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NIE: "Weaponizing isn’t the issue, developing fissionable materials is".
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, December 13, 2007

Even Dennis Ross at TNR has figured it out:
I don't question the assumptions or analysis in the NIE, or for that matter, its main conclusion. I accept that the Iranians suspended their covert nuclear weapons program in 2003. But I am afraid that misses the point. Weaponizing is not the issue, developing fissionable materials is. Because compared with producing fissionable material, which makes up the core of nuclear bombs, weaponizing it is neither particularly difficult nor expensive.

In other words, the hard part of becoming a nuclear power is enriching uranium or separating out plutonium. And guess what? Iran is going full-speed ahead on both. With over 3,300 operating centrifuges for spinning uranium gases at its facility at Natanz (and more centrifuges on the way) and the building of a heavy water plant for plutonium separation at Arak, the Iranians will be able to master both by 2010 at the latest.
But, you know, for the chronically apoplectic out there who consider anything which might reflect badly on Bush to be "a good thing" and who've swallowed this NIE thing whole, it won't matter one whit. As Dale pointed out (and Christopher Hitchens), when you define nuclear weapon development as narrowly as did the NIE, almost nothing qualifies. And if that gives one a warm a fuzzy feeling, no matter how false, while embarrassing Bush - well, life just doesn't get any better than that, does it?
 
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I think you have to look at the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty to get the relevant definitions and limits on activity. I do not believe anything Iran is now doing is in violation of the treaty. If the report is right, they would likely have been in violation back before 2003. Of course, Iran denies that. I think Iran has a valid complaint about a double standard if they are not able to develop their own nuclear energy capacity so long as they are not in violation of the non-proliferation treaty. Moreover, I think the goals of the NPT are untenable in the long run — nuclear weapon technology will be developed by states who see it in their interest to do so. Threats against such states usually do more to enhance their desire for nuclear weapons than curb it. So the key will be to make it in their interest not to have such weapons. I think the Bush administration is coming around the notion that this requires a more sophisticated approach than just pressure alone.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott,

Letter and Spirit of the Law: why do these terms exist?

Nuclear weapons will be easier and easier to make, that is true. My only hope is that democratization of the world beats nuclear weapons in this foot race.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Erb, making excuses for the next administration to not pursue Iran?

Under Bush, Kaddafhi gave up his program, we verified Iraq has no program, and Korea may have given up their program it appears for now.

When your own intelligence community will publicly undermine you and give Russia and China an excuse to not apply pressure to Iran, I’m thinking that’s not really that bad a record.

Bush’s scorecard is a C-. Bill Clinton’s scorecard is a F—. So are me making excuses for the next Clinton to have a F— on NP too?
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I think Iran has a valid complaint about a double standard
They were enriching uranium in secret. They have no "valid" complaints.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
What do you mean by "pursue Iran." There’s a lot of tough talk, but little recognition of the strategic realities of the situation. Iran is a regional power, and likely to remain one. The bad news is that there is not much we can do about it. The good news is that Iran is likely to change on its own. Listen to the protesters and the moderates in Iran, they claim pressure from us hurts their cause and only helps the religious leaders. So maybe a dose of realism and recognition of the strategic realities will create conditions where Iran can change on its own. Tough talk is nice on a blog commentary, but in the real world it’s meaningless. That, I think, is why the Bush Administration is slowly changing its policies — and I give them a lot of credit for shifting away from the idealist fantasies of neo-conservatism towards a realist approach (Gates and Rice have done a decent job).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The bad news is that there is not much we can do about it.
No, there IS things we can do about it. But the solution is one in which neither you nor those like you have the stomach to take.

The answers to both questions are simple.

You get all of our bombers that are still even slightly serviceable. Every. Single. One. Even the ones from WWII, if they still fly.

You load them all up with MOABS, line them up side by side, and at 12:00 PM Tehran Time, you have them fly in and bombard every economic, military, and government building they have. While you’re at it, you drop it on the house of the ayatollahs and Ahmedinejad.

You crush them, pummel them, devastate their entire country in such a way that there will be nothing left of them.

In WWII, they firebombed Japanese and German cities en masse. Dresden was reduced to nothing more than piles of rubble. That’s what we need to do Iran. Do that to every single government building, economic center, military complex, warehouse, powerplant: EVERYTHING.

Historically, the only things the arabs respond to is actions. Defeat them utterly and they’ll subside. Show even an ounce of sympathy (which is then construed as weakness) and they’ll redouble their efforts.

We cannot allow them to have nukes, no more than we could have allowed Nazi Germany.

Bomb. Them.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Iran is a regional power
What does that mean, exactly?
Cite me some examples in other places so I understand what you’re saying when you use of the term regional power.

Who’s the ’regional power’(s) in northern Europe, for example?
How about the ’regional power’(s) in the Mediterranean basin?

I’m trying to understand why, say, Denmark might not be a regional power, and what effect that would have on them with respect to whoever the regional power closest to them is, and why it would be important for whatever country that was to BE a regional power when they’re dealing with Denmark.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Yeah, lets just leave it alone and when the current president of Iran decides to make good on the constant promises to nuke Israel, then what happens? When the radioactive dust clears, millions dead, territory unihabitable for hundreds of years, isn’t that so much better?

Off course, it will be Israel’s fault for whatever happened and the US’s fault for not stopping it before. Isn’t that how you guys work?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
"I think you have to look at the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty to get the relevant definitions and limits on activity."
You just go ahead and do that, Professorboy. Take your crayons, go sit in the corner, and keep yourself busy.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
can anyone cite me an instance in which UN Resolutions actually accomplished anything of note?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Korea may have given up their program it appears for now.
.. and the Israelis seem to have destroyed any chance of reprocessing their plutonium in Syria.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
"We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program." This sentence was widely interpreted as a challenge to the Bush administration policy of mobilizing international pressure against alleged Iranian nuclear programs. It was, in fact, qualified by a footnote whose complex phraseology obfuscated that the suspension really applied to only one aspect of the Iranian nuclear weapons program (and not even the most significant one): the construction of warheads.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Joel "Curtis LeMay" C., it sounds like you’re talking about bombing them "back to the stone age." Tell me, how well did that worked for us in 1968?

McQ please. Even TNR? Those guys have had a hard on for attacking Iran for years. Have you never read Peretz’s ranting?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
McQ please. Even TNR?
Retief - Take a breath, relax, re-read:
Even Dennis Ross at TNR ...
That being noted and brought to your attention, nothing else you wrote after that has any relevance.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Joel "Curtis LeMay" C., it sounds like you’re talking about bombing them "back to the stone age." Tell me, how well did that worked for us in 1968?
apples and oranges. I’m not advocating invading and stopping one side from taking over the country from the other, I’m talking about stopping a country from attaining physical technology.

That’s the best thing about physical things: they can be destroyed.

Bombing Iran in the stone age would solve many problems, most notably by bankrupting them and forcing them to spend their money rebuilding their broken stuff and less on terrorist operations and nuclear ambitions.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Bit harsh though, this carpet bomb plan, and probably unlikely to get many backers.

Stick with the Israeli approach, only whack what you need to and only when you really need to.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Like I said, there’s a difference of ’what needs to be done’ and ’what we will actually do’.

The first will solve the problem. I call it ’Dresden’. The latter will only hinder but perpetuate the problem. I call it ’modern day’.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
This is interesting:
The "Key Judgments" released by the intelligence community last week begin with a dramatic assertion: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program." This sentence was widely interpreted as a challenge to the Bush administration policy of mobilizing international pressure against alleged Iranian nuclear programs. It was, in fact, qualified by a footnote whose complex phraseology obfuscated that the suspension really applied to only one aspect of the Iranian nuclear weapons program (and not even the most significant one): the construction of warheads. That qualification was not restated in the rest of the document, which continued to refer to the "halt of the weapons program" repeatedly and without qualification.

The reality is that the concern about Iranian nuclear weapons has had three components:

the production of fissile material,

the development of missiles and

the building of warheads.

