Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Iran Problem

Iran rejected last week a proposal by the E-3 (Britain, France, and Germany) that would have promised it all the uranium fuel it would need (and access to peaceful nuclear technology) provided it promised to return spent fuel rods so they could not be enriched for bomb making purposes.

News reports tell us that Iran is building a heavy-water reactor, ostensibly for peaceful purposes, that could be completed in as little as four years. Heavy-water reactors can use non-enriched uranium ore; the spent fuel can have weapons-grade plutonium extracted from it. Iran’s reactor could produce enough material for one bomb per year. The reactor site, by the way, is encircled by anti-aircraft guns – no doubt intended to stop the peaceful aircraft that may come to visit Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

Iran’s move to reject the E-3’s too-generous proposal (which probably could and would have been cheated on) leaves no doubt that Iranian officials are lying when they say they want peaceful nuclear power – just as they lied when they assured us they were temporarily halting enrichment, and lied before that in claiming that they didn’t even have a nuclear program (which they kept secret for nearly two decades and revealed in 2003). Letting an evil government such as Iran’s get nuclear weapons would be catastrophic; do we doubt that such weapons would be sold to terrorists (or even used directly) to attack the US, Israel, the UK, and other targets?

We should stop offering Iran rewards for dropping its nuclear program. Iran has demonstrated that negotiations merely buy more time for the Iranian nuclear program, and that the Mullahs sign and break treaties indifferently. It is time to deliver an ultimatum (force is the only diplomat a tyranny respects). We should tell Iran: stop your nuclear program, or we will stop it for you.

Of course Iran will not accept this ultimatum, and the US with therefore have a chance to fulfill its responsibility to undo the damage the Carter administration allowed.

Iran’s government has admitted to hating the United States (“the Great Satan”). It believes that its policies run no risk. We ought to show Iran that this belief is false. Iran is ripe for a counter-revolution – the Islamic government is unpopular and its grip on power is tenuous. There are plenty of Iranians who would participate in such a revolution, but they need our help to get things started. We could use missile strikes to destroy the government’s communications network and plunge Iran into chaos. (And certainly the loss of Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei or President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be no disaster). From this chaos would emerge a new popular government, friendly to the US (and without nuclear weapons).

A nuclear Iran would pose an unprecedented threat to the region and the world, and a democratic Iran could produce equally great benefits. This is a great opportunity, but it will take political guts (the rarest kind). We are living at a time when there is a solution to the Iran problem. Fomenting a popular revolution in Iran may not guarantee success, but doing nothing will guarantee failure. We must take on Iran now, while the solution still exists.

57 Comments:

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

These blog posts get more bizzare every week.

 
At 9:58 PM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

"Of course Iran will not accept this ultimatum, and the US with therefore have a chance to fulfill its responsibility to undo the damage the Carter administration allowed."

Well the damage really started in 1953 when the popular elected prime minister as overthrown, which started anti-americanism in Iran.

Did Carter make a mistake in not acting in Iran? Now that we look at it we should have. But look at it from his point of view, Millions of Iranians were outraged at America supporting bad leaders there. Intervening militarily to replace the hated ruler honestly did not seem like a good Idea.

And being Iranian and making several trips to Iran, Many of your claims are inaccurate. One, although Clinton was popular in Iran, Ever since Bush took office, more of the anti-americanism spread. It's still pretty bad. Is the gov there unpopular? yes, but we are too

Second, Most Iranians, including the common people support the nuclear programs. They have the "if they cant have them, why cant we" attitude.

Anyways if we invaded that could unite the people with the government, and ultimately help Khameni

 
At 11:58 PM, Blogger Fishiferous said...

You are so lost morally and reality-wise it is hard to know where to start.

0. Like Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran has never attacked the US, nor threatened to do so. Attacking would violate every international convention in existence. The US would again be an illegal aggressor. Would the rest of the world continue to sit idly buy as we villify innocent nations to pillage their resources, set up puppet regimes, and torture their citizens?

1. After the US illegally attacked Iraq to steal its oil and place a puppet regime in place and canceled foreign contracts of governments that invested in Iraq, China got some sense and realized that the US neocons are the primary threat to world peace and started investing in a pipeline from Iran. Not wishing this to also be stolen by the neocons, they have made statements that suggest that they would defend Iran if Iran were also attacked by the selfish neocons so that they could monopolize oil resources and place yet another permanent military base around the globe.

Such Chinese-Iranian trade has resulted in the development of a pipeline, an automotive factory, and upgraded missile systems.

2. Like Iraq, Iran could be conquered quickly at the cost of tens of thousands of civilian casualties, especially if the neocrazies choose to use nukes, but holding Iran would be even more difficult and expensive. Money and resources the US simply does not have.

3. The US military is already over-stretched and our economy in ruins (high inflation, sky-rocketing oil prices, increasing personal and national debt) and few are foolish enough to sign up now for Bush's glory. A military draft for this highly illegal power grab would result in very large rates of fragging and dissertion.

4.The price of oil would sky rocket even more, since the military would consume more, Iran would destroy much of it, and even more of it would be controlled by Haliburton.

5. Would the Chinese continue to finance our economy after we screw them once again?

If we were to "win" a war against Iran, we would lose once again: morally, financially, and in terms of security and liberty.

 
At 3:45 AM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6:42 AM, Blogger Republican Dan said...

Dear Fishiferous,
You are extremely amusing.
Yours,
R Dan

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

Dan why dont you actually try responding more often, instead of trying to make yourself look intelligent.

 
At 8:18 AM, Blogger allen said...

sinamoravej wrote:

Well the damage really started in 1953 when the popular elected prime minister as overthrown

That would be Mohammed Mossadegh who nationalized the Iranian oil industry and showed every sign of setting up a communist dictatorship. Considering what the communists would have done to Iran if they'd set up their usual People's Republic, Saddam Hussein might have ended up looking pretty good by contrast.

Did Carter make a mistake in not acting in Iran?

He did act. He was just an incompetent boob who was unwilling to act when action might have freed the personnel taken hostage. When he finally did act he set requirements that made it virtually certain that the mission would fail.

