Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: September 2009

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Quote Of The Day

I love quotes like this because it gives you a little hint about the level of the left’s self-delusion and intellectual bankruptcy.

“A Primer on Reconciliation,” put together by Ken Strickland of NBC at First Read does a nice job of explaining the arcane process and some of the limits that will make it both difficult and risky to push health reform through that process, despite the appealing feature that it can bypass Republican obstruction.

Although the “Primer” is quite instructive (you can find it here), the point of the post is to highlight the typical nonsense the left loves to try to run by everyone. The only reason reconciliation is being considered has nothing to do with “Republican obstruction”. It has to do with the fact that the Senate’s Democratic Caucus numbers 60 – all the votes necessary to invoke cloture in the Senate and avoid a filibuster. But they cannot be sure of their own caucus. So the easy and lazy thing to do is blame it on the opposition party which hasn’t the ability to stop anything.

~McQ


A Military Coup Here? Really?

Apparently, someone named John L. Perry posted a blog post at NewsMax about a military coup that was quickly taken down.  Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee has the whole article and a disclaimer from Newsmax as well.   It has, of course, set the left on fire.  What Perry wrote deserves to be seen for no other reason than its absurdity.  And while the left thumps the right over this “whack job”, keep in mind Perry’s biography says he worked for both LBJ and Carter Administrations and LeRoy Collins, a former Democratic Governor of Florida.

Here are the salient parts of Perry’s blog post:

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it.

[...]

Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.

Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don’t shrug and say, “We can always worry about that later.”

In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass.

A non-violent solution to the “Obama problem”? It is called an election you idiot. You cut the rug out from under him by taking the majority in Congress away from the Democrats in 2010 and then you do a voter’s “coup” in 2012 and elect someone else to the presidency.

How does one think that a military coup would put us in a better place Constitutionally? He’s certainly done his best to dress up those who would be involved in such a coup as the second coming of the founding fathers, but it is much more likely that wouldn’t be the case if an actual military coup took place.

Look, I’m no happier with Obama than Perry, but a military coup as a solution? Heaven forbid.

The military coup nonsense is just a delusional fantasy. In fact I’d rate the chance of a military coup here on the same level as an inexhaustible and non-polluting energy source being found within the next 30 seconds. How this boob figures that it is “gaining possibility” is beyond me. Unless he’s polled the upper leadership of the military recently in such a way that allows him to discern this “gain”, he’s blowing this out his posterior. Certainly there may be many in the military who are not happy with Barack Obama. But that was also true when it came to George Bush. And Bill Clinton. But, the military is not about to engage in some vast conspiratorial effort to “restore and defend the Constitution” any time soon. They have a pretty full plate right now with 2 wars and all the other missions they carry on throughout the world.

There may indeed be a true Constitutional crisis at some point in our future where such a thing is actually contemplated, but this isn’t it.

I’m sure someone, in defense of Perry, is going to claim that this was all a farce and just something thrown out there in good fun to solicit a reaction. If so, then you have to wonder why it “disappeared” from Newsmax’s website faster than a bottle of beer in a frat house. It was a stupid post, with no basis in fact and injurious to Newsmax’s credibility. They apparently figured that out quickly and issued a statement in which support for the post is not at all evident (something TNR never did during the Beauchamp debacle – there by further tarnishing their reputation). Good for them.

Owens does wonder something I too thought about:

The simple fact of the matter is that author seems to have come unhinged, and for reasons perhaps structural to the site’s editorial process, the column made it to print without a sanity check by the editors.

Any bet that will change?

And you also have to wonder what a guy who lists work with three democratic administrations is doing writing blog posts for Newsmax. That and why he’s now so disillusioned with a Democratic president?

~McQ


The Public Option: When Competition Isn’t Really Competition

It is, instead, a prelude to monopoly.  That is the case with the “public option” in the health care reform desired by the left:

The problem is that government, by definition, isn’t just another economic player, and will always tend to want to control markets for its political purposes. That threatens economic as well as political liberty.

