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Monday, March 30, 2015

Iran's nukes: an Israeli perspective

Last week, a number of people were expressing their opinions concerning the prospects that Iran would obtain nuclear weapons as a result of the Lausanne talks and what this meant for the USA, Israel, and the Middle East. Most of those opinions, including mine, were largely uninformed, but then it occurred to me that Castalia House's newest author, Martin van Creveld, was someone who has spent a good deal of time thinking about this very subject, and as Israel's leading military historian, he is in a position to know considerably more about the situation than anyone else here.

Later today we will be announcing a second Castalia House book by Dr. van Creveld that I cannot recommend highly enough. Perhaps reading this response to my question about his perspective on the likely consequences of the prospective Lausanne treaty will help you understand why.
“More may be better” was the title of an article published back in 1981 by the redoubtable political scientist Kenneth Waltz. Going against the prevailing wisdom, Waltz argued that nuclear proliferation might not be all bad. Nuclear weapons, he wrote, had prevented the US and the USSR from going to war against each other; as, by all historical logic since the days of Athens and Sparta in the fifth century B.C, they should have done. Instead they circled each other like dogs, occasionally barking and baring their teeth but never actually biting. Such was the fear the weapons inspired that other nuclear countries would probably follow suit.

To quote Winston Churchill, peace might be the sturdy child of terror.
Since then over thirty years have passed. Though Waltz himself died in 2013, his light goes marching on. At the time he published his article there were just five nuclear countries (the US, the USSR, Britain, France, and China) plus one, Israel, which had the bomb but put anybody who dared say so in prison. Since then three (India, Pakistan, North Korea) have been added, raising the total to nine. Yet on no occasion did any of these states fight a major war against any other major, read nuclear, power.

And how about Iran? First, note that no country has taken nearly as long as Iran did to develop its nuclear program. Started during the 1970s under the Shah, suspended during the 1980s as Iranians were fighting Saddam Hussein (who invaded Iran), and renewed in the early 1990s, that program has still not borne fruit. This suggests that, when the Iranians say, as they repeatedly have, that they do not want to build a bomb they are sincere, at least up to a point. All they want is the infrastructure that will enable them to build it quickly should the need arise—a desire they have in common with quite some other countries such as Sweden, Australia, and Japan.

Second, the real purpose of the Iranian program, and any eventual bomb that may result from it, is to deter a possible attack by the U.S. Look at the record; one never knows what America’s next president is going to do. With another Clinton, who attacked Serbia, and another Bush, who attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, in the White House a distinct possibility, caution is advised. The Mullahs have no desire to share the fate of Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Khadafy.

The latter’s fate in particular gives reason for thought. In 2002-3, coming under Western pressure, Khadafy gave up his nuclear program.  As his reward, no sooner did the West see an opportunity in 2011 than it stabbed him in the back, waged war on him, overthrew him, and killed him. Leaving Libya in a mess from which it may never recover.

Third, Israel is in no danger. Alone among all the countries of the Middle East, Israel has what it takes to deter Iran and, if necessary, wage a nuclear war against it. What such a war might look like was described in some detail by Anthony Cordesman, an American political scientist a former member of the National Security Council. His conclusion? The difference in size notwithstanding, the outcome would be to wipe Iran, but not Israel, off the map.

Netanyahu has Iran in his head and effectively used it to win the elections. Yet truth to say, no Iranian leader has ever directly threatened Israel. To be sure, neither Iran’s presidents nor the Mullahs like the Zionist Entity. They do not stand to attention when Hatikvah is played. They have even had the chutzpah to deny the Holocaust. Yet all they have said is that, if Israel attacked them, they would respond in kind. Also that “rotten” Israel would end up by collapsing under its own weight. All this serves to divert attention away from their real purpose. That purpose, as I just said, is to deter the U.S. And to draw as much support in the Moslem world as verbal attacks on Israel always do.

Finally, morality. Are the Iranians really as bad as some people claim? Taking 1981 as our starting point, we find that in the three and a half decades since then the U.S has waged war first against (or in) Grenada; then Panama; then Iraq; then Serbia (in Bosnia); then Serbia again (in Kosovo); then Afghanistan; then Iraq again; then Libya. In some of these praiseworthy enterprises it was supported by its allies, the Netherlands included.

The Iranians are not angels—far from it. They have meddled in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, as they still do. They have also assisted terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas. But everything is relative. They have not waged large-scale warfare against any other country. Let alone bombed it or invaded it.

And that, in the final analysis, is all that matters.
Now, Martin van Creveld is the very opposite of an innocent on this subject. He knows more about war, the history of war, and the strategy and tactics of war than nearly anyone on the planet. And so when a world-famous military expert, who lives in the heart of the land that is most threatened by Iranian weapons, contradicts the neocons living in the USA who have been beating the war drum for a decade and claiming that the mad mullahs are simply slavering to hurl nuclear-tipped missiles at Israel the moment they have them, I suggest that it is wise to listen to the former, not the latter.

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237 Comments:

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Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2015 March 30, 2015 5:34 AM  

Sounds perfectly reasonable but that's our estate: reason. If you were expecting a 12th Mahdi Imam on the one hand and holding a taqqayi, Jihad, kill Jews where ever you find them manual in the other hand might you be tempted to "kill them all, and let allah sort it out" for the coming Imam?

That's the question, to what extent does the Koran animate the secret inner workings of their elite minds? What say your professional profilers? The assassinations of so many of their engineers must surely tip the scales in the direction of opportunistic retributions?

Blogger epobirs March 30, 2015 5:50 AM  

Made war directly? No, because they can't. The world's leading state sponsor of terrorism? Yes, because they can. Their proxies have been and continue to be a source of problems for our interests. To pretend otherwise would be like believing our sole enemy in Vietnam was the NVA rather than those enabling them. If it were possible to move Israel and the non-Muslims remaining in the region somewhere else and let the remainder self-immolate, that would be fine with me. But lacking that power....

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 5:52 AM  

I can find no fault in anything Martin van Creveld said.

As for the theory that religious madness might animate "the secret inner workings of their elite minds," they've been in power long enough for their actions to be a reliable guide to their mind-set. One should judge them accordingly, and Martin van Creveld did.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 5:56 AM  

By the way, it's quite accurate to say that Australia too doesn't want the bomb, but does want the infrastructure needed to reconsider that stand should the need swiftly and terrifyingly arise.

Blogger napari March 30, 2015 5:59 AM  

In regards to Israel my understanding is that the majority of men active in the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah are in fact Iranians so Dr. van Creveld may have understated these active threats of terror.
Also, the fact that Iran has no viable military except for a few speed boats, jeeps and cannons is not proof of peaceful intent.
I remain doubtful of Iran's intent with a wary eye.

Blogger Rantor March 30, 2015 6:01 AM  

A US led attack on Iran would be disastrous. While I would prefer a world without Iranian nukes, Martin Van Creveld's argument is rational and probably correct.

Of course Iranian nukes means the House of Saud will want some, and they shouldn't have much trouble obtaining their deterrent force. Should we be more concerned about that? After all, AQ seems to be a Sunni invention.

Anonymous Gary March 30, 2015 6:02 AM  

Question. We speak of leaders being reasonable, but are ours? Nope. Obama and friends are mad as hatters. They live in some magic world which ignores hundreds of years of human history. Socialism will work this time, those Russians and Chinese are just doing it wrong! Why should we assume the Iranian leaders are reasonable? While I agree with some of the assessments in the article, to leave a nation to its own devices where "Death to America! Death to Jews!" is the 2 minute hate chant is disturbing.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 6:03 AM  

I find this difficult to swallow. The Cold War did not involve Muslim leaders who have their fingers on nuclear buttons and may be under the firm impression that nuking Israel may be God's will, regardless of the cost. After all, the Qur'an commands Muslims to kill all Jews in the last days. Ahmadinejad was certified insane and in a mental institution before he became leader. He was clearly certifiable when he was in power - just look at some of the comments he made. And to say Iranians are not bad people, may be true, but it is irrelevant. The USA was not full of bad people when it nuked Hiroshima.

Blogger Vox March 30, 2015 6:03 AM  

Dr. van Creveld may have understated these active threats of terror.

If you consider his list of publications, that is very unlikely. He has written several books on the subject. And, in case it escaped your attention, he lives in Israel. I very much doubt that there is anything that anyone here knows about Hamas or Hezbollah that he does not know.

Anonymous Gary March 30, 2015 6:08 AM  

Someone asked George Bush his opinion on the subject and I thought Bush gave an interesting answer. He stated that imagine developing the bomb and overthrow of the Iranian government by its people were two clocks. He said the key to defusing the situation was to figure out a way to slow down the first clock and speed up the second.

Blogger Vox March 30, 2015 6:08 AM  

The Cold War did not involve Muslim leaders who have their fingers on nuclear buttons and may be under the firm impression that nuking Israel may be God's will, regardless of the cost.

So your imagination about what people you don't know might be thinking trumps a world-leading military expert's observations concerning something that directly concerns his own personal safety? To say nothing of the fact that Iran a) has not been militarily aggressive and b) has been under over a decade of being publicly threatened with invasion by a superpower that has invaded and overthrown multiple sovereign governments?

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 6:09 AM  

Titus, here in the UK we have what appear to be civilised Doctors, devoted to saving lives, becoming radicalised and heading off to behead people for ISIS. To judge Iran on previous actions or mind-state is unwise. And certainly they have had religious leaders who have publicly stated they should wipe Israel off the map. They just know that at the moment they are incapable of it. It doesn't stop them sending weapons to Palestine and Lebanon though.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 6:17 AM  

I lived in Lebanon amongst Muslims, so I am pretty familiar with their range of thought. Imams in Iran have stated they should wipe Israel off the map. I dated an Iranian woman - an ex-Muslim - and we are still good friends - I am not uninformed about how Iranians think.

Anonymous Gary March 30, 2015 6:26 AM  

"So your imagination about what people you don't know might be thinking trumps a world-leading military expert's observations concerning something that directly concerns his own personal safety?"

George Armstrong Custer had a successful career till the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

People do make mistakes.

And I'm not saying we should invade Iran or bomb them. I agree 100% that the west meddling in middle east affairs has not worked out well for the parties involved. Of course this seems a deliberate course of action by the current administration.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2015 March 30, 2015 6:29 AM  

Titus, Ahmadinajab, the Nuclear Physicist would have personally known some of those engineers. I suspect, beyond the public posturing that some sentiments are visceral. I'm not prognosticating. Sermons in Farsi won't be what is said in English. People who sent their children to walk thru mine fields to do allah's will may not have entirely "our" rational perspective. And I suspect that Mr van Creveld has both a public and private perspective to convey.

Blessed be the peace makers/ perhaps that include enforcers.

Anonymous paradox March 30, 2015 6:31 AM  

Dr. van Creveld should run for Israeli prime minister. Oh wait... He would be labeled an isolationist and the Israeli Ron Paul. Neoconservatives are curse to Israel and America.

Blogger Eric March 30, 2015 6:40 AM  

My worry about nuclear proliferation is more about a no-return-address terrorist bomb than bombs being used in actual warfare. Even assuming the world is full of rational actors, there's a reasonable chance you could nuke your enemy and get away with it by giving a bomb to an Al Queda type group and having them sneak it to the target on a truck - MAD doesn't work if you don't know who hit you.

