BBC BLOGS - Justin Webb's America
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Gutsy Gates

Justin Webb | 08:07 UK time, Monday, 30 June 2008

The most interesting aspect of the latest Seymour Hersh warning that the Bush administration is gearing up for a fight in Iran (or over Iran) was this claim about a meeting Defence Secretary Robert Gates had with Democratic Senators:

"Gates warned of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a pre-emptive strike on Iran, saying, as the senator recalled, 'We'll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.' Gates's comments stunned the Democrats at the lunch, and another senator asked whether Gates was speaking for Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney.

"Gates's answer, the senator told me, was 'Let's just say that I'm here speaking for myself.' (A spokesman for Gates confirmed that he discussed the consequences of a strike at the meeting, but would not address what he said, other than to dispute the senator's characterization.)"

So Gates and the US top brass will veto a strike. If Gates threatened to resign he would win. Is he gutsier than Powell? That's the question.

Can he withstand the pressure and the selective reporting of threat assessments etc etc? Of course, if he were wrong and Cheney were right - if Iran built a bomb under his watch and used it - history might not smile on him.

Given the high stakes in all of this, the Bill Clinton sulk - if it is being correctly reported here - is going to look to many Democrats to be insufferably petulant and small minded by the autumn.

Obama needs him but the need flows both ways - he needs Obama now to help him rescue his reputation. He needs Obama to win and he needs to be part of that win.


  • 1. At 09:00am on 30 Jun 2008, Candace9839 wrote:

    Gates is not the only one to stand against a pre-emptive attack on Iran. Fallon resigned earlier for disagreements with the administration. Bill Clinton's petulance belies the 'working their hearts out' for the Obama campaign that the Clintons promised as they threatened to take the nomination fight to all the way to the convention. It just shows the selfish, personal nature of what the Clintons and the DNC leadership wrongly assumed was a done deal. He does indeed need to get over it and stop being a sore loser for his own reputation's sake.

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  • 2. At 09:39am on 30 Jun 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    Mr. Webb -

    re: your statement " . . . So Gates and the US top brass will veto a strike. . . "

    Please be more careful with your statements. This one has wildly inaccurate implications.

    Under the US system, neither Gates nor the Pentagon brass have any legal authority to veto anything - they can resign rather than carry out the order, or they can refuse to carry out the order on the grounds that it is an illegal order: there are no other legal options. (Of course, if they refuse to carry out the order, the burden of proof at court martial that the order was illegal is on them, and not on Bush/Cheney to demonstrate that it was.)

    Should they refuse to carry out orders, Bush/Cheney can relieve them on the spot and, if the refusal is repeated by their replacements, can repeat the order/refusal/relieve process until they find someone who will carry them out. This replacement process needs no approvals, etc. from anyone outside the administrative branch: only when a "permanent" replacement is named (and that could be weeks/months after the fact), will that individual need Senate confirmation.

    Given the neocons who still dwell in the Pentagon, and Generals such as Boykin, among others, Bush/Cheney would not have to dig far until they find people willing (and happy) to initiate war.

    This is just one of the weaknesses of the US system. While the President can't do very much without Congressional approval in most matters, in the case of military action, he is able to act essentially unilaterally. I expect this is a remnant of Cold War times, when it was deemed that the President needed the authority to strike within minutes of a Soviet attack.

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  • 3. At 09:43am on 30 Jun 2008, notlimah wrote:

    "So Gates and the US top brass will veto a strike." Perhaps, but by whom? The option that many people are talking about is that the US will discreetly encourage Israel to carry out a strike. The US will then stand ready to leap to plucky Israel's defence in the event of any backlash from Iran, purely for defensive reasons of course, while washing its hands of any complicity in the original event.

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  • 4. At 10:14am on 30 Jun 2008, tuairimiocht wrote:

    "The option that many people are talking about is that the US will discreetly encourage Israel to carry out a strike. The US will then stand ready to leap to plucky Israel's defence in the event of any backlash from Iran, purely for defensive reasons of course, while washing its hands of any complicity in the original event."

    Replace "US" with "UK" and "Iran" with "Egypt" and you have the Suez crisis. And we all know how that ended. Maybe there's a lesson in there.

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  • 5. At 10:39am on 30 Jun 2008, Reuben34g wrote:

    It wouldn't be the first time that there was a revolt in the pentagon against idiots at the top.

    If you read about the Revolt of the Admirals that took place in the 1940s, you'd know that the President of the United States isn't a dictator that can do just about anything he wants.

    If Mr. Gates were given the order to make an preemptive strike against Iran, resigned in protest, then several pentagon officials and flag officer followed Mr Gates lead, and then Dubya appointed replacements who would carry out the order, he would be impeached by a United States Congress that is fed up with his bull-in-a-china-shop style diplomacy.

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  • 6. At 10:46am on 30 Jun 2008, Peter_Sym wrote:

    Strike where and with what? Iran's uranium processing facilities are deep underground, in a mountainous part of the country and heavily defended by the latest Russian anti-aircraft missiles. To destroy the facilities totally would probably need a small tactical nuclear weapon which as it would have to be groundburst would make a lot of fallout (both radioactive and politically).

    The best the US could hope for would be a B2 stealth bomber dropping a bunker busting bomb which at best would damage the facility and delay uranium production by a few months. Bunker buster bombs can only penetrate 30 feet or so of concrete so a facility deep underground is quite safe.

    The Israelis with F16 and F15's would suffer enormous casulaties on the run in, and their bombs would be ineffective. On the return leg the syrian airforce would be alerted and would doubtless engage combat damaged Israeli planes short on fuel. If Israel was in imminent threat of nuclear attack they'd carry out such a suicide mission, but they won't do it for fun.

    Bush may WANT to attack Iran, but actually doing it is a different matter.

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  • 7. At 10:48am on 30 Jun 2008, Parrisia wrote:

    do you really think that a government minister appointed by the head of that government is in any position to veto the head's decision? I.E. is Gates in any position to block any decision made by Bush and Cheney? Pls do not underestimate your readers' IQ. Thank you, Parrisia

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  • 8. At 11:12am on 30 Jun 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    With so many troops still in Iraq and potentially facing a massive retaliation from both sides of Iraq, I find it hard to believe that any leader of America would countenance a strike against Iran at this point in time.

    Iran which has huge conventional forces and a surprisingly advanced internal weapons industry could quite conceivably deliver a swift and bloody defeat to the American forces on the ground, especially when you consider that Syria and every Iraqi insurgent would likely join in as well.

    Add in the diplomatic fallout when Russia and China inevitably protest and it's clear that an attack on Iran without a clear and demonstrable threat as it's catalyst would be utter mindless folly that would do near irreparable damage to America's standing and leave Israel in an almost untenable position.

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  • 9. At 11:18am on 30 Jun 2008, Vince Millett wrote:

    No one is asking the question: 'Why would Iran use a nuke?'. Palestine is seen as a waqf, a permanent religious endowment of land. I cannot see any religious Muslim ever nuking a holy place such as that. They're hardly going to nuke Palestine on behalf of the Palestinians are they? You don't free a land by turning it into a nuclear wasteland. No, on the unlikely chance that Iran is really trying to develop a nuclear military capability, it will be for deterence against the genuine threat from those who believe in a 'Greater Israel' that would steal land all the way to the Iranian border if they could. Small tactical nukes could take out Israeli tank columns as they cross Syria. Israel is ultimately safe because it has nukes and can destroy all the nations around it. Those nations aren't safe because Israel has nukes.

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  • 10. At 11:20am on 30 Jun 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #5 Reuben34g

    A couple of points:

    1. Recall that Nixon went through several Attorneys General/acting Attorneys General in the space of hours when he ordered the firing of Archibald Cox. The same process can happen at the same speed with the replacement of the SecDef and/or military brass.

    2. Impeachment is an action that Congress can take _after_ the fact, not something they could do to _prevent_ an attack.

    3. In the 40s, the President was not considered to have the same authority as he does now to initiate military action on his say-so alone. That authority was given him when the threat of nuclear exchange with the Soviets materialized during the Cold War. The War Powers Act (passed later) also gives him the authority to commit to military action without a priori or concurrent Congressional approval.

    4. Further, Congress has recently passed resolutions endorsing regime change in Iran and declaring certain Iranian groups to be terrorists - both of these are sufficient (at least based on administration precedent) to give the administration authority to attack.

    5. The so-called Revolt of the Admirals is not germane to this topic. It did not involve anyone disobeying orders from higher up in the chain of command. It involved resignations in protest, and "out of channel" requests to Congress to review procurement, organizational, and service mission decisions that some of the services felt were deleterious to their interests. This was an extended episode whose duration was many months (actually years). "Revolt" is a totally inaccurate use of the term.

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  • 11. At 11:34am on 30 Jun 2008, Ian Watson wrote:

    I find the continued hypocrisy from the US more and more outrageous.

    Firstly Bush claims to seed democracy yet Iran is a democratic country that he has just authorised a couple hundred million dollars for "covert action" e.g. sedition, terrorism paid for by the US taxpayer in an attempt to bring down a democratic government.

    Secondly, we see no proof... ever! We have innuendic claims milled out sometimes on a daily basis from America and Israel, claiming this and that about the evils of Iran, where is the evidence? The proof because I am sure that if they really had some it would be on the front pages of every media outlet.

    Thirdly, America is intent on committing economic suicide (dragging us down with them) by attacking Iran, the Pentagon state that they could squash Iran anytime (Adm Fallons words) but this is not the case and it is very likely that without the use of tactical nuclear weapons, Iran can and will defend itself admirably and with the Russian S-3/400's, SunBurn, its new fighter and bomber planes alone it will certainly bloody the Americans nose and indeed they can and will close down three quarters of middle eastern oil exports in a day.

    America is struggling to meet its energy needs, an attack on Iran will cause its ally Venezueala to cease all oil exports to America, something the US depends upon critically to the tune of one fifth of essential oil dependency, if Chavez turns the taps off to the US, the US will face an immediate oil crisis, Saudi Arabia is at capacity, Iraq is incapable of meeting shortfalls, the western world and Europe will also be demanding oil from a finite amount, the west will plunge into a fuel and economic crisis yet to be seen in magnituide on this planet.

    Lastly, let us not forget China and Russia, China has declared quite literally that any attempt to interfere with its oil imports will constituite an act of war, Iran and Syria are also very close allies of Russia as they are of China, I think that the Americans are badly misreading the situation here, especially after eviscerating its economy and military on Iraq, weakening both, Russia and China may see that it would benefit them both to remove America as a world player altogether by supporting Iran, forcing the US into a fight it cannot ever hope to win.

    And regardless of whether Iran is seeking nuclear weapons or not, Russia and China are nations that do have nuclear weapons, that can call up massive standing armies equal to or greater than the total population of the US, America might win a small tactical skirmish in Iran but it is incapable of ever taking on anything bigger especially as it is a nation that is bankrupt and it just so happens that China, the ally of Iran holds most of America's debt...

    Consider this... if the "might" of America, the majority of its standing forces cannot subdue one small nation, how the heck does it think it can subdue a nation that is many times larger, with a modern military, logistics and isn't afraid to die fighting the US?

    Its time for the people of the world to realise that America is doomed if it continues along this path...

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  • 12. At 11:38am on 30 Jun 2008, Peter_Sym wrote:

    #9. You're thinking like a westerner. Think like someone who'd fly a plane into a building in return for 70 virgins in paradise.

    I doubt if Iran would drop a nuke on the dome of the rock mosque, but they'd happily liquidate Tel Aviv in a heartbeat. They sent hundreds of thousands of their own conscript troops in human wave attacks against Saddams tanks. A few palestinians dying of radiation sickness wouldn't concern them in the least.

    Small tactical nukes COULD take out Israeli tank columns crossing Syria but they wouldn't do Syria much good either.

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  • 13. At 11:53am on 30 Jun 2008, SaintDominick wrote:

    There is no doubt that the Bush Administration and the neocons would love to launch a pre-emptive aerial attack against Iran's nuclear facilities before November, but considering President Bush's unpopularity, the fact that Democrats control Congress, our economic woes, and how over stretched our military currently is such an attack is unlikely in the waning months of this Administration, Bush's legacy notwithstanding. The allegation that Gates and the top military brass will veto a decision made by the President is absurd; they can object during private planning meetings, but they don't have the authority to veto a decision made by the President and Commander in Chief. A more likely scenario is an Israeli bombardment, with full US support. The most troubling issue is the paranoia of a nation with 12,000 nuclear warheads because a foe may develop one bomb, while condoning the nuclear capabilities of India, Pakistan and Israel.

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  • 14. At 11:54am on 30 Jun 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #8 Chad Sexington

    I don't believe anyone is seriously considering an "invasion" of Iran; sufficient ground forces just aren't readily available. Use of ground forces, if used at all, are likely to be limited to quick strikes against selected targets followed by quick extraction.

    The US has sufficient air and naval assets available (and probably close to unassailable (by Iran) air superiority) to seriously degrade (but probably not to destroy completely) Iran's military, industrial, and nuclear assets to a level that would make Israel happy for many years.

    US forces in Iraq would almost certainly experience a higher threat level than currently from guerilla-type forces, but I expect that an attack by Syrian or Iranian military forces on Americans in Iraq are highly improbable.

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  • 15. At 11:56am on 30 Jun 2008, Neo Politicus wrote:

    We can fight Iran now on our terms - or Obama can explain why we're fighting them after 100,000 Americans are dead.

    The real enemies are the sick liberal hypocrites like Hersh and Webb - who ignored the genocide of the Iraqis under Saddam and support the murder of our troops by terrorists today. When "the war" they've created gets here, the public will know who's responsible.

    We'll make sure they know.

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  • 16. At 12:18pm on 30 Jun 2008, Ciaran wrote:

    Don't you people get it? There are no nuclear weapons in Iran! This is another lie to get you to support an attack on Iran. Just like they lied about weapons of mass destruction to go to war with Iraq!
    The weapons inspectors, the IAEA say that there is absolutely no proof that Iran has nuclear weapons. The CIA admit this and the NIE say this too! The Iranians started their nuclear weapons program in 2002 but stopped it in 2003! Now they are enriching uranium for their peaceful nuclear energy program - which they have every right to do - just like the 37 other countries who have a nuclear energy program.
    As for nuclear weapons, who gave the US the right to own 9,000 active nuclear warheads? Hypocrites! Nine other countries have nuclear weapons - funny that Iran is being specifically targeted! Actually it's not funny the US want hundreds of thousands more innocent people dead.
    And the thing where Ahmadinejad supposedly said he wanted Israel wiped off the map? That was a bloody misquote! Look up these facts yourself! Prepare to be shocked!

