Moves Toward War with Iran: Part 1





Mr. Polk was the member of the U.S. Policy Planning Council responsible for the Middle East from 1961 to 1965. Subsequently, he was professor of history and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago and later president of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs. Author of many books on international affairs, world and Middle Eastern history, he recently wrote Understanding Iraq (HarperCollins, New York and London 2005 and 2006) and, together with former Senator George McGovern, Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2006).

After careful study of recent moves and statements by the Bush Administration, I have concluded that there is at least a 10% chance of an American attack on Iran before the November 7 Congressional elections and about a 90% chance before the administration’s end in 2008. In this and following articles I will explain that prediction, illustrate what moves are now being made the prepare for war, analyze what the results of such actions would be and, finally, discuss what alternatives America has to bring about what it wishes to achieve in Iran. I begin with the prediction.

Twelve years before he ran for the presidency, George W. Bush sought to rally the American religious fundamentalists to his father’s election. He realized that about one in five Americans considered themselves part of this movement and so could be formed into a massive voting bloc. From this time also, Mr. Bush underwent a personal “rebirth” and emerged from what he described as a life-long alcoholic haze into the belief that he had a God-given role to fight off the forces of evil and prepare a new world order.

What that was to be, he only vaguely perceived, but in the following years he was guided by some of his father’s old retainers including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to an already-formed group that came to be called the Neoconservatives. These men and women already had a plan and an objective. Young Bush eagerly adopted both and, when he was elected, appointed Cheney, Rumsfeld and Neoconservatives to key positions in his administration. These men have consistently favored military action against Middle Eastern regimes for the past seventeen years. They are still doing so.

As the heart of their doctrine, Neoconservatives took Leon Trotsky’s concept of “permanent revolution” and adapted it to their own radical ideology in the guise of “permanent war.” Just as Trotsky (and later Mao) saw permanent revolution, so the Neoconservatives saw what the US Defense Department now calls “the long war” as the means to destroy foreign opponents and silence domestic critics who would fear to be charged as unpatriotic. Their doctrine has been incorporated in the March 6, 2006 “National Security Strategy of the United States.” Mr. Bush summarized its imperatives on March 16, 2006 thus: “We choose to deal with challenges now rather than leaving them for future generations. We fight our enemies abroad instead of waiting for them to arrive in our country. We seek to shape the world, not be merely be shaped by it; to influence events for the better instead of being at their mercy.” Having identified Iran as part of “the Axis of Evil,” he specified that “we may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran” because, he charged, it threatens Israel, sponsors terrorism, oppresses its people and, above all, is embarked on acquisition of nuclear weapons.

The nuclear weapons charge is the most critical. Iran (along with the US, France, Britain and other countries) had signed the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. The treaty obligated the signers who did not yet have nuclear weapons to refrain from moves toward acquiring them and those that already had weapons to move toward giving them up. Neither Israel, Pakistan, India nor North Korea signed the treaty and the established nuclear powers have publicly acknowledged their violation of the treaty both by retaining their full stocks of weapons and by building more. What Iran is doing is uncertain. So far as is known, it has not violated the treaty, but intelligence specialists guess that it is determined to have nuclear weapons. A program to manufacture them was begun with American assistance under the regime of the Shah, then stopped and probably restarted. US intelligence consensus is that Iran is today five to ten years away from getting them.

The Neoconservatives also believe that Iran is a threat to Israel and quote President Mahmoud Ahmad-i Nejad’s pronouncements as proof. He foolishly denied the reality of the holocaust and harshly criticized Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. Worse he described Zionism as a has-been and predicted that Israel would decline and fall. But he was misquoted as saying that Israel would be “wiped off the map.” Even if he wished it would, his country is incapable of making it happen: Israel has the strongest army in Western Asia, the second most powerful air force in the world and a stockpile estimated to contain 400 or more nuclear weapons while Iran has a large but immobile army, a small but antiquated air force and no nuclear weapons. More important, Israel acts in close association with the United States while Iran has no effective allies. As a state it is no threat to anyone.

Mr. Bush also charged Iran with sponsoring terrorism. Yet, Iran helped the US to bring down the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and has consistently opposed al-Qaida. True, it has given money and weapons to the Lebanese Hizbullah against which Israel has been fighting. Moreover, it has, itself, been the target of terrorism for which it blames America.

Finally, while the Iranian fundamentalist regime is oppressive so are a number of other regimes that the Bush administration warmly approves. And, unlike Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uzbekistan, its government is the product of what, by local standards, was a reasonably free election. In fact, most observers believe that if a new election were held today, it would be overwhelmingly returned to office. Thus, although President Bush is right that the government denies the right of its people to live as Americans think they should, it has done so with the consent of the governed.

So why do I predict an American attack on Iran?