And that’s precisely what a government run entity in a private market will be directed by – politics and an outcome favorable to the goal of politics – the accumulation of power. So there’s a basic level of dishonesty going on here when those in support of a “public option” talk about “competition”. Rep. Paul Ryan calls Kathrina Vanden Heuval on just such a use:

What’s concerning about this debate with me is that you’re using capitalist rhetoric to try and move a plan that is inherently anti-market. The problem is that the facts tell us this: A public plan option quickly becomes a government-run monopoly.The actuaries are telling us is that in a few short years, the public plan option displaces the private sector, employers dump their employees on the public plan, and then they have no choices but the public plan. And so, lets not try to sell a government-run plan using free market rhetoric.

Redefining “competition” to mean nothing more than the introduction of another entity in the field is the ploy.  Relying on the economic ignorance of most Americans to carry it off is also part of the plan.

Instead competition is the battle of private entities with the same goal – market share and profit.  In a free market system that goal is attained through winning the preference and loyalty of customers for their product at an acceptable price for both consumer and producer. It is the existence of other producers and their products which keeps the other producers “honest”.   But the introduction of a government entity into such a market introduces a “competitor” which is only interested in one aspect of that competition – obtaining the preference and loyalty of customers. It has no interest or need to have that price acceptable to the producer since it doesn’t have to seek a profit to provide the product.  In fact, it can run a loss as long as it takes to clear the market of other “competitors”.  Such predatory pricing will be supported by whatever subsidies are necessary from the US Treasury.  It will end up distorting the market to the point that those who must have a profit to continue to serve their customers and produce their product (actually pay for it with money they earn) will leave the market.

That’s not “competition” by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. And, in fact, with the ability to absorb as much loss is necessary to drive private firms out means government will indeed, at some future point, enjoy a “single payer” monopoly. They’ll be the only game in town.  It seems that our government is unfriendly only to private monopolies, not public ones.

So, in summary, defenders of the public option are being blatantly disingenuous with their rhetoric and stated intent when they claim that the “public option” would introduce “competition” and keep insurance companies “honest”. In fact it won’t do that at all.  It will, instead,  evolve over time into a “market” in which the only insurance entity standing will be the government run one which will enjoy monopoly status and give the liberal left the “single payer” system it so badly wants to see enacted here.

~McQ


From Teamsters To Transvestites

That’s how an acquaintance once described the constituency of the Democrats. In other words, it is really a collection of diverse special interest groups vs. a homogeneous political group of any sort. And keeping that collection of special interests in line is almost impossible as health care insurance reform debate has proven.  The Democrats in both the House and Senate are their own worst enemy.  While the Republicans form a fairly solid base of opposition it is a minority base – Republicans can’t defeat a thing in either house of Congress.  Yet health care insurance reform legislation is in real trouble, not because of the minority party, but because of the majority party’s internal dissension.

On the one side are progressives (formerly known as liberals until liberal became a pejorative term). On the other are the much more conservative Blue Dogs. The fight is in the middle and over the public option. The reality is the Blue Dogs are Democrats that come from very conservative districts which voted for both Bush and McCain. Political reality says that voting for a bill with the public option may be hazardous to their political health – i.e. they may have to find a new job after the 2010 midterms. Progressives have staked out a position saying they’ll not vote for any bill without a public option. Republicans will be happy to add their “no” votes to whichever Democratic caucus ends up not getting their way.

Que the 300 pound tub o’ lard that thinks he’s an 800 pound gorilla - Michael Moore:

“To the Democrats in Congress who don’t quite get it: I want to offer a personal pledge. I – and a lot of other people – have every intention of removing you from Congress in the next election if you stand in the way of health care legislation that the people want,” Moore told supporters of women’s groups and unions gathered at the headquarters of the government watchdog group Public Citizen. “That is not a hollow or idle threat. We will come to your district and we will work against you, first in the primary and, if we have to, in the general election.”

One has to ask, what if it is the progressive caucus that kills the bill, Michael? For whatever reason, I don’t think that’s who he’s talking about here. I think he’s making the assumption that it will be the Blue Dogs he and the rest of the “mob” will be going after (just using a little Democratic lingo here – don’t get excited).