    Don't listen to this propaganda. Funny too, how the BBC don't point out about the US or UK's nuclear weapons, eh? Actually, it's not funny - they're being complicit in the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

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  • 17. At 12:26pm on 30 Jun 2008, thegangofone wrote:

    #12 Peter_Sym

    I agree with you Peter_Sym BUT its also one of the crazy things about the Israeli position.

    As Dr. Strangelove said the whole point of a deterrent is that your enemy must know about it. They kept quiet about it for years. Perhaps because they didn't want it to become clear where they got the plutonium.

    They say they would never use a nuclear weapon first - but where could you drop a nuclear weapon around Israel where the Israelis themselves would not be affected? 16 miles wide I think.

    What scares me about Iran and nuclear weapons is not a US strike and yee haa lets go after the oil. They will bluster like they do with Chavez. Constant "in your face" pressure.

    But I fear the Israelis might go for it with a tactical weapon. I think it would be a disaster, but they might. Probably they would be too smart. Hopefully.

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  • 18. At 12:35pm on 30 Jun 2008, Simon Ward wrote:

    Peter_Sym: the Mutually Assured Destruction premise still applies to Muslims too. The extremist preachers may be able to find someone gullible enough for a suicide attack, but they are not actually willing to do it themselves. Furthermore, how many suicide bombers would still carry out their acts if they knew it would mean certain death for all their family too!?

    Historically, the media has always used propaganda to portray the enemy as mad and power crazed so that the politicians can justify war. Iran has very little history of outwards aggression. E.g. the Iran-Iraq war was pushed by US backing for Iraq. The Iranian Revolution was the result of British and US interference in Iran that overthrew a democratic government and put the Shah in power - again because of oil. However, we live in a world where we judge by words rather than actions (it should be the other way round!).

    Note: we cannot really criticise Iran for support of insurgents because that is nothing that we have not done ourselves. E.g. the US/UK backed insurgents in Afghanistan in the 80s via our good friend (at the time) Mr. Bin Laden.

    If you think like an Iranian, then you'd be developing nuclear weapons like there was no tomorrow because of the US threat. By continuing to threaten Iran despite their co-operation with the IAEA, the US has shown that Iran will not be cut any slack if it stops nuclear programs - the NeoCons will just claim that the Iranians are still doing it in secret, just like the Saddam's WMDs.

    If Iran had nuclear weapons then it would stop the belligerent US foreign policy in its tracks. However, if they pre-emptively struck Tel Aviv, then Iran would be annihilated by a massive retaliation, so they would achieve nothing.

    M.A.D. worked with the US/USSR and India/Pakistan - I believe it will work in the Middle East too. Although, I would rather the situation not be escalated to the point where it is required.

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  • 19. At 12:52pm on 30 Jun 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    @ PeterM

    American forces in Iraq wouldn't have to invade Iran, the Iranian forces would invade Iraq following the strike, to say it's improbable is ludicrous given that in the scenario envisaged Iran had just suffered an unprovoked strike, the moderates in Iran would struggle to contain Ahmenijad, especially if the strikes went further than the nuclear facilities. Iran are not the standard Middle Eastern country relying on outdated Russian cold war tanks, they have access to some bang up to date kit.

    To strike at a country when you have thousands of troops stationed next door would be asking for it, and given Syria is on the other border and the number of insurgents on the ground in Iraq, it does pose a very real threat of turning into a military disaster, you can't fight a two front war that far from home.

    And there is the very real question of whether China or the newly invigorated Russia would stand for it, even if militarily they would be massively unlikely to get directly involved, economically China in particular is a superpower and could hamstring the US economy for decades.

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  • 20. At 12:54pm on 30 Jun 2008, SlashDashUnderscore wrote:

    Peter (#14),

    "I don't believe anyone is seriously considering an "invasion" of Iran; sufficient ground forces just aren't readily available."

    The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

    From an unamed White House aide, believed by some to be Karl Rove.

    This White House does not believe in objective reality, an idea that has been somewhat popular since the beginning of time, and definitely in vogue for the last 250 years (perhaps we have the first post-modern American presidency?) Bush believes himself to be 'the decider', who decides upon victory - and it happens (incidentally being 'the decider' gives him dictatorial powers in foreign and defence policy, or so he thinks, through the constitutionally shaky justification that he is commander-in-chief).

    Bush believes the common myth that American economic, political and military power is limitless and will ultimately prevail. Bush, like Hitler, believes that 'triumph of the will' will get him where he needs to be. Hence, defeat in Vietnam was caused not by being outfought on the ground, but by domestic weakness.

    But America (although pretty damn powerful) is not unstoppable, and in recent years, Bush has been pushing against those limits. Although it was easy to invade Iraq (and I predict that it would be no picnic to invade Iran), occupying it peacefully would have been nearly impossible even if the current Administration hadn't stubbornly refused to plan for anything (but remember, limitless American power will solve any problem, be it Sunni militias, mass unemployment, or intermittent power cuts, simply through its power). All of this from a president who promised to be more humble in foreign policy.

    Peter, your supposition that America would not launch a ground invasion is based on the idea that American foreign policy has been based upon logic for the last eight years. It has not. It has been based on neo-conservative ideology and hubristic militarism. Hence, a decision to attack Iran with an overstretched military, a crippled esteem of the Administration at home and abroad, and no allies, is perfectly within the Administration mainstream.

    America needs Obama to survive the next eight years!


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  • 21. At 1:25pm on 30 Jun 2008, thegangofone wrote:

    #18 simonmw3

    You do say "Although, I would rather the situation not be escalated to the point where it is required." with regard to M.A.D.

    I agree as there have been well documented cases where the US nearly launched, and the USSR, accidentally. Will our luck won't hold out if proliferation continues?

    I also agree with those that commented on Obama.

    Obama passes the "sane and able to report for duty" test - and how the hell did the neo-cons get into power.

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  • 22. At 1:25pm on 30 Jun 2008, SaintDominick wrote:

    The absurdity of considering an attack against Iran after IAEA inspectors and the CIA concluded that there is no evidence of nuclear weapons development in Iran is second only to the cynicism of considering such option while we overtly discuss the possibility of using "tactical nuclear weapons" to destroy their nuclear facilities. Looks like what is good for the goose is definitely not good for the gander in this instance.
    The most important consideration is not whether or not we could win a war against Iran, we obviously have the capability to destroy any country and much of the planet, but what will happen after we launch another unprovoked attack against a Muslim nation? We may be able to get away with claims of faulty intelligence once, but a second go at it would demonstrate in unambiguous terms that our motives are an unprecedented level of cultural and religious intolerance, an unseemly desire for revenge, and callous economic goals based on the reality that he who controls the oil spiket controls the global economy.

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  • 23. At 1:51pm on 30 Jun 2008, chewbacca wrote:

    After the 92' election the Bush family would froth at the mouth at hearing the name Clinton. They were sure no governer Arkansas would ever beat them. Now look, they fundraise together and are all buddy buddy. Bill is just being emo, he'll get over it in due time, this is nothing new.

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  • 24. At 2:00pm on 30 Jun 2008, Peter_Sym wrote:

    "Peter_Sym: the Mutually Assured Destruction premise still applies to Muslims too. The extremist preachers may be able to find someone gullible enough for a suicide attack, but they are not actually willing to do it themselves. Furthermore, how many suicide bombers would still carry out their acts if they knew it would mean certain death for all their family too!?"

    99.999% of Muslims are as sane as we are, but it only takes one Bin ladin with the big red button to end for all of. Its easy to find a solution to "a suicide bomber prepared to lose his own family".... You simply find a suicide bomber who HAS lost his entire family already. Plenty of those in Gaza, Iraq or Afghanistan.

    MAD works for the USSR v USA because both had enough warheads to blast the world apart 10 times over. Israel's deterent is largely aircraft based and being a tiny country you COULD potentially take out most of its weapons with a first strike.

    If Israel (like the USA) had tens of thousands of nukes you could never get them all. A few hundred kept on a few sites COULD potentially be neutralised with a first strike and the Iranians have developed an accurate missile with a 2000 mile range. Given that its warhead is a pathetic 200 kgs this is clearly a nuclear delivery vehicle. Hopefully they don't have a bomb to go in it yet, but nuclear weapons are 1940's technology that predate the microchip.

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  • 25. At 2:08pm on 30 Jun 2008, Peter_Sym wrote:

    Regarding potential land based invasion of Iran: Look at a terrain map. Between the Iraqi border and Tehran is 500 miles of mountain that makes the Golan heights look like good tank country.

    The US would take weeks (or more likely months) to fight through that, with their supply columns being cut to bits by ambush and their bases back in Iraq being hit by insurgents. This isn't Iraq where they could stage from Kuwait and cross 200 miles of billiard table flat desert.

    I used to serve in an armoured regiment and know full well how quickly tanks break down in combat. In the 6 day war the Israeli tanks that made it to the Sinai were barely fit for the scrap yard, not more combat and most of the tanks we took to invade Iraq in 2002 are still there because they're so knackered they're not worth bringing home.

    Frankly invading Russia at the start of winter is a more viable option. Bush might suggest it, but you wouldn't find a single US general prepared to go along with it.

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  • 26. At 2:31pm on 30 Jun 2008, Simon Ward wrote:

    Peter_Sym: "99.999% of Muslims are as sane as we are, but it only takes one Bin ladin with the big red button to end for all of. ... "

    This could be said for any country that possesses nuclear weapons - it is not an argument specifically against Iran, but more of an argument for global nuclear disarmament. (Along with the "accidental launch" risk.)

    "MAD works for the USSR v USA because both had enough warheads to blast the world apart 10 times over. Israel's deterrent is largely aircraft based and being a tiny country you COULD potentially take out most of its weapons with a first strike."

    "Potential" and "most" would be enough to stop a pre-emptive strike. The few you potentially missed would inflict such massive casualties that it would not be worth the gambit. Furthermore, the US has said it will retaliate with its warheads against anyone who strikes Israel. This is a sufficiently credible threat to ensure MAD in the Middle East.

    P.S. I have a physics degree - I know what goes into making a nuclear bomb.
    However, I am interested in what you would do if you were Iran?

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  • 27. At 2:56pm on 30 Jun 2008, Brount wrote:

    Bush and Cheney will attack Iran before the November election using Israeli as its proxy to do the job with no overt U.S. military involvement. This will also enhance John McCain's standing as tough on protecting U.S. interests and a means of gaining the Jewish vote in the election.

    The consequences and legacy of the Bush-Cheney presidency will last for generations and profoundly affect the course of at least the first quarter of the 21st Century.

    We have only a miniscule idea at this time of the magnitude of the disaster of this presidency and should an attack on Iran occur I shudder to think of what the full picture will like.

    These are two of the most dangerous men in the world today and the sooner they are out of office the better. Unfortunately, the damage they will have inflicted on the interests of the U.S. and on the peace of the world are incalculable.

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  • 28. At 3:20pm on 30 Jun 2008, Peter_Sym wrote:

    #26. The 'doctor strangelove' scenario doesn't work in the west because of the various chains of command needed to release a nuke. We've come close in the past, but one man in the UK or US cannot launch the weapons.

    The same is unlikely to be true of the more primitive bombs used by Pakistan, India or (possibly) Iran. God alone what safety devices are lacking.

    My worry about Islamic states having a bomb is a culture of 'martyrdom' that we in the west have grown out of. A reasonable proportion of Muslims seem quite happy to die... no other culture in the world (today) has this inclination. Frankly if you're not scared of dying MAD loses a lot of its threat.

    No military operation is ever risk free. Even invading Iraq in 2002 was a calculated risk and things can always go wrong. As much of Israels nuclear deterent is aircraft dropped it CAN be neutralised. Getting most of it on the ground means the chances of stopping any remaining bombs incoming are high.

    If you have a physics degree you'll appreciate how easy it is to assemble a low yeild (10kt) 'gun' type Uranium bomb. You don't even need terribly pure U235. The plant Iran has built will do the job nicely. Personally I'd be checking for any imports/purification of Polonium and Lithium in Iran at present.

    #27. Why would Israel start a war to help elect McCain? Obama has pledged to support Israel fully. Whats in it for Israel that they don't already have? They don't need a republican in the white house.

    Check out a map... any attack on Iran would require overflying Iraq. Claiming 'no US knowledge' wouldn't fool a child. McCain has two wars in Islamic lands to deal with and I'm sure doesn't want to inherit a third. The republicans starting yet another war WILL NOT be a vote winner, and Chenney certainly isn't stupid enough to think it will be.

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  • 29. At 3:30pm on 30 Jun 2008, Peter_Sym wrote:

    This is the mentality that worried me (from the daily telegraph) "One might think that the prospect of US or Israeli bombs raining down on Iran might sober this visionary. That would be a mistake. Khomeni actually incited war with Iraq in 1980, rejecting Saddam's offers of an armistice two years later. During the eight-year war, an enormous militia, called the Basij, was created under the aegis of the Revolutionary Guard. Boys aged 12 to 17 were dispatched against the Iraqi army, each armed with a plastic key to paradise, manufactured in bulk in Taiwan. A ghostly pale rider occasionally appeared, whose phosphorous-painted face was supposed to be that of the Hidden Imam, to urge these suicide waves on. Mowing these children down — and perhaps as many as 100,000 were killed — was so traumatic that even battle-hardened Iraqi veterans declined to fire."

    Frankly if you'll throw away the lives of 100,000 children you could do anything.

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  • 30. At 3:42pm on 30 Jun 2008, Israel Dalven wrote:

    Gates warned of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a pre-emptive strike on Iran, saying, 'We'll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.'

    Chamberlain warned of the consequences of a pre-emptive attack on Germany, saying that we will create Generations of Nazis and our grandchildren will be battling them here in England.
    Two years after the Munich sell-out, England was at war and their grandchildren are at peace through victory.

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  • 31. At 4:08pm on 30 Jun 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    This is awful but not surprising. We have a crazy warmonger for a president and a crazy ex-president who appears as a two year old having a tantrum. Both of them are certifiable.
    Perhaps they can share a rubber room together.

    You all have more knowledge and understanding of military and historical issues than I do. So, I will say this: "War is not healthy for children and other living things" (origin: Another Mother For Peace, 1968)

    I will be praying a lot.