So, the one thing Carter succeeded at was humiliating the U.S. before the entire world and convince all of America's enemies that they didn't have to worry too much about the U.S. acting and that when we finally did act it would be a Keystone Kops response.

With that out of the way, I'm not particularly supportive of an invasion. The military hasn't recovered from Clinton's reduction of the government which came almost exclusively out of the hide of the military. It's stretched pretty thin and stretching it thinner isn't a good idea. In fact, one of my concerns is that China may try to seize the opportunity presented by U.S. preoccupation with and involvement in Iran, to invade Taiwan.

But I don't think it would be all that tough to encourage resistance to the reigning Islamic hardliners. In their bid to hold onto power they've lost a lot of public support and sympathy. Some assistance, some money, some training and encouragement to the right elements in Iranian society and the mullahs would have plenty to worry about at home.

Responding to Fishiferous:

0 - yes, the world would stand by. You're just going to have to get used to the fact that most people aren't as morally refined as yourself.

1 - Oh yes, the Chinese do have such an impeccable record of defending the innocent. How could anyone doubt their promises?

Uh, by the way, how do they plan to implement their promises even if they'd actually try? They have no offensive military capacity.

Remember, they were communist for a long time and, in common with all communists and socialists, are economically incompetent. They didn't have the money to build an offensive military capacity. Maybe they Fedex a couple of dozen divisions to Iran, hey?

2 - Ah yes. The quagmire so beloved by the left. Puts me in mind of the "strawberry ice cream" scene from the Caine Mutiny. You keep invoking the one success in the history of the left as if it shields you from the all-but-unbroken record of failure since then.

3 - See above with regard to the reason for the condition of the U.S. military and, what economic ruin? Growth is robust and other then politicians with a penchant for spending other people's money, it looks like that isn't going to change any time soon.

As far as your other economic observations, what inflation? Personal debt is above, although not by much, the long-term line. Same for national debt. And manpower levels in the military are partly a function of the economy which, contrary to your over-heated rhetoric, is doing pretty damned well.

4 - Go bother the Chinese (and, to a lesser extent) the Indians about the price of oil. The rise has been driven mostly by increasing demand, partly from the U.S. economy which you think is cratering and partly because the Chinese economy which is still on a red-hot streak.

5 - yes and when did we screw them the first time? By providing a lucrative market for their border-line stone-age economy?

And where else would they put all those delicious dollars other then U.S. treasuries? In euro denominated bonds? Only if being Chinese and being stupid are the same thing. So yeah, they will continue to "support" our economy and for the best of reasons. It's in their short-term and long-term national self-interest.

 
At 8:47 AM, Blogger Republican Dan said...

Dear Sina,
In general I do not respond to comments -- I write my post and let anyone kick it around who wants to. In addition, there is no need for me to try to make myself look intelligent when the people on your side of the debate do such an excellent job of making themselves look stupid.
-R Dan

 
At 8:48 AM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

First off, i'm glad to see allen finally spelled my name right (considering the fact that its copy and paste)

Allen what the hell is up with you and communist dictatorships. Mossadeghs government was nowehere near that. He nationalized the oil industry because the British were providing extremely poor labor standards for the oil workers, not to mention exploiting the Iranian government and stealing their oil.

for more info on this theivery read All The Shahs Men, by Stephen Kinzer.

He was not a communist. He was a hero. He stood up for not only his country, but for all small countries being oppressed by British imperialism. He helped his country and pushed them to get through hard times despite the crushing embargo placed upon Iran. Even during his house arrest, he helped the villagers around him to help prosper a little. He always cared about his countrymen and took sometimes radical steps so his they could have a voice.

And thats what i call leadership.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

you do seem to respond when you feel like you can win the debate. (vietnam argument)

And i dont see how their side of the argument make themselves stupid. The only thing he was really wrong about was high inflation and oil prices. (not as bad as the 79' oil crisis if you adjust it for inflation) However oil prices will eventually get worse at this rate. Plus the debt and deficit are becoming problematic

 
At 6:16 AM, Blogger allen said...

sinamoravej wrote:

First off, i'm glad to see allen finally spelled my name right

I wasn't aware I'd spelled it incorrectly. You wouldn't care to point to the posts where I did that, would you?

Allen what the hell is up with you and communist dictatorships.

So you're touchy about the proper spelling of your name but can't be bothered to use a question mark. Whatever.

Mossadeghs government was nowehere near that.

Of course not. Along with nationalizing the oil industry, he also purged the military of commanding officers who weren't personally loyal to him, got the parliment to pass laws vastly expanding the powers of his office at the expense of the parliment, got laws passed making life more difficult for his political opponents....

Naw, he wasn't a communist dictator. All you had to do was ask him. And heck, he wouldn't lie, would he?

And the "communist dictatorship" thing? An excuse for the exploitation of the worst aspects of human character masquarading as a political philosophy just gets under my skin. I know that seems narrowminded but that's the way I am.

He was not a communist. He was a hero.

Of course he was. They all are. Just look at the number of statues of themselves they put up in heroic poses.

He stood up for not only his country, but for all small countries being oppressed by British imperialism.

Yes, British imperialism in 1951 was clearly ascendent. And of course, simply taking a working oil industry, an industry based almost entirely on British investment and expertise wasn't at all a consideration.

He helped his country and pushed them to get through hard times despite the crushing embargo placed upon Iran

That would be an embargo resulting from the forced nationalization - read "theft" - of an oil industry built and financed by the British. And he "helped" his country by introducing increasingly socialist policies like collectivization of agriculture.

He always cared about his countrymen and took sometimes radical steps so his they could have a voice.

Yeah, as long as the voice he gave them spoke his words.

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

look through the reagan posts when you quoted me.

Oil nationalization was a popular idea and most Iranians wanted it. Mainly because the British were not fair. Here is what one person wrote about the lives of the oil workers in Abadan(major oil refinery).

