Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html en-gb 30 Mon 06 Jul 2015 20:12:40 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=99#comment350 "And if you have German motorized columns already behind you, just how would you have defended Paris?""I'd rather have a German division in front of me, than a French one behind me."(PATTON) Tue 16 Feb 2010 19:26:13 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=99#comment349 347. At 09:11am on 16 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:"Not much later we found out that there were not many who were prepared to die even for Paris. And Dunkirk. And..."__________Gosh, we haven't re-fought WWII in at least a week. Yes, we can hear everyone else calling out: "Nooooooo!"But do you really think that's entirely fair?338,000 men were picked up off the beaches as Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. It allowed Britain to live to fight another day. The defense of Lille by the French, even though their own position was hopeless, was one of the factors that saved the BEF. The defense of the perimeter is the stuff of legend.When the Germans punched a big hole in the allied line at Sedan, the BEF and the best of the mobile French forces were driving as fast as they could go toward the River Dyle - i.e., in precisely the wrong direction - making the gap bigger instead of smaller. That wasn't a failure of courage, it was a failure of command.And if you have German motorized columns already behind you, just how would you have defended Paris?The French didn't lose for lack of courage - consider the guys who held out in the Maginot line, and never surrendered; consider the French screening forces in the South who not only did not surrender, but threw the Italians back, even though the war had already been lost in the North.No, it wasn't lack of courage. They lost because the German General Staff was much more competent, and the Maginot line stopped roughly 30 miles too far to the East. Tue 16 Feb 2010 18:53:03 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=99#comment348 This is real news. It is exactly what these countries ought to be working on. Not at all surprising to find the Turks in the lead. Turkey is a country with a great past, and a huge future.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8518109.stmThere is precisely one single ramshackle rail link between Europe and China. It has a bad alignment; it has been very badly mismanaged for most of it's history; it is the wrong gauge; and it is largely in the wrong place.China is going to pay for a modern line across Kazakhstan.The impetus to build a competing line to India would then be plain. Thus, the first company to build a modern rail link for intermodal container traffic to Mumbai stands to make a pile of money. And the city that will again benefit from what is merely another chapter in its ancient role is Istanbul.It makes you salivate like a 19th century industrial robber baron. Tue 16 Feb 2010 18:27:06 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=98#comment347 BTW. I have Iranian friends.Some of them went back to Iran.Haven't heard from them recently.Might have something to do with a Great Iranian Firewall.Modeled on the Great Chinese Firewall. Tue 16 Feb 2010 09:15:00 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=98#comment346 Re # 346 Interestedforeginer observed: Sort of the "Why die for Poland?" approach from the Josef Goebbels handbook.It was Maurice Chevalier, a cabaret artist from a country which would become 'Wermacht's biggest bordello' [that's a quote] who sang in August of 1939:"Who want's to die for Gdansk"?Not much later we found out that there were not many who were prepared to die even for Paris. And Dunkirk. And...The rest is history. Tue 16 Feb 2010 09:11:31 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=98#comment345 344. At 9:43pm on 15 Feb 2010, Matt wrote:"The way I see it is, who cares if Iran get Nuclear Weapons? Sure they may be an undesirable regime, but why is that our problem?"__________Yeah, just like the USSR getting the bomb wasn't our problem in the 1950's?Guess that also means there wasn't any reason for Kennedy to get his knickers in a twist about missiles in Cuba, either.----------Maybe because they keep referring to America as "The Great Satan", which causes people to think they might bear America ill? Maybe because:a government that resorts to the use of Brown Shirts, er, um, I mean Basiji, to quash freedom of speech;that is drifting closer and closer to being a fascist military dictatorship (if it isn't one already);that has lied every step of the way about its nuclear programme and facilities;that has buried its "peaceful" nuclear facilities under a mountain; andthat is led by a man who has threatened to wipe another country off the face of the earth (now who does that remind us of? Hmm, let me think? Untermensch? Lebensraum? Aryan master race supremacy? Mass extermination of Jews ... Oh, um, ...give me a minute, I'll think of the name, it was right on the tip of my tongue ...)might actually be considered a credible nuclear threat?Maybe because we might all get drawn into a nuclear exchange started by a madman? Maybe because it isn't just the local national security of the US that is at stake here?----------Why do I have the impression that maybe the Iranian Ministry of Propaganda has learned a lesson from the largely self-inflicted PR beating it took here last Summer, and is now trying a more nuanced approach?Sort of the "Why die for Poland?" approach from the Josef Goebbels handbook.The more things change, the more they stay the same.(For the benefit of the moderators, before they quash this post for using French, "The more things change, the more they stay the same" is the French translation of the English saying "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.") Tue 16 Feb 2010 02:47:03 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=98#comment344 Why are we helping them. Do you guys have any idea how devastating a war with Iran would be? It's not worth it.-------------------------------------------------------------------------The american modus operandi is to create a chaos it can manage without involving its soldiers..Its back to the covert overthrowing of regimes after the two overt overthrowing of regimes, america have resort to its old tricks..However, what the tom dick and harry's of the west should keep in mind, that the looser party which they support and G-d only knows why, because the looser party is not going to roll back the nuclear technology..it will not do anything that the west so generously believes it will do..So, I suggest to the toms harries and dicks of the west to kindly first read the charter or the manifesto of the green party before they start to support them in a knee jerk fashion..Karzai did more fraud with elections than the iranian president, but karzai is supported and any attempt to even gather a few hundred people to protest were so generously put down by the invaders and their puppet government, that no afghanistani even bothers to take this headache anymore.. Mon 15 Feb 2010 22:03:10 GMT+1 Matt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=97#comment343 The way I see it is, who cares if Iran get Nuclear Weapons? Sure they may be an undesirable regime, but why is that our problem? Let the Iranians sort it out for themselves. I don't care about Israel either, what have they done for us in North America, besides give us problems?I mean if they are willing to go into someones country and take their land, well, your going to have to fight to keep it. And looks like Iran wants to kick them out of the region. It's not our problem. Israel serves no foreign policy interests to us. Why are we helping them. Do you guys have any idea how devastating a war with Iran would be? It's not worth it.We have enough problems with 2 losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And looks like we'll be eventually going into Somalia and Yemen, last thing we need is to do is get into a War for no reason. I mean Iran is only an enemy because we keep on attacking them. Matt Mon 15 Feb 2010 21:43:05 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=97#comment342 342 Jack? Not again?I respect Marbles' views, but the issue here is whether Iran is drifting from a theocratic clerical state into a military dictatorship, not whether the US is inflaming the situation. On the first issue, it seems to be that the answer is yes.Your second comment is quite interesting. Marbles knew Iran in the days of the Shah, and still knows it well. I suspect she has many contacts in Iran. It is a dangerous time for an Iranian to have foreign friends and contacts. I believe that Marbles posted that she thought the Princess was from an upper class family and had a bit of the naivete of youth. I'm not sure the authorities in Iran would be as tolerant of youthful exuberance the way we are.Given the very real danger in which I, Guns, and others, feared that the Princess might find herself, obviously, some of Marcus' comments in that string struck me as insensitive, if not callous. I seem to recall posting a rather tart reply to him on that subject. Oddly, he may actually have been trying to be helpful in his own way. Mon 15 Feb 2010 18:04:27 GMT+1 U14340730 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=97#comment341 IF marbles was much misrepresented here. she often said that all the hype in the USA was just inflaming the situation and would lead to people getting in trouble.Have you even thought that she is real and may herself know and fear for people?that she herself might be at risk? what do you say to MA continually trying to use this to make his little jokes at the princess's expense? Mon 15 Feb 2010 17:46:55 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=96#comment340 Re #339The real power in the Islamic Republic, both militarily