Blogger Vox March 30, 2015 6:47 AM  

Imams in Iran have stated they should wipe Israel off the map.

And rabbis in Israel have stated Israel should nuke Germany. Does that justify a US attack on Israel? Hell, Martin himself has been misquoted as saying that Israel has Europe's capitals targeted. Does that justify Italy and Russia attacking Israel?

Do some of you truly not realize that your logic cuts both ways?

Anonymous Sensei March 30, 2015 6:54 AM  

With all due respect to the inestimable Dr. van Creveld, his work on equality strongly implied he does not understand religion on a fundamental level.
But neither do any of us understand what might be going on in the minds of the iranian leadership, so his analysis is more likely to be accurate than our collective semi ignorance can muster.

I'm curious, though, he claimed Iran's self defensive motive is primarily directed at the US. Would their Sunni neighbors and all this talk of a caliphate not play a role in their desire for the trump card defense of a nuke? Iran has been invaded by the Sunnis in the past, plus you can't have a caliphate jointly led by Tehran and Riyadh...

Blogger Vox March 30, 2015 7:08 AM  

I'm curious, though, he claimed Iran's self defensive motive is primarily directed at the US. Would their Sunni neighbors and all this talk of a caliphate not play a role in their desire for the trump card defense of a nuke?

If you recall, that was my suggestion too. But as Martin points out, the USA is the only party that both talks invasion and then goes ahead with it. Libya, in particular, assured that the Iranians were going to go nuclear. It's not hard to look at North Korea, then look at Libya, and decide, "yeah, we better get some of those ASAFP."

Anonymous starr March 30, 2015 7:12 AM  

My worry about nuclear proliferation is more about a no-return-address terrorist bomb than bombs being used in actual warfare. Even assuming the world is full of rational actors, there's a reasonable chance you could nuke your enemy and get away with it by giving a bomb to an Al Queda type group and having them sneak it to the target on a truck - MAD doesn't work if you don't know who hit you.

I can't see any world leader, no matter how crazy giving a nuke to a group outside of their complete control. How would you know it wouldn't be traced back to you, how would you know that the country targeted wouldn't just launch a retaliatory strike against anyone they even suspected might be responsible. And what if the terrorist group you just gave the nuke decides instead of trying to get the weapon halfway across the world undetected it would be far easier just to blackmail you into giving up control of your country to them.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 7:18 AM  

Vox, I wasn't making a case for US intervention. I am only saying that Iran as a nuclear power may be a threat to Israel - and to draw a comparison between Iran/Israel and Russia America, is erroneous.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 7:20 AM  

Starr, do you understand the suicide bomber mentality?

Anonymous zen0 March 30, 2015 7:23 AM  

In the eighties, lefties claimed to be in dire fear that Reagan and the rapturous evangelicals would try to immanentize the eschaton with nukes.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 7:24 AM  

Starr, do you understand the suicide bomber mentality?

Do you?

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 7:29 AM  

The comments thus far remind me of global warming.

Anonymous FrankNorman March 30, 2015 7:32 AM  

Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 5:56 AM

By the way, it's quite accurate to say that Australia too doesn't want the bomb, but does want the infrastructure needed to reconsider that stand should the need swiftly and terrifyingly arise.


In other words, they want the bomb. They just don't want to have to use it.

Nuclear weapons, IMHO, are something it's better to have, and never need, than to not have, and find you need.

Anonymous Bohm March 30, 2015 7:42 AM  

VD is correct about Iran, as is this eminent Israeli fellow.
Moreover, this view is not controversial, it is held by most observers on the planet. Only right wingers in the US, elsewhere and in Israeli find it so objectionable.

The nuclear issue is the diplomatic hammer the West has used to isolate Iran. The narrative used as a justification, that of an evil regime hell-bent on self-destruction in its maniacal hatred of Israel and the West, is clearly absurd. The evidence taken as indisputable proof is a single phrase in a speech made years ago by an ex-leader, which was clearly meant for a domestic audience.

We hear the phrase ‘wipe Israel off the map’ parroted ad nauseam - so predictable and so effing boring.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 7:42 AM  

My point, Josh, is that Starr is thinking about leaders from a non-Muslim, Western perspective. Retaliatory action is not a concern of the suicide bomber. Retaliatory action may not be the concern of a political leader who can guarantee paradise for himself, and anyone killed in any retaliatory action, if he can wipe Allah's hated people from the earth.

The simple question is this.:

Can anyone guarantee that Iran will not launch nuclear weapons at Israel?

If you can't, then from Israel's perspective, it is clearly not a good thing for Iran to have nuclear weapons.

In fact, as a significant sponsor of terrorism, is it a good idea for anyone if Iran can produce a dirty bomb?

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 7:45 AM  

Can anyone guarantee that Iran will not launch nuclear weapons at Israel?

Can anyone guarantee that Israel or the United States will not launch nuclear weapons at Iran?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 7:46 AM  

James Jones: "Titus, here in the UK we have what appear to be civilised Doctors, devoted to saving lives, becoming radicalised and heading off to behead people for ISIS."

I get that.

But national security policy has a logic of its own.

James Jones: "To judge Iran on previous actions or mind-state is unwise."

But how else?

James Jones: "And certainly they have had religious leaders who have publicly stated they should wipe Israel off the map. They just know that at the moment they are incapable of it. It doesn't stop them sending weapons to Palestine and Lebanon though."

And organized Jewry is very effectively promoting policies of mass non-white immigration and forced assimilation that are aimed at white countries and are effectively w-word g-word thing-that-shall-not-be-mentioned. It doesn't get more hostile than that -- more blatant and bloody sure, but in terms of effective, sustained and ultimately eliminationist aggression, this is as bad as it gets, with no compromise or humanity on offer.

But one still has liberty to interpret this in various ways, as background to appropriate actions.

One implication is that there is going to be conflict between Jews and non-Jews in the diaspora. Either they end us, or we fight back. If we fight back, there will be conflict, because they will not permit us to exist. If they end us, they will have a harsher conflict with the Muslims and other people that they have brought in to replace us. Either way, the position of Jews in the diaspora will become awkward.

And that takes us back to the moral foundation of the state of Israel: that Jews need a state of their own, because they will again be insecure in the disapora. Forget whose fault it is: I accept as a matter of fact that that insecurity is coming, and that insecurity underlines the necessity of the Jewish state. (Every race and nation has a right and duty to struggle for its existence no matter what it did in the past, and I say this indifferently for Germans, Russians and Jews, despite recognizing the total lack of reciprocation.)

In the same way, and with a comparable recognition that there is and will be no moral reciprocation, I say that Iranians too have a right to exist in a state of their own. If not there, where are they supposed to be?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 7:47 AM  

At what point will you cease to seek safety by serially and preemptively blasting Muslim governments off the map?

Never? Will we overthrow the government of Iran, for example, as many times as it takes? Will the beatings continue until morale improves?

If that is the policy, I would like some kind of guarantee that repeat visits from the Great Satan will leave victim countries friendlier. Without such a guarantee, I doubt that the more we kill them, the more they will love us.

I would prefer to see wars of annihilation as high-value cards, to be used and discarded only in the most useful way or under the most urgent pressure.

If you think you can just keep mowing down Middle Eastern states like mowing the lawn forever, I doubt it.

Sun Tzu did not know of a nation that had benefited by protracted war. Examples are still hard to come by.

The Spartans used to have a rule not to beat up the same people repeatedly. They broke it, and regretted it.

Germany was the playground of French armies, till it wasn't.

I won't rehash my execration of Hitler's war-happy policies. I've said before it's better to go down in history like Neville Chamberlain, humiliated by striving for a peace that was not there to be had, than to go down as the guy who was too eager to start wars and not good enough at finishing them.

America is headed for serious problems. Fewer entanglements will be better, when the economic crisis hits.

How will you end this policy, if you later think it unwise, or just too costly to continue? How will you make peace with your former enemies? Will you cut deals? I love cutting deals and cutting costs, but if you want to do that you cannot start by doing what we did to Libya. That was a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad move. Good luck getting everybody to trust in our words rather than in arms now.

My advice: don't hit that tar baby any more.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 7:47 AM  

That's not the point Josh.

The question is whether a weaponised Iran is a threat to Israel's future. Dr Van Crevald believes not. I think he cannot be certain.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 7:48 AM  

My point, Josh, is that Starr is thinking about leaders from a non-Muslim, Western perspective. Retaliatory action is not a concern of the suicide bomber. Retaliatory action may not be the concern of a political leader who can guarantee paradise for himself, and anyone killed in any retaliatory action, if he can wipe Allah's hated people from the earth.


So, to answer my question, no, you do not understand the suicide bomber mentality.

Muslims didn't invent suicide bombers. The phenomenon is a response to military occupation, not calls for jihad.

Unless the various Marxist groups that used suicide bombing were in fact secret Muslims.

Anonymous Heaviside March 30, 2015 7:50 AM  

>And rabbis in Israel have stated Israel should nuke Germany. Does that justify a US attack on Israel?

Oh yes it does!

>They have even had the chutzpah to deny the Holocaust.

It took far more chutzpah to propound it.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 7:50 AM  

That's not the point Josh.

Given that the United States is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, and that Americans and Israelis have threatened to bomb Iran for more than a decade, my question is as valid as yours.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 7:51 AM  

Issues of Jews pushing destructive policies on the West are irrelevant to this conversation.

As I have said, my point is simply that Dr Van Crevald is in error to state that Iran will not attack Israel.

It's interesting that people think I am therefore making the case for Western intervention.

However, I would certainly make the case to allow Israel to intervene - something Obama is preventing.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 7:53 AM  

James Jones: "If you can't, then from Israel's perspective, it is clearly not a good thing for Iran to have nuclear weapons."

Agreed.

James Jones: "In fact, as a significant sponsor of terrorism, is it a good idea for anyone if Iran can produce a dirty bomb?"

I used to think "no" but that was before Libya. If the alternative is a visit from the Great Satan and friends like Libya got, it is better for the Iranians if Iran can produce a dirty bomb, whether Israel likes it or not.

OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 March 30, 2015 7:53 AM  

Sorry, I'll go with the philospphy by a different historically pertainant man that knew more about war, the history of war, and the strategy and tactics of war than nearly anyone on the planet, in HIS day.
" Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."
(astonishingly, with a "viewer trigger warning" on You tube)
Of course, there would have been NO "cold war" had HE not been fired by top men...TOP men!
I admit, the politio-economics involved wold have just buried White and Keynes.
CaptDMO

Blogger Vox March 30, 2015 7:57 AM  

If you can't, then from Israel's perspective, it is clearly not a good thing for Iran to have nuclear weapons.

Of course. Of course, that's close to irrelevant. The questions that military experts like Dr. van Creveld focus on are these:

a) is it possible to stop them from getting them?
b) if it is possible, what is the price of stopping them going to be?

Considering that Martin has written extensively on the technology of war and how it is transmitted from one place to another, I am quite confident that he has concluded the answer to (a) is "probably not" because the answer to (b) is "World War III".