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  • 32. At 4:35pm on 30 Jun 2008, SaintDominick wrote:

    #30 - Do you honestly believe there is a parallel between the Third Reich and Al Qaeda or rock throwing Palestinian youths? The notion of camel-riding Islamists marching down Pennsylvania Avenue firing AK-47s in their quest to conquer America may play well among those who have trouble finding Iran on a map and still believe that Saddam was the President of a huge military superpower brought down due to our ingenuity and bravery, but it remains a disingenous premise among anyone who has spent time overseas and is familiar with the material differences that exist between Third World, developing nations, and superpowers such as the USA, Russia and China.

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  • 33. At 4:37pm on 30 Jun 2008, Hibou wrote:

    Some of the comments here are much more interesting than the article itself, which is largely third-hand rumour. Gates cannot "veto" the President, but like others he can certainly try to influence policy. The US bombing Iran would not win any votes in November. Israel bombing Iran has to consider what it would really achieve, and what it might do to their relations with a future US.

    And finally, we already know that Justin doesn't like Clinton, but does he really think that, even if Bill is sulking, it will make any difference to Obama's chances, or to Bill's future reputation as President ? Nonsense.

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  • 34. At 4:39pm on 30 Jun 2008, DutchNemo wrote:

    Invading Iran? I don't think Bush will be that stupid. The American military is already in a over stretched state and the economy is in a woes. In other words: an invasion of Iran would be a disaster.

    Besides, is Iran realy a threat? Israel possesses 150-200 nuclear warheads and probably the strongest army on this planet. Iran knows this, they know an attack on Israel would end their existence. They will never attack Israel.

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  • 35. At 5:36pm on 30 Jun 2008, watermanaquarius wrote:

    aquarizonagal # 31
    Could not agree more with your take.

    Wild Bill Clinton like another Wild Bill {Hickcock} both made a habit of shooting off first [ be it one with his mouth and the other with bullets] and both refused to answer any questions after the events. In this game, Bill C had only one solitary queen in his hand playing Obama who outplayed him and trumped the queen with better cards. . Bill, now needs Obama much more than vice-versa to restore and polish his tarnished badge of office, because with the Clinton planning, it's more about the profit to be made out there on the trail with opening his mouth again for big money.
    With your further suggestion,should it arise, would it not be better if Bill got his own room at the chosen funny farm, and Bush the same? Sharing might save on secret service agents costs but they would both fight for the top bunk. And what state in the US where the happy home is situated is willing to risk a further fall in property prices?

    Gentlemen {and Ladies}, writing on the Iran / Gates thing. You are good! You are very very good!.

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  • 36. At 5:55pm on 30 Jun 2008, David Cunard wrote:

    I cannot believe that The Telegraph has the inside track: the article about Bill Clinton is not corroborated elsewhere. If there had been one iota of truth about it, surely someone like Drudge would have made it known and the rest of the the print media would have picked it up. Wishful thinking on their part. IF Mrs Clinton should become the VP candidate (not Wesley Clark) they'll be apoplectic!

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  • 37. At 6:10pm on 30 Jun 2008, Noliving wrote:

    ciaran036: You might want to recheck your facts, the IAEA was not able to confirm irans nuclear intentions, they were inconclusive. That means they were not able to confirm that iran is not building a nuclear weapon nor confirm that they are building one.

    Also you need to reread the NIE report, alot of newspapers also as you put that famous liner by the iranian, misquoted it. NIE report said that the iranian nuclear weapons project was halted in 2003. What that means is that Iran was actively building a nuclear weapon, has a nuclear weapons program, it was halted or suspended in 2003 when this whole iran nuclear program was exposed. Newspaper said that this means they are not building a nuclear weapon, all that means is that when the program was exposed they halted it. It also shows that the iranians were lying about never having a nuclear weapons program to begin with.

    As for why the US, UK and other countries can have nuclear weapons and why iran can't, its called the NPT research it. Also just for the record the US, UK, and Russia nuclear arms have been shrinking in number.

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  • 38. At 6:12pm on 30 Jun 2008, SaintDominick wrote:

    Don't underestimate the intellectual limitations of President Bush, or Cheney's Machiavellian plotting abilities; an aerial attack against Iran, either directly or using Israel as a proxy, is not out of the question. Hopefully, there are still enough clear heads in Washington capable of re-focusing the President and reining in the VP. It is important to remember that suggestions of impending invasions are often made to achieve larger geo-political goals and seldom reflect reality. Let's not forget the warning of a Nicaraguan and Salvadoran invasion into the USA through Harbinger, Texas, when they were presumably going to defeat our military with Chiquita banana peels, or the aerial threat posed by 700 Cuban construction workers in Grenada who were about to transform themselves into little Supermen and use their Kryptonite weaponry to obliterate American society!

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  • 39. At 7:02pm on 30 Jun 2008, MagicKirin wrote:

    VinceMillett wrote:
    No one is asking the question: 'Why would Iran use a nuke?'. Palestine is seen as a waqf, a permanent religious endowment of land. I cannot see any religious Muslim ever nuking a holy place such as that. They're hardly going to nuke Palestine on behalf of the Palestinians are they? You don't free a land by turning it into a nuclear wasteland. No, on the unlikely chance that Iran is really trying to develop a nuclear military capability, it will be for deterence against the genuine threat from those who believe in a 'Greater Israel' that would steal land all the way to the Iranian border if they could. Small tactical nukes could take out Israeli tank columns as they cross Syria. Israel is ultimately safe because it has nukes and can destroy all the nations around it. Those nations aren't safe because Israel has nukes.

    You are assuming that the Iranian leadership is rational. Most of the world regards them as islamic facists who are intolerant of other views including other islamic views.

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  • 40. At 7:10pm on 30 Jun 2008, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    I don't infer from Gates' comments to members of the Senate that he was warning them of actual plans being made. I do not believe that he would use this informal setting to advise the Senate of imminent action, and he could not have done so without resigning. Even then, he might be subject to prosecution.

    Almost certainly, he was merely discussing hypothetical scenarios, contingency plans, which is done all the time to prepare for any eventuality, however unlikely.

    Let's hope there is nothing else behind this, anyway.

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  • 41. At 7:19pm on 30 Jun 2008, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    They love to use that photograph of Mr. Clinton, don't they? He already looks "insufferably petulant." No need to wait until autumn.

    I disagree that Obama needs Mr. Clinton. He (Clinton) should pay a visit to Mr. Carter for advice on transitioning to his new role as elder statesman, and otherwise stay out of the way.

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  • 42. At 7:27pm on 30 Jun 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    Some of our barrack-room experts need to study the madate of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
    before making flat assertions.

    The Secretary of Defense is not subject to Courts-martial.

    Kissinger told the JCS to ignore any war orders coming from Nixon (on the grounds of Nixon's drinking).


    As usual, Israel is doing everything possible to have others do the risky and expensive work.

    Our pundits need to emphasize that

    (1) Iran has every legal right to nuclear weapons.

    (2) Given the threats from Israel, its leaders have a duty to develop them.

    (3) As the range of rockets increases, Israel will see threats from Pakistan, etc., and claim more aggressions as "self-defense".

    (4) Reports from honest sources, such as the Christian Science Monitor, show much pro-US and anti-mullah sentiment within Iran.

    (5) Threats and boycotts serve to support the mullahs against the opposition.

    (6) It is time to look at the map and at history and recognize that Iran makes a far more valuable strategic ally for the West than does Israel.

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  • 43. At 7:33pm on 30 Jun 2008, Steve wrote:

    Currently a number of countries around the world enrich Uranium, including Brazil. Who's to say that Brazil wont at some point in the future decide to develop nuclear weapons? Just because a country has the possibility of doing something in the future is no grounds for attacking them at all. If possible future actions are grounds for military action, then that rule applies for everyone, not just the US. Can you imagine the ensuing carnage?

    Iran is a country with little history of external aggression. The Iran-Iraq war was instigated by Iraq which was was encouraged and supported by the West. It's true that Iran supports Hezbollah and Hamas, but then NATO supported the KLA, a group responsible for all manner of war crimes including ethnic cleansing. Lets also not forget that the US supported the murderous Contras which conducted killings of a brutality and scale that makes Hezbollah and Hamas look like pacifists.

    Just because the US is a large and powerful country, it does not mean it's threats or aggression are in any way legitimate. The media of course does treat US aggression very differently to aggression by other countries, particularly non-US allies. If it was Iran implying it's going to attack another country, journalists would be pondering on what can be done about such a clearly aggressive country. Yet because the country making the threats and doing the Sabre rattling is the US, journalists are artificially confined to writing about whether an attack will happen or not.

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  • 44. At 7:46pm on 30 Jun 2008, nobleFloridian wrote:

    If, has been widely reported by the left-hand media, Bill Clinton really did say Obama has to "kiss his ass" to garner his support, I prophesy that he will do a mealy-mouthed about-face when Obama looks him squarely in the eye. And of course he will have to toe the line when his wife, now "united" with Obama, tells him to get with the program.

    And now the Obama supporters in Britain are no doubt ecstatic at the news that their hero is visiting Britain in July. I guess they are practicing genuflecting and hand-kissing for that memorable event! We await the extensive liberal media coverage of that historic visit, which introduces to his breathless supporters by proxy a man who has so much "baggage" and a monumental lack of political experience and who thinks he is fitted to be our Commander-in-Chief. As I have mentioned before, that title, applied to Barack Obama, is a misnomer of the first order.

    John McCain for President!

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  • 45. At 8:07pm on 30 Jun 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    I agree with Gary Hill #40 that this was unlikely to have been either a formal or informal "Congressional notification" of military action. As he indicated, one should assume that full-fledged attack planning and contingency scenarios have been developed by the Pentagon for any situation involving Iran. This is normal and it would be an incredible dereliction of duty for the military not to have these plans in place for situations worldwide ( - they probably even have contingency plans somewhere in their files to invade Liechtenstein and the Vatican!).

    While I agree with many posters here that such an attack would certainly be counterproductive in a big picture sense, I am not convinced that rational people in the administration and Pentagon have sufficient influence in the decision-making process to prevent such an attack from being carried out.

    Any attack would _not_ be made in order to help Republican election chances, as some have suggested, but to serve the interests of Israel, as articulated by AIPAC, JINSA, and similar organizations. The political power of AIPAC is considerable, and very few US politicians dare to oppose their wishes: virtually all that have opposed them in the past have ended up seeking other employment after the following election.

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  • 46. At 8:12pm on 30 Jun 2008, Simon Ward wrote:

    #28: It is worrying that the Iranian will not have such good security on warhead that the West has. US warheads are tamper-proof and require cryptographic arming codes - I believe that US shared this technology with other nuclear nations (even hostile ones) to prevent rogue strikes. It certainly would not be in Iran's interest for there to be a rogue strike.

    My main problem is buying in to all this Western propaganda that the Iranians are all evil madmen. The UK/US have a long history of Imperialism based on lies - from Suez to Iraq - sometimes with disastrous consequences. It is very hard to support someone that you know is lying to you. If you want a further example, then go to Greg Palast's website and read about the FARC laptop/Chavez e-mail. Then ask yourself why our mainstream media does not seem prepared to lift a finger when it comes to unearthing the truth.

    To those debating an Iran strike as a presidential election strategy: they do not need to. Go to The Onion Network News and search for "Diebold" and you will see why ;-)

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  • 47. At 9:20pm on 30 Jun 2008, David Cunard wrote:

    #44. nobleFloridian: "If, has been widely reported by the left-hand media, Bill Clinton really did say Obama has to "kiss his ass" - the only reports which there are, including Drudge and Huffington, quote the Telegraph article. There is no other substantiation of the 'story'.

    "I have mentioned before, that title (CiC), applied to Barack Obama, is a misnomer of the first order." I can't see that George W Bush had any more experience to be Commander-in-Chief than Mr Obama - and former General Wesley Clark said of John McCain "I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president." Who is experienced enough?

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  • 48. At 9:25pm on 30 Jun 2008, turningblueandgrey wrote:

    #42 raises a couple of good points. The Iranian-Americans I know are all intelligent, reasonable, warm people. Iran has over 3 millenia of history, more of it pre-Islam and multicultural than post-Islam and theocratic, to balance firebrands like Ahmadinejad. While Turkey laudably became a secular state to acheive national balance, the Iranian people seem to be balanced by this depth of history and by an intellectual tradition. All they need is an open door to undermine the radical's arguments and elect a more moderate political leader. Iran is bellicose but for almost 30 years has been limited in actions compared to words. If North Korea could finally show progress, then there is no good reason not to keep diplomacy ongoing with Iran.

    Once again the broken-down Chamberlin/Munich/Appeasement horse has been trotted out. The worst 'appeasement' in regard to the middle east best applies to the unbelievable laziness of the west in not reducing our addiction to imported oil and more importantly developing alternative energy sources over the 3 decades since the first oil shocks.

    The 9/11 hijackers did not come from Iran or Iraq. Who are we appeasing?

    #44 the birthday cake sugar may have affected you for a moment, Noble. The Obama baggage is all carry-on size, hence his campaign success thus far. He did not have to buy an entire row of seats to make room for the Keating 5 on his flight to visit England, either.

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  • 49. At 10:06pm on 30 Jun 2008, Old-Man-Mike wrote:

    Please don't do it. Please please for the the sake of America, at least do not even think about attacking Iran, directly or by using a proxy, by air sea or land.

    The United States will not be attacted militarily and certainly not with nukes. This is my estimation, not wholly without circumstantial evidence, of the world response:

    A full military and economic alliance between Russia and the European Union which is already on file will be activated.
    China will also give full co-operation. This will bring in Japan and most of the Far East.
    Saudi Arabia has already agreed terms.

    The weapons used against the United States that will be used will be economic and legal, above all oil. No country has to sell oil to the the America especially in devaluing dollars. The US will be 'invited' to remove itself lock stock and ballal from the Middle East in exchange for sercrity of supply. It will of course have to be paid for in very expensive Euros or other hard currancies, such as roubles! In the mean time an smiling Chinese gentalman will present himself in Washington with a very large I.O.U. asking for payment in cash or kind based on the 2005 value of the dollar.

    A nightmare that could not happen. It could and all to easily. I am a Brit. Nobody in the Britain of 1908 could have believe what would happen in Europe in the next 10 years let alone the next 50, but it did.