and financially is Revolutionary Guard. Well actually its leaders.The real power behind Revolutionary Guard is Quds [Force] Mon 15 Feb 2010 17:36:39 GMT+1 Gerry http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=96#comment339 I only have one question: Just what affair is it of the U.S how other nations arm them selves...Now it is about Iran having a potential nuclear capability, next time it will be some other nation.Granted Iran is what it is,but... in few year it nay be some other nation. Mon 15 Feb 2010 16:58:57 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=96#comment338 Which countries are those, RGBviews?It sounds like the Revolutionary Guard is not only the military, but also the government. Mon 15 Feb 2010 16:51:39 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=96#comment337 Here are some further excerpts from the "Obama's Iran Dilemma" blog string:865. At 11:28pm on 27 Jul 2009:Continuing epilogue:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8171384.stmFrom the BBC, July 27, 2009: "The argument may also indicate unease amongst conservatives over the disputed election itself. There are many in Iran who see Mr Ahmadinejad's re-election as a coup d'etat, in which the real winners were the Revolutionary Guards. That worries even some dedicated supporters of the Islamic Revolution. "______643. At 9:11pm on 28 Jun 2009:It is like a coup d'etat, except that it has taken place step-by-step over many years. Is Khamenei still in charge? It smells to me like Ahmadinejad either is, or is on the cusp of becoming, the de facto military dictator of Iran.______662. At 05:19am on 29 Jun 2009:Guns:Ultimately, it seems to me that the election was about an irreversible grab for power. The folks seeking to grab power are less reliant on the stature of their religious scholarship or their rank in the religious hierarchy, and more prepared to exert control through the Basij militia and the Revolutionary Guard. To put a new twist on an old American saying, sort of "five verses of the Koran plus a gun will get you more than just five verses of the Koran."This is why I get the impression that it is turning from a religious quasi-dictatorship into rather more of a military dictatorship in which a younger generation is pushing most of the older clerics aside. This seems to be the view of Walter Posch in his paper, too._____It is more than a month since we last heard from the Princess.Marbles, you have made fun of me on this point, but I am quite worried about the Princess' safety, and the safety of her family members.I do not believe that the government of Iran would have had that much difficulty figuring out who she is. From what I hear the intelligence services are systematically hunting down dissidents through the trails left by their telecommunications. Lots of young people who were arrested are apparently still unaccounted for or known to be held in jail. Mon 15 Feb 2010 16:51:38 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=95#comment336 Here is the link to the "Obama's Iran Dilemma" string of Justin Webb:http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/obamas_iran_dilemma.html?page=2#comments Mon 15 Feb 2010 16:49:24 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=95#comment335 Here is the Princess' last posting, at 510 on the "Obama's Iran Dilemma" string of Justin Webb:510. At 11:59pm on 25 Jun 2009, le-petit-pois wrote:Hello allT'is I princess - this is my outside of Iran moniker. I have just arrived from Tehran to Europe. Unfortunatly for the past few weeks I have been unable to acccess the BBC site to comment on these pages. The past few weeks, both the run up to the election and the days following have been incredible. Having lived through the revolution 30 years ago I somehow never thought I would go through something as tumultous as this at this point. Having said that, I have been convinced for a long time that Iran would right itself within my lifetime.I voted for Moussavi in the election. There is no question in my mind that the vote was rigged. I have so many first hand accounts of people's experiences of the ploys used. I think in the first instance the plan was simply to ensure the majority in favour of Ahmadinejad. When the whole election was unraveling in favour of Moussavi I think they panicked and made the biggest mistake of making the win margins as large as they did. If it had been a win of a few percent I think people would have taken it, but the margins given were simply offensive.There are endless stories of the cheating that I could give you but let me summarise and say that it is right across the board.In the days following, the rallies and marches have been amazing. I have been on the streets a few days and despite what you may read, it is a huge cross section of society and not just the priviledged in Tehran. Last thursday there were Mullah's, labourer's, students, housewives and every other section of Iranian that you can think of. It was an incredibly moving experince.These past weeks have totally restored my faith in my country and its people (and frankly I wasn't even jaded before). The patriotism and passion shown has been incredible. I wish I could translate the incredible slogan/rhymns that are being shouted - sadly they simply do not translate, but they are beautiful and moving. These days have restored a great deal of our honour in the world with the diginity of the marches. I never gave my countrymen credit for the sort of discipline that they have shown. On the dot of 10pm the cries of Allah o Akbar are shouted from the roof tops untill precisely 10.30 when it stops. They get louder day but day.I don't know how this will end but I do know that the genie is out of the bottle and that our youth have got a bit in their mouths that they are not goung to let go of anytime soon.I pray that it ends well. Mon 15 Feb 2010 16:48:24 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=95#comment334 332. MattRegrettably, it doesn't appear to be hype.The accretion of power of the faction to which President Ahmadinejad belongs seems to have been going on for 12 - 15 years, if not longer. His power base in not so much among the senior clerics (who are slowly being pushed out), but among the Revolutionary Guards.The last necessary step was to win the election last Summer. That seemed to be in the bag until he made a terrible gaff on TV during the election. One wonders whether that gaff arose from overconfidence. Whatever the case, it suddenly breathed life into the the previously rather lack-lustre campaign of Moussavi. But for that turn of e3vents, far fewer people would have noticed. But when the election results showed a swing of over 20% between the last internal polls before the election and election day, in favour of a candidate whose campaign was then in free fall, everybody smelled a rat. That's what brought them out on the streets.We had a long, long discussion of the topic on this blog last June - July.And for those keeping track, we still have not heard from our former correspondent "The Princess in the pea." I think I will use this opportunity to post, once again, her last message before going silent. Mon 15 Feb 2010 16:27:23 GMT+1 RGBviews http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=94#comment333 Who will join in? Governments under the control of the pro-Israel right wing lobbyists. ...... just like for Iraq. Mon 15 Feb 2010 16:04:49 GMT+1 RGBviews http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=94#comment332 "Tightening the screws" on Iran is simply the US helping to lay the groundwork for an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear installations. History will record the role of the USA in starting WW3. Mon 15 Feb 2010 15:56:37 GMT+1 Matt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=94#comment331 I find it almost comical that Secretary of State Clinton is now calling Iran a "Military Dictatorship." I am assuming it's because Iran is about to level the playing field in the Middle east, (with it's Nuclear Missiles to match Israel's.)This reminds me when the US told the World that the secular Saddam Hussien was in bed with Islamic Extremists Al Qaeda. Again, almost funny. I guess it would have been a lot funnier if the last time the US was talking like this, they didn't actually invade the country in question. It got real serious then.Since Clinton wants Iran going from it's true state, which is a Theocracy, to an undesirable Military Dictatorship, we might be in for a scarily serious conflict brewing. One that may have Tehran and/or Tel Aviv wiped off the map.Don't believe the hype this time.Matt. (Undergrad Poli Sci: International Relations) Mon 15 Feb 2010 12:59:20 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=94#comment330 Re # 329Patriotism is not about supporting a president. Any president.[including Richard M. Nixon]Its about supporting the U.S. CONSTITUTIONAs well as protecting and defending the REPUBLIC. Against all enemies.Foreign. And Domestic.I even recall taking an oath to that effect myself.It's been a long time ago but I still seem to remember what that entails. Mon 15 Feb 2010 08:11:24 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=93#comment329 Re: #327 [Communist threat]A nuclear threat from China (and its proxy: North Korea) is real, particularly as far as its bullied neighbours are concerned.