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 7:59 AM  

I know that suicide bombers in the Islamic world are almost always in response to occupation.

From an Islamic perspective, Israel is occupying Dar Al-Islam and oppressing Muslims.

But the nature of suicide bombing provocation is besides the point.

The suicide mentality for Muslims is partially grounded in theology.

When Muslims die, their deeds will be weighed and Allah may accept them, or he may not.

When Muslims die whilst fighting the Infidel, they are guaranteed a place in paradise. It is a very strong driver for suicidal action.



Anonymous Heaviside March 30, 2015 8:01 AM  

>However, I would certainly make the case to allow Israel to intervene - something Obama is preventing.

It would be wrong for us to allow such unprovoked aggression to go unpunished. Israel is a rogue state, an enemy of the international community, and a threat to world peace. Not to invade them in such circumstances would just be un-American, un-patriotic, and soft on terrorism.

Anonymous starr March 30, 2015 8:02 AM  

Starr, do you understand the suicide bomber mentality?

The mentality of the suicide bomber is not relevant. Its the mentality of the leaders that important and no leader is going to give that much power to an organisation or individual that is not under his complete control.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 8:03 AM  

"By the way, it's quite accurate to say that Australia too doesn't want the bomb, but does want the infrastructure needed to reconsider that stand should the need swiftly and terrifyingly arise."

FrankNorman: "In other words, they want the bomb. They just don't want to have to use it."

Our concern is regional instability. The capital of regional instability is Jakarta. Specifically, if there was a coup and a wheel-of-fortune government was installed, with un-guessable policies.

We don't want to build the first nuke. We don't want to start an arms race. We also have quite a strong anti-nuclear streak.

But if the wheel of fortune one day says: "build Muslim nukes; die Aussie die!" there is infrastructure we would like to be in place.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:05 AM  

Vox, it is not irrelevant. You posted a piece where Dr Van Crevald makes the argument that Iran will not attack Israel. I don't believe he can say that with certainty - certainly not enough certainty to risk Israel's future on. I also believe that Israel should not be prevented, by Obama, from making strikes upon research facilities in Iran.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:06 AM  

From an Islamic perspective, Israel is occupying Dar Al-Islam and oppressing Muslims.

And yet the only groups who are suicide bombing Israel are those under direct military occupation.

Anonymous zen0 March 30, 2015 8:08 AM  

The US has over 4000 warheads available, a little more than half of which are active(Wiki- nuke force stats & configuration).

If having more nukes in the mideast is a good idea, the US could easily give each of the kids their own arsenal, and voila, peace will break out.

I don't know what all this eternal futzing about is for.

Blogger ScuzzaMan March 30, 2015 8:09 AM  

"I think he cannot be certain."

Certainty, like safety, is the obsession of the infantilised.

In the adult world, neither such thing exists.

For the race is not always to the swift, nor victory to the strong - and even so, that IS the way to bet.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:11 AM  

Starr, Hitler was, at one point, fighting a third of the planet. Did he surrender? No. He stick it out until suicide was the solution for him. You give far too much respect to the word 'leader'.

Anonymous Eric Ashley March 30, 2015 8:12 AM  

Why should WW3 be the answer?

Italy has the right to attack Israel for this insult.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:12 AM  

I don't believe he can say that with certainty - certainly not enough certainty to risk Israel's future on. I also believe that Israel should not be prevented, by Obama, from making strikes upon research facilities in Iran.

So to prevent a hypothetical war that could lead to the destruction of Israel, you advocate an actual war that could lead to the destruction of Israel?

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:13 AM  

ScuzzaMan, very easy to say from the comfort of your keyboard. If you lived in Israel, you may think differently.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:14 AM  

Hitler

Sorry, you automatically lose the debate.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:15 AM  

Yes Josh. I believe Israel should have the right to take pre-emotive action if they so choose. I think they understand their situation more keenly than Western observers.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 8:15 AM  

Heaviside: "It would be wrong for us to allow such unprovoked aggression to go unpunished. Israel is a rogue state, an enemy of the international community, and a threat to world peace. Not to invade them in such circumstances would just be un-American, un-patriotic, and soft on terrorism."

My alternative policy would begin with taking a chill pill and listening several times to Johnny Cash singing Don't Take Your Guns To Town.

If not for its hostile state and its even more hostile dominant insular minority, America would have a fantastically strong position. Doing nothing is almost always a fairly good option for America, because of its vast strength and the stopping power of water.

If you see American governments pursuing trigger-happy policies, you can take it that the ruling class either doesn't know or doesn't care what's good for America.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 8:17 AM  

Josh: "Hitler

Sorry, you automatically lose the debate."

Oh, too bad. But there's still time to have another one.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:17 AM  

I lose the debate? You may be talking in jest, but just in case, you can't invoke Godwin's law every time someone mentions Hitler. That's not how it works.

Anonymous starr March 30, 2015 8:19 AM  

My point, Josh, is that Starr is thinking about leaders from a non-Muslim, Western perspective. Retaliatory action is not a concern of the suicide bomber. Retaliatory action may not be the concern of a political leader who can guarantee paradise for himself, and anyone killed in any retaliatory action, if he can wipe Allah's hated people from the earth.

If that is the case James, why is it that the leaders never blow themselves up but convince others to do it on their behalf? The ayatollah may want to see Israel or the US gone, but he isn't going to strap a bomb to his chest to make it happen, whether or not he believes paradise is waiting for him on the other side.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:20 AM  

Yes Josh. I believe Israel should have the right to take pre-emotive action if they so choose. I think they understand their situation more keenly than Western observers.

Does Iran have that same right to take pre-emptive action?

What if they decide that there is a real threat that Israel or the United States will attack them, and thus decide to strike first?

Anonymous Feh March 30, 2015 8:21 AM  

Israel is in no danger. Alone among all the countries of the Middle East, Israel has what it takes to deter Iran

As if he or anyone else knows what it takes to deter Iran.

Be a shame to be wrong about that...

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:21 AM  

I lose the debate? You may be talking in jest, but just in case, you can't invoke Godwin's law every time someone mentions Hitler. That's not how it works.

Of course it was a joke

Anonymous zen0 March 30, 2015 8:24 AM  

> but just in case, you can't invoke Godwin's law every time someone mentions Hitler.

Exactly, plus, it is more Godwin's Suggestion than a law. You could not ever mention WW2, if it was.

Godwin is a holocaust denier!

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:26 AM  

Starr, if you study Islamic history, you will see that Muslims have, many times, believed that Allah would give them victory against overwhelming odds. It is completely possible that a leader would press a red button, believing that Allah has blessed his actions and will protect him. This is why ISIS are currently calling the non-Muslim world to come and battle them on the ground in Dabiq. I maintain that is is very difficult for most Westerners to comprehend Muslim thinking.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:26 AM  

ScuzzaMan, very easy to say from the comfort of your keyboard. If you lived in Israel, you may think differently.

Do you live in Israel?

Martin van Creveld lives in Israel.

Blogger JaimeInTexas March 30, 2015 8:29 AM  

" . This suggests that, when the Iranians say, as they repeatedly have, that they do want to build a bomb they are sincere, at least up to a point."

That the Iranians do NOT want to build?

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:30 AM  

Again, more irrelevance, Josh. Whether Iran will or will not take pre-emptive has nothing to do with Israel's right to conduct its own affairs. Or are you somehow arguing for no Western intervention in the Middle-East, whilst intervening in Israel's right to do what it thinks is in its own best interests?

Anonymous Heaviside March 30, 2015 8:30 AM  

America was made for that minority, and that minority was made for America. They will drown together.

So long, Bensalem!

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 8:30 AM  

James Jones: "Issues of Jews pushing destructive policies on the West are irrelevant to this conversation."

If you say, "ignore what the Iranians have done, look at what sudden jihad syndrome shows about their mentality," it must be reasonable to look at what Jews are doing as evidence of their mentality. It's basically the same point again. These people do extremely aggressive things that we would not do. We should remember that, and not project their mentality as being like ours.

Also, we are looking at policies that will alter the nations involved in years to come. That is relevant.

Anonymous FrankNorman March 30, 2015 8:33 AM  

Nuclear proliferation.... nature's way of asking "How's that ABM system coming along"

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:33 AM  

No, I don't live in Israel. Are you saying it is impossible that if you live in Israel, you might fear Iran having nuclear weapons - just because Dr Van doesn't?

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:34 AM  

Whether Iran will or will not take pre-emptive has nothing to do with Israel's right to conduct its own affairs.

Does Iran have the right to conduct its own affairs?

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:35 AM  

No, I don't live in Israel. Are you saying it is impossible that if you live in Israel, you might fear Iran having nuclear weapons - just because Dr Van doesn't?

No. But if you're going to disqualify someone's opinion because they don't live in Israel, you're also disqualifying your own opinion.

Anonymous Trimegistus March 30, 2015 8:36 AM  

The huge problem is that Israel can't afford to be wrong about this. Sure, Iran might be merely trying to build a deterrent . . . but can the Israelis be certain of that? And can they be certain that the next supreme ayatollah won't decide that the Caliph Ali wants him to wipe out the Zionist Entity? Iran has done nothing to reassure its neighbors, Israel, or the US that its intentions are peaceful.

To everyone who will now sputter "but . . . Bush!" or whatever, let me ask you: are YOU sure Iran won't use its warheads, either directly or by letting one fall off a truck for Hezbollah to pick up? Are you sure?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 8:36 AM  

Feh: "As if he or anyone else knows what it takes to deter Iran.

Be a shame to be wrong about that..."

Yes it would be a shame. But if you want Israel to continue as a home for Jews endangered in the diaspora, as I definitely do, what better alternative is there than to trust fact-based professional analysis?

Anonymous Dr. CrashRashit March 30, 2015 8:38 AM  

The statement above goes a long way toward demonstrating why its President Obama who is the adult in the U.S. Foreign Policy room. In fact, throughout his entire administration, Obama has been swimming in the the "Realist" Foreign Policy pool while his oponents and critics have chosen to dive into the failed Neo-Con pool, a pool that has never held much water, nor delivred up a champion swimmer.

The Obama foreign policy toward the Middle East is very much in the tradition of Kissenger, Nixon, Kennedy.

We saw what happened when the NeoCons had the helm. It wasn't pretty.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:38 AM  

Titus, I feel this has just descended into nit-picking now for both of us.

I'm only making the case that no one can be sure that a country which has been governed by hardcore religious extremists in its time, can be trusted not to launch a nuclear strike at Allah's sworn enemy, when he has commanded Muslims to kill Jews, and Muslims believe this will happen in the 'last day'.

I therefore believe as an extension of that, that Israel should have the right to prevent Iran getting that capability.

Israel's mentality does not come into this argument.

Anonymous Roundtine March 30, 2015 8:39 AM  

Irrational and crazy people seldom rise to the top. Evil people, with no concern for human life, do rise to the top, but they tend not to be suicidal, otherwise they'd probably already have taken a self-destructive action long before reaching the top. Iran isn't led by a cult of personality anymore and the Mullahs are not going to choose a self-destructive path that could very likely erase the Persians from history.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:43 AM  

Josh, I wasn't disqualifying his opinion. I thought my point was clear. If he lived in Israel, he may fear a nuclear Iran. Just as I would if I lived in Israel. Just as I know that some Israelis do.

