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What game are the Iranians playing?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 30, 2007

This situation, in a purely clinical sense, becomes more and more interesting:
The letter, signed by Leading Seaman Faye Turney, the only woman in the naval crew seized last Friday, was addressed to "representatives of the House of Commons". Although the letter was handwritten, it was stilted and lacked the personal tone of the first letter, sent to her family the day before. The second letter appeared to have been dictated to her.

"Unfortunately during the course of our mission we entered Iranian waters. Even through our wrongdoing, they have still treated us well and humanely, which I am and always will be eternally grateful," the letter said.

"I ask representatives of the House of Commons after the government had promised this type of incident would not happen again why have they let this occur and why has the government not been questioned over this? Isn't it time for us to start withdrawing forces from Iraq and let them determine their own future?"
I really feel for this woman because it is her the Iranians have chosen to use and when I say 'use', I mean it literally. She is the pawn because they think that she will evoke a level of sympathy for her plight which will stay the hand of the British militarily. Much the same thought process that was in place prior to Desert Storm when Saddam showed video of himself with a British child.

And, of course, the Iranians have backed off of their promise to let her go citing their dissatisfaction with the British response thus far. I figure they also know that Turney will blow the whistle on this charade as soon as she's out of there and have thus decided that it isn't in their best propaganda interest to let her go.

Meanwhile PM Tony Blair keeps increasing the pressure on Iran while giving them an out:
Tony Blair said he was still willing to put the whole incident down to a "misunderstanding". "The important thing is we just keep making it very clear to the Iranian government it is not a situation that will be relieved by anything but the unconditional release of all our people," he said.
The unconditional release has to remain a non-negotiable issue. The UK also got the UN to release a statement on the issue, for whatever good that will do.

The Iranian's response has been anything but encouraging. In fact it has been almost a mirror image of their response to the nuclear question. Become totally intransigent:
The Iranian response was to dig in. An offer of diplomatic access to the British captives and to release Leading Seaman Turney was dropped.

The head of the country's national security council, Ari Larijani, told state TV that the British government had "miscalculated this issue, and if they follow through with the threats, the case may face a legal path", an apparent reference to a future trial.
It appears that the issue is headed to a "who will blink first" conclusion. And at some point, the Brits know they'll be faced with the decision of making an attempt to free their hostages or suffering the humiliation the Iranians appear fully determined to inflict.

On the Iranian side, I'm not sure they understand they've jumped the shark on this one. Previously when they did this in 2004, as mentioned, they essentially suffered a little slap on the wrist. That is what Blair is offering at this time. But at some point, that offer will be shelved and other options considered. And what Iran is now doing is providing the coalition (yes, that includes the US) the perfect reason to attack key Iranian targets such as their navy, airforce and nuclear facilities. A 95% completed nuclear plant could end up as rubble because of this. Why would a "rational actor" give his enemies that perfect reason to do what they've been trying to justify for some time?

The cost may be the lives of 15 UK servicemembers, when it is all said and done, but it is Iran who will receive the world's condemnation if that happens, at least for the most part (the usual anti-American bloc notwithstanding).

Iran has, as we understand, sent a note to the UK:
Last night the Foreign Office said it was giving "serious consideration" to a confidential note from the Iranian government about the 15 captives. A spokeswoman said the note's contents could not be discussed but would receive a formal response.
One can only wonder if it is more defiance or the Iranians finally figuring out the possible detrimental consequences of its actions.

Iran has put itself is a situation of their choosing. It's a bad choice. Everyone, at this point, pretty well sides with the UK in this and understands that Iran is the perpetrator and is acting irresponsibly. The question remains - why?
 
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Note at the Arab league Iran was an honored guest, and the crisis with Britain was not mentioned. The Saudis condemned American policy in Iraq in a startling rebuff to President Bush. The Saudis also surprised the White House by having conciliatory talks with Iran a couple weeks ago. The Saudis seem to be signalling that they want to create a regional settlement of disputes and cut the Americans out. If there is a war with Iran, don’t expect the Saudis to bail us out with a surge in oil production. All of this signals one thing: a loss of American power in the world/Mideast, and that former allies no longer see it as useful to play the game our way. This is the kind of thing I was warning about when I predicted that the Iraq war would likely lead to a major decline in American power and status in the world. Of course, having the Saudis as close allies was always problematic, but their policy shift is a big deal — if they actually mean it and follow through with it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Ignoring the Saudi issue (and frankly I’d love to see us just drop them like last night’s hooker) I think McQ is making a couple of errors here.