Heretofore, production of fissile material has been treated as by far the greatest danger, and the pace of Iranian production of fissile material has accelerated since 2006. So has the development of missiles of increasing range. What appears to have been suspended is the engineering aimed at the production of warheads.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Well, now that they claim to have successfully tested their new Schlub missile that can reach Moscow, maybe the Russians will be a little more thoughtful about the efforts to prevent them from having things to stick on the top of it.

Course with the Russians, sometimes you get the Dresden approach to the problem.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
meh, they haven’t done that since, what? Checkoslovakia? Hungary? They failed miserably with Chechnya and Afghanistan, too.

The only time the Russians ever employ that kind of warfare is when they’re being invaded.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher’s arguments against the peace process ( samsonblinded.org/blog/we-need-a-respite-from-peace.htm )?
 
Written By: Alex
URL: http://
Course with the Russians, sometimes you get the Dresden approach to the problem.
Oh, I was thinking of all the hostages they ’saved’ in that theatre a couple of years ago with the knockout gas.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Tough talk is nice on a blog commentary, but in the real world it’s meaningless.
Musharraf bending over backward to help us root out the Taliban.

Khaddafi surrendering his WMDs.

All in response to "You’re either with us or against us."
Tough talk is nice on a blog commentary, but in the real world it’s meaningless.
Spoken like a man who is in dire need of an *ss-whuppin’. Now, you could write off that last sentence as meaningless tough talk on a blog, because I’m in Louisiana and you’re in Maine. But what if I told you that I was posting that comment from my phone right outside your classroom building?

Do you think you’d have some decisions to make?
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://

You load them all up with MOABS, line them up side by side, and at 12:00 PM Tehran Time, you have them fly in and bombard every economic, military, and government building they have. While you’re at it, you drop it on the house of the ayatollahs and Ahmedinejad.
In other words, embrace evil — kill and bomb and destroy. I’m sure you feel strong and tough suggesting it, but it simply shows me that your ethics are out of whack, and you don’t understand what kind of reaction that will cause. We would not win that kind of conflict. We would not deserve to win. And some of us would actively oppose our government if it embraced such an evil approach.

No, I think the President is actually on the right track. I also note how the Saudis have warmed up to the Iranians. They were invited to the Arab summit, and Ahmadinejad has been invited to participate in the Hajj. They are also sending a message: we won’t be there to keep you well supplied with oil if you attack Iran. We’re a lot more vulnerable than you think, Joel.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
They are also sending a message: we won’t be there to keep you well supplied with oil if you attack Iran.
No, I doubt that’s their underlying message, they can’t afford that.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
In other words, embrace evil — kill and bomb and destroy. I’m sure you feel strong and tough suggesting it, but it simply shows me that your ethics are out of whack, and you don’t understand what kind of reaction that will cause. We would not win that kind of conflict. We would not deserve to win. And some of us would actively oppose our government if it embraced such an evil approach
So then we are evil for doing the same thing in WWII? That is what was necessary to win that war, Erb.

This clearly illustrates that while you sit in your Ivory Tower pontificating on the woes of the planet, you clearly have no understanding that the price of safety is paid with blood, not words.

You’ll note how I was very specific in what we would do: destroy their infrastructure in order to stop them from getting a nuke and kill off known terrorists: the ayatollahs and Ahmadinejad.

You, sir, are beyond naive. You are, in all effects, an idiot.

Go back to your Ivory Tower, and mind the nosebleeds.

No conflict has ever been resolved with just words.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
You know what really sickens me? If Erb and Co. would have been around in the 30’s-40’s, we’d all be speaking German and Japanese today.

Those of us who aren’t Jews, of course.

You don’t deserve to live in this country, Erb. You represent everything that’s wrong with your Baby Booming generation: a bunch of stuck up, spoiled brats that have no value of the freedom they have and no understanding of what it takes to enjoy it.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I’m sure you feel strong and tough suggesting it
Now who’s being emotional, Erb? You sound like a nerd who insulted the intelligence of the class bully, got (rightly) pummeled, and is now trying to reassure himself of his intellectual superiority.

In the real world, might DOES make right. The fact that you don’t like it doesn’t make it any less true.
Musharraf bending over backward to help us root out the Taliban.

Khaddafi surrendering his WMDs.

All in response to "You’re either with us or against us."
You still haven’t responded to two factual (unemotional) instances of tough talk accomplishing real results.

Of course, I never expected you to, because you suck at the whole logic thing.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Joel, the difference between this and WWII: You’re describing the approach taken by the aggressor. You’d make us like Germany or Japan.

And if you think Germany and Japan could have won WWII, you don’t understand history. Joel, I don’t think you understand how the real world operates. I have no respect for your intellect or ethics, given your recent posts. None.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Really? Japan and Germany could not have won World War II?

Where the hell did you get your degree, in a Cracker Jacks Box?

Our response to Iran would not be one of aggressors: they have committed acts of war on us by killing our soldiers for nigh on five years.

moron

I wear your derision as a badge of honor. If I lived in Maine, I’d petition for your academic dismissal. You’re a disgrace to the profession.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel, the difference between this and WWII: You’re describing the approach taken by the aggressor. You’d make us like Germany or Japan.
So, Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki were just anomalies then...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
No, Joel, they could not have conquered the world. At best they could have established a regional empire that would have slowly deteriorated.

And if you attacked Iran in the manner you describe, you’d arouse intense Iranian nationalism and opposition to the US, assure a massive increase in oil prices, the US would end up far worse off than before — all to wage a war of aggression against a country that can easily be contained and whose decision making has historically been (and deemed by the US government to continue to be) rational and based on power and interest considerations.

You simply need to educate yourself, Joel. I’ll help — it’s my profession. I also suggest you get some real world experience. But you have to be willing in order to learn. I’m not sure you’re at that point yet. (And yes, Billy, this time I am being condenscending — Joel’s earned it).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And the ironic thing about all three of those cities, they weren’t crucial to the enemy war effort.

We did every one of them just to make a point.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
So, Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki were just anomalies then...
Germany was the aggressor in that war, as was Japan. But I don’t think these were necessary uses of force to achieve victory, though understandable given the context (same with Koeln and Tokyo).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You simply need to educate yourself, Joel. I’ll help — it’s my profession.
One on one mentoring with Professor Erb?!! Joel, you’ve gotta jump on that offer and beat the rush!
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
You may not have noticed this Joel C., but we have 150,000 or so troops occupying the country next door. And that country’s current leadership is at least as close to Iran as to us, as are the majority of its people. So its more like Gala to Fuji.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
The Maine Mosquito:
"And yes, Billy, this time I am being condenscending..."
You couldn’t condescend to my three year-old niece, fool.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
No, Joel, they could not have conquered the world. At best they could have established a regional empire that would have slowly deteriorated.
Hitler could have conquered Europe: without our help, our British friends would have had no choice but to relocate to Canada or learn to speak German.

Africa would have all but been under German hands for the same reason.

Japan could not have Taken Australia, so the Brits would still have that, but China would have been utterly screwed.

And given a few more weeks (and with the Japanese doing what they were supposed to do and flank Russia from the East, NOT attack the USA) Moscow and, thus, the USSR would have fallen to Germany.

As for South America: it wouldn’t matter. Argentina, Columbia and Venezuela were already sympathetic to Germany and America would sleep it away had the isolationists had a voice.

So yea, Germany could have EASILY won that war. So could Japan. In fact, they almost did.

But what do I know? I just read books and quote actual historians, the vast majority of which seem to believe Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan capable of conquering most of the world. But his High Holiness Scott Erb, Ph.D says otherwise, so they MUST be wrong.

right?

RIGHT?!
And if you attacked Iran in the manner you describe, you’d arouse intense Iranian nationalism and opposition to the US, assure a massive increase in oil prices, the US would end up far worse off than before
Funny thing about nationalism: if you no longer have any food on your table (or guns for that matter) because they’ve all been DESTROYED, then there’s more pressings to worry about. But hey, it’s only worked for every other warring nation in history, including Rome, Britain, Spain, Germany and us when we did, it can’t possibly work today.
all to wage a war of aggression
There you go again, Dr. Erb. You’re so dishonest, it’s almost cute!