Blogger Tank March 30, 2015 8:45 AM  

Netanyahu has Iran in his head and effectively used it to win the elections. Yet truth to say, no Iranian leader has ever directly threatened Israel. To be sure, neither Iran’s presidents nor the Mullahs like the Zionist Entity. They do not stand to attention when Hatikvah is played. They have even had the chutzpah to deny the Holocaust. Yet all they have said is that, if Israel attacked them, they would respond in kind.

This is what they have said? This is "all they have said?"

No.

Whatever the US policy should or should not be (and mostly it should be butt out), that there is a bunch of BS. When people surrounding you consistently and repeatedly state they want to kill you, you cannot ignore them. As so many others have said, Israel cannot afford one mistake.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 8:49 AM  

James Jones: "Titus, I feel this has just descended into nit-picking now for both of us."

OK.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:49 AM  

When people surrounding you consistently and repeatedly state they want to kill you, you cannot ignore them.

The United States surrounds Iran. American religious and political leaders have repeatedly said they want to kill Iranians.

Can Iran afford to ignore them?

Anonymous starr March 30, 2015 8:49 AM  

Starr, Hitler was, at one point, fighting a third of the planet. Did he surrender? No. He stick it out until suicide was the solution for him. You give far too much respect to the word 'leader'.

I don't see how that relates to anything that I've said. The guy had nothing left and was about to come face to face with a lot of pissed off Soviets so decided to chew on some cyanide instead. Yeah that showed them!

James answer me this, when has any country ever given a terrorist group or another non-state group a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon?
And there are plenty of Arab countries that hate Israel that have at least one of these in their possession


Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:51 AM  

Israel's mentality does not come into this argument.

Why not?

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 8:51 AM  

I'm only making the case that no one can be sure that a country which has been governed by hardcore religious extremists in its time, can be trusted not to launch a nuclear strike at Allah's sworn enemy, when he has commanded Muslims to kill Jews, and Muslims believe this will happen in the 'last day'.

How long has Pakistan had nukes?

Anonymous zen0 March 30, 2015 8:55 AM  

How long has Pakistan had nukes?

Pakistan isn't a theocratic republic like Iran

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 30, 2015 8:58 AM  

zen0: "Pakistan isn't a theocratic republic like Iran"

Theocratic republics bad, military dictatorships good?

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 8:58 AM  

Both Starr and Josh's question. Because Pakistan has not nuked anyone does not mean they won't. And similarly, because no leader has given a terrorist organisation WMD, does not make a guarantee that it won't happen.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 9:00 AM  

Because Pakistan has not nuked anyone does not mean they won't. And similarly, because no leader has given a terrorist organisation WMD, does not make a guarantee that it won't happen.

And just because the United States has nuked someone doesn't mean that they will...

Anonymous zen0 March 30, 2015 9:02 AM  

>Theocratic republics bad, military dictatorships good?

Didn't say that. Good or bad isn't an issue. Its comparing oranges and tangerines.

Anonymous aero March 30, 2015 9:02 AM  

There are more nut jobs that control country's then fly airplanes. So everybody sit back and enjoy the ride. Because sooner more so then later one or more of these nut jobs is going to do what is normal for them. The nightmare is when the force used to remove nut jobs fails. and your on the downside of the curve.

Anonymous zen0 March 30, 2015 9:04 AM  

> And just because the United States has nuked someone doesn't mean that they will...

Past performance is no guarantee of future returns?

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 9:05 AM  

James Jones,

Quoting Vox

The questions that military experts like Dr. van Creveld focus on are these:

a) is it possible to stop them from getting them?
b) if it is possible, what is the price of stopping them going to be?


We've seen what Dr van Creveld's likely answers to these are.

No one has argued about Israel's right to defend itself, etc.

The question is whether or not they can actually prevent Iran from getting nukes.

Do you think they can?

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 9:05 AM  

Past performance is no guarantee of future returns?

This time it's different!

Blogger Nate March 30, 2015 9:07 AM  

Iran wants the bomb for the same reason everyone wants the bomb.

America doesn't invade nuclear powers.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 9:07 AM  

Pakistan isn't a theocratic republic like Iran

It is, however, an Islamic state that is a state sponsor of terrorism.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 9:09 AM  

Iran wants the bomb for the same reason everyone wants the bomb.

America doesn't invade nuclear powers.


And, in the case of Pakistan, gives them billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Of course EVERYONE KNOWS that Iran is some sort of super special unique snowflake country...

Anonymous starr March 30, 2015 9:09 AM  

Starr, if you study Islamic history, you will see that Muslims have, many times, believed that Allah would give them victory against overwhelming odds. It is completely possible that a leader would press a red button, believing that Allah has blessed his actions and will protect him. This is why ISIS are currently calling the non-Muslim world to come and battle them on the ground in Dabiq. I maintain that is is very difficult for most Westerners to comprehend Muslim thinking.

Pakistan is an Islamic state with nuclear weapons, how many have they launched with Allah's blessing?

OpenID cailcorishev March 30, 2015 9:10 AM  

In the eighties, lefties claimed to be in dire fear that Reagan and the rapturous evangelicals would try to immanentize the eschaton with nukes.

That's what I think of every time someone says, "But the Iranian mullahs said..." Reagan famously said the bombing would start in five minutes. Should the Soviets have taken him seriously and begun a preemptive strike?

Blogger Vox March 30, 2015 9:10 AM  

Pakistan is an Islamic state with nuclear weapons, how many have they launched with Allah's blessing?

Not only that, but the Pakistanis actually fought against Israel in the Arab-Israeli wars. The Iranians didn't.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 9:12 AM  

Should the Soviets have taken him seriously and begun a preemptive strike?

No, only the Israelis and Americans get to do that.

Blogger Chris Mallory March 30, 2015 9:15 AM  

"Israel's mentality does not come into this argument."

"4"Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" Matt 7:4-5

Blogger Nate March 30, 2015 9:16 AM  

"Of course EVERYONE KNOWS that Iran is some sort of super special unique snowflake country..."

They're assholes. Backwards useless assholes. But so is France.

Blogger Chris Mallory March 30, 2015 9:17 AM  

"Reagan famously said the bombing would start in five minutes. "

Don't forget McCain's "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran", the hordes of NeoCons in the US calling for the destruction of Iran and all the posters on faux conservative sites calling for turning various nations into sheets of glass.

Blogger Rhology March 30, 2015 9:22 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Rhology March 30, 2015 9:22 AM  

"The Iranians are not angels—far from it. They have meddled in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, as they still do. They have also assisted terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas. But everything is relative. They have not waged large-scale warfare against any other country. Let alone bombed it or invaded it."

The gentleman forgets jihad is a thing.

Blogger Jourdan March 30, 2015 9:27 AM  

The problem with this issue is that it is so connected with other issues, of deep emotional impact, that it gets obscured in analysis. For example, no doubt van Creveld is an expert, but he is also obviously strongly opposed to U.S. foreign policy; his analysis of Iran's intentions is heavily influenced by this opposition. (Which I share).

A more appropriate analysis of the situation from the point of view of the U.S. Government is to look at the matter as seen from its perspective.

Q. Is Iran an enemy of the United States?
A. Yes, clearly.

Q. Has Iran used violence against the United States and its citizens?
A. Yes, it has.

Q. Does Iran provide logistical and financial support to terrorist groups who have used violence against the United States and its citizens?
A. Yes, it has.

Q. Do the leaders of Iran openly declare a desire that the United States suffer death?
A. Yes, they do.

Q. Is the capital of Iran plastered with giant images calling for the destruction of the United States?
A. Yes, it is.

In this environment, it does no good to argue that had the U.S. adopted wiser policy and if it was better led, and if it changed its foreign policy from one of hyper-involvement in all affairs to reasonable, restrained engagement, this probem would not have arisen.

While true, that is a scholarly exercise. For the man in the chair--be he Obama or a Bush--the issue comes down to a known enemy, known to supply terrorist groups, known to have both attacked Americans and to harbor a desire to kill more.

It's terrible, but the bottom line is that no American president can let a nuclear capable Iran arise or survive.

Thus, we are going to war.

Blogger Nate March 30, 2015 9:29 AM  

"The gentleman forgets jihad is a thing."

That's unlikely.

What's more likely...is he is unsure that Jihad is actually coming from Iran. I am unsure of that as well. As a betting man.. I would put money on Saudi for that.

Blogger Nate March 30, 2015 9:30 AM  

"It's terrible, but the bottom line is that no American president can let a nuclear capable Iran arise or survive."

You realize Obama's Administration is over there arguing on behalf of Iran right?

Blogger Nate March 30, 2015 9:33 AM  

Q. Is the United States the Enemy of Iran?
A. Yes, clearly.

Q. Has The United States used violence against the Iran and its citizens?
A. Yes, it has.

Q. Does the United States provide logistical and financial support to terrorist groups who have used violence against the Iran and its citizens?
A. Yes, it has.

Q. Do the leaders of The United States openly declare a desire that Iran suffers death?
A. Yes, they do.

Q. Is the capital of United States plastered with giant images calling for the destruction of the Iran?
A. No. America uses the Internet for that.

Anonymous starr March 30, 2015 9:38 AM  

Both Starr and Josh's question. Because Pakistan has not nuked anyone does not mean they won't. And similarly, because no leader has given a terrorist organisation WMD, does not make a guarantee that it won't happen.

Yes James there are not guarantee's, but by that logic Israel should nuke America now, because some Imam might take over there in 100 years and threaten Israel with destruction.

James, the fact that in all these years that WMD have been around, not one state has given terrorists a WMD of any type should tell you that the odds of it ever happening are close to zero.

As for Iran getting nukes and using it themselves, Israel has about 200 it can send in the opposite direction. That not going to leave many muslims alive to gloat about Israels destruction

Anonymous aero March 30, 2015 9:40 AM  

Iran is only a small part of the big problem. The problem is Islam and the 300 million nut jobs that are at the controls of the 57 Islamic states. Oh I forgot there's 58 in 2009 the USA became one

Blogger Tank March 30, 2015 9:44 AM  

Josh

When people surrounding you consistently and repeatedly state they want to kill you, you cannot ignore them.

The United States surrounds Iran. American religious and political leaders have repeatedly said they want to kill Iranians.


More BS. The US does not surround Iran, nor do religious or political leaders say they "want to kill Iranians."

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 9:54 AM  

More BS. The US does not surround Iran, nor do religious or political leaders say they "want to kill Iranians."

Have you ever seen a map of American bases in the middle east?

John McCain made his "bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" joke.

John Hagee said "blow them away in the name of the Lord"

John Bolton just wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for bombing Iran.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 9:58 AM  

Vox,

In 2013, you wrote:

It's not an accident that the first thing the US government did once de Klerk was elected and it became obvious that apartheid was coming to an end was to arrange for the removal of South Africa's nuclear weapons from its arsenal and the decommissioning of the weapons development program. This was because both the US and the de Klerk administration knew the ANC government could not be trusted to behave responsibly with them and there was a real risk that they would be used against the Boers or Zimbabwe.