Mainly it’s the assumption of "western" rational thought. The Iranians don’t think like we do. Right now they look strong for having taking 15 brits, and not releasing them. It doesn’t matter if the British can prove 100% that their people were in Iraqi waters. What matters is the response. If Iran is attacked in any way shape or form the region will have one massive, simultanious coniption. "We have been attacked without cause, our people have been murdered" is exactly what I expect Ama-whatsits response to be (and it’s it that comment exactly I’m gonna demand a job with the Govt.).

I also expect there to be an attempt to free the brits by end of next week. They will send an SAS unit to get their people, and it will most likely fail (due to horrible and false intel, not because I don’t think the SAS coundn’t do it). That will take this to a new level, and we’ll be stuck with something like ’79 and the US hostigaes.

It should be noted that Ama-whatever was involved in holding the US hostages, which means he’s an old had at being a son of a bitch.
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
The Iranians don’t think like we do.
They don’t? I think they are making the same mistake we made back in 2003 — overestimating their strategic position. They essentially want to be treated with respect and believe the West has been making ultimatums and threats, including arresting Iranians in Iraq who they claim were diplomats. If we keep giving them ultimatums and making threats, they’ll do the same back. Either both sides will back down and compromise, or it’ll blow up. We live in interesting times.

About the Saudis: a decade or so ago we could have dropped them on our terms. Now it’s possible they’re dumping us on their terms. We’ve been relying on the Saudis to simply keep the oil flowing through crises in the region. But now they see demand expanding to other markets, they may not have the reserves they claim they have, and the US is not as important to them anymore. Some say they’re doing this as a kind of gesture to Speaker Pelosi (trying to get in good with the Democrats or support their efforts to extricate the US from Iraq), but given their regional diplomacy and potential "detente" with Iran, they could be undertaking a new policy direction. How should/can we react? King Abdullah also cancelled a gala dinner President Bush was going to throw for him in his honor next month because it was "inconvenient." That’s only symbolic, but the message is clear.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So don’t send the SAS. Instead, tell the Iranians that we rate those hostages at 1 hostage = 10,000 Iranians, and if they aren’t released in 24 hours, towns and cities = 150,000 population will be erased from the world. Then do it.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
The Saudis continually say one thing publicly and do another privately.

For all you know they’re playing with Iran on a public level to further encourage their idiocy with the coalition in the hopes that we’ll whack them hard and reduce the Saudi problem of Shiite Vs Sunni in Iraq. You do, I trust recall that not too long ago they were mumbling about support for the Sunni’s against Iran’s support for the Shiites in the event of a sudden US withdrawal?

For the Iranians part - I think they believe they’re living in 1979, Ahmawhackjob probably remembers those days rather fondly. They can once again humiliate a western power (and a US proxy to boot), which will play later in any bluster the West makes about their nuke program. This is all about showing the Arab world they’re not afraid, who was actually where on the map "don’t enter into it". They have the hostages and short of an ArcLight strike on Tehran are probably willing to lose some equipment and men to further encourage the Arab world to view them as the new Iraq when it comes to dealing with the West.

They’re also figuring out who their public non-Arab allies will be in a cheap standoff trial balloon that they can let loose of any time. They probably think this will tell them where their buddies are going to be on the UN (Russia, Indonesia anyone?) councils when the serious crap rolls down the hill as they bring the nuke plant on line.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
McQ writes:
On the Iranian side, I’m not sure they understand they’ve jumped the shark on this one. Previously when they did this in 2004, as mentioned, they essentially suffered a little slap on the wrist. That is what Blair is offering at this time. But at some point, that offer will be shelved and other options considered. And what Iran is now doing is providing the coalition (yes, that includes the US) the perfect reason to attack key Iranian targets such as their navy, airforce and nuclear facilities. A 95% completed nuclear plant could end up as rubble because of this. Why would a "rational actor" give his enemies that perfect reason to do what they’ve been trying to justify for some time?
A death wish?

That Iranian regime is so far out of touch with the contemporary world, principally because of the ongoing and apparently deepening delusions of the ’79 revolution, that it might be approaching the level of internal incoherence that the Hussein regime reached in Iraq before the ’03 invasion. The antics of that creepy little front man, Ahmadinejad, is an external sign that the interior mindscape of the regime has fallen out of touch with anything but itself.

If your goal is to show that you’re a sophisticated "world power," you pick up the British marines, hold them for 24 hours, let them go, and lodge a diplomatic complaint.

