Friday, January 13, 2006

Iran's dirty little weapon

On this thread from yesterday, an interesting discussion is ensuing concerning what could--or should--be done about Iran's nascent nuclear arsenal.

But one point I haven't seen mentioned there, and which troubles me greatly, is the fact that intelligence has it that Iran has oh-so-cleverly built:

...many of their facilities under densely populated areas, and especially under buildings that would make Israel [or the US] look like the international villain if those were destroyed: hospitals, old age homes, etc. Could you imagine what a field day the UN would have after an Israeli [or American] strike ended up causing collateral damage among Iranians (from Iranian nuclear fallout or from the Israeli explosives) in the tens or even hundreds of thousands?

The Iranians are not stupid. The Israeli strike on Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981 put them on notice. Sometimes an antibiotic only helps a disease mutate into a strain that is resistant to the drug. In this case, the Osirak attack made it clear to Iran that they needed to diversify their facilities in a way that would make successful repetition of a similar strike very difficult.

And so they have, making for some extremely complex decisions, not just in the tactical sense but in the moral sense:

If the Iranian nuclear facilities were located in one place, away from any civilian population center, it would be moral — and, under any reasonable regime of international law, legal — for Israel to destroy them. (Whether it would be tactically wise is another question.) But the ruthless Iranian militants have learned from the Iraqi experience and, according to recent intelligence reports, deliberately have spread its nuclear facilities around the country, including in heavily populated areas. This would force Israel into a terrible choice: Either allow Iran to complete its production of nuclear bombs aimed at the Jewish state's civilian population centers, or destroy the facilities despite the inevitability of Iranian civilian casualties.

The laws of war prohibit the bombing of civilian population centers, even in retaliation against attacks on cities, but they permit the bombing of military targets, including nuclear facilities. By deliberately placing nuclear facilities in the midst of civilian population centers, the Iranian government has made the decision to expose its civilians to attacks, and it must assume all responsibility for any casualties caused by such attacks. Israel, the United States and other democracies always locate their military facilities away from population centers, precisely in order to minimize danger to their civilians. Iran does precisely the opposite, because its leaders realize that decent democracies — unlike indecent tyrannies — would hesitate to bomb a nuclear facility located in an urban center.

That's the difference between states that act as terrorists and those that sometimes have to cause loss of life with deep regret. The former, such as Iran, not only sponsor outright terrorism of various kinds, but deliberately expose their civilian populations to harm, counting on the reluctance of countries such as the US or Israel to harm innocent civilians. All the while, Iran continues to castigate those states for being bloodthirsty villains. Clearly, the mullahs don't believe their own rhetoric.

States, such as the US will indeed act in self-defense if they see no alternative. But the consequences of killing civilians in this way is likely to be further condemnation from the international community--not towards those who deliberately place the civilians in harm's way, but towards those in the unenviable position of having made the terrible decision to bomb the facilities anyway.

As I said, those mullahs aren't dumb.


At 4:40 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

It's a decision we need to make: what happens when we must choose between our code of honor and winning? Do we believe that it's not whether we win or lose, but how we play the game?

Are we willing to settle for defeat with honor? I can't entirely vilify an enemy that opts to exploit a gaping, obvious vulnerability, even an honorable one.

At 4:43 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Pancho said...

Wise words from the past from Gen. Sherman. "War is Hell" [actually the shortened common version of what he actually said]. And when asked what the purpose of his March to the Sea was, his answer was "To make Georgia Howl". Unfortunately that is just what it might come to in Iran.

At 4:50 PM, January 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, based on the NPA, Iran has ever right to build nukes.

Only problem is that we dont trust them even if they were a christian nation.

Second,Iran is in complete control at the moment. they know U.S. wouldn't dare to drop bombs since Israel will be their first target. Followd by U.S. targets in Iraq and the golf. One thing is for certain these are truly the most exciting times.

At 5:11 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

As a Christian who fears Hell, I've always been fascinated by the morality of taking life - and never more so than now. From Shannon French's excellent book - "Code of the Warrior":

"Saint Thomas Aquinas [...] laid the groundwork for two prinicples of Natural Law that offer provisions for identifying situations in which it might be morally permissible to take a life[...]
The principle of forfeiture states that a person can forfeit his or her natural right to life by taking or attempting to take an innocent life.