In light of Mr. van Creveld's position, do you think this was a justified response?

Blogger Tank March 30, 2015 10:04 AM  

Josh

Those who talk about attacking Iran do so in terms of stopping them from obtaining nukes because they are a known perpetrator of terror around the world. It's not about killing all Iranians, as the Iranians talk about killing the Jews.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 10:09 AM  

Those who talk about attacking Iran do so in terms of stopping them from obtaining nukes because they are a known perpetrator of terror around the world. It's not about killing all Iranians, as the Iranians talk about killing the Jews.

So they are talking about attacking Iran. Fascinating.

If the Iranians are so set on killing all Jews, why haven't they started with the thousands of Jews that live in Iran?

Also, can you provide an example of an current Iranian leader calling for killing all Jews?

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 10:14 AM  

I, for one, would prefer someone talk about killing me but not killing me, rather than someone killing me but afterwards claiming that wasn't their intended goal.

Blogger Tank March 30, 2015 10:19 AM  

Josh and Alex

You are right. Israel is in no danger and should not worry.

Iran would never attack them or try to kill Jews.

Totally correct.

Iran loves Israel and would never hurt it.

Iran never causes trouble anywhere, and just wants to be left alone.

Anonymous cheddarman March 30, 2015 10:19 AM  

I dont know what it is, but there is something about the phrase "bomb Iran" that gets the neocon war rationalization hamster spinning like mad.

Anonymous liljoe March 30, 2015 10:31 AM  

Iran poses no threat to U.S. or its citizens, located on the opposite side of the globe and severely overmatched technologically and militarily compared to U.S. Empire. In other words, ideal target for neocons and their defense contracting war profiteer buddies.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 10:32 AM  

Don't be obtuse.

The issue is not whether Iran wants to be left alone or not, or even if it will go to war. The questions are.

1. Can Iran produce or get a nuclear weapon?
2. What is the risk of them using it?
3. Can we stop them from getting it anyway?
4. If we can, what is the cost of stopping them?

I am saying:

1. Yes
2. Low, because the Iranian government and Iranian people do not want to be remembered as those long dead people but at least they took out a bunch of Jews with them when they went.
3. Mayyyybe, but at the very least, not without...
4. Fighting WWIII

So somehow trying to make all that disappear as irrelevant or immaterial because Iran says mean things about Jews is categorically stupid.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 10:34 AM  

So somehow trying to make all that disappear as irrelevant or immaterial because Iran says mean things about Jews is categorically stupid.

Remember, neocons create their own reality.

Blogger Vox March 30, 2015 10:37 AM  

In light of Mr. van Creveld's position, do you think this was a justified response?

Certainly. It was virtually costless to disarm the black South African government. It risks WWIII to attempt to disarm the Iranian government.

I'm frankly disappointed with a few of you. Some of you are quite clearly incapable of reaching the dialectical level or changing your minds based on information. Resorting to snark and naked emotional appeals here, of all places?

The only thing that will convince people of here is that you're not ready to sit at the adult's table.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 10:38 AM  

And frankly, that Jews would be concerned about someone as volatile as the Iranian leadership getting nuclear weapons is a bit rich given it was Jews that gave nuclear secrets to Joseph Stalin, not a man known for his concerns over mass slaughter.

Now one can hardly blame the state of Israel for the actions of a cadre of communists Jews in America, and the goyim were not without their own fifth column either... but I do love the karmic aspect of that particular argument.

Blogger Vox March 30, 2015 10:41 AM  

The gentleman forgets jihad is a thing.

Considering that he has written extensively on the subject, he clearly does not. He is also aware that the global jihad is Sunni Wahabbist in nature, not Shi'ite.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 10:42 AM  

I'm frankly disappointed with a few of you. Some of you are quite clearly incapable of reaching the dialectical level or changing your minds based on information. Resorting to snark and naked emotional appeals here, of all places?

Was it anonymous conservative who wrote that some people have so much emotionally invested in a position or identity that they literally can't change it without destroying who they think they are?

I think there's a segment of folks on the right like that, especially those who are still defending right wing failures like the invasion of Iraq.

Anonymous Sensei March 30, 2015 10:43 AM  

If you recall, that was my suggestion too. But as Martin points out, the USA is the only party that both talks invasion and then goes ahead with it. Libya, in particular, assured that the Iranians were going to go nuclear. It's not hard to look at North Korea, then look at Libya, and decide, "yeah, we better get some of those ASAFP." -Vox

Granted, but I don't think it's an either-or situation. Nukes can guard against Wahabist forces almost as easily as they can guard against Western interventionalism, and Muslim memories run longer than in the West. The US is a big but temporary problem; the split in Islam is an identity level problem that Iran knows the Sunnis want to resolve asap.

I'd say it's more like the Chinese Nationalists asking for American weapons "to fight the Japanese" who were already in the country wreaking havoc, but then actually stockpiling them for the civil war they knew was coming with the Communists. They knew the Japanese would leave eventually one way or another, and that the real long term fight would be with Mao, so they used Japan as a plausible motive to get the weapons they wanted for other purposes. I think Iran is doing something similar, and the anti-Israel and anti-American rhetoric serves this purpose well.

Blogger Nate March 30, 2015 10:45 AM  

"The gentleman forgets jihad is a thing."

This is like saying Tesla forgot about the effects of frequency.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 10:46 AM  

On a side note about North Korea:

Certainly, I think having nukes gives them a blanket protection that is the envy of most world nations.

But I also think a nuclear North Korea is not pushed too hard because it actually works in American interests. China is never, ever going to allow a unified Korea that is not firmly a Chinese satellite. So if one's intention is to keep American power in the Pacific, having a nuclear North Korea allows us to maintain the current position of Japan-South Korea-USA as a bloc in the North Pacific without looking like the bad guys unreasonably scuffing up China's front lawn.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 10:55 AM  

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/03/27/phantom-new-york-times-staffer-undermines-paper/

Neocons are the Paul Krugmans of foreign policy. They're almost always going to be wildly wrong about reality.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 11:02 AM  

Yeah, but at least with economics, reality doesn't change no matter how many times politicians follow Krugman.

But I bet you can we bomb Iran enough times in the name of Israel to make all the neocon worries a reality!

Blogger JaimeInTexas March 30, 2015 11:08 AM  

Unless the enemy, or at least, the opponents is understood, any possible action/inaction is more likely to be unproductive.
If the Iranian leadership, the government, was composed of irrational actors, they would not be using proxies for the low level conflicts they have been involved.
These uSA, for the most part, are rational too, and that is why they have also used proxies for low level conflicts.
The difference is that we are supposed to live under a Constitution that is supposed to prevent the FedGov from meddling in foreign countries' without an explicit warrant by the Congress. Our corruption is from within and all the foreign stuff is to enable the internal power grab.

Blogger napari March 30, 2015 11:15 AM  

@Josh,
"The United States surrounds Iran. American religious and political leaders have repeatedly said they want to kill Iranians."
Can you provide a specific example, with some context, of this claim?

To the best of my knowledge American religious and political leaders make those type of statements specifically in the context of denying Iran nuclear weapons. No one and I do mean no one I know has ever advocated killing the Iranian people.

Anonymous Porky March 30, 2015 11:20 AM  

John McCain made his "bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" joke.

John Hagee said "blow them away in the name of the Lord"

John Bolton just wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for bombing Iran.


If Iran is making policy based upon the rantings of these few loudmouth talking heads then Bibi is absolutely justified in making policy based upon a few loudmouth mullahs.

Anonymous RedJack March 30, 2015 11:22 AM  

The concern I have isn't Iran getting nukes, they don' t have history of invading their neighbors and Persians are more rational than many.

But if Iran gets nukes, Saud will follow. They are more likely to allow a nuke to slip into the hands of a non state actor. Up to now, they have relied on Israel to keep things in line, with the US as a back up. But now they are raising an Arab army to fight ISIS.

For the US, stay out of it. There is no winning this one.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 11:26 AM  

Can you provide a specific example, with some context, of this claim?

Which claim, the military bases or the Americans saying they want to kill Iranians?

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 11:32 AM  

If Iran is making policy based upon the rantings of these few loudmouth talking heads then Bibi is absolutely justified in making policy based upon a few loudmouth mullahs.

Bibi (may he live forever, peace be upon his name) is also a loudmouth.

Blogger JaimeInTexas March 30, 2015 11:32 AM  

The gentleman forgets jihad is a thing.

Considering that he has written extensively on the subject, he clearly does not. He is also aware that the global jihad is Sunni Wahabbist in nature, not Shi'ite.

I was like everyone else at the time -- Iranians bad, evil, unjustified, for taking the hostages. Then, I grew up and slowly became more informed on history. I have concluded that we, us in these uSA, have been subjected to a propaganda campaign that is really not that uncommon and our FedGov has pulled a sleight of hand by redirecting the audience's gaze.

Iranians bad for opposing the Brits controlling their oil resources. Iranians bad for taking control of their government and kicking the Brits out of Iran. Iranians bad for taking over Iran by getting rid of Brit and uSA installed pet and not staying in the pen.

Look at Iran, do not look at Saudi Arabia.

In the meanwhile, Wahhabis built schools all over the place teaching Jihad and, since, their target was mainly the Soviets, and since the Wahhabis are our "friends" it must therefore be them Shi'ites very bad, no good.

I am all for damning the abuses by the Mullahs in Iran. But I do not forget what the Savak did for 25yrs. either.


Anonymous Curtis March 30, 2015 11:39 AM  

Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran ~ McCainiac.

And, the people you know do not have the capability to kill Iranian people. But your government sure in the hell does.

Blogger rycamor March 30, 2015 11:40 AM  

Porky March 30, 2015 11:20 AM
John McCain made his "bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" joke.

John Hagee said "blow them away in the name of the Lord"

John Bolton just wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for bombing Iran.

If Iran is making policy based upon the rantings of these few loudmouth talking heads then Bibi is absolutely justified in making policy based upon a few loudmouth mullahs.


Making a foreign policy where you mind your own business but shore up your defenses is justified in all cases. A foreign policy of intervention and bullying is the one where a real case needs to be made. And in making that case one needs to admit the possibility of severe unintended consequences. Gee, which road has the USA gone down?

Anonymous Porky March 30, 2015 11:45 AM  

Van Creveld: "They [Iran] have not waged large-scale warfare against any other country. Let alone bombed it or invaded it."

How is a a war with over half a million deaths not considered "large scale"?

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 11:51 AM  

How is a a war with over half a million deaths not considered "large scale"?

Half a million deaths isn't cool anymore.

You know what's cool? Half a BILLION deaths.

Sean Parker.

Anonymous Curtis March 30, 2015 11:55 AM  

Gee, which road has the USA gone down?

No. Seriously. It never occurred to the State Dept., CIA, NSC, and etc. that by attempting to oust Mubarak, Assad, and killing Gaddafi, we would let slip the dogs of war, by destroying the infrastructure that kept the crazies in their septic tanks. Then, turn around and call them "moderates" and arm and train them. While at the same time, condemning them.

Anonymous Porky March 30, 2015 11:58 AM  

Half a million deaths isn't cool anymore.

