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The plan to strike Iran – Oh no!
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Raw Story entices us with this headline: “Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran”. However, it leads with this:
The United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch without warning a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, as well as government buildings and infrastructure, using long-range bombers and missiles, according to a new analysis.
Well of course the US has the capacity for a massive assault on Iran and yes, it would most likely plan to do so by surprise. That’s a desired state for an attacking military.

However, does that mean the US is actually going to attack Iran anytime soon?

Uh, no.

It seems that at least once a year we have to address what should be a self-evident point that the planning process for all contingencies in which our military might find itself involved, no matter how remote the possibility, is always taking place. In fact there are entire sections at all levels in the “Puzzle Palace”, aka the Pentagon, whose entire job is to plan such contingencies, staff them, war game them and update them. That’s what they do. That and nothing else.

So, given the situation in Iraq, the situation in Iran, Iran’s meddling in Iraq and Iran’s intransigence concerning developing nuclear weapons, I’d have to consider it a gross dereliction of duty were they not developing plans for military action against Iran.

A little further into the story, Raw Story says of the study they cite concerning these plans:
Plesch and Butcher examine "what the military option might involve if it were picked up off the table and put into action" and conclude that based on open source analysis and their own assessments, the US has prepared its military for a "massive" attack against Iran, requiring little contingency planning and without a ground invasion.
Plesch and Butcher are the authors of a study "Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East" [pdf] and with the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. Essentially, what they’ve concluded is the plans that would be picked up “off the table” are such that very little adjustment would need to be made to the planning to put it into action.

Where I come from (and I wrote Corps and Army level plans for 18 years) that’s called a “good plan”. And obviously, what’s being planned is a punitive raid, not an invasion. Again, that makes sense. Finally, I’m not sure how this can be considered a surprise to anyone given the situation and the repeated statements by leaders in the West (most recently President Sarkozy of France) that Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

So why all this attention to what is obviously planning which is not only necessary, but absolutely mandatory for any competent military?

Well that’s to be found at the very end when “political considerations” are discussed:
Plesch and Butcher write with concern about the political context within the United States:
This debate is bleeding over into the 2008 Presidential election, with evidence mounting that despite the public unpopularity of the war in Iraq, Iran is emerging as an issue over which Presidential candidates in both major American parties can show their strong national security bona fides. ...

The debate on how to deal with Iran is thus occurring in a political context in the US that is hard for those in Europe or the Middle East to understand. A context that may seem to some to be divorced from reality, but with the US ability to project military power across the globe, the reality of Washington DC is one that matters perhaps above all else. ...

We should not underestimate the Bush administration's ability to convince itself that an "Iran of the regions" will emerge from a post-rubble Iran. So, do not be in the least surprised if the United States attacks Iran. Timing is an open question, but it is hard to find convincing arguments that war will be avoided, or at least ones that are convincing in Washington.
Ah, now we know why Raw Story ran with this. It supports the narrative among many on the left that the US is bound and determined to attack Iran before George Bush leaves office (it was the Cheney/Rove cabal, but since Rove jumped ship I assume it’s all Darth, er, Dick Cheney’s doings now).

Note the first sentence I’ve put in bold. What a load of nonsense that is. What part of the political context in which the discussion of Iran is taking place is hard for “Europeans and Middle Easterners” to understand? It is European governments who’ve joined with our government to declare that Iran will not be allowed to produce a nuclear weapon. It is other Middle Eastern countries which have declared unacceptable the possibility of Iran possessing nukes. So the context of the discussion here is well-known, understood and accepted by those Plesch and Butcher seem to think are outside the political discussion here in the US.

Which leaves me to address the absurdity of their assertion contained in last paragraph. Their conclusion is based in their belief that the Bush administration is pursuing a unilateral approach to Iran without consultation or consideration of its allies in either the Middle East or Europe (wait, didn't we just all agree to increase sanctions?). Again, pointing out the various statements by various leaders in both of those regions, that’s simply not true. It is, to put it succinctly, a false premise. And one can list the disadvantages for acting alone in the near future for hours while finding few advantages to support such action.