The doctrine of double effect [...] in which it may be necessary or unavoidable to take an action that will cause the loss of innocent life in order to achieve some greater good(French now quotes Ronald Munson):

'...such an action should be performed only if the intention is to bring about the good effect and the bad effect will be an unintended or indirect consequence.[...] Four conditions must be satisfied:
1) The action itself must be morally indifferent or morally good.
2) The bad effect must not be the means by which the good effect is achieved.
3) The motive must be the achievement of the good effect only.
4) The good effect must be at least equivalent in importance to the bad effect.'"

For me, interpreting these rules is tricky. However, I believe collateral damage to Iranian citizens would constitute an "indirect consequence."

At 5:25 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger who, me? said...

And where are our U.S. of A. home-grown university-educated Human Shields, ever ready to go take the place of an Iranian nursing-home babushka?

Go. Travel like the wind!

At 5:35 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger gatorbait said...

Think Tokyo, 9-10 Mar 45.

At 5:45 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

Eric asks if we believe in the importance of "how we play the game?" We certainly do! We have the inherent right to self-defense. Self-defense is "playing the game" at a high moral and ethical level.

I am perturbed that Christianity is so frequently misrepresented as a religion of pacifism. The VAST majority of devout Christians recognize that Jesus belived in self-defense. Until the proper time for his crucifixion, Jesus defended himself against unjust arrest(John 8:59). Jesus also urged his disciples to carry short swords for self defense(Luke 22:36-38).

Second, Eric, I'm happy to see you identify the Iranian government as an enemy. Its a positive step.

Anonymous, I do not consider it a "problem" that we do not trust an Iranian government which tells Iranian citizens "we must prepare ourselves to rule the world."

Second: I do not agree that "Iran is in complete control at the moment," though they do pose a difficult problem.

Third: the U.S. certainly WOULD DARE to drop bombs, and the sooner you understand that, the sooner Islamist leaders will understand it.

At 5:47 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

If memory serves me, prior to dropping the bomb on Hiroshima, the USAF dropped leaflets warning the inhabitants to get out of town. It seems to me that if/when the decision has been made, the use of such leaflets could be very valuable. It would "powerfully concentrate the minds" of the military without whose support no tyrant can survive; encourage the citizenry to take matters into their own hands; and encourage the people to exit the cities where bombs are about to fall; not great, but better than the alternative.

At 5:55 PM, January 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since they have chosen to bury their facilities deep there is but one way to get them. Don't worry about the facilities themselves, drop several nuc's in a pattern and the radiation will linger for years. No one will be able to enter the area and live to tell about it.

At 5:57 PM, January 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, there are too many world leaders with their hearts set on a new cold war with Islam. It will not turn out like that, but until Iran hits the button, nothing will convince them of their folly.

The real question now is, what will the nations of the world do after Iran nukes Israel and Europe, and gets nuked in return?

What should we do when this happens?

At 6:00 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Huan said...

bombing iran's nuclear sites are only short term solutions, and their collateral damages only complicate and lessen the appeal of such action. a regime change is required, preferably through internal instability.

At 6:25 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

Huan--A regime change is required, but when? And how?

It seems to be a race between the current regime's capacity to develop nuclear weapons (and perhaps use them), and the ability of the Iranian people to effect regime change. Which will come first?

At 6:27 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

scrapiron: First use of nukes, in this instance, is off the table; a long standing and sane policy.

anonymous: The world is also off the table at this juncture. There are only three players in this particular set piece. And, don't get a stiffie quite yet about Iran being able to do squat of consequence.

shrinkwrapped: The is a certain charm to your suggestion of leaflets. The inhabitants would want to leave and the madmen would want them to stay and would be ready to enforce the order. Confrontations could ignite something interesting. The only problem is Iran having a Doomsday Plan.

Israel has always known that it is a hostage in this situation and the very idea of Iran being able to get it together enough to strike and seriously attrit a US naval force is ludicrous.

The whole point of the exercise is to prevent Iran from getting, deploying and developing a delivery capability of operational nuclear weapons. A secondary goal is to prevent collateral damage; to the extent possible.

Make no mistake. The ops orders have already been written. There are only mumble steps after this.

At 6:48 PM, January 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but ....
Our best hope is that Iran hits Tel Aviv & Rome with nukes.
A few thousand/million dead, preferably Europeans might actually get the West to wake up and allow us to defend ourselves.

Unfortunately, and realistically, Iran is too smart to do something this stupid. What I think they’ll do is dance right within the bounds of what Europe will allow. And that will be a nuke in Israel.