And you’ll love this:

“You think that we’re just going to go along with you because you’re Democrats? You should think again,” he told the Tuesday crowd in a speech that was carried to members of the media dialed into a conference call. “Because we’ll find Republicans who are smart enough to realize that the majority of Americans want universal healthcare. That’s right. That’s absolutely right. Don’t take this for granted.”

So the gauntlet is thrown and Moore is sure the hills are teeming with Republicans “smart enough” to vote in government run universal health care. In Blue Dog territory? Where that’s most likely enough to get a Democrat voted out of office?

Moore may have a talent for making fiction appear as reality, but I think his grasp of how the politics thing works might be slightly wanting. My guess is Republicans would welcome Moore as a comrade in arms in the races he and his “brownshirts” (more Dem lingo – it’s ok, they approve) choose to enter to unseat the incumbent Democrat. If health care insurance reform really stalls out and he takes this “un-American” action to defeat Democrats it will also have the side benefit of making Rham Emanuel apoplectic – and who wouldn’t enjoy that?

Yup – from teamsters to transvestites – a collection of special interests in which common interests are difficult to find, much less act upon. The Democrats find themselves in a position they haven’t enjoyed in decades and, like the dog which finally catches a car it chases, they have absolutely no idea what to do with it.  Pogo’s famous line never better described a situation than now: “we have met the enemy and he is us”.

~McQ


More Dissension

It can’t be hate or racism because both of these guys are huge Obama supporters:

Sooner or later it is going to occur to Barack Obama that he is the president of the United States. As of yet, though, he does not act that way, appearing promiscuously on television and granting interviews like the presidential candidate he no longer is. The election has been held, but the campaign goes on and on. The candidate has yet to become commander in chief.

Those are pretty strong words, again alluding – no not alluding – flat out stating that there has been a whole lot of rah, rah going on and no leadership exhibited. And it is WaPo’s Richard Cohen uttering them. He goes on to describe the incident at the G20 meeting which he calls one that had “a faux Cuban missile crisis quality to it”. Lots of drama and stern visages, but not much substance as the leaders revealed something their countries had known about for years and only did so because Iran had made it known the previous week.

Cohen then advises:

For a crisis such as this, the immense prestige of the American presidency ought to be held in reserve. Let the secretary of state issue grave warnings. When Obama said in Pittsburgh that Iran is “going to have to come clean and they are going to have to make a choice,” it had the sound of an ultimatum. But what if the Iranians don’t? What then? A president has to be careful with such language. He better mean what he says.

Indeed. And as we all know, the Secretary of State has been missing in action. If there is TV face time to be had, this president is going to elbow his way to the front. And that’s something else Cohen is tired of – seeing him on the tube. He says we should see much less of him. Frankly I agree, but am hoping he ignores the advice and continues to over-expose himself.

Cohen has also caught on to the “tell ‘em what they want to hear at the time and then change your mind later” rhetoric that is common with Obama:

The trouble with Obama is that he gets into the moment and means what he says for that moment only. He meant what he said when he called Afghanistan a “war of necessity” — and now is not necessarily so sure. He meant what he said about the public option in his health-care plan — and then again maybe not. He would not prosecute CIA agents for getting rough with detainees — and then again maybe he would.

What Cohen is dancing around actually saying is something which was said of Bill Clinton, “he’s a particularly good liar”.

Cohen ends his lament with this:

Most tellingly, he gave Congress an August deadline for passage of health-care legislation — “Now, if there are no deadlines, nothing gets done in this town . . . ” — and then let it pass. It seemed not to occur to Obama that a deadline comes with a consequence — meet it or else.

Obama lost credibility with his deadline-that-never-was, and now he threatens to lose some more with his posturing toward Iran. He has gotten into a demeaning dialogue with Ahmadinejad, an accomplished liar. (The next day, the Iranian used a news conference to counter Obama and, days later, Iran tested some intermediate-range missiles.) Obama is our version of a Supreme Leader, not given to making idle threats, setting idle deadlines, reversing course on momentous issues, creating a TV crisis where none existed or, unbelievably, pitching Chicago for the 2016 Olympics. Obama’s the president. Time he understood that.