While it is certainly militarily feasible to strike Iran now or within the next few months - in a punitive raid designed to cripple their nuclear capability and even, as these two contend, to widen such a strike to essentially destroy the infrastructure of Iran and leave it a crippled and failed state (along with their assumption that the administration assumes such action will foment a popular uprising) - the probability, in a wider context, seems unlikely.

There certainly may be a time when that is necessary, but that time isn’t now, especially with some progress being seen in Iraq. If you want to snuff out that barely lit candle of hope, attack Iran.

Plesch and Butcher present their study as a labor of scholarship. But the political part is pure hackery that relies on the stereotype of “cowboy Bush” which Europeans have built up among themselves over the years. While their other findings are interesting, they should have stopped with their “military assessment” (and some quoted experts even question their expertise in that area). Politics are definitely not their game.
 
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If Bush had to bomb Iran now for national security purposes, it would have to be pretty much airtight bipartisan with Reid, Pelosi, Clinton, etc. to sign off on it before he did it.

And of course, Iran could at any time ratchet down the threat against their own regime by temporarily halting enrichment and leaving Iraq alone. Hey, but only the USA has to make unilateral concessions to give peace a chance.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
NEO-CONZ..CHICKEN HAWKZ...WAR-MONGERS...HALIBURTON....

Sheeple look up! This is IT, the moment the BFEE/Rovian/Cheney/Neo-con/4Th Reich/One Percenters have been waiting for, maneuvering for, scheming for...the foreign war that will allow the imposition Martial Law and the establishment of the Bush Dictatorship! Then there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth I can tell you! Gays, Lesbians, the Transgendered, Unionists, Progressives...OFF TO THE CAMPS. Womyn OFF TO THE KITCHEN, FETCH ME A SAMMICH, and NO ABORTIONS FOR YOU! The workers veritable wage slaves subject to Draconian Labour Laws and in competition with the Corporate-mandated "Guest Worker/Indentured Servant" Program importing cheap labour to fuel the war machine, all making the Handmaid’s Tale look like The Velveteen Rabbit. Children trained in Christianist Madrassah’s when not chained to the labour bench...Poor Gaia raped and abused by these foul mechano-capitalist abusers!

The World Can’t Wait, IMPEACH NOW! General Pace do your duty.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Alternatively, how often do I have to read of standard planning practices of any professional military, especially one involved in an active proxie conflict with a neighboring state?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Iran is, let me check my watch, about to become more cooperative, for the first time since the revolution. That means they will shut down the nuclear program and become transparent, in exchange for stuff. The stuff will not be the prime motivator, but rather salve for the wounds of fear.

Iran will also be getting out of the terror outsourcing business.

Plan B, not so pretty.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Iran will also be getting out of the terror outsourcing business.

Plan B, not so pretty.
Dupe, dreamer, there are many reasons that Iran is a moderating influence in the Middle East already, and if you would care to take my course, "Maine Perspectives on Twelver Shi’ism and It’s Many Moderating Influences on the Middle East and Destabilizing Western Imperialism" I believe you will emerge with a new perspective.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Maine Perspectives on Twelver Shi’ism and It’s Many Moderating Influences on the Middle East and Destabilizing Western Imperialism"
Damn, Joe - now that was funny!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Not to mention, an attack on Iran would likely lead to $200+ per barrel for petrolium.
 
Written By: McLovin
URL: http://
Not to mention, an attack on Iran would likely lead to $200+ per barrel for petrolium.
1) "Petroleum"
2) For a day or two.
3) And IF Iran develops nuclear weapons expect oil at $80-90/BbL
4) IF Iran employs nuclear weapons against Israel, expect oil at $200/Bbl, too.