Europe is more anti-Semitic now than they have been since WW2. The BBC openly hopes for a “final solution” to peace in the middle-east. The death of millions of Jews will be considered nothing more than what the Jews deserve for the “holocaust” they committed on the Palestinians.
On the other hand, demographics indicate that Islam will own Europe in about 50 years. Iran knows this. So, no need to irritate Europe right now. Nuking Rome (or other EU city) would just be something Europe couldn’t ignore. At a minimum, that European aid money would stop flowing in to the mid-east.

If Iran stays within Europe’s allowable actions, Iran can wipeout the Jews and still maintain their moral superiority.
Neither the US or Israel would allow this and would bomb Iran regardless of world opinion. This would be the best of both worlds for Islam and Europe. Europe would have a threat removed (Iran); it would not have had to actually done anything; and, it would be able to condemn these horrible unilateralist deeds by the US (read “the Jew puppet Bu$Hitler Chimpy McHalliburtin and his rampant Goldstein-ism”). Islam would removed (or at least seriously harmed) Israel, it would have further isolated and caused the world to hate the US, and its nuclear bomb making capability would received only a 5-10 year set back.

Of course, Iran is filled with nuts that believe in their own divine moral righteousness. So, they may be willing to hit both Israel and Europe the first chance they get and assume Allah will protect them.

At 6:52 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Charlie Martin said...

"There are more ways to skin a cat than buttering him with parsnips."

Thee are other military targets, and other ways to hurt the Iranian government, than hitting what they want us to hit.

At 7:00 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Neo-- glad you've been infected with the meme: "it's a race -- democratization or nuke suicide first?"

Hopefully the US bombing will target top military and gov't officials -- regime change as the goal, more than just the nuke sites. Unconditional surrender.

Bush needs to be blaming the EU, and the UN, for letting Iran believe they could violate the NPT and be crazy about Israel. But Israel IS, almost, a hostage.

What does the US do, the world do, after a nuke obliterates Tel Aviv?

Perhaps the entire Israeli gov't should resign, allowing martial law -- and any "rogue" Israeli generals to do whatever they feel they must... I don't like this; but don't like Tel Aviv getting nuked even worse -- and the UN / international response to Darfur means the UN will let the nukes be used before action.

Also, the US should be "testing" any and all Patriot / anti-missile defenses. In Israel. Now.

At 7:06 PM, January 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is no different than stock piling weapons and using mosque for an operations center to conduct war. For a muslim country it will ralley the troops ... the rest of the world will comdenm such actions.

Only good to come of the whole iran mess is that even though the US will have to do the heavy lifting in this conflict "hopefully" the EU will do their part.

GW is no Winston Churchill, but he will have to do ...

At 7:10 PM, January 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, and realistically, Iran is too smart to do something this stupid."

They are not smart. They are cunning, which is something else entirely. Cunning, ruthless, fanatical, and deeply, deeply stupid... basically what the left likes to pretend the average American redneck is, as an extra layer of obfuscation to insulate themelves from harsh reality. They have no goddamn clue how dangerous real stupidity is, because they pretend that NASCAR fans are the depths of it.

At 7:28 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The mullahs are both scared and not scared. They are scared of Afghanistan and Iraq on both sides of their borders. But they are not scared of American diplomacy and soft power, and American ruthlessness. Since obviously Bush ain't got any and even if he did, he'd probably get impeached.

Bush is trying to negotiate with Iranian terroists, just because he lets the Germans and British do the negotiating while Bush stays in the shadows, doesn't mean it is going to work.

Especially when the mullahs don't fear Bush. They do fear Afghanistan and Iraq. ANd just because Iran thinks America and israel won't do it, doesn't mean that they think Afghanistan and Iraq wouldn't blow up their reactors even in cities.

If Neo wants options, there are plenty of options.

There is diplomacy, in which we threaten to arm Iraq and Afghanistan if Iran doesn't do what we tell them to do.

You can bluff, by nuking terroists in the middle of no where and have cameras record it ala Los Alamos. You use this then to bluff the Iranians into thinking you'd nuke them as well.

Or you can do a military naval blockade. The military is being used, it is not being stretched beyond its bounds. Having a platoon hold a hill against a battalion is being overstretched, it sure isn't Iraq.

A military blockade will stop all commercial airliners, every ship in the Persian gulf to Iran, and so on. That would cripple a nation, and in any other world would be an act of war. Except Iran doesn't want a war and can't fight a war, unless Congress declares one. Which we wouldn't. So no Americans die, a lot of Iranian ships get boarded, evacuated, and sunk. And we get control of iran's oil. Everyone wins.

Bush just doesn't use these options. And that is why the military airstrike will fail, the diplomacy will fail, the UN will fail (like that's a surprise) and Iran will go nuclear. Bush doesn't know how to negotiate, even if he knows what he is negotiating for. Clinton knows how to negotiate, but he's negotiating for himself not the nation.