Ya see, the problem with this cute sounding sound bite is that it would be true if ONLY Iran hadn’t been engaged in killing American Soldiers for the past five years. You see, according to every single law/rule/custom of war in history, that constitutes as an Act of War, even according to our own laws.

In other words: if we were to bomb them into oblivion we would be amply justified for the simple reason that Iran has had a direct hand in murdering American Soldiers.

You hear that? That’s the sound of your ’war of aggression’ ’argument’ dying a shrill, but short, death.
One on one mentoring with Professor Erb?!! Joel, you’ve gotta jump on that offer and beat the rush!
I don’t know. I don’t think I have the funds to beat people like Fidel Castro, Mahmud Ahmedinijad and Hugo Chavez.

But think of all the things I can learn, like how someone who’s IQ matched Dan Marino’s football Jersey manages to type at all.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
That being noted and brought to your attention, nothing else you wrote after that has any relevance.
Just whose vanity rag do you think TNR is?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Funny thing about nationalism: if you no longer have any food on your table (or guns for that matter) because they’ve all been DESTROYED, then there’s more pressings to worry about.
Yeah, it’s worked a treat in Chechnya. Oh wait...
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Actually, Chechnya is a good example of it. While an occupying force will probably never succeed there, you don’t see them bombing Moscow, do you?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Ya see, the problem with this cute sounding sound bite is that it would be true if ONLY Iran hadn’t been engaged in killing American Soldiers for the past five years.
Sigh, Joel, Joel, Joel... There is no doubt that an invasion of Iran would be by every legal and moral standard a war of aggression. Your attempt to rationalize it by saying that Iran’s alleged involvement in Iraq means it’s OK to invade is, to put it bluntly, stupid. You show no understanding of the basics of international law and how conflicts are understood. You are indeed of remedial study.

Also, am to assume that you think Iran can somehow take over the US — that we’ll all be speaking Persian? You seem to want to destroy their economy, which will mean a lot of starvation, children suffering, innocents out of work and unable to feed their families. They will, of course, blame America, and it will fuel an anti-American surge throughout the Islamic world with unbelievable consequences. All because of your bloodlust? That would be insane. Luckily there are systems in place to keep people like you far away from any responsibility. And there are education systems designed to prevent people from falling into your style of thinking.

And the idea you think Germany and Japan could have conquered the world is laughable. The stuff on South America is silly. But you’re harmless. And from the way you write, I think you’re probably 19 or 20 years old with very, very little real world experience. It shows. Try again after you are out in the world and learn a bit.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
There is no doubt that an invasion of Iran would be by every legal and moral standard a war of aggression.
What Joel described wasn’t an invasion, it was a bombardment. He didn’t once mention boots on the ground, it was all air assault. Go back and read, this time for comprehension.


Oh, and they’ve got your trophy for Upper Class Twit of the Year all shined up and waiting for you.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Sigh, Joel, Joel, Joel... There is no doubt that an invasion of Iran would be by every legal and moral standard a war of aggression. Your attempt to rationalize it by saying that Iran’s alleged involvement in Iraq means it’s OK to invade is, to put it bluntly, stupid. You show no understanding of the basics of international law and how conflicts are understood. You are indeed of remedial study.
Coming from someone who uses the words ’alleged involvement?’ I know people with down syndrome with more sense than you.

Fact is, legally, that’s all that’s needed to justify action both in International Law and legally.

In fact, I challenge you to point to any international measure in which that isn’t the case.

I wont hold my breath, though: you’re not one to back yourself up with such silly things as ’facts’.

Secondly, you’re reading comprehension skills are laughable. As Steve pointed out, I never once mentioned an invasion: I specifically said bombardment. Ya know, kinda like what Clinton did in the 90’s?

Thirdly, I can cite everything from Churchill, to FDR, to Patton, to Montgomery. Pick up any History book and you’ll read the same thing. Hitler could have easily taken the continent. In fact, aside from Britain, he HAD taken the entire continent.

Lastly, Appeal to Age, eh? Line up those logical fallacies, professor, it’s the only thing you have going for you.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I do not advocate the use of force against Iran at this point, but you could use a punitive expedition type of invasion / bombing campaign, where we invade Iran with ground troops but they only go to the nuclear facilities and destroy those root and branch. (Maybe we don’t get them all, but I would guess it would severely shut them down.) We’d attempt to capture or kill their scientists, too.

You’d probably destroy their entire air force and lots of their army at the same time, but if you were very specific in your targets, technically you would not need to occupy Iran or even stick around.

Of course, I’d stick with negotiations and harder sanctions for the time being. If they get closer to a bomb, I would issue a "kill list" deterrence program (which means that if any terror nukes go off in Tel Aviv, NYC, etc. certain countries on the kill list will be bombed automatically.

And while everyone worries about nuking Israel, keep in mind the risk of an accidental nuclear war is not trivial either. The more countries with nukes and missiles, the more chance someone mis-reads a radar signature in a time of crisis and the nukes fly. IIRC, Taiwan wanted nukes, but we discouraged them, mainly because they would have had like 30 second window decision time to use or lose.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Fact is, legally, that’s all that’s needed to justify action both in International Law and legally.
You are dead wrong.

And you’re argument has no logic. You want to cause death, destruction, turn a country totally against us, raise oil prices, and then make some yammering back to us "talking German or Japanese" as if somehow you want to compare a single relatively backwards state into something comparable to the major industrial powers of the 1940s....you’re babbling. And if you think bombing every economic site is not an invasion, you’re off the deep end. *eyes rolling*

Bottom line: any attempt to attack Iran will backfire. It’s also not necessary. Iran may some day have a nuclear weapon and the world will adapt. The are weak enough that the balance of power will keep them in check. The biggest threat from Iran is not a nuclear bomb but, in the case of the US, it’s their geopolitical position at the choke point of the Persian Gulf, and to Israel, it’s their support of Hezbollah. Hezbollah is a far more credible threat to Israel than an Iranian nuclear weapon. Iran’s goal is to be a regional power, and they probably will achieve it. And you know what — if we leave them alone and adapt with a sensible realist containment policy, they’ll change from within and you don’t have to go down a path that could completely devastate the United States that Joel, is his wild and almost incoherent rant seems to want to take.

Harun’s idea is more feasible, but ultimately would backfire. Iran isn’t that weak, and they have plans on how to deal with almost any imaginable attack. The danger of things going very bad is far greater than the danger of Iran with a nuclear weapon would pose. After all, Israel has far more nuclear weapons, as of course do the US, China and Russia. Iran is not a serious threat to expand.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You are dead wrong.
Prove it. cite me law in which what I’m proposing is illegal.

The only thing you can get me on is Political Assasination. But bombing government, Military, war effort production infrastructure is all legal, and the fact that Iran has been killing American soldiers provides jus ad bellum.

Also, my comparison to 1940 was to show there is precedent to what I am suggesting: the total take out of economic and military capabilities. It’s called citations, something you have yet to do.

Finally, since you don’t know definitions, I guess I’ll have to educate you.

Bombing

o attack, damage, or destroy with or as if with bombs.
v.intr.
1. To drop a bomb or bombs.
2. Slang To fail miserably: The play bombed.
3. Slang To paint a graffito.

Invasion

Noun - the act of invading; the act of an army that invades for conquest or plunder.

Now, we’re not going to take anything, so ’plunder’ is out of the question. We’re not there to conquer, so scratch that. And our army is certainly not going in.

So, what ’Erb’s World’ definition of invasion are you using, because the English language seems at odds with you.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Sorry, Joel, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. Next time I teach my course on International Law, I’ll e-mail you and let you know you can follow the online notes and educate yourself. For now, I just have to dismiss you as one of those uninformed folk out there with an opinion that has no basis in fact. Opinions are like...well, you know...Goodbye.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Sorry, Joel, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. Next time I teach my course on International Law, I’ll e-mail you and let you know you can follow the online notes and educate yourself. For now, I just have to dismiss you as one of those uninformed folk out there with an opinion that has no basis in fact. Opinions are like...well, you know...Goodbye.
So not a single citation.

