Insane About Iran

At this point, one has to wonder if there are any sane people left in the Bush Administration. In the New Yorker, Sy Hersh describes the run up to the next war:

A former intelligence officer said, "We told Israel, 'Look, if you guys have to go, we're behind you all the way. But we think it should be sooner rather than later--the longer you wait, the less time we [the U.S.] have to evaluate and plan for Iran before Bush gets out of office.' "

And regarding intelligence, it's the same old song:

The Pentagon consultant told me that intelligence about Hezbollah and Iran is being mishandled by the White House the same way intelligence had been when, in 2002 and early 2003, the Administration was making the case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. "The big complaint now in the intelligence community is that all of the important stuff is being sent directly to the top--at the insistence of the White House--and not being analyzed at all, or scarcely," he said. "It's an awful policy and violates all of the N.S.A.'s strictures, and if you complain about it you're out," he said. "Cheney had a strong hand in this."

So Lebanon was supposed to be a 'test run' for Iran. Has any of the adversity Israel faced changed the Cheney Administration's mind? Not exactly (italics mine):

The surprising strength of Hezbollah's resistance, and its continuing ability to fire rockets into northern Israel in the face of the constant Israeli bombing, the Middle East expert told me, "is a massive setback for those in the White House who want to use force in Iran. And those who argue that the bombing will create internal dissent and revolt in Iran are also set back."

Nonetheless, some officers serving with the Joint Chiefs of Staff remain deeply concerned that the Administration will have a far more positive assessment of the air campaign than they should, the former senior intelligence official said. "There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this," he said. "When the smoke clears, they'll say it was a success, and they'll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran."

But here's the real kicker: the fear-based 'reasoning' that drives the Bushists:

A high-level American military planner told me, "We have a lot of vulnerability in the region, and we've talked about some of the effects of an Iranian or Hezbollah attack on the Saudi regime and on the oil infrastructure."

Iran is a despicable regime, but it is not crazy. An attack on Saudi oil facilities, or even the regime? This would be insane. The effects on oil prices would be catastrophic. The military response by the NATO countries (most, anyway) would be devastating to Iran. That the Bush Administration would use this as a rationale for formulating policy is just mindboggling. This is what happens when morons like Elliot Abrams are allowed to mess up our foreign policy once again. This is why I write about this--we need to prevent the next foul-up from happening. The only way that can happen to never let the idiots in charge of the Iraq fiasco--and their disciples--anywhere near the levers of power ever again.

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Mike,
I fear that the coming election won't be framed as a referendum on whether the current administration are idiots, who shouldn't be allowed further opportunity to screwup, but rather as a simple choice between
"cut-and-run" versus "try to muddle through". Framed in those terms I'm not optimistic about the results of the poll.

When the US attacks Iran, the oil production of Iran will be lost (duh!), but Iran will likely damage Kuwait and Saudi production, just to spite the US and its allies, if any.

So if you want to pay $8 a gallon, support your administration nefarious plans to bomb out Iran, based on a propaganda preparation identical to the one for the invasion of Iraq.

How come so many scientists are willing to work on nuclear weapons?

And, if we as we are told at places like Kansas Citizens for Science, the majority of scientists are atheists, then I guess I should ask how come so many atheist scientists are willing to work on nuclear weapons?

After all, although the politicians use them, the wmds fill the world, due to the work of the scientists. Thats as irresponsible of letting children handle guns.

By The Christense… (not verified) on 14 Aug 2006 #permalink

How come so many scientists are willing to work on nuclear weapons?

And, if we as we are told at places like Kansas Citizens for Science, the majority of scientists are atheists, then I guess I should ask how come so many atheist scientists are willing to work on nuclear weapons?

After all, although the politicians use them, the wmds fill the world, due to the work of the scientists. Thats as irresponsible of letting children handle guns.

By The Christense… (not verified) on 14 Aug 2006 #permalink

How come so many scientists are willing to work on nuclear weapons?

Well, I'm not a scientist, but I am an engineer who has worked on computing programs designed to support nuclear weapon design (among other things). I did so for a variety of reasons, but in terms of social impact, it was the following: The engineering work I was doing was creating systems that would "trickle down" to a huge number of scientific endeavors in time. The US already has enough nuclear weapons to wipe out humanity, so additional nuclear weapons are unlikely to change the balance of power. It was unlikely that any such weapons would be used, and if they were, any damage done was already quite possible to do with our existing stockpiles of thousands of warheads.

Sadly, the best way to get government funding for science is to strap a gun to it. That being the case, I see working on projects that support science and have a marginal destructive effect of near zero as a good thing. If you were asking me to develop some sort of new, horrible biological weapon that wasn't already in existence, you would not be able to get me on the payroll, but the genie is out of the bottle on nukes in the US.

After all, although the politicians use them, the wmds fill the world, due to the work of the scientists. Thats as irresponsible of letting children handle guns.

That analogy seems surprisingly appropriate these days, unfortunately. In general, I'm tempted to say that it's better to elect a responsible government and give them the ability to form a strong national defense than to elect an inept government and take the keys to defense away. It would seem that this is more difficult in practice than in theory.

By Troublesome Frog (not verified) on 14 Aug 2006 #permalink

"How come so many scientists are willing to work on nuclear weapons?"

I know, it's crazy. You can just drive on down to HomeDespot or Lower's and there're, like, gobs of scientists in lab coats, all hangin around by the exit. They see you with some bricks and 2X4s in the back of your pickup and they'll come running over, beggin to help you build your thermonuclear weapons, when all you want is damn BBQ...

guh!

Geez Gang, you don't seem to like scientists much. ya know, we don't need your bigotry here (lol!)

Re. The regime in Iran is not crazy.

Apparently,some people are not aware of the statements of Irans' president Amadinejad. There can be no doubt that he is either insane or a comedian. There is no question that allowing this whackjob to get his hand on the nuclear trigger would be a disaster. Given the weapons and training Iran has provided to Hizbollah, can there be any doubt that Amadinejad would hand over nuclear weapons to that terrorist organization. Not to speak of the shiite terrorists in Iraq.