The answer is composed of the same elements I have described: Mr. Bush’s belief that he has a God-given task which he must accomplish before he leaves office – and perhaps even before the forthcoming Congressional elections might cripple his means of action. His belief that what his own intelligence experts tell him is wrong, that Iran actually is about to acquire the bomb, is stirring the pot of Middle Eastern terrorism and is a threat to the existence of Israel. Finally, he believes he has the authority, given by the American people in his two elections and through Congressional approval of his war with Afghanistan, to act. In the next article, I will discuss what he is doing to effect his policy.

© William R. Polk, October 9, 2006.


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Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Is America still an enlightened constitutional democracy or an international laughingstock of pitiful couch potato ignoramuses ?

Would the Iranian leaders be so dumb as to give an American president plausible pretext for an unauthorized first strike?

Or would they run circles around the Frat Boy like Pakistan, North Korea, and India have (while he acts as a lap dog for Israel) and nuclear proliferation takes off like never before?

Or if Bush and Boss Cheney actually follow the constitution and approache the Congress for permission to wage war on Iran, would Democrat cowards there fall all over themselves like wet noodles to make every dry drunk and trigger-happy wish of the White House their desire, as in 2002?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Nothing is "unforgivable" on this website, but the topic of the page DOES centrally concern Bush's policies towards the Mideast, whereas yet another cut-and-paste paranoid parsing of a highly selective sliver of the Iranian ruler's demagogic bluster is barely relevant at best.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I agree re the article being error-prone. Looks like rush job.
Typical for HNN.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Amitz: What the hell do you think you are talking about? This a discussion about the possibility of America attacking Iran, not about your psychological hang-ups.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Spare us your childish, false and irrelevant insults, Simon. I was referring to the Cheney administration's failure to confront Pakistan (regarding it's central role in global nuclear proliferation, not to mention its being the nerve center of Al Qaeda - not a topic of this page) and foul-mouthed chickenhawk Cheney's hypocritical rewarding and facilitating of India's expansion of its WMD armory. As likely precedents and parallels to this slipshod administration's colossal failures re North Korea and Iran (the topic of the page).


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I never "blamed the Jews" for anything, on HNN or anywhere else. That is a vile and stupid lie, regardless of the topic of the page, which is most assuredly NOT "the Jews", the Protocols, or Amitz's psychological disorders. It is true that I have blamed George W. Bush and his administration for a wide range of policy mishaps and disasters probably a hundreds times here at least, but have never blamed "the Christians" for their blunders and outrages (nor has any other poster been so deranged as to accuse me of such). For some reason, the Jesus freak nutcases are not the most plentiful sort of phony religious underemployed cranks.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I don't have time to correct more than a small subset of the childish name-calling misattributions and bogus insults, Amitz, which you excrete all over this website every week, but I never said that "the Iran threat is only 'paranoia' and exaggeration."


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Truman also called Nixon a "goddam shifty-eyed liar" but he himself was not mainly known for that flaw, as you have become here, Amitz.

And if you feel like learning how to spell big English words like whining, be OUR guest in America, the country you moved to, to trash.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

It was Amitz's "uncalled-for" lie which started things off. Read for yourself. He put words in my mouth to suit his insult rant. It is tiresome. Most of the time I ignore him. This time I didn't. You can be annoying (and no doubt I am too all too often) but at least you make a halfway effort to be polite and don't hurl recycled blatant falsehoods.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. F., Do you really think I am the only one making adhominem comments on HNN? Why do your "words to the wise" always seem to go in the same direction?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

While Amitz and Friedman prepare for
"Ahmad-i Nejad" to unveil the swastika, unleash Blitzkrieg across the Mideast, and start carting Jews into sealed box cars in Grand Central Station, and Mr. Hughes hides under his bed from the Islamobogeymen coming to get him too, how about a look at Polk's main premise:

That war with Iran is a 90% near certainty because of

"Mr. Bush’s belief that he has a God-given task which he must accomplish before he leaves office – and perhaps even before the forthcoming Congressional elections might cripple his means of action. His belief that what his own intelligence experts tell him is wrong [and] that he has the authority, given by the American people in his two elections and through Congressional approval of his war with Afghanistan"

This is really rather remarkably flakey. W Bush has neither the credibility, nor the authority, nor the skill, nor the Army (having bogged it down in Iraq) to invade and conquer Iraq, or even to launch a believably effective bombing raid on its nuclear facilities. Thanks to his recent stupid brutal cowardice in Lebanon, the Israeli PM is a somewhat similar bind.

Polk confuses election-politicking with grand strategy, propaganda sloganeering with policy-making, evasive cover-ups with ambition, and waffling blunderings with deep-seated beliefs. Whatever his sins or evil ambitions, "Ahmad-i Nejad" knows a paper tiger when he sees it and is fully exploiting the openings presented on a silver platter to him by the most incompetent US president in many decades.


