the action was taken. In fact, Turkey injured itself severely by losing the Armenians and Greeks.

  10. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Empty says, “Therefore, directly responding to your question, my honest answer is that I do not have enough information to make a valid personal recommendation on the subject. I, therefore, yield to Ayatollah Khamenei.”

    Spoken like a true Shi’a.

    As I was trying to explain to a certain person whose name will be withheld to protect the guilty (but whose initials are fyi), the are two types of Shi’a (which, incidentally, means *follower*): imam and ma’mum (leader and lead or follower), and there are now two views regarding political authority thanks to Imam Khomeini’s movement: those who agree with teh concept of Velayat-e Faqih, and those who don’t. So, in this simple topology of the religion of the “followers” or Partisans [of ‘Ali], you have, for example, Ayatollah Jannati, who is an imam (he is a mujtahid as he has his own followers), and his ma’mums, those who are lead by him. He in turn believes in the system of the Guardianship of the Jurisconsult, so that, like Empty, he defers to Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Jurisconsult, on matters of state and national expediency, and the whole rule of law as defined by teh constitution, and carried out by the various branches of government. His followers do the same. Then you have someone like an Ayatollah Sistani, who is also an imam with his own followers, but who does not believe in the system of the Guardianship of the Jurisconsult. (He prefers to bide his time and await the return of the Mahdi, etc.). Now to his followers in Iran, he will advise to follow the law of the land. And so, putting aside the practically irrelevant question of legitimacy (irrelevant in practice), you will, I hope, have noted that the positions of marja’s or imams on both sides of the divide (of the innovation of the Guardianship of the Jurisconsult) amount to the same thing, namely, that ALL imams and maraaji’ within Iran, consider it incumbent upon themselves and their followers to follow the legally constituted system of governance and rule of law that is prevalent in the land, which means following the dictates and legislative product and output of the Islamic Shu’ra (the Majlis or Parliament) as a religious duty and obligation. And yes, this statement, in case you were wondering, applied to Ayatollah Montazeri during his years of internal exile and house arrest also. It does not apply to such personalities as Dr. Soroush and Mohsen Kadivar, the former of which is not a mujtahid and the latter of which is but is a minor one, but both of whom have removed themselves from the pale (thank you, Castellio) of Shi’a Islam, contra Sistani.

    Now talking of Sistani, the interesting thing is (at least as far as my understanding goes, and Empty, please correct me here or elaborate, as you know better) that if you ask him as an Iraqi, as your marja’ (source of ritual emmulation) what your position should be with regard to the whole issue of the Islamic Republic and its system of Guardianship, he will tell you that it is incumbent on you to follow the law of your own land (in this case, Iraq). But pay attention now, for this is where it gets really interesting. What if you were to say to him that you were in a position to *determine* that law. That you were an elected member of parliament and you represented your district, but that furthermore, you sat on or chaired the foreign policy committee, what then? Or what if you were to tell him that your name was Muqtada Sadr, and you head a vast population of millions, which includes a well-armed military wing? What if you were the Minister of Foreign Affairs? Or Nuri al=Maliki himself? (I am almost certain about Muqtada, and not quite as certain about Nuri, that Ayatollah Sistani is marja’ to both these gentlemen, so you can be sure that these conversations have actually taken place). What would his response be? Again, I cannot be certain, but I can say with a pretty high degree of confidence that he would respond by saying that you should as far as possible try to align your foreign policy to the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic, and he might even go so far as to say that where possible, you should defer to Ayatollah Khamenei in setting regional and global policy goals.

    Wa’llahu ya’lam.

  11. James Canning says:


    Yes, Palestine would be a “Muslim” country. But with protection for minorities.

  12. Castellio says:

    Rd at 1 pm… see my comments to Fiorangela at January 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    You’re making the mistake of thinking Yoo is talking beyond the parameters of legal discourse in the US. He isn’t.

    Why do you think the NDAA is acceptable law in the US? Do you think the Supreme Court will strike it down? Do you think they would do so unanimously? What would be the argument supporting the NDAA?

  13. My thanks to Richard for his link to Pepe Escobar’s exhaustive and often humorous review of US-Iran relations since 1953, culminating with his impressive debunking of current claims of Iran’s “growing isolation.” For anyone who may have missed it, it’s well worth reading.


  14. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Minorities of such people could live in Palestine – there used to be Sikhs living in Zahedan 30 years ago, but Palestine must be understood to be Muslim land.

    in the same sense that UK is a country of the English, by the English, for the English with a few Welshmen and Scotsman thrown in.

  15. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    You are defending the indefensibe – it was teh Turkish Republic – the “secular” state – that expelled the Pontic Greeks and not the Ottoman Empire.

  16. fyi says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says: January 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Ms. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy are almost certainly wrong in their expectation of Mr. Khamenei folding.

    I still the idea has been to scare some Iranians into removing Mr. Khamenei and Mr. Ahmadinejad from power – like Iran in 1953 and Chile in 1973.

    Again, once that also does not transpire – say at the end of 2013 – they will have to go to war or to de-escalete.

  17. James Canning says:


    Turkey expelled the Pontic “Greeks” because it did not want a repeat of Greece’s effort to annex a large portion of western Anatolia.

    Many Greeks were not expelled, but they had become Muslims.

    Russia hoped to annex eastern Anatolia, and was working with the Armenians to achieve this during the First World War.

    Did Russia expel the Muslims from Dagestan? Or from the other Muslim areas it annexed in the North Caucasus?

    After Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Muslims were not expelled.

  18. James Canning says:


    Iraqis Christians did well enough, prior to illegal and idiotic US/UK invasion in 2003.

    You have not explained by you think Buddhists, Jews, Chritians, should not be allowed to live in Palestine.

    I doubt your point of view holds much sway in Palestine.

  19. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    You live in a dream-world in which people’s identity is not tied to their religion; they can pick and choose.

    And Turkey did expel its Christian inhabitants – through massacre of Armenians and then, later, expulsion of the Pontic Greeks.

    The interesting is that these acts were inspired by the dominant Nation-State models of the Western Europe and not by the “Melliyat” system of the Muslim Ottomans.

    You see, traditional Muslim polities – before they tried to conform to European thno-linguistic state models – were more tolerant of the non-Muslims than anything that followed them.

    Case in point is Iran: the most successful multi-ethnic Muslim state in the workd.

  20. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    This sellout speaks, yet again, and Sanger anger eats it up.
    “From the perception of the Iranians, life may look better on the other side of the mushroom cloud,” said Ray Takeyh.

  21. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: January 21, 2012 at 7:39 am

    The Iranian interest is for US to be evicted from the region.

    But Iran does not have the power to do so – it is US actions as well as the natural course of events (Arab Spring, for example) that is causing reduction of US interest.

    I expect US to remain in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and distantly in Egypt and Pakistan.

    I expect that US needs Iran not to cause any major event that would help drag US back into the Middle East and pin her down.

    US has stated her 2 red-lines: Freedom of Navigation in and out of the Persian Gulf and No nuclear weapon in Iran.

    Iranians have stated that 1- building nuclear weapons is against Islam and 2- that they will not close the Straits of Hormuz until and unless the survival of the Iranian state is at risk.

    I believe this, together with Mr. Obama’s statement to Mr. Zakaria that there should be a limit to the amount of enriched nuclear material in Iran at any given tim, is a way forward.

    To wit: a nuclear deal is made and the UNSC sanctions are removed.

    US will continue with her sanctions – since she cannot remove them due to the degeneration of her internal politics – and Iranians will consolidate in Iraq, Syria, North and Northwest Afghanistan.

    This will be a tactical understanding as US cannot put much else on the table except the UNSC sanctions’ removal.

    The alternative for US is war.

  22. James Canning says:


    Are you suggesting Turkey should expel its Christian citizens? Syria should expel its Christians?

    You argue, or point out, that Iran is protective of its Jews. Why then do you seem to think Jews should not live in Palestine?

  23. Sakineh Bagoom says:


    I posted this a couple of days ago, but never saw it go through, so here it is again.

    Great job exposing John Yoo Eric!

    Here is a how I see his article though: this article serves a purpose in that, along with other articles such as Kroenig’s hatchet job which I already see referenced in dozens of articles promoting his views, is put out there for those whom want to make a case for war. See, a scholar said so, so it must be true.

    To warmongers, these article have a weight of 10, but their refutation/rebuttal 0.1. In the articles mentioning Kroeing, they rarely if ever reference his total take down by Walt.

    So, while it is a great effort to expose these yahoos (or is it Yoos?), I’d be interested to see how many articles site the refutation/rebuttal.

    From my vantage point, your efforts are greatly appreciated Eric!

  24. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 21, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    You do not comprehend Muslim polities; foisting on them a late 20=h century European Model as being normative.

    Why did the Kings of Europe have such titles as “His Most Christian Majesty”, “His Most Catholic Majesty” etc.?

    Application of a narrow (and limited in the historical sense) of West European models to Mulsim polities has been a major cause of conceptually bad politics by foreigners as well as Mulsims.

  25. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Empty jaan,
    Thank you for your reply!
    In my haste before receiving your reply, I went ahead and called the forwarding number, come to realize, it points to 1-800-GetTheF…OutOfDodge. 
    Now I see I should have been patient and waited for your reply. 
    Patience does have its virtues. 
    Now, back to the subject at hand…

  26. James Canning says:

    Xinhua reports that China has urged Iran to engage with the Six Powers as soon as possible, and also urged Iran to strengthen its cooperation with the IAEA.
    China also this week reiterated its complete opposition to any nuclear weapons development by Iran.

  27. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    How interesting that some of the diplomats for the major powers suggest Iran should be asked to cease producing 20% U, at least temporarily. But continue with the 3.5% production. Iran, of course, offered to cease producting the 20% U.

  28. Empty says:


    Yes. I think the significance of his leadership in terms of Iran’s independence and progress, and his successful political navigation through some of the toughest periods in Iran’s history, given the sheer number and might of Iran’s adversaries from without and shortsightedness of some from within, will become truly evident some 20-30 years from now.

  29. James Canning says:


    I agree the Brazil-Turkey deal did not contemplate Iran’s then going forward with enriching to 20%, and in fact this was an inherent part of the deal.

    Do we assume the blunder not to push the deal, is partly the fault of Hillary Clinton?

  30. Empty says:

    Sakineh Bagoom,

    I see. We have a problem then. Unfortunately, I am just as ill equipped to dispense recommendations about personal relationships as I am with US-Iran relations. Also, I’ve learned that the surest way to lose a friend is to give advice on relationship matters. Even better, once I got in the middle of what I perceived to be a physical abuse between a man and a woman. Having succeeded to calm things down and sent the lovely souls on their merry way, and having congratulated myself in being such a wonderful human being, I came to realize half an hour later that my money, ID cards, and the like had disappeared. Nowadays, I first put away all my valuables before I begin to act as a peacekeeper.

  31. This excerpt from Fareed Zakaria’s recent interview of President Obama is interesting:

    “And [Iran] delayed and they delayed [in late 2009 and early 2010], and they hemmed and they hawed, and then when finally the Brazilian-Indian proposal was put forward, it was at a point where they were now declaring that they were about to move forward on 20% enriched uranium, which would defeat the whole purpose of showing good faith that they weren’t stockpiling uranium that could be transformed into weapons-grade.”

    This is hardly the first time that the US’ “backtracking” on Obama’s April 2010 letter to Brazil’s President Lula has been blamed on Iran’s announcement that it would soon begin enrichment to 20% on its own. That has never struck me as a plausible explanation. The Brazilian-Indian proposal clearly contemplated that Iran would not go forward with its 20% enrichment plans, and, to my knowledge, Iran never suggested it would proceed down such parallel paths if the Brazilian-Indian proposal had been permitted to go forward.

    Other than the explanation Obama offered here, has there been any other US explanation offered for its disavowal of Obama’s April 2010 letter?


  32. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Empty says: January 21, 2012 at 2:14 pm
    Empty jaan,
    I am all too lowly a person to be speaking on behalf of nations. It was of course personal. Please advise. 

  33. kooshy says:

    Empty says:

    January 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I agree and think Ayatollah Khamenei has done a very well job of leadership navigating Iran’s external and internal policies cementing Iran’s independence mostly in a profound hostile environment. With having a special focus on advancing Iran technologically, considering the time obstacles and circumstances which continuously were created by Iran’s enemies.

  34. Empty says:

    Before I send you on an endless quest, let me become clear….was that “yes” to #29 for yourself, or for the Iranian people, or for the American people?

  35. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Empty says: January 21, 2012 at 8:25 am
    Empty jaan,
    I answered yes to no. 29 and 30, so I called Call 1-800-SNAPOUTOFIT, but there was a forwarding no to 1-800-GetYourHeadOutOfTheSand. Do you recommend calling them?

  36. James Canning says:


    Zbigniew Brzezinski thinks China may be able to promote global stability if the US is obliged to lessen its role due to economic decline. If the US greatly reduces its foolishly excessive military commitments in the greater Middle East, it actually will help to strengthen the American economy.

    So, when you argue for getting the US out of the Middle East, you are arguing in favor of a stronger American economy (assuming a substantial reduction in the US military presence in the ME can be accomplished).

  37. James Canning says:

    Did Obama tell Zakaria that Iran would have gone forwardd with enriching to 20%, even if the “nuclear exchange” had gone through, in order to obtain cover for having vurtually forced Iran to enrich to 20%? Is the idea to make it appear Iran intended to begin enriching to 20% even if the IAEA application to re-fuel the TRR had been approved?

  38. James Canning says:


    Is there any reason the citizens of Palestine cannot be Jews, or Buddhists? Palestinians should be able to be of any faith, subject to compliance with the laws of the country. The same should obtain in Israel, of course.

  39. James Canning says:


    I was confident we would see an apoloby from Adler, as soon as the report got onto the mondoweiss site (that Adler had suggested Mossad could take out Obama, to clear the way for an attack on Iran).

  40. James Canning says:


    thanks for link to Zakaria’s interview with Obama, which quotes Obama as saying that “when finally the Brazilian-Indian [sic] proposal was put forward, it was at a point where they were now delcaring they were about to move forward on 20-percent enriching uranium…”

    This is an interesting statement. Does Obama actually think Iran would have gone forward with enriching to 20%, if the “nuclear exchange” proposed by Turkey and Brazil had gone through? Is that what Obama was told by Hillary Clinton?

  41. kooshy says:

    A used car dealer may come handy

    “Andrew Adler, ‘Atlanta Jewish Times’ Publisher, Apologizes For Obama Assassination Comments”


  42. Empty says:


    This was the video in the link posted by Fiorangela. I re-titled it as: “America and Israel: A Marriage Made in Heaven”


  43. Empty says:


    I had US-Israel relation in mind when posting that as I had just watched the video Fiorangela had posted. However, if you felt the questions also resonate with Iran-US relations and your answers are a genuine “no” to every single one of them, then, that’s fine, too.

    Personally, in terms of Iran-US relations and what is and what is not appropriate, what conditions are right, how authentic given gestures are, and which are deceptive tactics and which are not, I am not privy to a lot of intelligence information as some in the position of leadership in Iran are to make an informed comment and recommendation in terms of whether it is in Iran’s best interest to have a relationship with the US or not. I genuinely respect and trust Ayatollah Khamenei’s evaluation and assessment and yield to what he would say. As far as I know, he continues to insist that a) discussions must be based on mutual respect without any pre-conditions and coercion, and b) deeds speak louder than words. I believe that stance to be quite reasonable and in line with my belief system.

    Therefore, directly responding to your question, my honest answer is that I do not have enough information to make a valid personal recommendation on the subject. I, therefore, yield to Ayatollah Khamenei.

  44. James Canning says:


    Thanks for underlining the foolish-byond-belief Republican Party contention that Israel is not occupying the West Bank or the Golan Heights. Stooges of Israeli Zionist extremists clearly are in control of the Republican Party these days.

  45. Rd. says:

    Castellio says:

    “Oh R.D.!! You really have this so wrong… The guy is a professor at University of California, Berkeley. Yoo doesn’t represent the “mouth breathers”, he represents current academic discourse in the elite American academy.”


    I understand your point that he is part of the elite and is providing them with his definition of a legal cover to do their killings. Ultimately, his audience is the masses who have to be willing to sacrifice their sons and daughters as well as their treasurer. This one of the many passages;

    It has also supported attacks on our embassies and military bases in places such as Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, planned to kill ambassadors on American soil, and of course taken our diplomatic officials hostage.

    Are the elites really that dumb founded, to go for such logic (not that it would surprise me)? This construct,

    “….. , ….., planned to kill ambassadors on American soil, and of course taken our diplomatic officials hostage”

    speaks volume on his approach to create justification. Not that the masses will be reading his drivel, but it becomes ammunition for the foxes and rushes, cnn etc. to lead the ignorant to support his blood thirst. This yoo yoo knows what he is doing. He is not worried about some inteligencia debunking his twisted logic. He is breathing right into his mouth breathers.

  46. BiBiJon says:

    Empty says:
    January 21, 2012 at 8:25 am

    “If you find yourself answering “yes” to the following questions (for yourself or on behalf of a people/nation), you (your nation) may be suffering from a traumatic bonding syndrome. The more the number of “yes” answers, the more severe your (your nation’s) condition is. Call 1-800-SNAPOUTOFIT.”

    Dear empty, 30 nos.

    Going by your quotes of the holy Qur’an, it is incumbent on Iran to accept peace if offered even by her worst enemy, though further cautioned to be vigil and watch the former enemy’s every move.

    The question is what is in Iran’s interests? Does it continue to be amicable relation with all nations (except one)?

  47. Castellio says:

    Stay. Breath. Stay.

  48. Fiorangela says:
    January 21, 2012 at 9:18 am

    “James — thanks for the link to Eric Brill’s article about Bob Kerrey. I was not aware of Kerrey’s past…”


    Incidentally, as you’ll suspect from the very first paragraph of my long piece on Bob Kerrey (which opens with a brief description of the 2005 Haditha massacre], last week’s story about American soldiers urinating on Taliban corpses did not shock me — saddened me, but did not shock me:


    “Haditha, Iraq, November 19, 2005. Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas was lying in two pieces in the road, and the men who had detonated the bomb were undoubtedly nearby – probably watching, almost certainly armed. Sergeant Frank Wuterich was in charge and he was new at this, seven years a Marine but never in combat. A taxi approached the scene a few minutes later and the driver stopped. He and his four passengers, male college students returning to school in Baghdad, were dragged out and ordered to kneel. A quick search turned up no weapons, but one of the students displayed something nearly as objectionable: “attitude.” He talked back. Not for long, though. Wuterich shot him, and then the other four men, all in the back. Wuterich says they had been running away, but other Marines deny this and photographs show five bloody bodies beside the taxi. All dead? Sergeant Sannick Dela Cruz later would make sure. As local Iraqis watched, he pumped more bullets into the fallen men and urinated on the head of one of them – the one with “attitude.” A witty fellow Marine nicknamed Dela Cruz “The Urinator.”


  49. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:

    Question for the board: How should Iran deal with the deescalation?

    The west, I believe, is fresh out of chips it can possibly put on the table. It has failed to destabilize Iran.

    The question on the Iran side may be; Are they out of chips or just buying time?

    Sarkozy is up for election, obama is up for election and for all we know they need to keep things stable for this year. Once they have new cards, they’ll be back with their nonsense.

    However, to answer your question, a hint to consider a TEMPORARY stop of the %20 enrichment for a period of six month in lieu of delivered isotopes during such time.

    I don’t think there should be any other options/choices to consider. This makes it perfectly clear to every one around the world what are the gives and takes. Once this step is accomplished, then move on to next..

  50. Rehmat says:

    “Republican fruitcakes, who increasingly talk about rising US debt and irresponsible government spending, forget it’s their wars, choreographed with Israel, that have bankrupted America,” Aijaz Zaka Syed, a Gulf-based commentator.

    A few days ago, Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Livia Leu Agosti delivered a letter from US President Barack Obama to Iranian leaders. Agosti had told the Iranian officials that President Barack Obama recognizes Iran’s right of access and use of the nuclear technology. However, he clarified that Obama is not in the position to declare it publically during his re-election campaign.

    “I didn’t want to impose sanctions on your central bank but I had no options but to approve it since a Congress majority had approved the decision,” asserted Obama.

    Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said on Sunday that Iran has received a US message regarding the Strait of Hormoz via three different channels.

    “The US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice had handed a letter to Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Mohammad Khazayee; the Swiss Ambassador to Tehran (Livia Leu Agosti) also conveyed the same thing; and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani delivered the same message to Iranian officials,” he said last Sunday.

    As I posted several times before – The US problem with Iran is not later’s nuclear program – But maintaining US-Israel dominance in the Muslim East. Anyone who dares to defy it or even betrays a streak of independence will face the Empire’s wrath.

    Since the collapse of USSR as a world superpower in the 1990s – Washington has been taken over by a group of pro-Israel Zionists known as “neocons”. Several neoconservatives came together to form the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). This think tank was to become extremely influential in the Bush Administration. Many of them are still leading Obama administration through their friends in the Congress and Jewish-Zionist think tanks toward wars against Muslim world for the benefit of Israel.


  51. Unknown Unknowns says:


    Further to your question… this from Nasemroaya’s latest article on voltairenet.org.

    “To the Iranians, however, the gestures are meaningless, because the Obama Administration’s actions with Iran have always contradicted its words. Moreover, Iran believes that the U.S. will not attack, because it knows that the costs of a war with an opponent like Iran are too high and its consequences far too risky.”

    Until the time when Obama shows that he is not just a ZOG House Nigger by, for example, putting an end to the Presidential Findings that he put into play which intensified the covert war (see Philip Girardi’s articles), or by stopping the funding and arming of the Salafist scum in Syria, its the snooze button and Bedtime for this Bonzo.

  52. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I think Press TV is being a little disingenuous when it complains of censorship by Britain’s Ofcomm. After all, it is basically a branch of the Iranian government, which (rightly) has no qualms about censorship. (When I say rightly, I am talking about the principle, not its extent or the choices made…) Every state will resort to censorship if and when it deems its basic security to be threatened by the offending material. That Western nations do not feel this need as acutely has to do with reasons of historical development, and in no way takes away from the basic point that they will censor (and take all sorts of other measures they feel necessary) to protect the status quo and the health of the state. Rather, what Press TV should point out is the hypocrisy of any position that holds that they do not censor anything. This is not supported by the facts, and Press TV is a good case in point.

  53. Unknown Unknowns says:

    From a guest writer on atimes. Looks like the straight-jacket aipac forced the executive branch through the legislative (to lay down their final card on the table, the sanctioning of the Islamic Republic’s central bank), has turned out to be a dud. After going into details of Geitner’s vailed visits to Turkey, China, Japan and India (all of whom, together with South Korea and of course South Africa, have turned thier backs on the US requests, the article states:

    “According to Ikuko Kurahone and Dmitry Zhdannikov of the International Business Times, Italian, Spanish and Greek companies have strangely extended most of their oil supply deals with Iran for the current year, which means the greater bulk of Iran’s supply to the European Union would reasonably be exempted from sanctions for at least the entire 2012.