But he doesn’t. He doesn’t at all. He has no reason to understand that because he has no experience in the type job he now holds. He’s a firm believer in his ability to persuade in a job that, like it or not, requires leadership and the use of power, intimidation and action.

And that brings me to the second of the dissillusioned – Marty Peretz at The New Republic’s “The Spine”:

The secretary of defense, Robert Gates, revealed two hush-hush secrets on television this morning.

1. that Iran intended to develop nuclear weapons. No sh*t!

2. that the matter of closing Guantanamo was “more complicated than we thought.” Surprise, surprise.

The first of these revelations is especially significant. What does it say about the president’s adventures in sympatico diplomacy? This is hard to say: but I believe it’s an utter failure.

And why is that? Because international politics is a form of anarchy, and that sort of an approach is seen as a sign of weakness to be exploited. So Iran, as it usually does, will make all the right noises at the appropriate time to try to lessen sanctions, but whether successful or not, it will continue to pursue its nuclear goals. As for Gitmo – has Obama learned that posturing is much easier than governing yet? The answer is no. In his UN speech he lauded himself for “ordering Guantanomo closed” on his first day and then a few days later it is announced that it won’t close on his extended deadline.

That is a perfect example of what Richard Cohen sees as problematic with this presidency. Obama considers the fact that he  “ordered” something done to be an accomplishment. The rest of the world won’t consider it one until Gitmo is closed. He doesn’t seem to understand that difference.

See health care reform.  Heck, see just about anything.

~McQ


If The Public Option Is Dead The Democrats Killed It

Not that I’m complaining.

Max Baucus’ Senate Finance Committee voted on Jay Rockefeller’s public option amendment. No joy for public option supporters:

After five hours of debate, the Senate Finance Committee this afternoon voted down Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s proposal for a public option to compete with private insurers.

Though a majority of the committee’s Democrats supported it, the amendment was defeated overwhelmingly, 15-8. The proposal sought to create a public health insurance option that would set rates like Medicare does.

Now as I understand it, there are 13 Dems and 10 Reps on that committee. So it is important to understand that all that is required for anything to come out of that committee the Democrats want is to vote the party line. 10 Republican cannot stop a thing.

Which brings us to the second public option offering and vote:

The Schumer market-responsive public option amendment has now failed. It was called at 3:50.

The vote was 10-13. Three Democrats opposed.

Two Democrats (Bill Nelson of Florida and Tom Carper of Delaware) voted for Schumer’s amendment after opposing Rockefeller’s.

But Sens. Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and Blanche Lincoln still opposed.

Baucus has been quoted as saying his job is to fashion something that will draw at least 60 votes (and a public option won’t do it).  Ben Nelson feels that they need 65 votes (meaning 5 Republicans have to go along) on any Senate bill to make it “legitimate”.

Of course this doesn’t mean some other Democrat won’t try to offer a public option amendment to the bill, but my sense is if Schumer can’t get it done, it’s not going to get done. I guess the Senate is left to talk co-ops and triggers instead while the leftosphere and the House Progressive Conference does a slow burn.

~McQ


More Disreputable “Science” From The AGW Alarmist Crowd

Last week I pointed to the fact that the “scientist” who provided much of the basis for the AGW crowd’s alarmist appeal (as incorporated in the UN’s 2007 IPCC report) refused to provide the original data on which that model was based to peers.  He later claimed that the original data had been lost because it was unable to be transferred to newer data storage (an unmitigated crock).  IOW, peers can’t review his data and check out his theory to ensure what he’s theorizing has a valid basis in fact.  That’s a cardinal sin in real science circles.

And now, in less than a week, a second cardinal sin is uncovered.  That of cherry-picking data.  In the cross-hairs is Keith Briffa.  Steve McIntyre explains the problem:

The Briffa temperature graphs have been widely cited as evidence by the IPCC, yet it appears they were based on a very carefully selected set of data, so select, that the shape of the graph would have been totally transformed if the rest of the data had been included.