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  • 50. At 10:07pm on 30 Jun 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    The anti-Iran propaganda is intense.

    They have more female than male university graduates, their medical research is published in our best journals, etc., etc.

    The BBC needs to start investigative reporting from Iran.

    We are not hearing comments like "We love America but hate the policies of Bush, etc." that seem prevalent there.

    Unless the BBC gets going on this, will people need to be aware of the free newsletters from

    [One also needs to be aware of the unfortunate situation concerning the BBC's WHYS-blog and Israel].

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  • 51. At 10:19pm on 30 Jun 2008, Mark wrote:

    At one level, none of this is surprising: the neo-con agenda has always been to revert the world to 1950 ... pre-Korea, pre-civil rights, pre-environmental protection, pre- Iran 1979, pre-Iraq ... the only thing they knew they could never reverse is Vietnam .... The Bush agenda has been an attempt to re-assert the 'ancien regime', and they have systematically attempted to do so. That was clear from day one.

    Theory and practice are two different things. Bush would dearly love to attack Iran, of that there can be little doubt; but whether they could and get away with it is a different matter.

    I keep on thinking of the Roman empire, except that the Romans didn't waste time impeaching past Presidents (or emperors). Perhaps the single most difficult decision Obama will have to make is whether to prosecute Bush for war crimes; the chances are that he will avoid the issue; the best thing that he could do is prosecute and send a message that true justice does prevail, even at the highest level. I think few people doubt the present president's guilt.

    As for Bill, put him in Texas and make that his job. He will be a smaller figure in history if he does not rise to the occasion. If he makes the GOP fight Texas he will have been a great decoy that ensured a Democrat victory.

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  • 52. At 10:50pm on 30 Jun 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    xieming #42 and #50

    #42 Your comments are so appropriate, especially points 4 and 5. This is some of what my reading and research show. As for your point 6: Why can't we be allies with both?

    I think that Iran's antipathy to Israel has been exaggerated. If Iran and Israel could come to some kind of workable terms, together they could be a real beacon for peace in the Middle East.

    #50 my understanding is that women, especially the younger ones are progressive and seeking greater voice in their government


    Good question! Unless you have already been president how can you have 'experience being presidential?'


    Great points! Thanks for more perspective on this issue

    Note to watermanaquarious:

    In a rubber room there are no bunk beds. Each would have his own straight jacket and personal corner, thus sharing a room would save on HEALTH CARE COSTS and the wages of those Secret Service guys!

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  • 53. At 10:57pm on 30 Jun 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Pretty soon, everybody down to the rank of 2nd
    leutenant will have resigned from our armed
    forces because they won't follow orders from

    I say, give Cheney a shotgun and a bottle of
    aspirin, and send him across the Iranian border!

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  • 54. At 11:08pm on 30 Jun 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    The "irrationality" argument is oft-repeated propaganda.

    The supreme leader in Iran is a man of very measured statements. Amadadinejad (number four) is rapidly losing influence and is not even expected to be re-elected.

    Israel talks of the "Sampson Option", i.e. the threat to destroy the World, if it is seriously threatened. About one-third are religious extremists. The "knitted skullcap" fundamentalists occupy key positions throughout the government and believe in End Times, Greater Israel, etc.

    Bush and the NeoCons have destroyed the lives of millions of Iraquis for immoral reasons.

    With these facts in mind, what sincere person would speak of Iranian "irrationality", compared to that evidenced by Israel and the USA?

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  • 55. At 11:29pm on 30 Jun 2008, allmymarbles wrote:

    Ed Inglehart,

    I see your reponse on "The Luck of Obama" is being held. What's up? Did you use naughty language? Ms. Marbles

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  • 56. At 11:31pm on 30 Jun 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    #54 xieming

    More good points.

    If you have not heard of 'unbuntu' as defined by Nelson Mandela it might help to check it out.

    I define it as lovingkindness:
    What hurts me, hurts you and also hurts the world we live in. John Donne also said: "No man is an island..." How about IDIC: "The spear in my brother's heart is the spear in my own."

    I also ask what happened to these concepts?

    'Put away your wrath. Be kind and merciful to one another.'

    'Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the children of God.'

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  • 57. At 11:39pm on 30 Jun 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:


    Why does Cheney get to have both a shotgun and aspirin? He was perfectly happy to send our troops to Iraq without adequate body armor and other supplies. Our returning amputees and injured veterans have been shamefully treated.

    I say he goes to Iran with a water pistol.

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  • 58. At 11:54pm on 30 Jun 2008, Adrian_Evitts wrote:

    The use of conventional bombing to destroy alleged nuclear facilities in Iran (like that employed by Israel against Iraq in 1981) would escalate tension in the Middle East to a point where full scale war between Iran and the West would very possibly follow.

    The United States would be then severely stretched militarily to avoid defeat in (let alone "win") an ensuing conventional war. The US would then quite possibly proceed to using nuclear weapons on a limited basis to save significant loss of American lives and great expense (as in its war with Japan). All of this would further destabilise Pakistan, and if that regime were to fall to Islamic fundamentalism, a wider nuclear war would then be a very real possibility.

    Israel went nuclear in the face of American opposition, even to the point of blatantly lying to the US about it. I find it passing strange that the West is prepared to countenance Israel having the bomb (presumably as a "legitimate" means of self-defence), although its view of Iran getting it is not nearly so charitable.

    I do not support any of these states either obtaining nuclear weapons or using them. But looking at it from an Iranian perspective - seeing very large numbers of US troops stationed in two countries to the East and to the West of her, with senior US politicians making increasingly bellicose noises in her direction - I can quite understand why that country might be tooling herself up at a speed and with a vigour that we as individuals would muster if we expected an imminent visit from the Terminator.

    Ed Iglehart - where are you now that we need you? Have you been eaten by one of your squirrels?

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  • 59. At 00:02am on 01 Jul 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #42 Xie_Ming

    "Kissinger told the JCS to ignore any war orders coming from Nixon (on the grounds of Nixon's drinking)."

    I, too, have heard of this, but I question its veracity for several reasons.

    1. The JCS do not appear in the chain of command of the various operational commands of any of the services. They have neither the authority nor the capability to prevent the transmission of war commands to these elements. The "nuclear football" process also does not require JCS approval or concurrence. Kissinger would have been smart enough to realize this.

    2. Kissinger in his capacities as Nat Sec advisor and Sec of State never had any authority to give direction to the military. As such, it is doubtful that the JCS would have heeded any direction of this type from Kissinger; again, Kissinger was smart enough to have figured that out.

    3. Had he actually attempted to do so, it is highly unlikely that this would not have been reported back to the SecDef, VP, or even Nixon himself, one way or another, if for no other reason, than to request some sort of clarification from someone with authority.

    4. Had he actually done so, he would have been liable to prosecution on charges ranging from suborning mutiny to treason. Although Kissinger is likely to have committed illegal acts, they would have been under Nixon's aegis; these would not have been. I highly doubt that Kissinger would have risked this under the circumstances.

    I might be persuaded that he was involved in sub rosa discussions with SecDef, VP, and possibly others about seeking ways to limit Nixon's capabilities while under the influence, but I find the notion that he actually gave instructions to the JCS to ignore orders not believable.

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  • 60. At 00:50am on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    #54 xieming

    I will tell you that I think:

    The so called 'end times' may very well be an end to all this religious extremism that we have endured both in the US, in the Middle East and elsewhere for far too long.

    I, personally, am very weary of it. Great damage has been done in the US and elsewhere by those who wish to impose their concept of godliness on all of the rest of us. They are but a small squeaking mouse in our house or perhaps a mote in God's eye. However, we have allowed them to have power way beyond their numbers.

    It is time for this to change. We need to vote. We need to speak out. We need to march in the streets, if necessary. Please focus your obvious passion on peace. Let us all focus on peace.

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  • 61. At 00:57am on 01 Jul 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #53 gunsandreligion

    ". . . everybody down to the rank of 2nd
    leutenant will have resigned from our armed
    forces because they won't follow orders from
    Bush/Cheney. . ."

    Not even close.

    I seem to recall apparently credible polling of members of the US military as recently as a year or two ago. The results indicated that a significant fraction (possibly near 50 per cent?) of the US military believed we were fighting in Iraq because Saddam Hussein was behind the 9-11 attacks. These polls were not limited only to the less educated in the lower ranks, but included senior NCOs and officers as well.

    A military that has a large number of its members believing things like this about the Iraqi effort is entirely likely to be caught up in the administration's, the neocons', and the Zionists' propaganda about the "goodness" of military actions against Iran.

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  • 62. At 01:05am on 01 Jul 2008, andfreedom wrote:

    2 simple points:-

    1) There just aren't enough troops left to fight such a large scale war; Iran is far larger than Iraq, if you cannot win there how can you ever hope to win in Iran?

    2) Iran is one of the only countries in the world that is fully self-relient in terms of military forces. They produce everything from the bullets they fire, to the planes they fly themselves. How well can the US hope to stand against that once the oil has begun to stop flowing from Iran? The world is already 3 million barrels a day behind in production, without Iran that will be far worse. Does the US think that China or India or the EU will stop using oil to help the US fight its war?

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  • 63. At 01:12am on 01 Jul 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    #59 the active verb is "told". As National Security Advisor, Kissinger could probably instruct no one.

    Having read, some time ago, the mission statement of the CJCS, I found it ambiguous (and, undoubtedly, intentionally so).

    Can we check and see (1) whether the SECDEF issues orders to the CJCS and (2) the CJCS then passes them on at discretion?

    As to peace initiatives: by all means, listen to as many Iranians as possible, invite them on the air, make cultural exchanges.

    They sought plenary discussions with the USA in 2003 and were rebuffed by Bush.

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  • 64. At 01:20am on 01 Jul 2008, Adrian_Evitts wrote:

    aquarizonagal (#60:)

    HURRAH! Music to my ears ...

    If your attitude is as widespread in the US as we have cause to hope, it will be possible, not just to see great change, but to effect it!

    If, in the last eight years, America had used just a fraction of its immense power and influence in the world to see an honorable and equitable settlement for all in Israel/Palestine, rather than to wage wars that it cannot and will not win, the world would be a safer and happier place for us all. There's still time.

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  • 65. At 01:46am on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    #63 xieming

    You go!

    Blessed are the peace makers! You are not alone. Can we not sit down and reason together?

    War is no longer an option in our world today. There are so many problems facing us. We need to work together.

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  • 66. At 01:50am on 01 Jul 2008, elba beolchi wrote:

    What's going on? Please, american citizens , wake up, shout ! You can allow the continuation of this maddness ! This Bush @ Co. have to be stopped!

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  • 67. At 01:56am on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:


    Thanks, there are others I know who feel as I do and probably more that I don't know. This has been a hard time for many of us here. We do the best we can. Maybe we could have done more. I am old, mostly I pray and try to hold hope for a better future.

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  • 68. At 02:10am on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    Please keep hope. A lot of us in the USA are trying to change things.

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  • 69. At 02:10am on 01 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Gates and the US top brass will veto a strike."

    Mr. Webb, either that is a figure of speech or you don't know what you are talking about. The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of all of the US armed forces. If Gates doesn't like his orders, as a civilian who serves at the President's pleasure he can quit. As for the top brass, they either obey orders or they will be court marshalled and can face any punishment up to and including a firing squad.

    The one thing worse than attacking Iran is not attacking Iran. Iran has called for a world without America and has called America the Great Satan. The US has several options to pre-emptively destroy Iran's nacent arsenal of nuclear weapons. Israel whose very existance has been threatened has only one option and that is a nuclear strike. If it takes that step, it had better be an effective one. Frankly I don't know what these two governments are waiting for. The danger grows greater with every passing day.

    Chirac and now Sarkozy said France would not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. And just how does Sarkozy propose to stop them? Will France attack Iran? Not a chance.

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  • 70. At 02:15am on 01 Jul 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #63 Xie_Ming

    "Having read, some time ago, the mission statement of the CJCS, I found it ambiguous (and, undoubtedly, intentionally so)."

    It is not as clear as could be. In general, the CJCS and JCS are the military advisors to the President. Strictly speaking, they have _no_ authority over war-fighting operational elements, although they do have responsibility for and authority over many other functions ( These other functions, plus the fact that they are among the most senior and/or most respected general and flag officers in the active military, pretty much ensure that anyone who doesn't treat them like at least minor gods, does so at peril to their future advancement opportunities.

    "Can we check and see (1) whether the SECDEF issues orders to the CJCS and (2) the CJCS then passes them on at discretion?"

    That is probably a matter of personal leadership style on the part of the SecDef. It is, in my view, unlikely.

    First, the "at discretion" implies that the SecDef would be comfortable with being second-guessed on his orders and possibly even being ignored. That seems alien to my understanding and experience with the way the chains of command work in the military. There is never any question about the requirement to obey a "mission" order (short of resignation/formal refusal) from someone in the command chain. If such an order is accompanied by recommendations or suggestions about detailed implementation methods (and it is clear that these are not part of the mission order itself), then and only then is there discretion at the lower levels to ignore or modify the details of how the order is executed.

    Secondly, because the JCS is not in the formal chain of command, the operational element commanders would have the obligation to question and every right not to act on orders received from them. In fact, I would fully expect them to not execute "momentous" orders, e.g., starting a war, from the JCS, until they had verified with those above them in the formal chain of command that the JCS orders were indeed legitimate "pass-throughs" of orders from SecDef/POTUS. Given this, I would not expect the JCS to even try to give orders to these operational element commanders directly.

    Of course, it is a matter of courtesy and in the interests of harmonious relationships for the SecDef/Potus to fully apprise the JCS of orders intended to be delivered to the operational element commanders - but to have the JCS deliver them?, I really doubt it.

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  • 71. At 02:19am on 01 Jul 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #61, pterm99: a case of too many Indians
    and not enough Chiefs... The ones at the
    top are actually fairly intellectual, but I'm
    sure Bush/Cheney could find someone
    to help them find the button.

    It really impresses me how many people
    at the top of the US military are anti-Bush.
    Perhaps they will come back when the
    Neocons are gone.

    Where are Kissinger and Baker when
    we need them? Off having fun with young
    starlets, no doubt. They should be recalled
    to active duty and pressed into service.

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  • 72. At 02:28am on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:


    I must add that if Bush, the warmonger, tries to move on Iran I will have to become a peace marcher again. We cannot allow any more of this.