So our policy(ies) are to be driven by the expected effect on the price of oil? In the short-term or long-term?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You forgot "No Blood fer oil" there joe...

Of course, it only matters whose blood...

Shouldn’t it be "No American Blood for Oil" since when they are killing each other, or torturing each other, or suppressing civil rights, but Americans aren’t over their dying, we get far less bad mojo from the "anti-war" crowd, realists that they are. I guess in this case, realism, or real-politik, means letting them do what they want for the sake of stability, ie stable oil prices.

Haven’t our policies almost always been driven by how it effects us? Used to be, the business of government is business.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
My point being oil prices aren’t the only determinant of policy, and any way if you want low AND stable oil prices, the replacement of authoritaian and weak regimes is one way to achieve even that end.

I note the Left has become big fans of stability, how sad. Oil at $90/Bbl (2007 prices) for 40 months is STABLE, but is it desirable? As I say Auschwitz was STABLE, but was it good?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You are giving the Bush Administration a lot of credit and trust. Many of us have doubts, given the way the Iraq war was "sold" and the rhetoric against Iran which sounds a lot like pre-Iraq war rhetoric. I hope you are right, McQ, that this is just a vast over-reaction by the left, but there is evidence out there to cause those who have lost trust in the Bush Administration (not just the ’Bush haters’) to worry.

Joe, if Iran hit Israel with nuclear weapons, Iran would be destroyed by Israel. There’s this thing called deterrence — and yes, that would send oil prices skyrocketing. But given Iranian foreign policy history — shrewd and focused on the survival of the regime — the idea they’d hit Israel is far fetched. And Joe, of course our policies are affected by concern for oil. The Carter Doctrine made explicit that Persian Gulf oil is so important to the US and western economy that we would go to war if necessary to protect it. (That’s right, it’s Carter who said we’d go to war over oil). Our interest in the Mideast, the fuel of terrorism, the money that funds extremism...all of that is like a system with oil as its blood. You can’t understand any of what’s going on without taking into account both the oil market and the impact of oil prices on the western economy.

Finally, while you may want to play God and by fiat call for the "replacement of authoritarian and weak regimes," that’s not something easy to accomplish — it may be impossible, nor is it guaranteed that what comes next will be better. It certainly is no guarantee that oil prices will go down. Given the reality of oil production levels and increasing demand, don’t ever expect to see cheap oil again. It’ll probably only go up from now on — the only question is how high and how quickly.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
But given Iranian foreign policy history — shrewd and focused on the survival of the regime
The evidence for thsoe assertions? Because the regime in the First Gulf War did a LOUSY job of foreign policy....
Given the reality of oil production levels and increasing demand, don’t ever expect to see cheap oil again. It’ll probably only go up from now on — the only question is how high and how quickly.

I’ll make the same bet Julian Simon made in the 1970’s with you Doc. In 20 years oil will be CHEAPER, in 2007 Constant dollars, than it is today....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe:
any way if you want low AND stable oil prices, the replacement of authoritaian and weak regimes is one way to achieve even that end.
How would democratic regimes lead to lower oil prices? Even if the Gulf was replaced by Jeffersonian democracies overnight, what incentive would they have to lower prices, when we’re clearly more than willing to buy at present prices, and have no good alternative handy?
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Reading the piece, I have to agree with some of what McQ says. The piece is speculative and very politically motivated. I suspect it’s less a "hack" job than people really worried that the US is going to cause disaster in the region trying to do all they can to make it as difficult as possible for the President to make that call. They probably fear we’ll make up one day and found that strikes happened, with the rationale being a response to attacks on Americans in Iraq, and there would be little the opposition could do about it. They hope that getting stories like this out there will make that impossible or more difficult.