In fact, as with Phil Jones who I reported about last week, Briffa refused repeated requests for his original data (from tree rings). And it was the Briffa graphs which were used to support the contention that the “hockey stick” was valid.

When others finally got a hold of all the data and graphed it out, their findings were quite different than Briffa’s:

rcs_chronologies1a

And, of course, when they were merged they told quite a different story than was Briffa and the IPCC:

all-tree-rings-included

My, what a difference using all the data makes, no?

Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts have all the gory details, but as one commenter on Watt’s site says:

Coming just after the “lost” data from the Hadley Centre by Phil Jones, this is beginning to look more than just carelessness.

I call it the “great unraveling”. The hoax is coming unglued. And this shameful conduct will set real science back 100 years.

The question is, will the politicians see it before it is too late? Will the administration which promised that science would again take the forefront actually keep its word and ensure that happens? Methinks we’re going to find out that a political agenda and ideology are much more powerful than science. Science, quite honestly, is only useful to politicians – any politician – as long as it advances their agenda. If it doesn’t then the politician will claim it to be false science – regardless of how overwhelming the evidence is to the contrary.

~McQ


The Polanski Thing

I don’t get it.  Where’s NOW?  Where are all the women’s groups?  Where are all the agitated ladies yelling “no means no!”  Where are the children’s rights organizations demanding Polanski’s extradition?

And what in the world is going on in Hollywood?  If ever anyone wanted to point to the decadence in our country this provides the example.

Here, let’s let Kate Harding provide a little clarity, shall we:

Roman Polanski raped a child. Let’s just start right there, because that’s the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in “exile” (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never — poor baby — being able to return to the U.S.).

Got that? He raped a child. He plead guilty to a lesser charge, but in fact he raped a child. Then he fled. You tell me, if it was some poor Wal-Mart frequenting, no-name red-neck who had done that 30 years ago and then taken off and hidden out in a double-wide for all this time, Hollywood would be having benefits for the victim and howling for the blood of the rapist. The women of The View would be demanding justice. Dr. Phil would be on Oprah telling the world of the long-term trauma and effect this sort of event can cause. Nancy Grace would be pounding the podium and telling the world this isn’t about the forgiveness of the victim, but justice.

Instead, as Harding points out, we’re hearing every excuse in the book from the glitterati (not necessarily the one’s I’ve named) as to why Polanski should skate. He’s been in “exile” for 30 years. Really? He’s lived in France. Although some may consider that to be a form of “exile” few prisoners convicted of rape would consider living there, fathering 2 children and generally enjoying the lifestyle of the rich and famous to be “exile”, much less punishment.

Instead, what it all boils down too is he’s an artist and artists are different than the little people and should be treated differently. I mean, don’t you know they don’t have to follow the rules?  Haven’t you watched the awards shows or followed their lives on Entertainment Tonight? It is they who get to define what is good or right, or so they believe. They can ignore the rules and flaunt them, because, you know, they have a talent which millions enjoy. That makes them special and certainly more special than some floozy 13 year old child who’s life has come to  nothing in comparison.

And besides, Polanski escaped justice long enough, thanks to our friends in France who refused to extradite an admitted child rapist, that he’s should be allowed to slide, or so his defenders rationalize.

The fact that she’s forgiven him (since justice was never done, what other choice did she have but bottle it up and let it poison her life?) and wants to avoid the publicity is understandable.  Her mental health has demanded she find a way to put this behind her because the justice system was never able to bring her any sort of satisfaction or closure.

However, this isn’t really about her anymore – it’s about child rape and the simple fact that it is never right, never excusable and is always punishable, no matter how long it takes to track the perp down. That’s justice. You can’t drag Bubba out of the trailer and put him in jail for however long is appropriate if you can’t drag Polanski back from Switzerland and do the same.