[some of those neighbours, e.g. Japan, are already taking remedial actions]In case of Russia the threat is of a slightly different nature.That is, primarily, of nuclear PROLIFERATION, with Russia surrepticiously assisting countries like Islamic Republic of Iran.Also, an icredible level of corruption in Russian armed forces makes an illegal transfer/sale of a nuke warhead or two, ot even an ICBM or two too easy for comfort. For anybody who's not a suicidal jihaddist bound on creation of a global Sharia-based caliphate on the ruins of an "old, corrupt, decadent, sinful world". Mon 15 Feb 2010 08:00:02 GMT+1 _marko http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=93#comment328 To shiveringofforgottenenemies #328Why can't you be more patriotic and support your president? Mon 15 Feb 2010 05:02:09 GMT+1 shiveringofforgottenenemies http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=93#comment327 The sight of Obama on a podium calling for "change" is something we have all become accustomed to, indeed weary of. In this new era of "smart power" the US is not going to act unilaterally and thus the "tough sanctions" are limited to what Russia and China will not veto, or will in China's case abstain from voting on, which means they will not be anything like the UN approved sanctions against Iraq which proved to be a colossal failure as far as bringing about internal regime change and certainly will not alter Iran's resolve to develop nuclear weapons. Russia is happily sending them missile systems suitable to deliver these weapons, but then the whole point of nuclear weapons is you do NOT use them.The world has taken the measure of Obama. He is not going to do more than invite Ahmadinejad over for a beer summit while the fantastically ineffective Hillary Clinton takes another Middle East vacation. Mon 15 Feb 2010 04:48:39 GMT+1 Nathan Nagelkerk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=92#comment326 Even if the world stops Iran from detonating a nuke, the out of control nuclear problem is still at large. Russia is becoming stronger again, and it wasn't their choice to let Communism die... and it's not dead. China is going to be the next world super-power, and probably already is. Communism has killed more people then any other group.http://communislam.com/?p=57 Mon 15 Feb 2010 03:52:26 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=92#comment325 PS it exists now so what do we do. but be fair about it. don't try to deny the suffering of the people of Palestine. you'll look like another emperor with no cloths on.don't try to suggest I deny the happenings of WW2 either. Mon 15 Feb 2010 02:38:35 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=92#comment324 324lol have you seen the amount of misinformation on the net. yes there are reliable sources. some quite good.but there are loads of linked sites people provide that are from nothing but well funded propaganda campaigns.Or so it seems. what you argue is that because we get more television so the comments about the television expressed in that song are not valid because..... we now with the net have access to more television stations. some made up by MA no doubt. the logic of your comment misses me there. sure there is information. look at all the rubbish anti jewish stuff. also look at all the rubbish pro Israeli stuff.Now I have to say I am suspicious of the way Jim talked earlier,but his points are as valid as your attempt to pretend you care for no side and are even.in two years reading this blog there are very very few I would say have expressed that view and not shown more bias than those that openly say" israel has the right etc etc.."Palestine basically is not a "biblical land" it is an area.The basis is Historical you have said that 50 years of having paid homage to a STORY (yes all religious text are stories) the story becomes true.Even if the story was " There has always been" or "this is the chosen land".If we had treated terrorists as we do today back when Israel was created we would have been at war with israeli still today. We sided with them as we did with many other unjust causes around the world. this is not unique. I think all political theory and decisions should be based on my religion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0fd0s62Cv8&feature=related Mon 15 Feb 2010 02:07:26 GMT+1 csgators http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=92#comment323 322. Easytaret,Do you really think TV and the internet are the same in that sense? I think at least on the net people need to be able to read and real information is available. When I grew up I had 4 or 5 sources of TV information (channels) available. On the net I have thousands, most likely tens of thousands. I seen this as a good thing. Mon 15 Feb 2010 00:07:44 GMT+1 csgators http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=91#comment322 315 Jim Newman Please tell me the last time the local population of Palestine had a local independent government...before the ancient Israeli one.I am not taking the Israeli side here, just trying to keep some facts straight. Anyone who is not a Jew or a Palestinian and thinks one side is all right and the other is all wrong scares me. Sun 14 Feb 2010 23:53:41 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=91#comment321 Back on the subject because frankly even I have had enough. the crap is there to see.the reason the 24/7 news about nothing.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgOWTM5R2DA&feature=relatedthey have to rewrite this for the new age of the internet. Sun 14 Feb 2010 22:57:33 GMT+1 humberto http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=91#comment320 the time is here the Rusians are the one to joint the french will come with the new world , US Rusia and EU will get the new order ,the new order will rise on the midle east, the Iranian play the old cheast .the horses are moving the Queen is moving the tower is defending the alfil but the Soldiers are moving the Israel tower is making the moves .Iran is in jake mate soon. Sun 14 Feb 2010 21:46:42 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=90#comment319 The Europeans and the Americans consider Israel an ally." -----------------------------------------------------------------------And they consider northern alliance in afghanistan, their ally as well..With friends lik israel and northern alliance, who needs foes.. Sun 14 Feb 2010 21:15:07 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=90#comment318 311 Marko. I wish i could express my thoughts on that as well as you did. ( I am better at expressing cats)315 that is better put. Sun 14 Feb 2010 20:18:12 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=90#comment317 Since those "facts on the ground" have been created during theGrand Game. In which U.S. has not participated.------------------------------------------------------------------------well, it was your writers who nick named the cunning game, as the great game..Watch and see...And just remember, the time it took for usa to actually invade iraq from the first time they started planing it...12 yrs of sanctions...Dont expect usa to do anything directly to iran for some years, it has to first create the stage, the way to iran's oil fields passes through helmand in afghanistan, and baluchistan in pakistan...To get to sistan baluchistan of iran, they have to have some sort of stablity in helmand, managed chaos in baluchistan in pakistan. Sun 14 Feb 2010 19:06:20 GMT+1 RGBviews http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=90#comment316 Comment #26 Andy Post says " It's all about allegiances. The Europeans and the Americans consider Israel an ally." If you are talking about the vast majority of the people in Europe, I think you are sadly mistaken. These people put human rights and international law before politics. Sun 14 Feb 2010 18:26:03 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=89#comment315 Euro MPs have "strongly" criticised telecoms firm Nokia Siemens Networks for providing "surveillance technology" to the Iranian authorities.In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, the MEPs said the hardware was instrumental in the "persecution and arrests of Iranian dissidents". [BBC]Again, I don't think any comment is required. Sun 14 Feb 2010 13:45:40 GMT+1 Jim Newman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=89#comment314 Hello csgatorsI think, please correct me if I'm wrong, you seem to be mistaking biblical mythology for history. In my understanding before Palestine was squatted by the sionists and given a name by them which was Israel, Palestine was a mandate of the British governement(League of Nations) and it was known as Palestine and it was populated by Palestinians of many religious creeds.Even Jews spoke of emmigrating to Palestine. As far as the utterances of the president of Iran (I have terrible problems spelling his name) are concerned, as I don't understand Persian or whatever he speaks my interpretation of the different interpretations is probably as good as anyone elses.All the best Jim Sun 14 Feb 2010 11:31:00 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=89#comment313 Re #311"would you like to speculate what minimum global changes would need to occur before America could sustain a modest 2% reduction in defence spending?"No speculalation is required: If moderate Muslims, reportedly a huge majority, would finally take care of those lunatics who hijacked their religion - U.S. could reduce its defense spending by more than 2%.And re #297.I don't think a power game (which has already began) between China, India and Russia, we'll be described by future (hopefully) historians aswheelin' and dealin'. ;) Sun 14 Feb 2010 09:19:35 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=88#comment312 Re #308 Gaza should have been returned to Egypt; West Bank - to Jordan.That would kill two birds with one stone:Mr. Mubarak taking care of one outfit, the King of Jordan - of another.BTW. How many participants recall why Nobel Peace Prize laureat Yasser Arafat called one of his terrorist outfits "BLACK September"?Ant not what Bible, but reputable Roman historians wrote about original inhabitans of Judea and Samaria. :-) Sun 14 Feb 2010 09:08:47 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=88#comment311 "America is up to its old cunning game.. Helmand in afghanistan now, Baluchistan in pakistan and then sistan-baluchistan in iran."It's