You cannot cite a SINGLE credible source which refutes what I’m saying, Mr. High-and-Mighty Professor.

Dishonest Idiot.

when you ’teach’, do you tell your students about credible sources, or are they only to allowed to hang on your every word?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
You just press, Joel! It’s not fair!

{snicker}
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I also think assuming these actions will "always backfire" is a very dangerous assumption that essentially says we should never act at all. That is wrong-headed.

Are we going to say that putting sanctions on Japan "backfired" because they later attacked us? "We should have not put sanctions on them, and then they would not have gone to war with us. See, problem solved! War averted! Erb wins!"

The thing with stopping Iranian nukes through negotiation is that you need to show the Iranian government and/or people that the cost for having nukes will be higher than the benefit. This is difficult to do if you take military action off the table. Which is why we should never do that.

Its tricky because you don’t want to scare them so much they decide they really do need nukes, but I think Iran can simply look at North Korea, Libya, etc. and realize we have negotiated in good faith before.

Persuasion is another way, but frankly if that could have worked it would have succeeded a long time ago. The EU-3 were offering up amazing deals with the strong hint that any deal with them would lead to the US joining in.

The problem with saying "Israel has nukes so she can take care of herself" is that we really don’t want to have to go to that level, do we? And while I might imagine Kim Jong-Il is a rational man who wants to enjoy his cognac and girls and thus will not do something too stupid, what about the man who is inspired by religion - you know the one with a martyr complex that produces a lot of suicide attacks on civilians? Who will assist terrorists who blow up Jewish centers in Argentina? (I mean, that’s far away from being a regional player...) Now, is that the case? I don’t know. But its not re-assuring.




 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
So not a single citation.
You made the claim that it was justifiable, you back up your claim. If you don’t, I’ll cite Dr. Scott Erb, Professor of Political Science, who teaches International Law and Organization, as well as International Conflict, and has a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

But if you have a cite that backs up your claim, I’d love to see it. You see, you made the initial claim. If you can’t support it, then it has no validity.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I also think assuming these actions will "always backfire" is a very dangerous assumption that essentially says we should never act at all. That is wrong-headed.
To simply assume so is wrong headed. I don’t believe I’m just assuming here.
The thing with stopping Iranian nukes through negotiation is that you need to show the Iranian government and/or people that the cost for having nukes will be higher than the benefit. This is difficult to do if you take military action off the table. Which is why we should never do that.
That is a good point — the art of diplomacy requires a credible deterrent against actions that are unacceptable. With the Soviet Union we had an even stickier problem. Going to war could have destroyed much of humanity, yet we had to act as if we thought we could win a nuclear war to convince the Soviets that we might actually strike first. It was a bluff for the most part (some in government would have been prepared to do so, but most were playing brinksmanship, even Ike with his ’massive retaliation’ doctrine). So yeah, my argument here that it will fail is not something that a government can acknowledge.

That’s why in my blog yesterday I noted that I was probably wrong to criticize President Bush for not accepting the negotiations with Iran and Syria as the Baker commission recommended. I think they did accept those recommendations but recognized that they couldn’t just say "OK let’s talk," because that would, as Secretary Rice noted, make us look like supplicants. Instead we’ve seen an opening to Iraq and Syria that is yielding benefits, but done in a far more credible manner than if they had pursued the path in a way that looked like a sudden change in policy in reaction to things falling apart in Iraq.

I also think the NIE is accurate that Iranian foreign policy is rational. These are religious fundamentalists, but not fanatics or insane extremists. They also have a foreign policy bureaucracy and military that isn’t as focused on religion as other institutes, and there are power competitions.

Bottom line: believe it or not, I think the White House is doing a decent job on its Iran policy now, and I do think they are walking a fine line between tough rhetoric and practical results from diplomacy. As I said last week, I’m finding it harder to be critical of the Bush foreign policy than at any other time in his Presidency, I think they’ve learned a lot, and I think Rice and Gates have helped steer a policy change in a way that’s credible rather than looking like a sudden "my eyes have been open" moment (and yes, that’s a criticism of Carter — he did not handle his shift to hawkishness on the USSR in as deft a manner).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
PS - Do you agree with me Harun that the biggest threat to Israel from Iran is not nukes (though nukes would make them a regional power, which would expand Iranian influence), but Hezbollah and Iranian support for that and other terror organizations. I think that’s a tricky issue, and strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, while perhaps making it less likely Iran will get a bomb, will only increase the internal power of religious fundamentalists and expand their desire to support and use Hezbollah. That poses a dilemma for Israel especially. Take Hezbollah out of the picture, and the whole strategic situation changes.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You see, you made the initial claim.
Erb — you either just lied (big surprise) — or you once again proved your inability to comprehend your own words. It is YOU who made the initial claim:
There is no doubt that an invasion of Iran would be by every legal and moral standard a war of aggression.
in response to Joel stating:
You see, according to every single law/rule/custom of war in history, [killing American soldiers] constitutes as an Act of War
In other words, Joel claimed that attacking and killing a country’s soldiers is an act of war.

YOU claimed invading Iran in response would be illegal.

YOU made the claim about the bombing being illegal. Now back it up, weasel-boy.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I’ll also note that "Dr. Scott Erb, Professor of Political Science, who teaches International Law and Organization, as well as International Conflict, and has a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota" does not even know the international definition of:
war of aggression
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
In other words, Joel claimed that attacking and killing a country’s soldiers is an act of war.

YOU claimed invading Iran in response would be illegal.

YOU made the claim about the bombing being illegal. Now back it up, weasel-boy.
Erb can’t back it up because he’s essentially demanding that Joel prove a negative. Laws are not written to permit actions, but to restrict them.

Incorrect: It shall be lawful for Scott Erb to post on QandO daily, sucking bandwidth, oxygen, and I.Q. points without limit.

Correct: The right of Scott Erb to make a complete *ss of himself on blog comment threads shall not be infringed.

Second, you would think a professor of international law would come right out and say this, but considering what a weasel he is, it’s no surprise:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS INTERNATIONAL LAW. THERE ARE ONLY AGREEMENTS BETWEEN NATIONS WHICH ARE CALLED "INTERNATIONAL LAW."

Let’s start with the number of countries in the world, shall we? The U.N. has 192 member states, and though the Vatican is not a member, it is generally recognized as a state by the U.N. So we have 193 countries.

Or do we?

The Republic of China (Taiwan) calls itself a country - it has 23 foreign embassies in it’s capital, and it is self governing. So that’s 194.

Now, if you have laws, you must have a court, right? How about the International Criminal Court? Funny, on the list of members, I don’t see the United States. Or Iran. Or Russia. Or North Korea. Or China. Hmm... So the laws over which the ICC has jurisdiction can only be enforced against you if you AGREE to participate.

But let’s say you DO agree to participate. For instance, all members of the U.N. fall under the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

Except when they don’t feel like it.

In Nicarauga v. United States the ICJ ordered the U.S. to cease military and paramilitary operations in Nicarauga and to pay reparations. Remember how that worked out, Mr. Professor?

The U.S. told the ICJ to f*ck off, mind their own business, and oh, by the way, we’re no longer under your jurisdiction except on a case-by-case basis. Meaning: WE WILL DECIDE WHICH OF YOUR BULLSH*T "INTERNATIONAL LAWS" WE FEEL LIKE RECOGNIZING.

What are they gonna do, put our country in International Jail?

Write this down Erb, so you don’t forget. There is no such thing as international law if countries can decide on their own that they don’t want to be bound by them. Which means that your course in International Law is an exercise in worthlessness. Kind of like your posts here.

 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Oh! I almost forgot! According to Chapter I, Article 2 of the U.N. Charter:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
Wow. That’s some heavy sh*t, man.