Scott McLemee - 11/15/2006

"As the heart of their doctrine, Neoconservatives took Leon Trotsky’s concept of 'permanent revolution' and adapted it to their own radical ideology in the guise of 'permanent war.'"

This is complete gibberish. The author has no idea whatsoever of what Trotsky meant by "permanent revolution" (no, it does not mean "having a revolution all the time") and very, very few of those called neoconservatives ever had any connection at all with his movement.

But this sort of half-literate garbage is very impressive, of course, to the quarter-literate.


Rachel Korrie - 10/26/2006

http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=4165&;keywords=World+Without+Zionism
+(
The occupying state (Israel) is the bridgehead of the Oppressor World in the heart of the Islamic world. They have built a base to expand their domination to the entire Islamic world. There is no other raison d?etre for this entity without this objective.
)+
-- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "World Without Zionism" conference

There is an easy answer to this: STOP being an OPPRESSOR. ALLOW other people to exist in peace.

As Ahmadinejad says, Iran has no quarrel with Jews or Christians or with peaceful people in general. You can have whatever you want, as long as you refrain from eating the fruit of the tree of oppression.

Recognize others as EQUALS. Allow others to retain DIGNITY.




Unfotunately, the Zionist response to criticism is often just the opposite: The Likudniks ramp UP the oppression and become even more violent and dehumanizing. This approach is self-defeating, even suicidal.


Civilizaton is based on RECIPROCITY. What goes around comes around. We reap what we sow. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If the Zionists are unable to grasp or accept these fundamentals, then they deserve to go the way of other oppressors. The defeat of Hitler should have consigned all ethnic supremacist master-slave ideologies to the trash heap.




+(
"The era of military force is over, today is the era of nations, logic and worshippers of God,"
)+
-- Ahmadinejad, Iran's elected president


Saadi Haeri - 10/25/2006

Well it is not as assertive and it is specifically about the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and not the whole of Israel. It also means that it is not new as it was said by the Ayatollah 25 years ago and has been quoted by every Mulla on a podium ad nauseum, so why suddenly make a fuss about it? Unless you are now trying to cast the regime in a negative light in preparation for an attack. The London Times recently had a series of planted articles about alleged instances of anti-semitism in Iran written by Amir Taheri that have been shown to be fake.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/25/2006

Trying to kill thousands of innocent people just on the SUSPICION that they plot to obtain nuclear military capability is certainly morally and legally equal to the Holocaust, though not in numbers.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/25/2006

I can bet of all you all the money that you got that not Iran and not North Korea (whether they have or will have nuclear weapons) but the US (again) or Israel will be the only country to use nuclear weapons... in the nearest 5-10 years.
And I'll bet whoever is willing that the US-evil-empire will air-strike Iran before 2008, killing thousands of Iranians, mostly civilians.


Dan Weintraub - 10/24/2006

Not because I don't think that war w/Iran will not come---I do. But I think that martial law and suspension of the 22nd Amendment---probably in response to some new "attack" on America---will give the Bush Junta at least until 2012 to attack Iran.


Old Atlantic - 10/24/2006

"The quotation which has been on the walls of Tehran for decades, says something likethis: 'Those occupying the Qods should disappear from pages of time'." This is better?


Antranik M - 10/24/2006

St. John Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople (died 406 A.D.) says: "How dare Christians have the slightest intercourse with Jews! They are lustful, rapacious, greedy, perfidious bandits: pests of the universe! Their synagogue is a house of prostitution, the domicile of the devil, as is the soul of the Jew. As a matter of fact, Jews worship the devil; their religion is a disease, their synagogue an abyss of perdition. The rejection and dispersion of the Jews was done by the wrath of God because of His absolute abandonment of the Jews. God HATES the Jews, and on Judgement Day will say with those who sympathize with them: "Depart from Me, for you have had intercourse with my murderers!" Flee, then, from their assemblies, fly from their houses, and hold their synagogue in hatred and aversion."

St. Augustine says: "Our Lord Jesus Christ referred to Himself as 'the Stone' (St. Mt. 21:44). Lying on the ground, it shakes whoever falls over it; coming from on high, it crushes the proud. The Jews have already been shaken by their previous stumble. What awaits them is to be crushed by His Coming."

St. Barnabas (the student of St. Paul) says: "Do not add to your sins by saying that the Covenant is both theirs and ours. Yes it is ours, but they lost it forever."

St. Vincent Ferrer says: "Since His spouse, the Synagogue, refused to receive Him, Christ answered: "This is a harlot!" and gave her a bill of divorce."

Pope Gregory IX says: "Ungrateful for favors and forgetful of benefits, the Jews return insult for kindness and impious contempt for goodness. They ought to know the yoke of perpetual enslavement because of their guilt. See to it that the perfidious Jews never in the future grow insolent, but that they always suffer publicly the shame of their sin in servile fear."