So yeah, it’s not that impressive, and less academic than political.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
What brought about the doubling of oil prices in 1979, James? The Iranian Revolution and the ’73 Embargo was about the Mid-East war, in short politics, not economics. So fewer regimes determined to stick it to Da Man, globally might mean saner oil politics.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Iran was attacked by Iraq shortly after the revolution, Joe. Saddam figured that in the post-revolutionary chaos, Iran — otherwise too powerful for a smaller, weaker Iraq, would be vulnerable. The religious right, whose grip on power at that point was still tenuous, used the war to establish complete control (band together against the foreign enemy!) So if that’s the first Gulf War, I’m not sure what they did that was lousy in foreign policy. They certainly played the Desert Storm war to their advantage. Perhaps if you’d back up your assertions with an explanation of why you make them (not cites, just the facts and details you are referring to) it would be easier to figure out what you mean.

I totally disagree with you about oil. We’ll see. Demand is rising and we appear to be hitting a production peak. The debate now is not whether or not oil will start running out, but whether the peak is now (or a few years ago), or not until about 2035 or so. New reserves aren’t showing up that can offset demand and use. So again, you’re making an assertion that is at odds with the evidence, you aren’t explaining why you want anyone to accept your assertion, and you don’t back it up.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

What brought about the doubling of oil prices in 1979, James? The Iranian Revolution and the ’73 Embargo was about the Mid-East war, in short politics, not economics. So fewer regimes determined to stick it to Da Man, globally might mean saner oil politics.
Half right. It was both economics and politics (political instability led markets to fear supply disruptions, and thus prices rose). Also note that the price increases after 1973 never really went away until the 90s. OPEC in the early nineties (I think, I’ll have to find the date exactly, it could have been the late eighties) responded to falling prices by almost overnight doubling their claimed reserves. This increased what they could produce according to the OPEC quota, but was economically stupid because it led to a belief that supply was high, and oil prices fell more. It led to the illusion of an ’oil glut.’ Today’s oil prices are driven as much by high demand and production limits — all OPEC states except Iraq and Saudi Arabia are producing at their capacity — the Saudis aren’t far from their capacity.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
But given Iranian foreign policy history — shrewd and focused on the survival of the regime
Let’s see, Iranian foreign policy since the ’79 revolution:

Start out by creating a bitter antagonism with the U.S. ("Great Satan," holding Americans hostage).

28 years of outsourcing terrorism via Hezbollah and Hamas.

9 years of war with Iraq.

Meddling in Iraq.

Threatening Israel.

Developing nuclear weapons.

The usual sabre rattling.

Indeed, Boris, that’s some awfully shrew foreign policy.

Were you one of their advisors, or are you just lending a hand with the PR?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb astonishes:
I totally disagree with you about oil.
But you don’t even have a superficial understanding of oil.
We’ll see. Demand is rising and we appear to be hitting a production peak.
Wrong. Nowhere close to a "production peak."
The debate now is not whether or not oil will start running out, but whether the peak is now (or a few years ago), or not until about 2035 or so.
That’s a debate that people who don’t know anything about the subject like to have among themselves.
New reserves aren’t showing up that can offset demand and use.
There are already known reserves that have barely been touched.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Given the reality of oil production levels and increasing demand, don’t ever expect to see cheap oil again. It’ll probably only go up from now on — the only question is how high and how quickly.
Peak Oil, Peak oil....you are under 40 aren’t Dr Erb? Heard all this before....
Again I will make the same bet that Julian Simon made, in 20 years oil will cheaper than than it is today, in constant dollars, bet you $50 USD 2007.