~McQ


Howard Fineman Sees It Too

As mentioned the other day, when I first heard Obama’s UN speech I wondered if I was just reading too much into what I’d heard.  Then I saw Michael Gerson’s column and felt some relief about the fact that I wasn’t the only one which felt that way.  Today I discover Howard Fineman, a pretty avid Obama supporter, is feeling a bit uneasy for precisely the same reasons Gerson and I did.

The president’s problem isn’t that he is too visible; it’s the lack of content in what he says when he keeps showing up on the tube. Obama can seem a mite too impressed with his own aura, as if his presence on the stage is the Answer. There is, at times, a self-referential (even self-reverential) tone in his big speeches. They are heavily salted with the words “I” and “my.” (He used the former 11 times in the first few paragraphs of his address to the U.N. last week.) Obama is a historic figure, but that is the beginning, not the end, of the story.

Even I didn’t count the “I’s” in his speech so it obviously bothered Fineman greatly. The speech apparently made the same sort of impression on him as it did others.

Additionally, Fineman notes something Obama is fond of using but that is beginning to wear very thin:

There is only so much political mileage that can still be had by his reminding the world that he is not George W. Bush. It was the winning theme of the 2008 campaign, but that race ended nearly a year ago. The ex-president is now more ex than ever, yet the current president, who vowed to look forward, is still reaching back to Bush as bogeyman.

He did it again in that U.N. speech. The delegates wanted to know what the president was going to do about Israel and the Palestinian territories. He answered by telling them what his predecessor had failed to do. This was effective for his first month or two. Now it is starting to sound more like an excuse than an explanation.

Remarkably, Fineman invokes – get ready for it – Ronald Regan as someone Obama badly needs to emulate:

The model is a man whose political effectiveness Obama repeatedly says he admires: Ronald Reagan. There was never doubt about what he wanted. The Gipper made his simple, dramatic tax cuts the centerpiece not only of his campaign but also of the entire first year of his presidency.

Obama seems to think he’ll get credit for the breathtaking scope of his ambition. But unless he sees results, it will have the opposite effect—diluting his clout, exhausting his allies, and emboldening his enemies.

And, as Fineman notes, that’s already begun to happen. Domestically his agenda is in a shambles, support is eroding faster than a pizza at a Weight Watcher’s convention and his political enemies are in full voice against him. Internationally, you can see the pack beginning to circle gauging how weak their prey is and what piece they can rip off of him before the bigger predators take their chunk of his hide.

Fineman’s other point is why that’s happening – Obama seems to think that if he appears enough times and says something enough times his words will carry the day. It is as if he thinks that constitutes leadership.  If Obama does model himself after Reagan, it is only to emulate his communication ability while ignoring Reagan’s leadership abilities.

Fineman’s first paragraph really makes a worthy concluding one:

Despite his many words and television appearances, our elegant and eloquent president remains more an emblem of change than an agent of it. He’s a man with an endless, worthy to-do list—health care, climate change, bank reform, global capital regulation, AfPak, the Middle East, you name it—but, as yet, no boxes checked “done.” This is a problem that style will not fix. Unless Obama learns to rely less on charm, rhetoric, and good intentions and more on picking his spots and winning in political combat, he’s not going to be reelected, let alone enshrined in South Dakota.

So it isn’t just me, or those on the right who’re imagining things. In fact it seems our assessment was pretty objective. When the Howard Fineman’s of the world (don’t ever look for the leg-humping Chris Matthews or those of his ilk to have this sort of an awakening) begin to notice, it should be fairly obvious to everyone. If words were action, Barack Obama would be master of the world. But they’re not. The problem, as Fineman and other are learning, is Barack Obama has never had to put his words into action. That requires leadership – something he has never learned, never exercised and increasingly seems unwilling to take on (witness the delaying on A’stan while he sprints off to Copenhagen to do what he does best – talk – about the Olympics).

Fineman has defined the problem. But he can’t provide the solution. That can only come from one man. And to this point he hasn’t demonstrated he understands the problem much less the fact that he must provide the solution. In fact, as Fineman notes, he seems more caught up in himself and his words than ever. It could mean a long three years for both the Democrats and the country. And Fineman’s right, unless things change fairly rapidly, reelection is not something Obama should count on in 2012.