Pope Innocent III says: "Crucifiers of Christ ought to be held in continual subjection."

St. Thomas Aquinas says: "It would be licit, according to custom, to hold Jews in perpetual servitude because of their crime."

Pope Leo VII says: "Let the Gospel be preached to them and, if they remain obstinate, let them be expelled."

St. Augustine says: "The Jews wander over the entire earth, their backs bent over and their eyes cast downward, forever calling to our minds the curse they carry with them."

Pope Innocent III says: "As wanderers, they (the Jews) must remain upon the earth until their faces are filled with shame and they seek the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Thou shalt eat bread and cover it with the dung that comes out of a man. Thus shall the children of Israel eat their bread all filthy among the nations wither I will cast them out, saith the Lord." (Ezechiel 4:12-13)

"The Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and have persecuted us, do not please God, and they have become adversaries to all men, to fill up their sin always; for the wrath of God has come upon them to the end." (I Thessalonians 2:14-16)

St. Vincent Ferrer says: "One who dies a Jew will be damned."

St. Justin the Martyr says: "Those of the seed of Abraham who live according to the Law of Moses and who do not believe in Christ before death shall not be saved; especially they who curse this very Christ in the synagogues; who curse everything by which they might obtain salvation and escape the vengeance of fire."

St. Agobard says: "Jews are cursed and covered with malediction. The curse has penetrated them like water in their bowels and oil in their bones. They are cursed in the city and cursed in the country, cursed in their coming in and cursed in their going out. Cursed are the fruits of their loins, of their lands, of their flocks; cursed are their cellars, their granaries, their shops, their food, the very crumbs off their tables!"

"If any man love not Our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema."
(I Corinthians 16:22)

St. Ambrose says: "O Jewish hearts, harder than rocks!"

"For all the House of Israel is a hard forehead and an obstinate heart." (Ezechiel 3:7)

St. Bernard says: "O intelligence coarse, dense, and cow-like, which did not recognize God even in His own works! Perhaps the Jew will complain that I call his intelligence bovine, but his intelligence is LESS than bovine: 'The ox knows his Owner, and the ass knows his Master's crib, but Israel has not known Me, and My people have not understood.' (Isaiah 1:3) You see, O Jew, I am easier on you than your own prophet!"

St. Bernardine of Feltre says: "Canon Law forbids all intercourse with Jews."

The Council of Elvira declared: "Indeed, if any one of the clergy or faithful has taken a meal with Jews, he is to abstain from Communion so that he may be reformed."

St. Augustine says: "Judaism, since Christ, is a corruption; indeed, Judas (Iscariot) is the image of the Jewish people: their understanding of Scripture is carnal; they bear the guilt for the death of the Savior, for through their fathers they have killed Christ. The Jews held Him; the Jews insulted Him; the Jews bound Him; they crowned Him with thorns; they scourged Him; they hanged Him upon a tree."

St. Gregory of Nyssa says: "Jews are slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets, enemies and haters of God, adversaries of grace, enemies of their fathers' faith, advocates of the devil, a brood of vipers, slanderers, scoffers, men of darkened minds, the leaven of Pharisees, a congregation of demons, sinners, wicked men, haters of goodness!"

"Woe to the sinful nation, a people loaded with iniquity, a wicked seed, ungracious children. They have forsaken the Lord, they have blasphemed the Holy One of Israel, they have gone away backwards. And when you stretch forth your hands, I will turn away My eyes from you, saith the Lord; and when you multiply prayer, I will not hear, for your hands are full of blood." (Isaiah 1: 4,15)

St. Basil the Great says: "And such are the prayers of the Jews, for when they stretch forth their hands in prayer, they only remind God-the-Father of their sin against His Son. And at every stretching-forth of their hands, they only make it obvious that they are stained with the blood of Christ. For they who persevere in their blindness inherit the blood-guilt of their fathers, for they cried out: "His blood be on us AND ON OUR CHILDREN" (St. Mt. 27:25)"

St. Alphonsus Liguori says: "Poor Jews! You invoked a dreadful curse upon your own heads; and that curse, miserable race, you carry upon you to this day, and to the End of Time you shall endure the chastisement of that innocent blood!"

ST. JUSTIN, martyr stated in 116 A. D.: "The Jews were behind all the persecutions of the Christians. They wandered through the country everywhere hating and undermining the Christian faith."


N. Friedman - 10/24/2006

Peter,

No. You are not the only one who does it. However, I expect better from you.