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  • 73. At 02:42am on 01 Jul 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    re: #63 Xie_Ming, #70 peterm99,
    the last time that we had a conflict this
    severe was when Truman was at loggerheads
    with MacArthur over whether to invade
    China. That time, the JCS backed Truman
    with the observation that we should
    not get involved in a land war in Asia.

    Now, the situation is reversed. We have
    everybody in the senior ranks of the
    military opposed to attacking Iran,
    and with Rumsfeld gone, Cheney has
    lost his hold on DOD. Gates is telling people
    in DOD that it is OK to be opposed to
    an order to strike Iran.

    It looks like it is coming down to Gates
    vs Cheney, hopefully Gates will win.

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  • 74. At 02:43am on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:


    I find your position and comments very scary.

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  • 75. At 03:22am on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:


    I am having some problems with the idea that perhaps up to 50% of our military including officers believe government propaganda. (you cited #61peterman99)

    Can you clarify?

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  • 76. At 03:27am on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:


    Thanks for your info. I am also rooting for gates!

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  • 77. At 03:32am on 01 Jul 2008, AndreainNY wrote:

    #74, aquarizonagal,

    I find your comments quite scary, but Xie_Ming's are even scarier.

    Lots of opinions on the US. Not so many on the ramifications of a nuclear-armed Iran. Unfortunately, leaders of nations don't get to pick their pet peeves.

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  • 78. At 03:47am on 01 Jul 2008, Andy Post wrote:

    re: #70

    "Secondly, because the JCS is not in the formal chain of command, the operational element commanders would have the obligation to question and every right not to act on orders received from them."

    Not quite:

    152(c) Grade and Rank.— The Chairman, while so serving, holds the grade of general or, in the case of an officer of the Navy, admiral and outranks all other officers of the armed forces. However, he may not exercise military command over the Joint Chiefs of Staff or any of the armed forces.

    The CJCS is under a standing order not to issue command orders to the JCS or their commands. He's breaking the law if he does. However, the rest of the military recognizes the JCS as the top officers of the U.S. military. e.g., the Commandant of the Marine Corps is the commanding officer of the Marines. It's not an honorary position.

    BTW, no one in the executive branch can oppose the President. That is the sole responsibility of the Congress . They hold the purse strings and can, if necessary, impeach the President.

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  • 79. At 04:38am on 01 Jul 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #73 gunsandreligion; also for Xie_Ming

    I happened to find a reference that the role of the JCS has changed. (This invalidates one of my objections to Kissinger's claims, although I still have trouble believing them to be true.)

    It appears that prior to 1986, the JCS actually _was_ formally in the chain of command between Potus and the operational element commanders. This makes the Truman/MacArthur issue harder to understand. If the JCS had direct authority over MacArthur, it should not have been necessary for Truman to become directly involved in the disagreements between JCS and MacArthur. If I find some time and real interest, I'll read up on it in more detail someday.

    Anyway, today, Cheney has only as much power over Gates and the military as Bush allows him. Although his power does seem to wax and wane, I think it's premature to think that he has no powers of persuasion left over Bush. In a power struggle, Gates essentially has none, compared to Bush or Cheney. However, it remains to be seen whether Gates' persuasive power is able to win out over that of Cheney.

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  • 80. At 04:51am on 01 Jul 2008, Hibou wrote:

    The BBC's Justin Webb writes about the "the Bill Clinton sulk" Monday, and voila ! Tuesday the BBC news service reports that "Obama and Bill Clinton end chill".

    Impressive ! The Clintons must be reading this blog and acting on it - unless of course the Telegraph and Justin just got it wrong again.

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  • 81. At 04:55am on 01 Jul 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #78 AndyPost

    Very interesting, I was not aware of that "he actually does have the authority but is under orders not to exercise it" provision. Thanks.

    However, what you point out in your post raises an interesting inconsistency. In 153(e), it states:
    "(e) Prohibition of Function as Armed Forces General Staff.— The Joint Staff . . . shall have no executive authority. . ."

    I guess one has to be a real student of this stuff to make sense of it all.

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  • 82. At 04:59am on 01 Jul 2008, OldSouth wrote:

    Ah, Bill Clinton, vintage Bill Clinton, the narcissist who is 'hail fellow, well met' until he doesn't get his way.

    Then we see the real Bill--the angry, 'Obama can kiss my ass' Bill, the 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky' Bill.

    So to parse words like Bill does, this is how he'll be able to explain it away:

    'It all depends upon what your definition of 'Kiss my ass' is....

    Ah, Bill...

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  • 83. At 05:44am on 01 Jul 2008, David Cunard wrote:

    #82. OldSouth: "we see the real Bill--the angry, 'Obama can kiss my ass' Bill" So the Republican supporter is going to take the uncorroborated ramblings of London's Daily Telegraph and try to make it fact. It won't wash - no wonder that Mr Obama has set up an anti-rumour site. The far Right can say everything they want about the former President, but that doesn't alter the fact that during his tenure, life was a lot better in the USA than it is today. One of the old standard battle cries was 'are you better off today?' and if that question were to be asked of the majority of Americans now, the answer would be a resounding 'no'.

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  • 84. At 09:39am on 01 Jul 2008, Candace9839 wrote:

    Apparently it does come down to what your definition of 'kiss my ass' is since the Beeb is now reporting the chill is off after a twenty minute telephone conversation yesterday.

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  • 85. At 10:42am on 01 Jul 2008, british-ish wrote:

    There's a good deal of woolly thinking going on here about Iran. For one thing, any idea of an invasion of Iran is nonsensical. It might be worth pointing out that if Americans are so ready and eager to call on their military to 'defend' their country, why should that not be true of Iranians?

    And, it is clear that Pentagon planners would be most likely to rely on bombing or missile attacks, despite the lessons that should have been learnt from Serbia, Iraq and Lebanon about it simply not working. (Let alone Blitzkrieg and Dresden from WW2 or Cambodia or Vietnam.) It would be irrelevant whether it's the USAAF or the Israeli Air force that actually performs it, except that if the USAAF does it, one presumes that the whole infrastructure of Iran will be reduced to rubble.

    However, that would be the political aim, wouldn't it? To render Iran economically, and, therefore politically, in the Middle East, impotent? The consequences, the planners will no doubt be convinced, would impinge on Middle Eastern countries and perhaps the UK and Europe more than on the USA, and that the USA should not suffer any direct consequences is really all that will matter in the end as to whether to destroy Iran. (Or Pakistan, which has been on the Neocons' and Pentagon's list, it seems, for some time.) Even Israel would be expendable, and possibly once expended at least less of both an embarrassment and expense to future American administrations.

    It has always seemed to me that the Pentagon. the more militant thinktanks and the armchair generals continually convince themselves that one day some form of 'Total War' from the air will work, if only the politicians don't get in the way. And, since by and large, both Iranians and Pakistanis have gradually been dehumanised in the american media over the last few years and turned into mere 'symbols of terror', there isn't going to be much in the way of humanistic protest, or at least none that will last, anyway.

    Perhaps some people have forgotten in their enthusiasm that General Wesley Clark nearly started a war between British and Russian forces in Kossovo not that long ago?

    (Just as an aside, I can't see anything in Seymour Hersh's article that is in any way new or particularly informative, only that he has sources who are willing to speak to him rather than let their friends in the thinktanks and media do it for than at one remove. As far as the likelihood or probability of an attack on Iran or Pakistan, we are still no wiser than we were a year ago. I can see no particular reason why one wouldn't take place between now and the end of December. Or, if given suitably compelling domestic political or economic reasons, why either a President Obama or a President McCain wouldn't authorise it either. Just frightening the Saudis into doubling their oil production next year would be sufficient, very likely and isn't more oil soon what the vast majority of American voters want most now? I'm sure a two-dollar gallon of petrol would be sufficient recompense for any momentary regret at millions of deaths or injuries a long way from American shores.)

    Yes, I am cynical. But then, if you read any history at all, it should be evident that so are the people who plan and execute wars. So many people seem to forget that, or have been nurtured into a totally false belief that a war can somehow actually be almost humane.

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  • 86. At 11:14am on 01 Jul 2008, Peter_Sym wrote:

    #85. Air strikes work perfectly well. The aim of Dresden was simple... it was THE major supply depot for the eastern front. There were 40,000 troops in it and virtually every bullet the Germans were using went through dresdens rail yards. Stalin requested that we level the city to speed his advance. We certainly levelled it and the Russian advance continued. Mission accomplished.

    Incidentally as someone will doubtless take a pop at me, my great uncle was a bomb aimer in one of the pathfinders that targetted the city. I've read his logs from 1945. His aiming point was the Karl Zeiss optics works (which made bombsights and tank gun sites). There were over 100 military factories in the town (including an IG Faben factory making Zyclon B for the camps) and it was VERY heavily defended with flak guns. Another point I took from the log books were the number of V2 rockets he watched lifting off as he returned home.... the germans were doing their best to destroy OUR cities while we burnt theirs.

    I'm not sure why you claim Blitzkreig didn't work. The french army will disagree. Equally if you're looking for succesful airstrikes try the dambusters raid (which by destroying the dams resulted in low water pressure for our firebombing raids on Hamburg) or the attack on the Tirpiz by Lancasters with 12,000lb bombs. The navy couldn't sink the ship but the RAF did.

    In more modern times the vast majority of the Iraqi army was eliminated by air strikes for virtually no loss to us. Civillian casualties caused by the raids were mainly due to Saddam putting military installations in civilian (usually shia) areas. I've seen pictures of Baghdads main hospital with a big red cross on the roof and two SA-6 SAM missile launchers either side of it. This sort of stunt is a war crime, precisely because of the civillians deaths that inevitably follow.

    IF bush wishes he could bomb Iran back to the stoneage. The fact that such an act would be brutal, economically disastrous for the world and utterly pointless (because bombing the hell out of someone generally convinces them that nukes are a damn good idea) is why it won't happen.

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  • 87. At 12:20pm on 01 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    aquarizonal gal, why stop at a peace march, why not go to Iran to their reactor site and become a human shield? Show just how truely intense your convictions are. Dare President Bush to knowingly attack when an American life is at risk.

    Why do you find my statements scary? Would a pre-emptive strike against Afghanistan by President Clinton have been scary? Maybe to Afghanis but to me. It would have been a lot less scary than seeing the World Trade Center bombed and collapse. Perhaps you have forgotten that George Bush is the President of the United States of America sworn to protect and defend us, not Iran. Why should any American care about Iran right now? Had America fought WWII with your mentality, it would have lost. And even so, it almost did.

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  • 88. At 12:44pm on 01 Jul 2008, watermanaquarius wrote:

    David_C # 83
    I have to agree with you about this storm in a teacup.
    The link given by Justin to The Telegraph cites this quote:-
    "A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could "kiss my ass" in return for his support".
    The key words here are "he recently told friends" - Who is the "he" ? The senior [disappointed] Democrat or Bill ?
    Always assured that you will get to the BOTTOM of any ambiguous statements {as usual}.
    Reminds me of American golf commentators who always speak about "playing the backside first"? What do they mean? Almost as bad as the other-"playing the course the other way round"- From hole 18 to the 1st tee box? Do they disappear into a hole somewhere around the 9th and 10th when they greet those coming the other way!
    Hoping this rear-guard action will put an end to this tail of you having to defend Bills' honour any further, butt with "bil" meaning buttocks in Dutch, he might have just been speaking his mind!

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  • 89. At 2:40pm on 01 Jul 2008, andfreedom wrote:

    @87: MarcusAureliusII

    The hijackers responsible for 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, and were trained in Pakistan.

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  • 90. At 3:14pm on 01 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 91. At 3:19pm on 01 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    And MA Knows nothing and tries to spread lies all the time. A missinformed ignoramous with nothing but lies.

    Don't worry except that allowing lies to circulate is offensive and that is where the Mods should be.
    Debate where lies are allowed are not debates. they are story tellers conventions.
    fiction writers.
    The right being so thick, can only muster the like of MA for supporting their lies.

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  • 92. At 3:26pm on 01 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    And there are more than the millitary that would oppose a strike.
    only the likes of Ma would.
    A strike would be against international law where attacking countries with nothing but your suspicions making you is a war crime once the first innocent dies.
    The promotion of this stike Iran start a war group should be illegal. free speech or not inciting Genocide is a crime.
    Inciting war on innocents is a crime.
    and all involved should be tried and nprisoned without parole for life, including those that incite or allow others to incite this violence through their inabillity to say enough is enough.
    The BBC should bare this in mind. Any attacks will leave blood on the BBC hands.

    After all they regularly allow people to express encouragement of genocide.
    That is something the MODS do not understand.

    at least some realise that lies should be stopped.

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  • 93. At 3:31pm on 01 Jul 2008, DougTexan wrote:

    The world is so different from the one I viewed through 'Natioal Geographic'. Looking at an issue dated 0ctober 1960, (Half priced books for my wifes b-day) Tortuga II Explores the Ganges, (Pakistan) I see in wonderful color pictures showing centuries of art and religion, welcoming and peaceful people, treasures untold.

    The idea that regions would be oblitirated through nuclear strikes. and that the good people and history would both be gone forever is.....?

    The saddness is that we, as a world have repeated History once again rather than changed or started a new chapter.

    Now the question for minds of all abilities, "How do we, those who can see this happening, make the change, rewrite the new chapter without the repeat of war?"

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  • 94. At 3:39pm on 01 Jul 2008, SaintDominick wrote:

    The nationality of the 19 terrorists that carried out the 9/11 attack was:
    15 from Saudi Arabia
    2 from the United Arab Emirates
    1 from Egypt
    1 from Lebanon
    Osama bin Laden and most of the Al Qaeda financiers are Wahhabists born and raised in Saudi Arabia, with a few important elements from Egypt. Ironically, we declared Saudi Arabia a Most Favored Nation in exchange for lucrative contracts and reliable oil supplies, and made Egypt the second largest recipient of US foreign aid after Israel.
    Instead of holding the governments of those nations partially responsible for the actions of their citizens, we diverted our attention to Iraq. Political expedience, the need to punish someone - preferably a Muslim - for 9/11 to restore Bush's political stature and guarantee his re-election, cultural intolerance, and revenge for rejecting the contract bids presented by Cheney and Rumsfeld on behalf of Halliburton and Bechtel in the 90s and giving those contracts to Russian and French firms were, clearly, more powerful considerations than punishing those that carried out one of the worst atrocities in our nation's history.
    Incredibly, our focus remains on Iraq and Iran, two nations that had nothing to do with 9/11; while OBL remains at large, Al Qaeda has regrouped, and the Taliban is in control of large areas in Afghanistan.
    We need more Gates in the Bush Administration, and a lot more patriotism and honesty.