This failure makes our real allies, the Iraqis and Afghanistanis, really confident in American power.

The prediction of what Iran will do, rests upon who is in power at the time and what Iran wants. What Iran wants is a protection against US interference and Iraqi democracy. With a nuclear arsenal, Iran can pressure Iraq, and recieve concessions. Concessions that a refuddled Bush will stutter over and complain about, but won't do anything about.

This is not good for the US and for the allies, which is why Iran wanted the nukes in the first place. They probably announced it even, because they knew the US would "negotiate" and allow them enough time.

While their President may be fanatical enough to use nukes on Israel, I am unsure whether he has that actual power.

At 7:36 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Shrinkwrapped's propaganda suggestion would have a chance to work. But Bush sucks at propaganda, bad, real bad. So that's not an option he would choose.

It's too bad too, propaganda tends to have the lowest fatality rolls. In this age of American fear of our own power and leadership position, it should be used to its full extent. Because if it isn't, then people will die.

At 7:55 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

I believe that there are two reasons the adminstration would not take this option:

First, it is too much liike sabre rattling to them. Which isn't manly. It's like boasting before a bar fight.

Second, it smacks of the smoke and mirrors kind of thing which so many consrvatives don't like. It would involve psy war types many of whom are known psychologists.

If somebody could couch the whole thing in Teddy Roosevelt speak, it might work for them but it it would still sound like something that Eye'tralian guy, you know Maca-somebody would do and prit' near everybody knows that's just sneaky s**t.

At 8:11 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Huan said...

neo-neocon--A regime change is required, but when? And how?

It seems to be a race between the current regime's capacity to develop nuclear weapons (and perhaps use them), and the ability of the Iranian people to effect regime change. Which will come first?

as long as there is effective internal pressure against the current regime, there remains a chance for a peaceful (by that i mean non-nuclear) chance for resolution. i do not know what programs are currently active in undermining the current regime from within, but i am certain there are a few.

current likely candidates are the Baluchis and the Arab minorities. both have mounted insurgent actions in the past few years. i hope we are arming them and providing them with actionable intelligence.

in addition, we also need to sway some within the theocracy from the revolutionary guards. i do not believe the mullahs are primarily behind the current regime. as typical of most theocracy, when the first generation that comes to power start to die, the militants who put them into power will believe they should be the inheritor of the reigns of power. the current government, if you have been following news from Iran over the years, has done this. members of the revolutionary guards have replaced political governors over the past years. there is a growing schism within the government (as opposed to the current regime) along this line. however, the mullah may come to realize they have lost power after it is too late.

the most important faction to support are the Iranians themselves, who are largely western friendly, partly because they are young, partly because theocracy has failed to provide for them, and partly for what they see in both the Kurds and the Shia in Iraq.

what ever external sanctions must be levied against the regime while increasing support through back channels for these factions of opportunity. but we do need to ratchet up the external pressure two fold for every item of non-compliance.

will regime change occur before the deployment of nuclear weapons? probably. for Iran to use nukes would be national suicide. a new regime could be either more responsible with their arsenal, or could agree to disarmament as others have.

At 8:58 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Sabre rattling is when Bush says the British, the Germans, and the UN Security Council will deal with Iran.

What it smacks of is people who care more about what others think of America than what things may help to protect Americans from the enemy.

Psychological war experts are called Black Ops operators and Special Forces operators. Not psychologists.

Bush is fine with sabre rattling, he just don't do it in a way that will accomplish anything.

At 9:23 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

There are psy ops people outside of SOCOM as well. They operate at a different level of generality.

It's not polite to try to teach your granny to suck eggs.

There's really only one face in the administration who could go all Maori threat display and be effective. The problem is he is not the Pres. or in State.

We are probably about three weeks from it being necessary to tell the Iranian head of state that we will accomodate him in his desire to autodarwinate and we're sorry if a lot of his folks are gonna have to go with him but that's the breaks.

The problem with this is it has to be said by the NCA and can only be said once.

I was gaming through a couple of scenarios with some former operators and two of them reminded me that the bad thing about urban targets is all the folks around and the good thing about urban targets is all the folks around.

At 11:40 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Papa Ray said...

Here is what one person has to say about this:

Our bad and worse choices about Iran.

I don't think anything is going to happen Military wise this year unless Iran does something really foolish outside of it's own borders.

I think it will develop just like the lead in to the Invasion of Iraq did, including letting the UN get involved and slow down the process and accomplish little.