"Wages were fifty cents a day. There was no vacation pay, no sick leave, no disabiliyu compensation. The workers lived in a shanty town called Kaghazabad, or paper city, without running water or electricity, let alone luxuries like iceboxes or fans. In Winter the earht flooded abd became a flat perspiring lake. The mud in the town was knee deep and canoes ran alongside the roadways for transport. When the rains subsided, clouds of nipping, small-winged flies rose from the stagnant waters to fill the nostrils, collecting in black mounds along the rims of cooking pots, and jamming the fans at the refinery with an unctuous glue."

That was the winter. summer of course, i dont know if any of you have beent there is much worse. Not to mention not enough money going to the Iranian government. Poverty rose and the lifestyle of Iranians went down.

You honestly need to read about stuff before making up shit. All his actions were wanted by the people. He was brave enough to carry this out.

If you really want to learn the truth about his "communist dictatorship" read All The Shahs Men, by Stephen Kinzer.

Unless you want to always do it like this, with your head up your ass making up facts. Dont expect me to write any more on this post. That wasn't even the subject of the post. You guys always do a great job at changing the subject.

 
At 3:48 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

It is amazing how far this discussion has moved away from the main point of the article. Is there anyone out there that does not believe Iran would sell any nukes they produce, or willingly give them up, to a terrorist organization? I mean seriously, come on. Iran’s’ government is one of the most despicable governments to now grace the earth. These people fund terrorist organizations. These people send terrorists and weapons into Iraq. These people want to see Islam rule the world by any means necessary.

Let’s use some good old quotes from our dear friend Khomeini:

“Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world….But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.”

Then Khomeini delivers a stirring message to the “Islam is a religion of peace” crowd.

“Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those are witless. Islam say: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by the unbelievers? Islam says: Kill them; put them to the sword and scatter their armies…Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Quranic] psalms and Hadiths urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”

From Sa’id Raja’i-Khorassani the delegate from Iran to the United Nations:

“The very concept of human rights was a ‘Judeo-Christian invention’ and inadmissible in Islam…”

But hey, they really don’t mean the things they stated above…..do they? They are just misunderstood, right? Individual Iranian citizens may be just average Joes trying to get on with what miserable existence they have, but their government is a radical Islamic regime that needs to be prevented by any means necessary from developing nuclear weapons. Although I guess to the left, they are just another underdog to root for; just another poor mistreated country affected by the West’s evil empires. It’s not their fault they strap bombs on teenagers and kill innocent people. Hell, that kind of thing is becoming romantic to the average lefty. The brave little freedom fighter, fighting to prevent freedom. Oh well, everyone put their blindfolds back on, we’ve all been exposed to too much sunlight today.

 
At 6:21 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

More misunderstood people.

http://www.memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=812

I suggest reading other articles from this site.

I swear even the tabloids in the US couldn't make this stuff up.

 
At 6:34 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

This blog is so awful its surreal. Scrolling through its comments section, I can feel my brain cells dying. All i see here is partisan bickering and a complete inability to follow any sembalance of a threaded discussion, navigated by a bunch of kooks with pre-filters in their brain that completely block out everything that doesnt correspond to whatever bizzare world view the kook in question subscribes to.

Thus sayeth the Mike, and he returneth to the heavens.

 
At 6:36 PM, Blogger Commander Mike said...

And that means all of you. I'm serious. I don't see a single person here who has stopped and took a deep breath and tried an independent view on things.

 
At 8:05 PM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

What people don't understand is that the nuclear programs are POPULAR! the people of Iran support the nuclear weapons programs. As long as we posses nuclear weapons, they will feel that they have the right to also.

We are almost as unpopular as the government over there.

Commander Mike, why dont you post your "independant views" over here. Plus i dont see what i did wrong. It's Allen, and sometimes others that pull stuff out of their ass. I'm commenting based on books ive read, and opinions from my family (who all grew up and still live in Iran), and observations from traveling the Iranian countryside.

By the way, Dan i saw you at the library today checking out some books. (random i know)

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Alright, I have gotten to this late.

First things first. Dan, you actually use to make it a habit of responding to comments. If you don't believe me, why don't you look at the comments yourself.

http://republicandan.blogspot.com/2005/05/quotable-quotes-from-left-field.html

http://republicandan.blogspot.com/2005/05/dems-opposed-to-private-accounts.html

http://republicandan.blogspot.com/2005/04/and-now.html

and one of my personal favorites:

http://republicandan.blogspot.com/2005/04/above-and-beyond-call-of-duty.html

I think the reason you don't comment anymore has less to do with any policy you have followed "generally" and more to do with your inability to engage in debate. Debating would be a good thing for you to learn. Know why? Because the first thing you learn is that you are not always right. Someday you'll realize this.

Anyways, enjoy rationalizing your silence with whatever. My advice would be to respond to commenters or disable comments.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger allen said...

sinamoravej wrote:

Oil nationalization was a popular idea and most Iranians wanted it.

and

What people don't understand is that the nuclear programs are POPULAR!

Well there you go. It's a POPULAR idea.

Here's another idea although it's not nearly as popular: actions have consequences.

You want to steal what someone's worked for because you've got an artless rationalization? Don't be too suprised if the owner gets a little hot under the collar and isn't all that impressed with your moral superiority.

As far as the British were concerned Mossadegh, and the Iranians who so enthusiastically followed him, were just thieves and the British treated them like thieves.

And had they been happy to steal what the British had built it would have all worked out. Mossadegh would have ended up as just another shitheel dictator playing off the U.S. against the Soviet Union to maintain his power. But no, Mossadegh aspired to higher things. He wanted to remake Iranian society into a just, classless, meritocratic society based on the highest ideals of equality and justice.

Trouble was, we were locked in a battle with a remorseless enemy who wanted the exact same thing and wasn't willing to let anything, like justice, like equality, like any shred of human decency, get in the way of the pursuit of the perfect society. More then that, we'd finished a world-wide conflict with people who, other then minor differences in rhetoric and symbolism, wanted to do the same thing and with the same methods. So when Mossadegh started making society-perfecting noises he wrote the end to his poltical ambitions.

It didn't take much of a historiain to figure out where he was going when he tried to dissolve the parliment. Lucky for Iran he was an inept boob and the U.S. and Britian were willing to do what was necessary to stop him.

If you really want to learn the truth about his "communist dictatorship" read All The Shahs Men, by Stephen Kinzer.