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  • 95. At 3:40pm on 01 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    I'll show the "END TIMES" to any christian that tries forcing them. but to some the enviroment going wrong is something they should help because it brings those times closer.same with political strife.

    If I were writing a book I would have a character like this.
    Lovely middle class jewish background, parents progressive thinkers,charity givers, hoping son would maybe be a doctor, give something to humanity,they loved all and would help anybody.they sent him to france, to learn ,but the french ,those damn european french with their 12ft doors them.failed him.
    his parents failed him because they thought they would just stay in the US and wouldn't move to the new Israel even though their little emperor wanted to.
    so he returned all the time moaning that his allowance was not big enough but they paid for an easier degree in engineering after all they did not want their boy getting nowhere because he would be moaning about how much they gave to charity all the time. These parents actually sent his old cloths to Oxfam,
    well you can see how the silver spoon not being enough and these awful kind generous parents were not up to scratch. this little boy became angry.

    Now if I were writing a book that is where that character would start.
    needdless to say His views on how to start a war are more offensive than my tale but the Mods will censor this attack rather than an attack on humanity and peace that actually could make a difference.

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  • 96. At 4:17pm on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:


    Why does the idea of peace making scare you?

    Marcus A...

    The warmonger would not care about my paltry life he has squandered the blood of 4000 young men and women already.


    So true.

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  • 97. At 4:30pm on 01 Jul 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    There have been two issues raised:

    (1) The legalities of resisting a Presidential or Vice-Presidential order to attack Iran. (Check the CJCS web site and ask your Congressman).

    (2) The benefits of opening a dialog and exchanges with Iran vs. the contra-productive nature of threats and boycotts.

    [Remember the exchange of ping-pong players that opened communication with evil China?]

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  • 98. At 4:44pm on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    I don't think the Saudis are particularly our friends. I am sure they really enjoyed Bush playing his Oliver Twist role as held out an oil barrel and said: 'Please can we have some more.'

    Thanks for the insight and clarity. We need more peace making and less war.

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  • 99. At 6:59pm on 01 Jul 2008, frostynorth wrote:

    The situation regarding Iran is disheartening. After being under the thumb of the west for centuries (here I'm counting Russia as an imperialistic European power), with their internal business and collective aspirations influenced by outsiders, sometimes by force of arms, are Iranians wrong to anticipate and fear an attack by the west? I believe it is morally wrong for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon (just as it was morally wrong for the US, Russia, Israel, India, Pakistan...), but is it unreasonable given the current geopolitical climate?

    If anything, the rhetoric coming out of Washington strengthens the position of hardline elements in the Iranian government. Unlike Iraq's top-down style of government - democracy without a democratic culture - Iran has vibrant democratic ideals at the grass roots. Reactionaries and religious fundamentalists in the government are using the US sabre-rattling as an excuse to crack down on pro-democracy groups and activists, accusing them of being a "fifth column" intent on handing the country over to foreign agents on a silver platter. Hard-line conservatives in Iran and the US have much in common here.

    There will never be any hope of democracy in Iran if it is attacked. If the United States is victorious there, Iran will be ruled by a phoney-democratic puppet regime. Iran's pro-democracy movement is certainly no US lapdog, after all, which is what the US government has never liked about it in the first place. If a hypothetical attack on Iran is unsuccessful and the present government survives, the domestic democratic movement will suffer the same fate as the German communists in the '30s: labeled a dangerous subversive element, rounded up, and eliminated. The elements in the Iranian government that westerners fear most will gain total control... and there won't be any question of nuclear armament.

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  • 100. At 8:08pm on 01 Jul 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #99, frostynorth, there can be no possibility
    of regime change due to an American attack,
    because it would, of necessity, be a very
    limited aerial attack. The objectives would
    certainly be limited to destroying their
    nuclear capability and possibly their
    ability to launch weapons, by destroying
    what we call their "political release
    structures", which are the command and
    control infrastructure which form the link
    between their equivalent of our executive
    branch and their launch sites.

    The best possibile outcome is that the
    Iranians do nothing in response. Obviously,
    this is not very likely. It is more likely
    that they will completely destabilize Iraq.
    Many American, Iraqi, and Iranian lives
    would be lost.

    There probably is not time to engage
    moderate elements of Iranian society
    before their government obtains nuclear
    weapons and the means to deliver them.

    Once again, our involvement is Iraq
    works to our detriment.

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  • 101. At 8:09pm on 01 Jul 2008, AndreainNY wrote:

    96. aquarizonagal wrote:

    "Why does the idea of peace making scare you?"

    Peace doesn't scare me at all, nor does peacemaking.

    It's the people with whom you naively believe we can make peace that scare me.

    My concern is Iran. The most irrational and dangerous people on this planet are in the Middle East.

    What truly scares me is that there are people who believe that Bush is all that stands between the current situation and peace. As though "warmonger" Bush is the cause of all our difficulties.

    So, please, fill in the blank....

    If it weren't for Bush, Iran would _________

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  • 102. At 8:11pm on 01 Jul 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #98, arizonagal, when I was in Europe
    in 2003, immediately prior to the invasion,
    everyone I met asked me, "Why are you
    guys invading Iraq? Why aren't you invading
    Saudi Arabia?"

    I guess this shows what people closer to
    the situation think of the Saudis.

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  • 103. At 8:11pm on 01 Jul 2008, AndreainNY wrote:

    #100, gunsandreligion:

    "Once again, our involvement is Iraq
    works to our detriment."

    Being rid of Saddam also works to our benefit.

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  • 104. At 8:20pm on 01 Jul 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    AndreainNY, I am of the opinion that
    Saddam was not as bad as others in
    the region, including Iran and their proxies.
    Sure, he was a mass murderer, but at
    least he was between us and the Iranians.

    Saddam was the cork in the bottle that
    kept Iran at bay; now we have opened
    the bottle and effectively made Iran
    the hegemon of the Persian Gulf.

    There are a thousand ways that we could
    have dealt with Saddam without invasion.
    At the very least, we should have eliminated
    Al Qaeda and the Taliban before moving
    on to Iraq.

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  • 105. At 8:23pm on 01 Jul 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #99 frostynorth

    I agree with most of your points. However, you are presenting completely inappropriate dichotomies - I believe you are overlooking the most basic underlying causes.

    You present the dichotomies as democracy/no democracy and victory following attack/unsuccessful attack. I believe the actual choices at issue to those that advocate for an attack are strong Iran/weak Iran in terms of (pick the order that suits you best):

    1. ability to oppose excessive US influence in the region, whether by economic factors, military factors (doubtful in any event, in my view), political/diplomatic influence, or just symbolically as a focal point for others in the region who also may not like excessive US influence there,

    and, 2. ability to oppose Israel's policies of expansionism since 1948, whether by providing a counterbalance to the threat from Israel's nukes and/or conventional forces, the ability to continue to aid the resistance movements, or providing a symbolic focal point for others in the region who remain opposed to Israel's expansionist policies.

    I suggest that the US cares not one whit about the democracy and freedom issues in Iran (just as in Iraq) - consider how the US has reacted since there were free and fair Palestinian elections that Hamas won or the US reaction to elections in Lebanon in which Hezbollah retained a major role in government. These democracy/freedom issues are useful propaganda tools used to blind a gullible public to the real reasons.

    Whether the Iranian government falls or doesn't fall following an attack, or whether there is more or less freedom in Iran following an attack, or whether the US "wins" a war with Iran or not, so long as large segments of Iran's nuclear program (whether they have nuke weapons or not), military infrastructure, and industrial infrastructure are damaged beyond repair for a number of years, any attack, however executed, will be deemed successful by the neocons and hardcore Zionists.

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  • 106. At 8:29pm on 01 Jul 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    pterm99, one does not have to be a "neocon"
    or a "hardcore Zionist" to view Iranian
    possession of nuclear weapons with alarm.

    Just about every Arab in the region is concerned
    about it. It's really a Shia/Sunni split. If the
    Shias have the bomb, then the Sunnis will
    need to get it.

    You underestimate the longstanding conflicts
    in the region, the US and Israel are
    comparatively minor factors.

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  • 107. At 8:53pm on 01 Jul 2008, Andy Post wrote:

    Re: #85

    (e) Prohibition of Function as Armed Forces General Staff.? The Joint Staff . . . shall have no executive authority. . ."

    BTW, it's 155(e).

    Thank you, I missed that. I don't know how to resolve the conflict.

    I guess they keep their rank but don't have the authority to issue orders on the battlefield. Perhaps the idea is to preserve their objectivity as they are as you pointed out advisers to the President and Congress.

    I think we may be guilty of missing the forest for the trees. This will never be an issue because the JCS will never assert command authority over the rest of the military. American generals (and troops) do as they're told. As an American I can say I'm very proud of them for that.

    Thanks for posting the URL. It's fascinating.

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  • 108. At 8:59pm on 01 Jul 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #106 gunsandreligion

    The Shia and Sunni have gotten along with each other at least as well as Catholics and Protestants have gotten along together since the rise of the respective belief systems.

    Just as in N. Ireland, religion has been hijacked as a superficial, highly visible symbol of differences in an attempt to justify struggles for power among various tribal, ethnic, national and/or other factions. As foreign domination (Ottoman, Brit, French) has waned, these power struggles between factions have again been able to surface.

    I'm not saying that Shia/Sunni don't have conflicting interests, but we (US and others) are highlighting and exacerbating the religious differences as part of the old "divide and conquer" strategy.

    Regarding your "Iranian nukes" point - an assessment of the number of conflicts initiated over the past 60 years should make a truly objective individual significantly more concerned about Israel's nuke arsenal than Iran's (if that even exists).

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  • 109. At 9:14pm on 01 Jul 2008, AndreainNY wrote:

    Saddam's "link" to 9/11 was hypothetical. Similar to the "what if" scenarios being considered about a nuclear-armed Iran.

    I cannot find the quote but I remember hearing Cheney on a talk show (Meet the Press?) ask, "What if Osama had had nuclear weapons?"

    His next question, "Where would he have gotten them?"

    His answer: "Saddam"

    (Despite best efforts to rewrite events, most people believed Saddam had nuclear weapons. )

    Today, still, the US should be very, very concerned about nuclear weapons falling into extremist hands.

    As for bitterness about our relationship with the Saudis, do you really believe our economy could withstand a major disruption in the oil supply?

    I have no love of the Saudis, especially since they've spent billions exporting their brand of extremism which is especially lethal to the west, but I recognize that only an irresponsible fool would jeopardize our oil supply. I would not expect an American president to do such a thing.

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  • 110. At 9:17pm on 01 Jul 2008, AndreainNY wrote:

    #108. peterm99

    "The Shia and Sunni have gotten along with each other at least as well as Catholics and Protestants have gotten along together since the rise of the respective belief systems."

    Which country in the Middle East today compares to Northern Ireland? England?

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  • 111. At 9:31pm on 01 Jul 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    pterm99, #108, I don't think that there
    is a "divide and conquer" strategy in place
    by the US here - I don't think that there is
    any coherent long-term strategy in place,
    and that explains the situation with which
    we are faced today.

    When I look at post-colonial Arab history,
    I see emerging nationalism, such as
    typified by Nasser and Saddam. We often
    portray these people as despots in the West
    because of their ruthlessness, but they
    are probably a necessary step in the evolution
    of Arab societies from tribalism.

    I do think that we destabilized the situation
    be deposing Saddam. It remains to be
    seen if the Iraqis are ready for democracy.

    The best thing that we can do to improve
    that part of the world is to avoid interfering
    with their politics by military action.
    We have a lot of "soft power" at our disposal
    which, over the long term, is more effective
    than military occupation.

    #109, AndreainNY, I'm not in any way
    proposing that we invade Saudi Arabia.
    I just thought that it was curious that so
    many Europeans thought it was a good idea.

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  • 112. At 9:59pm on 01 Jul 2008, AndreainNY wrote:


    The Europeans were not thinking about the importance of oil to our economy, like many of our own citizens.

    Also, I'm not sure the dynamics in Saudi Arabia were comparable to those perceived in Iraq. (No one there to greet us with flowers?)

    Those Europeans did, however, correctly peg the Saudis as the source of terrorism, though.

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  • 113. At 10:07pm on 01 Jul 2008, AndreainNY wrote:

    #111. gunsandreligion:

    "We have a lot of "soft power" at our disposal which, over the long term, is more effective than military occupation."

    What specific soft power do we have?

    Do you think a "soft power" response was appropriate after 9/11?

    The "evolution of Arab societies from tribalism" just got injected with something lightyears ahead. Let's see how the Iraqis do with it.

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  • 114. At 10:32pm on 01 Jul 2008, proles wrote:

    No the question is not whether Gates is "gutsier" than Powell, the question is whether Gates is a bigger liar than Powell. Would Gates go to the UN and tell willful lies about Iran's alleged nuclear activities the same as Powell did about Iraq five years ago? Since Gates has always been a toady and careerist like Powell don't put it past him. But in a lame duck administration, he doesn't have much influence left and threatening to resign would probably be met with derision. Still it's quite a breathtaking leap to claim on the basis of unconfirmed reports of what was said at a closed-door meeting that Gates and the top brass would overturn orders from their commander-in-chief, deranged as Bush/Cheney may be. Time is running out for them, though. Unfortunately, that may not be the end of it however. If there is an attack on Iran, it's as least as likely to be carried out after that by Obama, who has made it very clear he wouldn't rule it out.

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  • 115. At 10:33pm on 01 Jul 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    The main point is that a major strategic gain can be had through a diplomatic, cultural and trade campaign with Iran.

    The present "policies" have exactly the wrong effect.


    The intervention in Iraq is a reprise of the British efforts of 1916-1932, the same mistakes being repeated.

    The US attempted destruction of the Sunni ruling structure permitted the majority Shi'ia to take over.

    This got so bad that the USA is rearming and paying Sunni tribesmen.

    At the moment, they have been shooting al-Quaida. Guess whom they will be shooting next?

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  • 116. At 10:43pm on 01 Jul 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #113, AdreainNY, it is specifically the
    cultural values of the West which have
    provoked these extremist elements in
    the Islamic world. It is this cultural
    appeal which threatens them, and
    we would do well to assist moderate,
    secular elements of the Islamic world
    wherever we find them, rather than
    blowing them up.