Instead, you have this woman being treated like a stooge, for the consumption of your fellow deluded "revolutionaries." "See how important and clever and tough we are!"

I’d say that allowing that sort of operation to hold nuclear anything, down to a glow-in-the-dark radium watch, would be the mistake of the century.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
To SDN:
So don’t send the SAS. Instead, tell the Iranians that we rate those hostages at 1 hostage = 10,000 Iranians, and if they aren’t released in 24 hours, towns and cities = 150,000 population will be erased from the world. Then do it.
You want WWIII, don’t you? Apparently the Iranians are treating the British well. That doesn’t excuse the act (unless they had indeed violated Iranian waters), but using the holding of military people as an excuse to kill tens of thousands of innocent people would be moral indefensible.

To: Looker
The Saudis continually say one thing publicly and do another privately.

For all you know they’re playing with Iran on a public level to further encourage their idiocy with the coalition in the hopes that we’ll whack them hard and reduce the Saudi problem of Shiite Vs Sunni in Iraq. You do, I trust recall that not too long ago they were mumbling about support for the Sunni’s against Iran’s support for the Shiites in the event of a sudden US withdrawal?
Yes — on the face of it they made a major policy shift to look for a regional settlement of disputes, not trusting the US to be able to back up their efforts to confront the Shi’ites (who we support in Iraq). They complained quite a bit in recent months about how our policies are unfair to Sunnis, and watch as our "surge" is directed against primarily Sunni targets.

But you are definitely right about the Saudis — they have played double games before, and we don’t know for sure what they’re up to. Their statements — both against Iran and recently favorable to Iran and against the US — make the situation all that more, well, interesting.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
SDN - Yeah, cause that always works for the bad guys in the comics...

You can’t just say "for every one you hold, we will kill X number of iranians. That just adds fuel to the fire.

And I think the SAS, given good intel could easily rescue the hostages. The SAS is good, man...

But if they want THE best? Well, that would be US SpecOps, of course... And get Israel to provide the intel, since I firmly beleive Mousad to be the best Intelligence agency in the world.

Mr Erb - The issue there is that Iran does nothing but make threats all day, every day. They did it before the UN resolution, during the talks, after it... They honestly don’t care what the West says or does (until such time that an Abrams is knocking on Tehran’s front door that is).

And with the Iranian Govt’s lack of public support, and the fact that AQ is busy getting pounded in Iraq, I don’t think there would be much of an insugency if we did show up to the party looking to fight, if we did it right.

In, out, pound the findable military into the dirt, and leave. If they fix themselves, fine, but if not we come back for round two. Don’t set up shop. Let the system try and fix itself before we come in to help. I think if we took apart Ama-what-ever-the-hell’s military (what, a squadren of F-14’s that can’t fly, and a handful of archaic russian mil-gear?) and his lil special police force, I think the people would be more than happy to finish the job without us...

As an aside - I’m waiting for one of the Brits to be seen on camera blinking morse-code for "torture" like one of our guys did back in the day... At that point it is on...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
SDN writes:
So don’t send the SAS. Instead, tell the Iranians that we rate those hostages at 1 hostage = 10,000 Iranians, and if they aren’t released in 24 hours, towns and cities = 150,000 population will be erased from the world. Then do it.
The last thing you want to do is hold the Iranian people responsible for that regime.

The kind of solution you’re suggesting would have to be aimed at the regime, if it came to that.

Clearly, however, at some point not returning the British marines will call for more than a demand that they be released. There are a lot of dishes on that menu, but killing Iranian citizens isn’t one of them.

The mistress of disingenuousness wrote:
Apparently the Iranians are treating the British well. That doesn’t excuse the act (unless they had indeed violated Iranian waters),
That’s an excuse followed by "there’s no excuse," followed by another excuse for reprehensible behavior, all in the face of the humiliation of the female British marine. Is that "treating the British well?"

Don’t be shy about embracing another enemy, Erb. Get right on them and hump away.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
"The last thing you want to do is hold the Iranian people responsible for that regime."

And if you don’t, then what? If nations cannot be held accountable for their governments, the very idea of international agreements and obligations ceases to have meaning or relevance.

Mind you, I would actually agree that in Iran’s case, we are _not_ dealing with a nation-state with which agreements can be made.

Do we accept the principle that the people of a nation are capable at all of determining their own fate? Why should it be abrogated simply because the people of this particular nation have allowed themselves to get into a particularly sticky situation? Giving them a pass on their own political mistakes won’t help them avoid more of the same in the future. If the Iranians cannot be relied upon to determine their own government, and to be responsible for it when it is important, why should they be trusted with that determination at any other time?
 