Thanks but I did a little reading about Iran the last time something really popular occurred over there. That's why I'm so utterly unimpressed with your hero. He was as much of a self-aggrandizing opportunist as the bunch that stormed the U.S. embassy and committed an act of war against the U.S. Unlike Mossadegh and the social revolution he had planned for Iran, this bunch of idealogues actually managed to secure control of the country.

So what do you say sinamoravej, do you like what this batch of heros has done for and to the country? They pretty popular are they? You think the million or so Iranians they marched into Hussein's killing fields, to be mowed down like ripe grain because of the monumental stupidity and military incompetence of the regime, would share your enthusiasm?

Oh, and that name thing? Try to get over it. You're not the only person who's name is regularly mangled and if you have a cow every time someone doesn't spell or pronounce your name just so, your head'll probably explode. And they'll still get it wrong.

 
At 6:33 PM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

i didn't have a cow. i just mentioned it, get over it.

What you just said showed that you have no idea what you are talking about. Spend the rest of your life with your head up your ass. I dont care.

enjoy your one sided idiotic life.

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Im going to limit my comments on Iran to this:

1. We can huff and puff about Iran all we want, but we can't invade it nor use tactical strikes to hurt their nuclear program.

Why? Well we don't know where their Nuclear program is and it is much more advanced than Iraq's was before the Israeli bombing at Osirisk. If you don't believe me you don't have to, read this: "http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200412/fallows"

We can't invade it because we don't have the troops, it is a huge country (4 times the size of Iraq, thats 4 California's and 3 times the population of Iraq, that is three California's, population-wise). Another rate-limiting factor is that in comparison to Iraq, people in Iran actually have some support for their government, just look who they legitimately elected their president last month.

2. History:

Allen you don't know anything about Iran's history, so lets have a little history lesson.

Your two claims against Mossadeq are that he is opportunistic and a communist.

Communism: Regardless of whether Mossadeq nationalized anything he was a popular leader. Now your case against him is that he nationalized their oil. Well at first glance that is not even much of a charge. You know Bush nationalized airport screening in 2001, that does not make him communist. If you want to prove someone is in league with the Soviets it is going to take more than a plan to nationalize.

Second, the reason Mossadeq actually wanted to nationalize the oil industry was because the British were taking 90% of the profits from oil drilling. Mossadeq offered a deal that would split revenue 50/50, the Brits turned it down, and Iran retaliated. That really proves he is a commie.

Third, the means by which Mossadeq was overthrown was not popular. It was engineered by a CIA agent named Kermit Roosevelt who collected a Motley crew of people to walk on Tehran. Included in the "coup" were a group of cartoonlike weight lifters wearing the spandex body suits and lifting anvils and tossing medicine balls. The pictures are quite hilarious. I re-recommend reading All The Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror if you don't believe what I am telling you.

Opportunism:

What is so wrong about being opportunistic, I would say that it is a basic tenant of a liberal democracy, having politician catter to their constituents is not something to be discouraged.


Anyways, that basically proves Sina right, not that that is particularly important to the issue of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

3. Democracy

Sina makes an interesting arguement about popularity that you seem to dismiss at hand Allen. Sina seems to contend that Iran nuclearizing is acceptable because it is popular. Although I don't agree, if it is true it certainly puts the US in a difficult position. The US has to balance a need for spreading liberty and democracy while telling Iranians that their justifiable support for a nuclearized Iran is wrong. I don't know how to reconcile this difficulty off the top of my head but unlike you Allen, I don't pretend that this is not an issue.

---------------
Actual constructive ideas

Because an invasion is impossibile and a nuclearized Iran a genuine security threat the US has two options. First we can attempt to encourage the more secular and anti-clerical youth growing up in Tehran. This is a bit of a pipe dream because we have been trying to do it for 25 years and failing. Not to mention, would the Ayatollah's replacement be any better and have any less interest in nuclear weapons?

Second, we could attempt to build up Iran's economy, spawn more US love and more money, more education, which would hopefully, lead to less love for the Ayatollah. This could even be involved in a deal to get Iran to temporarily stop nuclearization, such as WTO membership for stopping development. These are just ideas, but discussing these would be infintiely more effective than drudging up the typical Carter vs. Reagan foreign policy debate.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger Mihai said...

"we could attempt to build up Iran's economy, spawn more US love and more money, more education, which would hopefully, lead to less love for the Ayatollah."

Ah. The good old economic engagement-leads-to-reform argument. Or should I say axiom? Maybe I haven't been doing enough reading, but I've seen this argument used again and again as if it was the law of gravity, and I've never seen it substantiated.

How exactly does economic engagement lead to reform, and what are the examples where this has happened?

 
At 7:41 AM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Mihai,

Well the best I can think of is China, perhaps also in how the United States assuaged Germany and Japan. I was just trying to say something constructive.

Do you have a solution to dealing with Iran, because pretending we can invade is just silly. Also pretending that Israel will take care of it, which it will not, is a waste of time.

My boy, Fareed Zakaria had a great article in Newsweek about this.

He makes his best point here:

"The one man who has had extensive negotiations with the Iranians, Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said to me a few months ago that Tehran is seeking a grand bargain: a comprehensive normalization of relations with the West in exchange for concessions on nuclear issues. It will never give up its right to a nuclear program, he argues, but it would allow such a program to be monitored to ensure that it doesn't morph into a weapons project. But the prize they seek, above all, is better relations with the United States. "That is their ultimate goal," he said.

There are lots of reasons to be suspicious of Iran. But the real question is, Do we want to try to stop it from going nuclear? If so, why not explore this path? Washington could authorize the European negotiators to make certain conditional offers, and see how Tehran responds. What's the worst that can happen? It doesn't work, the deal doesn't happen and Tehran resumes its nuclear activities. That's where we are today."

Given that the alternative is a nuclear Iran, why not attempt to engage them?

-Mr. Alec

 
At 7:46 AM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

By the way, the link to that article is here:

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8942221/site/newsweek/

 
At 7:50 AM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

I dont support Iran's nuclear weapons. As a matter of fact i dont support any country to have access to any nuclear weapons.