actually funny, colonerlartist.Since those "facts on the ground" have been created during the Grand Game. In which U.S. has not participated.BTW. Not only U.S. but even a British colony which preceeded it has not existed yet when Shia and Sunni started to slaughter each other.And no, "Crusaders" as you put it, had nothing to do with that, either.Since they were not around yet.Now, about those Pakistani terrorists in Kashmir, and even India proper.. Sun 14 Feb 2010 08:56:03 GMT+1 _marko http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=88#comment310 To powermeekat #296Your posts consistently play up or hint at divisions between countries and cultures, seeing speculative danger and threat from almost everywhere in the world. You suggest narratives about areas that most often describe a growing risk of being attacked and greater division. I find this consistency surprising and a theme that appears to characterize the majority of your posts. If there is no past history of threat, no present demonstration of threat you invariably extrapolate this to a most certain potential future threat. It is almost as if you are sure that most countries are a potential threat rather than considering the remote possibility that your assertions might potentially be wrong - almost military style thinking. So, in a similar speculative style of painting a picture of geo-political interrelationships, would you like to speculate what minimum global changes would need to occur before America could sustain a modest 2% reduction in defence spending?Do you feel that in order for military spending to be justified, it is helpful to make a continuous effort to maintain and promote an existing and future enemy? Sun 14 Feb 2010 01:54:15 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=88#comment309 Did you want to give it back to the British? Or maybe the Ottomans? No? I guess that means the Egyptians or Mamluk or the crusaders?-------------------------------------------------------------------------Lets start step by step,giving back, back to british first and then they can give it back to to the previous and so on, the jews dont need to go their respective countries of origins they are so near egypt, they can under the leadership of nethenyahu just cross the border to egypt... Sat 13 Feb 2010 22:22:18 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=87#comment308 Jim I may agree when the wording is better but at the moment that sounds like anti semitism.-------------------------------------------------------------------------What is so anti semitic about calling people who kill stupid? It just happened that they are jews, should it stop anyone calling the killers stupids? You cannot call killers stupid, because of their ethnic background? That is a new twist.. Sat 13 Feb 2010 22:19:35 GMT+1 csgators http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=87#comment307 easytargetDid you want to give it back to the British? Or maybe the Ottomans? No? I guess that means the Egyptians or Mamluk or the crusaders? Sat 13 Feb 2010 21:44:56 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=87#comment306 PS jim I don't forget racism easy so don't try to pretend like others here, later on that you are not a racist. Sat 13 Feb 2010 21:31:12 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=86#comment305 csgator to keep it simplehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine Sat 13 Feb 2010 21:29:42 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=86#comment304 "world powers allow stupid jews"Jim I may agree when the wording is better but at the moment that sounds like anti semitism. Sat 13 Feb 2010 21:27:02 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=86#comment303 This post has been Removed Sat 13 Feb 2010 19:13:55 GMT+1 csgators http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=86#comment302 292 "Saying that Israel should be eradicated from the face of the map is really saying that Palestine should revert to being Palestine as it was before it was sqatted by the sionists""If the President of Iran did deny the holocaust then I can only say he should take some history lessons."I think to most people in the middle east your version of wiping Israel off the face of the earth is a minority one. If you think there was a country called Palistine right before Israel you should take your own advice and read some history. Sat 13 Feb 2010 17:51:30 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=85#comment301 America is up to its old cunning game.. Helmand in afghanistan now, Baluchistan in pakistan and then sistan-baluchistan in iran. And on the nuclear front, it will keep on finding the "we" of the sanction regime.. Sat 13 Feb 2010 17:34:08 GMT+1 jim http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=85#comment300 I think there was a good point mentioned, where the US can really change things with Iran by taking the lead to dismantle ALL of their thousands of nuclear weapons if they truely don't want a nuclear weapons race! And also take back all of those nuclear weapons in Israel!! All these idiots that keep on saying that the stupid Zionists may not have them just because they haven't officially admitted this!! What a joke!!!And the lame IAE...why are they not forcing Israel to sign the non-proliferation treaty?The world will not be a safe place as long as the world powers allow stupid jews to keep killing anyone and everyone they like at will...cause it mainly seems to be women and children that they murder!! Sat 13 Feb 2010 17:15:01 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=85#comment299 And I can see that not many locals know, that Afghan mujaheddins were armed also by People's Republic of China.Despite the fact that juans don't grow on trees.And that China was in much worse financial shape quarter of a century ago than it is today.------------------------------------------------------------------------Those were the great days, of selling the missiles, the aid that was forced, as many tents as you could ask for and still the western aid agencies would insist on an extra in return if they could take picture with a mujahed or a refugee which my suggestion always used to be, since refugee and mujhahed look so alike, the picture taker can pretend him to be mujahed, the hiking boots in aid, but sold cheaply in the markets, the jackets warm, fetched good price, the russian tvs were not be trusted but cheap, the silk from china, which then could be sold in the big cities triple price..the cia and the western journalists, embedded with islamists and pretending to be part of the action and trying pathetically to act like afghans.. Sat 13 Feb 2010 17:12:28 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=84#comment298 292 I appreciate your post and agree with it. I am sorry if you face a hard time over those views. Sat 13 Feb 2010 17:09:13 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=84#comment297 288 kitty a university in america is genetically engineering the 1918 flu "to test vaccinations. so far no one has unearthed a live form or the virus. but they are going to raise it from the dead(already have actually). is that weapons research and development or good medicine?you think others don't know about biohazards and research. you forget to mention the emerging nano tech weapons that may be developed. the nano bots to make the creating of "new starins" easy. and you have said very little to suggest you realise the dangers of these. or the dangers of continual reliance on technology to "make things better"You assume others are thicker than you without evidence. Sat 13 Feb 2010 17:05:44 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=84#comment296 China has so many people that if they continue at the growth rate they have now (even with the one child law), China will at some point be overpopulated. They will need more resources and land.China and India make up almost half of the world's population. So India is right behind China.Russia has a surplus of resources and land.Something tells me there will be a lot of wheelin' and dealin' between China, India and Russia for resources and land in the future.That is why it is best for the USA and other countries to get as far away from depending on other countries' resources as possible. One day these resources will run out. The sooner we go green and use natural energy, the better our country will be. Our country has put the first man on the moon. Surely, we can go green in the next twenty years, for the sake of our future generations of Americans. Sat 13 Feb 2010 15:55:05 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=84#comment295 Re #290Post scriptum:I hear that "Charlie Wilson's War" (with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is hard to find in Peshawar.And almost impossible to rent in S. Waziristan.And I can see that not many locals know, that Afghan mujaheddins were armed also by People's Republic of China.Despite the fact that juans don't grow on trees.And that China was in much worse financial shape quarter of a century ago than it is today.