    “The financial market sources revealed that Italy’s Saras (SRS.MI), ERG (ERG.MI) Iplom, Greece’s Hellenic (HEPr.AT) as well as Spain’s Repsol (REP.MC) had either extended or have not canceled exiting contracts with Iran for 2012. Some stock market traders told Reuters reporters that they have kept their two-year deals with Iran. A trader working with an Italian company stated: “At the moment, it is business as usual.” ”

    So, on one hand, the ultimate sanctions, it seems pretty certain, will do nothing but to unite Iran against the hegemon, and on the other, the hegemon does not want to commit economic, diplomatic and political suicide by attacking and killing Iran. That will not help it resolve the problem that is has, which is the Islamic Republic’s challenge to its erstwhile position of unassailable superiority. As a matter of fact, this latest development simply gave more credibility to the Iranian claim that the US is NOT invincible, that its best days are behind it, and now is the time, [O ye Moslems] to rise up and demand your independence.

    Time is on Iran’s side, and that gradient will steepen in 2012 in a big way.

  54. Humanist says:

    Good news?

    ‘Obama recognizes Iran’s N-rights’


  55. settman says:

    no fan of zakaria’s often naive and ignorant view regarding the middle east but he points out the obvious. US will not accomplish anything by the current approach to Iran and thats why US refuse to negogiate, refuse to give Iran anything back.

    Also note on the above link how obama refuse to approach his rejection of turkey-brazil-iran deal. Put all the blame on Iran. Ridiculous.

  56. Fiorangela says:

    James — thanks for the link to Eric Brill’s article about Bob Kerrey. I was not aware of Kerrey’s past; in the conference I’m studying, Kerrey was lauded by a member of the audience, who asked the audience to join in applause for Kerrey’s “service.” The audience applauded.


    RSH — using a broad brush covers more area quickly but obliterates details that could made all the difference.


    Castellio — you provided much to think about, not least, the caution to avoid sloppy language. The struggle to move activity in brain to useful words on paper persists.

    I’m out of here. I’m way beyond my depth. I have come to love the Iranian people and culture, and it is too heartbreaking to be impotent to halt the horror my country is determined to heap on them.

  57. Fiorangela says:

    additional information on the Republican platform re Israel: the devil is in the details. I missed an important point in stating blandly that the policy calls for One State. The policy states:

    “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of this body support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.”

    in other words, it might have been written by John Yoo; Israel IS occupying the lands of others; that occupation IS contrary to international law.

  58. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    LOL…no, that book must have gotten it from the same place this list came…

  59. Leaving aside the dream world of “de-escalation”, Gary Sick has his analysis of what’s happening, which consists in my opinion of more “grasping at straws”…

    Stealth Engagement?

    He hypothesizes that either the US government is completely messed up and has no clue what to do about Iran…OR that Obama and Clinton are geniuses who are running a three-way game to handle all their disparate audiences – Iran, Israel, and the US public.

    I was considering analyzing this stuff, but frankly it’s just more of the same crap we get every time “negotiations” are brought up…


    Otherwise, it’s just ruminant evacuation…

  60. Unknown Unknowns says:


    Did you get that list from Men are from Mars and Women are from Penis?

  61. Fiorangela says:

    According to Adam Horowitz at Mondoweiss, this advert is the opening volley in Obama’s appeal to Jewish voters; it spells out the Democratic party/Obama position on Israel (and by extension, Iran)

    Obama’s position on Israel throughout his first term and declared in the ad is for a Two State solution, a position that Netanyahu endorses, as Bibi states in the ad, but which is a physical impossibility.

    DailyKos is a major website whose declared mission is to advocate for Democratic party candidates and policies. Yesterday, this assessment of the Republican party position on Israel was reviewed on DailyKos (the title is in the words of the author of the article):

    Republicans Call for Destruction of Israel

    In essence, the Republican platform calls for democratic government of all the people of the region — one state in which all the people in it have equal rights. The definition of the region is based on bible verses, cited in the Republican policy statement.

    Ron Paul looking better by the minute. Ron Paul + Mitch Daniel as VP (there has been speculation that Obama would choose Hillary Clinton to replace Biden as VP).

  62. Empty says:

    If you find yourself answering “yes” to the following questions (for yourself or on behalf of a people/nation), you (your nation) may be suffering from a traumatic bonding syndrome. The more the number of “yes” answers, the more severe your (your nation’s) condition is. Call 1-800-SNAPOUTOFIT.

    1) Do you obsess about people who have hurt you even through they are long gone?

    2) Do you continue to seek contact with people whom you know will cause you further pain?

    3) Do you go “overboard” to help people who have been destructive to you?

    4) Do you continue to be a “team” member when obviously things are becoming destructive?

    5) Do you continue attempts to get people to like you who are clearly using you?

    6) Do you trust people again and again who are proven to be unreliable?

    7) Are you unable to retreat from unhealthy relationships?

    8) Do you try to be understood by those who clearly do not care?

    9) Do you choose to stay in conflict with others when it would cost you nothing to walk away?

    10) Do you persist in trying to convince people that there is a problem and they are not willing to listen?

    11) Are you loyal to people who have betrayed you?

    12) Do you attract untrustworthy people?

    13) Have you kept damaging secrets about exploitation or abuse?

    14) Do you continue contact with an abuser who acknowledges no responsibility?

    15) Do you find yourself covering up, defending, or explaining a relationship?

    16) When there is a constant pattern of non-performance in a relationship, do you continue to expect them to follow through anyway?

    17) Do you have repetitive, destructive fights that are no win for anybody?

    18) Do you find that others are horrified by something that has happened to you and you are not?

    19) Do you obsess about showing someone that they are wrong about you, your relationship, or their treatment of you?

    20) Do you feel stuck because you know what the other is doing is destructive, but you believe you cannot do anything about it?

    21) Do you feel loyal to someone even though you harbor secrets that are damaging to others?

    22) Do you move closer to someone you know is destructive to you even though you do not trust, like or care for the person?

    23) Does someone’s talents, charisma, or contributions cause you to overlook destructive, exploitive, or degrading acts?

    24) Do you find you cannot detach from someone even though you do not trust, like or care for the person?

    25) Do you find yourself missing a relationship, even to the point of nostalgia and longing, that was so awful it almost destroyed you?

    26) Are extraordinary demands placed on you to measure up as a way to cover up exploitation?

    27) Do you keep secret someone’s destructive behavior because of all of the good they have done or the importance of their position or career?

    28) Does your relationship have contacts or promises that have been broken which you are asked to overlook?

    29) Are you attracted to “dangerous” people?

    30) Do you stay in a relationship longer than you should?

  63. Fiorangela says:

    re post at 7:51 am

    small sign of hope: the ad did NOT conclude with the perfunctory “I am Barack Obama and I approve this message.”

    One speculates that Obama is being boxed into the positions advertised in the video; the advert is Axelrod’s pre-emptive strike.

  64. BiBiJon says:

    Question for the board: How should Iran deal with the deescalation?

    (of) course change you can believe in (for a change)


    I had 3 replies to above post and thank you(s)

    Fiorangela wrote (@January 18, 2012 at 9:06 am) that Iran should continue her present course. saying:

    “Ahmadinejad has already thrown out the first pitches –

    On Apr 17 2010 Ahmadinejad convened a summit meeting in Tehran to discuss disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation. :http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1982962,00.html

    On Dec 24 2011 Ahmadinejad met with Armenian leaders who then issued a joint statement stressing that that ALL states have the right to peaceful use of nuclear technology and that all states should respect the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty. :http://www.armtown.com/news/en/azg/20111224/2011122401

    20% James agreed with Fio (@January 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm)

    Unknown Unknowns wrote (@January 18, 2012 at 9:49 am)

    “’tis a case of counting your chicken-hawks before they hatch [at the end of paaeez.]”


    My excuse for persisting, other than certifiable optimism, is that I think it would be a great shame if roles were reversed and it was Iran that became deaf to the other side screaming ‘yes’.

    The west, I believe, is fresh out of chips it can possibly put on the table. It has failed to destabilize Iran. And, even though the nuclear issue was a pretext, nonetheless the West has failed to dent Iran’s resolve and steady progress in peaceful pursuit of nuclear technology.

    My question concerns Iran vs U.S. I believe USG has concluded she needs Iran’s help in the region for the time being. This is probably a tactical move. But still the choices are clear. Either Iran will listen to their wishlist and accommodate some of them, or should Iran press a perceived advantage and evict the US from the region?

    What is more in Iran’s interests: US come, or US go?

  65. Unknown Unknowns says:


    LMAO = Laughed my ass off :D

  66. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Thanks again for the links you provided. Although there was no direct mention (or indirect mention, for that matter) of the affair, I agree with you that it would have been uncharacteristic and contrary to the Rahbar’s principles to offer concessions in a letter without first having seen actual changes of behavior on the ground (i.e., that can’t be weaseled out of). So today, it is the same as it ever was: Uncle Sam continues to do its worst, and the Islamic Republic refuses to cry Uncle.

    I was fascinated to read in the same speech the following almost prophetic insight:
    (Ayatollah Khamenei, for non-Persian speakers, predicts the Islamic Awakening 10 years ago.)

    عنصر پنجم، گسترش موج بيدارى اسلامى در دنياست. اين‏كه متظاهرانه بگويند ما اسلام را قبول داريم، بنيادگرايى را قبول نداريم، اين ناشى از همان سطحى‏نگرى و تحليلهاى ناشيانه‏اى است كه اينها غالباً از دنياى اسلام داشتند و چوبش را هم خورده‏اند. امروز موج بيدارى اسلامى يك واقعيت جدّى و يك حقيقت غيرقابل انكار است. امروز مسلمانها احساس مى‏كنند كه مى‏توانند در دنيا، در وضعيت بشر، در سرنوشت خود، اثرگذار باشند. وقتى اين احساس در ملتها به يك نقطه معيّنى برسد، تبلور و تجسّم خواهد يافت و تبديل به واقعيتها خواهد شد. اين را مى‏دانند و از اين نگرانند.

  67. Empty says:

    …expect to have their cake and eat it “too”, rather.

  68. Empty says:


    “is that how difficult this whole situation has been for the dual citizens of this two competing countries, no matter if is an American married to an Iranian and now living in Iran or an Iranian naturalized citizen of US who chose to live here.”

    I am glad you brought this up. While your statement aims to appeal to people’s emotion, I’d like to the opportunity to qualify your statement with specific facts:

    1. There is no such thing as “dual citizenship” in the Iranian laws. According to the civil code of 989, citizenship of another country is not recognized by Iran so long as Iranians choose to hold an Iranian passport. There are some provisions in the law for foreign national children and spouses of Iranian citizens which is quite different. Otherwise, while the Iranian government has mostly tolerated this, holding two passports by an Iranian is unlawful and anyone who does so also recognizes (or should recognize) there are consequences.

    2. There are people who enjoy certain conveniences offered through holding two passports (mostly for travel) but must also recognize that every decision has its own price and they are not certainly entitled to a cost-free convenience. Some expect to have their cake and eat it to at the same time. I personally file such expectations under “greed” category.

    3. The tolerance by the Iranian government may not be too wise for the Iranians living in Iran as evidence shows an easy access to saboteurs and covert agents. On the other hand, what goes around could come around.

  69. kooshy says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    What is mostly lost and not often understood and rarely is touched up on even by gentle persons in the rank of Fior (god bless her), is that how difficult this whole situation has been for the dual citizens of this two competing countries, no matter if is an American married to an Iranian and now living in Iran or an Iranian naturalized citizen of US who chose to live here.

  70. Castellio says:


    what is LMAO?

  71. deathtoiran says:

    “One shot at the desalination plant that supplies water for Riyadh and you have to hire tankers to carry water there.”

    If Iran wants to go that route than I would say every last bit of their infrastructure would be fair game.

  72. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Thanks for your excellent post. I must have missed your earlier offer to elaborate. I will follow up on the sites you linked, but yes, now that you mention it, it makes no sense for a letter of any official capacity to be faxed, let alone one of such importance. So thank you for disabusing me of that error.


    Kooshy says, “In this current propaganda environment which is created by the west to demonize Iran, no unrealistic claim will be allowed to be publicly refuted in a meaningful way.”

    Very well put. Jolly good.

    fyi says:

    “One shot at the desalination plant that supplies water for Riyadh and you have to hire tankers to carry water there.”

    Yes, that particular achilles’ heel had not occured to me. People in glass houses should not throw stones…

    “And Al Aqaqqiyah, Ra’as Al Tanur, etc. are very important sites to US global poistion that cannot be defended – even though US has been putting anti-missile batteries there.”

    Yes, anti-missile batteries can and will be overwhelemd by decoys or duds, but even those won’t be wasted on targets such as these, as important as they are. These will be hit by sea to surface missiles from launchers mounted on supercharged speedboats purchased from Her Majesty’s Government.

    “You will be nailed down in the Middle East – doing garrison duty – being the little happy Goy that is defending the Jewish Fantasies – while others are passing you by, saying ” good-bye”.”

    Nicely put.

    “You are only one small incident, one act of extreme provocation away from having your global position destroyed.:

    Yes. Going back to your earlier response, Uncle Weasel of the 1950’s would have an eye gouged out or a limb torn off by today’s Iran, but Uncle Weasel of today would, I think it is safe to say, also be “killed”. It is the new MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction).


    Fior says, “Maybe Iranians ex pats could get Dershowitz to file suit against Israel & US.
    Pro bono.”

    The pro bono was pure genius. LMAO.

  73. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela writes: I can’t figure out why such a seemingly inherently intelligent and finely educated person would succumb to the dark and irrational interpretation of the law that he does.

    I don’t understand three of your terms, “inherently intelligent”, “finely educated”, and “succumb to the dark and irrational”.

    Isn’t everyone inherently intelligent? Or better yet, isn’t intelligence only in the action which makes it so?

    Do you really think that Harvard (American history) and Yale (law school) make ‘finely educated’. I certainly don’t, and I’m not being cute. One ends up an idealist (‘intelligence’ determines all) with a positivist vocabulary (we only deal with facts) that lays the foundation of a terrifying schizophrenia where morality is what we think it is and that’s a fact.

    I can assure you that Yoo does not think he has succumbed to the dark, but rather believes he recognizes the President of the United States as the final back stop and safefuard of morality against the powers of dark.

    That is, the system can’t be invented that is inherently moral, morality in only in the man, and hence the choosing of the moral man is the role of the system (this is where the positivism and idealism merge). The President is constitutionally chosen to be the moral man.

    Thus, given that responsibility, and given Yoo’s understanding of the situation in the Middle East, the President should now prepare for war. It is his constitutional responsibility.

    In Yoo’s mind, the dark side is all those who would question what he now knows to be true, having studied American History at Harvard and Law at Yale, and that is, in a nutshell, that Western values represent the highest point in the evolution of civilized man, that America represents the continuation of western values in a highly chaotic world, and that the President of the US is the person mandated with the moral responsibility to both defend and promote those values.

    Thus, if the President thinks it necessary to torture the child of a terrorist to get information to save the nation, Yoo thinks that would be a choice the US President is not only free to lawfully make, but is mandated by law to to make according to the best interests of the state. Yoo would argue that while it is a ‘burden’ for the President to have to make such decisions, it is certainly his legal right to make them.


  74. Major powers divided on approach to Iran


    A central issue is whether the group might ask Iran to cease enriching uranium to the higher level of 20 percent but allow it, at least for a time, to continue enriching at lower levels – a stance partly at odds with the group’s past positions.

    Multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions have called on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment and related activities, and the P5+1 group has taken the view that it must suspend such activities during any serious negotiation.

    To permit Iran, even for a period, to enrich at lower levels would be something of a concession by world powers, although they have previously offered a temporary “freeze-for-freeze” in which Iran would halt expansion of its nuclear program and the major powers would not pursue additional sanctions.

    Diplomats said the United States favored the idea while others were more skeptical.

    Asked why some members of the group might be willing to let Iran continue to enrich at lower levels, at least for a period, one diplomat said it reflected a desire to give diplomacy every possible chance to succeed.

    “That really is the crux of it. You want to be able to say that you pursued every option diplomatically to try to get Iran to halt its program,” he said.


    Daryl Kimball of the Washington-based Arms Control Association said he understood that the United States and others in the group were prepared to propose a halt to enrichment at the 20-percent level and, probably, the removal of some or all of the stock of such material that Iran has already produced.

    In exchange, the P5+1 would provide fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, essentially updating a proposal it put forward in October 2009, before Iran was known to have begun enriching to the 20-percent level.

    “This proposal is being presented as an additional confidence-building step,” Kimball said. “It does not represent backsliding.”

    A diplomat said that proponents of the idea would argue that the nations negotiations with Iran had not softened their terms and that Iran must still suspend all its enrichment-related activities during any serious negotiation.

    “It’s just an issue of sequencing,” he said, reflecting the view of advocates. The counter-argument, he said, was that the Iranians might simply “pocket” such a proposal as a concession allowing them to continue enriching.

    Diplomats have long said it made no sense to allow Iran to continue its suspect nuclear activities during talks because Tehran could stall the negotiations while perfecting its technology and advancing toward nuclear capability.

    End Quotes

    There is no way this is going to work.

    First, any deal requiring Iran to ship out all or most of its 20% enriched uranium would be subject to the same problems the original 2009 deal was – namely, that Iran would have no guarantees it would ever get any of it back.

    Second, since Iran still will not get any guarantee that its sovereign right to enrich would ever be respected, Iran has no reason whatever to agree to a temporary suspension, especially if the only “gift” the West is prepared to offer is not to seek ADDITIONAL sanctions over the already punitive sanctions the West is imposing.

    These talks will go absolutely no where – and thus be grounds for the West proposing an economic BLOCKADE of Iran – which will be an act of war. And that is what these talks are being proposed to accomplish – move forward toward war.

  75. Worth the read for info on another of Obama’s “diplomats” in the Gulf…

    Moronic Marine Killers


    Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling . . . You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.

    General James Mattis, February 3, 2005

    On January 18 he was in Bahrain at the invitation of that country’s dictator, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the despot who last year crushed protests against his totalitarian regime with murderous energy.

    Moronic Mattis, who appears to be the US State Department spokesman on policy in the Persian Gulf, “lauded the steps taken by the kingdom to implement the National Consensus Dialogue visions for the sake of enhancing democracy in the kingdom through promoting social partnership in the decision-making process. He also commended the crucial role played by the Kingdom in the Middle East peace process.”

    End Quote

  76. kooshy says:

    Eric A. Brill says:

    “Somewhere north of 0%, but well south of 1%.”

    Thanks Eric, with that kind of odds, I think I fair better at California lottery, I thought this could be easy money or at least a possible auction on a few artifacts from Metropolitan.

  77. James Canning says:
    January 20, 2012 at 6:54 pm


    Thank you for the link. I’ll read it.

  78. Tariq Ali: Obama’s Expansion of Af-Pak War “Has Blown Up in His Face”

    As an aside, Pakistan’s foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, is a good-looking babe…

  79. From the embassy closing article:

    Many Syrian opposition activists already are concerned about signs of a creeping Islamization of the revolt, and they have warned that the failure of the West to intervene will open the door to Islamists, threatening the kind of destabilization that took hold in Iraq following the U.S. invasion there.

    Oh, please don’t throw me in that briar patch! Same ploy as done in Libya…

  80. Official: American arrested in Syria

    Just what Obama needs – a cause celebre over an arrested American in Syria…

    Wonder what happened? The CIA plant a rumor in Syrian intelligence that this kid was an “American agent” in order to get him arrested and rile up the US electorate so they’ll support regime change in Syria?

  81. Fiorangela: Re Evan Bayh “He does not examine his own thinking, but he is quite certain that his opinion is well informed and wise.”

    There’s another interpretation, the same one I put on George Dubya whenever people criticized his lack of command of the English language.

    He’s doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks about what he says.

    He doesn’t have to. He’s part of the power elite.

    People like Bayh don’t “reason” except in a low, animal cunning way. They’re greedy, self-absorbed, narcissistic power seekers, who are consumed by fear of the rest of the human race. And once such people get actual power, they lose a significant amount of what little control they ever had over their fear and hatred of everyone else. Part of that is being able to mouth whatever nonsense they think feeds into their ideology and/or propaganda to manipulate everyone else to do what is against everyone else’s best interests.

    If you look a people in power – Bush Senior, Bush Junior, Obama, Clinton – when they speak, they’re all like that. Some, like Obama, are just slicker at speaking than others. They’re all people with contempt for those lower than them on the power ladder.

    Obama was referred to by Norman Finkelstein recently as a “stupifying narcissist”, which I think really fits his manner.

    I prefer to just refer to all these scum as precisely that: scum. The only difference between these people and low-level gang banger thugs is their level of power in society. And from my time in the joint, I’ve interacted with low-level thugs and prison guards enough to know. An education and money wouldn’t make them any less thugs.

    So education and money doesn’t make Obama any less of a thug.

  82. Canning: “I too admire James Baker.”

    Seriously? The “consigliere” of the Bush family? The guy who went to George Dubya on orders from George Senior and the oil companies to make sure Iraq continued to obey OPEC oil price guidelines, as established by Greg Palast? The guy who passes the orders to the Saudis to do what the US wants?

    This is another guy, along with John Yoo, who needs to have a bullet in his head.

  83. James,

    I don’t claim to know what motivates John Yoo, or pretty much anyone else. I thought Castellio made some perceptive observations based on Yoo’s background, but I think he’d agree that nevertheless remains speculation.

    Interesting you mention Bob Kerrey. He happens to be someone I know a fair amount about:


  84. Dan Cooper: Interesting list of American behavior. When you look at stuff like that, you wonder why the world hasn’t come together to destroy this country years ago.

    BUT…there’s still time…

  85. Canning: ““Zbig: Israelis ‘bought influence’ and outmaneuvered Obama”

    No. They bought Obama. He was owned and operated by the Crown and Pritzker families in Chicago from day one. He does what they tell him to do. He’s a slick talking Chicago token house black, nothing more.

  86. Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses the Israeli Mossad’s false flag operation that made the CIA appear responsible for terrorist attacks inside Iran; using Jundullah to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists to provoke a military response – not set back their nuclear program; how terrorist attacks marginalize Iranian political moderates and make diplomatic negotiations with the US impossible; and the predictable nationalistic “blowback” response of Iranian students, who are defiantly switching majors to nuclear science.

    Scott Horton Interviews Gareth Porter

    MP3 here: :http://dissentradio.com/radio/12_01_18_porter.mp3

  87. This ain’t good…

    Exclusive: New U.S. Commando Team Operating Near Iran

    Supposedly all they’re doing right now is training military forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council. But that in itself is clearly an anti-Iranian purpose. In the event of an Iran war, we can expect Iran to try to stir up Shia populations in the GCC as well as insert Iranian agents there. Clearly the US is preparing the GCC nations to try to counter those moves.

    And since Qatar special forces were involved in the Libyan civil war, we can also expect the GCC forces to be involved in the upcoming Syrian civil war – with more direct support from NATO and the US.

  88. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Israel’s own stupidity has caused it to live in a “hostile neighborhood”.

  89. James Canning says:


    Even Bayh should be ashamed of himself. Is he really so stupid, literally, as to think the government of Iran is “suicidal”? Absolute rubbish.

  90. Saudi Arabia pivots toward Asia


    BP’s most recent energy outlook report predicts that the United States will become almost self-sufficient in energy by 2030, thanks to exploitation of its shale oil and gas resources.