I just don't believe we have to right to go around telling people they cant have nuclear weapons considering we have massive stockpiles as well.

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Mihai said...

Alec, I wasn't necessarily shooting down your solution for Iran specifiacally, it's just that the engagement argument (for encouraging reform, as opposed to cutting a nuclear deal) has been used over and over in editorials, on talk shows, etc. On this blog you used it just now and in discussing sanctions on Cuba. I just figured it was high time for someone to question it.

I don't think Germany and Japan are legitimate examples, but China is worth discussion. When Nixon opened up China, he did it to make possible a military alliance against the USSR. It's possible that that change in policy somehow helped lead to economic reforms there, but I don't see how. The reforms actually began after the power struggle that followed Mao's death, and were expanded because of their own initial successes.

On Iran, I'm rather at a loss. It's possible that the regime wants improved relations, and allow inspections in exchange for an improvement, but it's also possible that talking about a "grand bargain" is a strategy aimed at playing for time (not that we have much to threaten them with when they run out).

If they are sincere, though, we need to consider what we could lose through improved relations. It's possible that improved relations with the current regime will actually impede reform and weaken opponents of the regime. Outside pressure can be a powerful morale booster for dissidents, and the lack thereof a major blow.

A "grand bargain" isn't just switching from sticks to carrots, it's selling all our carrots in one bulk order in exchange for nuclear inspections. What leverage will we have left to encourage democratization? Maybe they do want this grand bargain...

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger allen said...

sinamorajev wrote:

enjoy your one sided idiotic life.

Thanks. I do.

It helps a lot that all the self-styled saviours of humanity are gradually being reduced to the same spluttering vulgarity as you.

Mr. Alec wrote:

1. We can huff and puff about Iran all we want, but we can't invade it nor use tactical strikes to hurt their nuclear program.

Actually, we can't invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

Atlantic Magazine probably had articles making fine cases for why an invasion of either of those rogue regimes would have been impossible. Probably by James Fallows.

2.

Now your case against him is that he nationalized their oil.

That was part of my case. He also imposed, or tried to impose, collectivization of the agricultural sector. Is that communist enough for you or would he have had to have gotten a tattoo of Lenin on his ass to qualify?

Second, the reason Mossadeq actually wanted to nationalize the oil industry was because the British were taking 90% of the profits from oil drilling.

Now, that would be the petroleum industry that simply wouldn't have existed without the British investment, right? So, other then the right confered by the muzzle of a rifle, what right did the Iranians have to take what the British had built?

Mossadeq offered a deal that would split revenue 50/50, the Brits turned it down, and Iran retaliated.

He offered to let the British keep half of what they'd built? Mighty big of him.

Of course, that generous offer wouldn't have been a precursor to a smoother ejection of the British no would it?

Third, the means by which Mossadeq was overthrown was not popular.

You want to provide a link to your spandex body-suit wearing weightlifter coup story?

Anyways, that basically proves Sina right, not that that is particularly important to the issue of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

If your measure of success is convincing yourself of your own brilliance then yeah, you've proven your case wonderfully.

3. Democracy

I dismiss the importance Sina places on popularity because even a cursory study of history will dredge up numerous cases of popular, and horrific, political positions.

You don't even have to leave the U.S. to find fine examples of popular political causes that were cruel and unjust.

In fact, the U.S. is one of the few places in the world where simple popularity isn't enough to create law most of the time. And when the law has given way to popularity the value of all laws suffers.

In the rest of the world there isn't even the modest impediment of law to the expression of the popular will.

Well the best I can think of is China, perhaps also in how the United States assuaged Germany and Japan. I was just trying to say something constructive.

China embraced capitalism because they had access to the same information we had about the ecnomic state of the Soviet Union, not to mention the state of the Chinese economy. The ecnomic collapse of the nation was inevitable and rather then follow Mao into the grave the Chinese leadership chose to use the method that works, capitalism.

The only thing the U.S. did was to make sure the Chinese understood we weren't going to commit economic suicide so they could retain their creaking wreck of an economy.

Do you have a solution to dealing with Iran, because pretending we can invade is just silly.

But not as silly an idea as it was before we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.

Also pretending that Israel will take care of it, which it will not, is a waste of time.

I think that should read:

Also pretending that Israel will take care of it again, which it will not, is a waste of time.

Given that the alternative is a nuclear Iran, why not attempt to engage them?

And we could appeal to their softer side, their compassion and good sense. That should work with a regime that sent a million young men to their deaths unarmed, untrained and led from behind. Far behind.

Yeah, that's sure to work. And if it doesn't, well, we probably brought it on ourselves by not electing John Kerry, or setting CAFE standards higher.

 
At 10:22 AM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Allen if you honestly think that an invasion of Iran is possible then this discussion is over, because you are off the boat.

The James Fallows article was a report about a war game done by an ex-general, a military historian at the Naval War College, and some diplomat or something. All agreed an invasion was not feasible.

If you don't believe them, then Fareed Zakaria, a self-described neo-conservative, who was 100% behind the invasion of Iraq says it is not possible.

I honestly don't know where you think we'll get the troops, the money, the Iranian support, etc. The only way it could be done is by starting a draft, training hundreds of thousands of new American troops, because we won't get shit from Europe. Then we would could invade from Iraq, risk radicalizing the Shias in Iraq who are the only non-radical group there now (and actually still despise the Iranians, though a new war could change that).

THEN, we could get a nice insurgency from a government that IS popularly supported by more than 5,000 people (like it is in Iraq), in a country that is 400% larger than Iraq.

Yeah Allen, that seems perfectly reasonable.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger Mihai said...

I didn't know much about Mossadeq, but a quick look at wikipedia confirms that he tried to collectivize agriculture and that he had close ties to the Tudeh Party (outright communists). Also, he didn't just dissolve parliament, he held a rigged referendum on dissolving parliament. Incidentally he wasn't quite so popular when he got overthrown. By then, the economic situation had taken a big toll on his popularity.

Allen, after watching this debate (and the Sandanista one), I get the feeling that if the Bay of Pigs invasion had taken down Castro after only two years of rule, you would have been making some crackpot argument about how he was a communist. For shame!