Written By: Rollory
URL: http://
Rollory writes, quoting me:
"The last thing you want to do is hold the Iranian people responsible for that regime."

And if you don’t, then what? If nations cannot be held accountable for their governments, the very idea of international agreements and obligations ceases to have meaning or relevance.
In context, my response was to the suggestion that 10,000 Iranian civilians be killed for every British hostage.

Citizens are indeed held responsible as combatants for the actions of a regime when, as members of a military, they defend that regime’s actions in war. Generally, they are not held responsible per se as civilians beyond that. Although you could dig up my defense of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings to see me take the other side of that argument.

I would further qualify "not holding citizens responsible for the regime" by saying that at the extreme end of things, such as a nuclear terror attack on the United States, that there must be responses available that would be judged by a different set of rules than those used in a simple hostage situation like we have now, or in the standard laws of war that we agree to through various treaties.

In other words there are potential situations where "total war" in the worst sense would confront us.

 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
"Baghdad Berb": "This is the kind of thing I was warning about when I predicted that the Iraq war would likely lead to a major decline in American ...status in the world."
Americaphobia takes its place alongside BDS. How easy it is going to be for liberal lightweights to crow like this about this prediction in the near future, what with all of the anti-American propaganda being featured in the MSM. Berb is going to be "right" so many times we will lose count. Right up until "the troops enter Baghdad" so to speak.
"About the Saudis: ...Now it’s possible ...they may not ...Some say ...as a kind of gesture ...they could be ...but the message is clear."
My emphasis. The message about the Saudis is far from clear and anyone but a committed Americaphobic idealogue knows it. Give us a break.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
I suspect Iranian domestic politics is driving these actions to some extent. I also wonder if we are really dealing with a unified state actor as such, or if the extreme elements there are ratcheting up the pressure on purpose. (But why not wait until your bomb is finished?)

My only rational actor explanation is that they have calculated that the world will worry more about the hostages than the nuke for another period of time. They must also feel that the "rally to the flag" effect might be able to alleviate the economic pain of sanctions.

Has anyone remembered that Hizbullah took Israeli soldiers hostage last year and it led to a war? Maybe the IRG wants war and thinks they will win?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I read this article and you could substitute Germany for the American left and it would still be 100% accurate as to its content.

I am amazed the cognitive dissonance in these groups doesn’t lead to extreme neck strain from all the twists in position.
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
What an ignoramus like Erb refuses to recognize is that we’ve already got WWIII. We just aren’t fighting it.

As for sophism like "we shouldn’t hold the people accountable for the regime", why not? By that argument, we shouldn’t have held the people of Germany, Italy, or Japan accountable for their regimes in WWII. We did, and they haven’t put a similar regime back into place since.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
SDN writes, paraphrasing a comment by me:
As for sophism like "we shouldn’t hold the people accountable for the regime",
I’ve already made clear the context for that comment, i.e., a hostage situation where someone suggested that 10,000 Iranian civilians be killed for each hostage.

But clarification is right up there, back thataway, a few posts north.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/

What an ignoramus like Erb refuses to recognize is that we’ve already got WWIII. We just aren’t fighting it.
You’re advocating mass murder of innocents because 15 people are arrested and held. That’s utter evil, and any country that would do that would deserve to be utterly defeated in a war. Luckily President Bush, for all his faults, is a generally moral individual who would dismiss that kind of evil suggestion in a heartbeat.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You’re advocating mass murder of innocents because 15 people are arrested and held
Worthier wars have started over less...


In the meantime, I sure am glad the geneva conventions are protecting those Brits...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
You’re advocating mass murder of innocents because 15 people are arrested and held.
War is murder only when it is unjust. Here, it would be eminently just.

3 points to shark.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
The House of Saud has been playing all ends against the middle since before there was a Saudi Arabia. They conned the British and the French to give them their own country. Saudi’s are masters of the bazaar, there moves are far ahead of our pitiful responses. Flirtation with Iran can mean many things.
So don’t send the SAS. Instead, tell the Iranians that we rate those hostages at 1 hostage = 10,000 Iranians, and if they aren’t released in 24 hours, towns and cities = 150,000 population will be erased from the world. Then do it.
Not in MY country! This is what the left thinks the right really wants to do. It’s not only INSANE it’s a crime against humanity.
"You’re advocating mass murder of innocents because 15 people are arrested and held. That’s utter evil, and any country that would do that would deserve to be utterly defeated in a war. Luckily President Bush, for all his faults, is a generally moral individual who would dismiss that kind of evil suggestion in a heartbeat." : Scott Erb
Remember, "we are supposted to THE GOOD GUYS!
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Oh I get it, Erb was responding to SDN, whose suggestion was not helpful.