Saadi Haeri - 10/23/2006

Actually Al Jazeera have no experts in Persian(Farsi) and they simply quoted BBC monitoringg who mistranslated and misquoted Ahmadinejad.
CCN reported it more accurately when it said that Ahmadinejad was quoting Khomeini. The quotation which has been on the walls of Tehran for decades, says something likethis: 'Those occupying the Qods should disappear from pages of time'.
Neither Khomeini nor the Iranian regime have always been as anti-Israeli as this commentator implies.
After the Mossad plan to machine gun Khomeini in France was vetoed by the Shah, Israel sent Ruth Ben David, the wife of a Rabbi friendly with the Ayatollah, to discuss Israel and future relations, according to Ari Ben-Menashe.
The accord that was reached later paved the way for Israel to sell $80 billion of arms to Iran between 1980 and 1983 during the Iran-Iraq war.
One of the intermediaries in this was Robert Maxwell, who was assassinated along with the Swedish Prime minister Olof Palme and Senator John Towers in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra inquiry, according to the same source.


N. Friedman - 10/22/2006

Peter,

Here is a word to the wise:

You do make an awful lot of ad hominem comments. They do not help the discussion or advance your point of view. Rather, they tend to stop discusion.

You might also consider answering people's questions and provide support for your positions - especially since you tend to demand other people provide facts to support what they say to you. Instead of doing that, you tend to reach for the good ole religion: ad homimenism.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/22/2006

Ad hominem is an integral part of your low life type of writing, otherwise I have no comments.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/22/2006

Do you need help with what "topic" means? I can help you with a dictionary.
If you feel like winging, be my guest!


E. Simon - 10/22/2006

Nuclear program
[edit]
Smiling Buddha, 1974
In 1966, India had declared that it can produce nuclear weapons within 18 months. In 1974, India tested a device of up to 15 kilotons. The test was a "peaceful nuclear explosion" and was codenamed "Operation Smiling Buddha".

[edit]
Operation Shakti (nuclear tests, 1998)
On May 11 and May 13, 1998, India conducted five underground nuclear tests (3 on May 11 and 2 on May 13) and declared itself a nuclear state.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_India#Nuclear_program


On June 20, 2004, with a new government in place in India, both countries agreed to extend a nuclear testing ban and to set up a hotline between their foreign secretaries aimed at preventing misunderstandings that might lead to a nuclear war. [1]

India has granted Pakistan unilateral "most favoured nation" trade status under WTO guidelines, but Pakistan is yet to reciprocate. As of early 2005, both countries are committed to a process of dialogue to solve all outstanding issues.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_India#Pakistan


Perhaps Clarke could enlighten us on how this constitutes "run(ning) circles around the Frat Boy", given the timeline and placement of various U.S. administrations within that timeline. But then again, perhaps he can't.


E. Simon - 10/22/2006

Amitz,

See how it totally escaped Clarke that India and Pakistan went nuclear a bit before Bush even took office.

There's no discussion to be had with that kind of a moron, so you need not worry about his additional ignorance of the Middle East and the role of anti-Semitism that he denies just as readily as we does any other fact that wouldn't have been as useful to his spewing rhetoric here.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/21/2006

I have a therapist and is very helpful.
Again, if you feel like whinging, be my guest!


Yehudi Amitz - 10/21/2006

Better a war with a less threatening Iran than a war with a nuclear power.
You, probably, don't like the historic comparison but in 1936 Hitler's Germany could be stopped with a few regiments but in 1939 it took 6 years and tenths of millions of dead ans wounded to end the war.
There is another question, if the west is ready to wage a real war, not a pharmaceutical war with "surgical" bombings. To convince Germany and Japan to become democratic Dresden and Hiroshima were needed and today these countries are two of our best friends. We shouldn't kid ourselves, the Muslims are not going to wait one millisecond before they'll use any military advantage they may have for the mass killing and destruction of western people and assets.
As it happened in Hitler's Germany, they'll come after the Jews (if the west allows it) and no one is going to say a word, they'll come after the free thinkers and no one is going to say a word and after waves of devastation (Taliban style as with the Buddhist statues) there is not going to be anyone who can say a word. That's our choice!


john crocker - 10/21/2006

Would US bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities would lead to a ground war with Iran?

If it would initiate a ground war, on whose side would the Iraqi Shia fight, or would they be split?

What other regional players, if any, would likely be drawn to the conflict?

Would a war in Iran initiated and carried out by the same actors who planned the Iraq war and occupation be anything but a disaster?


Yehudi Amitz - 10/20/2006

You can't argue with subconscious. The Jews control America, my WASP frat boy fellow American, Clarke. I see you know well your "protocols of the elders of Zion" in addition to your Stalin. You are on the right track for an ignoramus couch potato with very limited knowledge in using a dictionary.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/20/2006

I am not sure about a full scale war, but at least a bombing of facilities in Iran will take place before 2008. Trying to make the fanatic, blood thirsty, leaders of Iran look better is false and disgraceful.


john crocker - 10/20/2006

Are we at the beginning of a march to war with Iran?

Will Bush initiate another war for messianic reasons or is he just posturing?