I don't think the Administration wants to just set back the nuke weapons program for a few years, I think they want to eradicate it completely.

But not necessarily the Power plants. The fuel can be supplied by someone else and they can have their electric power supplied by atoms.

To do this, the US will have to have the assistance on the ground of Iranians to find all the equipment and labs that are buried around an area that is the size of Texas.

That is going to take a lot of time and effort and it all depends on the Iranians being willing to go along with it. The opinions I have seen are split about 50-50 that we will be able to get that type assistance.

if we have to fight "freedom fighters" while looking for all these buried treasures, it will turn out to be a long long nightmare.

Another solution given was to just bomb them about every five years. That sounds a little too simple to me.

Everyone says the young kids are unhappy with the present Iranian goverment. Well, the same can be said about other ME states, and so far no one has seen any real resistance or revolutions. Why? because the Arab and Persians are used to being ruled, being told what to do and not do and being afraid. They are not used to standing up for themselves and putting themselves in danger for something so abstract as freedom (which they have never had, so they really don't know what they are missing out on).

Oh, by the way, there is another discussion about this very suject at Chester's.

Papa Ray
West Texas

At 11:57 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

Who is the "NCA"?

At 12:25 AM, January 14, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

Sorry, I forget sometimes that not everybody has milspeak.

NC= National Command Authority, essentially the President.

At 1:49 AM, January 14, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

papa ray: I had read VDH's and Chester's articles earlier. They raise some good points; mostly in the realm of foreign policy and diplomacy.

A group of us have been meeting, online, to try to assess other factors and game out various scenarios. We don't believe that Iran currently has the long range capacity in their Shahab series of liquid/solid rockets. Further, It appears that they are not really ready to get their missile brigades operational in the medium range Shahab's. This is a little fuzzier. All of these vehicles have nuclear, biological and chemical capability as well as conventional explosives. Their cruise missile program is also not fully operational. Missiles, ballistic and cruise, are exacting technology and "close enough" methodology at all stages of the process of development, deployment and maintenance result in either duds or the kind of non critical results seen in Gulf I. They cause destruction and casualties but are not militarily significant.

US doctrine has been very clear for many years. It is massive retaliation against the use of WMD's if they are used against the US or US targets. Period. Full stop. We have also had a de facto policy on non first use but have never spelled it out.

Iran has been engaged in a dance toward the trip wire in order to muddy the waters to remain free to complete their program and get weapons operational as soon as possible. This is a serious mistake on their part. Because it forces the decision making under conditions of uncertainty not about intent but capability.

We must separate these terms. Intent is fuzzy; talk is cheap. Capability can be determined. For various reasons, not discuss able here, humint assets for Iran are better than they were vis a vis Iraq.

We know the locations of the key components of Iran's program. And, we probably have quite accurate information about just what stage they are in. We've been caught flat footed before but in this case we are relying on other sources. These sources were accurate in the case of Iraq as well but; for reasons I still don't fully understand; the administration preferred not to lay their actual goals on the table; and went with the maskarovka of the WMD's hoping to be proved right in the end.

We have concluded that action will be taken sooner rather than later. This will probably involve strangling Iran first by removing their sensors, achieving aerial dominance, and attriting their ability to have a functioning economy, free internal movement and finally by destroying their capability to finalize a nuclear program. At all stages we will be encouraging the various resistance movements to change their regime.

It is a policy of forcing Iran to starve, in the dark and its loudest critics will not be found in the Middle East or in Europe but in our own country.

The first steps have already been taken with the deployment, the first in four decades, of the 122nd Fighter Wing ANG to undisclosed location(s) in SW Asia. The fact that this deployment was very public is a signal since the fighters are not needed in Iraq.

It is tragic that Iran has chosen to build so many of its facilities in areas that put the civilian population at risk. But, the first mission of a state is to keep violence at its periphery and if results in tragedy in Iran it is preferrable to a tragedy in the United States.

At 4:51 AM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Putting aside the very interesting political, strategic and tactical issues being discussed here, it was the very first comment which really struck me:

Eric said...
It's a decision we need to make: what happens when we must choose between our code of honor and winning? Do we believe that it's not whether we win or lose, but how we play the game?

Are we willing to settle for defeat with honor? I can't entirely vilify an enemy that opts to exploit a gaping, obvious vulnerability, even an honorable one.