How’s this. We take the Iranian insurgents we’ve caught in Iraq who have no particular intelligence value and shoot them in the head, bulldozing the bodies back across the border.

Simultaneously, we issue a statement to the mullahs that game they are about to play if the British hostages are harmed is called Whack-A-Mole, and they will have the part of the rodent.

Certainly, there are no legal problems with executing any Iranians we catch in Iraq WRT to the rules of war. They have placed themselves in the position of their lives being forfeit.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
War is murder only when it is unjust. Here, it would be eminently just.
Not under International law. You may only use as much force as is necessary to end the violation. This would be considered grossly non-proportional to the offence by Iran. Thus unjust.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
If you really want to violate International Law and every Human Right known to man. Get Ted Kennedy a large armored car, and a case of Scotch, send him to Iraq and set him loose driving the streets of Tehran.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
You’re advocating mass murder of innocents because 15 people are arrested and held.
Scott - what if the Brits are innocent? What if they are killed? What is an appropriate response to such acts?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Not under International law. You may only use as much force as is necessary to end the violation. This would be considered grossly non-proportional to the offence by Iran. Thus unjust.
You are flat wrong as to war not being a just result of this situation. Intentionally taking members of another nation’s armed forces hostage while they are in international waters or within their original jurisdiction is an act of war. Iran has a history of doing this, and shows no signs of changing her behavior in that regard.

It is just grounds for destroying the Iranian government, and for the Iranian people suffering what inevitably comes of inveteratly making war on the West in this modern age—the destruction of the sovereignty of their nation while experiencing incredibly light casualties as counted from a historical perspective.

IOW, you’re daft. As daft as Erb.

;^)

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
what if the Brits are innocent? What if they are killed? What is an appropriate response to such acts?
The Iranians would not be so foolish. This is a more or less real country holding the Brits, not a bunch of “do it your self jihadist. The Marines are reasonably safe.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Intentionally taking members of another nation’s armed forces hostage while they are in international waters or within their original jurisdiction is an act of war.
This is indeed a violation of International law,and an act of war. killing 150-thousand Iranians because 15 Brits are kidnaped is also a violation of International because it is an overreaction to the original provocation.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Since Iran reportedly imports 60% of its gasoline from the Gulf States and they are not too happy with Iran’s belligerent attitude, maybe a subtle hint of an impending blockade of Iran’s ports or diversion of tankers might get their attention. However, since the Coalition has undertaken few efforts to reduce Syria’s or Iran’s smuggling of men, weapons and money into Iran, they may not take the hint. Therefore, maybe the old trick we used to play on the North Vietnamese might apply; send in aircraft and ships in faints toward Iran with them not knowing when and where we might actually attack. A little psychological warfare might be effective and separate the government of Iran from the people and get the Brits back.
 
Written By: AMR
URL: http://
Erb does have the highest word count per useless point.

Note at the Arab league Scott was an honored guest, and the crisis with Britain was not mentioned. Scott condemned American policy in Iraq in a startling rebuff to President Bush. Scott also surprised the White House by having conciliatory talks with Iran a couple weeks ago. Scott seems to be signaling that he want to create a regional settlement of disputes and cut the Americans out. If there is a war with Iran, don’t expect Scott to bail us out with a surge in oil production. Scott signals one thing: a loss of American power in the world/Mideast, and that former allies no longer see it as useful to play the bourgeois game our way. This is the kind of thing Scott was warning about when Scott predicted that the Iraq war would likely lead to a major decline in American power and status in the world. Of course, having Scott as a close allies was always problematic, but his policy shift is a big deal — if Scott actually means it and follow through with it.

We need to listen to scott he has many words we need to comprehend such as: America, Power, Oil, Imperialism, Europe, Allies, Status, Decline, Marx, ChimpyMacBushalliburton, Loose change, Mavericks, Oil, Power, big deal, Afgan real WoT. Did I miss any you F fool?
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
Of course, having Scott as a close allies was always problematic,
Better than the French?
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Britain will get its sailors back when Iran is ready. There will be no shooting over this episode. Neither Blair nor Bush have the political will to push the matter. Any UN action will be laughed off.
 