Would a war in Iran initiated and carried out by the same actors who planned the Iraq war and occupation be anything but a disaster?

Would US bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities would lead to a ground war with Iran?

If it would initiate a ground war, on whose side would the Iraqi Shia fight, or would they be split?

What other regional players, if any, would likely be drawn to the conflict?


N. Friedman - 10/20/2006

Peter,

Reading back to your comments, I am not really sure you said what you think. Which is to say, I think Amitz's statement about paranoia is pretty close to the position you stated.

Your words: While Amitz and Friedman prepare for "Ahmad-i Nejad" to unveil the swastika, unleash Blitzkrieg across the Mideast, and start carting Jews into sealed box cars in Grand Central Station, and Mr. Hughes hides under his bed from the Islamobogeymen coming to get him too, how about a look at Polk's main premise ... http://hnn.us/comments/99567.html

Maybe you had something else in mind. But to me, it is a reasonable read of you comment that you view my view and that of Mr. Amitz as being paranoid. So, I do not think he is lying. I think you did not choose your words carefully - assuming you did not intend Mr. Amitz's interpretation.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/19/2006

Again from a different dictionary

whinge Pronunciation (hwnj, wnj)
intr.v. whinged, whing·ing, whing·es Chiefly British
To complain or protest, especially in an annoying or persistent manner.

You may try to read some classic English literature, my Stalinist WASP fellow American and step out of your ignorance, because if you ignore me it's only because your ignorance makes you very angry. Good luck, you may grow up a little!


N. Friedman - 10/19/2006

Peter,

Note your words: "And if you feel like learning how to spell big English words like whining, be OUR guest in America, the country you moved to, to trash."

Mr. Amitz has done nothing but express his opinion, which is the AMERICAN way.

Moreover, since English is not his native tongue, he does rather well. Do you write in a language other than English as well as he writes in English? And, often better than other writers on this website, he gets to the point and speaks with delightful wit and pith - something we all can learn from -.

What you wrote is ad hominem, uncalled for and not a fair comment.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/19/2006

I didn't want to get you aggravated again, my fellow American.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/19/2006

Told you already, don't attack language on the web, it's the tactic of losers. I see that USA needs foreign help not only in computers but in the English language too.

from Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary:

WHINGE
One entry found for whinge.
Main Entry: whinge
Pronunciation: 'hwinj, 'winj
Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): whinged; whing·ing or whinge·ing
Etymology: Middle English *whingen, from Old English hwinsian; akin to Old High German winsOn to moan
British : to complain fretfully : WHINE

Now talking about liars, please show me where did I insult you with words like: paranoid, idiotic and more.
I called you a STALINIST and because you need help with understanding English and history I'll explain. Initially Lenin and after him Stalin said that "anyone who isn't with us is against us". You lumped together Bush, Cheney, H. Clinton, Kerry, Lieberman (nothing without a Jew, but I am sure it's only subconscious) and called for putting them on trial which is another way for terminating people who do not think like yourself.
Again leave the English language out of your WEB arguments, the web is a place for imperfect English and in general don't discuss the intelligence of your opponent in a discussion (as you did in one of your postings) because it shows a lack of confidence in your own intelligence. So try to grow up, my fellow American.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/18/2006

As president Truman said:

"Can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen"

Anyway, if you feel like whinging, be my guest!


Yehudi Amitz - 10/18/2006

When Polk falsely writes about Ahmad-i Nejad:

"But he was misquoted as saying that Israel would be “wiped off the map.”"

he tries to make the the point that Iran isn't really a threat to Israel and what we say about the "sweet" Ahmad-i Nejad it's an exaggeration. The only problem is that Aljazeera confirms that he said that Israel should be "wiped off the map".
The point Polk is trying to make (and one of favorites of Clarke) is that the Iran threat is only "paranoia" and exaggeration but he does it using false arguments.


Andrew D. Todd - 10/18/2006

With reference to Peter K. Clarke's comment that: "This is really rather remarkably flakey. W Bush has neither the credibility...", I don't altogether know if I'm so sure. Clarke is postulating a certain minimal level of prudence on the part of our chief executive. Don't forget George Armstrong Custer, and the Little Big Horn. You recall how that ended up. Custer was operating in defiance of orders, used grossly bad judgment, etc. As near as one can determine, he had subordinated the good of the service to his own political ambitions. Like George W. Bush, he tended to put a lot of energy into sandbagging the expert judgment of his principal subordinates, trying to replace them with low-level flunkies who would do what they were told without questioning.