Thinking this through: First, we must be more concerned with winning, because losing really won't do. But we must also be secondarily concerned with how we play the game. The development of 'civilized' warfare and rules of war were tremendous advances for civilization (which is one reason terrorism is such a direect attack on civilization at every level), so we cannot simply 'go Roman' on Iran, however, if we allow ourselves to be overly concerned about the how of warfare, we may inadvertently create a situation which results in greater casualties at home, or by trying to spare Iranian lives, get pushed into a situation we can't back out of and have no choice but to kill a whole mess of Persians... as a wise man once said, those who try to be kind to the cruel often end up being cruel to the kind. Let us be prepared to make and defend the difficult decisions, as in the end, they usually save more lives than they take (i.e. Hiroshima/Nagasaki).

Ultimately it comes down to this- there is no "defeat with honor" when battling the dishonorable, for if they are victorious, honor dies with the defeated.

At 8:28 AM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't the Iranian situation make y'all wish for the days of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi? Oh, I forgot, he was MEAN and killed a lot of people. Life's been so much better for Iranians since, hasn't it? Why look at all the progress and freedoms the Iranians have been afforded since Ayotollah Khomeini assumed power.

At 9:26 AM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The powers that be in Iran care very little about human life -ours or their own. However,they should not assume that we will refrain from bombing nuclear facilities even if they are in populated areas.

At 9:29 AM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been a staple of the left that the US overthrew a democratically elected government in Iran, replacing it with the Shah.

I recall watching a C-Span program in which somebody said, "You know, Mossadegh wasn't elected."

Interesting. So I started looking around. I checked with contemporary sources which I figured would not be accidentally or purposely contaminated with the left's wishful thinking.
The closest thing I could find to how Mossadegh got to be in charge was "Mossadegh assumed power" after some chaotic conditions.

The Iran-Iraq war got so many Iranians killed that the regime instituted a program of incentives for large families, similar to and for the same reason the USSR had after WW II.
So they have a huge cohort of young people, and a gaping hole in the cohort of men of middle age.
I am told this tends toward either instability or innovation.
They may be used to being ruled, but they can see others getting loose. It's a habit they can shake.

At 9:58 AM, January 14, 2006, Blogger TalkinKamel said...

Brinster, yes, oh yes, it makes one long desperately for the days of the bad ol' Shah, who may have been "cruel" and "tyrannical" and repressed "freedom"---but who wasn't a crazed religious fundamentalist, and who didn't want to start a nuclear war.

Lord, I remember the days when Jimmy Carter was intent on pushing him out of power! All my liberal friends hated---simply HATED---the shah as a second Hitler, and were confident that Khomeini, though he sounded a bit harsh at times, was a splendid fellow, who wouldn't really do all those nasty things, such as take away women's right, once he got to power.

The time to worry about the innocent Iranians was then---before they came under the rule of Khomeini and the mad mullahs, who took away their freedoms, tortured, imprisoned them, sent them off to die by the millions in a war against Iraq, and are now determined to drag them into a nuclear war.

They have deliberately endangered their own people; the innocent blood will be on their hands, not ours. America should do its best to avoid any collateral damage, but it must also defend itself.

Unless, and until, a regime change, there's not much we can do to help the Iranians themselves. Whether we go to war with their country or not, they'll remain at the mercy of their crazed rulers, and will continue to suffer and die.

As I said, the time to worry about them was before Khomeini came to power.

(I've always believed the Left supported Mossadegh because he tended to lean towards Russia; and, of course, because any stick is good enough to beat America over the head with.)

At 10:12 AM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

talkinkamel, yup. Recall all the talk of the Shah's death squads? I don't think anybody can say the formation of the Islamic Republic of Iran is an improvement.
It's a bit curious that our 40th president effectively pulled the rug out from under Pahlavi, when it seems ever since he hasn't met a dictator since whose butt he woudln't kiss.

At 10:15 AM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uhm, drop the second "since."

At 1:20 PM, January 14, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

Housekeeping: Carter was the 39th President

Its interesting that Carter's 1979 choices can be compared to the difficult choices we face today. After his mistake in allowing the Shah to be deposed, Carter refused the harsh "Chicago Way"(from "The Untouchables") threat which later worked for President-elect Reagan in resolving the hostage crisis.

Carter considered himself a humanitarian, yet his brand of "humanitarianism" legitimized a shaky Ayatollah Khomeini's grip on power, and helped birth an Islamic fundamentalist movement which has murdered and OPPRESSED huge numbers in the ensuing 26 years, and has become a huge problem for the entire world. Rather than being humanitarian, Jimmy Carter's policies have resulted in a type of slow-motion butchery, rape, and OPPRESSION in the interim.