    Per The Guardian, this is a ”development with enormous geopolitical implications”. [1]

    Specifically, the geopolitical implication is that, if the United States does not need the Middle East for energy security, it will lose much of its motivation to meddle in the region, at least in the immense nation-destroying, budget-busting tradition of the Iraq wars.

    End Quote

    I’m not so sure of that. IF it happened, however, Israel would certainty attempt to take over the US hegemonic position because it has for decades relied on the US to support it in a hostile neighborhood. Without that support, Israel would need to be far more aggressive in its behavior toward its neighbors in the same manner as the US.

    However, such a prediction as BP’s, if known to and accepted by the Israeli leadership, would go far to explain Israel’s determination to weaken or destroy all of its neighbors in advance of such a prediction coming true. Israel doesn’t have much time left. Without US support, Israel will have to rely on naked threats of its nuclear arsenal to keep its neighbors inline. While Israel would certainly not hesitate to make such threats, or even use it nuclear weapons on its neighbors if necessary, it would put Israel in even more of a pariah position in the international community than it already has.

    Therefore, clearly it is in Israel’s strategic interest to weaken and destroy all Middle East countries which could possibly pose any military or economic threat to it, especially Iran, long before any chance that support from the US for Israel could be weakened.

    I’m also not even so sure the US will achieve such energy independence. Certainly the world will not. Some studies show the world requiring at least twice as much energy as it current does by the year 2050. The ONLY effective source of such energy is solar power satellites and nanotech-based energy storage and distribution systems, a la Dr. Richard Smalley’s Nanotech Energy Initiative. And that isn’t yet in the cards as a US initiative.

    And no one should think for a moment that the oil companies are willing to give up high oil prices as a result of Middle East disturbances in exchange for shale oil. Of course, shale oil is both expensive to extract and difficult to extract without environmental damage. So one can expect such oil to be priced high.

    There is also the question of the oil reserves of South America, which are also based on difficult to extract but massive resources. Clearly the US wouldn’t be happy if South America assumed the same level of importance as the Middle East with regard to energy sources.

    As I mentioned, the ONLY real solution is not fossil fuels, but the capture and distribution of massive amounts of solar energy.

  91. James Canning says:

    “China adamantly opposes Iran developing and possessing nuclear weapons”, said the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, during his visit to the Persian Gulf.

    Nothing new about that, of course.

  92. Fiorangela says:

    Eric, in the course of ‘spending time’ with Yoo, did you get an intuitive sense of what motivates him?

    I’ve been studying very closely a conference with Andrew Bacevich, Doug Brinkley, Evan Bayh, and Bob Kerrey. I’m trying to analyse their comments and their demeanor based on principles of critical decision making. Listening to these fellows closely and repeatedly reveals numerous flaws in their critical thinking processes, and the side remarks they make and their word choice, self-referential statements, etc., particularly as they interact with one another, offers opportunity for insight into what makes them tick. For example, Evan Bayh is tremendously ego-involved; was likely a poor student who gained the status he has through the influence of family connections; is at least as uncritical as George Bush, is not self-aware, and does not listen to himself; for example, he does not seem to notice that he says at minute 30.25, “In making the serious decision to go to war, we must know about our adversary, our allies, and ourselves,” then at minute 33, states with absolute certainty that the Iranian regime is suicidal, irrational and religiously driven, therefore cannot be deterred as can be regimes such as Kim Jong Il, whose “behavior we can at least understand — he wants to stay in power.” He does not examine his own thinking, but he is quite certain that his opinion is well informed and wise.

    Were you able to make a similar sketch of Yoo? Yoo is inscrutable to me; I can’t figure out why such a seemingly inherently intelligent and finely educated person would succumb to the dark and irrational interpretation of the law that he does.

  93. James Canning says:

    “War on Iran will unleash chaos: Sarkozy”


    France opposes any Israeli or US (or other) attack on Iran.

  94. James Canning says:

    I recommend Philip Weiss, “‘Israel Firster’ gets at an inconvenient truth”, Jan. 20th at


    J Street is defending use of the term. Aipac regards it as “anti-Semitic”.

  95. Karl: Better link for the Kaveh Afrasiabi piece in Asia Times:


    I like this line:

    “the US government has decided to postpone its joint military maneuvers with Israel, aimed at rattling Iran according to various Israeli pundits, thus introducing a small dent, by no means irrevocable, in Israel’s long-standing “rent a superpower” behavior.”

    Then there is this:

    “The question is: is the US prepared to withstand the Iranian blows – a recent study suggests that some 16 US ships would be sunk in a naval bout with Iran – as well as the skyrocketing oil prices, and the heat of indefinite role as “gatekeepers” at Hormuz? And for what end? ”

    Note that he refers to the U.S. gatekeeper role as “indefinite”, which is precisely the point I made earlier. Once the U.S. “opens” the Straits, it will have to do so forever – which means occupation of, at the very least, the entire coast of Iran. The only alternative is, of course, absolute regime change in Iran.

    However, I disagree with this:

    “The US and its allies should harbor little doubt that Iran would go full nuclear and try to assemble a few nuclear bombs in the event of an Iran-US showdown in Persian Gulf, most likely resulting in the final decimation of Iran’s mismatched navy.”

    I don’t believe Iran would attempt to make nuclear weapons even in the event of a full-scale attack on Iran by the US. HOWEVER, a caveat there is that it would depend on the survival of the present Iranian administration. If that administration were killed, and a major change in leadership which allowed more hardline personnel to take power, THEN it would be possible for Iran to decide on nuclear weapons. It would require walking back Khamenei’s fatwa against nuclear weapons, but that is not impossible.

  96. James Canning says:

    We should remember that a sensible man, with excellent understanding of history, was chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, prior to the illegal invasion of Iraq. I refer to Brent Scowcroft. Because he saw the dangers of invading Iraq and opposed it, he was dismissed. Did John Yoo figure into this act of utter stupidity by George W. Bush?

  97. James Canning says:


    Yes, advocates of assassination of a president usually go down in flames quickly.

  98. James Canning says:


    I too admire James Baker. He wanted to get Israel out of the occupied territories. Too bad, on that score certainly, that G H W Bush lost the 1992 election.

  99. James Canning says:

    Dan Cooper,

    Let’s remember that Eisenhower blocked effort of British and French to overthrow Nasser in 1956. And he forced Israel to withdraw from the Sinai.

  100. James Canning says:


    Good points. Yoo is intellectually dishonest, frankly.

    For Yoo’s Feb 2004 paper, try


    Title is “International law and the war in Iraq”.

  101. Dan Cooper says:

    American historian William Blum published his “updated summary of the record of US foreign policy.” Since the Second World War, the US has:

    1) Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of them democratically-elected.

    2) Attempted to suppress a populist or national movement in 20 countries.

    3) Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.

    4) Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.

    5) Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.

    In total, the United States has carried out one or more of these actions in 69 countries.

    In almost all cases, Britain has been a collaborator.

    The “enemy” changes in name – from communism to Islamism — but mostly it is the rise of democracy independent of western power or a society occupying strategically useful territory, deemed expendable, like the Chagos Islands.

    The sheer scale of suffering, let alone criminality, is little known in the west, despite the presence of the world’s most advanced communications, nominally freest journalism, and most admired academy.

    That the most numerous victims of terrorism – western terrorism – are Muslims is unsayable, if it is known.

    That half a million Iraqi infants died in the 1990s as a result of the embargo imposed by Britain and America is of no interest.

    That extreme jihadism, which led to 9/11, was nurtured as a weapon of western policy (“Operation Cyclone”) is known to specialists but otherwise suppressed.

    The world war on democracy

    By John Pilger


  102. James Canning says:

    “Zbig: Israelis ‘bought influence’ and outmaneuvered Obama”, on salon.com Jan. 20th, by Jordan Michael Smith. Brzezinski says Obama blundered by not pressing ahead in face of Israeli opposition.

  103. Kooshy asks:

    “A legal question for Eric…What is the prospect of Iranian dual US citizens to sue likes of Yoo who promote an illegal undeclared war with potential harm that can have a devastating outcome to their relatives and their property in the country of their origin[?]”

    Somewhere north of 0%, but well south of 1%.

  104. James wrote to Castellio,

    “Early in 2004, John Yoo was arguing that the invasion of Iraq was legal under international law because Iraq was a “rogue state” with “WMD”. ”

    I have not come across this, James, and so can’t comment on it. In Yoo’s writings I have reviewed, though, he does exhibit an almost amusing tendency to declare that “international law” is what he would like it to be, with the apparent hope that his readers will not challenge him because they cannot imagine that a law professor would just make up something like that.

    You’ll note I cited an example in my review:


    “A president need not wait until an attack is imminent before taking action. Iranian nuclear capabilities would cause a radical reversal of the balance of power, and that fact justifies action in itself.’

    Yoo does not explain why this “justifies action in itself.” As with most elements of his “legal case,” he merely declares it and moves on, as if his point were self-evident. What “justifies action” under the UN Charter, however, is either (1) self-defense; or (2) Security Council approval. There is no third choice – unless a country withdraws from the UN, which Yoo does not recommend.”


    As you probably can gather from my comment on Yoo’s sentence, for this one, I would remove the “almost” from my “almost amusing” characterization.

    Yoo is a remarkably easy target.

  105. Fiorangela says:

    kooshy says:
    January 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    “What is the prospect of Iranian dual US citizens to sue likes of Yoo who promote an illegal undeclared war with potential harm that can have a devastating outcome to their relatives and their property in the country of their origin, much like the sues that is brought up to the court by many dual citizens of Israel against the Iranian government claiming Iran had promoted terrorist acts that caused death and destruction to their close relatives.

    For the same matter can Iranian relatives of assassinated scientist sue the US government, if so how far that will go?”

    Terrific question.

    Maybe Iranians ex pats could get Dershowitz to file suit against Israel & US.
    Pro bono.

  106. fyi says:

    deathtoiran says: January 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    No doubt you can kill Iran but you will come back with an eye missing or a limb.

    You think it is worth it, go for it.

    All great powers declined through their own actions.

    For UK it was WWI.

    For US, it will be war with Iran.

  107. deathtoiran says:

    FYI did Saddam and Gaddafi tell you that? Is Iran really so anxious to have their entire conventional capability utterly annihilated? How then would they threaten their neighbors and rule over the inferior Arabs the way Iran wants to?

  108. fyi says:

    kooshy says: January 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    In 1950s, US was running the world; she was a colossus and her statesmen and officials carried a lot of weight all over the world. US officials were outstandingly capable and well-educated man, with very high degree of commitment to their country’s policies – for the better or for worse – was quite remarkable. One of the last people from that generation of Americans to hold power in the United States was former Secretary of State James baker.

    Americans can no longer produce or promote such men – it seems.

    The world has changed over the last 3 generations. Even chaotic and disorganized (mentally, intellectually, and organizationally) people such as Iranians have improved their material and intellectual culture in the interim and now are going toe-to-toe with the United States

    It makes it very difficult now for US leaders to convince or to coerce others to conform to their policies; especially when those policies often turn out to be fantasies of an ill-informed group of elected officials. These officials still live in the world of 1950s. They are unwilling or incapable of change and adjustment.

    [The Washington DC subway is a second-rate one compared to Seoul’s – the Imperial Capital vs. the Capital of a Satrapi.].

    I personally believe that transactional relationship between Iran and the United States are possible; Iranians could sell oil and carpets and receive Diesel-Electric Locomotives or Nuclear Reactors. But for that, US planners must revise their strategies.

  109. kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    January 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    So far for the record, past and present six US president and their administrations have not been able to pull this long time national hegemony restoring wish, one would seriously wonder why if as said, this is so important for prospect of continued US hegemony in the region. Meanwhile all indications point to a continued reduction of US economic, military and political influence in the region if not in the globe. Arguing with this bunch which has high school Rambo mentality is useless. Just the tag name should be indication of how prepared he/she is to make meaningful debates.

  110. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I believe advicating the assasination of the President of the United States is a US Federal Offense.

    It is not protected political speech.

  111. fyi says:

    deathtoiran says: January 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Not at all.

    You will have to fight from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean Sea, from teh Caspian to the Red Sea.

    One shot at the desalination plant that supplies water for Riyadh and you have to hire tankers to carry water there.

    And Al Aqaqqiyah, Ra’as Al Tanur, etc. are very important sites to US global poistion that cannot be defended – even though US has been putting anti-missile batteries there.

    But, you are welcome to try.

    You will be nailed down in the Middle East – doing garrison duty – being the little happy Goy that is defending the Jewish Fantasies – while others are passing you by, saying ” good-bye”.

    You are only one small incident, one act of extreme provocation away from having your global position destroyed.

  112. James Canning says:

    Andrew Adler says he did not advocate the assassination of Obama by Mossad, but only suggested that was one way to “solve” Israel’s problem of a president not eager for war with Iran.

  113. James Canning says:

    “Publisher of the ‘Atlanta Jewish Times’ suggests Mossad should assassite Obama”, Jan. 20th at mondoweiss.net

    Adam Horowitz has interesting piece on Andrew Adler’s call for the assassination of Obama. Adler is the owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times.

  114. deathtoiran says:

    Don’t flatter yourself FYI. It wouldn’t take ten years to crush Iran and the US isn’t about to land hundreds of thousands of troops in Iran that make convenient targets. I’d be more concerned about Iran’s global position if I were you.

  115. kooshy says:

    A legal question for Eric


    What is the prospect of Iranian dual US citizens to sue likes of Yoo who promote an illegal undeclared war with potential harm that can have a devastating outcome to their relatives and their property in the country of their origin, much like the sues that is brought up to the court by many dual citizens of Israel against the Iranian government claiming Iran had promoted terrorist acts that caused death and destruction to their close relatives.

    For the same matter can Iranian relatives of assassinated scientist sue the US government, if so how far that will go?


  116. James Canning says:


    Early in 2004, John Yoo was arguing that the invasion of Iraq was legal under international law because Iraq was a “rogue state” with “WMD”. He makes a good case for an attack on Israel, which clearly is contemptuous of international law.

  117. Rd. says:

    Castellio says:

    “Oh R.D.!! You really have this so wrong… The guy is a professor at University of California, Berkeley. Yoo doesn’t represent the “mouth breathers”, he represents current academic discourse in the elite American academy. You may not want to believe that, but its true.”


    good point.. he is representing the mouth breeders with a robe!

    If such yoo yoo mentality is breed through and readily accepted in such institutions, one can only expect to see papers published by them to the superiority of their genetics breed.

  118. James Canning says:


    John Yoo argues the morality of destroying Iran’s nuclear weapons. But there are none.

  119. Castellio says:

    Oh R.D.!! You really have this so wrong… The guy is a professor at University of California, Berkeley. Yoo doesn’t represent the “mouth breathers”, he represents current academic discourse in the elite American academy. You may not want to believe that, but its true.

    Let’s see how he is presented on their website:

    “John Yoo is a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), where he has taught since 1993. From 2001-03, he served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security, and the separation of powers. He served as general counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee from 1995-96, where he advised on constitutional issues and judicial nominations.

    Professor Yoo received his B.A., summa cum laude, in American history from Harvard University. In law school, he was an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal. He clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit. He joined the Boalt faculty in 1993, and then clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Professor Yoo was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School in 2003 and at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1998. In 2006, Professor Yoo held the Distinguished Fulbright Chair in Law at the University of Trento (Italy). He has received fellowships from the Olin Foundation (for work on treaties and constitutional law) and the Rockefeller Foundation (for a book on the effects of globalization on American constitutional law). He has received the Bator Award for excellence in legal scholarship and teaching from the Federalist Society.

    Professor Yoo has published articles on foreign affairs, national security, and constitutional law . He is the author of The Powers of War and Peace: Foreign Affairs and the Constitution after 9/11 (University of Chicago Press, 2005) and the forthcoming War by Other Means: An Insider’s Account of the War on Terror (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006). ”

    O.K. To see how Harvard is doing, I actually recommend the following article, which is instructive:


    You may think these are ‘rare examples’, they aren’t. To be fair to Dershowitz, while he supports torture of Palestinians and Lebanese, he is for animal rights.

  120. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: January 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    In the 19-th Century, Argentina and Brzil, at the instigation of UK, went to war against Paraguay.

    One half of population of Paraguay was killed – indiscriminately.

    In regards to Korea: in South Korea there are apartment blocks that are built on top of the mass-graves of civilians who were murdered by the so-called UN Forces.

    No one wants to know about them, no one want to exhume them etc.

    It is a blight on their souls which eats them on the inside – and I do not care how wealthy they become.

  121. fyi says:

    Rd. says: January 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    You cannot reason with them at the level of ideas.

    You can only threaten them; as Iranians did recently.

    That is, go to war with us and you will be fighting in the Middle East for another 10 years which will destroy your East Asian policy focus as well as your global position.

  122. Fiorangela says:

    tangent to Pirouz_2’s comment (and welcome back, Pirouz_2) —

    Everything I know I about US involvement in Korea I learned from MASH, the TV series. A terrific series — very popular. Americans were mostly great guys — even the spy that the psychiatrist used to toy with was, in the end, an endearing character. Radar slept with a Teddy Bear — how emotionally engaging. Frank Burns had occasional moments of likability — yup, that’s how us Americans is, we can find the best even in the most unpleasant kinda guy.

    Here’s another version, one I just learned a few days ago:


    “What most people in America do not know and which is particularly relevant when assessing the “threats” of the DPRK to World peace – is that North Korea lost thirty percent of its population as a result of US led bombings in the 1950s. US military sources confirm that 20 percent of North Korea’s population was killed off over a three period of intensive bombings:

    “After destroying North Korea’s 78 cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians, (General) LeMay remarked, “Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.” It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37 – month long “hot” war, 1950 – 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerance of another.” (quoted inRichard Rhodes, “The General and World War III,” The New Yorker, June 19, 1995, p. 53.)

    In comparison, during the Second World War the United Kingdom lost 0.94% of its population, France lost 1.35%, China lost 1.89% and the US lost 0.32%. During the Korean war, North Korea lost 30 % of its population, which means that every single family in North korea lost a loved one in the course of the Korean War. ”


    Does every culture do this — lie about its wars? Does it take several hundred years until the truth of a nation’s moral slide, concealed from its citizens by lies, is revealed? What happens when those lies are revealed? Do citizens revolt?

  123. Castellio says:

    If you want to learn it like it is about big business in Korea:


  124. Rd. says:

    “. It can argue that destroying Iran’s nuclear weapons is a combination of self-defense and protecting international security. “

    John Yoo

    Based on Yoo’s argument, can a third party claim, he is afraid Yoo might some day hurt him, so the third party decides to put a gun on Yoo’s head and blow Yoo’s head-off to protect and self defend himself?? Would any court in US justify that? Well.., unless yoo was the judge!

    Not that no one should challenge Yoo, nor that Eric’s efforts are not appreciated. But rather, isn’t this targeted more at a certain audience that Col. P. Lang calls it, not so sugar coatedly;

    “The Yahoo segment of the population in the rural areas, especially in my beloved Southland, are not “conservative.” They are Jingoistic mouth breathers whose nationalism knows no bounds. Does that help? Pl “

    Isn’t it this crowed that the Yoo is reasoning his yoo yoo logic to? And how do you reason with these jingoistic mouth breathers whose numbers are only going to rise given the trajectory of this countries social fabric? (less educated, more un-employed, unaware, lost in space….).

    And more than likely, it is not necessarily obama’s administration that yoo yoo is concerned with. Rather, the next one with the likes of a Santurum/Gingrich who could be propelled to take the place of the great Cesar to lead this empire of disease to humanity.

    How do you reason, educate, talk to these mouth breathers???

  125. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    You are right; a casual walk in London vs. one in Manhatan reveals the extent of American Urban decay – Manhatan is dilapitated; a has been.

    Likewise JFK Airport is akin to a provincial airport in a poorer country compared to the Peking Airport.

    But, you cannot say such things to most Americans; it just gets them angry.

  126. kooshy says:

    January 20, 2012 at 11:55 am

    One should look in to the Ardashir and Sahpoor Jay (Reporter) rule and background to understand Parsi’s behavior.

    In this current propaganda environment which is created by the west to demonize Iran, no unrealistic claim will be allowed to be publicly refuted in a meaningful way.

  127. Karl says:

    Apparently some info about the letter obama sent have been published.

  128. James Canning says:


    Robert Kagan is a propagandist for armaments manufacturers (and Israel). Full stop. He does not want the American people to comprehend the sheer idiocy of spending as much money on “defence” each year, as all other countries on the planet combined. As Zbigniew Brzezinski points out, the US is declining because it neglects its infrastructure in order to pour vast sums into foolish military adventures etc.

  129. Karl says:

    Iran ambassador to UN spoke with Charlie Rose some days ago.
    While it didnt bring much new to the table I think the last 3 minutes of the interview points out the obvious, dialogue and mutual respect is the only way to find a solution to the issues.


  130. kooshy says:

    Her majesty’s freedom loving government of UK has decided that she no longer can afford to let her majesty’s subject become informed with real news broadcast by Iran’s Press TV, so in a desperate they revoked Press TV’s broadcasting license in UK.

    Press TV was the only channel that was offering an alternative views in lieu of the daily propaganda that continuously is feed by her majesty’s Information Office and associated government controlled media including BBC to British citizens including our very own GUV.

    But all and all it is becoming more evident that with the advent of new alternative media the western nations are also losing the propaganda wars, otherwise they would not have felt a need to prevent a news station like Press TV to fill the airs.

    How to watch Press TV in UK

  131. James Canning says:


    I think you should read “The History Boys”, by David Halberstam (in Vanity Fair magazine, August 2007). He captured the way George W. Bush avoided taking advice from CIA, State Dept., and others, which required too much thought and effort. Bush preferred “to consult a higher authority” (God). Bush was intellectually lazy and thus easy prey for warmongering neocons pursuing their own agendas.

  132. LO says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    I’m curious who people here support for the next president?

    Too bad Perry is gone , i will vote for Santorum or Newt. The more stupid they are the better for Iran.
    Democrats are worthless and in recent years they have hurt Iran more.

  133. James Canning says:


    Korea will be one of the richest countries on the planet, once it is reunified. May take several decades to upgrade things in what is now NK.

  134. James Canning says:


    A key factor in the thinking of owners of newspapers, magazines, TV stations, etc., in the US, is revenue from selling advertising. Punch Sulzberger (fo the New York Times) used to tell people how expensive it could be if one irritated the Israel lobby.

  135. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    “Care to elaborate?”
    I asked once before if you’d like me to elaborate but you didn’t seem interested. So, I dropped the subject until you yourself come back to it.

    “I’m curious to know what your logic is after Trita Parsi’s evidence if no one else’s.

    1. Trita Parsi interpreted (falsely) an unsigned faxed letter without having any person’s name as his evidence.

    2. Trita Parsi sometimes (not always) twists facts and evidence to better fit his hypothesis rather than allow the hypothesis emerge from the correct and comprehensive evidence.

    3. Trita Parsi also has a tendency to eliminate/overlook some significant facts and line up his evidence in such a way that leads the Hansels and Gretels of the “who’s who” of the US-Iran politics to particular cookie houses.

    4. Could you ask him to actually produce the letter that shows it was signed by Ayatollah Khamenei?

    5. Most importantly, ask yourself these critical questions, if the letter had, as some claim, the full support from the leadership, why was it “faxed”? Why was it sent “unsigned”? Why was it that no one’s name was included? What were they afraid of if it had the full support?