My bad, Erb. I guess that makes all wars since 1946 illegal. I mean, it’s written right there.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Historically I don’t think anyone can deny that countries have justifiably declared war based on attacks against their soldiers.

but then, who, exactly, are we going to have to justify our actions to? Our dad? Things we do, or don’t do, we do because we have a conscience (or not) as a country. Justification is great for philosophical discussions by college professors in future history and political science courses. For example, were the Romans REALLY justified in their actions during the 1st and 2nd Punic wars?
Trust me, the Carthaginians are beyond caring, regardless of the decision of the professor and class.

Justification is also useful if you’re being brought before an international court for war-crimes.
Which takes us to the next point....
What are they gonna do, put our country in International Jail?
Heh heh, that ain’t gonna happen, you know who they’d want to send to arrest us... US.....
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Ok, I’ll play his game, aside from the fact that he’s engaging in multiple logical fallacies.
You made the claim that it was justifiable, you back up your claim.
The Second Lebanese War of 2006, in which Hezbollah killed and kidnapped Israeli Soldiers was the principle casus belli.

Also, the UN Charter sites self-defense as casus belli, and an attack on a uniformed soldier of a country is the same as attacking said country.

Also, in 2001, the United States listed the murder of 3000 of it’s citizens on the list as casus belli to go to war against Afghanistan.

So there, those are my citations, even though I didn’t have to back myself up.

Now, kindly show me where it says that killing the soldiers of another country is not casus belli. Recent history has many examples of this happening.

Crossing a border, providing your enemies with the means of killing you is casus belli.

But thank you for answering this question:
when you ’teach’, do you tell your students about credible sources, or are they only to allowed to hang on your every word?
I pity your students, and the University of Maine is less credible now with you in it.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Sorry, Joel, the US cannot simply claim that allegations of Iraqi help of Iranian militias is reason for an all out attack. Nothing you posted claims it does.

I’m not sure what Jeff is trying to prove. In essence, if the US has a cause against Iran it has the right for: a) self-defense against direct attacks, and then b) ask the Security Council to approve additional measures. Launching an all out attack is not considered legitimate.

Now, whether or not international law is effective or followed most of the time is irrelevant to the question of whether or not something is justified by international law (or moral). I’m not asking Joel to prove a negative either. I told him that his "policy" was idiotic — not only was it evil, but it would cause disastrous consequences for innocent people and for the US, and it was contrary to international law. He did not really respond to any of those points, but said I was wrong to say it was counter to international law. He said: Fact is, legally, that’s all that’s needed to justify action both in International Law and legally. That’s a positive claim. He can’t back it up because he’s factually incorrect (and his history is not to admit when he’s wrong).

So Looker is of course right that there is no enforcement of international law if a powerful state does start a war. War simply would then determine the winners and after effects, and the strongest reason not to go to war would be what the result would likely be (Iran is far, far stronger and more dangerous than Iraq was in 2003, and look at the difficulties there!) I think that’s one reason the Bush Administration has changed policies on Iran to one I can generally support — they’ve learned some lessons. BTW, Looker, this is an interesting article.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
a pretty post with no substance, except for the Pot calling the Kettle ’black’.

You have YET to cite a single source in which the attacking of uniform members of a country is not casus belli. I provided you with three examples in recent history, you give me rhetoric.
a) self-defense against direct attacks, and then b) ask the Security Council to approve additional measures. Launching an all out attack is not considered legitimate.
Say’s who? Prove it. I have given you proof of situations where it is. Israel invaded Lebanon, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and we only gave scant lip service to the damned UN.

Again, can you cite anything at all that says the US cannot cite an attack on its soldiers by Iranian agents and Iranian proxies as casus belli?

It’s a direct question. Be a man and answer it.

You have yet to back up ANYTHING you’ve said. I gave you specifics, now it’s your turn.

If not, admit your wrong and go away.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
"I’ll cite Dr. Scott Erb, Professor of Political Science,...who teaches International Law ..."

Now, now. Could this be the logical fallacy of ad vericundiam? Especially fallacious since you have previously indicated that your field of expertise is not International Law. I suppose, according to you, that Dr. Joseph Goebbels, with a Ph.D. from the U. of Heidelberg would be an even greater authority.

I will now cite the Reverend Timactual, ordained minister in the Universal Life Church, who says that God is on my side.


 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
(Iran is far, far stronger and more dangerous than Iraq was in 2003, and look at the difficulties there!)
Prof, you continue to intertwine the act of war with the American behavior of attempting to mitigate the damage we willfully caused during the war.
Again, there is no law or obligation for us to reconstruct anything we destroy in Iran, and no obligation for us to leave them with any kind of sane, rational, functional government. It might be in our interest to do so, but don’t mistake that for an obligation.

The areas where we’ve blundered in Iraq are in reconstruction, it certainly was no blunder that we destroyed their capacity to fight a war in 2-3 weeks. We had no difficulties destroying Iraq, and while I expect Iran might put up a slightly better fight, I don’t believe the end would be much different than shock & awe as displayed in Iraq.
and then b) ask the Security Council to approve additional measures.
Which we didn’t get for Iraq, and we did it anyway. Demonstrating we might want the UN to approve, but if they don’t we’re gonna do what we’re gonna do.

I may not be in agreement with bombing Iran flat, but don’t mistake that to construe I don’t think we could.
Yet I acknowledge a prolonged bombing campaign would probably unduly stress the military under the present circumstances, and would further jeopardize our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq unless we want to go over to something more akin to a real war footing here in the US, and I don’t think there’s anywhere near the necessary popular support for that.
We might pull off a short campaign however, but I don’t think Iran would play Syria to our Israel and just roll over on it, and I do think the long term effect would be counter-productive to our long term goals, and I don’t see it helping our situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As always, the Israeli Valkyries are hovering in the wings, and they’ll act on their own accord if they think the problem really requires explosives to solve.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
A question Erb will never answer:

Is Iran committing acts of aggression (as defined by international law) against the US by killing our soldiers within Iraq?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I’m not sure what Jeff is trying to prove.
That’s because you are a moron.

Main Entry: 1law
Pronunciation: \ˈlȯ\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English lagu, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse lǫg law; akin to Old English licgan to lie — more at lie
Date: before 12th century
1 a (1): a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority (2): the whole body of such customs, practices, or rules

International law - NO SUCH THING. There is no world authority that can pass binding resolutions and enforce them. As I pointed out in Nicarauga v. United States, one party decided they just wouldn’t play anymore when the court ruled against them.

AND NO ONE CAN DO A DAMN THING ABOUT IT, ERB. THAT’S WHY "INTERNATIONAL LAW" IS A MEANINGLESS TERM.

THEREFORE THERE CAN BE NO "INTERNATIONAL LAW" PREVENTING US FROM BOMBING IRAN IF WE FEEL SUFFICIENTLY THREATENED. IS THAT SIMPLE ENOUGH FOR YOU?

 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Aw, Jeff: now you’ve gone and knocked down Erb’s Sand Castle.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Is Iran committing acts of aggression (as defined by international law) against the US by killing our soldiers within Iraq?


Quite possibly. And in fact, the International Criminal Court is trying to claim jurisdiction over crimes of aggression.

But since Iran is not a member of the ICC, they cannot be prosecuted under Erb’s holy "international law."

And since the U.S. is not a member of the ICC, we could not be prosecuted for putting Iran to the torch.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Oh, and I forgot:

Targeting Civilians is evil. Killing terrorists is not. Destroying Terrorist enabling governments, nuclear pograms, etc. is not evil.

It wasn’t evil when we did it Hitler, it wasn’t evil when we did it to the Taleban, it wasn’t evil when we did it to Saddam, and it wont be evil if/when we do it to Iran.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
International law - NO SUCH THING
You’re simply, objectively, undoubtedly wrong. In fact you’re hilarious.