    As far as 9/11 goes, I think we should
    have provided the 101st airborne division
    to Afghanistan, as the local commander
    requested, instead of sending it to Iraq.
    We might have finished off the Taleban
    and Al Qeada when we had the chance.

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  • 117. At 11:48pm on 01 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:

    I have some questions.

    Why does the US have to solve the 'Iran Problem?' There are a lot of other countries closer to Iran who must have a vested interest in Iran's nukes or (maybe no nukes).

    Haven't we done enough outside our country? Can we now work on solutions for our own problems?

    Maybe it is time that we did become more 'insular' as someone suggested. However, maybe that is too hard. It is always easier to focus on what is wrong with others than to do some real soul-searching of our own.

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  • 118. At 00:00am on 02 Jul 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    #117, arizonagal, you're right on the money!

    If we just spent $100 billion or so on windmills
    and switched to plug-in hybrids, we could
    probably reduce our oil imports to the point
    where we didn't even need to care about
    the middle east.

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  • 119. At 01:02am on 02 Jul 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #107 AndyPost

    "This will never be an issue . . . American generals (and troops) do as they're told. As an American I can say I'm very proud of them for that."

    I'm sort of ambivalent.

    I think the concept of being able to resign rather than do things against one's conscience is a good one. Officers formerly in the US Army who would/could not fight against the Confederacy were considered to be honorable men of conscience even when opposed on the battlefield by former peers.

    I think WWII showed us that the obligation to refuse illegal orders is a good principle. It probably hasn't been tested as much as one might want given the known/alleged atrocities we've committed during various conflicts (e.g., No Gun Ri, My Lai, Fallujah, etc., etc.)

    Except for the Civil War example, the US military does not have a long-standing tradition of resigning (or even committing suicide! (Europe, Japan)) rather than being forced to behave dishonorably.

    I'd feel a lot more comfortable about the quality of our officer corps if there had been more resignations over principle during conflicts over the years. My impression of the ones that I have been able to observe when I served and also via media over the past couple of decades is that they seem to be much like politicians (willing to say and do anything to remain in or to rise from their current position) rather than being the best and most honorable this country has to offer. (Obviously, there are always exceptions, but too few.)

    I agree with you that they'll pretty much always do as they're told, and that's somewhat bothersome to me.

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  • 120. At 01:53am on 02 Jul 2008, aquarizonagal wrote:


    Sorry, I forgot. It is so all about the oil. How much oil do we get from Iran?

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  • 121. At 01:58am on 02 Jul 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    The American people, through their Congress, need to act.

    Although it is constitutionally required that the Congress declare a war, legislation has gradually been passed that would permit a "preemptive" attack, etc.

    Thus, the only recourse at this time is for Americans to make their concerns known to their Congressmen.

    Other nations may immediately initiate diplomatic, cultural and commercial contacts with Iran, reversing entirely the contra-productive policy of boycott and threat.

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  • 122. At 02:03am on 02 Jul 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    aquarizonagal, that's right. We have so
    many good alternatives to us, just no
    decent leadership at the top.

    As far as saving the world, goes,
    I don't think we can do it. But, we
    can make a buck off it. Just think
    how many planes and tanks those
    Saudis will buy when they realize
    that we're leaving town.

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  • 123. At 02:24am on 02 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    andfreedom #89

    "@87: MarcusAureliusII

    The hijackers responsible for 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, and were trained in Pakistan."

    Good, two more targets to nuke!



    Why does the idea of peace making scare you?"

    Because when the policy becomes peace at any price, it leads to Munich 1938. The delusion results in even worse wars than would othewise be the case and even more of your own countrymen die in the end. When you face an implacable enemy like Iran or al Qaeda, your choice is fight and maybe die or don't fight and surely die. All you buy at best is a little more time. You are free because others died to win and guard your freedom. Rational people (unlike Islamic jihadists) do not want to die but if they are not willing to take that risk and fight when they have to. they will surely loose their freedom and their lives as well. They will die as slaves, victims. Just look at Africa.

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  • 124. At 05:20am on 02 Jul 2008, peterm99 wrote:

    re: #110 AndreainNY wrote:

    "#108. peterm99
    "The Shia and Sunni have gotten along with each other at least as well as Catholics and Protestants have gotten along together since the rise of the respective belief systems."

    Which country in the Middle East today compares to Northern Ireland? England?"

    Your question only has value of you want to engage in sound bite or bumper sticker level discussion. I don't. I'm hopeful you can do better than that in the future. Nevertheless, the answer to your question, obviously, is none.

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  • 125. At 12:05pm on 02 Jul 2008, SaintDominick wrote:

    The truth is that if it wasn't for the pressure that we exert on other nations Iran would enjoy a cordial relationship with the rest of the world. The irrational desire for revenge that has dominated American policies towards Iran since the hostage crisis has led to the demonization, condemnation, and isolation of that nation, and has influenced our foreign policy towards the entire Muslim world. Needless to say, there is little the neocons and religious fundamentalists would like more than Iran; but that is not likely to happen this late in the second term of the Bush Administration, not only because there is not enough time to set the stage for such a dangerous and radical action, but because of the quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan, our fiscal and economic problems, and President Bush's unpopularity.

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  • 126. At 12:47pm on 02 Jul 2008, davuian wrote:

    Osama's still on the loose, Afghanistan and Iraq are not adequately secured and "democratised", and the US president would like to invade another country ?

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  • 127. At 4:13pm on 02 Jul 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    From today's Christian Science Monitor:

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  • 128. At 10:09pm on 02 Jul 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    Almost unbelievably (for me) a BBC civil servant (Webb) has quoted the CJCS and opened a discussion of Iran.

    Bravo and kudos!

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  • 129. At 02:42am on 03 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    Part of military code is to Ignore any order that is unconstitutional.
    There are a lot of military personal that are strict constitutionalists.
    An order from bush to attack Iran would be unconstitutional and probably treasonous.
    The military might just do their duty as they are apt to do.

    The military is not on the whole a place for those looking for the end times, though a few are apparently.

    Americans are waking up to the realities, - the people of america know the expression about fooling someone more than once.(unlike their commander in chief).

    Well except some, but that's changing.

    Xie Agauagirl Adrian keep up the side of truth.

    I'm sure Chauchescu thought his army was going to protect him as well. But when it came down to it it was the securitate that had to defended him against the army and the people .
    They defended him because they were up the creek without a paddle, if their head was gone, they would get killed.
    But the army were not vicious secret police . They were conscripts they were peoples brothers.
    I suspect that america being so much better than the rest of the world would get to that same conclusion quicker than those Romanians.
    Christmas day TV was the dictators execution, and his wife.
    Now I think an old fashioned yolking the two ( G and D ) up at the city centre for the throw something at them ridicule would be more appropriate for them. And give all of Islam a chance to take part.
    Like a pilgrimage , "so what did you throw at them? No rocks or anything just rotten fruit and such. Old fashioned humiliation .
    Hell make a party of it ad gonzo and rhummy, oh and wolfee can go to.
    Though I suspect none of this is in the military code.

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  • 130. At 02:49am on 03 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    86 peter

    well put , but I see that Bush is not too smart so it is possible he will try.

    Lets face it he is a little slow.

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  • 131. At 03:20am on 03 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    America the Great Satan.

    look I can say it too. so come on Nuke Eugene.

    With regards to the assurtion you made GnR about Saddam being between us and Iran.
    Just remember, I know you are sensible in your arguements , and agree with many, but as far as the US enemy - Iran.
    It does not exist unless we want it to.
    They wanted free from the Shah.
    We tried to stop them.
    We financed the Shah and his secret police.
    They gained their freedom, and unfortunately committed a gross violation of international Law, in taking diplomats hostage.
    This was uncalled for , but they were not locked up for 7 years and tortured, so relative to the US they treated the hostages well.
    We set Saddam against them.
    We gave him chemical weapons.
    we gave him planes, artillery , tanks.... anything they wanted to kill Iranians with.
    Saddam was as vicious a thug as ever existed, and we helped him.

    I suggest that Iran was not our enemy until we made it so.
    And that if we tried we could rectify the situation.
    The first thing would be an Unequivocal apology , for he actions of the past.
    Throw an olive branch out, after all we are the big boys. With nothing to really worry about.(well except the price of Gas).

    I'm sure they will not believe us, but if we keep on we will succeed.

    MA ears up this is for you and all those

    I found an animal left by some dumb idiot on the highway.(they were arrested the day before for dropping them by the road).
    that animal did not like ANY human.
    understandably so. the dotted line in the middle of the road is not a nice place for a critter to be.
    Now I could have got angry when it attacked, when it drew blood. But what would be the good in that? to show that humans were bad.
    No you wait show kindness, and wait. eventually a trust will develope.

    Some , they would have it put down , put to sleep, killed at the first strike.
    Then they would never know the joy of interacting with another of the wonderful creatures that abound on this planet.
    They would just have a mess.

    That is what diplomacy is about.
    and some will never understand.

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  • 132. At 03:34am on 03 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    My concern is Iran. The most irrational and dangerous people on this planet are in the Middle East.


    "My concern is Iran. The most irrational and dangerous people on this planet are in the Middle East.

    well we will have to stop Bush and Dick making anymore diplomatic missions then wont we. then they will be here where we can keep an eye on them.

    you are one of the" most irrational and dangerous people on this planet "

    M erronious is another.
    there are plenty here in the states and many all over. I do not think the middle east is the centre of irrational and dangerous people.

    Is it a racial thing with you as well?
    Oh I forgot.

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  • 133. At 04:13am on 03 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    jacksforge #32

    Reading your postings, my concern are that some of the most irrational and dangerous people on this planet are in Oregon....and posting on this very web site.

    You do not think the Middle East is the "centre" of irrational and dangerous people? I agree. It plays second fiddle to Europe.

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  • 134. At 04:17am on 03 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Jacksforge #131

    Are you suggesting that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a dumb animal dumped on the side of the road? What kind of animal? A rattlesnake? Why not try to reason with a rattlesnake jacksforge and see what it gets you.

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  • 135. At 05:25am on 03 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    no I'm suggesting you try and be nice if you want them to be nice.

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  • 136. At 05:33am on 03 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    Still angry because the french told you, you were not smart enough to be a doctor.

    And not smart enough to understand the tale.

    Well as you are an engineer I should tell you what fun I have been having, all that extra money from fixing all the engineers mistakes this week.
    Wow if engineers keep this up I'll be real busy for a while.

    PS ahmadinnasbad is way more rational than you.
    Or at least he can pretend.
    I don't know him personally, but you know what,I'd rather have him for dinner than You.

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  • 137. At 12:21pm on 03 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    jacksforge, actually in france, being smart is not a requisite for becoming a doctor. You don't know anything about how the French educational system works. In the French system at least as it existed 35 years ago, about 3000 students are admitted every year to the University of Bordeaux Medical School. These are in 3 "unities" each unity being an entirely different school with different faculties, different cirricula, different professors, and a different admistration. Which one you are in depends on the first letter of your last name. It is assumed by the end of 7 years when about only 100 finally graduate, they will all have had the same training. When a Professor picks up a piece of red chalk and writes the number 3 on a blackboard to indicate a point of information, 1000 students in the lecture hall pick up a red pencil and write the number 3 in their notebooks. At the end of each term, each course had one exam comprising 2 or 3 essay questions. Those who come closest to parroting back the pearls of wisdom that eminated from the professor's mouth including its format get the highest grades. A competition called a concours determines who will make it to the next level. Try that in a foreign language some time competing with natives at their own game. Remember, Americans abandoned this educational system of rote memory probably sometime in the mid 19th century as worthless for achieving the real goals of education...understanding. It is also radically different from an engineering education in the US where understanding and problem solving is paramount. It is assumed in the US you could look up facts, the goal was the training in effectively understanding and using them. Yes I quit because I could see that it was futile. Besides, in my early 20s and already an engineer, living in a foreign country was a lark and an experience. When I got back to America, I kissed the ground I was so happy to be home back in what I call the civilzed world.

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  • 138. At 3:36pm on 03 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    despite all that bad education they have a better health system ,comprehensive.
    And people that can comprehend what they read.
    As for the US looking up results , do you mean US googling papers off the internet.
    What was your problem could you not handle the stress of an examination hall.
    You want all that course work eh.
    Well teachers I know are now worried at how many use crib or cheat sites to write papers and are returning to the old "Quote this passage "teaching so as to test their students knowlege not their cheating ability.

    you really need to join the real world.

    you fantasy world would not be acceptable in Any field of study.
    Maybe as a work of fiction. Or a psycological study.
    " Try that in a foreign language some time competing with natives at their own game."

    Then why got o their country to learn if you do not have the ability to understand.
    And by the way many do and many pass.
    You did not , and now you are still angry with the Europeans.
    Education is to Draw the light from within.
    Most fail, in the attempt to educate many.
    If you think america is doing so well then I suggest you go to a school.
    No kid included is the presidsents great scheam to help education.
    And if you want we can all go get the statistics to show how badly america is doing at providing education a to it's kids.
    why you have so few skilled workers in the trades, because all kids think it reasonabe to want to be a "star"
    . Good bye erronious.

    one day you will get something right.

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  • 139. At 10:02pm on 03 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    jacksforge, I attended one of the top engineering schools in the world and graduated in the top half of my class. Obviously I can pass exams with the best of them.

    Try going to a foreign country with a different language and beating them at their own game of who can remember the exact words of wisdom an instructor spoke months earlier....order and format count. Well, one thing I learned, I would never want to be sick and wind up in a French hospital. In fact, as I posted, among Americans and Canadians we had a pact that if one of us got sick, the rest of us would get him on the first plane back to North America but short of that, to the American medical mission in Paris. They didn't do much for Yassir Arafat did they? In fact, they never even figured out what was wrong with him.

    What did you get your education in, forgery?

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  • 140. At 2:44pm on 04 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    no and I doubt if anything other than your fathers money got you a degree.
    there is one major difference.
    the money no buy the degree.

    Millions of students around the world learn in non native tongue, and pass.
    your foolish enough to go to france to learn when you do not speak their language and have not the ability to learn it. maybe you went to france where with a more inclusive education system they allowed you in. is that it.

    I guarantee now if I were to meet you dead parents they would say you were the biggest joy and the biggest disappointment in their lives.
    Bless them.