Written By: barry
URL: http://
War is War. It is not a "nice" thing. People die in war, some innocent some not. That’s why rational leaders try to avoid doing things that could provoke a war.

You want to prevent large wars? Then a proportioned response is not what is needed. Wars can only be prevented when leaders realize that certain actions can have devastating consequences to them and their country.

If the Britt’s keep pussy-footing around with Iran, war will not be avoided, only delayed. Weakness and inaction only emboldens your enemy. They need to state emphatically that they consider this an Act of War and if the 15 are not returned immediately they will declare it as such, whereby they and their allies shall respond with all force necessary to end it.
Malone: And *then* what are you prepared to do? If you open the can on these worms you must be prepared to go all the way because they’re not gonna give up the fight until one of you is dead.
Ness: How do you do it then?
Malone: You wanna know how you do it? Here’s how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way,
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
Not under International law. You may only use as much force as is necessary to end the violation. This would be considered grossly non-proportional to the offence by Iran. Thus unjust
So the proper response is for Tony Blair to have 15 Iranian soldiers kidnapped and paraded on TV also (*with the men presumably forced to wear cricifixes since the female Brit is forced to wear that tea towel)

That sound rational to you? International law is a toilet bowl of steaming turd, only used to bludgeon and hamstring the US, Israel and England/Austrailia on occasion.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
War is War. It is not a "nice" thing. People die in war, some innocent some not.
And launching a war against Iran by slaughtering mass numbers of innocents would not only be utterly and completely vile and evil, but would assure a huge reaction against the west, and a massive war that would, among other things, destroy our economy. War may be war, but an ethical person tries to minimize innocent deaths and never, ever, ever, simply dismisses them as "war is war."

One reason for Iran’s apparently irrational gambit could be as basic as wanting to impact oil prices. Make a crisis now and then, profit from high oil prices, then back down when the pressure gets high.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And launching a war against Iran by slaughtering mass numbers of innocents would not only be utterly and completely vile and evil, but would assure a huge reaction against the west, and a massive war that would, among other things, destroy our economy.
Launching a just war, and in this case it would be among the most just of wars, which if in the normal course of the war happens to kill 150,000 otherwise innocent civilians—that would just be how the cookie crumbled. Sad but not evil, and not more sad than continuing to permit things to develop as they have. The Iranians have a duty to the world not to permit their government to be one constituted by murderous expansionist totalitarians, especially ones which send armaments into neighboring countries with which their insurgent allies kill civilians to undermine a justly elected representative government.

The reaction of the ummah to such a war is irrelevant, it is superfluous. It is already a certainty that unstopped the Islamists will develop and employ nuclear weapons against us prior to the time that our scale would make such use something we can in any sense tolerate.

It would have little lasting effect on our economy as contrasted to permitting the Islamists in Tehran go untrammeled, as we have little trade with Iran and oil is quite fungible.
"One reason for Iran’s apparently irrational gambit could be as basic as wanting to impact oil prices. Make a crisis now and then, profit from high oil prices, then back down when the pressure gets high."
And without their reinvesting in their productive capacity, they merely accomodate the world markets sooner to the loss of it.

So much the better.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
International law is a toilet bowl of steaming turd, only used to bludgeon and hamstring the US, Israel and England/Austrailia on occasion.
This is Jingoism at it’s worst. You assume the named countries receive no protection from International law, and are so moral they need not be bound by it. History tells a different tale. Each have violated International Law when it suits them and used International Law when it benefits them.

The United States ignores a ruling by the World Trade Organization that declares a violation of International trade rules, Washington’s demand that financial institutions refuse to transfer funds to internet gaming site. At the same time America uses the WTO against European farm subsides.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Launching a just war, and in this case it would be among the most just of wars, which if in the normal course of the war happens to kill 150,000 otherwise innocent civilians—that would just be how the cookie crumbled. Sad but not evil, and not more sad than continuing to permit things to develop as they have.
15 people have been arrested for allegedly trespassing on Iranian waters (the border is disputed). Chances are good that diplomatic efforts can resolve this. But if you start a war all 15 will likely be killed, and numerous innocents would die. How on earth can that be just? Do you really have no concern for human life, is it all power politics in your book?