~McQ


So How Likely Is An Israeli Strike On Iran?

In all honesty, I don’t know – I would guess it would depend on a lot of things, but primarily the perceived level of the Iranian threat and the military assessment of whether such a strike would be a) viable and b) effective.

All that follows is speculation based on the military aspect of any such strike.  I don’t doubt the Israeli will or ability but I do have grave doubts about about some specific and difficult problems within the situation that render the structure of the IDF incapable of performing the mission because of them.

We’re all familiar with the famous Osirik strike by the IDF in which Iraq’s nuclear capability was taken out in one fell swoop. Iraq had helpfully grouped all of its nuclear facilities in one area and the Israelis destroyed them. They did the same thing to a Syrian attempt last year.

So, as many ask, why can’t they do the same thing to Iran. Primarily because Iran took note of what happened in Iraq and purposely spread its nuclear facilities all around its country. It eliminated the possibility of a single strike crippling its efforts toward realizing its nuclear goals. As you can see on the map, hitting the key Iranian nuclear sites would require a bombing campaign, not just a single strike.

Iran Nuclear Sites

Iran Nuclear Sites

The recent revelation also points to another probability. It appears that Iran is building redundancy into their nuclear facilities. Nothing says there are only two enrichment facilities. In fact the existence of two argues that there may be more that haven’t been discovered yet. But it does make the point that even if key known facilities are hit and destroyed in Iran, there is absolutely no assurance that those strikes will have destroyed Iran’s capability.

Then there’s the distance involved. Even with Saudi Arabia supposedly telling Israel it will turn a blind eye to their incursions into Saudi airspace in order to hit Iran, we’re talking about a limited ability to do so without refueling. Israel has some converted Boeing 707s it uses for the job but certainly not enough to support a campaign of this size. And while it has developed technology with which it can mount external fuel tanks to weapons stations, that obviously trades fuel for weaponry, meaning more aircraft will be necessary to do the job.

That limitation, coupled with the way Iran has spread its nuclear facilities out, means Israel would have to commit to a bombing campaign as I mentioned earlier. Several hundred sorties are likely to be necessary to degrade all the facilities necessary to neutralize Iran’s nuclear capabilities. I say several hundred because part of getting the strike aircraft to their targets will entail other aircraft flying air defense suppression missions. What we call “wild weasel” missions would require other aircraft to clear a path for the strike mission by taking out Iranian air defense radar capability prior to the insertion of the strike package.

All of that requires tremendous coordination. Once the first strike goes in, whether successful or not, the defense level of the Iranians will rise to its highest levels. At that point, follow on strikes would find getting to their targets unscathed to be a much more difficult job. And, of course, there’s the necessity of staging search and rescue operations for downed pilots. Given the countries the IDF would have to fly over, even with permission, staging SAR would be next to impossible.

So, in my opinion, the combination of distance, the requirement of multiple sorties against spread out and redundant Iranian facilities and no assurance of success argues pretty strongly against an Israeli military strike. That’s not to say that the Israelis won’t figure out a way to do it, do it well and survive it. They’ve surprised us before, but I’d suggest the odds aren’t in their favor.

Of course, last but not least, any strike by Israel, whether or not successful, is an act of war which Iran will seize upon to not only step up its proxy war against Israel, but use as a basis for a direct attack on that nation at a future time and place of its choosing. The question will be when, not if and it will certainly include speculation as to the type of weaponry Iran will use to reap its revenge.

I listened to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu address the UN this past week. I heard the palpable disgust he has for the members of that body and their refusal to act to thwart Iran’s nuclear threat. But I also heard a little pleading in there as I think Israel has come to the realization that this is a situation in which they don’t have the military capacity to take care of business. He was quietly pleading with the US and the rest of the world to actually step-up and prevent a possible nuclear catastrophe that could, as Iran has claimed to desire, wipe his country from the map.  Israel has come to the realization that their audacity and bravery won’t be enough this time.  They need help.

~McQ

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