Iran managed to provoke an agression upon itself, and still managed to isolate itself diplomatically from all powers. There’s some shrewd diplomacy, Doc. The USSR halted all support to Iraq after the attack, until the Iranians eliminated the Tudeh Party. Iran managed to hack off the US, Britain, France, and the USSR, good plan to P*ss off 4 of 5 permanent members of the UNSC!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe:
What brought about the doubling of oil prices in 1979, James? The Iranian Revolution and the ’73 Embargo was about the Mid-East war, in short politics, not economics. So fewer regimes determined to stick it to Da Man, globally might mean saner oil politics.
True enough, but there isn’t an embargo right now, and that hasn’t stopped prices from rising. Why would new democratic regimes want to cut prices, what would they possibly have to gain? Further, there is also increased global demand with China and India, which is likely to outpace new exploration. And even if we do get some real genuine Arab democracies, who’s to say they won’t want to stick it to us? Europe has plenty of democracies; that has hardly ensured their support or goodwill towards us in the past.

(Nominally) Pro-American regimes might keep the price more stable and sometimes even lower it for us when it suits us (like the Saudis have, during the Gulf War and post 9/11) but I don’t think that will trend towards long-term lower prices; nor do I see how democracy figures into it (especially when it seems a democratic Arab country (beyond a Free Kurdistan) would not likely be friendly with the US.)
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Oil, Oil Everywhere...
Why is it so expensive? Because it’s so cheap.
by Peter Huber and Mark Mills
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
They probably fear we’ll make up one day and found that strikes happened, with the rationale being a response to attacks on Americans in Iraq, and there would be little the opposition could do about it
Would that not be just retaliation for Iranian attacks on Americans?

Amazing what things the "opposition" seems to oppose.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
New reserves aren’t showing up that can offset demand and use.
...

There are already known reserves that have barely been touched.
Not to mention what technology will allow us access to down the road, that are currently not available to us now...no resource is finite, but we’re not down to the dregs either.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
We’re out of oil you guys, quit screwing around. You know damn well we ran out back in the 90’s just like they predicted it would during the late 70’s.

Exxon oil is people!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Of course there are plans to attack Iran. It would be irresponsible not to have those plans. (And on a self-congratulatory note, I’ve been saying all along that Iran doesn’t call for any sort of ground invasion so our "over extended" Army and Marines are not an issue in our ability to respond to Iranian provocation.)

So basically I wanted to say, "What he said."

The only thing I really wanted to add is that as annoying as articles like this are, they may serve the purpose of delivering a warning to Iran without our people opening themselves up to more domestic political problems if they tried to assume a more intimidating posture toward Iran.

I think it’s probably good if Iran thinks we are more willing to attack them than we really are. I’m also aware that there are a lot of people who get the vapours at the very idea.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Because acting tough is bad, don’t you know.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Interesting article Martin. I’m skeptical of the specific numbers (oil is only $5/bbl to pump? Would Saudi Arabia really drop prices to below $15 to stop competition? I think there is some mathematical omission to those numbers; I can’t see how $5/bbl would ever cover the cost of risk for all the multi-million dollar dry wells you inevitably drill during exploration) but the basic premise I think is spot-on - the cost of oil is probably partly (or even largely) artificial (like diamonds,) and cheaper sources would be undercut by the Gulf nations (like airline fare wars.) What is the solution to that though? Should the US set a price floor on oil, ensuring that the Gulf sheiks could never undercut the profitability of Canadian tar-sand oil? I know Thomas Friedman has advocated this at times; and while it runs against the anti-regulation philosophy of libertarianism, it doesn’t seem like a totally unreasonable idea.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
JamesO writes:
I’m skeptical of the specific numbers (oil is only $5/bbl to pump? Would Saudi Arabia really drop prices to below $15 to stop competition?
I’m certain that Huber would never quote a figure for extraction costs that he couldn’t back up, especially not when writing for the Wall Street Journal, which checks its facts.

As to whether the Saudis would drop prices below $15 to stop competition, I don’t think that the article explores the meaning of that.

The Saudis depend on oil revenue. That’s their economy, basically. If, for instance, they sell a 1,000 barrels at $50 a barrel, that’s $50,000 in revenue. They’re going to scale their social costs to that $50,000 in income for political reasons.