    “Are you making this statement having read what he had to say about it in his book?”

    I am making this statement based on an awareness of what actually happened. If you are interested, please feel free to explore some of these examples:

    First, scroll down and read under the segment titled, “جام زهر را بنوشید!” from here first: http://farsi.khamenei.ir/others-note?id=18596 Pay particular attention to what it says about what some members of the 6th Majlis did. Those members at the time did not wish to debate it publicly as they knew overwhelming majority of the people (the public) would not look at it favorably. They chose a “backdoor” approach to pressure Ayatollah Khamenei. Three days later, that petition was openly published for all to see.

    You could see the actual secret letter to the leader here: ;http://www.facebook.com/notes/dr-mirdamadi-%D8%AF%DA%A9%D8%AA%D8%B1-%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C/%D8%A8%D8%B1%DA%AF%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%AE-%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AE%DB%8C-127-%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%B4%D8%B4%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%A8%D9%87%D8%B4%D8%AA-1381/110903558149

    Here (especially 2nd half) read what Ayatollah Khamenei actually said in response to all those suggesting a “مذاکره” in such a manner and under such conditions: ;http://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=3111

    Great many of those who were involved did not have the foresight and they really did not have the Iranian people’s pulse under their fingertip.

  136. fyi says:

    pirouz_2 says: January 20, 2012 at 10:53 am

    There is this paper on the genetic make-up of various jewish populations in the world:


    The Iranian-Iraqi population seems to have had the least amount of inter-marriage with non-Jewish populations.

    On Persian Jews in US – Beverly Hills:

    They shocked the American Jews by being indifferent to them and considerint themselves superior.

    A complaint sounded by Beverly Hills old-timers was that the Persians could be clannish, self-segregating and indifferent to the established norms of the community they were entering. … Thanks to their wealth and numbers, Persians didn’t need to adapt. Instead, they developed a self-sufficient Farsi-speaking enclave, complete with grocery stores, restaurants and even taxi services. And rather than courting the local social establishment, rich Persians stuck to their own social world, which revolved around lavish 1,000-person bar mitzvahs and weddings. “My mother really doesn’t need to speak English, although she does,” says Nazarian.

    Marriage with another Persian Jew is the norm. In the following quote, notice that marriage is at least as much about fitting into the other person’s family as it is about finding someone who satisfies your psychological needs as an individual — a clear marker of the collectivist mindset:

    Likewise, a majority in the younger generation choose to marry fellow Persians—much to their parents’ relief. “They don’t have to marry Persian,” says Jasmine Yadegar, in a tone suggesting that she hopes her two twentysomething daughters—both of whom still live at home—eventually will. “All I want for them is to be happy and find people with the same background.”

    “For me,” says daughter Sabrina, an aspiring fashion designer, “I think it’s a lot easier to fall in love with someone who has the same ideas and experiences.”

    “I need to love their family, and they need to love mine,” adds older sister Jessica, a documentary filmmaker. “Some of my American friends have told me that you’re not dating the parents. They say you don’t need to meet the parents on the first, second or third date. That’s not my view. I think the longer you postpone the introduction to the family, the longer it takes you to get to know if this is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with.”

  137. pirouz_2 says:

    After a long abscence (I was on a trip ), I am back to enjoy reading the pieces by our hosts and the comments by this site’s readers.

    Our good friend Arnold Evans has started a new thread in his blog about movies (I prefer to put Hollywood as a part of US media -in fact one of the most if not the most effective part of US media) and their role in the historical US support for Israel. And he quotes two of our friends in here (Fiorangela and RSH).

    Here is what I would like to ask about the subject (and these questions are also related to a conversation that Fiorangela and I were having before I went on my trip and left the conversation in the middle).

    Media (News papers, radio and TV stations, Hollywood etc.) in the West are capitalistic ventures with the aim of profit. Furthermore, I believe that many owners of Media also have other investments (in finance and industry).

    So here are my questions:

    What factors do you think made Media behave the way it has?

    Profit of the capital and by necessity a need for Western hegemony in the middle east? A love for jews? Being controlled by jews? Feelings of guilt for what happened to jews in WWII (I am not talking about how the educated people in US feel, but rather the motivation for the owners/controllers of the media)?

    In general do you believe that the creation of Israel benefited the world jewery? Would jews be less happy (ie. less well off and wielding less social power) if they had stayed as citizens of Western Europe, US and Canada rather than being Israeli citizens?

    By the way, I find it rather interesting (so perhaps you would find it interesting too) that -generally speaking- jews (at least in the Western world) consider themselves to be ‘caucasian’. And of course unless you agree with Shlomo Sand (as I am inclined to agree with him) that European jews are not from the same ethnic group as the middle eastern jews (and that jewish poppulation in Europe did not immigrate to there from the middle east, but were rather Europeans who converted into Judaism), then there is nothing as absurd as considering jews as ‘caucasian’. If we go by the ‘story’ of Jews having emmigrated to all other parts of the world from the middle east then jews are as caucasian as Arabs are and in fact a heck of a lot less caucasian than Indians and Pakistanies are.

  138. fyi says:


    As long as Americans indulge themselves in such far-fetched fantasies, there could be very little progress in US-Iran rapproachment.


  139. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Empty says:
    January 20, 2012 at 8:41 am
    “of the 2003 Khamenei letter”
    This statement is false.

    Care to elaborate? I’m curious to know what your logic is after Trita Parsi’s evidence if no one else’s. Remember that he was an aide in the office to which it was faxed. Are you making this statement having read what he had to say about it in his book?

  140. fyi says:

    kooshy says: January 20, 2012 at 12:06 am

    UN was concieved and designed to prevent a war among major powers.

    It is clear that UK and France have no place there.

    I do not think that UNSC 5 should be increased; it should be decrased to 3 states: Russian Federation, USA, and People’s Republic of China.

    It might be useful to untroduce another semi-permanaent tier for states of significance – such as Iran, South Africa, brazil, India and a few others.

    Overall, UN is a legacy of a world that no longer exists; so is IMF, the World Bank, NPT, CWT and host of other international institutions and instruments.

    It is better to renegogiate and restructure these things but the way US is going through them – inspired by arrogance – is to wreck them based on expediency, thinking that she can deal with the resulting mess.

    This is another are in which US planners must be able to consider without the “General Motors Syndrome” – dumb, fat, and happy.

  141. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell: “I’m curious who people here support for the next president?”
    Ah, therein lies the fallacy that American presidents are elected by people’s actual vote. I touched on this awhile back. The cast of characters presented and the campaign promises mean nothing, as the presidents are pre-selected and have decisions made for them.
    Presidency is usually compared to a locomotive on a railroad track as opposed to a car that can make easy turns. Policies are set and presidents follow them. That’s why we don’t see much change from Dubya to O.

  142. fyi says:

    Castellio says: January 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    South Koreans are a defeated people in spirit; they were defetaed more than 120 years ago when Korean leaders sold thei country to Japan and their current dispensation owes much to the Iranian and Nicaraguan Revolutions that forced US planners, out of fearing Korea as well, to ease up on the US police state there.

    Interested says: January 20, 2012 at 3:27 am

    The history of Islamic lands is filled with competent and visionary rulers whose achievements crumbled and decayed after their deaths. We shall see if Qatar will be able to continue in this manner after the inevitable death of her current ruler.

  143. Fiorangela says:

    http globalpublicsquare blogs cnn com/2012/01/19/obama vs netanyahu vs ahmadinejad

    What is Parsi’s game?

    In the article linked from the CNN blog, Parsi states that Israel’s position is that Iran must NOT be permitted to ENRICH uranium — it’s not just about weaponization; in the Israeli view, Iran is to be denied any capacity to enrich uranium.

    In addition, the Israeli position is that neither negotiation nor diplomacy are to be employed to achieve that status, while the Obama position is that negotiation, or means other than the only option Israel leaves on the table, should be pursued. Therefore,

    “When the two states cannot agree on an objective, tensions over tactics and strategies are to be expected. Nowhere has the disagreements been more stark than on the idea of talking to Iran. Obama entered the White House on a promise to pursue diplomacy with Washington’s foes. While this shift away from Bush’s outlook was welcomed in some quarters, it was met with great dismay in Israel – precisely due to the fear that in a negotiation, Washington would betray Israel’s security interests.

    “We live in a neighborhood in which sometimes dialogue . . . is liable to be interpreted as weakness,” then-Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni said in an interview with Israeli Radio only twenty-four hours after congratulating President-elect Obama on his historic election victory. Asked specifically if she supported discussions between the U.S. and Iran, she left no room for interpretation: “The answer is no,” she declared.”

    But Israel’s situation is of its own making, and the notion that any way of responding to neighbors other than by military power is “perceived as weakness” is built into the very fibre of zionist ideology.

    In “Taking Sides, America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel,” Stephen Green reviews Israeli journalist Simha Flaphan’s analysis of a September, 1963 speech Shimon Peres gave in the Knesset to express his dissatisfaction that moderate Levi Eshkol had replaced recently resigned David Ben Gurion. Peres first painted a picture of Israel’s “neighborhood” as extremely threatening to Israel’s security. But, he said,

    “. . .our main duty is not to to impress a world public opinion that there is an eventuality that Israel can be destroyed . . .I would prefer that we emphasize the other danger, no less unfortunate, of the threat to peace in the Middle East. We are capable of scoring a victory in war.”

    In other words, Peres just warned that the greater danger to the region is that Israel is a threat to its neighbors; Israel can destroy its neighbors. And beyond.

    Journalist Flaphan dug deeper into Peres’ policy prescriptions:

    “There were two concepts of deterrence: a defense-oriented army capable of protecting the homneland, and a strike force designed for “preventive war” — a first strike. . . .These two concepts involve completely different implications. The first calls for a combination of political and military strategy in which the political is predominant.”

    I interpret this aspect of Peres’ strategy to mean that Israel will use political means to acquire weapons from other nations. That is AIPAC’s function, and the US is Israel’s main weapons supplier and also guarantor that Israel will not be called to account for militarizing and even acquiring nuclear weapons that terrorize the world.

    Stephen quotes from Flaphan’s analysis:

    “The second concept leads to the domination of military over political considerations and the overwhelming predominance of offensive weapons in the military sphere. The first implies an avoidance of military conflict and attempts to localize clashes and to relax tension, while the second seeks opportunities to deliver a “crushing blow.””

    In my view, Israel thinks it has achieved military independence and no longer needs to act politically to maintain US military and political support. The Israel lobby in the US is now in a mopping up phase, sowing chaos in the US to completely disable US ability to react to Israel’s threats and intentions to expand in its region.

    But incredibly, Parsi undercuts any leverage he might have by sauntering into the propaganda camp and sharing a cup of koolaid:

    “In the end, all of Israel’s pressure against the diplomacy it so feared was for naught. The Iranians, it turned out, would do far more damage to diplomacy than Israel ever could. The massive human rights abuses following Iran’s fraudulent presidential elections significantly reduced Obama’s already compromised space for diplomacy. “After the elections, skepticism in Congress against our strategy turned to outright hostility,” a senior Obama official told me.”


    Perhaps Mr. Brill’s next contribution to sane US-Iran policy could be to translate his analysis of Iran’s 2009 election into Swedish, for Parsi’s benefit.

  144. Empty says:

    “of the 2003 Khamenei letter”

    This statement is false.

  145. Fiorangela says:

    re earlier question to RFI, “Who would you vote for?”

    I’d vote for John Yoo before Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich — the latter is being attacked by one of his ex-wives for asking for an open marriage. Since Marianne Gingrich is putting herself in the public arena, perhaps she should be asked about her stint as an employee of Israeli companies involved in, perhaps, dealing with notorious arms merchants in the ME. linked in earlier comment.

    As for pious, devout Catholic Rick Santorum, HuffPo has shed some light on his involvement with Universal Health Services, a health care company that has been charged with everything ranging from insurance fraud to rape. In his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition, Santorum was introduced to the group by the founder and president of Universal Health, Allen Miller. Miller vouched for Santorum’s “integrity, honesty, intelligence . . .” and that he likes cute little puppies.

  146. Fiorangela says:

    Kate from Dayton, ’tis a pity you didn’t use your moments on C Span Wash Journal to ask about Marianne Gingrich’s connection to Israeli arms merchants

    According to Mrs. Gingrich, her interest in Israel began on an eight day trip to Israel she and her then husband took in August 1994, paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Israel’s largest Washington, D.C. lobbying organization. Mrs. Gingrich says Robert Loewenberg, the president of IASPS, was impressed with “my knowledge of planning and asked me to attend some meetings in Israel regarding the free trade zone.” She says that led to her being offered the position with IEDC. “Robert Loewenberg was telling me about some of the problems with the Knesset. The head of the Israeli central bank was opposing the free trade zone. I looked on the itinerary, and I went with him to a meeting and asked some good questions and the banker changed his mind. It had nothing to do with Newt. I went to the meeting. The guy kept calling me. He didn’t care about Newt. At one point he asked me to make a trip to Israel with some business people.” After the meetings in Israel with Loewenberg, the IEDC hired Mrs. Gingrich. She says that one of the reasons she took the job was “we did not have enough money. Money was always an issue with Newt…”

    According to David Yerushalmi, there was no connection between IASPS, the think tank, and IEDC, the organization working for a free trade zone in Israel. But Mrs. Gingrich tells a different story. She says, “The same American Jewish funders supported both organizations and Howard Ash raised money for IASPS while he worked for the IEDC.”

  147. Fiorangela says:

    Karl says:
    January 20, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Israel’s Trauma Psychology

    “Sunday 4th January 2009

    One of the things that is not being discussed much in the media is how much talk there is in Israel about attacking Iran. Word on the (Israeli) street is that an air attack on Iran’s nuclear reactors is imminent.

    Israel has been itching for a ‘good war’ for a while now. The botched attack on Lebanon in 2006 was a psychological disappointment that did not fulfil its purpose, and only led to a deepening chasm between the political and military arms in Israel. An Israeli friend told me in disgust the other day, that there is an atmosphere of ‘national orgasm’ in Israel about the prospect of attacking Iran. While people are being bombed in Gaza, all Israelis can talk about is the coming attack on Iran. But there is a link between the two.

    Israel’s social problems have grown exponentially over the past 15 years. It’s a very different Israel now than the one I grew up in. There is more violent and organised crime than ever before, and more domestic violence and abuse of children than ever. There are more drugs and drug use, and they have drink-driving, something I have never encountered while I was still living there. This is reflected in official reports as well as in the daily newspapers. My brother who lives in Israel described to me how soldiers who spend their military service in the Occupied Palestinian territories implementing Israel’s brutal occupation, come home on weekends only to get involved in drunken armed brawls and murders.”

  148. Karl says:

    “deathtoiran says:

    January 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Karl I couldn’t help but notice that none os your links showed Israeli’s questioning Iran’s right to exist or calling for their complete destruction. I have no doubt you could find some crazy Israeli’s who would say such things, but it is not official government policy in Israel to deny Iran’s right to exist. Spin that chump.

    My links made very clear that Israel not only urge the destruction of Iran but of course Palestine (one could also obviously add Lebanon too).
    If you want to play that game, that is, to deny that Israel threat these states, go ahead. World wont accept that kind of warmongering and lying. Besides your genocidal name, its interesting that you have to use lies to trigger wars.


  149. Unknown Unknowns says:

    I should have been clearer. What I meant to suggest was that the security council in its present form, with 5 permanent (veto-wielding) members, will have to evolve into an 8 or 9-member working body. When I said the middle east and africa and latin america, I meant to say representative members from organizations from those parts of the world, each with equal voting rights. Needless to say, those organizations have not yet formed (and may never do so). additionally, if this vector was to form and develop, it seems to me the 8 or 9 members would have to abandon the idea of the veto (and hence absolute sovereignty) to one where a motion can only be vetoed if 3 members voted against it (2 would not work as the US and EU are too close culturally and would always be spoilers of resolutions which are deemed to be good for humanity generally but are against Western interests.

  150. Unknown Unknowns: “Lecturing and psychoanalyzing self-proclaimed westlich Übermenschen IS my league :)”

    Yeah, you’re a “league in your own mind”…

  151. Fiorangela: “call your attention to several lengthy responses to a Front Page article on Mondoweiss”

    Not sure why, I didn’t learn much from it except that conversations on blogs – including this one – frequently descend into pointless and inane rants (some of which I may have contributed to here!) :-)

    “A suggestion that Israel be nuked or might be nuked by the US. Completely insane.”

    I’d have to agree.

    Of course, I’ve suggested that the only way to resolve the Palestinian issue is for the international community – including the US (good luck with that, Hack…) to come together (good luck with that, Hack…) and through the UN declare Israel to be an illegal, rogue state, reverse the 1947 partition, design a new bi-national state Constitution, and institute new elections which sideline everyone who ever held office in either the PLO, Hamas, or Israel (good luck with that, Hack…)

    And thus in that context, I suggested that the international community would have to impose a complete air and naval blockade against Israel in order to force Israel to agree to this approach.

    Of course, just like Iran would respond militarily to such a blockade, it is likely Israel would do so as well.

    Which leads us to the only scenario I can imagine where the US would ever consider military action against Israel, either involving nukes or not.

    But since the odds of any of the preceding circumstances coming to pass in the foreseeable future are exactly nil, I can’t see the point of discussing anything involving the US nuking Israel.

    In fact, I can’t see any evidence at this point that the US would ever even consider REBUKING Israel about anything it might want to do, despite all the MSM reports that describe Obama’s bending over for Netanyahu to be a “conflict.”

    Ain’t gonna happen, homes.

    As for the notion that “military conflict” between the US and Israel has already happened, uh, may I point out that the Liberty incident was an ISRAELI ASSAULT on a US NAVAL VESSEL – and it was immediately supported and covered up by Lyndon Johnson, who explicitly called back US aircraft which were en route to support the Liberty.

    As for Mullen raising the Liberty incident, it was in the context of BEGGING Israel not to do it again to start an Iran war. (But keep in mind those guys who claim the USS Vincennes is en route to the Gulf precisely to do just that – if you believe “conspiracy theorists”, anyway…)

    And the alleged threat to shoot down Israeli planes over Iraq… never happen, homes. The worse that would happen is that US Air Force jets would force down Israeli jets or hamper their missions by alerting the Iranians or otherwise causing the Israeli jets to be unable to complete their missions. The only way a US Air Force jet would fire on an Israel jet is if they are fired on themselves – and then only if command gave the order – which it probably wouldn’t unless it could do so by claiming it couldn’t contact higher command authority to get permission in time…

    Finally, the notion that the carrier groups are in the Gulf to serve as “hostages to Iran” so Israel won’t attack Iran is just idiotic. I can’t even dignify that notion with any further response.

    The people over at Mondoweiss are clearly idiots.

  152. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard says “may I suggest you not bother trying to lecture me OR psychoanalyze me as to my opinions?”

    Yes, you may certainly sosuggest it.

    “You’re WAY out of your league…”

    Au contraire, mon frère. Lecturing and psychoanalyzing self-proclaimed westlich Übermenschen IS my league :)

  153. Unknown Unknowns: “What you talk about in the above-referenced post betrays a thinking that has descended into barbarism (the absence of the rule of law), and has its roots in despair (as to how society can be fixed).”

    What you talk about betrays a thinking that has descended into barbarism – look around you at the United States, “land of the free and home of the brave” – and has its roots in a fantasy notion of how human beings are constructed and how human society has evolved.

    “It is too difficult for you to face the task of re-building the society which has given you birth and sustenance, so you reject it *in toto*.”

    When you come up with an actual game plan to “rebuild society” – one which has a snowball’s chance in hell of ever being implemented by anyone – email me.

    “so they just throw out the baby of the living tradition with the bathwater of its relics and atavisms. Soooo “advanced”.”

    Really, you’re clueless about both the direction of technology, the nature of human beings and their evolution, and pretty much everything else related to the immediate future of the species, so may I suggest you not bother trying to lecture me OR psychoanalyze me as to my opinions?

    You’re WAY out of your league…

  154. Unknown Unknowns: Can I just point out that:

    “…a Security Council which has, as its permanent members in addition to the US, Russia and China, the following:

    4. The EU
    5. India
    6. The greater ME & North Africa (including Turkey & Pakistan & Kashmir)
    7. Sub-Saharan Africa
    8. Latin America
    9. Possibly the ASEAN countries, (including NZ & Australia?)…”

    is called the UN General Assembly?

    Or are you suggesting that the UNSC essentially be scrapped in favor of the UN General Assembly deciding all matters?

  155. Interested says:

    Isn’t it interesting how polls are seen to have credibility and how a great deal of money is put into them, but when it comes to Iran or Syria the results are all unacceptable! Why? Because they don’t fit in with western or Qatari or Saudi expectations. Westerners KNOW what Syrians want, even though they claim Syrians are too afraid to express their opinions. They are sort of like God.


  156. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    What you talk about in the above-referenced post betrays a thinking that has descended into barbarism (the absence of the rule of law), and has its roots in despair (as to how society can be fixed). It is too difficult for you to face the task of re-building the society which has given you birth and sustenance, so you reject it *in toto*. Kind of like the Salafists, Takfiris, Wahhabis and neo-Kharijites in our part of the world: they cannot deal with the every day struggle of filtering the heritage that they have been handed down, so they just throw out the baby of the living tradition with the bathwater of its relics and atavisms. Soooo “advanced”.

  157. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Eric: well done! Unlike Richard the Cynic, I do believe that it is important to counter the wave of barbarism that is prevalent in US Foreign Policy circles (barbarism in the sense of lawlessness). However, I still feel that a brief (5-page) article along the lines I outlined in the last thread would have greater efficacy as it would be written with a larger (less technically oriented) audience in mind. That audience should be the Tehrangelesi mindset and the iranian.com crowd, as well as the intelligent but misinformed general US public. The outline again would be something like this:

    1. The Disabuse of Big Lie #1 (The nuclear issue as red herring – summary of your own piece)

    2. The Disabuse of Big Lie #2 (The 1388 Election issue as outright interference in Iran’s domestic affairs and as a perpetuation of a massive fraud on the minds of the feckless western audience – summary of your own piece)

    3. The Disabuse of Big Lie #3 (That Iran and specifically Iran under the Islamic Republic system of government, is a backward, hopelessly reactionary regime stuck in the middle ages, and that therefore the only way forward for its people is regime change). This would require a summary and reference to a yet-to-be-written article that would point to the progress made by the IRI despite the seige warfare. Statistical analyses would play a large part in this article, and would include, for example, the massive influx of women into universities thanks to it now being acceptable for traditional families to send their daughters to universities, whereas this did not obtain in the ancien regime. Or the number of university seats available: that itself is a fascinating comparison; the number of PhD’s awarded, etc. And [I paste from my earlier post]: A summary of the most salient points of the 4 opinion polls carried out by Western (= hostile) organizations, and other empirical data such as Iran’s Human Development Index ranking (which I have read is 13 notches above Turkey’s), Scientific Development ranking (fastest growth rate in the world for two years running), and other comparative empirical data such as the kilometers of roads built, railroads, built, domestic (potable) and wastewater (sewerage) pipelines installed, electricity generation, number of dams built, industrial capacity indicators, indigenous military capacity indicators, education, health & human services, etc., etc.