Here are some websites you might puruse:
http://www.un.org/law/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_law

Or check out all the courses offered at Cornell’s law school involving international law (including international business law, international environmental law, and international law in general):
http://support.law.cornell.edu/students/forms/current_Course_Descriptions.pdf

Or "Findlaw," used by legal professionals, gives you access to a lot of information about international law:
http://www.findlaw.com/01topics/24international/

I could go on and on. To claim international law doesn’t exist is on its face utterly and completely absurd.

I’ll even give you a definition from Encyclopedia Britannica:
International law: the body of legal rules, norms, and standards that apply between sovereign states and other entities that are legally recognized as international actors. The term was coined by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832).

So, clearly, a claim it doesn’t exist is totally obliterated. (My, that was easy!)

And...

Targeting Civilians is evil. Killing terrorists is not. Destroying Terrorist enabling governments, nuclear pograms, etc. is not evil.
Joel, your thinking is very similar to that of Osama Bin Laden. He defines America as the terrorist government, he sees his group not as terrorists, but soldiers in a war. He’d point out that we kill far more civilians then he does, and that we’ve not only got the largest nuclear arsenal, but we use it and try to control other parts of the planet with our power. Now, we may disagree with Bin Laden, but his logic rests on the same fundamental attributes as yours — simply asserting and labeling. Until you can develop your thoughts to be above Bin Laden equivalency in logic (and actually he’s argument is more highly refined than yours), you’ve got a lot of work to do. (And, of course, I believe that Bin Laden is utterly wrong and evil — and my response to you is because I see you involved in thinking that is based on similar sorts of assumptions).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
My dear Professordink, I have a question for you. I’d like you to very carefully consider the UN, Wikipedia, Cornell Law School, Findlaw, Encyclopedia Britannica, Jeremy Bentham, and the unfortunate ragamuffins who’ve finally settled at the bottom — in your classroom — and then riddle me this:

"How many divisions do they have?"
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"How many divisions do they have?"
You’re shifting to the issue of enforcement. International law is enforced primarily through national courts. In that sense there is a very large field of expanding, enforced, international law focused primarily on issues of trade, business and investment. The UN Security Council rarely enforces international law, it is one body empowered to do so. The World Court can only rule when both parties agree due to a fundamental principle of international law: sovereignty. UN Security Council members can block any enforcement of international law against themselves, essentially allowing them to be immune from enforcement.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"You’re shifting to the issue of enforcement."
"Shifting"? Look, dahlink: "law", as a political postulate, without "enforcement" is like a fish with a bicycle. This is no "shift": it’s the essence of the issue.
"International law is enforced primarily through national courts."
And what a splendid performance record, too.

You are just as flagrantly delusional as you’ve ever been.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Erb — we’re still waiting for that international law definition of "war of aggression."

I know it exists and I even know what it is.

You clearly don’t since you keep using it incorrectly.

Idiot.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

You are just as flagrantly delusional as you’ve ever been.
Do you deny that international law exists?

If so, then look in the mirror as you read what you posted.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Do you deny that international law exists?
No, rocket surgeon. What we’re saying is that it is a meaningless concept. If it is non-binding and unenforceable, it is not a LAW. If you can opt out of the court system which oversees it, it is not a LAW.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Joel, your thinking is very similar to that of Osama Bin Laden. He defines America as the terrorist government, he sees his group not as terrorists, but soldiers in a war. He’d point out that we kill far more civilians then he does, and that we’ve not only got the largest nuclear arsenal, but we use it and try to control other parts of the planet with our power. Now, we may disagree with Bin Laden, but his logic rests on the same fundamental attributes as yours — simply asserting and labeling. Until you can develop your thoughts to be above Bin Laden equivalency in logic (and actually he’s argument is more highly refined than yours), you’ve got a lot of work to do. (And, of course, I believe that Bin Laden is utterly wrong and evil — and my response to you is because I see you involved in thinking that is based on similar sorts of assumptions).
ah, the moral relativist. Now you compare me to Bin Laden - really, your dishonesty knows no bounds.

This paragraph is so laughably low, so poignantly pathetic that it doesn’t deserve even remarking on.

Also, you have yet to cite anything for your argument. You have yet to answer the simplest of questions, so lest you forget, I’m going to post it again:

I have given you proof of situations where it is. Israel invaded Lebanon, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and we only gave scant lip service to the damned UN.

Again, can you cite anything at all that says the US cannot cite an attack on its soldiers by Iranian agents and Iranian proxies as casus belli?

It’s a direct question. Be a man and answer it.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Where was the law when Argentina attempted to exert their rights to the Malvinas?
Where was the law when Iraq declared Kuwait was slant drilling their oil?
Came down to how many divisions, didn’t it?
No one likes to admit in these civilized times that it still all comes down to "how many divisions do they have".

Now, you can teach it all you like, and demonstrate as many courses, in as many places, with as many professors, as you like.
Or bring in trains of lawyers and firms.
Or batteries of administrators and functionaries.
But it’s a viable concept only so far as the parties are willing to recognize it. Without the ability to enforce it you can consider it to be "International Suggestion" rather than International Law.


I’d add an additional portion to the "how many divisions" question -
How many divisions do they have, and are they willing to use them?

We all want everyone to play nice in the sandbox, but the fact of the matter is, there really is no teacher, no principle, and no parents if some kids get naughty.
Which is one reason Iran is continuing on their course of fissonables manufacture.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
ah, the moral relativist.
Actually, that’s what I’m accusing you of.

Of course, Jeff takes the cake here. In one post he says:

International law - NO SUCH THING.

Now he says:
Do you deny that international law exists?

No, rocket surgeon. What we’re saying is that it is a meaningless concept. If it is non-binding and unenforceable, it is not a LAW. If you can opt out of the court system which oversees it, it is not a LAW.
International law is defined differently than domestic law, that’s part of the study of what it is. But it clearly is not meaningless if it is subject of law school courses, casework, and gets routinely enforced. It isn’t meaningless to the US either, witness the effort taken to get approval to invade Iraq, and the way the lack of approval made it easier for countries to wash their hands of the mess. It’s also meaningful in political discourse, and in terms of diplomacy with other states. Also the World Court does not oversee all of international law, most of the time it is enforced in national courts, and the Security Council can rule in a binding manner. The Security Council members can render themselves immune from enforcement of international law, so it has real limitation. But to say "no such thing" or "Meaningless" clearly is at odds with reality.

So shall we ditch the meaningless non-proliferation treaty?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Note: I’m not saying I think the NPT is meaningless; I mean that if he’s right about international law being meaningless, then the thing paraded by the US and other states to drum up support for sanctions against Iran is meaningless. If that’s the case, get rid of it. But with no NPT, then there will be even less support for pressure on Iran. Guess international law has some meaning after all, eh?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Note: I’m not saying I think the NPT is meaningless; I mean that if he’s right about international law being meaningless, then the thing paraded by the US and other states to drum up support for sanctions against Iran is meaningless. If that’s the case, get rid of it. But with no NPT, then there will be even less support for pressure on Iran. Guess international law has some meaning after all, eh?
Well, that strikes me as a good point.

Help!!!!........I’m melllllllltinggggggg!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Actually, that’s what I’m accusing you of.
Hello, Pot. Have you looked in the mirror lately?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Wondering if Erb understands the difference between a treaty and a law.

And I notice he has scrupulously avoided answering Joel’s question.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
If you violate the NPT - which parent shows up and whacks you on the @ss?

And I could be wrong, but I’ll wager the observation of the "laws" is founded on the observation of the treaties.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Steverino: In international law, treaties are the primary source of law. When two states sign a treaty, it becomes international law.

I’ve made clear that Joel’s scenario is contrary to the UN Charter. I’ve explained it, but if you want to read it for yourself it’s Chapter 7.

I do note that Joel has never countered the arguments as to why his scenario would be devastating to the United States interests and security, and would lead to massive innocent suffering. I think he realizes he was wrong, but is dancing around to try to avoid admitting it (haven’t we been here before?)