So, if the price gets driven down to $45 a barrel by competition, the Saudis will want to increase production so that they’ll still be making the $50,000 that they once made on 1,000 barrels, which in turn drives the price down further, until they reach the point where competitors who pay higher extraction costs drop out of the market, and then the price rises again.

Historically, oil prices are cyclical, rising and falling.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Joe, even geologists who are not so pessimisitic recognize a fact: a non-renewable resources does run out sometime (they think the peak will be in twenty years or so). Your argument is inherently weak because it’s just "people have been wrong before so they’re wrong now." Not only is that not a rational argument (it doesn’t rest on evidence about the claim) but it’s refuted by hard evidence and a science far more advanced than in the seventies. Hubbert predicted the US would peak in 1970 (he made this prediction in the late fifties) and it did — though most people discarded his research. Other scholars (one of the most interesting being Matthew Simmons, who does research for energy investment) have taken close looks at the data and the countries; Simmons’ work looks at Saudi Arabia.

Again, you seem to believe things because you want to believe them. You want oil to last so you are saying it will. But unless you deal with the facts (instead of denying the research because ’someone has been wrong in the past’), and develop an argument.

Your prediction is worthless because it is based on whim and wishful thinking — sort of like the kind of thinking that caused people to believe we’d be greeted as liberators in Iraq, oil revenue would pay for reconstruction, and Iraq would become a model democracy. Reality bites, and you’re ignoring reality.

As to Iran, their foreign policy has been pretty effective in making them a regional power and sustaining their regime. They play a game of brinksmanship, and usually do it well. But if they miscalculate, it could be very bad for them — and us.

Alas, I wish I were under forty, but I remember the oil crises well. The predictions you’re talking about were pretty fringe. The predictions now are mainstream, and its a virtual consensus that the peak will come sometime in the first half of this century — Financial Times noted last month that production increases haven’t been occurring as expected and there is real concern that production won’t keep up with demand, exactly what we’d expect if we’d passed a peak. With demand rising, I guarantee your prediction will be wrong — unless the economy switches to hydrogen and solar, and oil is used mainly for lanterns.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
For those interested, this is the American government’s official analysis, which is optimistic about production increases (though realistic about expectations of falling prices):
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/oil.html

Here is a balanced media report about the debate:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4681935.stm

Here’s a warning given to investors:
http://www.energybulletin.net/20577.html

I won’t link to the numerous arguments saying we’ve reached peak production, but the last link has, at the bottom of the page, numerous links for anyone who wants to inform themselves.

As an aside, I got into this issue in part from discussions with a colleague — a geologist who happens to be both Republican and a veteran who has done considerable work for the military. He’s absolutely convinced (as seem to be most oil geologists) that we are at or near the peak of production.

None of us know for sure, but the evidence suggests that there is reason to doubt OPEC reserve estimates, to question Saudi claims especially (See Simmons’ book Twilight in the Desert, and to recognize the fact that any non-renewable resource will eventually run out. I strongly urge those who aren’t driven to believe what they want due to their political predilections to educate themselves on this issue and make up your own minds.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The astonishing idiot Boris Erb writes:
As to Iran, their foreign policy has been pretty effective in making them a regional power and sustaining their regime.
Ah, Boris, they’re a notorious sponsor of terrorism. You consider that "pretty effective" foreign policy for a sovereign state?

Earlier babble in the same post:
Again, you seem to believe things because you want to believe them. You want oil to last so you are saying it will.
It’s not a matter of wanting anything. There is plenty of oil, and there’s likely to be more serious deposits discovered, as exploration technology advances.

More stupidity:
Joe, even geologists who are not so pessimisitic recognize a fact: a non-renewable resources does run out sometime
Name one non-renewable resource that has been exhausted so far, Boris?

Even more abject stupidity:
Financial Times noted last month that production increases haven’t been occurring as expected and there is real concern that production won’t keep up with demand
Are you confusing "haven’t" with "won’t", Boris? Is your "real concern" that someone might notice the difference?