Oil prices would skyrocket. America would see an antiwar movement go from laid back to aggressive, the world would turn completely against us, and the days of American leadership would be over for good. Do you really want that?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Launching a just war, and in this case it would be among the most just of wars,
It is easy to justify war.
A conqueror is always a lover of peace. Carl Von Clausewitz
Starting a ‘Just’ war demands proportionality. Killing thousands over the kidnaping of 15 British Marines and Sailors defies the laws of ‘Just War”
Just war conduct should be governed by the principle of proportionality. The force used must be proportional to the wrong endured, and to the possible good that may come. The more disproportional the number of collateral civilian deaths, the more suspect will be the sincerity of a belligerent nation’s claim to justness of a war it initiated.
In this case there would be no doubt. This would NOT be a just war under any definition.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
It is easy to justify war.
Maybe for you it is, myself, I have standards.

When borders are crossed and soldiers kidnapped—not for the first time—and that nation is in fact engaged in an unacknowledged war with us already, and for close to thirty years has been—those standards are met.

It is possible it is wise to let the mullahs stew until their pot boils over, but to take that route one must both endorse turning the heat up under them and accept that more soldiers—maybe ours—will be the victims of an attempted and perhaps a successful kidnap plot, and that those soldiers may be killed later in whole or in part in a further attempt to provoke us.

Lancing the boil may be the better part of discretion, and is certainly justified in this case.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
This is Jingoism at it’s worst
Oh, the horror!

Pfah. What you deride as "jingoism" I call a realistic assessment. I also call it looking out for your own best interests.
You assume the named countries receive no protection from International law
Sure isn’t helping the Brit soldiers, is it? Sure didn’t do much for the Israeli soldier kidnapped (still held I may add).

But boy oh boy, it is great for guys like Saddam who manage to profit handsomely off "international law".
In this case there would be no doubt. This would NOT be a just war under any definition
So what should be done? 15 Iranians should be kidnapped also? Dueling hostages?

Ever hear the expression "don’t start none, won’t be none"?

Proportinality my a**. If someone starts with you, if you go hogwild on them too fricking bad for them. Learn them a lesson in f*cking with someone more powerful.

The wussification of the West continues apace...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
So what should be done? 15 Iranians should be kidnapped also? Dueling hostages?
You do what’s being done. There are disputes on where the border is, there have been Iranians arrested in Iraq, there are a lot of complexities. But war means a lot of dead people, a lot of destruction, a lot of innocent suffering. Does the fact that 15 military people are held in a dispute really warrant mass killing? Doesn’t it seem rational to pursue diplomatic efforts for as long as possible? After all, starting a war might assure these 15 get killed. Then besides a lot of dead people and maybe a macho sense of "we showed them" (though the reverse could end up being true), what was gained? What is worth the death of large numbers of innocents? Think about it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
What is worth the death of large numbers of innocents?
This is why Iran will come out ahead on this. They know that the US and UK won’t risk war because the West will be blamed for killing innocents. Iran, which seemingly doesn’t care about risking the lives of innocents, won’t be blamed for provocation, so it will escalate its provocative acts.

 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
You do what’s being done. There are disputes on where the border is, there have been Iranians arrested in Iraq, there are a lot of complexities. But war means a lot of dead people, a lot of destruction, a lot of innocent suffering. Does the fact that 15 military people are held in a dispute really warrant mass killing? Doesn’t it seem rational to pursue diplomatic efforts for as long as possible? After all, starting a war might assure these 15 get killed. Then besides a lot of dead people and maybe a macho sense of "we showed them" (though the reverse could end up being true), what was gained? What is worth the death of large numbers of innocents? Think about it.
1) What would constitute a "proportional" response to Iran?

2) At what point should Blair forego diplomatic action and switch to military action?

3)
After all, starting a war might assure these 15 get killed
Thanks for admitting that my earlier point was valid. International law affords these 15 ZERO protection by your own words. Under what scenario would it be "legal" for Iran to kill them, even if war did breakout? These 15 are already captured, you can only kill combatants on the field. Or are you saying Iran would be justified to do so beacuse England attacked?

4)
Then besides a lot of dead people and maybe a macho sense of "we showed them" (though the reverse could end up being true), what was gained?
So you deny that there is absolutely zero benefit to "showing them", and driving the point home that this type of action is not tolerated, and brings terrible consequences?

5) What if the 15 Brits are killed? Does Blair have a right to go to war then?

6) What if they’re placed on a show trial and convicted and sent to jail? Does Blair have the right to go to war then?

7) Do you realize that there are also negative consequences for allowing your people and nation to be bullied like this?