Take a look at Douglas C. Jones' novel, _The Court-Martial of George Armstrong Custer_ (1976). It is an interesting reconstruction, built around the counterfactual premise that Custer survived to be court-martialed. The fiction of the trial lends itself to a more perfect confrontation between the guardians of Custer's reputation, and his principal subordinates, Maj. Marcus Reno and Capt. Frederick Benteen, than actually occurred. Most of the worst stories about Reno were persistent rumors, rather than anything out in the open. Americans and Englishmen no longer fought duels at this date, but Frenchmen and Germans did, and there was a limit to what could be said without an ensuing fistfight.

Here is a quotation which seems applicable to "Dubya."

"The Crow [scout Goes Ahead] had obviously come to say a great deal more... he pauses and looks at Custer and laughs, a short hard burst of laughter. He waves a finger toward the cavalryman as though scolding a small child. 'Too _many_, Yellow Hair, too _many_.'" (Jones, ch 9, p. 112, pbk. ed.)


E. Simon - 10/17/2006

Well, as long as we got BUSH's contribution to the article's errors out of the way...


N. Friedman - 10/17/2006

Peter,

My point was exactly directed to the article which, in my humble view, suffers from mistatements of fact. I might add: failing to analyze the intentions of the Iranians by means of asserting misquotes which, in fact, were not, did not help the article.

Now, I have no idea if the US plans to bomb away or to walk away. But, an article that contains mistatements of the type made by Polk is too error prone to be trusted.


E. Simon - 10/17/2006

Yes, but for Peter, seeing Bush as the center of everything that needs to be attended to in the world is its own grand strategy. You can comment on what you want, but for Peter, if it detracts from Bush as a problem in global politics, (or if it has nothing to do with it), then you have committed what amounts to - in his eyes - the ultimate unforgivable sin of omission.


N. Friedman - 10/17/2006

Peter,

You have changed my post beyond recognition. My point is that the article fails to analyze the Iranian government's position. That is an important point as it relates to whether the government can, as Polk believes, be deterred or whether it cannot be. Such point ought, I would think, to affect US policy. Polk, by contrast, pooh poohs ahmedinejad's comments to a mistranslation, which is simply incorrect.



Lawrence Brooks Hughes - 10/16/2006

You forgot the part about the genie coming out of the well in Qom. The mullahs of Iran believe the world's end is coming, much like David Koresh did. They are suicidal and will gladly die for Allah if Allah wants them to, and when the balloon goes up they will see it as Allah asking them to die, just as Koresh followers did. Accordingly, it is fatuous to say, as you do, that this state is not a threat to anyone. With just a few WMD, they can cause plenty of trouble before we turn their country into an oil slick... I agree with Cheney, Bush & Rumsfeld that there will have to be a regime change in Iran, and rather sooner than later. It should be done, however, with great help from an enormous Fifth Column inside the country, and perhaps by restoring the Palavi throne. That ought be launched pronto, before they have atomic bombs to lob at their neighbors.


N. Friedman - 10/16/2006

Professor,

You write: The Neoconservatives also believe that Iran is a threat to Israel and quote President Mahmoud Ahmad-i Nejad’s pronouncements as proof. He foolishly denied the reality of the holocaust...

How do you know that Ahmadinejad spoke foolishly? Perhaps, If he did not believe what he said, perhaps he does not behave foolishly at all but, instead, has a nefarious purpose. Perhaps he believed what he said as such historical denial is not uncommon in the Arab and Muslim regions.

Moreover, is it really deniable that Iran, whether or not it has the ability to make good on all of its threats, is a threat to Israel? Iran, since the time of the revolution, has been decidedly hostile to Israel, both in word and, as even you admit, by supplying those who would attack Israel. Perhaps you forget that Iran does not only supply Hezbollah but also supplies Hamas.





You continue: Worse he described Zionism as a has-been and predicted that Israel would decline and fall. But he was misquoted as saying that Israel would be "wiped off the map."

In fact, he was not incorrectly quoted. The Iranian government website indicated that the "wipe Israel off the map" translation is accurate. And, in any event, Ahmadinejad, among others in Iran, have repeatedly stated essentially the same thing (and repeatedly, as in more times than can readily be counted). So, even if the statement is technically a misquote, the statement represents the position repeatedly stated by, among other Iranian leaders, Ahmadinejad.



You then write: Even if he wished it would, his country is incapable of making it happen: Israel has the strongest army in Western Asia, the second most powerful air force in the world and a stockpile estimated to contain 400 or more nuclear weapons while Iran has a large but immobile army, a small but antiquated air force and no nuclear weapons. More important, Israel acts in close association with the United States while Iran has no effective allies. As a state it is no threat to anyone.

Israel must be thrilled that people think it has 400 or more nuclear weapons. Such report is double what reports hostile to Israel usually claim. And even the 200 number comes out of thin air, since there is not much information to go by. But, let us concede - so that we do not debate irrelevant matter- that Israel has nuclear weapons. In fact, let us say the figure really is 400 such weapons. Is that necessarily a deterrent? Maybe or maybe not.