Perhaps. But it sounds like Crevald is equivocating when he diminishes a particularly brutal war - one in which Iran was clearly the aggressor - to reinforce an argument about Iran's supposed non-aggression. Would you agree?

Blogger napari March 30, 2015 12:07 PM  

Since my posted comment at 11:15AM no one has provided a specific that any of our religious and political leaders, here in the USA OR Israel, want to bomb the Iranian people. Including John Boltons oped in the NYT the specific context was Iran's nuclear facilities.

On the other side of the world several of Iran's religious and political leaders have plainly stated they want to wipe ALL of Israel off the map and/or destroy ALL of Israel by any means and the USA is next on their list.


There is no mistaking the different context of intent on both sides.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 12:07 PM  

Perhaps. But it sounds like Crevald is equivocating when he diminishes a particularly brutal war - one in which Iran was clearly the aggressor - to reinforce an argument about Iran's supposed non-aggression. Would you agree?

I thought Iraq invaded Iran.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 12:11 PM  

Since my posted comment at 11:15AM no one has provided a specific that any of our religious and political leaders, here in the USA OR Israel, want to bomb the Iranian people.

I did, unless you want to argue that a bombing campaign wouldn't kill Iranians.

Also see Ann Culter's famous quote about invading the Muslim world after 9/11.

I will be happy to dig up some other quotes if you like.


On the other side of the world several of Iran's religious and political leaders have plainly stated they want to wipe ALL of Israel off the map and/or destroy ALL of Israel by any means and the USA is next on their list.

Can you provide these quotes?

Anonymous Porky March 30, 2015 12:17 PM  

I thought Iraq invaded Iran.

First large scale invasion. But the bear baiting beforehand was Iran's.

Anonymous Curtis March 30, 2015 12:22 PM  

And look where bear-baiting got us in Egypt, Syria, and Libya. And Ukraine. And Yemen.

U.S. Gov. flavor of the day.

Anonymous Curtis March 30, 2015 12:24 PM  

And Iraq! Again.

If it were not for Iran. Huh?

Anonymous BigGaySteve March 30, 2015 12:32 PM  

"First, note that no country has taken nearly as long as Iran did to develop its nuclear program"

Like a dog trying to figure out how to work a doorknob. Has any nation developed nukes on their own without copying off others?


" chutzpah to deny the Holocaust."
Given how gay jews are more afraid of Bibi than savage moslems I wonder if a vote was held in Israel which they would prefer Iran stop doing, building nukes or denying the holocaust.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 12:33 PM  

Iranian should not be lumped in with the Arabs. They are incredibly cultured and nuanced people. They do, however, have some of the most fundamentalist nut jobs that Islam has created. Their religious police rape women who don't cover up enough on the streets. If you listen to their pronouncements you will see they are utterly dissociated from the reality we know. And Iran is nothing like Iran and India, so comparisons fall short.

After listening to the debate here, it seems that people do not believe that Iranians are capable of taking their holy book seriously - with its commands to kill the 'Satanic' Jews. But we know that ISIS do. So why not Iranian zealots.

All it takes is one religious nutcase leader to be willing to die for his faith. And Iran are known for their ability to let half-wits hold the reigns of power. Google Ahmadinejad's quotes. And of course, no religious zealots ever die for their faith, do they.

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 12:38 PM  

After listening to the debate here, it seems that people do not believe that Iranians are capable of taking their holy book seriously - with its commands to kill the 'Satanic' Jews. But we know that ISIS do. So why not Iranian zealots.

Why not Pakistani zealots?

Blogger Josh March 30, 2015 12:39 PM  

Google Ahmadinejad's quotes.

He's not in office anymore.

Anonymous Curtis March 30, 2015 12:45 PM  

All it takes is one religious nutcase leader to be willing to die for his faith.

All it takes is for one nut-job to bait Egypt, Syria, Libya, in the name of democracy and freedumb, and woman, and children, and LGBT, and abortion freedumb, and democracy, again, and destroy the infrastructure, that let slip the dogs of war called ISIS/CIA flavor of the day, that you mirror to Iran.

Anonymous Curtis March 30, 2015 12:53 PM  

And by the way, 50 Million plus slaughtered unborn children in the U.S.A., plus the growing Police State, the growing animosity to Christians, and etc., I think "Great Satan" has a certain ring to it.

But heaven forbid we clean the house of democracy and hubris. USA! USA! USA!

Maybe if we pulled the Muslim out of our eye?

Anonymous BigGaySteve March 30, 2015 12:53 PM  

"Google Ahmadinejad's quotes. He's not in office anymore."

Unless you can read his mother tongue you are depending on someone to translate it they way they want. But less nooks near the hands of savages is better.

Blogger James Jones March 30, 2015 1:03 PM  

Big Gay Steve. My Iranian girlfriend introduced me to the wonderful world of Ahmadinejad's mind. You really don't need to speak the language to know that the quotes are an accurate portrayal - trust me.

And Josh. You miss the point. It's not whether he is in power now. It is the fact that he ever got into power after being certified insane. And believe need, you've really got to go some to be certified insane in Iran.

Blogger JohnG March 30, 2015 1:11 PM  

Appeal to Authority?! Meh, so you can trot out one smart guy saying the Iranians are fine, they're just being cagey and only want to discourage us from invading. I imagine Jews could be found that would like to go to the 67 borders too, and letting all the "refugess" back would be a great idea as well.

If one take this all with the great big Libertarian pacifist grain-of-salt, the fact remains that the gamble is intirely that the Iranians are rational by our standards, and really do care whether half of their people get nuked as a response... despite the temptation that 10's of thousands of dead Jews would be. You would also have to gamble that all that Shiite apocolyptic stuff is just talk to excite the rabble - as opposed to the true beliefs of the (clerical) leadership of the country. Which is a typical problem westerners have dealing with these people. There's no true believers, everybody can be bought off if the bribe is right.

The Iran never attacked anybody *directly* line is a bunch of crap. Iran's hands are very gory, and everybody knows who the instigator is. The Libertarian contortions and excuse making are truly amazing to watch, reminds me of Pat Buchanan (and another Libertarian religious figure) trying to hang their hat on the 2007 NIE, which everybody knew to be complete and utter BS.

Your choice B) is also wrong. What would it take to fix the problem? About half a dozen tactical nukes on the facilities, cave them in. World war? I think not. Who in the world would come to Iran's aid? They're like a leper than has something a bunch of people need.

Blogger Jourdan March 30, 2015 1:13 PM  

Wanting the analysis to be different, or wishing that the U.S. had a radically different foreign policy, or had handled things differently in the past doesn't change the analysis of what the real existing USG will do in the real world.

If these talks fail, and the word I'm hearing here in Washington is they are likely to fail, the USG will seek authorization for, and will take, military action.

Anonymous Heaviside March 30, 2015 1:28 PM  

Che and Mao explicitly said that they were willing to sacrifice large fractions of their populations in a nuclear war if it would secure a victory for communism, and yet nothing happened.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 1:35 PM  

Well I have to admit: The girlfriend of some guy on the internet is the most interesting appeal to authority I've ever seen.

Look - for the slow learners. It doesn't matter if Iran wants us all dead. What matters is if they want us dead at the cost of themselves. Col. Kratman wrote last week that if you gave ever Chinese citizen a button and said if they pushed it, all the Japanese would die, the average Chinese citizen would push it twice.

And yet the nuclear power China has not nuked the (officially) non-nuclear power of Japan.

But oh noez, one country harbors bad intentions towards one of our allies if they thought they could get away with it scot-free. Send in the cavalry!


Anonymous Frank Brady March 30, 2015 1:51 PM  

Martin van Creveld has it exactly right. Unfortunately, as many posts here make clear beyond question, the combination of decades of neocon propaganda demonizing Iran (and now Russia) combined with a large low information segment of the population is a very dangerous combination.

Neoconservatives like John Bolton (who holds dual Israeli/American citizenship) are not only a threat to international peace, they are traitors acting as agents of a foreign power (Israel). I used to believe that if the many still-loyal fans of Bush's War on Terror ever learned how many of Bush's Iraq War advisors were Israeli citizens (and there were dozens, starting with Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz), it would change their point of view. I no longer believe that because too many of them drank ALL the Kool Aid

.

OpenID bernardbrandt March 30, 2015 1:57 PM  

A lot of the discussion in this thread has devolved into a ‘he said, she said’ sort of nonsense. It can be summarized as “some crazy mullahs have called for the destruction of Israel; but some crazy rabbis have called for the destruction of Iran” or “the President of Iran called for the destruction of Israel, but Ronnie Reagan once joked about bombing Russia, or Johnny McCain once joked about bombing Iran.

Other than displaying the fallacy of ‘Tu Quoque’, most of the discussion fails to deal with the facts of who said what among the leaders of Iran. I would suggest that those in the present audience who are able to read critically take the time to do so, of the following entries:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Israel_relations

Anyone who bothers to do so will find that the calls for the destruction of Israel by Iran, are not simply “…a single phrase in a speech made years ago by an ex-leader, which was clearly meant for a domestic audience…”, but the consistent policy and practice of Iran’s political, religious, and military leaders since 1978 and to the present.

Oh, and for the snowflake who thought that Jews were being treated well in the present state of Iran, I suggest that he read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Iran

And if he can’t read, then the short version is this: Iranian Jews, who had been living there for the last two and a half millennia, left in droves after the fall of the Shah. A few thousand now remain. Those few are not being treated well.

I’m not saying this to call for U.S. bombing of Iran: it ain’t a-gonna happen. Not under The Great and Powerful O’s watch, and certainly not under Billary’s watch, should we have the triple misfortune of having her as President. And it ain’t gonna be done by Israel, either. While one has to parse a few rumors to see what’s happening, it is unlikely that the U.S. King of Folly would permit Bibi to cross U.S. controlled space to get to or from Iran. Maybe in the unlikely event that from the clown car of Republican presidential campaigning emerges a viable candidate who actually wins the ’16 election.

But by then it will be far too late.

OpenID bernardbrandt March 30, 2015 2:00 PM  

(continued)

Let me show you where we are just now.

http://www.socialmatter.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/its-happening.jpg

At this point, we are at stage 3: “You didn’t listen”. Your collective mistake (including that of Dr. van Crevald, for whom I have the greatest respect) was borne out of your strength, as rational economic agents. You assumed that since a rational economic agent would not destroy the world to achieve his ends, that the leadership of Iran would not do so either. You didn’t listen to their Iran’s leaders, who repeatedly stated that it would be worth the destruction of Iran or of the Arab world to encompass the destruction of Israel. You didn’t listen, to the repeated calls of “Death to America” and the destruction of “the Great Satan” by those leaders. And you didn’t listen, when the military leaders of Iran made plain their intentions to use a near orbit missile and a large nuclear device to cripple the U.S. with EMP (links to that from my comment on another page, which apparently got me labeled as a “neo-con”). Bibi tried to tell you all this, twice, but again, you didn’t listen.