    Oh and as for the non rote system of learning you foolish man.

    You are a rare person if you think Europe educates all the same.

    I have also noticed a dendancy for you to pick up others words and opinions and try to pretend they are your, subtleish use of words. like one person calls you a Xenophobe then you start calling all xenophobes.

    You would not get so far had those parents you slag off hadn't payed your way.
    Why did you leave medical collage?

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  • 141. At 5:30pm on 04 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Actually I paid for my college education with a student loan myself. I paid it back over time after I graduated.

    Why did I leave medical school in France? As I told you, there is a competition each year for places in the next higher grade. In the first year it went from around 3000 to around 600 in the second year. It was obvious I could not succeed in a system so heavily stacked against me. That's the difference between us jacksforge. I accept the world for what it is and make the best life for myself in it. You want the world to change to the way you think it ought to be. I'd say a snowball has a better chance of surviving in hell than you have of seeing the world remade in your image. Just be glad you are in Oregon and not in some jerkwater town in industrial north England. Going back to your roots is your worst nightmare. If your pet died, you'd get another just to still have an excuse to stay if that's what it took. You will never go back to live in England. We both know that. It's what makes you so angry. There are far better places than the one you were born in and far luckier people alive who enjoy their lives. That really bothers you. Count your blessings, there are many fates worse than living out your life in Eugene Oregon.

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  • 142. At 5:51pm on 04 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    blah blah blah.

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  • 143. At 6:29pm on 04 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    And to think they allow you to vote. Or for that matter even to drive.

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  • 144. At 6:47pm on 04 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 145. At 7:48pm on 04 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    Why did I leave medical school in France? As I told you, there is a competition each year for places in the next higher grade. In the first year it went from around 3000 to around 600 in the second year. It was obvious I could not succeed in a system so heavily stacked against me. That's the difference between us jacksforge. I accept the world for what it is and make the best life for myself in it. You want the world to change to the way you think it ought to be. I'd say a snowball has a better chance of surviving in hell than you have of seeing the world remade in your image. Just be glad you are in Oregon and not in some jerkwater town in industrial north England. Going back to your roots is your worst nightmare. If your pet died, you'd get another just to still have an excuse to stay if that's what it took. You will never go back to live in England. We both know that. It's what makes you so angry. There are far better places than the one you were born in and far luckier people alive who enjoy their lives. That really bothers you. Count your blessings, there are many fates worse than living out your life in Eugene Oregon.

    m erronious.

    so the french system gives all a chance yuo just have to be good.
    OK sounds fair.
    Kept you out , so must work a little.

    I accept the world as it is not you.
    You wish all to be killed until the world fits your ideas.
    The difference is I am willing to accept where you are not.
    I accept that Iran does not like Israel.
    I accept that america behaves as terrorists.
    I accept that you know nothing.
    I accept you. you are lost. And I care little for you.And you are wrong most of the time.
    I do accept that Israel behaving as it does to it's neighbours should expect a few rockets,.
    I accept that guns exist and provide food, I accept that UK health care is not brilliant but accept that it works better than nothing.
    I accept america can think it's self great but also accept that the world may disagree.
    I accept the people around me and as such have not felt kicked out as you obviously do.
    I accept that caring for an animal is OK.
    I accept that hospitals in theory that spend more per patient should in THEory provide better care.
    I accept that as a Blacksmith with some skill I would be better employed in the UK in the north where there are still smiths working and making a good living.But I live in the US and weld as well as smith.
    I accept that other coming to this nation might feel as you did in france about the language but they continue.
    I accept that the poLICE are not to be trusted automatically.
    I accept that GW WAS A LYING SACK O'
    I accept that saddam was scared and bluffing.
    I accept that 9/11 was nothing to do with Iraq
    I accept that Obama is not called Osama.
    I accept that he is not muslim.
    I accept why muslims would find this debate racist.

    It is you that does not accept.

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  • 146. At 7:59pm on 04 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    by the way I had a privileged up bringing.
    I went to one of the best schools in the UK. and on to One of the best Schools of architecture in the country.
    I studied at one of the best schools of blacksmithing in the country.
    I've travelled the world.And lived in many countries.
    I have lived with supermodels, and rock stars.

    I've lived a life that you would not begin to comprehend.

    I'd have connections you would die fro, but life is about being fair.
    I will not use those connections or privilage. I accept that others do not get it so good, that others may not feel they have a voice.
    I am honest, with them and myself.
    Unlike you.
    It is always easier to help others when you understand, and all of life is about understanding to me.

    Unlike you who has been given all the benefits and then greedily says"it's all mine"

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  • 147. At 00:23am on 05 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The French gave me an opportunity to compete in a system which French students are trained their whole lives for while American students are not. That system is to compete to see who can remember best in French exactly what was said in a lecture in the French language. When I went there, I had no idea that their system was what I would call irrational. My experience in the US emphasized understanding, not parroting. Nevertheless it was an interesting experience. As far as I can tell, no other American student actually graduated from that school. I learned what medical knowledge I obtained from reading both the French medical texts I bought there and the corresponding material in texts used in American medical schools written in English I had sent to me. Needless to say, the American texts were infinitely superior. At the same time I was taking night classes in French as a second language for foreigners. Being imersed in the French language by living in a place where few natives spoke English or at least would admit to it, I learned more French in the first three weeks of living there than I did in three years of high school French in the US. It wouldn't surprise me if in fifty years, they not only teach French medical students and all other French students in English but that English becomes the de-facto language of France and the rest of the world.

    So you had a privileged upbringing. To bad you didn't take greater advantage of it. Not much call for blacksmiths...ooops I mean forgers these days as far as I can tell. Maybe it's all been outsourced to China.

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  • 148. At 01:07am on 05 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I am sure jacksforge that if one of your neighbors desperately needed a wrought iron fence for their yard, you would be the first to help them. How admirable your charitable nature is.

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  • 149. At 02:17am on 05 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    probably would . after all it will only help me.

    but I cannot dream materials. so someone has to make them.

    you are really scraping the barrel marcus sweetee.
    go to bed , have a drink or find a Bar b Q to go to.
    It might do you good to get out.

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  • 150. At 12:44pm on 05 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Hey Jacksforge, 2" thick porterhouse steaks today on the grill with top flight California cabernets. No BSE or hoof and mouth disease. No bovine tuberculosis either (see the article about the badger cull in Britain?) Probaby a lot of Idaho baked potatoes and Jersey Corn too. Lots of Haagen Daz in the freezer for desert.

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  • 151. At 4:26pm on 05 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    how would you know they push downer cows in the processor with fork lifts "to help them walk"
    Again you resort to the same tactics of a spoilt brat.
    but enjoy your dinner.
    surprised you would eat something tainted with the name jersey. nice place, should pay their taxes though.
    must leave an after taste to you.

    No TB because all your cattle are fed in huge sheds and PUMPED FULL of hormones and anti biotics.

    badgers and cows had tb before, but the antibiotics they fed to the cows were left behind in the faeces . the badgers eat this and get low levels of anti biotics in them. the TB becomes resistant to the anti biotics in the badger which then gives it back to the cow.
    And hey presto the drugs no longer work.

    Thankfully Oregon is one of those european minded progressive states where organic is big with the farmers.

    you really are a bowhard.

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  • 152. At 7:48pm on 05 Jul 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    Do any of the BBC employees read the New York Review of Books?

    There was also this, which was news to me:

    " This is not the first time such arguments have been made. Some Americans, including Air Force generals, believed in the late 1940s that a preemptive war against the Soviet Union was justified by the peril of Moscow with a bomb.

    Twenty years later the Russians, in their turn, were so alarmed by the prospect of Beijing with a bomb that they quietly proposed to the Americans a joint effort to destroy the Chinese nuclear development effort with a preemptive attack."

    There is a problem here. I do hope that the Americans communicate with their Congressmen.

    Is there any chance of the British public being made aware?

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  • 153. At 10:51pm on 05 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Jealous jacksforge? With all your nonsense, you should eat....crow.

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  • 154. At 05:36am on 06 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    or venison .

    or Julies organic ice creams.


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  • 155. At 06:31am on 06 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    as for jealousy,I am real curious as to what I am meant to be jealous of.
    I told you I've had it great.

    it is not me that covets my neighbours land or goods that is a zionists thing.

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  • 156. At 00:06am on 07 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    now what would I be thinking you'd be jealous of jacksforge? Why the Haagen Dazs of course.

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  • 157. At 04:27am on 07 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    don't knw what happened to my responce here to this but here i go again.

    now if you had said ben and Jerry's I might have taken less time to decide if it were worth the comment, but Julies is Organic and real tasty and come from oregon, eugene in fact.
    So sorry to not be jealous of the lower quality commercially successful brand.

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  • 158. At 6:23pm on 07 Jul 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    The New Yorker - Preparing the Battlefield
    France24 - Solana says talks with Iran difficult
    Reuters - Iran says demand to halt enrichment illegitimate
    European Voice - Iran open to nuclear talks

    A very worthwhile post, CF!!!

    Put it in on Justin Webb's blog, also, for there are many savvy Americans there.

    There is a fundamentalist attitude (which Fallon obviously did not share) that all Iranians are the enemy.

    In fact, the urban population is quite intelligent, well-educated and chaffing under the mullahs.

    Getting them lots of satellite dishes as part of expanded trade deals would help them push back against the mullahs- for economics and family life are fundamental whereas ideology (enforced by religious police) is despised.

    Force, sanctions, acts of war all make the people unify and back the mullahs.

    If, as the New Yorker says, Bush claims his forces in Iran are conducting war under his direct command- then we have an undeclared war in process. Whare are the legalities here?

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  • 159. At 11:11pm on 07 Jul 2008, nobleFloridian wrote:

    Seems to me that Marcus and Jack badly need to call a truce. What say you, Justin?

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  • 160. At 00:36am on 08 Jul 2008, turningblueandgrey wrote:

    #159 - I reached the same conclusion Noble - thanks for saying what needed to be said. An extended, rapid-fire exchange between any two parties here only dilutes more concise input from others. Please parley a truce.

    Back on topic, an op-ed piece I agree with was the "we should still like Ike" at NYT today.

    Ike's restraint is echoed by Gates.

    Hope all had a great Independence Day, here and abroad.

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  • 161. At 02:02am on 08 Jul 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    nobleFloridian and bluejay60, I don't know if this escaped you but my most recent posting above that set jacksforge off was cream. Did it occur to you that had I said Ben and Jerry's he'd have said Haagen Dazs?

    But if you want to play devils advocate...I take you both on...with one hand tied behind my back :-)

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  • 162. At 4:24pm on 08 Jul 2008, turningblueandgrey wrote:


    I realize that, MA2

    Haagen Dazs vs. Julia's - an enigma.

    Still, despite all the exposition back and forth, I never did fathom your and JF's ice cream koan.

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  • 163. At 3:14pm on 09 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    I was trying to change from subjects of merit to the innane ice cream debate brought up by Ma to lower the temp.
    We were I thought both trying to ICE OUT.
    Cool down.
    And I did write about Band J cause I like it.
    But no more the company gave up ethics when they sold out.

    Organic local Vrs multinational environmental horror company.

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  • 164. At 3:02pm on 10 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    more important.
    that aipac lacky lieberman at it again.

    Attack attack attack.
    now saying in accordance with this and that UN mandate.

    YEA liebie, how about just after Israel agrees to abide by all those mandates against it and open it's nuke to IAEA.

    They started the mid east arms race and show a likely hood of using them.

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  • 165. At 11:11pm on 11 Jul 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    I listened today to a BBC program re Israel/Iran/USA.

    Most unfortunately, the presenter/moderator was making editorial noises and supporting an Israeli participant.

    However, some interesting facts came out.

    Interestingly, the Supreme Leader of Iran has, some time ago, issued a religious order (fatwah) forbidding the development or use of nuclear weapons and gave his reasons.

    Why do you suppose that this has not been more widely reported by the BBC?

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  • 166. At 1:40pm on 13 Jul 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    Did you know that Sharon had military plans to invade and occupy Iran and that he took these plans to Washington?

    It appears that someone knows more about Israel/Iran/USA than all of us:

    Should the link not appear, it is Avnery's article 1215904313 on website.

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  • 167. At 6:52pm on 13 Jul 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    xie ming nice link.
    hope he's right

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  • 168. At 4:36pm on 24 Jul 2008, bbennettUSA wrote:

    Dear Folks: This "election" is a huge fraud. The power elites have totally and intentionally so fouled the ellection to put in a stooge like Obama, and take the heat off themselves. They want to manipulate the nation into a UN-type world order. This will destroy America as we want and know our country to be. Foreign people now believe they have a right to distort American politics for themselves. American citizens are the goat, and have never approved anything like this international control. Under the darkness of racism, inflation, Zionist politics, illegal war, and loss of good money the elites have planned this take-over in America. American citizens have been bullied and pushed into a corner we can not live in. Germany after WWI may be our lot now. Huge debts placed on American citizens from outside our nation and helped by traitors at home. We are in a Weimar Republic mode now. Even the players are the same. Americans are for the most part stunned right now. It remains to be seen if true citizens will ever accept this "election" as valid or will FIGHT. Far from the worlds sterotype, the magority of American citizens are very nonviolent, broken down by ethnic groups. However the limit has been reached and what will come now is any one's guess. It sure looks bad. What we have is a spooren fill with hate, racism, economic fraud and shame ellections. Americans are just seeing this as it really is. What about you cousins in England, do you want any off this tripe for yourselves? I think not! How about you folks in Germany, France and Japan---do you want this internationalist yoke put on you? And for all the real racists out there who believe Obama is your man to pay back all the real and immagined slights and wrongs---there will be alot more to his "change" plans than you may want. This Obama has no real experience or educated intellect. He is an affirmatve action, want-a-be, say anything to try and look good, foot in his mouth guy, who we do not know very much about. What he may be planning may not be the "change" you wanted. How about your wages reduced to those of Africa? You may hate Bush, but you know where he stands. I do not like many of his views either, but compared Obama he looks dependable at least. Before you support Obama, isn't it right to ask what he is really going to do. To vote on emotion only is wrong---that's how so many dictators got power. You may not just be shooting yourselves in the foot, you may be blowing your legs off too. This is a turning point in history to be sure, but as in so many past examples things do not go as many wanted but end up some place totally unknown. I see American citizens at the breaking point. There may be alot of trouble very soon, people will only take so much of change, especially when America's past has brought so much good to so many.

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