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

if you don't know that much then read the book me and mr alec recomended.

Tudeh already had strong influence on the people even before mossadegh. Mossadegh actually tried to prevent them from gaining too much influence. You also reliaze when he was about to be overthrown, he refused their help, which might have saved him if he hadn't.

Where did u get that he dissolved parliament?

The economic situation was because of the british embargo, not his economic policy. And his popularity dropped a little and that was because the CIA and the British took over most Iranian newspapers.

But that didn't mean he wasn't still popular

 
At 5:48 PM, Blogger allen said...

Mr. Alec wrote:

Allen if you honestly think that an invasion of Iran is possible then this discussion is over, because you are off the boat.

What boat? Oh, right.

Maybe we could just cut through all this discussion and you make a list of allowable opinions and we just move on. How would that be?

All agreed an invasion was not feasible.

Ah, the nine-out-of-ten-doctors-recommend -Anacin approach to foreign affairs. As I remarked in a previous post, disaster was predicted for Afghanistan - if the Russkis couldn't do it how will we? - and Iraq.

At the point in time when, and if, invasion of some nation that presents a real threat to the safety of the U.S. becomes necessary I hope we've got a president in office who doesn't shrink from that duty. If that puts me "off the boat" to use your silly phrase well hey, there I am.

Yeah Allen, that seems perfectly reasonable.

War's never reasonable. That doesn't mean it isn't sometimes necessary.

Mihai wrote:

Allen, after watching this debate (and the Sandanista one), I get the feeling that if the Bay of Pigs invasion had taken down Castro after only two years of rule, you would have been making some crackpot argument about how he was a communist.

Ain't that a bitch? Turns out all those anti-communist wack jobs were right. There really was a communist under every bed or at least clouds of the vermin in the State Department, Hollywood and the media.

Old Joe McCarthy must be spinning in his grave. If he'd just been law-abiding and followed the evidence he'd probably have become president and had a bunch of streets named after him instead of being a byword for governmental misconduct.

sinamoravej wrote:

But that didn't mean he wasn't still popular

Even among the people who's land he appropriated to set up his agricultural communes? Or don't they count?

 
At 6:10 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Allen, you suck at responding to my arguements. You cite a sentence you enjoy, then respond to just that.

I SAID MORE THAN THAT.

I provided the only scenario under which we could militarily invade Iran, you seem to have forgotten that in responding to me.

It is simply not feasible. Your only response to this is, well people though Afghanistan would be difficult. That is bullshit, we had troops, we had allies, we had money, and it was against a country that had a very unpopular government. So much for your stupid analogy.

Whatever, I am done arguing this. Your like matthew and not understanding what a market price is.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 5:40 AM, Blogger Matthew said...

Alec,

Ok, so realistically we can not invade Iran. I agree with that. We just don’t have the troops. It really is not a valid option. After the cold war we made the mistake of getting rid of a lot of troops.

I disagree that tactical strikes will not work. We do not need to take out their entire program. We know where “most” of their nuclear sites are. By destroying them, we could delay their nuclear program by many, many years. Most analysts agree that this is the most realistic option and it has the greatest potential to stop or delay them from developing nuclear weapons. This is the option I would support right now….immediately.

The economic and build rapport option is not realistic. Clinton made that mistake with North Korea and now they have an estimated 1-10 nuclear weapons. Way to go! Secondly, Iran is a radical Islamic regime. Get it through your head now, these people will always hate us simply because of one factor: WE ARE NOT MUSLIMS. These people, especially the mullahs, hate us because we are unbelievers, Christians, Jews, whatever. We could shower them with money and build their economy up to rival that of the great Western powers, but guess what, they would still hate us. They would simply take all that money and help and say thank you while trying to stab us in the back. You just do not understand where their hatred comes from. It is religious in nature. It is the product of religious teachings and a lifetime of hateful propaganda.

So many people have diverted from the main point of this article and are bringing up irrelevant events and topics.

 
At 8:04 AM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

If we could get them all and actually hamper the development, I would say lets do it, but I don't think striking the reactors will achieve anything. I may be wrong though. I am not pretending that the air strikes option is as stupid as the invasion non-option.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Also, you are terribly wrong about the root of the hatred being Islam. But I am not going into that now.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 9:50 AM, Blogger Matthew said...

You know nothing about Islam Mr. Alec. Specifically what the religious leaders in Iran spread around.

Remember...I said "Islam", not "Muslims".

Let me know when you would like to get into that. I have all the Islamic scriptures here to back me up.

 
At 10:03 AM, Blogger allen said...

Mr. Alec wrote:

Allen, you suck at responding to my arguements.

Given the quality of your arguments, generally consisting of an assertion supported by questioning the intelligence or sanity of anyone who'd have the shocking affrontery to disagree with you, I'm not that concerned with the grades you're handing out.

You cite a sentence you enjoy, then respond to just that.

Am I under some obligation to respond to your posts in a manner which meets with your approval? I don't think so.

I provided the only scenario under which we could militarily invade Iran, you seem to have forgotten that in responding to me.

Just to make sure, I reviewed this thread. You didn't provide the only scenario under which we could militarily invade Iran. In fact, the only scenario your provided was why invading Iran would be a terrible idea and why it would be a quagmire and everyone would be real mad at us and we wouldn't get invited to the really cool parties.

You ought to read what you've written before you start whining about what you did and didn't write.

My hope is that at the point in time when it becomes inescapable that violence has to be used to protect America we have someone like Reagan or Bush in the Whitehouse. Someone who understands that war does, in fact, solve problems, but they have to be very big, very serious problems which have no other solution.

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Mihai said...

Sina,

If I find the time I will definitely read Mr. Kinzer's book, but it does not speak well for it that someone who read it doesn't know about the dissolution of parliament.

I got that info from wikipedia (not always accurate), but I've confirmed it by reading old newspaper articles (NYT from 1953).

Those articles describe how he used his popularity to force parliament to give him the power to rule by decree. He later used that power to call a referendum on dissolving parliament. Shortly before the referendum he decreed that the ballot would not be secret, and then his side won by 99.9% of the vote. This was big news and it happened about two months before the coup.