You didn’t listen, and now it will cost. Two megaton weapons, smuggled in, would be sufficient to destroy Haifa and Tel Aviv, which in turn would be sufficient to destroy Israel. Israel, of course, would in their death throes use their combined military and their estimated 300+ nuclear weapons to turn Iran and most of the rest of the Arab world into a self-illuminating parking lot. While I suppose that this could be considered to be a victory for Israel, it would be the sort of victory which we have learned to call “Pyrrhic”.

And a one metric ton thermonuclear device, placed in a Shehab 6 missile and lobbed 300 km above North Dakota, would be more than sufficient to create a condition in the continental US that would disable both U.S. military and industrial capacity, not to mention to cause the deaths of millions of Americans, in a manner which would make Pearl Harbor seem a child’s tea party by comparison. For further details, I suggest that you read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-altitude_nuclear_explosion

You have assumed that since the sequelae of a preemptive military strike against Iran would be World War III, that there would be no other possible worse consequences to a failure to take such action. I believe, for the foregoing reasons, that you may be mistaken in your assumptions.

Finally, the charge has been made that only ‘neo-cons’ have been opposed to Iran’s obtaining nuclear weapons. In addition to being an ‘ad-hominem argument’, it is false in my case. For my part, I have been a libertarian/conservative for more than the last 40 years, and what could be considered to be a ‘paleo-conservative’ for the last 30. Neither in terms of the length of time that I have been a conservative, nor in my political philosophy, could I be considered to be a ‘neo-con’.

Have a nice day.


Anonymous Frank Brady March 30, 2015 2:02 PM  

@James Jones, one who consistently tries to advance the neocon world view might be a bit more circumspect when publically assessing the state of anyone else's mental health, no matter how many nationalities of women he may have dated.

@JohnG, what makes you think the Iranians are irrational? Surrounded by hyper-aggressive and nuclear armed adversaries (the U.S. and Israel) which have already engaged in in-country assassinations of Iranian scientists and military leaders, the Mullahs may have somehow observed that small countries with a nuclear capability don't get invaded. Sounds perfectly rational to me.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 2:03 PM  

Bernardbrant,

And yet, you successfully avoid all the important questions.

Assuming today that the American political establishment were uniformly in favor of preventing Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon:

1) What would be the price?
2) Should we pay it.

Quit putzing around with the blame game and how you're all on top of the solutions but them Democrats are holding you back. Give us your expected butchers bill for invading Iran.

And a justification for why American citizens should pay it.

Blogger JDC March 30, 2015 2:06 PM  

And rabbis in Israel have stated Israel should nuke Germany. Does that justify a US attack on Israel? Hell, Martin himself has been misquoted as saying that Israel has Europe's capitals targeted. Does that justify Italy and Russia attacking Israel?

Do some of you truly not realize that your logic cuts both ways?


I personally think it is ridiculous that we continue to use 9-11 as a means to bomb, invade and otherwise occupy other countries for the purpose of keeping us safe. IMO however I think there are important differences in the following statements, two bogus and one real.

1. Imams declaring that Israel and the U.S. should be obliterated.
2. Rabbi's declaring that Israel should nuke Germany or (insert your muslim country)
3. The RCC or the Southern Baptist convention declaring that Iran should be nuked.

Which statement, based upon the authority they have in their milieu's should we take more seriously? I submit #1 is the real threat, and frankly the only credible statement we have on the books - because the Imam's have sway and authority that the religious leaders in Israel and the U.S. don't have. It's not justification for war, but the cutting blade is more keen on the side of the militant Muslim religious leaders.

Anonymous Frank Brady March 30, 2015 2:07 PM  

@bernardbrandt Well, your citation of Wikipedia certainly cinches your argument. It may be that the reason some of "don't listen" is because many of the claims that Iran's leaders threatened to "wipe Israel from the face of the earth" were deliverate lies, put forward by the usual suspects in this country and in Israel.

Anonymous Eric Ashley March 30, 2015 2:08 PM  

Alexander....bout 'slow learners'....that question is about an eigth grade understanding. Assume e everyone here gets that.

I still don't see WW 3 either.

Anonymous Curtis March 30, 2015 2:11 PM  

You folks worry to much. Don't you know, that the U.S. is building a New World, as envisioned by our leaders/founders of the United Nations, and when we are successful, and we will be, that it will pave the way for the Jews to build a 3rd Temple? Have some patience. One can only imagine what it is going to take for the Jews to look up, and fall on their knee's.

Anonymous jack March 30, 2015 2:11 PM  

As has been stated in this and other forums, Israel has only to make that one mistake, say one or two medium powerful nukes, to get pass the defense and that small country is not habitable for thousands of years. They could come by missile or in trucks carrying cabbages. Iran, now, may take many bombs to become a ground mounted glass window.
Pakistan: mention frequently above, as having never nuked anyone. Remember India? Pakistan so much as tries launch a nuke and India reacts with extreme prejudice. They are balanced, if you can call it that, in a dance of terror. Unless you have no choice who would want to live there. Or, Iran, or Israel, or anywhere in the middle east these days?
In my favorite game, backgammon, if you are the technically superior player you always want to complicate the situation to allow your greater ability, over the long run, not necessarily the short haul, to prevail. In may be that the PTB feel this is one of their primary advantages.
I hate living on a game board.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 2:12 PM  

Eric,

You say that, but this discussion thread indicates otherwise. Apparently, hate speech is justification for full-scale invasion of a sovereign country.

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales March 30, 2015 2:14 PM  

@James Jones

"The USA was not full of bad people when it nuked Hiroshima."

Oh great, another one of you fuckers who thinks nuking Hiroshima was the worst thing in the world, when in reality, it was the least bad of all available situations. Whenever I see Buddhist or Shinto looking motherfuckers in Japan looking all angry and steely eyed when they commemorate the nuking of Hiroshima, I want to shove rusty pineapples up their asses so that maybe they can get a vision of what an invasion of mainland Japan would have looked like and see horrors and body counts that would have made Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like little debbies snack cakes compared to a wedding cake.

Anonymous Eric Ashley March 30, 2015 2:17 PM  

Alexander, if I threatened to kill you would that justify you shooting first?

I think it would, which is one reason I am not making that threat.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 2:20 PM  

If I said I'm not going to try and kill you specifically but I'm going to bomb your house, and every house next to it, until I approved of your neighborhood bylaws, would that justify you in shooting first?

It think it would.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 2:22 PM  

But really, that's one of the reasons?

So you *want* to threaten to kill me, but you won't because you fear my retaliation.

Well it sucks for me that I have someone that wants me dead, but I am fairly certain law enforcement would take a dim view of me citing an internet post as a right to figure out where you live and track you down potentially thousands of miles away and shoot you. So you can sleep easy.

Anonymous Frank Brady March 30, 2015 2:31 PM  

Emmanuel Mateo-Morales " You wrote.

"Oh great, another one of you fuckers who thinks nuking Hiroshima was the worst thing in the world, when in reality, it was the least bad of all available situations. Whenever I see Buddhist or Shinto looking motherfuckers in Japan looking all angry and steely eyed when they commemorate the nuking of Hiroshima, I want to shove rusty pineapples up their asses so that maybe they can get a vision of what an invasion of mainland Japan would have looked like and see horrors and body counts that would have made Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like little debbies snack cakes compared to a wedding cake.

Well maybe, "fucker" if you'd get your head out of your own ass and stop buying every piece of propaganda that's shoved up it, you would learn that the whole "we nuked Hiroshima to save American lives when we invaded" story is a "fucking lie" and has been since it was first spun.

In fact, the Japanese high command was negotiating for a surrender for weeks before the bombing, requesting that Japan be allowed to keep its Emperor. The U.S. held out for "unconditional surrender" (until they used the bomb twice, apparently to impress the Soviets)--after which we agreed to let Japan keep its Emperor any way.

Anonymous cheddarman March 30, 2015 2:32 PM  

1) Porky,

How do you arrive at the conclusion that Iran was the aggressor in the Iran-Iraq war? Both sides ratcheted up the level of hostilities, including border skirmishes. Iraq was the first party to invade and occupy the territory of Iran.

2) John G, who has Iran attacked in the last 35 or so years? In that time period, the U.S. has committed numerousl international acts of aggression. We invaded Panama, Grenada and Iraq, and we have destabilized a number of governments throughout the world, including Ukraine, Libya, and we are trying to destabilize Syria and Russia. If there is blood on any nations' hands, it is ours.

Anonymous Frank Brady March 30, 2015 2:33 PM  

@Alexander: You wrote, "If I said I'm not going to try and kill you specifically but I'm going to bomb your house, and every house next to it, until I approved of your neighborhood bylaws, would that justify you in shooting first?"

Oh, I don't know, Alexander. Why don't you try that defense at your trial for First Degree Murder and see how it works out for you.

Anonymous Frank Brady March 30, 2015 2:37 PM  

Iraq initiated the war with Iran. The U.S. encouraged the Iraqi attacked and supplied Iraq during the course of the war.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 2:40 PM  

Just so we all grasp the big picture.

The same people who are willing to push war with a nuclear-armed Russia, because anti-gay propaganda law and a border squabble between slavs are asking us to please, please take into account that the Iranian leadership simply isn't rational enough to be allowed big boy weapons.

Blogger JDC March 30, 2015 2:59 PM  

The same people who are willing to push war with a nuclear-armed Russia, because anti-gay propaganda law

Pearl Harbor = Pussy Riot being arrested and imprisoned.

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales March 30, 2015 2:59 PM  

Emmanuel Mateo-Morales " You wrote.

@Frank Brady

"Oh great, another one of you fuckers who thinks nuking Hiroshima was the worst thing in the world, when in reality, it was the least bad of all available situations. Whenever I see Buddhist or Shinto looking motherfuckers in Japan looking all angry and steely eyed when they commemorate the nuking of Hiroshima, I want to shove rusty pineapples up their asses so that maybe they can get a vision of what an invasion of mainland Japan would have looked like and see horrors and body counts that would have made Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like little debbies snack cakes compared to a wedding cake.

Well maybe, "fucker" if you'd get your head out of your own ass and stop buying every piece of propaganda that's shoved up it, you would learn that the whole "we nuked Hiroshima to save American lives when we invaded" story is a "fucking lie" and has been since it was first spun.

"In fact, the Japanese high command was negotiating for a surrender for weeks before the bombing, requesting that Japan be allowed to keep its Emperor. The U.S. held out for "unconditional surrender" (until they used the bomb twice, apparently to impress the Soviets)--after which we agreed to let Japan keep its Emperor any way."


Yeah, Japanese high command was so fucking peaceful that they tried kidnapping Hirohito so that they keep the war going even after the bombs were dropped. :P \

After the fucking angry looking Shinto and Buddhist fuckers are done being pissed for wanting the worst possible outcome to happen to their country, take that rusty pineapple I mentioned and shove it up your cornhole to you dirty Nihonophile apologist.

I'll give the Japs this though: after seeing the bombs drop, they certainly weren't stupid enough to try and use all of the terrible biological and chemical WMD's they had made and tested on Chinese peasants and POWS they had, though considering that even after the bombs dropped, they were still ready and willing to continue the war, one has to wonder and how miraculous it was that they saw that a mainline invasion of Japan wasn't going to end well for them and choose life rather than long, drawn out death.