And then the shameless stupidity:
I guarantee your prediction will be wrong — unless the economy switches to hydrogen and solar, and oil is used mainly for lanterns
I guarantee you, Boris, that there will never be a "switch" to hydrogen and solar. In about two hundred years the world economy will be easing away from fossil fuels to something we’re not even prepared to guess at right now. It won’t be anything as backasswards as solar or hydrogen, that much is certain.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb writes, perhaps on the excuse of mild mental retardation:
I won’t link to the numerous arguments saying we’ve reached peak production, but the last link has, at the bottom of the page, numerous links for anyone who wants to inform themselves.
You could link to 10,000 "arguments saying we’ve reached peak production," but that will not make any of them true.

The fact is that there are enormous known reserves that have barely been touched, and with exploration and recovery technology improving steadily, the oil economy (and the fossil fuel economy) will sail through at least another 200 years.

Beyond that, who the hell cares?

You’re paying attention to b**ls**t carefully designed for and aimed at morons.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Let’s see, Iranian foreign policy since the ’79 revolution:
You forgot this one...

Mohammad Khatami was elected as the first reformist candidate in Iran’s history in 1997. Iran was moderating. In 2000, the Reformists won 189 seats with 65% of the vote. Iran was moderating.

Then there was action in the country next door in 2003, and in the next election in Iran, for Parliament, The hardline conservative nutbags gained 156 seats with 54% of the votes, reversing the trend of a moderating Iran. And then in 2005, the first Presdential election since the exceitement in their border neighbors country, they elected the king of the nutballs, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iraq was radicalizing.

So, our foreigh policy intefered with the moderating process that was takin place in Iraq to a much more classically liberal political stance, and we ended up giving the hardright brainstems all the fear they needed to win in Iraq again.

So the irony meter will have to explode if we attack Iran for not being moderate enough, when our actions were the campaign posters that were used to knock the reformers out of power.

It’s like parking an gunship in front of your neighbors beach house and then bombing him because he got all militaristic about it.

Cap

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Captain Delusional writes:
Mohammad Khatami was elected as the first reformist candidate in Iran’s history in 1997. Iran was moderating. In 2000, the Reformists won 189 seats with 65% of the vote. Iran was moderating.
James Phillips on Khatami (note the date of imprisonment and murder of students, etc.):

"It was a major error to issue a visa to former Iranian President Khatami at a time when Iran is defiantly thumbing its nose at the U.S. and the U.N. Security Council regarding its nuclear weapons program. Although Khatami put a softer face on Iran’s blood-soaked revolutionary regime, Iran’s nuclear program flourished during his eight years in power. While calling for a “dialogue of civilizations” Khatami turned a deaf ear to Iranian student reformers who called for long-overdue reforms in Iran but were beaten, imprisoned, and murdered when their peaceful demonstrations were violently crushed in 1999.

"Although widely portrayed as a lovable liberal in the Western media, Khatami fully shares the long term goals of Ayatollah Khomeini’s radical revolution. During the recent fighting in Lebanon, he called Hezbollah — the terrorist organization that has killed more Americans than any other group except al Qaeda — “a shining sun that illuminates and warms the hearts of all Muslims and supporters of freedom in the world.”"

At that same link, Pooya Dayanim, an Iranian Jew, writes:

"Mohammad Khatami was the president of Iran between the years of 1997 and 2004. The State Department listed Iran as the number-one state sponsor of terrorism during those years. Among other things, during the Khatami years, Iran refused to hand over to the United States the Iranian intelligence officials who supervised the attack on the Khobar towers that killed American soldiers. Khatami continues to support Hezbollah, Hamas, and has called for the destruction of the state of Israel.