    4. The Disabuse of Big Lie #4 (The Intransigence of the Islamic Republic and its Refusal to engage in Rational Discourse.) Here, the situation is of course the exact opposite, and a brief history can be outlined, starting with the US’s refusal to recognize the legitimate government of the Islamic Republic (and hence its refusal to recognize the rights and aspirations of her people), to
    a) the utter dismissal of the 2003 Khamenei letter
    b) the willful sabotaging of the Turkey-Brazil brokered agreement
    c) ditto the Lavrov step-by-step deescalation plan (the Iranians had been assured by Lavrov that Uncle $cam had reviewed the plan and was on board. I guess this would be a second article which is in need of being written. At least, I am not aware of a cogent and up to date piece addressing this important issue. This item would actually be a direct refutation of Kenneth Pollack’s piece, now a book whose title says it all (http://www.randomhouse.com/book/132181/a-path-out-of-the-desert-by-kenneth-pollack/9781400065486/), which is the intellectual cornerstone of US policy toward Iran and in which he takes the position that sanctions and confrontation are required precisely because of Iran’s intransigence and its inability to come to the table and engage in discourse in a rational manner.

    So I guess what I am saying is that I feel the need for two additional articles, which can then be capped by one short piece summarizing the findings and conclusions of those four articles, namely that the nuclear issue is a ruse, the elections of 2009 were a distraction and fraud (on the part of the MSM, not on the part of the IRI), that the system of governance is NOT fatally flawed, but that, to the contrary, it is native, endogenous, representative, and effective (siege warfare notwithstanding), and that it is the US and not Iran that has been intransigent and refractory (for misguided and outdated reasons of regional hegemony), the conclusion being that it is high time the US foreign policy establishment carry out the demands of its populace (which does not want war and war-like sanctions on Iran), and high time for it to join the civilized world (the NAM and its other allies such as South Korea, Japan, Turkey and India who are sick and tired of its shenanigans and expect it to abide by the rule of law).

    Between now and the mid-century mark, there are two paths that I see that the world can go down: one is a path that leads to a stronger and more representative UN, with a Security Council which has, as its permanent members in addition to the US, Russia and China, the following:

    4. The EU
    5. India
    6. The greater ME & North Africa (including Turkey & Pakistan & Kashmir)
    7. Sub-Saharan Africa
    8. Latin America
    9. Possibly the ASEAN countries, (including NZ & Australia?)

    If the US, Britain and France do not work toward this configuration (and obviously, they are not doing so currently), then, the world will revert back to the situation that obtained prior to 1914, which was the end of the Victorian era and ended the 19th century. What is certain will NOT happen is that the US will be able to maintain its semblance of unipolarity and to continue to “rule the waves” with Britannia’s baton.

    I believe that the United States as we know it will have ceased to exist by the year 2017. Furthermore, I believe that this transmutation (or transmogrification, if you prefer :), which will take place within the next 5 years, will be violent and catastrophic: it will not be a soft landing. And I believe that it will come about through its own economic mismanagement (thanks to the dynamics of capitalism itself), and that if it is God’s will that it be hastened, it will be hastened thanks to its military misadventures in the Middle East (which have killed and devastated millions to date), and that Shi’a Iran will have no small part in her demise (but that this part will be the occasion rather than the cause of her demise). Ameen.


    In other news, I agree with Jay and Castelio, of course. Only non-like-minded individuals who appear here by chance who address questions in a way that fosters engagement and mutually-beneficial dialogue should be responded to. And you are absolutely correct, Castellio, when you say “No person posting is non-identifiable.” There is no privacy on the internet. Never was, really. I don’t know how it is State-side, but here in the Islamic Republic, filter-cracking systems such as Anonymizer.com are easily and routinely monitored, so I doubt that this would provide any problems for the chumps at “Homeland” “Security”. Couple that with the fact that de facto there is no freedom of expression in the police state that the “Homeland” has become, and you have a potential very dangerous situation to dissident views. NDAA of course “legitimizes” all this evil. Incidentally, the term “Homeland” Security would only be used by an empire, which has a need to distinguish between security of the “home” land and that of other lands in which it has interests if not outright jurisdiction.

  158. Fiorangela says:

    Recent news is that Bibi has scuttled plans to travel to Africa in favor of gracing Washington, DC with his presence at the next AIPAC conference.

    imo, on that occasion, he should hear this message, from a Jewish woman:

    “Q: Okay. I am Michele Steinberg from Executive Intelligence Review. And my question begins with something that Paul Pillar mentioned, which is – and it is in my view the most immediate danger that we face as a foreign policy issue and might be the highest priority, which is what do we do here in the United States to ward off a potential unilateral Israeli strike against Iran?

    I have to disagree with the comment that this has left the lexicon of Israeli policymakers. – while maybe openly, but certainly not behind the scenes. I draw everyone’s attention to two big articles in the Times of London in the last year, complete with maps, what air routes will be taken, submarine capabilities, et cetera, which quotes a myriad of Israeli high policy sources that say we are ready, we are able and we are in the process of convincing the United States to go along with this.

    I feared this for a long time since I read “Clean Break” back in 1996, which called for regime change in Iraq and then Iraq. And I fear it more now after hearing Netanyahu’s interview while he was here and that everything is on the table. And it’s been reinforced by some of the things that Mr. Indyk has said. So what can we do to ward off an Israeli strike against Iran from a United States standpoint?”

    Recall Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s core concept: people act out of their own self interest.

    So — what does Michele Steinberg “fear” so much that she states it in three different ways, two times each? Given de Mesquita’s concept, do you think Steinberg’s fear is altruistic, for Iran?

  159. Fiorangela says:

    call your attention to several lengthy responses to a Front Page article on Mondoweiss —

    The original article was by Donald, a blog participant, not a regular Front Pager. He’s an Evangelical Christian, and his article was a complaint that Mondoweiss comments were becoming ‘uncivil;’ would be characterized as “antisemitic” by many of his fellow Christian evangelicals; and did not sufficiently respect Israel and Jews.

    These responses to Donald’s complaints appeared yesterday.

    Opaleye says:
    January 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Donald’s post needs to be confronted head-on, starting with his item number 1.

    “ A suggestion that Israel be nuked or might be nuked by the US. Completely insane.”

    This is worded sloppily or worse. American did not “suggest” (i.e. propose or advocate) that anyone be nuked. He did point out that in an extreme scenario, the US could nuke Israel, assuming that all other measures of restraint had failed. American made this point in response to multiple claims that Israel is too strong to be attacked. That is to say, it was not American who first raised the nuclear issue.

    First there were numerous hypothetical discussions about what if the US had developed nukes earlier in WWII (i.e. if it got involved earlier on a Just War basis) and could have saved more Jews. This is what you get when you start discussing cockamemie rationalizations for starting wars. Nuclear weapons are a major fact of life, so you can’t discuss starting wars without talking nuclear options.

    The nuclear issue was later raised again by Jerome Slater, who, when repeatedly asked why he didn’t support US intervention in Gaza under his Just War theories, said this:

    “The second reason is that Israel is indeed so powerful that the casualties on all sides would be horrendous–even if we leave aside the possibility that an Israel on the verge of defeat would use nuclear weapons–which would be more likely to occur than not.”

    That is, Slater claimed (absurdly) that Israel would actually attempt to fight a US intervention, and if it was “on the verge of defeat”, would nuke the US.

    Donald himself said: “I agree that the US shouldn’t have intervened militarily against Israel in Gaza–for one thing, Israel has 200 nukes.”

    In response, American pointed out the absurdity of these claims and then Donald accuses him of “suggesting” a nuclear attack. Nice one Donald.

    But to return to the substantive issue: the fact (and it is, obviously, a fact) that the US could nuke Israel. It is also a fact that Israel applies nuclear blackmail against Europe and the US : (“We have the capability to take the world down with us” link to en.wikipedia.org

    These are simply the brutal realities of the nuclear age, which have been with us for some time. Where was Donald during the Cold War? All nuclear powers automatically consider *all* possible deployments of nuclear weapons and would be crazy if they didn’t.

    As for Donald’s idea that military conflict between the US and Israel is “unthinkable”, I would point out that

    (a) it already happened (The USS Liberty)
    (b) Admiral Mullen pointedly raised the Liberty issue with the Israelis when he was telling them not to attack Iran (he told them not to even think about a false-flag attack against a US ship, designed to draw the US in)
    (c) The US repeatedly let it be known that it would not allow Israel to fly over Iraq to attack Iran. What does this mean? Since the Israelis are notorious for violating airspace, this had no meaning at all unless there was a credible threat to shoot down any attempt to cross Iraqi airspace.

    If I recall, point (c) was even mentioned in the MSM (and by Zbig Brzezinski) but Donald seems to think that these realities should not be discussed, despite the current situation, in which:

    1. Israel is making a determined attempt to precipitate a WAR between Iran and the US.

    Such a war would completely pole-axe the US economy, which simply cannot withstand $12/gallon for any length of time. It is not a question of Iran “closing the gulf”. It is that Iran can easily take out Saudi and other oil installations (which are, to put it mildly, extremely vulnerable).

    The economic chaos would lead to the collapse of the US empire in very short order, since it is already in obvious decline and is structurally weak.

    Unlike many politicians, the US military is acutely aware of these facts, and conveys them to the President every time a President starts talking about attacking Iran. Do you really think Bush Jr. didn’t WANT to attack Iran? Of course he did, he desperately wanted to do it. But the military told him what the consequences would be, and he made one of his few rational decisions and “Decided” not to be known as the President who destroyed America.

    2. The US military and intelligence communities are acutely aware of the constant hostile behavior of Israel toward US interests. They realize that Israel simply doesn’t care about the fate of the US. They are frustrated that mentioning this is taboo in Washington.

    3. Since Israel uses military force and threats of force (including nuclear blackmail) as its first and only response to all situations, the US is compelled to consider Israel in a military context. As American points out, the Pentagon has a huge library of scenarios and plans that it studies and maintains. When it comes to the Middle East, those scenarios have to include worst case possibilities.

    4. It is well known that the US maintains plans to attack and disable the nukes of other powers, such as Pakistan. Looked at objectively, it is clear that Israel is a more dangerous rogue state than Pakistan, because it has much more powerful delivery options for its nukes and also frequently threatens to use them.

    At the moment, the Islamists in Pakistan do not control the nukes. At the moment, Bibi *does* control the nukes in Israel and it’s not clear to me that he isn’t completely nuts.

    5. There is actually a precedent. Remember when South Africa, Israel’s partner in nuke development, decided, all of its own accord, to abandon nuclear weapons? Well, the story I’ve heard from South Africans is that is wasn’t voluntary. The US told them they were going to do it. Or else.

    Of course, unlike Israel, South Africa didn’t possess second-strike capability etc, so the threats didn’t have to be all that heavy. There were many ways the US could “persuade” the South Africans to give it a rest.

    Now suppose the ever-increasing penetration of the Ultra-Orthodox sector within the Israeli military and government continues to expand (and it will). Eventually *they* will control the nukes. Then what does the US do?

    Does Donald really believe that the US military won’t have to consider all possible scenarios when that bunch of nuclear-armed crazies, located in the world’s critical energy region, start making their moves? When the President is confronted by threats of this magnitude, Congress simply doesn’t matter.

    6. Currently there are 3 carrier groups in or heading toward the Gulf. Why are they there?

    Are they there to deter the Iranians? No. Because everybody in this game knows the Iranians are not going to start this war. Also, if the US really believed that the Iranians *were* going to attack, there is no way they would put the carriers in the Gulf itself, where they are far too vulnerable.

    Are they there to attack Iran? No, because again they would keep the carriers out of the Gulf in that scenario. Also, you would see a massive build up of other air firepower – the carriers are simply not enough.

    So what are they doing there? They are there to deter Israel. By putting carriers groups in such easy reach of Iranian counter-strike, the US is making sure that Israel knows it will be blamed for their loss if Israel attacks. Particularly after repeated public statements making it clear Israel does *not* have a green light for this and then the cancellation of the joint exercise.

    One of the targets of an Israeli raid would be Bushehr, which is on the Gulf coast. So the Israelis would have to fly past the carriers to get there. This puts the US in a position to give a very firm “no”.

    And of course, the media assumes the carriers are there to threaten Iran, so it’s hard for the Lobby to make Obama look “weak on Iran”.

    BTW, in case you wonder why the USN is sending carrier groups into a confined body of water where they are extremely vulnerable to missiles, torpedoes and mines: politicians in Washington routinely use the carriers in this way, overriding the Navy’s objections to putting them at such extreme risk. The public mostly doesn’t realize how vulnerable these things are, especially to modern “smart” torpedoes that are almost impossible to stop.

    The point here is that the US is compelled *currently* to view Israel as a dangerous and unpredictable military player and the US cannot avoid taking steps to deal with this situation.

    Donald doesn’t want that to be mentioned, for some reason.

    American made this point after having demanded why Slater wouldn’t approve of US intervention to prevent the Gaza slaughter. Various people claimed that it was inconceivable for the US to act against Israel, because Israel has nukes.

    Leaving aside the question of whether it might be technically possible for the US to take out all of Israel’s long-range nukes, I would point out that it doesn’t matter. When Israel attacked the USS Liberty, they knew the US had nukes and could vaporize them if it wanted to. Yet they still attacked a US ship.

    If the US decided to enforce a no-fly zone over Gaza and had to shoot down a few planes to prove they weren’t bluffing, Israel would have backed down. They would not have nuked the US, for the reason that American mentioned.

    So the fact that Israel is a nuclear power is irrelevant. It is totally dependent on the US, and a no-fly zone could probably be imposed simply by transmitting back-door codes to the software running in the fire-control systems of the US-made fighter aircraft that Israel uses to slaughter civilians.

    In other words, US intervention was perfectly possible in Gaza and does indeed provide an interesting test case of the Just War theory. The Israelis would have panicked at the first sign of US intent and the slaughter would have been prevented without a shot being fired. So the only real question is US intent.

    As an aside, I think the Just War theory is a total crock, and I notice that neither Slater nor the dear-departed warmongering Hitchens ever seemed interested in getting themselves killed in stupid wars, however just they claimed them to be.
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    gamal says:
    January 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    wonderful summation, opaleye, really cool.

    its clear its arab/muslim shooting season, we of course dont hunt israelis or jews, that would be unthinkable. what is really off putting to arab commentators is that this double standard, we must be polite while our whole world is being pounded to bloody dust, is unnoticed or unremarked.

    Mr. Weiss was at least agnostic if not actually supportive of the bombing, the actual bombing of libya, but ah no those are just arabs down there, for a moment i was worried, i met a libyan israeli in germany years ago, he was a vicious racist and dissimulator, but i am glad he was not under nato bombs, really you think we regard ourselves as lowly apparently as you see us, if you dont want people to talk about killing you and yours stop attacking us, or grow a pair, whats wrong with US jews that you need to be wrapped in cotton wool. cant you see whats coming you had better man up now.

    supposed people of goodwill dont want any harsh words, hitchens talked joyfully of how he and george were going to kill the ‘islamofascists’, but we the longtime objects of this international lynching, its been going for centuries you know, we were the first civilians to be slaughtered by airpower 25 years before guernica, we have just celebrated the centenary of the inception of terror from the air in Libya circa 1911 by destroying libya from the air circa 2011, in ’25 the french destroyed a third of dasmascus in a few minutes but we must watch our words, its so parochial of you.

    the israeli regime (zionist entity) favors blunt talk of killing but you imagine that this harsh discourse is only for arabs and the lesser orders. its a farce isnt it this lisping insistence on not intimating that violence may be visited on you, the USA is a merciless power, for the moment you are inside their tent, its not going to last as long USA nationals believe that they have no need of caution what motive have they to stop this awesome slaughter, in africa, asia and latin amercia, in your very own black and latino neighbourhoods, you’d better tell your people to beware no one will escape this oppression without great suffering, bluntly. things are changing and its going to be war and the outcome is far from certain, but the catastrophe is a given and the US jewish community is singularly ill placed for a realignment of forces, hubris, complacency, the vile sophistry of slater and phony gentility wont do you any good. you need to humanize the self, we others dont need you to humanize us our utter humanity is manifest, even if you only see it imperfectly. its like fanon never wrote, perhaps you need to take a long hard look at yourselves. this is of course being written by an arab, on the whole a worthless one, since i have no dog in the better race culture religion person shit, whatever the category i am the lowest, i can be honest with you, your whole society has an air of totalitarianism which you celebrate as good polite rational discourse, every one of the best posters to your comment section was attacked by the senseless anti life argument that “this is unthinkable” you better understand that those with hands on the levers of power will do to you what they are doing to us as Captain Jack of the Modocs said “by and by”.

    isnt opaleyes account correct, some of your commenters are the only reason i come here, hostage, mooser, american, annie, kalithea, shmuel, samel, avi, and others, you are very lucky to have them, courage mon brave rhetorical bombing does no damage, the only target is exactly what needs destroying your inhuman complacency in the face of this carnage, lets roll eh.
    also thanks for the great site and all your work, obviously.
    Log in to Reply
    MRW says:
    January 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    “your whole society has an air of totalitarianism.” No shit, gamal.
    Log in to Reply
    Rania says:
    January 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    what is really off putting to arab commentators is that this double standard, we must be polite while our whole world is being pounded to bloody dust, is unnoticed or unremarked.

    Gamal, you are exactly right.”

  160. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:


    I like your style.


    re Ron Paul’s “social economic policies will devastate the US internally badly so that for a long time world would not need to worry for any aggressions coming out of US.”

    Yes, because the current economic policies are not devastating the US internally?

    … So should I write you down as a “yes” for Ron Paul?

  161. Why did Netanyahu choose AIPAC over Africa?

    Does one have to ask? Apparently Netanyahu was planning trips throughout Africa…now all canceled so he can go to AIPAC with Peres and continue kicking whipping the bent-over Obama…

  162. And the Syrian war rolls on…

    As Arab League mandate expires in Syria, activists look to U.N.

    Of course, they won’t get any relief from the UNSC; Russia and China will see to that.

    So they’ll go the General Assembly and possibly get it. If not, it doesn’t matter. The US and EU will go it alone, possibly using Turkey and other Arab states as proxies – but with full US/EU air support, of course… Otherwise Israel won’t get what it wants – a way to attack Hizballah without engaging Syria directly.

  163. Turkey, Iran eye closer financial transfers


    “Iran is the world’s third biggest producer of oil, and the world’s second biggest producer of natural gas. The target is to make Turkey a bridge for the transfer of these resources,” Turkey’s Urbanization Minister Erdogan Bayraktar, said in closing statements at a Turkey-Iran economic council in Ankara.

    “We have discussed working on money transfer between the two countries. Work is under way for Turkey entering the Iranian banking system and Iran entering the Turkish banking system. We plan very important steps on money transfer,” Bayraktar said.

    End Quote

    That’s gotta tick off Obama…

  164. GOP Officially Endorses One-State Solution

    This is official.

    Of course, you can guess the state that will remain standing…


    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of this body support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.

    End Quote

  165. Big surprise…not. Are their ANY dictators in the world not working for the CIA? Well, maybe Kim in North Korea…

    Former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor had US spy agency ties

  166. kooshy says:

    TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    January 20, 2012 at 12:42 am


    A few weeks ago one Iranian American university scholar was telling me that he recommends all Iranian origin US citizens to vote for Ron Paul for two reasons, first because he is against war with Iran, two because his social economic policies will devastate the US internally badly so that for a long time world would not need to worry for any aggressions coming out of US.

  167. TheDonkeyInTheWell: “Although I believe Ron Paul has a fighting chance for the presidency.”

    None. Nada. Zero. Zip. No way, Jose. The Republicans will NEVER allow him on the ballot as a candidate. They’ll smear him with some ridiculous legal charge first.

    Forget him.

    “Btw isn’t his political ideology the closest you can get to an anarchist world-view in contemporary politics? I mean, it’s at least a step in the right direction?”

    This is a long-standing argument going back decades in the libertarian (small-L to distinguish it from the Libertarian Party) movement. Paul is considered to be a “libertarian” in some sense. Most anarchists consider a “big-L Libertarian” to be, in the words of one, “a Republican who smokes dope”, i.e. basically a conservative who is liberal on things like foreign policy, state power, etc. Paul fits that category.

    There is a basic division among “libertarians” between “right wing libertarians” (i.e., people like Paul) and “left wing libertarians”, as well as between “limited state libertarians” and “anarchist libertarians”. Paul is a right wing, limited state libertarian.

    I started out that way, but quickly crossed over to the anarchist side once I analyzed the limited state argument using Austrian economic principles and determined that there was no rational argument for the legitimacy of the state on any grounds whatsoever.

    So, the general consensus has been that limited state libertarians are better than outright statists – but not by much. I think most anarchists agree with what one said: that while limited statists and anarchists may march forward in rolling back the excesses of the state, in the end the limited statists are committed to not taking the final step to true freedom.

    But these days, as a radical Transhumanist, I’ve determined that NO method of organizing humans can ever work – not democracy, not dictatorship, not socialism or Communism OR anarchism. Humans can’t be made to “work”, period.

    So I’m on to other things…

    “Still. I know it seems that I’m setting myself up for disappointment. Like those fools thinking Obama would bring “change”. So yeah, I’m a bit naive re Ron Paul.”

    Yup. Seriously, forget it.

    “Re the Republicans “Vs” Democrats, I think we can add this (the idea that the US is a “democracy”) to the list of fantasies indulging western thought.”

    Yup. The U.S. is an oligarchy run by an elite, using the facade of “democracy” to keep the yokels in line by allowing them the illusion of “freedom of choice.” Nothing more. It’s been that way for most of the 20th Century, let alone now. One could probably argue it was that way for most of the 19th Century, as well. It’s not clear the US ever was anything more than that, except maybe during and immediately after the Revolutionary War.

    Well, at least it was better than Britain.

  168. Iran says scientist’s killer may have used U.N. info

    I don’t doubt it, although I’m sure there is enough open source intelligence to target Iran’s scientists, and even if not, getting names of people at places on the ground is not rocket science. Of course, U.S. diplomats at the IAEA having access to IAEA interview reports makes it a lot easier to assess exactly who is doing what in Iran’s program and thus to narrow the list down.

  169. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:


    I basically agree with you. Although I believe Ron Paul has a fighting chance for the presidency. I wouldn’t write him off quite yet. However I too am wondering how he’ll be able to achieve what he campaigns once in office. And that without using the executive powers he denounces as unconstitutional. (Given he can stay alive long enough…)

    Btw isn’t his political ideology the closest you can get to an anarchist world-view in contemporary politics? I mean, it’s at least a step in the right direction?

    Still. I know it seems that I’m setting myself up for disappointment. Like those fools thinking Obama would bring “change”. So yeah, I’m a bit naive re Ron Paul. But he’s the best hope we got. Best case scenario: he’ll open relations/ease tensions with Iran, at worst he’ll at least postpone the warmongers’ plans.

    And way better than any of the alternatives/candidates. (Obama is ready to go to war with Iran right now)

    Re the Republicans “Vs” Democrats, I think we can add this (the idea that the US is a “democracy”) to the list of fantasies indulging western thought.