Looker, I’ve not disagreed with you about the difficulties and often impossibility of enforcing some aspects of international law, I noted that earlier in the thread.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
There would be suffering, but such is war. It wouldn’t be completely devastating to US Interests, but the long term effects outweigh the short term.

as for your UN Charter, it also says that a country can go to war in self defense, that being enough casus belli.

So yea, you’re an idiot. If that were the case, all the wars of the past 60 years would not have happened.

The only person who’s wrong here and dishonest and not giving a single case in which attacking the soldiers of a country does not constitute casus belli is you.

So again, yes or no: Does attacking/killing troops of another country constitute cassus belli.

We’ll be waiting.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel, read carefully Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Also, your assertion about suffering that "such is war," is contemptible. The point is that suffering has to be taken into account as a cost of war before the decision is made. It can’t simply be rationalized — again, that is radical moral relativism on your part. And, I think you’re in lala land with your rather vague assertion that it wouldn’t devastate our interests. I don’t really think you understand the complexity and the forces at play here.

Oh, and no — killing of another country’s troops does not automatically justify going to war. And it happens very frequently, without war resulting. Of course, you’ve not even proven that’s happened with Iran, so...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Of course, you’ve not even proven that’s happened with Iran, so...
The Department of Defense and British Ministry of Defense has.

As for suffering: again, it’s sad, but realistic. We wont be going out of our way to wreck civilians, but it’s necessary to prevent terrorists from getting nuclear weapons.

As for Article 51:

1. Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. 2Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.
1. Attacking soldiers and causing the death of soldiers is casus belli. period. that is irrefutable, and as such, falls under the first part of this article.

2. It says ’shall be immediately reported to’ not ’must get permission from’.

In short, with casus belli, we can attack Iran, tell the Security Council our reasons for doing so and continue to do so so long as their ’authority and responsibilities’ aren’t impugned.

In short: you’re wrong. Just because it ’happens all the time’ doesn’t mean it isn’t casus belli.

People speed every day, it’s still against the law.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel, methinks thou doth protest too much. You’re making false assertions you can’t possibly substantiate, and you’re trying to pretend the UN charter authorizes aggression as self-defense.

Oddly, I’m in a position where I’m in agreement with the Bush administration and defending their position, while you have some wild eyed teenage fantasy about some massive attack on Iran, poo-pooing all the suffering, dismissing all the consequences with a wave of your hand, and not even thinking about what this all means. In time, you’ll get acquainted with the real world.

But there is no way the US can use self-defense as a rationale for attacking Iran in the manner you described. Such an attack would be evil, and would bring devastating consequences to us, and simply strengthen the hardliners in the Iranian government. And, of course, there would be an internal revolt in the US against a government that had become more like imperial Japan or Germany than one believing in justice and ethics.

Luckily, George W. Bush thinks more like me than he thinks like you. Have a nice weekend!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I have to say, the suffering if Iranians isn’t high on my concerns list for reasons not to nail them if their country starts waving nukes around.

The massive suffering of Iranians is insofar as if there’s no need for it, then...there’s no need to do it.
But, like us, they make choices about their government and I’m afraid we’re not going to be able to employ magic technology to discern those who agree with Onmydinnerjacket from those who do not if we decide to launch attacks on them.

As to causes for war -
If we haven’t specifically said Iranian government representatives (military or covert civilian agitators) have killed our men, we’ve certainly said they are providing equipment that kills our men well knowing how the equipment is to be deployed, and they continue to do so.

And if we haven’t specifically said they have killed our men I firmly believe it’s only because we don’t WANT to say so, as people may tend to start feeling that’s a cause to blow them to hell when we really don’t want to HAVE to.
While I have no inside information I tend to believe we’re turning an official blind eye on actions we might otherwise be able to lay directly on their doorstep so as to avoid war with them.
Rather than being overly aggressive, I submit we’re holding back when the odds are fairly high we would be otherwise justified to attack.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
You’re making false assertions you can’t possibly substantiate, and you’re trying to pretend the UN charter authorizes aggression as self-defense.
The rest of your post can be surmised as ’I don’t like what your saying, so I’ll just condescend.’

As for this:I am not making false assertions. Name one so called ’false assertion’.

Secondly, I showed you precisely how the UN Charter allows for self defense. If they are attacking and killing our troops, that gives us casus belli. Whether or not you like it is not the question, the fact is that it is considered casus belli.

period.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
But to say "no such thing" or "Meaningless" clearly is at odds with reality.

So shall we ditch the meaningless non-proliferation treaty?
Why not? We’ve abandoned the Anti Ballistic Missle treaty because it suited us to do so. Wow, Erb - one minute it’s "international law" and the next it’s non-existent. That’s some force of law.

And yes - Iran, which is a signatory to the NNPT, has violated it. With no consequences. North Korea, which was a signatory, violated it, got caught and said "you know what, f*ck it. We’re not part of this treaty any more." So now they cannot be in violation of that "international law" because they are no longer governed by it.

Can I opt out of the murder statute and go on a killing spree with no consequences? No, because the state and federal government have the authority, will and resources to punish me for breaking their LAWS.

By your standard, Iran is currently in violation of international law by breaking the non-proliferation treaty. According to Article X of the treaty, they can abandon the treaty "if extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country." And they alone can make that determination.

So today they’re breaking the law, and tomorrow the law no longer applies to them because they decide it doesn’t.

Tell me again how the concept of "international law" has any meaning, Erb. I never said it didn’t exist. "No such thing" was a bit of hyperbole, because that’s how I roll.

What I said was that the concept of international law was meaningless. If I could address your students directly, I would tell them that there is no such thing as international law, only international agreements - agreements that only last as long as everyone’s national interests coincide with maintaining it.

Of course, seeing as it’s the end of the semester, I’m sure their minds are so dulled by your bullsh*t that it would be a largely wasted effort.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Tough talk is nice on a blog commentary, but in the real world it’s meaningless.
Musharraf bending over backward to help us root out the Taliban.

Khaddafi surrendering his WMDs.

All in response to "You’re either with us or against us."
Just wanted to remind you that you were wrong a few dozen comments back, as well.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Now go ahead and compare one of us to Hitler, so we can declare victory and pwn you in the next thread.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
International law has a lot in common with divine law. They are both taken on faith. They are both studied extensively in universities. To say something violates International law is not much different than saying something violates God’s law. Both can be, and are being, violated with relative impunity. Enforcement is mostly self-imposed.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Why not? We’ve abandoned the Anti Ballistic Missle treaty because it suited us to do so. Wow, Erb - one minute it’s "international law" and the next it’s non-existent. That’s some force of law.
Treaties almost always have a provision for leaving the treaty — North Korea left the Non-Proliferation treaty, and Iran could choose to do so. That’s part of international law.

You may not understand international law, Jeff, but that’s OK. It’s not the same as domestic law, it’s primitive and difficult to enforce. But it’s real, it has a profound impact on business and trade issues, and less on issues of war and military action. That’s part of what makes it interesting.

Oh, tough blog talk is meaningless. You suggest in one of your comments that it’s not because Libya gave up its nuclear ambition. That wasn’t due to blogs or rhetoric, but diplomacy and action.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Someone once said something to the effect that without God, all things are permissible. The same holds true for international affairs. There is no international equivalent of God to dictate or enforce law. Obedience to any international law is basically a matter of individual national whim. If nations perceive it to be in their interest to ’obey’ it, they will and while doing so will invoke the sanctity of international law as some do the sanctity of god’s law; if not, they won’t.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Note: he still hasn’t, and will not, answer my question.

Such is the way of cowards and mental midgets.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
You may not understand international law, Jeff, but that’s OK.
As timactual pointed out, I understand it just fine.
Oh, tough blog talk is meaningless. You suggest in one of your comments that it’s not because Libya gave up its nuclear ambition. That wasn’t due to blogs or rhetoric, but diplomacy and action.
You are such an idiot, Erb. This is what you said:
Tough talk is nice on a blog commentary, but in the real world it’s meaningless.
What’s the subject of that sentence, professor? It’s "talk", modified by the adjective "tough." The verb in that sentence is "is." The second direct object is "meaningless."