Anonymous Frank Brady March 30, 2015 3:15 PM  

@ Emmanuel Mateo-Morales

You wrote,, "Yeah, Japanese high command was so fucking peaceful that they tried kidnapping Hirohito so that they keep the war going even after the bombs were dropped. :P \"

Well, that certainly makes a lot of sense. Just how in your perfervid mind was that going to work???

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 3:19 PM  

Yeah, but you have to appreciate how finely fought the war was. Were the nukes over the top? Maybe. But a different roll of the dice would have had the Japanese landing forces from Seattle to San Diego...

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales March 30, 2015 3:28 PM  

@Frank Brady

Ah, so you admit that a not unsubstantial number of Japan's influential leaders were still willing and able (certainly able to considering the large numbers of soldiers and militarized populace they had) to keep things going and that it took a lot of bashing from the far less powerful and smaller 'peace faction,' miraculous bashing that could have easily swung out of Hirohito's favor.

So, in other words, you admit that, even after the bombs were dropped, Japan was still a rabid dog ready to fight off a far more costly mainland invasion. So, in other words, you admit dropping the bombs was the best option and can offer no better option, since clearly, all attempt at pure diplomacy meant jack shit as the Japanese leaders were not nearly as willing to capitulate to pure diplomacy as you made them out to be.

Here's some fucking actually accurate description of history so next time, you don't fucking act like dropping the bombs was the best possible way Japan would have fucking bowed and paid for all those East asian peasants and folks they killed in Pearl Harbor they thought they were hot shit enough to get away with killing, you Nihonophile.

http://www.pjtv.com/?cmd=mpg&mpid=56&load=1808

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmIBbcxseXM

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales March 30, 2015 3:37 PM  

"Yeah, but you have to appreciate how finely fought the war was. Were the nukes over the top? Maybe. But a different roll of the dice would have had the Japanese landing forces from Seattle to San Diego..."

My fucking God. For fuck's sake. I know Spock's 'needs of the many out-way the needs of the few,' logic has been fucking used and twisted by fucking Commies and always lead to bad fucking things there, but fuck it if that wasn't the problem facing the US with regards to Japan.

You don't get to be fucking snarky little shit mop on a high horse when, if faced between a bigger slaughter and hardship and a littler slaughter and littler hardship when there are no other viable options available, you'd choose the fucking bigger one just because there'd be less fallout. There wouldn't be less bodies, orphans, and crippled people, but hey, at least there's no pesky radiation.

Hence why you should stop worrying about all the bad things the bombs caused like those sour grape Shinto and Buddhist fuckers who commemorate the bombs and think about all of the even greater horrors that would have happened had they not been dropped, because the fucking Japanese government was willing to bet their people's farm on continuing the war and only just barely capitulated after witnessing the power of the atom.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 3:42 PM  

Calm your ass down. Everyone who has been at VD longer than ten minutes knows what I was making a joke to, and it had nothing to do with anything you or Frank wrote. If you don't know enough about the community to not go into a rage over it, then you need to shut up and read a bit before you post.

I shouldn't have said it because the real old school Ilk get annoyed when we relatively young fish bring it back up, but search the blog for 'Michelle Malkin'.

And realize this is a community of people, not some place where you can just start screaming.

Anonymous Heaviside March 30, 2015 3:43 PM  

If America had just capitulated to Japan, and then they wouldn't have needed to drop any bombs at all. It is completely false that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary, that's just imperialist propaganda. People who repeat such lies ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous Eric Ashley March 30, 2015 3:48 PM  

Sure it would.... which is why "hate speech" justifies war. I agree with L E Modestit And L amour......a threat is as good as a deed.

Now I have nothing against you other than you don't realize that the insight that mullahs would like Jews to die, but are afraid of the consequences is something we all didn't know.

Anonymous Frank Brady March 30, 2015 3:48 PM  

@Emmanuel Mateo-Morales

Wow! Your Prager "University" and You Tube video links sure do trump my Truman Library resources. I bow to your superior researching capabilities. You just keep on fucking.

Blogger luagha March 30, 2015 3:50 PM  

Ah well. I wish I could have gotten in on this discussion at the beginning. Should have checked in the moment I woke up.

Vox's referring to Martin Creveld is an argument from authority. Which is great, because he's a hell of an authority. You can't just say, 'I think you're wrong' and hope to pull it off. You have to address his every argument and beat them meaningfully.

Who runs Iran? The Ayatollah runs Iran. Everything follows from his words. Everyone else, no matter how elected, is just a functionary, a manager trying to run a portfolio according to the Ayatollah.

So I give an interesting quibble about Ayatollah Khamenei. As per http://www.bostonreview.net/world/ganji-khamenei-israel, before he was Ayatollah, Khamenei did speak in the standard death-to-Israel style. Yet, after becoming Ayatollah, his words changed. They became more circumspect, less specific. Always making it clear that he wished Israel's destruction, but never specifically at Iran's hands, with his fingers on the button.

Serious message discipline. And it fits right in with Iran's use of deniable terrorist groups to pressure others, like Hamas and Hezbollah. It's not Iran pressing the button or pulling the trigger, but they're certainly giving the support, money, training, and protection for others to do so.

So this gets to the real question that underpins the entire discussion. Iran: Are they realists, or are they fantasists?

Blogger luagha March 30, 2015 3:50 PM  


If Iran acts as a realist, then nuclear weapons make them immune to conventional attack on their soil while they can exert their influence through money, spies, terror groups, and Shiite revolution.

If Iran acts as a fantasist, they will press the button according to some imagined slight, danger, or when they feel the time is religiously advantageous.

So we ask, which way has Iran acted in the past? As realists. The realist path is what they are doing right now, so it stands to reason they'll just do it better and harder when they have a nuclear umbrella.

In fact, the way Iran is acting now is exactly the same way Persia acted in the time of the Persian Empire, before Islam. They had about ten different subject peoples, and the Persian army could defeat any one of them at any one time. If any three of the ten could group together and attack the Persians while convincing the others to sit out, they'd take the top spot; but they never could. The Persians were too good at playing them off against one another, wasting their energy, infiltrating them with spies and so forth, so that an enemy coalition could never rise without some of the others joining the Persians to keep them down. The realist and hands-off approach is totally the Persian style from times immemorial.

So I agree with Creveld's conclusion although I might have disagreements in minor quantity as to the weighting of certain points.

There are a few things I think critical that I don't see in the excerpt above which Creveld may handle elsewhere.

First, there is the question of safety. Can a current Iran keep its nuclear weapons safe? The US hasn't yet had an accidental detonation or a full theft although we've supposedly been very close a few times, and neither has any other country to our knowledge. Given what we know about the Persian character, I would say yes.

Second, the reaction. It's been said that Iran getting the bomb leads to many of the other Middle Eastern Arab states being required to get the bomb so as to get back to parity. Can THEY keep a bomb safe from accidental detonation or theft?

Here we get into the difference between a Persian Muslim and an Arab Muslim. I say no, on the basis of character, IQ, bell curve, and all the wonderful things we talk about here. I think the Arab Muslim countries have too many crazies and the people at the top don't have enough control. You can get an Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood suddenly finds themselves in control of nuclear weapons faster than they can be shipped out of the country a la South Africa.

So Iran getting the bomb means Saudi Arabia and Egypt need the bomb, which means something bad happens from their end the next time their government flips. This is exactly the evil argument that gun banners use against Second Amendment types like myself - "You might be safe and well trained, but if we give everyone this right, some idiots will get it, so we have to take your rights away." And well, that's one thing for personal arms - 'anything a man can take into his hands and on his person to defend himself with' - versus nuclear weapons.

Thirdly and less seriously, we have the logical structure called the 'Obamapositive' (kind of like the contrapositive). Since we know that everything Obama does will be wrong for the United States and wrong for the world, and he's in favor of this; we can be logically assured that it is wrong and will have horrible effects. Since the stakes are so high, the horrible effects will similarly be high.

Since my logical argument against van Creveld can only defeat him with the 'Obamapositive' I have to agree with his stated conclusion - Iran is not going to just up and nuke Israel. Yet the Obamapositive still stands, and horror will come of this action.

Anonymous Heaviside March 30, 2015 4:02 PM  

The Allied bombing of civilian targets was worse than the Holocaust. No amount of American propaganda can change that. The Japanese and the German people deserve reparations for the war, in excess of what the Israelis and the jews have received.

Anonymous A.B. Prosper March 30, 2015 4:05 PM  

Iranian nukes do not threaten the US and Israel while in range isn't a US State, Territory, Province or Protectorate of any kind. Its a separate nation and at best marginal ally.

So even if the worst were true and the Iranian were insane and actually wanted to nuke Israel its not our problem since Israel has as many deliverable nuclear warheads and take care of itself.

What's got Israel and its Neo-Con puppets upset is that this will kettle the US and Israel, which to the Neo-Cons are apparently the same country . Worse other nations will want nukes and we could end up with a situation where pulling another Iraq or Afghanistan is basically no longer possible nor if these weapons proliferate, will other nations be able to be used as proxies for large scale war. This won't bring peace but will reduce warfare to raiding and dirty work which is something that doesn't benefit us.

Also if Israel really felt that Iranian nukes were an existential threat, they could push the proverbial button now and glass them. They won't for a lot of good reasons but the option is there and a such they face no real danger,

The real risk comes if some idiot Neo-Con gets to be President in 2016 and decides that we need to go and have a preemptive war for Israels sake before Iran gets the nukes. On those grounds, for all his flaws Obama or another Leftist like him is actually a much better bet for the US . Obama is at least not Israel's puppet.

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 4:07 PM  

That is a fair point. The Obamapositive effect alone is worth giving the issue a second look.

Curious academic question for the interested - what is the last society that could develop a nuclear bomb short of having one just handed to them. I can't see the Africans ever coming up with one, and I have less-than-stellar odds on HispAtzlan... though Brazil, maybe? So I don't know how far proliferation goes anyway in a post-Iran world. Saudi could maybe buy in the outside help, but that seems to me to be the absolute bottom line on it.

In fact, if you want to talk about future threats, European nuclear-armed powers being overtaken by their Muslim populations. I'd fear Pakistani-Britain more than Pakistan, to say nothing of Maghreb France. If one is considering future risks, we'd be much better off bombing western Europe than Iran.

Blogger Dystopic March 30, 2015 4:14 PM  

Vox, a couple questions for you, sir.

A desire to deter an American attack is a reasonable explanation. Yet, I have to wonder. If Iran had nukes would they conveniently "lose" one to their terrorist puppets? And, should they "lose" said device to those terrorists, what would the terrorists do with it? Perhaps attack their perceived enemies (Israel, America, Europe, etc...)?

If Iran can support an attack on its perceived enemies through proxies, and offer plausible deniability, would they do so?

Anonymous Alexander March 30, 2015 4:17 PM  

If a nuclear bomb actually went off in Tel Aviv, New York City, London...

... how much shit do you think Israelis, America, or England would give about 'plausible deniability'?

Blogger JaimeInTexas March 30, 2015 4:20 PM  

Emmanuel Mateo-Morales, it is a documented fact that the Japanese attempted to negotiate a surrender for a long time before the a-bombs were dropped. Read Herbert Hoover's Freedom Betrayed, as an example.

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