  170. Justin Raimondo on “The tale of the DC Five – the five Beltway bloggers at two prominent Democratic Washington thinktanks who have been smacked down (and one fired) for being insufficiently pro-Israel…”

    The Return of the Smear Bund

    When I was over at Matt Yglesias’ blog, I frequently accused him of mostly ignoring the Palestinian issue – as well as the Iran issue – because he was scared that he might end up getting the AIPAC crowd on his case (he’s Hispanic and Jewish, note.)

    The DC Five are Matt Duss, Ali Gharib, Eli Clifton and Zaid Jilani, bloggers at the Center for American Progress group blog, ThinkProgress, and former AIPAC employee MJ Rosenberg who currently writes for Media Matters.

    Yglesias used to be also at ThinkProgress, but I just found out he’s moved to Slate. Apparently he decided to duck out before he could get into trouble… He’s a major wuss…

    The amusing thing about M.J. Rosenberg is that when he was writing and I was posting over at Talking Points Memo, the first time I became aware of him was when he got peeved at some “anti-Semites” who had emailed him and he went off on a rant against them which got a number of TPM posters up in arms at his shrill tone. Later, he calmed down and generally was a moderate critic of Israeli actions.

    Later, I got banned from TPM one weekend during a particularly heated exchange with a number of pro-Israel/pro-Zionist fanatics. Josh Marshall, the owner of TPM, had – just the week before – promised not to ban anyone without first warning them and pointing out reasons and requests to modify their behavior. But because I had suggested that if Israel continued on its path that some smart Arab terrorists might eventually steal and use an Israeli nuclear weapon against Israel in an act of nuclear terrorism, that somehow made me an “Israel eliminationist” (whatever the hell that was). Mostly I suspect it was because I had made the argument, based on the UN subcommittee in 1947 that had concluded that the UNSC did not have the legal authority to partition Israel, that Israel was an “illegal state”.

    So on this particular weekend, apparently closet-Zionist Marshall couldn’t take it. I was summarily banned from TPM with no warning and no reasons. The pro-Zionist fanatics I was arguing with were, of course, allowed to remain.

    So I find it amusing now that Rosenberg is being purged for “anti-Semitism”…

    More on this from Glenn Greenwald…

    The “anti-Semitism” smear campaign against CAP and Media Matters rolls on

    The Leveretts had better read this stuff, because the number one reason for being called “anti-Semitic” is now refusing to say that Iran has a nuclear weapons program…


    But remember: as an American citizen whose country may be involved directly or indirectly in a war with Iran, you are not allowed to express any opinions that constitute “minimizing or rationalizing the Iranian threat.” You’re presumably also not allowed to question the wisdom and justness of sanctions against Iran even though their principal Congressional sponsor has acknowledged, proudly, that they will “take the food out of the mouths of the citizens.” If you do question any of that, then you are an anti-Semite, pronounces the ADL.

    End Quote

  171. kooshy says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    January 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Nice list you forgot the Gitmo, I can add a few more, but for what, is useless, on the other hand I think I would want to vote for Rick the baby face since I think like the messiah he will get us faster close to god.

  172. Iranian Submarines’ Ambush for US Aircraft Carriers in Persian Gulf


    Amiri underlined that significance of submarines are not just indebted to their arms and equipment, “rather the tactical issues are very important”, given the geographical specifications of the waters surrounding the county.

    “For example,” he stated, “if an ordinary submarines can sit in the Persian Gulf’s bed it would be the worst threat to the enemy.”

    “That is one of the US concerns since Iranian submarines are noiseless and can easily evade detection as they are equipped with the sonar-evading technology” and can fire missiles and torpedoes simultaneously, he added.

    “When the submarine sits on the seabed it can easily target and hit an aircraft carrier traversing in the nearby regions,” Amiri reiterated.

    Iranian commanders had earlier said that Ghadir-class submarines boosted the Navy’s capability in defending the country’s territorial waters.

    The submarine has been designed and manufactured according to the geographical and climate conditions and specifications of Iranian waters, according to military experts.

    The Iranian military officials said that the submarine can easily evade detection as it is equipped with sonar-evading technology and can fire missiles and torpedoes simultaneously.

    End Quotes

  173. kooshy says:

    Basically one can argue that the UN system in its current format is an absolute monarchy of 5 members, which I don’t see it can be maintained for much longer.
    As is evidenced it is becoming more and more unjust and therefore more irrelevant, and the US alone is the main cause.

  174. China rejects UN accusations against Iran (someone didn’t edit the headline…)

    The Russians know what’s what…


    Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced US-led Western efforts to impose “suffocating” sanctions on Iran’s economy.

    “Additional unilateral sanctions against Iran have nothing to do with a desire to ensure the government’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation,” he said, noting that such bids are aimed at inciting popular discontent in the Islamic Republic.

    End Quote

  175. U.S. wants to ‘close down the Central Bank of Iran’ over nuclear concerns

    Once again, the Administration makes it clear what the goal is. Closing down a country’s central bank is essentially the same as closing down that country’s economy, for most nations certainly. This is a direct assault on the Iranian population, with an intent to cause hardship to ordinary Iranians, supposedly to convince them to overthrow the regime.

    It’s exactly the same as the sanctions against Iraq which killed half a million Iraqi children, which Madeleine Albright claimed was “worth it”. Just as the refusal to supply Iran with fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor was intended to kill thousands of Iranian cancer patients.

  176. deathtoiran says:

    Nasser how in the world would you get “A salafist regime would be more preferable to Israel” out of anything I said? That is ridiclulous. I guess in some parts that might serve as a legitimate excuse to support Assad as he slaughters his people. I think it’s quite pathetic. Who cares what Israel prefers? What does that have to do with the ongoing violence in Syria? What a stupid and typical response.

  177. Eric: “I must not have been clear enough.”

    No, I got it the first time.

    “I don’t mean I agree with Yoo”

    I know.

    “that the US has a right to attack Iran because the US has assumed Great Britain’s historic role as the spreader of Western values….I mean merely that Yoo honestly believes the US has that right and deserves credit for candidly saying so.”

    But MY point was that while Yoo “honestly” thinks the US has that right, frankly that’s not his motivation. His motivation (assuming the notions about Korea aren’t decisive) is to be “on the winning side” regardless of any alleged “responsibilities” the US thinks is has assumed from the British Empire.

    And frankly, I don’t give him credit for being an imperialist statist – or even directly saying so. Although it’s certainly better than a lying narcissist like Obama…

    Yoo deserves no credit for anything. He deserves a lynching, nothing more.

  178. TheDonkeyInTheWell: “I’m curious who people here support for the next president?”

    I’m an anarchist, so I support no one. Anyone here with a brain shouldn’t be supporting any of these corrupt criminals running.

    Ron Paul is hopeless. He has no more chance of winning the Presidency than I do. And even if he did, he would either be helpless to do anything with the entire U.S. Congress against him or he would be assassinated his first week in office by some “lone nut” paid for by just about everyone in the ruling U.S. elite.

    The sole useful purpose Paul serves is as a mirror image of the idiots being fielded as Presidential candidates.

    Sometimes I think the Republicans field these morons just to insure that a REALLY compliant Democrat gets elected…which certainly was the case with Obama.

    Read this piece, a rebuttal to Andrew Sullivan’s Newsweek piece…

    Dear Andrew Sullivan: Why Focus on Obama’s Dumbest Critics?


    How would you have reacted in 2008 if any Republican ran promising to do the following?

    (1) Codify indefinite detention into law; (2) draw up a secret kill list of people, including American citizens, to assassinate without due process; (3) proceed with warrantless spying on American citizens; (4) prosecute Bush-era whistleblowers for violating state secrets; (5) reinterpret the War Powers Resolution such that entering a war of choice without a Congressional declaration is permissible; (6) enter and prosecute such a war; (7) institutionalize naked scanners and intrusive full body pat-downs in major American airports; (8) oversee a planned expansion of TSA so that its agents are already beginning to patrol American highways, train stations, and bus depots; (9) wage an undeclared drone war on numerous Muslim countries that delegates to the CIA the final call about some strikes that put civilians in jeopardy; (10) invoke the state-secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits brought by civil-liberties organizations on dubious technicalities rather than litigating them on the merits; (11) preside over federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries; (12) attempt to negotiate an extension of American troops in Iraq beyond 2011 (an effort that thankfully failed); (14) reauthorize the Patriot Act; (13) and select an economic team mostly made up of former and future financial executives from Wall Street firms that played major roles in the financial crisis.

    I submit that had Palin or Cheney or Rumsfeld or Rice or Jeb Bush or John Bolton or Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney proposed doing even half of those things in 2008, you’d have declared them unfit for the presidency and expressed alarm at the prospect of America doubling down on the excesses of the post-September 11 era. You’d have championed an alternative candidate who avowed that America doesn’t have to choose between our values and our safety.

    Yet President Obama has done all of the aforementioned things.

    End Quote

    I personally assume that Obama will be re-elected precisely because he’s as bad a President as one can expect these days and he will only get worse in his second term. By the end of his second term, we’ll be wishing for the “good ol’ days” of Dubya…

  179. Eric: “Many critics of his torture memo (not all) seemed reluctant to base their criticism on moral grounds, and “legal” arguments against torture are not always clear and depend considerably on whether the torturing country has subscribed to certain treaties. Such critics argued instead that torture-induced confessions are not reliable – a strictly utilitarian argument that Yoo (with my wholehearted agreement) dismissed with little difficulty.”

    Really? Since I have no “morality” – and am proud of it – I guess I’m one of those poor benighted souls who think things ought to “work” to accomplish a rational goal whether they’re “moral” or not… If they don’t “work”, what’s the point of discussing them?

    The reality is that the “moral opponents” of torture were slammed left and right in every forum I ever took part in (such as Matt Yglesias’ blog) because it was perfectly clear to anyone with a brain that in the “ticking bomb” scenario, torture was the only “logical” approach – despite the equally true fact that it wasn’t. In other words, it was a strictly utilitarian argument that seemed very logical and it was extremely hard for the defenders of “no torture” to answer it properly.

    The proper answer is that torture is indeed unreliable. The proper approach in such a crisis situation is to seize two enemies, threaten them with IMMEDIATE death unless they comply, then immediately kill one of them when he doesn’t. This invariably produces compliance in the other enemy in any case where the motivation to not comply is insufficiently high. And in any case where it does not work, torture by definition does not work. Torture is never “worse than death”. If death doesn’t work to motivate, torture will not.

    Of course, the actual proper approach in such a crisis scenario is never to get in that scenario in the first place. This scenario is always – ALWAYS – the result of the typical human methodology of first making a mistake, then making even worse mistakes in an attempt to correct the initial mistake.

    As the Japanese ninja used to say, the way to avoid enemies is to avoid living your life in a way that produces them. But, life being what it is, if you will gain enemies in any event, become their friends – then poison them.

    When a situation has go to the point of a “ticking bomb” scenario, clearly you have not managed your enemies properly. You have been incompetent and stupid. So now you will endure the consequences. Suck it up.

    You don’t “correct mistakes” – you accept them, you accept the consequences, THEN you change your behavior to avoid further mistakes.

    In the crisis scenario, you don’t torture, you use the threat of death. If it doesn’t work, well, you lose… Deal.

    The only reason torture is ever used is because 1) humans are cruel animals; and 2) humans are stupid. (In fact, the argument could be reduced to the latter, since the former depends on it.) THIS is the primary argument against torture, not some lame “moral code”, which as has been pointed out, applies only to people who hold such codes (and there are damn few who will hold them in the scenario usually depicted) and who are stupid enough to believe them. The same applies to the law. The reason we have laws against torture should be precisely because torture does not work.

    But then we get into the whole “morality” concept in general, which is too off topic for this site.

    Yoo and his supporters ran rings around most of the “moral code” torture opponents, and only the interrogation experts who said “torture is stupid and doesn’t work” made any headway in the controversy.

  180. Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm


    I must not have been clear enough.

    When I say “to his credit,” I don’t mean I agree with Yoo that the US has a right to attack Iran because the US has assumed Great Britain’s historic role as the spreader of Western values. I think I’ve made it clear enough that I disagree with him about that. I mean merely that Yoo honestly believes the US has that right and deserves credit for candidly saying so.

  181. I agree with Jay. Ignore this idiot “deathtoiran”, he’s nothing but a paid propagandist and a troll.

  182. Castellio says:

    I know I’m repeating myself, but the goal of Israel and the US remains the degradation (economic, military, and cultural) of any power rising in the Middle East that is not controlled and beholden to the US and friendly to Israel.

    I can think of no exception, and many examples to prove the point.

  183. Karl’s DebkaFile link contains the following direct assertions:


    DEBKAfile’s military and Washington sources confirm that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands by the view that Iran is advancing its plans to build a nuclear bomb full speed ahead, undeterred even by the threat of harsher sanctions. Netanyahu therefore stands by his refusal of President Barack Obama’s demand for a commitment to abstain from a unilateral strike on Iran’s nuclear sites without prior notice to Washington.

    The US president repeated this demand when he called the Israeli prime minister Thursday night Jan. 13. Netanyahu replied that, in view of their disagreement on this point, he preferred to cancel the biggest US-Israel war game ever staged due to have taken place in April. The exercise was to have tested the level of coordination between the two armies in missile defense for the contingency of a war with Iran or a regional conflict.

    The prime minister was concerned that having large-scale US military forces in the country would restrict his leeway for decision-making on Iran.

    In an effort to limit the damage to relations with the US administration, Defense Minister Ehud Barak struck a conciliatory note Wednesday, Jan. 18, saying, “Israel is still very far from a decision on attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

    Striking the pose of middleman, he was trying to let Washington know that there was still time for the US and Israel to reach an accommodation on whether and when a strike should take place.

    DEBKAfile’s sources doubt that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu are in any mood to respond to Barak’s effort to cool the dispute. Obama needs to be sure he will not be taken by surprise by an Israel attack in the middle of his campaign for re-election, especially since he has begun taking heat on the Iranian issue.

    Republican rivals are accusing him of being soft on Iran. And while the economy is the dominant election issue, a majority of Americans disapprove of his handling of Iran’s nuclear ambitions by a margin of 48 to 33 percent according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll this week.

    Wednesday (Thursday morning Israel time), President Obama responded by reiterating that he has been clear since running for the presidency that he will take “every step available to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

    Echoes of Barak’s arguments were heard in the words of US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Wednesday night: “We are not making any special steps at this point in order to deal with the situation. Why? Because, frankly, we are fully prepared to deal with that situation now.”

    Panetta went on to say that Defense Minister Barak contacted him and asked to postpone the joint US-Israeli drill “for technical reasons.”

    Before he took off for a short trip to Holland, Netanyahu instructed Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz not to deviate in their talks with Gen. Dempsey from the position he took with the US president, namely, no commitment for advance notice to Washington about a unilateral strike against Iran.

    The Israeli prime minister is convinced that, contrary to the claims by US spokesmen and media, that current sanctions are ineffective insofar as slowing Iran’s advance toward a nuclear weapon and the harsher sanctions on Iran’s central bank and oil exports are too slow and will take hold too late to achieve their purpose.

    End Quote

    So… NOW what is Obama going to do? Netanyahu has called his “bluff” (if it ever was one) on Iran, just like he called Obama’s bluffs on new settlements and numerous other Obama attempts to be conciliatory towards Israel while still attempting to maintain even the facade that the U.S. was an “honest broker” in the Palestinian issue.

    Netanyahu really believes – and I think he is right – that he can walk all over Obama and Obama can’t do a damn thing about it. Because Obama is owned and operated by the Crown and Pritzker families in Chicago. They made him President and they own him. He will do as he’s told. And they have made it clear to Obama that whatever Israel wants, Israel gets.

    And if that isn’t enough, the U.S. Congress, which has been even more hawkish than Obama on Iran, will run rings around Obama with regard to Iran.

    Anyone who thinks Obama has the will – or even the desire – to confront his Israel-First supporters, Netanyahu, the Republicans, and his own political party in Congress over Iran is dreaming.

  184. Castellio says:

    “Canning: “Tony Blair is not a synonym for the UK.”
    “RSH: No, just another historical example of the UK.”


    Why can’t we get Blair to the Hague? That would be a fitting end.

  185. And from the war monger side…

    The Case For Regime Change in Iran
    Go Big — Then Go Home

    They explicitly call for regime change as the goal of any U.S. attack, arguing that the nature of the Iranian regime is such that it’s better to destroy it then let it re-emerge as a nuclear threat later. And of course, they argue that the Iranian population would go along with this…

    In other words, complete morons and scum who just want to see more Iranians dead…

  186. Karl: The article by Kahl you cited below as additional items connected with it. One is a Q&A of Kahl. This exchange is interesting:


    Peter Kiernan (@peter_kiernan): @ForeignAffairs What’s the U.S. endgame on Iran’s nuclear program? Get Iran to totally give up enrichment and rely on imported nuclear fuel?

    The Obama administration’s stated goal is to prevent Iran from developing a “nuclear weapons capability,” which the president has described as “unacceptable” and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has called a “red line.” At the same time, the administration recognizes that, as a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to pursue civilian nuclear energy so long as it can assure the international community that the program is intended solely for peaceful purposes. So any diplomatic deal would have to recognize Iran’s inherent rights while providing strict safeguards against any military dimensions of a program. Whether it is possible to do this in the context of any domestic Iranian enrichment remains unclear.

    End Quote

    Kiernan makes it clear that he understands the U.S. position on enrichment for all countries pursuing nuclear energy is “no enrichment on that country’s soil.”

    But Kahl merely says that “domestic Iranian enrichment remains unclear.”

    But it’s not. This is precisely the heart of the West’s position on Iran. The reason is that the nuclear powers do not want ANYONE to have mastery of the fuel cycle, thus allowing the possibility inherent in that capability of a “Japan Option”.

    This is why Obama – or any other U.S. President – will never change the U.S. stance on enrichment – and why Iran will never agree to U.S. demands – and thus why this crisis can NEVER be solved with diplomacy.

    Because either Iran or the U.S. has to “blink” on this precise issues of domestic enrichment – and the nuclear powers will not allow that.

    Beyond that, of course, the entire nuclear program issue is just a red herring to cover the desire for regional hegemony and war profiteering, and Obama – and those backing him – will NEVER back down from persecuting Iran for those reasons alone, regardless of what cost an inevitable Iran war may generate for the U.S. in terms of its economy, domestic terrorism, or even if Iran actually does attempt to build nukes as a result of the war.

  187. Castellio says:

    Eric, generally, I agree with you. But there are many in the generation of Yoo’s parents who, in America and South Korea, have axes they like to keep very sharp. This has often fused with a Christian evangelical rationale.

    You write: It is far from clear that the US’ present-day motives for threatening to launch an unprovoked attack on Iran bear much resemblance to its motives for protecting South Korea from an unprovoked attack 60 years ago.

    Yes. But as you must know, the word unprovoked is disputed in both cases, the first by America, the second by North Korea. In the first case, it is the existence of Iran’s “nuclear program” and hostile intentions to Israel which provoke a “measured response”, ie: bombing the sites and/or regime change. In North Korea’s case, it was the failure of the Southern government to allow the vote to take place that would have unified the country, as had been promised; the fact that the largest indigenous resistance to the Japanese occupation was pushed to the side by the Americans, who found them too communist; and the fact that Synghman Rhee’s imposed and authoritarian American backed government, closely allied to the Korean elite which had closely served the Japanese occupation, was killing those nationalists who supported the claims of the North.

    Just saying.

  188. Canning: “Tony Blair is not a synonym for the UK.”

    No, just another historical example of the UK.

    I’m reminded of William S. Burroughs, who lived in London for some time and utterly hated it. He said England was the only country where shop clerks refer to their co-workers as “my colleagues”… Class was and is everything in England, which is why you still have the pathetic royal family who should have been strung up from lampposts centuries ago…

  189. Fiorangela: “Norman Finkelstein observed in a videod conference titled The Coming Break-up of American Zionism, that what most people understand about Israel they learned from the movie “Exodus.” Then he hummed the iconic theme song.”


    And I was initially conditioned toward Israel decades ago by the movie, “Cast a Giant Shadow”, with Kirk Douglas. That movie promoted the myth that the poor Jews were being attacked by an overwhelming Arab force, abandoned by everyone internationally (except John Wayne!), and that they had no weapons, no armor, no planes, no nothing but the will to survive. And all Arabs were cowardly, stupid subhumans…

    Then, of course, eventually I read Wikipedia… Which revealed all of that was so much total ruminant evacuation… The Jews had more men, better trained men, better arms, and had been using terrorism against the Brits and Arabs for decades in order to force the native Palestinians off their own lands so they could form a colonialist, imperialist, terrorist, rogue Zionist state without any justification whatsoever other than that they were “God’s Chosen People”.

    And we’re supposed to think the mullahs are crazy…

  190. Fiorangela: Excellent points about the source of the Jewish capitalist wealth that now finances wars around the world.

    If you don’t follow the Web site Jewbonics, you might want to. It’s a site mostly centered on anti-capitalism and the conflict between the moneyed and the poor classes, from a Jewish standpoint, including much on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

    Their orientation tends to allow them to not make mistakes in terms of who to trust.

    Personally, as an exponent of the Austrian economics school, I’m in favor of smashing both states and corporations, as the latter are the creatures and supporters of the former. As a radical Transhumanist, however, now I have transcended even that stance and just want to loot all these bastards for my own purposes.

    My economic theory now can best be described as the “bank robber” or “pirate” school of economics… :-) In short, if you have a lot of money and power and you’re a butthead (say, someone like Haim Saban or Sheldon Adelson), I intend to take as much of your money and power as I can get my hands on and then turn it against you and to my own purposes.

    In my view, this is the only appropriate current course of action for people who are opposed to the status quo. Or as ex-SEAL Richard Marcinko used to call it, “Loot and shoot”…

  191. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    What’s up with these anti-Iranians? It’s almost like they’ve got a competition to see who can be appear the most irrational, hateful and stupid jerk EVER.

    Why can’t they understand that we don’t live in the “dark ages” any more (the time where big media controlled everything)? It doesn’t take much effort to search the Internet for some few sources and get a more nuanced picture of an issue.

    Maybe Iran says “death to whatever” for whatever reasons, but the west actually “deaths” people and countries.

    I mean seriously, did the big bad Iran hurt your feelings? Buhu, poor you!

    Meanwhile the west is killing people left and right with bombs, sanctions and unfair trade treaties. But it’s OK everyone! At least they don’t say it aloud!

    Sticks and bones anyone?

  192. Nasser says:


    Are you claiming that a Salafist regime in Syria would be more preferable to Israel than the current Alawite regime?

  193. Eric: ““The United States has assumed the role, once held by Great Britain, of guaranteeing free trade and economic development, spreading liberal values, and maintaining international security.”

    To Yoo’s credit, I believe, this sentence struck me as the only heartfelt reason he’d offered for his recommended US attack on Iran.”

    Are you serious? Unless, of course, you mean basically that what Yoo understands as all those supposedly benign things essentially means “American Empire”, just as it meant “British Empire” when the Brits did it.

    In that case, you’re right.

    But I would be ashamed to refer to that as “heartfelt”, implying that it was some unselfish attitude on his part, or that it is “to his credit.” Because it’s merely his desire to be a part of the “Empire”. Just as the same excuses were merely a facade used to justify the British Empire’s hundreds of years long history of oppression, looting, murder and state terrorism.