"During the Khatami era, freedom of press and assembly was relaxed by the Iranian intelligence and security apparatus to lull the reformists and true democrats into a false sense of security; thousands and thousands of students, journalists, women, clerics, and women started to express their opinions freely. For their foolish faith, many of them would pay. Khatami was president during the biggest crackdown on the Iranian media since the beginning of the Iranian revolution. Khatami was president when Jews were sent to prison on charges of espionage. Khatami was president when Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi was killed and Khatami was president when thousands of university students were arrested after the 1999 student rioting. I could go on."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Then there was action in the country next door in 2003, and in the next election in Iran, for Parliament, The hardline conservative nutbags gained 156 seats with 54% of the votes, reversing the trend of a moderating Iran. And then in 2005, the first Presdential election since the exceitement in their border neighbors country, they elected the king of the nutballs, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Back when Ahmadinejad won I wrote in my blog that ultimately the biggest disaster caused by the attack of Iraq could well be the way it revitalized and popularized the religious right in Iraq. I don’t think this can last, all other things equal. If we up the ante by bombing their nuclear facilities, that might be yet another bit of aid to the religious right. This set back Iran’s slow — but real — liberalization.

On another issue, though, I suspect the realists (rather than idealogues) are in complete control, and that’s foreign policy. They didn’t like Ahmadinejad’s bravado and swagger. They have a clear goal: to assert their position as a regional power, much larger than any of the Arab states or Afghanistan, strategically positioned on the Straits of Hormuz, bordering the states of the former Soviet Union, near China, and bordering Pakistan.

They forged an alliance with Syria after Saddam’s attack, and quickly set up Hezbollah which gives them a foothold in Lebanon as well. The Bush Administration is temped to respond by saying "damn it, we’re the world’s super power, we won’t tolerate Iran altering the Mideast balance of power," and use force to try to weaken Iran. The alternative — pursuing diplomacy and tacitly accepting the enhanced Iranian role — is too painful for them because it suggests loss of American ability to strongly shape that part of the world. Some want to hype up the anti-Iranian propaganda, shrill and overblown much of the time, and just beat them! Others believe it is more in our interests to accept Iran’s geopolitical strength, and mix diplomacy with efforts to deter Iran’s ambitions, working closely with Arab states and Afghanistan, as well as the UN.

Meanwhile in Iran the religious right and the ideologues believe the US is weak, that oil is our achilles heal, and that they should push forward, ready to engage in a massive effort to disturb and disrupt the oil markets if the US hits — and confident looking at Iraq that there is no way the US can really threaten the regime. The realists fear that such an effort risks all they’ve gained, and that they need to show they can make deals if they are taken seriously and treated with respect.

So the religious right in Iran and many neo-conservatives and right wingers in the US believe that their state should engage in real conflict, confident this will bring victory. The realists and moderates in each state don’t see that within their interests. Which side will win?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
intrade.com places the odds of an Iran attack by next spring at more likely than Obama getting the nomination and less likely than Giuliani getting nominated and elected. Buy a President Clinton future costs twice as much as either.
 
Written By: Larry
URL: http://
I agree with you on this one, McQ, to an extent. I wasn’t much impressed with this report. I think the odds of a full-scale, Gulf-War sized campaign against Iran are very small - which is what these people are describing.

I’m not as convinced that a Clinton-sized raid on the enrichment facilities at Natanz won’t happen. Frankly, our whole government has boxed itself into a corner with its own zero-tolerance rhetoric. If GWB wants to rally his base badly enough, you know it would work. It’ll be unpopular amongst 70% of the population, but the 30%ers will love it.

I’ve always considered GWB’s decision-making processes to be half-cynicism and half a self-destructive obessesion with sticking to the guns of whatever half-baked opinion he first comes up with. Some form of Iran raid would demonstrate both those qualities in spades.

I absolutely agree with this, though:

If you want to snuff out that barely lit candle of hope, attack Iran.

And if you want to start seeing Shia groups with advanced anti-tank munitions, Katyushas and MANPADS by the swarm. Which we don’t.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

 
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