Looking at Truman w/Hiroshima/Nagasaki, and at Reagan's resolution of Khomeini's hostage crisis, one can see that the vigorous exercise of power - even violent and deadly power - can be the most humane course of action.

In the current Iranian situation, exercising too little power will be just as bad(or worse) as exercising too much.

At 1:37 PM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gcotharn, thank you for the correction.

At 1:52 PM, January 14, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

Go to Global Security Org, the premier starting place for Open Source Intel and search on Iran. Buried in there are pages on Iran's WMD program and reputed locations of facilities. Two of us* started there and have been refining the data as if we were doing target analysis, not my field BTW.

So far using refined information and locational data combined with overhead imagery, we have not found any key sites built under or near "collateral shielding". Of course, it is a little more complicated when a site, for example is co-located with a university or has extensive housing.

We are also finding that much of the information has come and is coming from internal resistance and émigré groups. So, we infer that the information available to DOD is better and more extensive by at least an order of magnitude.

Our preliminary conclusion, with caveats, is that the "collateral shielding" meme is not correct insofar as the information we have on known and purported sites.

*Our online group is composed of former members of the military with various specialties and credentials. We call ourselves "Rust", since we are scattered all over the place in many different time zones and it is well known that rust never sleeps. What we have been doing since we morphed from an email community into our present form is putting together Readers Digest style, condensed briefing books so that events are easier for us to follow and discuss. And, no, don't even ask. Open Source Intelligence these days is so good that it is possible to put together information that, in collected form, any reasonable person would classify. And, we are not recruiting since we're as big as we should get. Form your own group. Many mice can dig a deep hole.

At 6:46 PM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There you go again opening your mouth not knowing the facts.

Look I suggest if you want to get the scoop visit one of these countries fist before you buy the crap thats put on cable TV.

Second, dont buy the crap thats being put on TV. I do know that Neo-cons are not the brightest but give yourselves a fighting chance. READ BOOKS LOTS of BOOKS.

One world governemnt is not easily accomplished and uless your a willing subject, there is no reason for you to contribute to it.

At 7:27 PM, January 14, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

US doctrine has been very clear for many years. It is massive retaliation against the use of WMD's if they are used against the US or US targets. Period.

That's the policy, but that doesn't mean people won't try to cover up the possibility that Saddam had used chemical weapons on our troops, leading to Gulf War syndrome. Since it is policy to retaliate against WMD use on our soldiers, then it only fits that the State Department spinsters will come up with a way to make the the aggravating incidents disappear.

The military would also want to cover it up, because they don't want to appear to be breaking policy. And yet, the truth is that this policy is not enforced, in the history of Bush's administration nor his father's administration.

The problem isn't as the Left portrays it, crazy Republican Presidents pushing the button. It's people who try and bluff that they're going to retaliate with nukes, when everyone knows that that just ain't going to happen. Iran knows this, and they're going to call our bluff soon.

As I pointed out to you Motor, pointing out psychologists is an invalid reasoning because Bush can use military talent only.

This isn't teaching you to suck eggs, it is telling you that you are wrong in your reasoning, both in your specific complaints and in your analysis of Bush's options.

If you know that Psychological Warfare experts are in Delta and the Special Forces, then so does the President and nobody can force him to use psychologists somewhere else. It isn't wise to teach the President how to extract egg yolk, especially since one of the reasons Bush doesn't use psych-ops is because he doesn't like the entire field. Probably due to bad advice or people telling him that he has to deal with psychologists. Which isn't true at all.

Whether the Iranians believe anything we tell them doesn't rely upon the person. It relies upon the actions of that person and the behavioral perceptions that the Iranians have of him. This seems to be basic psychology here. A howler monkey has a big voice to cover up a physical weakness.

The answer isn't to get a different person that may be believed, the answer is to get better psychological attacks in the arsenal.

If you want to disbelieve that Bush may be convincing, it isn't going to be because it can't be done, but because Bush won't know how to do it right. Assuming he does any bluffs or real threats in the first place. The Iranians will not believe Bush's bluffs nor his real threats, because the Iranians already think they know what America is willing to do or not do.

And that's based entirely on Bush's foreign policy actions. Change the foreign policy, and you change the perception. Once the perception is changed, the reality becomes a lot more feasible to modification.

You don't seem to see that thinking outside the box is the solution here, Motor, it is not relying upon what we and the iranians already know.

If Hanson thinks there are no good choices, then it's time for someone to think one up.