Here is what Mr. Rafsanjani thinks: If one day ... Of course, that is very important. If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists' strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.

(Quoted from Qods Day Speech [Jerusalem Day] of Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani [Chairman of Expediency Council], December 14, 2001, Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran, Translated by BBC Worldwide Monitoring)

In other words, there is at least one person of influence in Iran - and he is considered a liberal - who sees the equation regarding the bomb differently than you see it. He perhaps does not count on Israel's weaponry as sufficient. And he perhaps does not count on the US to rescue Israel.

If your calculation of Israel nuclear weapons is accurate - about which I am rather dubious -, that does not mean Ahmadinejad is aware of that information. And, moreover, you assume that Iran’s leaders see themselves only as leaders of Iran; but not as leaders, or would-be leaders, of the Islamic world and not just of Iran. Which is to say, the likes of Rafsanjani may, if he believes what he says - and note his words, which relate to the "Islamic world" [his words], not Iran -, being willing to contemplate Iran’s annihilation as a price to be paid by the Islamic world for destroying Israel. Such, in any event, is what his rhetoric suggests, whether or not he believes it.

Now there is the further point that Ahmadinejad has dreams about the hidden imam - or mahdi -. The hidden imam, according to Ahmadinejad, is about to appear in order to bring an end to the world order as we know it and to usher in an end of days scenario. In that scenario, massive destruction is predicted. Perhaps Ahmadinejad is playing games. Perhaps, he means what he says. Perhaps he hopes to help bring the hidden imam back by using nuclear weapons - if his country obtains them. There is no way to tell. But, such talk cannot be simply be ignored.

In any event, one of the things missing from your analysis is an analysis of Iran’s policy. Rather, you latch onto the view that Iran is unable to destroy Israel. But, that does not tell us Iran’s policy. In fact, if Ahmadinejad is remotely serious, his policy treats Israel as a symbol, not as an end. As he said:

We must see what the real story of Palestine is. Is the conflict in Palestine a war between some Jews on the one side and Muslims and non-Jews on the other side? Is it a war between the Jews and other faiths? Is it the war of one country with other countries? Is it the war of one country with the Arab world? Is the conflict only over the limited lands of Palestine? I think the answer to all these questions is negative.

The creation of the regime occupying Al-Qods (Jerusalem) was a heavy move by the globally dominant system and Global Arrogance against the Islamic world. There is a historic battle going on between the Oppressor World and the Islamic world and the roots of this conflict goes back hundreds of years.

In this historic conflict, the fronts have shifted many times. There were times when the Muslims had the upper hand and were active and forward-moving, while the Oppressor World was on retreat.

Unfortunately, in the past three hundred years, the Islamic world has been on retreat in the face of the Oppressor World.

I do not intend to go to the roots of the issue and I concentrate on a historical review of the events. In the past one hundred years, the last trenches of the Islamic world fell and the Oppressor World created the regime occupying Al-Qods as the bridgehead for its domination of the Islamic world. Bridgehead is a military term in warfare. When two divisions or armies are fighting each other, if one side advances and breaks through the front and captures a piece of enemy territory and builds up fortifications and strengthens its hold to make it a base for further territorial expansion, then we call this a bridgehead.

The occupying state (Israel) is the bridgehead of the Oppressor World in the heart of the Islamic world. They have built a base to expand their domination to the entire Islamic world. There is no other raison d’etre for this entity without this objective.

The battle that is going on in Palestine today, therefore, is the frontline of the conflict between the Islamic world and the Oppressor World. It is a battle of destiny that will determine the fate of hundreds of years of conflict in Palestine.


(Source: Iran Focus at [Transcript of speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at "World Without Zionism" conference in Tehran].

The Iranian fight, on Ahmadinejad’s telling, is about restoring Islam to its place as the dominant power in the world and, most particularly, in Europe. Israel is just a means to that end. At least that is Ahmadinejad’s theory. If he speaks his mind, that makes Iran an actual threat not only to Israel - which is certainly as much a concern as a threat to any other country - but a general threat to world stability and a threat to the US. Whether the US should start a war to stop Iran is another matter. But, to belittle the situation by making no serious attempt to analyze Iranian policy is rather amazing.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/16/2006

Mr. Polk writes:

"But he was misquoted as saying that Israel would be “wiped off the map.”"

I believe Aljazeera has enough experts in middle Eastern languages to get it right:

"Ahmadinejad: Wipe Israel off map" http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/15E6BF77-6F91-46EE-A4B5-A3CE0E9957EA.htm

Why make false statements, to make your point?
When Germany under Hitler entered the Rhineland the German army was quite weak (Hitler's order was to retreat if there is any shooting from the other side) and many in Europe believed that Hitler can be, diplomatically, convinced to make peace. Munchen treaty followed, Ribbentrop-Molotov followed and we all know what happened after.

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