[I recall hearing something then about PRC trying to weaken USSR. :-)] Sat 13 Feb 2010 07:46:28 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=83#comment294 Re #293 richar fidler wrote:"Russia and China may be playing with fire. An unstable Islamic fundamentalist country will be responsible maintaining and securing nuclear weapons. Right? Imagine these fundamentalist wanting to help their breathern in Chetchnya or Islamic China."Lenin once predicted:"One day Western imperialists will sell us [ Soviet Russia] with joy a rope on which we'll hang them."Now, isn't it amusing to see Moscow and Beijing doing exactly what they hoped "western imperialists" would do?And in the process propping even more rebels in Caucasus and Uighuria, respectively? Sat 13 Feb 2010 06:40:45 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=83#comment293 Re #290Yes American media have reported on death of Charlie Wilson.The movie industry has even made a popular movie about him. [A good one]Just as American media report regularly on deaths of successive Pakistani Taliban leaders and spokesmen.Although not of natural causes. Sat 13 Feb 2010 06:29:35 GMT+1 richard fidler http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=83#comment292 Russia and China may be playing with fire. An unstable Islamic fundamentalist country will be responsible maintaining and securing nuclear weapons. Right? Imagine these fundamentalist wanting to help their breathern in Chetchnya or Islamic China. No thankyou. Russia and China would have large portions of those provinces held hostage for oil or independence or more..... Sat 13 Feb 2010 03:29:50 GMT+1 Jim Newman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=82#comment291 Hello MarkConsidering the way the USA have been rampaging around the world most of the last century and all of this one, sowing terror and disorder, I would like to know when the 'international community' will start tightening the screws on the USA. Iran, in my view, is not a danger to world peace but the USA is and is proven to be. Saying that Israel should be eradicated from the face of the map is really saying that Palestine should revert to being Palestine as it was before it was sqatted by the sionists. It certainely does not mean that the Jews should be wiped off the face of the earth.If the President of Iran did deny the holocaust then I can only say he should take some history lessons.Jim Fri 12 Feb 2010 20:40:25 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=82#comment290 I am able to recognise psychotic madmen when I see them- there are several on this blog. In the future do not presume to address me personally. I will not engage in a discussion with you.------------------------------------------------------------------------When you use the public space, you loose your right to tell what other's should or should not do with your post. Fri 12 Feb 2010 20:26:13 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=82#comment289 And allow me to inform you that Charlie Wilson died two days ago. Did the american media covered his death enlighting its audiance the role he played to supply the afghan islamists against the ussr, or was it a big inconvience to mention him. The guy who thought american money doesnt grow on trees, but afghan men do, so no shortage of men in afghanistan to be used in the war against ussr. Fri 12 Feb 2010 20:04:23 GMT+1 Isenhorn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=82#comment288 #262I am able to recognise psychotic madmen when I see them- there are several on this blog. In the future do not presume to address me personally. I will not engage in a discussion with you. Fri 12 Feb 2010 20:04:04 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=81#comment287 Re #210archlightt wrote:@163 (pm): "They may soon become obsolete, anyway.Particularly since some countries have been working hard for quite some time to develop more effective BIOLOGICAL weapons.[WMDs of the future]And not without success."It makes me sick to write this, but this may be the only enduring reason to keep nuclear devices around, and the technology to make them: To thoroughly eradicate a localized biological infestation, by doing a Time-on-Target detonation of multiple devices to ensure that whatever's at the center of the blast is absolutely turned to plasma.I fear biological dinkering (spelling intentional) far more than I fear thermonuclear weapons."(pm) That's what I was saying. Just as generals have a tendency to prepare for the last war, so uninformed people have a tendency to fear weapons of yesteryear. Unaware that there are already much more terrifying weapons which specifically target humans (not military targets or an infrastructure),can be obtained at much lower cost, and which can be (and are) produced much more surrepticiously than nukes.[I hope you're familiar with certain anthrax 'epidemy' in Sverdlovsk?The lab is still there. Only city's called Yekaterinburg now. Again.)] Fri 12 Feb 2010 19:34:55 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=81#comment286 I dont believe for a second that americans or any other western country which talk against nuclear weapons are really against them.Americans want the world to be free of such weapons, then they should destroy them first, If americans would start doing what they preach, they would start using the same weapons as their enemies, from IED to the pathetic rockets of hamas to the suicide bombs. with less and less control over the world economy, american weapons should be closely monitered..If not, america will turn into an injured dog which even bites the hand that feeds it..America has completely turned into israel..their attitudes, their fear, and their pathological view of themselvs as a constant victim and paranoia, that if people are against america it means they are jealous of it..the second isrealians got to know about 9/11 their first response was to identify themselves with the americans, saying that they had been the constant victim of terrorism, and that was the day when the west turned upside down, the occupiars became the victims and the ones occupied, the terrorists and evil..Ever since then, americans held this attitude. expecting that the people whom they occupy and invade would sympathsize with them because, "they had a nine eleven". complaining how cruel the enemy is when it kills the american soldiers, and how innocent the invading soldiers are, just as israel has done for 60 yrs..A capture of one IDF man pathologically becomes the most important thing, while the occupation of a whole nation is ignored.Israel doesnt give itself the right to exist by refusing to chalk the boundires, the only country that has been given a status of a country which has no borders..Israel is not country. The UN, created it, and its the responsiblity of the UN to give israel an ultimatum or date line to mark its boundries. Fri 12 Feb 2010 19:28:38 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=81#comment285 Re #284 Personally I appreciate more the French selling us 2 million147 thousand square kilometers of land for 15 million dollars. :-)[Although I'm not particularly overjoyed by a fact that we had to take New Orleans as a part of the parcel.] Fri 12 Feb 2010 19:05:39 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=80#comment284 282 Gary. Thanks. Fri 12 Feb 2010 18:56:59 GMT+1 GH1618 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=80#comment283 Lafayette, we are here!Some Americans still revere the French for their role in helping secure America's freedom. Fri 12 Feb 2010 18:16:26 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=80#comment282 wellwellwellhave you just figured out after many many times I have admitted it that I am the same person I admit to being? woo how intelligent of you.things are a little wet but I don't mind the rain.No you cannot take the forge out of me. but at least it is metal I forge. And not forgeries of facts as you seem to prefer.but I do find it interesting that I am on my thousand face yet you are on one. evidence above as to why you should have been banned at least the once? any care to tell me how you have remained immune to the rules? Fri 12 Feb 2010 18:13:32 GMT+1 GH1618 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=80#comment281 InterestedForeigner (#277) "But was not Le Marquis de LaFayette the commanding officer if the French Forces at Yorktown?"Comte de Rochambeau:http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/yorktown.htmThere were a lot of French soldiers at Yorktown. Fri 12 Feb 2010 18:04:00 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=79#comment280 Re#261I am sorry, David Murrell, but I can see you haven't read my original comment carefully enough and still don't get it.What I was clearly pointing out in that and subsequent posts I was aDANGER OF NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION.You tend to get legalistic, but let me assure that if Beijing regime doesn't get religion, in other words does not stop arming Chinese forces with new ballistic missiles, warheads and similar gismos, Japan will abandon its so far pacifistic stance and will arm itself with nukes herself. Make no mistake about it. And no, U.S. will not stop her.[have you noticed a purchase of Aegis missile frigates by Japan in recent past and its growing participation in U.S. global anti-ballistic defense program? Something unthinkable merely 5 years ago].South Korea will do the same, and so will Australia.REGARDLESS of any protestations at the UN, EU Hdqts, Hague Tribunal, IAEA, etc. [governments of all those countries, incl. Australia, have already expressed growing alarm at the rate of growth of Chinese military and the threat it poses to the stability and power balance in the region.]And a similar reaction will take place in the Middle East if Iranian leaders don't get religion soon.Let me assure you that if militant Shia regime in Tehran continues its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, and perhaps also other WMD, Sunni rulers of Saudi Arabia will acquire them too. Per fas and nefas!And all the pieces of paper which would theoretically prohibit Riyadh from doing so will be, if push comes to shove, worth as much as the one your Chamberlain was waving triumphantly after returning from Munich.["Peace for our time". My foot!]What happens next? I don't think I should draw it for you. Fri 12 Feb 2010 18:01:11 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=79#comment279 ET;"or suddenly discovering that a side draft forge works better than a bottom draft."Well well, how are things in Oregon? All that goes to prove you can take the jack out of the forge but you can't take the forge out of the jack. I've heard of the man of a thousand faces, the man of a thousand hats, but the man of a thousand BBC monkiers? A first for everything. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:53:38 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=79#comment278 274 finally figured out the other part of the easy target joke. took your time.Shalit was a soldier taken prisoner in a cross border raid.A legitimate target of war. even the rules of war as such say so.unless you say " Shalit was a hero who defended his country" is wrong."Shalit was backed by a military force that fought a war with real weapons. "yep target of opportunity I believe. was he tortured in prison? we don't know we DO know we would have water boarded him several time to find out what he had for dinner recently." Israel killed about a thousand Palestinians, the number who were actual fighters is in dispute."totally fictitious numbers but hey it's MA what to expect.gleeful as usual with no sense of balance. 1 soldier kill a thousand civilians (oh and the police then claim they do not police their area well).the joy with which you announce these deaths created another jihadist I suspect.273 st d thanks for the heads up on the it's not our excessive profits that drive every thing into the ground health care issue you highlight. johnson was a reporter. there is a HUGE difference. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:52:20 GMT+1 David Murrell http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=78#comment277 Ladies and Gentlemen: you will have to tell me next week what great comeback Marcus makes, it quarter to six in the evening and I am going home. Busy weekend and a dodgy home computer (blooming American rubbish, just joking) means I will miss his devastating counterattack. So in advance I shall say how emotionally hurt, what ever dig he makes has made me, how I am cut to the core by his cutting insights into my masculinity and how I may have to cry myself to sleep over his opinion.Now that’s over with, have a nice weekend I know I will going to drink a little, spend Saturday with some friends and their family and have some unmarried romantic fun on Sunday. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:51:15 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=78#comment276 227. At 2:47pm on 12 Feb 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:"Yes it was remarkable how Cornwallis and his men marched out into the Chesapeake Bay to surrender to the French Admiral after his ships blocked the British navy from entering it to rescue and relieve the British soldiers. Who says Brits can't walk on water?"__________The French Admiral was (I believe) Le Comte de Grasse.But was not Le Marquis de LaFayette the commanding officer if the French Forces at Yorktown? Are you suggesting that he and his forces were not present at the surrender?Remember the old WWI cheer "LaFayette we are here!"Well, it's because in 1781, LaFayette, he was there.But, I do appreciate the left-handedness of the compliment to those French, who are so dear to your heart - almost as good as Churchill's "we had them last time" comment on the Italian Army. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:47:04 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=78#comment275 Arc 210 now there is a post I agree with. biological weapons development of which is encouraged by the hope to find a simple building block for life to play with.re creating 1918 flu in a lab--etc. worrying stuff.207 america hold it self up as the engine of the world. then when that engine fails to deliver wonders why other nations start looking around.good luck with your dream. it is it seems the same as mine. a wish to see the world treat america as "just another" nation. rather than this continual " we are the world, we are the people" crap. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:43:14 GMT+1 David Murrell http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=78#comment274 Marcus – Poor, poor, Marcus you fell for it didn’t you? Didn’t you think I put that line in just to get a rise out of you? A laid a trap that I had sign posted it any more I would have had to nick light displays from Blackpool!Not only did I know when I wrote that line you were going to bite, I also knew that in doing so you were going to prove my point, thank you. Demolish a cheese and ham sandwich? Cheese and ham how very vanilla of you, not a BLT (oops already demolished one of those today) not something with a bit of pizzazz, just boring old cheese and ham. Your right at the moment I would prefer to demolish some fish and chips, I’ll have to wait till I get home though.I see you haven’t responded to my Palestine evidence, I see even you have a limit where you cannot argue against the facts then. Also no apology about Dunkirk, oh I thought you understood us Limeys, Dunkirk is not regarded as a thing of shame. It is the time when hundreds of ordinary people in ordinary boats risked the might of the German army to rescue our lads. The Dunkirk Spirit is something to be proud of, just as much as the Alamo is to your side of the pond. The French and Belgiums have a different view though. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:41:51 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=77#comment273 ET et al;There are major differences between the case of Gilad Shalit and Alan Johnston. Shalit was kidnapped from his own country by foreigners who spirited him out of the country. Johnston was supposedly kidnapped in someone else's country by people from that country. Shalit was backed by a military force that fought a war with real weapons. Johnston was backed by a radio station that could only fight a war of words. Both the IDF and BBC showed remarkable restraint though. Israel killed about a thousand Palestinians, the number who were actual fighters is in dispute. BBC killed nobody except what little it had left of its credibility with me. Shalit was never freed, Johnston walked away. Shalit was a hero who defended his country. Johnston was a "reporter." Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:38:36 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=77#comment272 Ref 253, Andy"The countries you list will never, ever get that chummy (especially with Japan)"My comment simply acknowledged the economic, industrial, and technological capacity of Asian countries, and what countries in that part of the world could achieve if they set aside their historical and cultural differences, and their centuries old antagonism and decided to work together towards a common goal. Fortunately for us, that is very unlikely and we will only have to face them individually...which is already becoming a daunting task we are ill prepared to handle.And in the midst of all the discussions about international intrigues, nefarious foreign plots, and our never ending obsession with Islam and terrorism our very own "Blue Cross" just announced. after posting a $4.7 billion profit last year that they are going to raise insurance premiums by 35% and that they may have no choice but to do it again in the future.I wonder if some of the profits are being spent buying tea... Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:28:25 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=77#comment271 Ref 260 arclight-"Are those of you doing this embedding HTML tags in your writing, or something else?"Yes, we are. Here is an HTML link with fairly good instructions. Italics are, greater than symbol i less than symbol; add text then close with, greater than symbol /i less than symbol. See the heading "HTML Links" for the code to link a web address. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:24:58 GMT+1 John_From_Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=76#comment270 # 258 MagicKirin wrote:"Shalit life is worth just as much as Alan Johnson."Where have I denied that? Nowhere. YOU are the one, who, as I recall, claimed that the BBC should be campaigning for Shalit, not the 'unimportant journalist'. As I tried to explain, very slowly, it is no more the BBC's job to campaign for Shalit's release than it is for them to campaign for the release of Britons held in Iraq. They don't campaign, they report. [Except in the case where the captive is their employee.] The fact that they don't campaign for someone's release does not indicate that they support their captivity. It is shameful that you are unable to grasp this simple fact. "and since Hamas is a terrrorist group and even if they are elected Abbas is the President they are not supposed to conduct foriegn [sic]affairs ."Irrelevant. Your logic is matched only by your literacy. "So as usual your argument and your support of terrorism by Palestinians is flawed."No one needs lectures from you on flawed arguments. [Though granted - you should be pretty expert in the subject.] Is there no end to your mendacity? [Look it up.] Have you no shame? Either [a] show where I have 'declared support of terrorism by Palestinians' or [b] stand publicly convicted yet again as a liar and defamer.[And just to be clear - stating that mindless chanting of 'Israel good, A-rabs bad' is not a sound basis for US foreign policy does not constitute 'support of terrorism by Palestinians' to sane people in the real world.] Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:24:27 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=76#comment269 255you must be a little religious if you think "getting religion" means anything other than suddenly returning as a bible basher born again.or suddenly discovering that a side draft forge works better than a bottom draft.or discovering a Blacker B is the best damn tool in the shop.(if you are lucky enough to have one that is) Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:24:04 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=76#comment268 DRUM;"If I had either the time or inclination I could demolish any/all arguments you wished to raised"Who are you kidding? You don't have the capability to demolish a ham and cheese sandwich. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:23:07 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=76#comment267 Re #216 Borzot wrote: "As an Iranian brought up in the British Isles, I have frequently visited Iran. And take my word the people and I mean the majority (80%) have had enough of the regime and want change. [...] Forget sanctions, there will always be loopholes. Just please give your backing to the [Iranian] people."The problem as I see it, borzot, is that as you must know U.S. and U.K. are already being accused by ayatollahs' regime of 'meddling', 'instigating', 'provoking riots in Iran', 'paying people to demonstrate', what have you.Now, those lies, can easily be exposed and refuted. Especially abroad.But imagine what would happen if we offered Iranian people, particularly Iranian youth and intelligentia not only a moral support but a material help, perhaps even arms badly needed by Iranian opposition in view of an overwhelming armed force of police, army, Revolutionary Guard, etc. And imagine that the ayatollahs' regime would get hold of some of such materiel.I'm sure they would use it effectively to discredit the opposition, particularly within Iran itself, by claiming that protesters were in reality nothing more than London/Washington/MI6/CIA (you choose)agents/saboteurs/lackeys merely following orders of their "imperialistic foreign masters".[I know it would work: it's been done very effectively in the past by other totalitarian regimes, e.g. Soviet one]So I would appreciate if you told me what do you mean by 'backing'?What kind of backing would you like to see and what kind of Western support (other than symbolic one) people of Iran, particularly its youth count on, in your opinion.I ask you, because for obvious reasons I cannot get such answer directly from your friends and collegues trapped behind Great Iranian Firewall.thank you in advance,meerkat Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:20:58 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=75#comment266 Flawed? interesting word out of a gherkin"and since Hamas is a terrrorist group and even if they are elected Abbas is the President they are not supposed to conduct foriegn affairs.So as usual your argument and your support of terrorism by Palestinians is flawed.""not supposed to conduct foriegn affairs"Why not. who is meant to do that for them? can we say Israel should not be allowed to conduct foriegn affairs. Oh not because you have not declared them terrorists.Bye ,flawed one Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:19:51 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=75#comment265 sorry JiD i did miss the 3-7 wars.knew of 3-4 but 5-7. well there's another whole story I expect. (hell he has been busy) Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:15:19 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=75#comment264 262 you would gladly see people die to support your view. Jews in settlements provoke attacks on their brethren in Tel aviv.(until hamas stopped suicide bombings (which you give no credit for)). They set themselves up as human shields. they provoke anger against the millions of Israelis that do not agree with you or your position. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:13:23 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=74#comment263 258"Shalit life is worth just as much as Alan Johnson." alan johnson was a non combatant. shalit was a combatant. he can be held under the Israeli/ old admin american rules indefinitely without any communication .if he did not want to be taken prisoner he could have done as many others do and be a conscientious objector or leave Israel.The use of his singular holding as a reason to kill thousands in GAza and to continue an illegal state of siege (by all standards except Israel ) of the whole population is a war crime.I would suggest a bigger crime than taking enemy combatants prisoner. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:11:04 GMT+1 U14283552 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=74#comment262 250 all that proves is that you bring it up off topic without any reason and it has no bearing on the debate in hand.and that you and some others that write strangely like you have the same years old bugbears.still others are writing experts so I am having to take their word you are not related to the other strange fellow.arc"Similarly, a car bomb directed at a factory or a large electrical substation can work very, very well, and it doesn't require a martyr to make it work."no just a "freedom fighter"http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/24/newsid_2523000/2523345.stmJohn IN dublin. HOW DARE YOU."Yes Markie. The USA won WWI and WWII ALL on their own. " you forgot to mention MA old favourites ww3 and ww4 which have in his world both been fought(and won by the USA) already.but then there are people that still think him more in reality than me. IF only they would look closer. Fri 12 Feb 2010 17:05:26 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=74#comment261 ref #252Of course Iran would not dare attack any of their neighbours or the USA out of fear of retaliatory nuclear strike which will put an end to everything Iranian. However, what an Iranian bomb will ensure is to make the USA or Israel think twice before attacking it. Of course one Iranian bomb cannot stand against the arsenals of the big powers or Israel, however it can turn Tel Aviv into a smoking hole. With this ensured it is very likely that the Israeli and US public will be a lot less inclined to support any venture into attacking Iran. What Iran needs the bomb for is to prevent a conventional attack against itself, not to engage in nuclear war (suicide) with Israel or America.________________-Why do you refuse to acknowledge the difference between rational countries U.S, China, Israel etc and islamic facists who would gladly see their fellow moslems die to kill a few infidels or in the case of NK a psychotic madman!Are you so PC that you can't acknowledge the danger a terrorist sponsering nation like Iran poses the entire world? Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:56:28 GMT+1 David Murrell http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=74#comment260 Powermeerkat – The colloquialism is not well known over this side of the pond, nor does it come up as that on a quick Google search with that definition. I understand that prisoners ‘get religion’ but is normally literally and is often regarded with obvious cynicism.Also which part mistakes and transgressions should China be amending for towards Japan? Both countries have a long entwined history, including the fact that most of the original Japanese culture (including sword making techniques) came from China. I would have thought since Japan had failed to really apologise for invading China, raping it women etc and indeed are showing a tendency to re-write history so that these crimes never took place, that it would have Japan who would have needed to find religion.Even using your definition your line, to which I showed three flaws only one of which you feel able to address apparently, I still state your original statement has no logical basis. Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:55:53 GMT+1 arclightt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=73#comment259 All: Completely, absolutely, OT. Time to admit ignorance and learn something.I notice that several of you embed links, etc., in your writing. Some use italics. I'd like to do some of the same, but never have. Are those of you doing this embedding HTML tags in your writing, or something else?Thanks,Arclight Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:51:06 GMT+1 arclightt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=73#comment258 @213 (dm) / 215 (StD) / 230 (dm): I agree with you both. Further, the motivation to invest large sums in kinetic weapons is becoming somewhat more questionable due to:a. The ever-increasing opportunities for mayhem in computer networksb. The opportunities for mayhem by use of existing kinetic technologies. The use of IEDs is an example of a smart adversary assembling existing technology to create a completely new capability. Similarly, a car bomb directed at a factory or a large electrical substation can work very, very well, and it doesn't require a martyr to make it work.(dm): "...it the realisation that the age of the nation state is coming to an end, the world is too interconnected and it is the corporations that have truly realised this, governments still act under the illusion they can actually control the world!"Add to that the growth of trans-national criminal organizations, complete with their own means of transport and offensive warfare (both cyber and kinetic) and the mix becomes more and more difficult to sort through. Add to that the 24/7 news cycle; the collection, databasing, and retrieval of increasing amounts of individual's data of all kinds; and the absolutely astonishing ability to harness the two of these together to manipulate the emotions and beliefs of humans today, and it probably becomes near impossible to manage.It really begs the question, in my mind: How do we help our leaders in all walks of life achieve anything like real success in their leadership? Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:46:06 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=73#comment257 ref #254Shalit life is worth just as much as Alan Johnson.and since Hamas is a terrrorist group and even if they are elected Abbas is the President they are not supposed to conduct foriegn affairs.So as usual your argument and your support of terrorism by Palestinians is flawed. Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:45:36 GMT+1 John_From_Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=72#comment256 # 246 MarcusAureliusII wrote:"One moderately well informed American taking on countless Europeans and defeating them all so handily"How are things on your planet Markie?This would be amusing if not so sad. Not for the first time - and no doubt not for the last - Markie declares himself the winner. A legend in his own lunchtime. A marvel in his own mind. Rather reminiscent of that ultimate proof of US superiority - the way the winner of the 'World Series' always seems to be a team from the US...Similarly, in any contest where Markie appoints himself the adjudicator - he always seems to win.Although strangely enough, there don't seem to be too many of his countrymen agreeing with him."It was a good thing for Both Britain and France that the French helped the Americans win the Revolutionary War. If they hadn't, who would have saved Britain and France in two world wars a century and a half later and who would have stood down the USSR and then wiped it away?"Yes Markie. The USA won WWI and WWII ALL on their own. Nobody helped them. Ditto for World Wars 3-7, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan... And you would have been there too - if not for your fallen arches...."Wow you Brits sure showed the Turks your military skills at Gallipoli and the Germans at Dunkirk. I'll bet their ghosts are still shivering in their boots to this very day."A low and petty sneer, even by MAII's execrable standards. I understand US soldiers took to killing their own officers in Vietnam. I believe 'fragging' was the expression used. From Wiki - "Throughout the course of the Vietnam War, fragging was reportedly common. There are documented cases of at least 230 American officers killed by their own troops, and as many as 1,400 other officers' deaths could not be explained." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragging].If they were anything like MAII...... Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:45:32 GMT+1 David Murrell http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=72#comment255 Blanche – How could I possibly refuse a lady?Marcus – No old bean Custer thought he had won too, he underestimated his enemy (despite advice to the contrary). Really it is sad that you think this is some kind of conflict, even sadder that firstly you consider yourself well informed and that you would win such a conflict.I am unsure by avoiding points raised, such as a) ignoring your fallacious statement that there is no evidence for Palestine, was disproved with historical points dating back centuries before the common era (as I said well informed would have known that). B) taking only one line of my comment rather than addressing your dishonourable attitude to men and boys who died defending their country. I guess shame and good taste are beyond you, how you think you are winning. Maybe Custard would be better than Custer?If I had either the time or inclination I could demolish any/all arguments you wished to raised, regrettably (or luckily, depending on your point of view) I don’t as this board is an amusing diversion from the stresses of my day. While I find some posters, from across the political spectrums (yes spectrums, not spectrum), both interesting and entertaining, you only reach a level of vaguely entertaining – in the same kind of way you sometimes do when you see someone slip on a banana skin, you know you shouldn’t and you know someone could get hurt, but the perverse little part of your brain still finds it funny, in a puerile and juvenile kind of way. Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:43:03 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=72#comment254 Davidf Murrell wrote:" As for failing to use a modicum of logic and rely on emotion bias and prejudice this gem amused me: “If China does not get a religion, Japan will build itself much bigger nad better nukes than Beijing has.”I wish I could say that comment amused me.But it didn't, since it's demonstrated rather embarrassing ignorance."Getting religion" is a well known (one would think) colloqualism meaningrectifying one's erroneous behaviour, mending one's way, choosing a correct path.Perhaps not only Chinese and Iranian leaders should get religion? Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:33:19 GMT+1 John_From_Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=72#comment253 # 245 MagicKirin wrote:"It was shameful how the BBC did not add Gilead Shalit to the petion [sic] last year.But it is ok for the BBC for Hamas to hold non journalist hostages."I assume GS is an Israeli soldier held by Hamas? Those of us without an obsessive interest in Israel cannot be expected to know these things.And is "the petion [sic] last year" the petition demanding the release of the BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston in 2007, 3 years ago? I Googled and that is what came up. Link here - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6518185.stm. Or is there some other petion [sic] whereto you refer?I'm assuming this is what you're on about, because in one of MK's crasser offerings, and Lord knows there is plenty of competition, as I recall he opined that the BBC should be campaigning not for the release of an unimportant journalist but for the release of an Israeli soldier. Is there perhaps any kidnap victim in the world that MK thinks the BBC should not be campaigning for? Or is it only the Israeli ones?The BBC is a news organisation. Of course it campaigns for the release of its staff if they are kidnapped. Of course it does not get involved in other campaigns of a political nature. And does the Beeb really need lectures on what is shameful from one who recently informed us that Mandela considers himself superior to Whites and Jews? Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:28:23 GMT+1 Andy Post http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=71#comment252 Ref. 215, SaintDominick:"Should countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and India decide to join their economic, industrial, technologial and scientific capabilities they could easikly become the new dominant global power." And if the Easter Bunny joins them, there will be enough chocolate eggs for everybody!The countries you list will never, ever get that chummy (especially with Japan). Europe has a better chance, and even then, if I were a betting man, I'd bet against it, and I would like to see the EU succeed. Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:26:20 GMT+1 Isenhorn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/02/the_us_tightens_the_screws_on.html?page=71#comment251 A lot of people here seem to have missed the point about nuclear weapons. Countries and governments need nuclear weapons to protect themselves, not for attack. The nuclear weapons have become the weapons of the weak. When the USA first developed the nuclear bomb, this was done without clear appreciation of its power and potential. At the time some scientists involved thought that when detonated, the bomb might explode the whole planet, others- that it will just emit a merry puff of smoke and do nothing. Whatever its true purpose, the A-bomb’s terrifying potential was soon realised. It immediately made all other weapons obsolescent. It did not take long for the Russians to realise that if they were to had any chance of defending themselves in a war, they had to get one too. Britain, France and China soon followed. What all those countries did not plan about, however, was the fact that the threat from nuclear bombs had the peculiar quality of making sure even more bombs were produced. Enter -the MAD. The state where you can have the power to destroy your enemy 3 times over, but are unable to do so. The big powers soon realised that the nuclear weapons are just a drain of resources for nothing in return, and that fighting wars the usual way- with stealth fighter-planes and modern tanks- is more fun. Enter- the ‘clever’ weapons, at which the USA so excels.What this had led to, however, is the situation where instead of eliminating the nuclear bombs, they are now seen again as the only means of defence for weaker countries. Weaker countries, unable to keep the pace in modern weaponry development, has seen their only hope of survival against a high-technology armed opponent in the nuclear bombs.Countries like North Korea and Iran soon realised that if they are to avoid the fate of Iraq, they need to go nuclear, and fast.Of course Iran would not dare attack any of their neighbours or the USA out of fear of retaliatory nuclear strike which will put an end to everything Iranian. However, what an Iranian bomb will ensure is to make the USA or Israel think twice before attacking it. Of course one Iranian bomb cannot stand against the arsenals of the big powers or Israel, however it can turn Tel Aviv into a smoking hole. With this ensured it is very likely that the Israeli and US public will be a lot less inclined to support any venture into attacking Iran. What Iran needs the bomb for is to prevent a conventional attack against itself, not to engage in nuclear war (suicide) with Israel or America.Just look at what happened with North Korea and its nuclear program. Any military action of the USA against North Korea will result in Seoul or Tokyo being obliterated. What the North Koreans have achieved is to make a conventional attack against themselves unlikely; what they have not done is to use to bomb offensively. Any possibility of South Korea and Japan following suit (as suggested by some on this blog) are remote. Precisely because they do not need it. On one hand Japan and South Korea are immensely better armed with modern equipment than North Korea. On the other- the USA nuclear bombs are there for them; they are there to ensure that North Korea will never attack first with nuclear bombs. Fri 12 Feb 2010 16:24:12 GMT+1