8) How many people would Iran have to kidnap or kill to make military response "just"? Can you show me the graph or chart for this sort of thing? After all, you seem very clear that "just" 15 people aren’t enough. So what is the magic number? 16? 25? 13,000?

9) Just what "diplomatic" actions should Blair pursue? Suppose the Iranians say they’ll only release the soldiers if England allows them to build a reactor- then what? How much a reward do you advocate Blair giving them for their blatantly illegal actions? If he does, why wouldn’t Iran or other nations do it again and again?

10) Why are you overly concerned with the consequences of acting strong but never consider for a minute the consequences of acting weak? (The answer is a gimme given your leftist bent but I’ll allow you to spin it any way you want)

Fish, you can answer these also since you and Erb are fellow travelers on this one
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
This is why Iran will come out ahead on this. They know that the US and UK won’t risk war because the West will be blamed for killing innocents. Iran, which seemingly doesn’t care about risking the lives of innocents, won’t be blamed for provocation, so it will escalate its provocative acts.
The point is that there are a lot that can be done between mass killing on the one hand, and doing nothing on the other. War with Iran could be devastating for the West, and the West knows it. That’s also a reason they won’t choose war. Nonetheless I think Iran is overestimating its position of strategic strength (much like the US did in 2003).
Why are you overly concerned with the consequences of acting strong but never consider for a minute the consequences of acting weak?
Because this isn’t about acting strong or weak, it’s about trying to assure stability and support the national interest in a manner that doesn’t destroy the western economy or kill a lot of innocent people
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"...it’s about trying to assure stability and support the national interest in a manner that doesn’t destroy the western economy or kill a lot of innocent people."
Jihadists would LOVE it if the US would adopt this as our strategy for dealing with them. It would assure them of eventual victory. One wonders if Professor Erb is somehow on the payroll of the jihadists or merely a clueless volunteer.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Jihadists would LOVE it if the US would adopt this as our strategy for dealing with them. It would assure them of eventual victory. One wonders if Professor Erb is somehow on the payroll of the jihadists or merely a clueless volunteer.
No, they would love for us to get involved in more conflicts in the region. That way they could arouse anger among local populations and ultimately defeat the West. Bin Laden would have conniptions of joy if we were to attack Iran! I don’t think you understand just how little power we have.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
War with Iran could be devastating for the West, and the West knows it. That’s also a reason they won’t choose war. Nonetheless I think Iran is overestimating its position of strategic strength (much like the US did in 2003).
War in Iran would be far more devastating to Iran, and they don’t seem to care too much about risking it. They know we won’t act until they do something well over the top. Heck, we couldn’t even get the House of Representatives to pass a resolution condemning Iran’s actions.

Shark’s right: there are consequences to appearing weak. One fairly recent consequence was three planes slamming into buildings in New York and Washington. If the rogue nations and assorted terrorist groups don’t think there will be any punitive action taken, they will feel free to act.

If Iran really has overplayed its hand here, why hasn’t there been any blow-back?
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Baghdad Berb:
"This is the kind of thing I was warning about when I predicted that the Iraq war would likely lead to a major decline in American power..."
"I don’t think you understand just how little power we have."
"we" white man?






 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
If Iran really has overplayed its hand here, why hasn’t there been any blow-back?
Ahmadinejad is losing popularity and clout. This is a minor incident which will pass. Iran has been shifting towards a more conciliatory policy because sanctions have been working, and even Russia is pressuring them. This might just be a way they are trying to "save face."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Yes, Scott, because shipping weapons and explosives to Iraq along with military advisors to help various terrorist groups there kill more Iraqi civilians and coalition soldiers constitutes "shifting towards a more conciliatory policy".
 
Written By: Lysenko
URL: http://
Ahmadinejad is losing popularity and clout.
Deflection. Ahmadinejad may be losing popularity, but that started before this incident. There’s nothing pointing to this incident causing any further international disdain.
This is a minor incident which will pass.
Hand waving that doesn’t address my point — there has been no blow-back on Iran as of yet.
Iran has been shifting towards a more conciliatory policy
Yeah, trying to build a nuke, shipping arms and insurgents to Iraq...this might be the your most factually-challenged statement to date.

 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Scott, I asked you 10 questions.

You have lots to say on this issue, why not answer those questions?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Shark, past comments have made Professor Erb’s position quite clear. He frames the issues and picks his shots to coincide with his agenda. Like the LN, he is not required to be consistent or to maintain a connection with the real world. To his credit, he has attempted to be responsive in the past. He melted like a cheap snocone.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://

 
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