It seems that today's aspiring dictators are actually more discreet in their maneuverings.

I've read some reviews of the book you recommended and it seems a lot of people think Kinzer pretty much engages in hero-worship when he discusses Mossadegh. My guess is you probably ought to take the book with a grain of salt.

-Mihai

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger Mihai said...

Allen wrote:

"My hope is that at the point in time when it becomes inescapable that violence has to be used to protect America we have someone like Reagan or Bush in the Whitehouse. Someone who understands that war does, in fact, solve problems, but they have to be very big, very serious problems which have no other solution."

Agreed, but Alec believes an invasion would be more costly than an Iranian bomb. In other words, the problem isn't big enough for an invasion (because the invasion is immensely hard, not because the problem is really small).

Totally dismissing an invasion is going too far, but right now it's definitely not the best move.

Alec, my problem is that you pooh-pooh the option of encouraging reformers. We haven't been trying that for 25 years. If you compare it to our efforts in Poland in the '80's we haven't been trying at all.

-Mihai

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Allen,

You should respond to my arguements, I directly said the following:

"1. We can huff and puff about Iran all we want, but we can't invade it nor use tactical strikes to hurt their nuclear program.

Why? Well we don't know where their Nuclear program is and it is much more advanced than Iraq's was before the Israeli bombing at Osirisk. If you don't believe me you don't have to, read this: "http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200412/fallows"

We can't invade it because we don't have the troops, it is a huge country (4 times the size of Iraq, thats 4 California's and 3 times the population of Iraq, that is three California's, population-wise). Another rate-limiting factor is that in comparison to Iraq, people in Iran actually have some support for their government, just look who they legitimately elected their president last month."

You have not responded to the popularity arguement, the size arguement, and the troop requirement arguement. Coincidentaly those are the three strongest reasons for why your opinion is worthless.

Also, you seem to step away from your arguement by saying we should reserve the option to invade. But that option doesn't exist. We can't sit on our ass and let them develop a nuclear weapon, because once they have a nuclear weapon, well, we can't invade. See nuclear weapons are very dangerous, and they tend to kill lots of people. Also, they cause lots of enviornmental and biological damage, so we probably should not be playing around with them. But in all seriousness, something has to be done to cease development, or at least postpone it, damn soon.

Threatening war is pointless because we don't have the capacity to do it, nor will we anytime soon.

---------

Mihai,

I do not feel that encouraging reformers is going to work, especially when the strongest arguement to do it is Poland. You know the differences between Poland and Iran (including differences in per capita GDP, democratic history, religious differences--compare Pope John Paul to whatever Ayatollah and you know what I mean, etc.)

Anyways, I honestly think the best course, if we feel action is neccesary, is to use economics. It is feasible and could actually empower Mihai's reformers.

But lastly, someone mentioned that we shouldn't use economics because they failed with North Korea. But did they? We postponed the inevitable by 10 years. If invasion is the only real solution (which it may be) but not feasible now, why not make the worst case scenario, invasion when it is feasible.

Doesn't seem that bad to me.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 3:04 PM, Blogger Mihai said...

The strongest argument to support reformers is not Poland, it's the existance of reformers. Poland is an example show the lack of seriousness of our current efforts.

When you say economics I take it you mean incentives and not sanctions. The more carrots we give the Iranian government (even if it leads to a deal) the harder it is going to be for reformers, who will be on their own facing a government unencumbered by outside pressure.

As for the economic incentives offered to North Korea, they didn't postpone anything, they just got the whole thing out of the headlines so you felt it was postponed. The North Koreans were just puttering away the whole time, making progress.

The problem with economic incentives is that Iran will either act interested only to buy time or it will reach an agreement. If it accepts the incentives it might cheat once the issue is off the table (everyone assuming it is settled) and out of the spotlight, or, best case, it might abide by the agreement. Even if we do get that best case, reformers will be hurt by our need to cozy up to the current government to keep them in compliance (they could change their mind at any time, giving them lots of power).

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

I am wary of the, this will only hurt the reformers arguement, because reformers have accomplished nothing in the past 25 years. It probably does not matter if they are marginally hurt because they are not going make the change we need from them, thus making their status in the country, meaningless to us, in a real sense.

Of course forecasting the best way to do this all is kind of useless. It just leads to quibbles on history, this probably explains to us why political science is not a science.

-Mr. Alec

 
At 10:08 PM, Blogger Mihai said...

Well reformers (and by that I mean revolutionaries as well as moderates) in Poland accomplished nothing in the 25 years before they accomplished something. This is not to say Iran is like Poland. I'm just saying reformers never accomplish anything before they accomplish something, so your basis for wariness is nonexistent. Of course it's ture that that dosen't mean encouraging reformers will bear fruit.

But, even if it doesn't the problem with economic engagement is this: the EU three just offered Iran some little carrots, and Iran spit on them. Why?

Because, if Iran wants a bargain, it wants it to be a grand bargain, like your buddy Fareed said. And grand means Iran dosen't build nukes and in exchange we cede just about every diplomatic lever and tool we can hope to use on Iran, ever. In other words, we grant all major economic incentives and forswear all major threats, economic or otherwise. Sure we can change our mind later, but by then the implicit consequence of changing our mind will be an Iranian bomb in four months.

Would Iran be willing to accept less than all our levrage? Possibly, but not significantly less (after all, think grand!). So, the question is, do you really think that would be worth it?

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger allen said...

Mr. Alec wrote:

You should respond to my arguements, I directly said the following:...

I did. If the response wasn't up to your standards you'll just have to live with that. To reiterate:

Your dismissal of the feasibility of invasion collapses because it differs in no important respect from the all the dismissals of the feasability of invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Both of them where preceded by bags of reasons why either invasion was evidence of stupidity, insanity or evil on the part of the president. Both invasions went off with such shocking swiftness that we probably bought ourselves several years before we have to deal the Chinese.

We can't invade it because we don't have the troops,

If it's a choice between the detonation of an Al Queda-smuggled, Iran-supplied nuclear bomb in an American city and invading with too few troops I predict we'll invade anyway. You're not going to suggest otherwise, are you?

it is a huge country (4 times the size of Iraq, thats 4 California's and 3 times the population of Iraq, that is three California's, population-wise).