Put ’em together, and the thrust of your asinine comment is "Tough talk is meaningless."

My response to your idiocy was:
Musharraf bending over backward to help us root out the Taliban.

Khaddafi surrendering his WMDs.

All in response to "You’re either with us or against us."
I was quoting George W. Bush, you f*cking moron. Do you seriously think I was saying that f*cking BLOGS got Libya to give up their WMDs, or that BLOGS got Musharraf to risk his life in helping us root out the Taliban?

Are you that stupid or that dishonest?



 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://repatriate.blogspot.com
Are you that stupid or that dishonest?
Both
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Jeff, when I said "Tough talk on a blog is cute, but in the real world it’s meaningless," the it was meant to refer to the ’tough talk on a blog.’ You are right that my wording could easily be interpreted the way you did, and I apologize for my carelessness.

And Jeff, I noted very early that international law can often not be enforced. That is part of the nature of international law, and what differentiates it from established domestic laws (though in many parts of the world domestic laws cannot be enforced either). You were wrong to say "International law - no such thing" just because in some cases it isn’t enforced. International law is routinely enforced in national courts and even recognized as part of American law (provided it is not unconstitutional, or it is not overturned by later federal statute).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You’re way too nice to these thugs, Erb.

*Way* too nice.

People who lead with insults don’t deserve polite responses.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Still waiting for a citation or response.

I’m not dropping this until you do, Erb. Or until you apologize.

Either or is fine. Just in case you forgot:

Where is it written that attacking/killing troops of another country does not constitute casus belli?
 
Written By: Joel. C.
URL: http://
Still waiting for a citation or response.

I’m not dropping this until you do, Erb. Or until you apologize.
Since you’re the one who made a point you can’t defend with a cite, and you’ve made outlandish claims you can’t back up, your impotent bluster is amusing.

But: Our claims that Iran may be involved in funding the Iraqi Shi’ite militias is not cause to go to war. That would violate the UN Charter, and not be considered self-defense. Moreover, a massive attack on Iranian facilities would cause massive suffering (which you, with the logic of a Bin Laden) dismiss as "part of war." That would also unleash intense anti-Americanism, push our allies away from us, drive the price of oil probably threefold higher, and assure deep economic recession. These are things you can’t counter, you just try to weave and dodge and hide behind insults. Cute, but irrelevant.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Both"

And then some.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Since you’re the one who made a point you can’t defend with a cite, and you’ve made outlandish claims you can’t back up, your impotent bluster is amusing.
now you’re just lying. I gave you citations, I gave you real life examples. You’re giving me opinion.

I pointed out to a real life situation in which a country went to war for an attack on its soldiers, and it happened within the past few years. YOU are making the claim that attacking soldiers of a sovereign state does not constitute casus belli. I am specifically asking you for a single citation or example in which it would either a. violate the UN Charter (which I also cited) and/or B. not constitute casus belli.

Again, still waiting.
These are things you can’t counter, you just try to weave and dodge and hide behind insults. Cute, but irrelevant.
these are things you also cannot prove.

You say they would cause w, x, y, and z. I counter by saying w has been a reality for over 30 years and nothing can change that, x is laughable considering our allies are first and foremost fair weather friends and secondly at least tacitly in favor of this, y is prefaced with the word ’probably’, meaning even you can’t say so for a certainty, and z is laughable, seeing as you have nothing to base that ridiculous notion on.

Again: you make all of these wild claims and have yet to issue a single citation for any of it, which makes it blathering conjecture at best. Furthermore, you accuse me of insulting you then call me a clone of Bin Laden. Either you are so intellectually deficient that you cannot see the irony of that, or you are so intellectually dishonest that you don’t care.

Again: answer the question or go away.
 
Written By: Joel. C.
URL: http://
You’re lying, Joel. I answered all your questions, explained the situation patiently to you, trying to educate you on how international politics works and why your idea was, quite frankly, non-sensical. You responded with a flurry of insults, bravado and accusations, all of which show that you really know you have a weak argument, but lack the self-confidence to admit your weakness. That’s OK. But many times I’ve pointed out that a country killing another country’s soldiers does not always provide a cause for war, and certainly not for an attack on the territory of another country — not by a long shot. You seem to ignore that, and claim I haven’t answered your question. Either your reading comprehension is very low (which could be the case) or you are dishonest. In any case, I hope you gain some wisdom as you mature. Ciao, ragazza!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Your sense of self importance seems to be blinding you, so I’m going to have to walk you through this one:

you said:
But many times I’ve pointed out that a country killing another country’s soldiers does not always provide a cause for war
Yes, you have ’pointed’ it out many times: with absolutely NOTHING to back it up. I’ve countered that argument by citing real life cases, one which is fairly recent, in which the killing of uniformed soldiers of one country by another is casus belli. You have yet to cite me a single line, quote, or reference of International Law that says otherwise.

So, again, are you simply saying this because it’s your opinion, or do you have any facts to go along with this rhetoric?

Oh, and yea: arguing with someone who’s half your age and resorting to the same tactics you’re accusing that person of (albeit dishonestly and wrongfully) does not speak highly of your own maturity, professor.

So, again:

Cite me a single instance of International Law in which the killing of the Uniformed Soldiers of one country by another is not considered casus belli.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Yes, you have ’pointed’ it out many times: with absolutely NOTHING to back it up.
The UN Charter, as well as just war theory. But you’ve had nothing to back up your rambly, disjointed little rants, so you’re the pot calling the kettle black.

Thanks for admitting you’re very young. I’m patient with you because I’m trying to get you to reject your emotion-driven ranting and resort to reason. I doubt you’re able to do so. I hope those educators with whom you have direct contact are able to help you better than I could. Your success in life depends on it. I’ve responded to you out of a sense of kindness, a desire to help you, but you can’t help those who resist.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Ok, lets look at both, shall we? (since you have YET to quote a line, but instead provide us with generalities.)

1. Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. 2Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.

1. Attacking soldiers and causing the death of soldiers is casus belli. period. that is irrefutable, and as such, falls under the first part of this article.

2. It says ’shall be immediately reported to’ not ’must get permission from’.

In short, with casus belli, we can attack Iran, tell the Security Council our reasons for doing so and continue to do so, so long as their ’authority and responsibilities’ aren’t impugned.

So, no. No where here does it say that the killing of uniformed soldiers does not constitute casus belli. In fact, the argument can be made (and has been made, which is precedence) that it IS casus belli.

Just War Theory:

When you look at Jus Ad Bellum, you’ll find that with our current situation, we satisfy all aspects of the requisites for Just War:

Just Cause: The killing of our soldiers and the violation of the stability of a sovereign state (Iraq). Also, the fact that Iran is in violation of International Law and is illegally seeking nuclear weapons helps our cause greatly.

Comparative Justice: our soldiers have had to suffer and die all so that Iran can continue their illegal operations.

Legitimate Authority: as a sovereign state, and one which has seen the violation of its citizens, we have the authority to respond in kind.

Right of Intention: we are neither seeking material gain nor are we seeking the preservation of our economy in this situation, but rather security and the righting of the wrongs inflicted upon us by the regime in Iran. Right of Intention is satisfied.

Probability of Success: 100%

Last Resort: we’ve asked them nicely, we’ve asked them not so nicely, and we’ve threatened them. Time to use the big stick.

So there, quoting both the UN Charter and the theory of Just War (which, again, is not International Law) gives us the authority to do that kind of bombing campaign.

So, again, point to me a line of text ANYWHERE in which the murdering of soldiers of a sovereign country by another is NOT casus belli, because neither the Just War Theory (which is open to interpretation, hence it being a theory, not a bloody law) nor the UN Charter say nothing of the sort.

Finally: save your condescension for those poor souls who are required to take your classes. I have done what you have not: provided citations and sources to provide my argument, and have gone point by point in explaining it.

The only thing you have done is make general and sweeping statements with nothing to support it.

Perhaps you’re going senile with age, professor.

But this clearly illustrates that age does not mean maturity, intelligence or wisdom.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://

 
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