    The U.S. should come up with something like the “M.B.E.” the Brits give out to “deserving” people (and some of them are deserving, like my favorite rock group, The Corrs, who each got one for their decade of charity work.) It stands for “Member of the British Empire” and it’s a step or two down from being knighted. The U.S. ought to have a “M.A.E.” – “Member of the American Empire”.

    Yoo would certainly be a recipient. George W. Bush probably would be another. Even Dick Cheney would quality. Even U.S. soldiers who killed enough brown people in enough countries, like General McChrystal and General Petraeus, could probably get one. Maybe even the guys who brutalized the inmates at Bagram and Abu Ghraib.

    Personally I think the lot should be executed with extreme prejudice, including John Yoo.

  194. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    Open question:

    I’m curious who people here support for the next president?

    Ron Paul seems to be the most honest candidate able to engage seriously with Iran. Granted he’ll have an uphill battle, but I’m sure he’ll think of something to ease the tension (eg ending covert actions, closing down military bases).

    I wonder if people here support him. And if not, why? (more interesting! :)

    (Especially the Leveretts should like Ron Paul as he basically shares their realistic outlook on foreign policy)

  195. deathtoiran says:

    BibiJon that is the best you could come up with? I could do a five minute search and probably come up with better material than that, but like I said it isn’t official Israeli policy to question Iran’s right to exist the way it is in Iran. It is funny that these Iran supporters bring up UN conventions and charters when it is suitable for their own purposes while the rest of the time they call the UN a pawn of the West. Those who support Iran should be about the last people on Earth to bring up violating UN charters. Since when has a UN charter ever kept Iran from doing anything? Iran also recently threatened to stop freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf. I’m pretty sure there are several UN Charters that guarantee freedom of navigation to all nations. I don’t recall these same people crying about violations against the UN Charter when Iran frequently does it.

    Jay I’m not trying to provoke anything. Just pointing out the blatant hypocrisy and misinformation that is rampant on this site. What are you mad because I didn’t answer your questions about my thoughts on Syria? I think that Iran is going to have alot of questions to answer after Assad falls and I think it’s ironic that they would support a dictator who is murdering his own people for the sake of staying in power given their own history. Isn’t support for the Shah one of the main reasons Iran gives for its hatred of the west? How is supporting Assad as he does far worse than the Shah any different? They are making an enemy out of the Syrian people and arabs in general. I think it is appalling that people would support the slaughter that is taking place right before our eyes simply because Assad claims to be an “anti-imperialist”. This blind support for Assad that I’ve seen on this site is laughable. It will blow back in Iran’s face the same way support for the Shah blew back in the west’s face.

  196. TheDonkeyInTheWell says:

    Radioactive material said stolen from Egypt plant

    Any evidence supporting this?

    The first thing I thought was “false flag” operation. Call me a cynic but a (maybe failed?) small nuclear/dirty bomb would be the perfect excuse for a complete green light on Iran.

    The evidence need not be more convincing than “car bomber sales” or “Al-Iran-Qaeda”.

  197. Castellio says:
    January 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Very well put, Castellio.

    It struck me too that John Yoo’s background may well explain his thinking, though I am confident that neither you nor I would claim to be doing anything more than speculating about that. Even if his background does explain Yoo’s thinking, though, six decades have passed since the Korean War, and even longer since the end of World War II. Yoo may well have interpreted all that has happened in the meantime through the lens he used to view what happened way back then (more accurately: the lens his parents’ generation used, since Yoo wasn’t born until much later), but he might have been wiser to get a new prescription for that lens every now and then. It is far from clear that the US’ present-day motives for threatening to launch an unprovoked attack on Iran bear much resemblance to its motives for protecting South Korea from an unprovoked attack 60 years ago.

  198. Castellio says:

    For many conservative Koreans, America is the force of freedom and liberty, having defeated and ended the occupation by Japan of Korea (1910-1945).

    It’s not worth the effort right now to disentangle all the actions to get the UN backing for an American led response to the invasion by the North in 1950. Suffice to say that many Koreans believe it was correct for the civil war to become an international battleground, and that the US was carrying forward values which otherwise would have been thwarted by a paralysed UN.

    John Yoo’s thinking on Iran is a replay of the role of the US, and its relationship to international law, in the Korean War. Essentially, because the US is special, it carries both obligations and rights beyond the conventions of international diplomacy and law.

  199. Castellio says:

    I agree with Jay. deathtoiran is most likely a provocateur, perhaps paid. This is different than the hacks who are paid to represent opinions and talking points as was, I believe, Sassan.

    The provocateur will work with a special interests organization that will then feed information to security forces who are then asked to “act”. The provocateur will create dossiers on individuals over time, slowly trying to build a case to “take down” an individual they’ve targeted.

    I’m not at all trying to chill the conversation, I am saying that there are people who’s aim it is to illicit angry and intolerant remarks that are then used against the person who thoughtlessly wrote them.

    No person posting is non-identifiable.

  200. Fiorangela says:
    January 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    “You…rightly…bring to light Yoo’s disdain for the law, an essential act.”

    To his credit, I suppose, Yoo does claim to care about the legality of a US attack on Iran. He describes his article, after all, as an effort to “build the legal case” for attacking Iran. What fatally weakens Yoo’s “legal case” right out of the gate, however, is his premise that the US is legally free to choose, ad hoc, the process by which it will deal with each foreign country or situation not to its liking. The US does not in fact have this choice – at least not if the US considers it important to remain a member of the UN and honor the commitments it made when it joined. If the US were to withdraw from the UN, Yoo’s arguments might be tougher to refute, but he does not recommend withdrawal.

    Nothing highlights Yoo’s “freedom to choose” premise better than this passage from his 2009 article, “Great Power Security” (Chicago Journal of International Law, Summer 2009):

    “Critics of the Bush administration argued that the US intervention in Iraq was illegal because it had not received the authorization of the UN Security Council. Implicit in this argument was the idea that relying on collective security methods, rather than great power politics and the use of force, would have produced better outcomes for the US and for global welfare.”

    Apparently Yoo considered his observation in the second sentence to be so evident that his only duty was to remind the reader of this truth. He did not elaborate at all. Indeed he was correct that some critics of the US intervention in Iraq argued that it would have been wiser to let the UN Security Council, rather than the US, determine whether the outside world should intervene in Iraq. But many other critics of the US intervention in Iraq – I, for one – do not agree at all that this “utilitarian” view was “implicit” in the argument he mentions in his first sentence. There is no such implication in that argument as I would present it: Security Council approval was required for intervention in Iraq because that is what the UN Charter says, plain and simple – not because it would have been practically more effective to let the Security Council handle the matter. Obviously the US could intervene in Iraq on its own initiative, just as it could intervene in Vietnam or the Soviet Union could intervene in Afghanistan. It just could not do so legally, regardless of whether it was more practical for the US to attack on its own. That is the essential point of my review.

    I will venture a guess that Yoo feels justified in characterizing his Iran-related arguments in utilitarian terms because he was permitted to do that in much of the debate surrounding his infamous “torture memo.” Many critics of his torture memo (not all) seemed reluctant to base their criticism on moral grounds, and “legal” arguments against torture are not always clear and depend considerably on whether the torturing country has subscribed to certain treaties. Such critics argued instead that torture-induced confessions are not reliable – a strictly utilitarian argument that Yoo (with my wholehearted agreement) dismissed with little difficulty.

    In the case of military intervention in Iraq (or Iran), however, the “legal” case is quite clear: the UN Charter requires Security Council approval, period – unless the would-be attacker can establish a “self defense” exception. As I noted in my review, Yoo does argue “self defense” to some extent, but clearly his heart was not in it – or at least his mind was not in it: his “self defense” argument, especially his analogy to the Cuban missile crisis, was barely strong enough to warrant a response, and he makes clear himself that “self defense” must be interpreted broadly enough to include even maintenance of a regional balance of power in a region halfway around the world.

    There is nothing wrong with a “might makes right” argument – that, after all, is how the world usually works. What is wrong, in my view, is that sort of argument masquerading as something more respectable than it is: a “legal case.”

  201. Rehmat says:

    On January 3, 2012 – former US Jewish ambassador to Australia, Ronald S. Lauder, in his column in the New York Post, wrote: “It’s time the Israelis “went deep”. That is, it’s time they took their submarine force and reinvented it as a strategic deterrent against a potentially nuclear-armed Iran and its terrorist surrogates seeking to literally wipe Israel off the map“. Could someone, please, tell the Zionist bigot that the only country “literally wipe off the map” – is 5,000-year-old Palestine, and the miracle was achieved by Lauder’s Jewish terrorist brothers from Europe and Australia.


  202. Jay says:

    deathtoiran is an absolute waste of time and possibly a danger to your liberty. The behavior is that of a paid agent provocateur. Note that deathtoiran does not answer questions, does not contribute to the debate, deflects, and merely attempts to provoke responses.

  203. BiBiJon says:

    deathtoiran says:
    January 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    “I couldn’t help but notice that none os your links showed Israeli’s questioning Iran’s right to exist or calling for their complete destruction. ”

    Try this:

    Netanyahu’s advisor suggesting the prime minister’s attitude towards Iran is “Think Amalek”, i.e.: devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey — considering all this, are folks projecting their own character voids onto Ahmadinejad?


  204. deathtoiran says:

    Karl I couldn’t help but notice that none os your links showed Israeli’s questioning Iran’s right to exist or calling for their complete destruction. I have no doubt you could find some crazy Israeli’s who would say such things, but it is not official government policy in Israel to deny Iran’s right to exist. Spin that chump.

  205. deathtoiran says:

    It is funny that some of you would begrudge my name when the mullahs have made it ritual for decades to call for the death of various states at large gatherings. Don’t they like their own medicine?

  206. James Canning says:

    One of the idiot warmongers seeking the US presidential nomination, Rick Perry, abandoned his campaign this week after saying Turkey was run by Islamic militants.

  207. James Canning says:

    Japan’s ambassador to Iran condemned the Jan. 11th assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist.


    Numerous stooges of Israel in the US Congress applaud such acts of terrorism.

  208. kooshy says:


    “Such arguments often succeed, but no one should pretend that that happens because the argument has legal merit.”

    Eric- since you were making a legal argument here, I thought that would be the reason why you did not wish to go there, or even allow this to become part of the legal argument, in no way I meant the reason was due to a potential US benefit.


  209. Arnold Evans says:

    deathtoiran says:
    January 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Since the author wishes to speak about the UN charter I wonder what the UN Charter says about routinely advocating the destruction and calling for the eradication of a fellow UN member state?

    Show me a link to an Iranian official threatening or discussing the use of military force against Israel and I’ll show you ten of Israeli officials doing the same against Iran.

  210. Castellio says:


    I appreciate your postings at 6.12 and 7.09.

    Thank you.

  211. Karl says:

    “deathtoiran says:

    January 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Since the author wishes to speak about the UN charter I wonder what the UN Charter says about routinely advocating the destruction and calling for the eradication of a fellow UN member state?

    Besides your genocidal name..
    Yes what does UN charter say about the following statements?

    Israeli minister warns of Palestinian ‘holocaust’

    Lieberman Compares Gaza to WWII Japan, Balad Cries Racism

    The Balad party has accused Avigdor Lieberman of inciting to genocide after he called to ‘fight Hamas like the United States did to the Japanese.’

    Israel Considers Pre-Emptive Attack On Iran

    Lieberman and Wiping Countries off the face of the Map

  212. deathtoiran says:

    Since the author wishes to speak about the UN charter I wonder what the UN Charter says about routinely advocating the destruction and calling for the eradication of a fellow UN member state?

  213. James Canning says:


    I think France is pushing hardest for latest sanctions against Iran (within the EU).

  214. Fiorangela says:

    Eric, Kooshy, Is kooshy point out a systemic weakness in the UN system that could, possibly, be ameliorated by a redesign of the structure of the Security Council?

    As you have pointed out, Eric, people like Yoo are intent on disregarding the law, so restructuring the law will not affect him. You also, rightly, bring to light his disdain for the law, an essential act.

    But, is it possible to restructure the UNSC so that acts and attitudes such as Yoo’s might have less of a destructive impact?

    A larger question, going to Castellio’s issue — that the Anglo-American world has lost its moral bearings — that undergirds Yoo’s disregard for law, is this: Is the US too big to contain?

  215. James Canning says:


    John Yoo clearly is a necon warmonger who tries to hide the fact the US double-crossed France, Germany and Russia, in the run-up to the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  216. James Canning says:

    The Iranian FM, Ali Akbar Salehi, in Turkey, said: “Out in the open [the Americans] show their muscles, but behind the curtains they plead to us to sit down and talk.”
    Salehi is of course well aware that idiot “pro-Israel” politicians in the US make horrible noises any time Obama tries to act intelligently toward Iran.

  217. Kooshy,

    “… in a way it could be argued whenever law does not have a system or a remedy to be enforced for a select group [in this case, the US], then it could be argued that the law is not … intended for that group.”

    What you write is the practical effect of such a law, of course, though rarely if ever its intent. Put more bluntly: might makes right, no matter what (unenforceable) laws, rules or UN Charters may be in place.

    Nonetheless, it’s useful to prevent someone like John Yoo from passing off a “might makes right” argument as a respectable “legal case.” Such arguments often succeed, but no one should pretend that that happens because the argument has legal merit.

  218. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I think the major oil companies with production contracts in the UAE will face competition from Chinese companies when current contracts expire in 2014. China obviously will continue to grow as a “player” in the Persian Gulf.

  219. Karl says:

    the warmonger himself now not only contradict his warcriminal friend ehud barak but also IAEA, panetta, mossad, cia, NIE and rest of the world.

    netanyahu base his assertion on lies, not facts.

    “Netanyahu: Iran has decided to become a nuclear state. Action needed before it is too late”


  220. Karl says:

    A good article that I guess havent been posted here yet.
    Debunking a warmonger.


  221. Pirouz says:

    Another well written piece, Eric. Thanks.

  222. kooshy says:

    Castellio says:

    January 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Well, in a same way one point that perhaps Eric wouldn’t wish to address is that in the current UN system there is no way to punish a UN permanent member for taking an illegal action, therefore in a way it could be argued whenever law does not have a system or a remedy to be enforced for a select group, than it could be argued that the law is not been intended for that group. Just remember this all was made available to small defense less countries after WWII by countries who had already defeated whomever was capable of standing up to them.

  223. Castellio says:

    Kooshy at 3.43

    Yes. Good point. Has Kofi Annan written on any of this?

  224. hans says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    This is the same lot that Obama is supporting in and sending mercenaries from to Syria.

    You keep forgetting the same bigots and rats were also supported by Iran. What is the latest in terms of an inquiry regarding Ayatollah Mussa Sadr. I have said that nothing will come of this, as there are far too many in the current establishment who do not want to see an inquiry.

  225. James Canning says:


    We can thank the quasi-relgious delusions of Tony Blair for the disastrous US/UK invasion of Iraq. Blair and G W Bush both suffered from the same propensity to “go with their gut” and to disregard clear advice from experience experts on the Middle East.

    Tony Blair is not a synonym for the UK. I of course share Zbigniew Brzezinski’s contempt for Blair.

  226. James Canning says:

    I think what Abraham Lincoln supposedly said to Harriet Beecher Stowe is: “So you’re the little lady who started this great big war.” She did play a considerable role in the matter.

  227. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio says:
    January 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm —

    “I don’t expect you or any one person to effectively deconstruct that mindset. It is a cultural responsibility.”


    “There are different ways of moving forward: one, by arguing that current interpretations of those values are, in fact, a betrayal of them;”


    “and two, that the historical values had effects, generally suppressed, which should put the worth of them to other cultures and peoples in dispute.”


    The skewed values that are seeded in Anglo-American culture were planted there by emotional media — religious liturgies, entertainment, quasi-religious fiction and fictionalized and valorized history. Norman Finkelstein observed in a videod conference titled The Coming Break-up of American Zionism, that what most people understand about Israel they learned from the movie “Exodus.” Then he hummed the iconic theme song.

    An idea implanted through emotion cannot be changed by reason. Facts and the most exquisitely crafted arguments — such as Eric’s fine writing — cannot penetrate a mind that has absorbed an emotional charge.

    Abraham Lincoln is said to have comment to Harriet Beecher Stowe, “So you’re the little lady who caused all this ruckus.”

    Anglo-America needs a new ‘fiction,’ an epic of the grandeur of Shahnameh; an electroshock to sear persistently reinforced ideologies and replace — or restore– moral and psychosocial balance.

  228. kooshy says:


    Also, one point that was not mentioned is that the decision to invade Iraq was explicitly declared illegal by Kofi A. Annan who was Secretary General of UN at the time.

  229. Castellio says:

    Jesus, James, the UK supports the UN? Like… hello.

    Did they take a wrong turn and find themselves in Basra?

  230. Fiorangela says:

    CAstellio wrote, Jan 19 @ 1:57

    “Okay, but the argument draws its appeal from, and justifies itself by, a widely held reading of world history.

    What is most needed is the clear rebuttal of the historical assumptions, in terms of historical facts as well as moral values.”

    That is changing.

    Published late last year — Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath

    from page xv-xvi; a conversation between Herbert Hoover and a New York executive Mr Hill in 1951:
    “The world is in one hell of a mess, isn’t it?” said Hill.
    “It certainly is,” Hoover replied.
    “It has always occurred to me,” Hill continued, that we are in this mess because of the mistakes of statesmen. Somebody ought to write a book . . .”
    “You are absolutely right,” Hoover responded. “. . .and I am going to tell you what should be the first chapter.”
    “What is that?” asked Hill.
    “When Roosevelt put America in to help Russia as Hitler invaded Russia in June 1941. We should have let those two bastards annihilate themselves.”
    . . .
    [What Hoover didn’t tell Hill is that he had been] “at work on a . . .comprehensive, critical history of American diplomacy between the late 1930s and 1945, with emphasis on the misguided policies of President Roosevelt. . . .in which the Roosevelt administration’s wartime alliance with the Soviet Union would be subject to withering scrutiny.”

    Phil Weiss posted this enigmatic and relevant comment on his blog yesterday; it goes to the Why of Roosevelt’s decisions that, according to Hoover, were so wrongheaded:


    Weiss writes:

    “I think Kirsch rightly describes the book as broaching the subject of Jewish influence. This is a great subject, as Jewish influence has produced magnificent things in the west… for instance the emigration of my grandfathers and so many others of their generation from eastern Europe under the pressure of bankers at the turn of the century… for instance the New York Review of Books’ opposition to the Vietnam War. And yet it is a subject too unsettling to Jews of NYRB editor Robert Silvers’s generation, who see it only through the prism of anti-Semitism, the vocalization of an American society they don’t fully trust.”

    A participant on Weiss’s blog, “Krauss,” commented:

    “I’m reading up on all the great Jewish Wall St bankers at the turn of last century, people like Jacob Schiff.

    There are biographies on him, but even if they are by Jews made for (mostly) Jewish audiences, the things I’ve pieced together by reading his private correspondance(the little that the family has made public) and other books by contemporaries, often Gentiles, is that so much of these books is censored, probably for fear of stoking anti-Semitism.

    I understand this, I understand the history and I do not underestimate it. But Schiff’s efforts for the Jews are extraordinary and other prominent Jewish bankers like Warburg, who both would feel completely alien today.
    Warburg, in particular, was a great industrialist who believed in thrift and social harmony, progressive taxes and work for all.
    He took the long view and saw the needs of the greater society as something above short term profits.

    This is Jew I would hope more people would learn about! But even if there was one new book about him by Niall Ferguson, coming from a Gentile conservative perspective, there is still this fear of approaching this topic and to the loss of the current economy in my humble, and slightly ethnocentric, opinion.

    From an American/European perspective, you can gain a lot by reading the few books on these Jewish capitalists, but these men had very vibrant Jewish identities and strong lives, in an era where intermarriage was an anomaly and Jews, for better or for good, were extremely close and tightknit.

    Therefore, for that Jewish angle you don’t get a lot for your time.

    Thinking about their lives and the times they lived in and where the Jewish community was in America at the time, it’s nostalgic and emotional, of course, but it makes you sigh for those times.

    Yes, we’ve risen to astronomical heights, but the price for that has been communal rupture, both intermarriage/assimilation as well as isolation and common scorn, secular vs religious, liberal vs neocon and Zionist vs non-Zionist so forth.
    The Other has become the other Jew.

    Another victim of this rise to power is paranoia about our own success. And paranoia does not make good history books, as I’ve discovered in recent weeks. Sure, part of me want to gloat for my own childish reasons. But part of me wants to get down to the truth, and I dislike airbrushed books.”

    I know it’s just a personal thing and of no moment; I should just suck it up I suppose. But Weiss’ & Krauss’ comments struck a deep chord. My grandfathers emigrated to the US at about the same time as Weiss’s grandfathers, no doubt. I never met them, never sat in their laps. No bankers paid their way, my grandfathers dug ditches. But that’s the luck of the draw.

    The thing is, those bankers who so helped Jews gain the “astronomical heights” they’ve achieved today, despite all the profound anxiety it’s costing them, didn’t get that money from the tooth fairy. As Erik Larson reveals in a few cryptic passages in “In the Garden of Beasts,” Warburg, Schiff, and other Jewish and American Wall Street bankers were heavily invested in Germany’s and the rest of Europe’s war industries from the Franco-Prussian war through the second world war and beyond. They were active investors in and beneficiaries of the munitions, chemical, and financing aspects on both sides of the conflict. And when the Versailles Treaty — negotiated with Bernard Baruch and other zionists sitting beside Wilson at the table — decreed that Germany should pay massive war reparations, Warburg, Schiff, Rothschild, Rockefellar were key among those who invested in very risky loans to Germany, that FDR took pains to instruct Amb. William Dodd to attempt to collect from Hitler’s government.

    So mashing up Herbert Hoover’s and Erik Larson’s histories, we learn that FDR efforts to get US into wars that killed millions of people in Germany, Russia, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, France, were the price that was paid to put the money in the pockets of the bankers who helped Phil Weiss’s grandfathers migrate to the United States, gave them the foundation for their “astronomical success,” and is apparently now causing them such grief in that their “tight knit community” is “rupturing.”

  231. Castellio says:

    Hey Eric, my comment was in no way meant to disparage what you set out to do and did accomplish. And thank you for that.

    You have cleared the ground so that we may focus on the one heartfelt cause of his legal error.

    I would dispute your last line, however, that “… very few readers agree with Yoo that the US’ assumption of Great Britain’s historical role as the spreader of Western values justifies an unprovoked US attack on Iran or any other country.”

    In fact, within Anglo-American culture, I would think most (the majority of) decision makers (managerial class, academics, publishers, politicians, etc) actually believe that it is the role of the US to defend “traditional” values bequeathed by English jurisprudence, etc. And if the UN can’t do it, then the Americans should.

    I don’t expect you or any one person to effectively deconstruct that mindset. It is a cultural responsibility.

    There are different ways of moving forward: one, by arguing that current interpretations of those values are, in fact, a betrayal of them; and two, that the historical values had effects, generally suppressed, which should put the worth of them to other cultures and peoples in dispute.

    The reality, often hard to communicate, is that both of the above counter-arguments to Yoo are simultaneously true.

  232. kooshy says:

    Eric A. Brill says:

    January 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Castellio says:
    January 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm


    In reply to Castellio’s point isn’t it easier to argue that even if true that at one point, Britain was self-appointed to assume the rule “of guaranteeing free trade and economic development, spreading liberal values, and maintaining international security” this was way before both Britain and US ratified and adopted UN charter to become members who are now supposed to abide the UN charter.