And your point is that we need a certain number of troops per square mile or a certain number of troops per thousand Iranians before an invasion becomes feasible? Why? So there are enough Marines to personally deliver a punch in the nose to every Iranian?

The drive in military development has been increasing accuracy and controlability. One laser-guided 2,000 lb. bomb can, with a high degree of certainty, successfully complete a mission that a hundred B-17s might not have successfully complete after repeated tries. One bomb, one bridge. One bomb, one command bunker. One bomb, telephone exchange.

If a country can't repel those kinds of attacks it loses because they can't be endured. You can't just hunker down in your bunker and wait for the bombers to go droning off. If we know where the bunker is we can put a bomb throught the door and we've got some very good tools for finding the bunkers.

Once enough of the command-and-control infrastructure is demolished then the ability to coordinate movements and attacks goes away. Without that ability an enemy can only launch uncoordinated, small-unit actions without any heavy-weapons support. In other words, they're reduced to roving gangs of guys with guns who can't survive using any other tactics then hit-and-run and the emphasis is definitely on "run".

But in all seriousness, something has to be done to cease development, or at least postpone it, damn soon.

No points for belaboring the obvious. Of course we have to do something.

My vote is for encouraging insurrection. Toppling the current regime might not be all that tough. The mullahs have earned a reputation for corruption and heavy-handed suppression of dissent. A popular uprising might not be all that hard to arrange. The current Iranian government certainly couldn't expect much support from surrounding nations, meddling as they have been in their internal affairs.

Oh, and avoid sarcasm in the future. You're embarrassingly bad at it.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

Allen you really need to get the facts.

WE ARE JUST AS UNPOPULAR IF NOT MORE THAN THE GOVERNMENT OVER THERE.

invading would give them some support.

geez

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger Matthew said...

And everyone continues to miss the biggest factor. The one reason why a nuclear Iran can not be.

I'll give you all a hint. It has nothing to do with the West's history in Iran or the Middle East. It also has nothing to do with our current actions.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

Allen, you are so naive.

If we invade Iran with 10,000 troops, we could probably topple the Ayatollah, but it will accomplish nothing so far as assuaging any terrorism in the country. We would have to deal with a country that actually SUPPORTS its government. Also we would be dealing with a country that has seen the textbook written on the proper insurgency right next door.

Furthermore, you make it a case of, topple Iran vs. nuclear weapons. But if we invade Iran and don't have the troops to secure it, then what good will it do to cease nuclear weapon developments. Iran is huge, also we don't know where these nuclear weapons are being developed. Also, we know for a fact that Iran has chemical weapons. So it looks like either way it will be messy.

(One note though, I doubt Al Qaeda would get much traction in Iran, bin Laden is not the biggest fan of shias).

You make the comment that somehow just because Iran is huge we need a certain number of troops to deliver a punch to every Iranian. That is actually not far from the truth. To occupy a country and control it, you need men to fill the security vacuum.

Last, you make a great little explanation about how we can just continueally bomb them and they will only be reduced to small scale attacks. But Allen, I doubt we would have to fight anyone in Iran, they have seen how to properly fight the US, it is by using small scale attacks to promote terror in troops and citizens alike. Against that a F18 or B27 or whatever can do nothing. You just need men to secure the place.

If you want to read more on this, I reccomend the RAND report on Nation Building.

http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1753/

-Mr. Alec

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger Alec Brandon said...

And:

Allen, how can you say that encouraging insurrection would not be that hard. Do you honestly think we have not been trying to do it for the past 25 years? Do you think Reagan just sat on his hands for 8 years?

It is a pipe dream to wish for a popular insurrection.

-Mr. Alec

PS I like how you back away from, I support invasion to I support a popular insurrection.

 
At 6:07 PM, Blogger Mihai said...

Well, might as well have 50.

It is a pipe dream to wish for a popular insurrection.

Not as big of a pipe dream as wishing for a "grand bargain" that's actually worth accepting.

a country that actually SUPPORTS its government

First time anyone's said that! Hmmmm....

Do you honestly think we have not been trying to do it for the past 25 years?

If you're going to repeat claims I attack, you shouldn't ignore me. Otherwise, ignore away.

 
At 6:34 AM, Blogger allen said...

Mr. Alec wrote:

Allen, you are so naive.

What a stunning insight! Your so deep, so insightful! Thank you for the benefit of your wisdom and intellectual depth! I will certainly try to be less naive in the future now that I understand this shortcoming from which I suffer.

If we invade Iran with 10,000 troops, we could probably topple the Ayatollah,

And

We would have to deal with a country that actually SUPPORTS its government.

If it only takes 10,000 troops to topple the government why would anyone give a damn if the country actually SUPPORTS its government?

Also we would be dealing with a country that has seen the textbook written on the proper insurgency right next door.

Oh yeah, the mighty insurgency.

In a country of 42 million people the death and injury rate among U.S. troops is somewhat less the that of U.S. citizens on a bad weekend in Washington D.C. And what makes you think that either of the primary sponsors of the insurgency in Iraq is invulnerable to a bit of counter-insurgency? You think maybe the Baathists in Syria might start tending their own business if cars started blowing up in Damascus? Maybe the Iranian government would start worrying more about domestic politics if they had more to worry about?

You make the comment that somehow just because Iran is huge we need a certain number of troops to deliver a punch to every Iranian. That is actually not far from the truth. To occupy a country and control it, you need men to fill the security vacuum.

What security vaccuum? What occupation? I'm just interested in making sure they don't develop nuclear weapons. That doesn't take an occupation. All it takes is smashing up the infrastructure and making it clear that we'll do it again and again until they get the message: no bomb for you.

The only question is do we want to do it before Al Queda detonates a nuclear bomb in an American city? Afterwards we may decide that there are better, and quicker, ways to ensure that we don't have to bother with the Iranian regime twice.

Oh, and if, in my naivete, I didn't address every vital and well thought-out point your brought up, well, who has the time?

 
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