At 5:21 AM, January 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah Pappa Giorgio, going to a country and touristing around, even talking casually to a few people will certainly teach you all you need to know...really? I've been to Turkey, had a great time, met lots of wonderful people, but I would not be so arrogant to think I understand all there is of importance regarding Turkey. Travel is good, but it alone means nothing.

I'm no fan of cable tv, but your statement that 'cable tv bad, books good' is about the most obtuse thing I've read in posts here. There are no crappy books? There is no good cable tv? (okay, there certainly isn't much, but none?)

Lastly, your statement "I do know that Neo-cons are not the brightest but ..." lovely sentiment there. We disagree, therefore we're dunces... Brilliant!

p.s.- you might want to identify more specifically who the 'you' is in your opening line... there are many posters above you.

At 6:59 AM, January 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your memory serves you wrong. No leaflets were dropped onto Hiroshima or Nagasaki prior to the dropping of the bomb. In any case Nagasaki was the secondary target (Kokura was the primary).

You may be thinking about earlier in the war when leaflets were certainly droppped on Germany threatening conventional bombing. Or perhaps, the Potsdam declaration, which made the ultimatum to Japan explicit.

At 7:19 AM, January 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I checked (properly) and a leaflet was dropped between 8-10 August 1945 all over Japan. This called for surrender and Nagasaki would have received it.

At 4:09 PM, January 15, 2006, Blogger Alexandra said...

All Things Beautiful TrackBack The Rules Of Engagement

At 4:09 PM, January 15, 2006, Blogger Alexandra said...

All Things Beautiful TrackBack The Rules Of Engagement

At 6:29 PM, January 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nuclear Iran: A matter of time
Opinion piece from

It is not a matter of if Iran will have the bomb - it is a matter of when. With that in mind, the US needs to re-examine its current policy towards Iran.

Iran's motive for becoming a nuclear power is not purely political. Its desire to become the next nuclear power stems from a strong sense of nationalism and an equally strong distrust of US intentions.

Since Iran's revolution, the US has predicted that secular Iranians would eventually reclaim their country from the mullahs.

Well, we are still waiting and the latest election actually brought an even more radical leader to Iran's presidency.

Even more telling is that secular Iranians are as adamant as radicals about their country having every right to nuclear technology. This same nationalistic pride is also fuelling Iran's ambition to become a regional power.

... continues on

At 8:33 PM, January 15, 2006, Blogger TalkinKamel said...


Pahlavi was on our side; all the other dictators whose posteriors Jimmy Carter smooched were against us.

That's the difference. To guys like Jimmy, our allies are the bad guys, and our enemies are the good guys.

(Oh yes, I remember all the talk about the Shah's death squads, and how he was stifling religous freedom in Iran; nobody can argue that today's Iran is an improvement, though, just like the boat people, and the Cambodian genocide, I notice the Left doesn't talk much about the difference between then and now---or, if they do, they try to paint Mossadegh as some great champion, who would have saved everything, if we'd just left him in power.)

At 7:56 AM, January 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TK, 100% agreement. What we won't hear is the fact that the current situation can be laid at the feet of Mr. Carter. He's a "revered" (by some) ex-president. One has to wonder if his Habitat for Humanity arose out of guilt for the critical foreign policy blunders he committed. All the houses for the poor he'll ever build won't make up for this mess, however.

At 1:02 PM, January 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What we won't hear is the fact that the current situation can be laid at the feet of Mr. Carter. He's a "revered" (by some) ex-president. One has to wonder if his Habitat for Humanity arose out of guilt for the critical foreign policy blunders he committed. All the houses for the poor he'll ever build won't make up for this mess, however.

Wow, that's pretty cynical.

At 11:08 AM, January 17, 2006, Blogger TalkinKamel said...

It's not cynical, it's the truth.

If Iran---G-d forbid---destroys Israel, or nukes an American city: New York? Los Angeles? Houston? Seattle? ALL of them? The loss of life would be horrific, not to mention the damage caused by lingering radiation, fires, looting, the breakdown of the economy.

Houses can be rebuilt. Human beings can't, and societies can only take so many hits before they go under.

At 6:47 PM, January 17, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Iran can't destroy American cities, they can destroy European ones. Nobody believes that if America alone was in range of Iran, the French, British, or Germans would give a rat's ass about it.

Nobody credible that is.

A lot of Democrats don't think terrorism is a threat because they don't see how terrorism can destroy their way of life. They do see how Bush can destroy their way of life. Therefore to follow the logic, perhaps they might realize that terroists with nukes would make America destroy our civil rights because of fear and death.

But they are not usually competent enough to realize that logic.


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