  233. James Canning says:

    Any mention of Britain’s historical role should include the UK’s continuous support for the UN. Britain wanted the UN to force Israel out of all territories occupied during the 1967 war. Lyndon Johnson failed to give the British effort adequate support.

  234. James Canning says:

    John Yoo clearly disparages the UN as part of continuing effort to cover up the conspiracy to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq. protect the conspirators, and to reward those conspirators.

  235. Castellio says:
    January 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    “Yoo’s article and position is important, and so is the rebuttal of it. However, the central assumption of Yoo’s piece is that the historical role of the US as a continuance of British values is a necessary and good thing. Brill did not challenge this central assumption.
…What is most needed is the clear rebuttal of the historical assumptions, in terms of historical facts as well as moral values.”


    A fair and insightful comment. My failure to challenge Yoo’s central assumption was not an oversight, however, important though that assumption is. Before continuing, I should remind readers of Yoo’s statement that we are discussing here:

    “The United States has assumed the role, once held by Great Britain, of guaranteeing free trade and economic development, spreading liberal values, and maintaining international security.”

    To Yoo’s credit, I believe, this sentence struck me as the only heartfelt reason he’d offered for his recommended US attack on Iran. It also struck me, however, as an implicit admission that the justifications Yoo had offered earlier in his article – those that purportedly underpin the “legal case” he’d promised his readers – had all fallen short.

    I nonetheless thought it advisable at first, as you recommend, to knock down Yoo’s final “justification” for an unprovoked US attack on Iran. But I concluded that that could be accomplished most effectively simply by quoting what he had so candidly written in this sentence. If that justification should strike a reader as sufficient, I doubted that I or anyone else could persuade him that it is not. I was confident, however, and still am, that very few readers agree with Yoo that the US’ assumption of Great Britain’s historical role as the spreader of Western values justifies an unprovoked US attack on Iran or any other country.

  236. James Canning says:

    John Yoo is of course a shameless liar. His Jan. 3rd piece claims that Russia and China “can usually be counted on to portect other oppressive regimes by blocking U.N. approaval for war, as they did in Iraq in 2003.” Yoo does not mention that the US promised France and Germany, and Russia, that if they backed the first UNSC resolution on Iraq, the US would not proceed to attack Iraq without a second resolution. And France, Germany and Russia wanted the UN inspectors to have more time.

    The fact of the matter is that Dick Cheney and his team of gangsters wanted to get the Iraq invasion underway before it became obvious there were no grounds for the invasion. Their “deniability” was eroding day by day.

  237. paul says:

    Brill says that the UNSC decision making process works well enough. IS HE INSANE? The UNSC has allowed Israel to oppress Palestinians, kill them, imprison them and steal their land for decades. Just recently it enabled a blatant Nato war of conquest against Libya. The list of crimes against humanity that the UNSC has blinked at, or enabled, is very very long. It works well enough if oppression and war is what it is for.

  238. James Canning says:

    John Yoo claims the UN “lacks political legitimacy”. And who is part of the crowd steadily trying to erode that polical legitimacy? John Yoo.

  239. Jay says:

    deathtoiran says:
    January 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Dear de toi (your name is rather rude!)

    your words appear to carry a deep passion for Iran – and now clearly Syria.

    Would you care to share with us the source of your inspiration?

    I’d rather think that somewhere deep inside you have a point that you wish to get across – aside from your anger. Perhaps there is some rationale and a way to present it. So, do share with us, in a bit gentler language, your deep thoughts.

  240. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    As an ardent whore of Israel, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of course does not want American officials to talk with Iranian officials.

    And she also spends time trying to prevent Cuba from exploring for oil and gas in Cuban territorial waters.

  241. James Canning says:

    Eric does great job of exposing John Yoo as an advocate of endless illegal wars, and contempt for the United Nations. A programme promoted by much of the ISRAEL LOBBY.

  242. kooshy says:


    Thank you for another persuasive well-structured legal argument in defense of US approved and adopted international laws. I completely agree that it is important to have scholarly drafted counter arguments available for research purposes and (as much as exposure is allowed) for public awareness.

    On a personal observation-

    In a summarized format what I understood from your argument is that Mr. Yoo whenever beneficial for US prefers the law of jungle to the International law. Otherwise he conveniently likes his own cake and eats it too. Which brings me to wonder, if Mr. Yoo also shares the conviction that for the good of the world is necessary to lower the demography in selected parts of globe (preferably not in western part of Europe).

  243. Castellio says:

    Yoo’s article and position is important, and so is the rebuttal of it. However, the central assumption of Yoo’s piece is that the historical role of the US as a continuance of British values is a necessary and good thing. Brill did not challenge this central assumption.

    Quite simply, the legal argument of Yoo is weak and self-contradictory. Okay, but the argument draws its appeal from, and justifies itself by, a widely held reading of world history.

    What is most needed is the clear rebuttal of the historical assumptions, in terms of historical facts as well as moral values.

  244. deathtoiran says:

    I agree with Richard. We should just allow Assad to butcher his own people since he claims to be doing it in the name of “anti-imperialism”. There is clearly nothing wrong with a country ruled over by a small sect that is subservient to Iran where title is hereditary and not based on merit of any kind other than blood. That always seems to work out. What could possibly go wrong for Iran in supporting a murderous dictator who is trying to keep power through the noble art of torture,rape,and murder? It is not like Iranians hold a grudge over those who tried to do the same to them. No that is not comparable at all afterall Assad is “anti-imperialist” even though he has seemingly never done a thing to fight “imperialists” and his actions have actually been solely to maintain his own power and the influence of his paymasters in tehran who don’t wish to lose their pet. Good luck with that. After Assad falls I’m sure Syrians will be anxious to maintain relations who is clearly beloved throughout Syria(just ignore the burning Iranian and hezbollah flags).

  245. James Canning says:

    Is it not fair to note that David Addington was a key conspirator in the setting up of the illegal and idiotic invasion of Iraq, on knowingly false pretext? John Yoo is an idiot.

  246. Idiot Juan Cole once again comes down directly in favor of intervention in Syria…

    Schmidt: The Freedom and Democracy Struggle in Syria

    The article completely ignores the latest survey showing 55% of the Syria population support the government.

  247. Eric: “Which writing do you think had more practical effect on the Bush Administration’s interrogations of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay — John Yoo’s memo to the President, or the flurry of academic criticism that followed its public release?”

    I don’t see those as equal. Yoo justified the torture – I don’t think he started it. And as I suggested, based on what I’ve heard about Bagram and even Guantanamo, I don’t think anyone has stopped it.

    So I’m not sure either one has any claim to being influential.

    My point is that YOUR piece isn’t going to be that influential in any event. And that Yoo’s article isn’t going to be, either.

    If a war starts with Iran, it’s not going to be justified by “might makes right”, whatever Yoo thinks. It’s going to be “justified” by the same litany of crap it has been up to now: Iran has a nuclear weapons program, Iran supports terrorism, Iran has a crappy civil rights record, Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map, yada, yada, yada.

    Maybe after ten years of war and the discovery that Iran never had a nuclear weapons program, then someone will drag Yoo’s article out, just like they drag out the notion that we invaded Iraq because Saddam was “a bad guy” and try to make everyone forget it WAS about “WMDs” that no one ever found. So they’ll drag out Yoo’s article and say, “Well, Iran was a POTENTIAL threat and therefore it was legit under this guy’s doctrine.”

    At which point, you’ll drag out your rebuttal – and be ignored just like the supporters of the Iraq war are ignoring the simple fact that there were no WMDs and anyone who brings up WMDs is ignored when we cite that fact as reason to doubt that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

    By which time, we’ll be at war with Pakistan, or China, or who know who.

    Don’t get me wrong, you did a nice job demolishing Yoo. Just get it published in the same place as Yoo’s piece and you’ll probably have an impact – on Yoo, anyway. Maybe.

  248. The top 5 U.S. misconceptions on Iran

    And the top misconception about the U.S. government – that it really believes any of the top five misconceptions on Iran…or could care less even if it did…

  249. Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    “There’s also a difference between a memo from an Administration legal expert to the President, and an article by an academic.”

    I agree with your observation in the abstract, Richard, but not always the conclusion you draw from it: that “an article by an academic” has more influence than “a memo from an Administration legal expert to the President.” Which writing do you think had more practical effect on the Bush Administration’s interrogations of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay — John Yoo’s memo to the President, or the flurry of academic criticism that followed its public release?

  250. Arabs running out of options on Syria violence

    So, of course, once the “benighted Arabs” “run out of options”, why, I guess it will be up to the our Nobel Peace Prize Prez and Canning’s peace-loving UK diplomats, along with the French whackjobs, to come up with some “options”…

    Here’s the bottom line: Without foreign military assistance, Assad can, if he’s willing to kill ten or twenty thousand people within a short period of time, crush the current rebellion. They simply don’t have enough troops or equipment to defeat the Syrian military. They’re in exactly the same place the Libyan rebels were in early in that conflict.

    Anyone here think the U.S. and the EU REALLY won’t get involved at that point? If so, you’re dreaming.

  251. In Libya, a Fundamentalist War against Moderate Islam Takes Shape

    This is the same lot that Obama is supporting in and sending mercenaries from to Syria.

  252. Irshad says:

    @fyi and RSH

    Qatars special forces operating in Libya in the 100s:


  253. Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 19, 2012 at 10:59 am

    “Nice work demolishing Yoo, Eric. Now answer me this question: Who cares about Yoo’s opinion?”

    Few if any people care that an opinion is John Yoo’s opinion. I certainly don’t. The influence of an opinion often exceeds the importance of its source, however — especially when it is likely to be repeated without any mention, or even awareness, of the shaky reasoning on which it’s based.

    I believe it’s useful to prevent a simple-minded “might makes right” argument from being dressed up as a “legal case.” To many influential people, that distinction still matters.

  254. Fiorangela says:

    fyi says:
    January 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    “What else would expect of Poli. Sci. graduates?”

    At least one alert and concerned individual suggested that Israel — and US — step out of the emotion-laden — and perhaps sophomore Poli Sci-oriented — rhetoric and policy proposals into the adult world of reason-based conflict resolution.

    The speaker was a member of the audience at a Hill Forum at which Hillary Leverett participated, together with Paul Pillar, Ian Lustick, and Martin Indyk.

    This question/comment was one of two searing statements from audience members.

    Her question: “: I’m Diane Pearlman. I’m with the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. And my question – I’d like to, like, frame the disagreements in terms of social science, coming from a background of conflict analysis, conflict transformation and actual social science, based on research.

    And it seems like the difference of opinion is not framed in this way, that they’re really coming from very different paradigms, and that the dominant paradigm that Martin Indyk was referring to . . . is based on coercion, threat, isolation, punishment and pressure to get people to do what we want parties to do. And even, like, the idea of engagement is usually put in the form of pressure. And it usually creates the opposite effect, and there’s research on, like, 100 cases of sanctions and they failed 86 percent of the time, and sort of, belief in deterrence theory as the only theory where, when you act that way, you can provoke – there’s also spiral theory and tension reduction.

    And Ian was talking about the hysteria, that parties are more dangerous when they’re afraid, and acting out of fear, you can justify the fears of the other party and keep ratcheting up the escalation. And also, exclusion – that a lot of things that policymakers – even well-meaning people believe in – have the opposite effect. So people were saying, we think that peace is not possible. Maybe it’s because of the lens that we’re using. I had this idea of the political Heisenberg Principle, that you can’t observe the behavior of a party like Iran without looking at the effect of our policy – a dynamic view, rather than a static view that they’re just the bad guys.

    So you know, my question is that, you know, that I think the comments, especially of, like, Hillary and Ian, are consistent with principles of social science, conflict transformation, tension reduction. And you know, from what I’ve heard from very few people are the common interests between Israel and Iran that could be mutually beneficial. So could you respond to that, and also, maybe, frame it in the context of social science?”

    Why IS it that the views and policy prescriptions of the John Yoos and Martin Indyks of the world have gained such purchase in our political culture?

    Andrew Bacevich asked a similar question in a discussion with Bob Kerrey, Doug Brinkley, and Evan Bayh that evaluated how legislation and doctrines from the Truman administration still shape US military — and therefore foreign — policy. :http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Presidentsat

  255. Meanwhile, Congress continues lobbying against ANY diplomacy with Iran.

    Talks with Iran a ‘foolish waste of time’: US lawmaker

  256. Syria continues to go bad…

    Report: Syrian rebels take control over area outside Damascus

    Also note:

    Also Wednesday, representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood claimed to have rejected a proposal floated by Iran that that group be given control over the Syrian government in exchange for its agreement that Assad remain president.

  257. UN watchdog urges full Iran cooperation in nuclear probe
    IAEA chief says he won’t soften his report on the Islamic Republic; ‘What we know suggests the development of nuclear weapons,’ Amano says.

    So Amano doubles down on his BS, despite the almost universal debunking of the last report.

  258. Fyi: “no one talked about the involvement of Special Forces from various Arab countries at the time (Qatar, UAE and Jordan), working closely with the Western allies.”

    I did read about the British Special Forces and the CIA personnel in Libya in some news reports, but nothing about any Arab forces.

    Those same British, French and U.S. forces are currently on the Turkish-Syrian border training and supplying the Syrian opposition. The U.S. Air Force base at Incirlik is being used to coordinate SIGINT and propaganda operations against Syria, according to Sibel Edmonds sources in Turkey.

  259. IDF conducts first major paratroopers drill in 13 years

    If you want to beat Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley, dropping paratroopers in coordination with an armored division assault into the Valley from Syrian territory probably would be in the cards. As would dealing with the Syrian military. Or for that matter, dropping into Iran for whatever reason.

  260. fyi says:


    Not really a surprise, but no one talked about the involvement of Special Forces from various Arab countries at the time (Qatar, UAE and Jordan), working closely with the Western allies.


    Quote: British efforts to help topple Colonel Gaddafi were not limited to air strikes. On the ground – and on the quiet – special forces soldiers were blending in with rebel fighters. This is the previously untold account of the crucial part they played.

  261. Eric: “Possibly torture would have continued just as long at Guantanamo had critics not reacted so strongly to Yoo’s memo, but I’m inclined to think that criticism made a difference. The same may be true this time.”

    Do we KNOW torture has ended at Quantanamo? My guess is it has not.

    There’s also a difference between a memo from an Administration legal expert to the President, and an article by an academic. I doubt anyone other the neocons will remember Woo’s article beyond next week. And it’s unlikely anyone will ever hear about your rebuttal other than those of us here.

  262. Fiorangela says:

    Congratulations to Flynt & Hillary Leverett’s “colleague Eric Brill,” and the hope that respect for US interests & Iran may come from collegial efforts.

  263. More propaganda from Israel about Syria…

    IDF exposes Syria-funded Islamic Jihad terror cell in West Bank

  264. Clint says:
    January 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

    “You flatter Yoo by rebutting him.”

    As should be clear, Clint, I care very little about John Yoo, and I recognize that few others do either.

    That was equally true when Yoo worked for the Justice Department and wrote his highly publicized memorandum supporting the use of torture in prisoner interrogations at Guantanamo Bay. But his memo nonetheless was cited many times by those who supported the torture, and the torture continued for quite some time after Yoo had laid out his “legal case” for it.

    Possibly torture would have continued just as long at Guantanamo had critics not reacted so strongly to Yoo’s memo, but I’m inclined to think that criticism made a difference. The same may be true this time.

  265. Panetta: U.S. military fully prepared to deal with Iran threat
    Defense Secretary says U.S. already has a robust military posture around the Gulf and does not need to take special steps in face of Iran threat to close Strait of Hormuz.

    No one is going to buy that statement… At this time, of course, it’s true, since Iran is NOT going to close the Straits. The real question is: what comes next? If the U.S. tries a blockade of Iranian oil exports – which is the only option left – yes, Iran WILL close the Straits. And THEN the U.S. will need more than it presently has in the Gulf.

  266. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

    What else would expect of Poli. Sci. graduates?

  267. U.S. expects Iran sanctions to bear results within two months

    U.S. rejects Israeli assessment that Iran sanctions are ineffective

    Of course, this is what it’s telling Israel. The problem is that it will be clear within six month, once the sanctions are implemented allegedly within the next six months, that they have been ineffective. Certainly by end of the year, it will be absolutely clear that Iranian oil is still being sold, and the Iranian economy is still holding up.

    So ask the next question: what happens then? There are no more sanctions that can be applied from a financial standpoint. Iran’s oil has been embargoed and so has its central bank. So what’s left?

    Well, what’s left is a act of war – an actual blockade of Iranian oil shipments. Obama was in favor of a blockade of Iranian imported gasoline during his election campaign, so I expect he will be in favor of a blockade of Iranian oil exports next year – assuming he is re-elected. Certainly a Republican President, if elected, will be so in favor.

    So the question becomes: how do you blockade Iran credibly? Obviously even the attempt will cause Iran to retaliate against U.S. Navy vessels in the Gulf and probably against oil tankers of other nations. The entire Straits of Hormuz closure issue will be immediate. It would take all naval vessels from every country adhering to the blockade – presumably including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Greece, plus whatever Iran’s enemies in the region can muster (if anything). This would mean three U.S. carrier battle groups, one or two Marine Expeditionary Battalions at a minimum (probably more), and every other navy and Coast Guard vessel the participating nations can muster, plus air support from helicopters and surveillance aircraft. Iran has over a thousand small ships, in addition to its regular Navy vessels, including submarines, midget submarines, and aircraft capable of laying mines.

    I think an immediate war would occur.

    So if a blockade isn’t done, what else can the U.S. try to do to pressure Iran>

  268. “The problem is that all those Marines can do.” s/b “The problem is that IS all those Marines can do.”

  269. Fyi: Re The National Interest article cited…

    “In sum, Tehran would have to reconstruct a program that took decades to build, from technology it could have serious trouble reproducing locally, in expansive facilities buried deep underground, while simultaneously making a major conventional effort to produce an IADS, all out of an economically struggling and generally impoverished resource base. A revived program could meet long delays and might never become viable.”

    I agree with that assessment – especially if the U.S. bombed it again any time it thought it could – which it would.

    “On the cost side, Iran’s major strategic threat—to impede the flow of Persian Gulf oil—is also hollow. As Ben Friedman has noted in this space and Caitlin Talmadge has analyzed at length, American naval capabilities are more than sufficient to hold the Straits of Hormuz open and to reduce Iranian harassment to a minimum.”

    I agree with this assessment – except to point out that in the SHORT-TERM Iran could conduct enough harassment of the Straits long enough as to drive the price of oil up enough to seriously damage the West economies. Even if the U.S. regains control of the Straits at some point, it could be months of intermittent traffic causing oil prices to skyrocket.

    “Miranda Priebe and Josh Shifrinson have further shown that another commonly mooted threat—an Iranian missile attack on Saudi oil facilities—lacks the capacity to seriously harm Saudi oil production.”

    Possibly true, I haven’t looked at that situation. But if we assume that Iran’s missile capacity is best used against U.S. strategic assets in the region (and perhaps Israel’s) then it is unlikely based on current Iranian missile inventories that it can destroy the bulk of Saudi oil facilities.

    However, here again we must assume that it could cause SOME damage, perhaps enough to impact short-term oil prices negatively.

    ” Though the market will probably react negatively for a short duration, a real threat to Gulf oil is beyond Iran’s meager means.”

    But again, the question is: HOW negatively and for HOW LONG? That is the $64,000 question that I have yet to see anyone game in real dollars.

    “None of these are particularly good reasons to attack Iran’s program, mind you. And, to be sure, there are other potential costs: Iran can use its proxies to stir up trouble for Israel and can launch attacks on American military targets in the Gulf and in Afghanistan. The potential death of American servicemen and women and a possible sequence of escalating military attacks with Iran are not costs policy makers should take lightly. But they are the type of costs that American decision makers have been willing to bear in the past two decades.”

    Of course American decision makers have been “willing to bear” these costs – because THEY ARE NOT COSTS TO THOSE DECISION MAKERS!

    The callousness with which these writers view that fact is reason enough to ignore them. Their only reason for avoiding an Iran war is that if the U.S. is successful – or as they put it, “it works” – whatever THAT means – is that the U.S. will then consider itself invincible.

    The ridiculous part of their article lies in two points:

    1) First, Iraq and Afghanistan have been unmitigated disasters. So the notion that an Iran war will “work” is iffy on the face of it.

    2) Second, the specific problem with the Straits of Hormuz is, as I’ve pointed out before, where does the U.S. go from there? Sure, the U.S. can dump twenty or thirty thousand Marines on the Iran coast, and pretty much insure that those Marines can clean out most of the Iranian shore assets, supported by air strikes and, once the Iranian naval assets are cleared, the U.S. Navy ships.

    The problem is that all those Marines can do. If they leave, the Iranians come back and harass the Straits again. So those Marines have to stay there, presumably forever or until Iran “surrenders” – which might be for ten years. The other option, to bolster those Marine forces with an invasion force that seeks to occupy Iran – or even just Khuzestan, where the oil is, is a non-starter. Iran can muster a million militia to harass and contain U.S. forces for a decade or more.

    So the problem of the Straits IS NOT a “temporary one” – keeping the Straits open becomes a never-ending battle which will symbolize the entire war itself.

    Iran can continue to conduct asymmetric war against the U.S. in the region for a decade or more, bleeding the U.S. military and economy dry just as the Vietnamese did in the 1960’s and ’70’s while suffering as much as (and probably much more than) the Vietnamese ever did.

    That is to say, a major blow to Iran’s economy and industrial infrastructure, not to mention hundreds of thousands, and most likely a million or more, dead civilians beyond its military and IRGC forces. And for the U.S., likely several times more dollar cost per month than both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars put together, as well several times more U.S. casualties than both wars put together. That is, a dollar cost in the neighborhood of twenty to thirty billion dollars a month plus casualties on the order of up to a thousand a month, perhaps many more in the early days.

    The article is stupid in the extreme.

    However, when the article says that American authorities are “willing to pay that cost” – they’re right. Because no one in the U.S. government will ever be brought to account for such a massive waste of human treasure and life.

    And even if someone in the U.S. government is so reprimanded, those who PAID FOR that individual will NEVER be brought to account…

  270. Pepe Escobar on The US-GCC fatal attraction

    Clearly Pepe agrees with Arnold Evans that without the Saudis, Jordan, and especially the GCC, the U.S. would be no where in the Middle East. But Pepe points out these “U.S. satrapies” are moving East…to China…over the next decade. And China wants nothing more than “stability” in the Middle East – including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and the GCC.

    I don’t think they’re going to get it unless they ante up.

  271. Nice work demolishing Yoo, Eric.

    Now answer me this question: Who cares about Yoo’s opinion?

  272. Clint says:

    Yoo is a joke and his thinking goes against the Founding Father’s views. He says to ignore the UN but I guess he doesn’t want to ignore the politicized IAEA under Amano who are distributing lies and innuendo.

    You flatter Yoo by rebutting him.

    Not worth the neural activity.

    There is no case against Iran. They are not our friend so we have concocted a nonproliferation excuse. Read John Mueller’s “Atomic Obsession”

    The sanctions are, in effect, a Fatwa on Iran due to their legal legislative language: