Iran to IAEA: “Nuts!”

NY Times today:

Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it will refuse to answer questions about a second, secret uranium-enrichment program, according to European and American diplomats. The existence of the program was disclosed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier this month.

The diplomats said Iran had also refused to answer questions about other elements of its nuclear program that international inspectors had focused on because they could indicate a program to produce nuclear weapons. The diplomats insisted on not being identified because of the delicacy of continuing negotiations between Iran and the West.

A two-pipe problem, Watson

89 thoughts on “Iran to IAEA: “Nuts!””

  1. The diplomats said Iran had also refused to answer questions about other elements of its nuclear program that international inspectors had focused on because they could indicate a program to produce nuclear weapons.

    You know, this mess could have been entirely avoided if Iran had simply repudiated — or, better yet, never signed, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    No inspections, no muss, no fuss. They could have pursued their weapons/energy/pollution program without the intrusive gaze of the outside world.

    (By the way: is Iran in violation of the treaty?)

  2. By the way, does anybody care? As long as Security council veto-holders Russia and China stay bought – and note their recent behaviour blocking even minor sanctions against Sudan – Iran doesn’t have to care whether it’s in violation or not. Which makes the issue irrelevant.

    As Winds said over a year and a half ago, “the entire non-proliferation structure is broken.”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/004208.php

    And i’ve seen nothing to modify my prediction of 10-100 million dead within 2 decades even slightly.

  3. The entire non-proliferation structure is broken?

    Oh, okay. Granted.

    So why is Iran different than Pakistan, North Korea, India, or Israel? None of those countries have been threatened with nuclear annihilation lately.

  4. Joe,

    What makes you think that won’t happen without nuclear weapons? Between what is coming to the Arabian peninsula and Egypt, your low end will be easily reached.

  5. Stickler,

    Iran has said it will use its nuclear weapons on Israel at the first opportunity. That does make a difference. Even North Korea has not vowed to nuke other countries offensively.

    Countries which promise to inflict nuclear annihilation on others offensively elicit responses in kind.

    Now if you agree with the mullahs that Israel should suffer nuclear annihilation for the crime of being Jewish, your opinion would be understandable. Reprehensible maybe, but understandable.

    So tell us what you really think.

    a) Do you feel Iran would be doing the right thing by nuking Israel?

    b) Do you believe that the mullahs did not mean it when they promised to do so?

  6. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: can someone please explain to me how Iran’s withdrawing from a treaty with which it wasn’t complying anyway will affect their compliance with the treaty with which they’re not complying?

  7. Dave nails the issue’s essential irrelevance.

    For historical accuracy, I’ll add that India, Israel, and Pakistan all refused to sign the treaty and so were not bound by it.

  8. “Iran has said it will use its nuclear weapons on Israel at the first opportunity.

    No it hasn’t.

  9. bq. No it hasn’t.

    We seem to have another satisfied reader of the NY Times here.

    Wizener,

    I take you don’t think the statements of
    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accurately portray the position of the Iranian government?

  10. Iran is not violation of the NPT. The NPT specifically says that countries are allowed to master the nuclear fuel cycle for a civilian nuclear program. The problem is that mastering the nuclear fuel cycle will let you get HEU easily and therefore a Uranium weapon. That is the big hole in the NPT. Now, proper IAEA inspection of civilian reactors and fuel production plants can pretty easily detect if the country is making HEU. Unfortunately, once they have the technology, they can easily make a two-track program – an open, civilian program, and a covert weapons program. Technology gained through the civilian program goes into the covert progrm. That is the biggest problem and hole in the NPT.

    So the Iranian’s are NOT in technical violation of the treaty, and there are advantages to them staying in. First of all, withdrawl would be seen as a very serious step and would automatically trigger sanctions against Iran in several areas. It would make trading any sort of nuclear technology with Iran a treaty violation. So it would be harder for Iran to get some of the technology and assistance it needs. Secondly, Russia and China will be much more reluctant to block UNSC referral and sanctions if they withdraw.

    Finally, Iran has not explicitly said they will nuke Israel. There is a big difference between saying Israel “should be wiped off the map” and “We will use nuclear weapons at our first opportunity to wipe Israel off the map.” I’m not saying that Iran’s intent is NOT to nuke Israel, but for obvious reasons they can’t come right out and say it.

    In any event, they won’t be able to nuke Israel as soon as they get the bomb anyway. They will probably not be able to put a nuke on one of their missiles until they have a plutonium weapon, which is still several years away, and it will take them some time to do the difficult engineering involved in mating the weapon with a ballistic missile. Isreal already has a good ABM system, and it will only get better by the time the Iranians are able to get a working nuclear missile.

    Their other option is to make a nuclear truck bomb which would be difficult for them to deliver into Israel to detonate. And even then they’d have to be careful – what a shame it would be if the fallout dropped on Jerusalem and made the prize the Islamic world is fighting for uninhabitable. I wonder what other Muslims would think of them then?

  11. Iran is not violation of the NPT.

    Perhaps a bit of an overstatement. On 24 Sept 2005 Iran was formally held to be in violation of the NPT. They had been found informally in violation on many previous occasions.

    At this point one could maintain that Iran has had a great epiphany, seen the error of its ways, and come into technical compliance. Or one could presume, based on experience, that they continue to be in violation. I think that the most generous we can be is that we just don’t know.

  12. #9

    “Iran has said it will use its nuclear weapons on Israel at the first opportunity.”

    Neither “Iran” NOR Ahmadinejad has said this.

    Happy now, Telekno?

  13. #5 from Tom Holsinger:
    >> Iran has said it will use its nuclear weapons
    >> on Israel at the first opportunity.

    Where? A link or reference perhaps?

  14. “So why is Iran different than Pakistan, North Korea, India, or Israel? ”

    Because Iran is different than Pakistan, North Korea, India, or Israel. The biggest difference being that those nations already have a nuclear arsenals, hence disarming them militarilly will result in nuclear war (or the conventional destruction of a major city in NKs case). That should be obvious on its face.

    If we really need to talk about why it is intolerable for Iran to have nukes and not Israel, we are so far down the moronic road of equivalency we might as well surrender and let the Mullahs do as they will. Let me try to put it simply so we can try to get this silliness behind us:
    Iran cannot have nukes because Iran is run by bad people _telling us_ they intend to do bad things.

    There. If we are going to treat international nuclear arms proliferation like children whining thats its not fair Tommy gets to play with big boy toys but Timmy doesnt, i suppose the answer needs to be framed that way as well.

  15. Tom may have a direct quote, but I would come to the same conclusion based on quotes like this:

    “As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map,” said Ahmadinejad, referring to Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayat Allah Khomeini.

    Now, assuming Iran isn’t asking Egypt, Jordan, Syria, etc. to carry their water for them, Iran wouldn’t have too many options other than nuclear to bring about the Imam’s desired outcome.

    Those who dismiss the threats assume the Iranian leadership is rational and therefore checked by Mutually Assured Destruction, but some of us think evidence doesn’t support the assumption of rationality:

    [Ahmadinejad’s] speech ended with the messianic appeal to God to “hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace”.

    In a video distributed by an Iranian web site in November, Mr Ahmadinejad described how one of his Iranian colleagues had claimed to have seen a glow of light around the president as he began his speech to the UN.

    “I felt it myself too,” Mr Ahmadinejad recounts. “I felt that all of a sudden the atmosphere changed there. And for 27-28 minutes all the leaders did not blink…It’s not an exaggeration, because I was looking.

    Getting bogged down in legalistic parsing just doesn’t seem productive. It just doesn’t seem safe to ignore threats coming from that direction, both overt and implied.

  16. Mark & Wizener,

    It wasn’t a direct quote. It was a paraphrase of a number of wild statements by President Dingbat, of which the one quoted by Mark Poling is actually rather mild compared to some of the rest.

    There is no doubt about two things. First, Iran will nuke Israel as soon as it has the capability to achieve strategic results (it can nuke Israel now with non-strategic results) and has openly proclaimed its intent to do so irresepective of the effects of retaliation on Iran. Second, no one in North Korea’s government has made any remotely comparable threats against any country period.

    I.e., the public statements of Iran’s leaders make North Korea’s leaders seem not merely reasonable, but pacifistic.

    The public statements of Iran’s leaders have given Israel every possible reason to pre-emptively nuke Iran. The only question here is whether we eliminate Iran’s mullah regime before Israel and Iran commence the world’s first nuclear exchange.

    I said, “exchange”. They both have deliverable nuclear weapons right now. Iran has maybe 1-3. Israel has several hundred with far larger yields.

  17. “It wasn’t a direct quote. It was a paraphrase…”

    “Getting bogged down in legalistic parsing just doesn’t seem productive. It just doesn’t seem safe to ignore threats coming from that direction, both overt and implied.

    What dishonest weasels. This is exactly the kind of dissembling I expected from paranoid propagandists like yourselves.

    Please do let us all know when future assertions are “paraphrases” or amplifications of “implied” intents interpreted and presented as fact.

    I have a feeling your commentary is rife with them. Just a bit of proof as to why at least I don’t think most of what either of you say should be taken seriously.

  18. Wiz is protesting a bit too much. Lets turn this around, are you ok with Iran having a nuclear arsenal?

  19. A.L.,

    You assume good faith. I don’t. Wiz & co. would much rather argue over parsing than the merits.

  20. Oh my.

    “What dishonest weasels. This is exactly the kind of dissembling I expected from paranoid propagandists like yourselves.”

    Direct from the “Jane you ignorant slut” school of debate. You sure showed us Wiz.

    (Although I’m tickled with my growing collection of things to call myself. Thanks for your contributions.)

    Mark,
    Inbred brain-damaged paranoid weasel.

    P.S. — A.L., that sounds like a fun project. Let me think about it.

  21. Far from the first time that Wizener has resorted to insults. Its fairly convincing evidence re: good faith.

  22. I’m partial to “Inbred and brain-damaged” myself.

    For the record, I’d like to see more sourcing for Tom’s assertations about the current state of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. However, I stand by my statement that we need to take the mullahs at their word when they start talking about wiping allies off the map.

  23. Folks, I always try and give the presumption of good faith – even to people whose tone rankles.

    If the facts are strong enough, even Wizener may have to agree. Even if he doesn’t, the four or five other people who read the site may be influenced by it.

    We’ve got two issues:

    1) Have the Iranian leadership explicitly threatened to use nukes on Israel? Have they said things that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that they intend to nuke Israel? Provide sources and links.

    2) Do they have, or are they about to have nuclear weapons? We all know that Tom is convinced – based on some pretty sketchy information, in my view. But I’m open to learning more about this. So what’s the best – sourced – information out there?

    Again, if you target convincing someone like Wizener, even if you fall short, you ought to be able to convince quite a few folks. I still need convincing of the second proposition. How about convincing me?

    A.L.

  24. Iran does need to be stopped eventually, but it doesn’t have to be immediate. At least sit down at the table with them and try to work it out before you bomb the hell out of them. Bush and his neocons just want to shoot first and chat later. Most of them would like to see the whole Middle East wiped off the map.

  25. A.L. Tom may or may be right, but I don’t see why the question is relevant, really. We’re talking about a government that starts the day with chants of “Death to America”:

    Shouts of “Death to America!” rang out in the conservative-dominated parliament after lawmakers voted to advance the nation’s nuclear program, an issue of national pride that provides a rare point of agreement between conservatives and reformers.

    Yep, the one thing that can unite conservatives and reformers in Iran is a good ol’ “Death to America” chant.

    But what, me worry? (*sob!* I do! It must be that brain damage my mom and dad, cousin and brother told me about.)

  26. C’mon, Mark – it’s very relevant.

    If we’re going to bomb everyone in the world who’s pissed off at us, we won’t be able to make bombs fast enough. The simple strategic formula is to kill or capture the immediately threatening ones, try and befriend the folks who can be befriended (a project that will be pertty badly set back by knee-jerk applications of violence), and work to sort the vast middle into one category or the other – or into the category of people who are neither threats nor friends.

    The project we undertook when we invaded Iraq was a part of this exercise, and we’re moing along to the next stages.

    We can nuke Iran into oblivion any time. The question is – then what?

    So we ought to be using the time we have to do a few things – strengthen our friendships, strengthen our conventional forces, work to create openings to split our opponents.

    The issue is how much time we have to do this. It’s a very different problem is the answer is weeks rather than years.

    So yes, it’s a serious issue, and deserves to be taken up and discussed with some care.

    A.L.

  27. AL;

    Thanks for taming the point in this carnival of obfuscation.

    #20

    “Wiz & co. would much rather argue over parsing than the merits.”

    You know how they say eskimos have a thousand words for snow, illustrating the importance of such in their lives?

    I’m beginning to realize Neocon/Republicans have a thousand different ways of saying LIE. For the same reason I guess.

    #21

    Direct from the “Jane you ignorant slut” school of debate.

    This is funny, really. But my true muse is Triumph the Comic Insult Dog.

    Although I’m tickled with my growing collection of things to call myself. Thanks for your contributions.

    I do my best. I take it you’re not married.

  28. Tom Holsinger

    Absolutely one of your best posts. Recognizing the ability to acheive tactical vs strategic results is the real issue w/ nuclear weapons. Giving one to terrorists is a great tactical move. No one will buy the idea if it goes off there was no actor involved and someone guarantees the end of their country culture et al as a nuclear wasteland.
    Strategic ability requires the ability to achieve mutually assured destruction by secondary and tertiary retaliation. Knowing I’ve read says the Iranians are close to being that capable.

    So what do we do now that everyone recognizes Iran has nuclear weapons. I doubt we can keep the guidance systems from Iran. I doubt that they are close to launching their own satellites. I suspect that may be the tipping point.

  29. I’m not suggesting we start bombing Iran in five minutes. I am suggesting that both hawks and doves need to take the threat seriously.

    Yes, time matters; If Iran has a handful of nukes right now, the nature of the threat is qualitatively different than if they’re 2-3 years away from it. But the whole question of whether we’re “paranoid” about Iran is ludicrous; of course we’re paranoid. The useful question is whether we’re paranoid enough.

    The fingers-in-the-ears stuff, the “HaliBushHitlerCons want to turn the mideast into a parking lot” stuff is not helpful. (Note to class: the real Nazis blitzkrieged first, asked questions later.)

    And that is what I was getting at.

  30. #18

    Your reasonable question deserves a response.

    “Wiz is protesting a bit too much. Lets turn this around, are you ok with Iran having a nuclear arsenal?”

    Not at all.

    But I’m NOT OK AT ALL with having the Bush adminstration be the ones who might have to deal with this. For many obvious reason, chief among them their collosal incompetence and desire to turn every issue into another opportunity to grab more power at the executive level.

    So I say keep Iran on ice until we can get some adults who actually care about defending America in the White House.

    That shouldn’t be too hard. Unfortunately, it goes against the Gunslingers…er, Holsinger’s and Teknowarriors..er, Telenko’s preferred POLITICAL outcome, which explains all the lies…er, parsing and paraphrasing.

  31. Robert M,

    Iran won’t have the capability of achieving strategic results against Israel until it has fusion weapons. We don’t know yet if China has given its designated cut-out, North Korea, designs for those yet. We know only that it handed out the designs for missile-ready implosion-type plutonium fission-only warheads.

    I have not seen credible evidence yet that Iran has tested suitable re-entry vehicles for the missile warhead designs China handed out. North Korea has certainly shared its test results with Iran, if only for payment in hard currency and oil. Iran is known to have tested missile launches for high-altitude EMP attack.

    I lack the expertise to determine whether the missile warhead designs provided by the Chinese will produce enough yield to pump an effective EMP attack on significant portions of the oil export facilities of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf states. Those are certainly vulnerable to EMP attack and would make excellent targets for deterrent threats by the mullahs – “Attack us and nobody will export oil from the Gulf for however many months it takes to replace all the electronic circuits and a lot of the electric motors used by the pumping stations, etc.”

  32. Tom, just for grins, how about sources for the claims in your comment?

    Since you’re not retired CIA or NSA, I’ll presume that direct experience isn’t where it came from.

    It’d do a lot to put this debate on a sensible footing.

    A.L.

  33. Iran may not need to test nuclear weapons, or re-entry vehicles, if it can get those from NKorea, China, Russia or Pakistan.

    All it would need to do is head em’ up and move ‘em out.

  34. Of COURSE Wiz is down with Ahmadinejad “one big wind” bringing down the “rotten tree” of Israel.

    Wiz has not said one word about the need stop Iran from genocide wrt Israel. Wiz has not said one word about the need to stop “the real Holocaust” which Ahmadinejad promised recently in a speech. Wiz has not said one word about Ahmadinejad’s promise to offer SUDAN nuclear technology (and presumably, weapons).

    The only conclusion I can make from this is that Wiz is fine (like, most Leftists) with Israel being nuked into total destruction and the resulting genocide. No other explanation for the sanguine nature facing Iran’s threats to nuke Israel fits.

    IIRC Iran has: gotten a judgment from it’s Supreme Islamic Council that nukes against Israel and the US are justified, and Ahmadinejad has said that even if “nuclear fire” burns out millions of Iranians it would be justified in return for killing all Jews in Israel.

    The corollary to that is that a strike against the US would also figure into that action; so we had an interest in our own self-preservation.

    AL — I’d rather have the US be feared for it’s actions if people attack us; than a nebulous attempt to “befriend” them. FEAR of US retaliation for any attack is a lot more sensible IMHO than “friendship” which can be discarded for any interest when convenient.

    And we have no time. It already ran out. Hence Iran being belligerent. It’s only a matter of time when the nuke US and of course Israel. The only way out of that is to take immediate conventional action against Iran’s C-n-C. And everything else.

  35. Shawn,
    You’ve just made an accusation that is not merely completely unsupported, but is in fact exactly contrary to how the Bush administration has been dealing with Iran and the question of its nuclear program.

    How do you explain the immense disconnect between the Bush administration’s actions and your claims?

  36. A.L.

    There are lots of sources for my statement about China providing designs for implosion-type plutonium missile warheads to North Korea. Here is one about Iran’s nuclear program where you can find a direct reference in the last sentence on page 12:

    http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/060412_iran_uncertainty.pdf

    Anthony Cordesman is a co-author, and he presents the finest in conventional thinking on national security issues. I often disagree with his analyses and conclusions, but you can take his assertions of fact to the bank.

    Likewise there are lots of articles about Iran’s tests of ballistic missiles using characteristic EMP attack profiles. Here is one I found with a quick Google search:

    http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20041025-112727-1229r.htm

    “Iran has successfully tested launching a Scud missile from a vessel in the Caspian Sea. Given the gross inaccuracy of the launch mode, a Scud armed with a nuclear weapon would probably be unable to hit even a very large target, like a city. An EMP attack, however, is not dependent upon missile accuracy.

    Moreover, Iran has conducted a number of flight tests of its Shahab III medium range missile, which have been described as failures by the Western media because the missiles did not complete their ballistic trajectories, but were deliberately exploded at high altitude.

    Iran has described these same flight tests as successful. Is the West misinterpreting Iran’s purpose for these missile flight tests?”

  37. My wife just showed me how to extract text from an Adobe Acrobat Reader file, which is what the 100+ page Cordesman article is. Here is the last sentence on its page 12:

    “It also seemed highly likely that it had acquired P2 centrifuge
    designs and the same basic Chinese design data for a fissile weapon suitable for mounting on a
    ballistic missile that North Korea had sold to Libya.

  38. “Iran has described these same flight tests as successful. Is the West misinterpreting Iran’s purpose for these missile flight tests?”

    Interesting conjecture, but that leaves the following question:

    SUPPOSE Iran managed to blackout the civilian infrastructure in the United States. (Three EMP blasts for Eastern Seaboard, Central, and West Coast regions.) Not inconceivable with ship-launched SCUDs and suicide crews.

    What, really, does that buy Tehran?

    High-altitude bursts won’t kill a lot of people. The economy will take years to recover, but so what? Every U.S. military asset not immediately knocked out (which will be the majority, I think) will rain down Hell on Tehran. The same logic would apply to a more limited type of attack in Israel. If there’s one country with real incentive to plan for a post-apocalyptic payback, it would be Israel. With its population destroyed, I still think plan “B” would be a real bitch for the folks on the other end of the stick.

    (Of course, we go back to my question “are the guys running Iran nuts?” Actually, I do think they’re nuts, but I really hope they aren’t massively stooopid to boot.)

    I’m thinking the mullahs, if they are that brand of crazy, want blood and gore for their bombs. EMP attacks don’t have the dramatic flair that kind of madness requires. So really I’m not convinced.

  39. While Ahmadinejad is a loon, calls from Iran for nuclear weapons to be used against Israel go back years, it was Rafsanjani who stated that nuclear weapons would be used to attack Israel.

    Ahmadinejad has been quoted as saying that the West’s opposition to Iran’s nuclear program is to protect Israel. Unfortunately the link is prohibited by WoC anti-spam filter.

    This originally came from MEMRI but all I can find is the copy on LGF of the reference to a fatwa from clerics in Qom defending the use of nuclear weapons – an important fatwa for a purely civilian nuclear program.

    There are scores of news items quoting Ahmadinejad’s reference to wiping Israel off the map.

  40. So we’ve shown Wizener’s claim in #12 is objectively false. Of course, I expect we’ll just see more cheap insults from his seat.

  41. Here is a 2004 Washington Post article about China’s nuclear proliferation:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A42692-2004Feb14?

    “… The device depicted in the blueprints appears similar to a weapon known to have been tested by China in the 1960s, officials familiar with the documents said. Although of an older design, the bomb is an implosion device that is smaller and more sophisticated than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. Implosion bombs use precision-timed conventional explosives to squeeze a sphere of fissile material and trigger a nuclear chain reaction.

    … The documents themselves seemed a hodgepodge — some in good condition, others smudged and dirty; some professionally printed, others handwritten. Many of the papers were “copies of copies of copies,” said one person familiar with them. The primary documents were entirely in English, while a few ancillary papers contained Chinese text …”

    The simplest explanation for these Chinese warhead designs being available to North Korea, Pakistan, Libya, Iran, etc., is that the Chinese government knew of and approved their delivery.

    I’m sure there are some here who have other explanations, all of them as likely as the Tooth Fairy putting the blueprints under Kim Jong Il’s pillow.

    This was a deliberate act of policy by the Chinese government.

  42. A.L., I’m continually astonished by the idea that anyone could really give estimates of a decade for the assembly of enough enriched uranium for a gun type bomb. Its just a straight-forward industrial process with no serious engineering mysteries to build the gun-type bomb. It is just completely irresponsible to make such an estimate.

    The really only rational conclusion is that the construction of the necessary industrial infrastructure to enrich is itself the key benchmark at which action must be taken. It is not responsible to allow that enrichment line time to accumulate U235 without interference.

  43. “At least sit down at the table with them and try to work it out before you bomb the hell out of them. Bush and his neocons just want to shoot first and chat later.”

    Except that Bush hasnt shot first, and for all the world he seems to be sitting at the table trying to work it out. So what now?

  44. “But I’m NOT OK AT ALL with having the Bush adminstration be the ones who might have to deal with this. For many obvious reason, chief among them their collosal incompetence and desire to turn every issue into another opportunity to grab more power at the executive level.”

    Unfortunately they are the administration we have. I’m fine with using what time we may have, and i think we should. But it terrifies me the our intelligence is so faulty. I have confidence that the English and Israelis arent as incompetant as the CIA, but both have been known to manipulate us for their own purposes when they deem it necessary (though thats hardly a one way street). I think there are a lot of players eager to see us deal with Iran so they dont have to be involved themselves, so allied intel may not be the best solution either.

    The other danger here is that some of the uber-hawks may get their wish and see the UN truly get the curtain pulled back on them. I dont find this to be so great as some- we do need somewhere to jaw-jaw or there will be more war-war. All this could easily happen within Bush’s remaining time, and indeed with Bush having little to do with it (though his detractors wont find it so I am quite sure). The world is moving. We may wish we had 3 years to hit the pause button, but circumstances, not to mention our enemies, may not be so obliging.

    I can only warn that hatred of Bush and his assumed incompetance can lead to all sorts of justifications for making ultimately bad policy decisions. See Democratic Party, 2000-. We need to decide what the right policy is, period. The quest to undermine Bush is, and has always proven to be, the white whale that causes untold nasty consquences. Basing national policy- or even as a starting point for arguing policy- seems a wholly bad idea. Contrarianism is too easy, too juvenile, and too destructive.

  45. IMO the Bush administration has decided to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons program. There are so many indications all pointing at this that I believe the call has been made.

    I am much less certain about the timing. I have recently formed a tentative opinion that our bomb damage asssessment capability in that geographic area appears headed for a peak around September – October of this year. I repeat, this is only tentative, but it has special interest (for me anyway) because I said in January that I believed Iran’s first nuclear test would occur around that time.

  46. #46

    You (or anyone else here) have shown nothing of the kind.

    Rafsanjani is neither “IRAN” nor in an official policy-making position in Iran.

    Your other provided quotes only illustrate that Iran and it’s leadership are belligerent and need to be dealt with carefully.

    No where is Gunslinger’s original statement supported by objective fact. (Suggestion: look up the definition of “objective”.)

    #50

    “Contrarianism is too easy, too juvenile, and too destructive.”

    I’m wondering if you voiced similar concerns during the Republican’s destruction of the Clinton Presidency. I’d say they were applicable then, more than now.

    Invoking “Bush Hatred” as the source of strong dissatisfaction and opposition to the current administration misses the crucial point. This view arose for a good reason…and should not be dismissed because of degree or tone.

    It’s the political equivalent of playing the “Race Card”.

  47. “I’m wondering if you voiced similar concerns during the Republican’s destruction of the Clinton Presidency. I’d say they were applicable then, more than now”

    I did, in fact. But you are showing your cards a bit here. The Clinton impeachment was back in the salad days when history was ended and the country thought they had nothing better to do. We are in the post 911 era now, there can be no question it is a bad idea for the country to tear itself apart over trivialities. If you think now is as good a time as any to ‘get even’ i’d say thats a pretty good argument you arent as serious about the war on terrorism as is called for. That has been the Dems second big problem, they dont seem to really believe in the GWOT or the threat. Its fine to make that argument, but pretending they are when they dont really believe in it just leads to confusion and infighting.

    “Invoking “Bush Hatred” as the source of strong dissatisfaction and opposition to the current administration misses the crucial point. This view arose for a good reason…and should not be dismissed because of degree or tone.”

    Perhaps, but they can’t be invoked to take the place of debate. People had good reason to suspect Woodrow Wilson after his promises of nuetrality were broken and he began locking people up for speaking against the war. Very good reasons to stand up to the man. But very poor reasons to assume contrarianism when there are troops in the field. You can make the same arguments about Roosevelt or Lincoln.

    The point is during peaceful times a party can get away with simply trying to throw a monkey wrench into the gears and bring everything to a halt. During war that is a terrible idea no matter the rationale (real or imagined). The appropriate method is to fight point by point and then try to turn things over at the ballot box and change the leadership at that time. Its one thing to change horses midstream, its another to bind up the rider and kick him off the horse.

  48. How about this: arguing about motives is distasteful and probably dumb. Arguing about methodology has potential benefits.

    If we can keep from falling into the easy habit of demonizing the other side, we won’t end up with stupid arguments like the Great Afghan Pipeline, the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, the Neocon Cabal Contolling Washington meme, the Vince Foster was Murdered slander, etc. etc.

    What I believe, and I believed this of Kerry and Gore and Dukakis and Dole and every other Presidential candidate of our time (with the possible exception of Ross Perot) is that each of these men were driven first by a desire to do what was right for America.

    The Democrats didn’t and don’t want to build a Workers’ Paradise with themselves as the most equal animals. The Republicans weren’t and aren’t in it to rape America of its wealth. (Libertarians are in fact for hedonistic excess and personal greed, but what the hell…)

    Wiz, Clinton was a perfectly fine President when it came to domestic issues (welfare reform seems to have worked, after all) and dangerously blase when it came to foreign policy.

    Bush is awful on a lot of domestic issues but is fundamentally correct in how to steer through the foreign threats. (I know you disagree; that’s your right, and you may be right. But that’s somewhat beside the current point.)

    Clinton showed incredible personal weakness in the whole Lewinsky episode, and probably in earlier bimbo eruptions. I was angry that he’d take that kind of chance from his position, but I also thought it was incredibly stupid for partisans across the aisle to treat it as an impeachable offense. (The pardon of Marc Rich, on the other hand, would have been impeachable, IMHO, if His Slickness hadn’t already been on his way out. Dangerous for America, though? Nah. Just really stinky.)

    Bush is far too aloof for his own good; I agree with most of his War on Terror decisions, but he’s been a lousy salesman for those decisions. (And he can be incredibly politically tone-deaf. Harriet Myers? Gah. And Immigration Reform? WTF is he thinking? Pure lose-lose any way he commits on that issue. Distracting and ultimately damaging to his party, I think. Dangerous for America? Nah, probably not. Just a waste of the Oval Office.)

    The only thing that makes me uncomfortable with the idea of the Democrats taking over both Houses of Congress this year is the seeming inevitability of pay-back witch-hunts. But that prospect may be enough to keep people like me who are genuinely fed up with the Republican Party from throwing our support to the Democrats.

    You talk about letting the adults run things. Well, when the Democratic Leadership starts acting like adults, I’ll take a chance on change. (God help me, but Hillary! is starting to look good….) Otherwise, this doesn’t strike me as a good time to waste time at the circus.

  49. Tom, you claim that, “Iran has said it will use its nuclear weapons on Israel at the first opportunity.”

    All I’m saying is that I’m not aware of Iran’s making such a statement. So, either you have to substantiate your claim, or admit that you’ve made it up.

    PS. I’m quite aware of the fact that Iran is not a friendly player here, but it’s not what I’m talking about. Once we are objective and factually correct, we’ll be able to proceed to other issues. But one thing at a time.

  50. #53

    Please, here we go again with the “we’re in a war” meme or “9/11 changed everything”.

    I know you’re trying to sound reasonable with your argument, but it’s clear to me you’re simply calling for a stifling of the free dissemination of opposition speech under the guise of “national security”.

    Terrorists threatened the US while Clinton was president as well. Because he wasn’t clever (or opportunistic) enough to label it a “war” (mis-label, in my view) but Bush has, people are supposed to treat Bush with kid gloves, while it was open-season on Clinton because it was “peace-time”?

    And this interesting (and highly partisan) view completely ignores the issue of degree of malfeasance as well, which I think you’re digression into US history was intended to diffuse by suggesting what I take it represents some kind of threshold level of Presidential bad behavior necessary to sanction political opposition.

    If this interpretation of your comments is even approximate, I simply do not have time to go into all the reasons why it is completely ridiculous. Chief among them perhaps is the “threshold” idea itself, set in reference to the ill-defined (and politically artificial) “war”.

    At any rate, I am completely bored and tired with trying to convince Bush apologists that opposition to your boy is both warranted and, ESPECIALLY under current world situations, absolutely required as part of what WE THINK is the best way to deal with this.

    In other words, and to put it as plainly as possible to you, if Bush’s actions will only serve to exacerbate rather than mitigate terrorist threats to national security, as probably MOST Americans now believe, than strong opposition to this can only be viewed as the highest form of patriotism and expression of love for country and liberty.

    And what you don’t seem to want to acknowledge, or realize, is that Democrats have been far too complicit with Bush up until perhaps very recently, precisely because of the reasons you cite.

    For this, they deserve at least your respect, because I HIGHLY DOUBT Republicans would have voted or acted like Dems did if Gore was president on 9/11.

    But Bush squandered this good will utterly and completely by pursuing his power grab agenda. No president who was really interested in bringing americans together to fight a common enemy would have behaved like he did in the runup to the Iraq war. American’s and the world came together naturally and instinctively after 9/11 and Bush threw it all away.

    So if there’s anyone to blame for what you view as the overly harsh (or dangerous) tone of opposition to Bushco., then you have only Bush to blame. And if your opposition to dissention is based on the idea that it weakens or makes America more vulnerable, then again Bush is to blame for leading us here. And in my view, he did it with full awareness of what the consequences could be.

    That anyone who is REALLY concerned with national security would continue to support this man-child strains credulity.

  51. #54

    “The only thing that makes me uncomfortable with the idea of the Democrats taking over both Houses of Congress this year is the seeming inevitability of pay-back witch-hunts. But that prospect may be enough to keep people like me who are genuinely fed up with the Republican Party from throwing our support to the Democrats.”

    If no laws were broken, than no-one should fear congressional investigations, whether they be “Payback Witchhunts” or more likely completely warranted and justified examinations into legally questionable activities. Right?

    And I presume your “discomfort” would not be based on the latter possibility, correct?

    And furthermore, any investigation also stands the chance of back-firing against those who initiate it or completely falling flat in terms of public opinion.

    So to base an important voting decision on such speculations seems a bit silly to me, really. This certainly wouldn’t be in my top 100 list of important voting issues.

  52. The truly amazing thing about Wizener is his maniacal focus on domestic issues to the utter exclusion of all else. The rest of the world really seems not to exist for him except as a projection stage for his domestic hates.

    And of course such a person finds himself unable to imagine that the USA could be at war. Or that al-Qaeda could attack the USA for reasons not having to do with who the President is.

    These characterisitics make him utterly typical of many Democratic Party activists – and utterly, completely untustworthy on national security issues.

  53. Wow, Joe, I have no idea what you’re talking about. But then again, neither do you.

    #57 was in reply to #54, who said he would have a hard time voting Dem because of the threat of congressional investigation.

    Seems your comments about being more concerned about domestic politics vs. national security would rather apply equally, if not moreso, to his post.

    Yet this has seemingly escaped your Eagle Eye attention. I guess IOKIYAR?

    Comment #56, in reply to #53, contains this sentence:

    “In other words, and to put it as plainly as possible to you, if Bush’s actions will only serve to exacerbate rather than mitigate terrorist threats to national security, as probably MOST Americans now believe, than strong opposition to this can only be viewed as the highest form of patriotism and expression of love for country and liberty.”

    You’ll notice the words “national security” here, usually, and especially under the present topic of discussion, taken to mean TERRORIST threats as well.

    So while your little Limbaugh- and Hannity-inspired rant might have made you feel better deep down inside, it utterly fails to support any of their, and your, ridiculous contentions (“maniacal focus”,”domestic hates”) or strawmen (“…that al-Qaeda could attack the USA for reasons not having to do with who the President is.”). Notice the completely misleading and inaccurate use of the word IS in this crazy sentence.

    And then there’s the Refrain to this old song of Right Wing Propoganda and hate:

    “These characterisitics make him utterly typical of many Democratic Party activists – and utterly, completely untustworthy on national security issues.”

    Everybody together now!!!

    1) To be “typical of many” means my views represent what fraction of the “activist” population, would you say? Maybe my views are “typical of some” or “a few”? Or maybe their not “typical” at all?
    2) I’m not a Democratic Party Activist.
    3) Whether I am “trustworthy” on “national security issues” is most assuredly not your place to judge, given your apparent misreading of my posts. Hatred does tend make one blind, does it not?

    But I do so love it when you or Robert Roberts comes out of the woodwork to take a swipe at me after getting ginned up, no doubt, at the trough of your favorite Right Wing hate site.

    My suggestion to you would be to count to, let’s say 50,000, before hitting “post” next time you want to go off on your little “Dems are UNSERIOUS about national security” rants. Then again, perhaps it’s better if you keep them coming to remind the rational-minded among us how corrosive this kind of thinking can be.

  54. Sigh.

    “Terrorists threatened the US while Clinton was president as well. Because he wasn’t clever (or opportunistic) enough to label it a “war” (mis-label, in my view) but Bush has, people are supposed to treat Bush with kid gloves, while it was open-season on Clinton because it was “peace-time”?

    You think that Clinton passing up the Sudan’s offer to deliver OBL was a feature?

    And I’m sorry, but if 9/11 didn’t cause you to do a big re-think about the status quo, you are pretty much impervious to persuasion.

    If no laws were broken, than no-one should fear congressional investigations, whether they be “Payback Witchhunts” or more likely completely warranted and justified examinations into legally questionable activities. Right?

    Cool. We’ve heard from the pro-witchhunt contingent. “Inspector Kemp: A riot is an ungly thing… undt, I tink, that it is chust about time ve had vun.”

    Let the healing begin.

    I know you’re trying to sound reasonable with your argument, but it’s clear to me you’re simply calling for a stifling of the free dissemination of opposition speech under the guise of “national security”.

    Just the opposite. I want everyone who agrees with you to be at least as vocal. Somehow, though, I don’t think it would have the effect you think it would have.

  55. ” but it’s clear to me you’re simply calling for a stifling of the free dissemination of opposition speech under the guise of “national security”.

    How am i calling for stiffling anything? Im making suggestions for how we can have a productive debate- the “Sedition Act”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedition_Act_of_1918 was a stifling of debate. When someone proposes that i’ll take notice, until then i’ll just accept that it is either paranoia or demagogery at work. Probably the latter, as nothing seems to worry you people aside from being out of power. Hence:

    “Terrorists threatened the US while Clinton was president as well. Because he wasn’t clever (or opportunistic) enough to label it a “war”

    Apparently 3000 American dying one morning didnt register with you. I cant argue with that, all i can say is run with your message, see if the American people agree.

    “At any rate, I am completely bored and tired with trying to convince Bush apologists that opposition to your boy is both warranted and, ESPECIALLY under current world situations, absolutely required as part of what WE THINK is the best way to deal with this.”

    And i’m completely bored with people like you pretending there arent a couple hundred thousand troops in harms way fighting this imaginary war.

    “In other words, and to put it as plainly as possible to you, if Bush’s actions will only serve to exacerbate rather than mitigate terrorist threats to national security, as probably MOST Americans now believe, than strong opposition to this can only be viewed as the highest form of patriotism and expression of love for country and liberty.”

    Ah, very good. So if Bush is against terrorist, that would mean (as a patriot mind you) you would have to be…

  56. #60

    “And I’m sorry, but if 9/11 didn’t cause you to do a big re-think about the status quo, you are pretty much impervious to persuasion.”

    The “status quo” you are talking about is Bush lounging around in Crawford while he was being delivered reports with titles like “…bin Laden determined to attack in US” or in responding to those predicted attacks by reading “My Pet Goat”, I presume?

    I was worried about terrorism before 9/11. So was Clinton. More than Bush. Get it through your head…the only thing 9/11 changed was it made SOME REPUBLICANS sit up and take notice.

    Take notice, that is, that they finally had the war they wished for before entering office.

    Enough of this nonsense.

  57. “I was worried about terrorism before 9/11. So was Clinton. More than Bush. Get it through your head…the only thing 9/11 changed was it made SOME REPUBLICANS sit up and take notice.”

    Yes, Clinton was so worried that he refused to take custody of OBL from Sudan not once, but several times. Really on top of things. Heck, if Clinton could have had 2 more terms the stock market would be at 30,000, every terrorist on earth would be dead, and nobody would have even noticed the WTC collapsing. Talk about dellusional. Again- go run with that kind of nonsense about burying your head in the sand to the American people. Please do.

  58. Clinton, Berger and other security officials tried REPEATEDLY to give full briefings to the Bush cabal during the changeover but were rebuffed. I guess Bush was too busy clearing brush to worry about that at the time.

    And Bush could have had Zarqawi before invading Iraq bud did not act because of fear it woud undermine the FALSE war cause of preventing Saddam from providing WMDs to terorists.

    Which, btw, is the reason troops were sent there to begin with.

    Your grandstanding about “3000 troops in harms way” over my use of the word “war” is highly offensive in light of your apparent support for sending them there on the basis of an outright LIE.

    I think the troops get the point by this time, however.

    And as far as your sarcastic “electoral” advice (another common Right wing propoganda cliche), all I need to say to you is 32%. THIRTY-TWO PERCENT.

  59. “Clinton, Berger and other security officials tried REPEATEDLY to give full briefings to the Bush cabal during the changeover but were rebuffed. I guess Bush was too busy clearing brush to worry about that at the time”

    I gravely doubt Clinton personally had anything to do with the matter- perhaps you have evidence otherwise? And who knows what Berger says consider his record of _destroying evidence_ about the era.

    You want to set the 8 months that Bush was doing everything from moving into the the WH to picking his cabinet to writing his first budget as the critical period- jeez, it seems to me Clinton had _8 years_ to do something, and all we know he did was rebuff his chances to take out OBL. So you might excuse Bush for not taking advice about how imperative taking out OBL was from the guy that refused to do it numerous times.

  60. So Bush totally ignored terrorism. He was content reading about goats to schoolkids and taking it easy at the summer palace. Except he really wanted war. And jumped at the chance to exploit it. (But not fast enough. He just sat there for whole minutes after learning New York and Washington were under attack.) And Clinton was more worried about terrorism than Bush, so that made him better even though he didn’t do anything useful to fight it. (5 dollar tent, meet million dollar cruise missle.) But he worried, and so did you.

    Actually, wiz, stick with ad homs; attempts at logic don’t work so well.

  61. #66

    Funny…they’re only “attempts” at logic when viewed by someone who can’t understand logic or who twists things beyond recognition. No surprise there.

  62. Mark and Mark: Why are you even having a conversation with this guy. He’s an idiot. “My Pet Goat”? “Bin Laden determined…”? Presidential approval ratings? These aren’t serious points. The Pres. may be low, but he ain’t as low as the Dems. Don’t feed the trolls and they’ll stop coming around. Substantive debate is one thing but this guy is a lunatic.

  63. Tell me which part of my summary you disagree with. I didn’t twist anything, I just took out the insults and received wisdom with which you padded out your #62.

    To be less amusing, consider the high points of that little screed:

    The “status quo” you are talking about is Bush lounging around in Crawford while he was being delivered reports …. responding to those predicted attacks by reading “My Pet Goat” …I was worried about terrorism before 9/11. So was Clinton. More than Bush … SOME REPUBLICANS sit up and take notice … that they finally had the war they wished for before entering office.

    I just love it when, in a single comment, someone implies that Bush is both an idiot and an evil mastermind. (You have to believe people who do that think the Austim Powers movies were documentaries.)

    So no, Wiz, I really don’t want to stifle you and your party-line crew. I want as many people as possible to hear the state-of-the-art in patriotic anti-war reasoning.

  64. Apologist, that’s a good question, and I think I answered it in #69: stupidity needs to be seen.

    Here’s a suggestion for someone (maybe even me): “Notes from the Fringe” — a webblog review of the most outrageous posts and comments from beyond the borders of rational discourse. Glean the best of the worst from right, left, and just plain orbital parts of the political blogosphere.

    Could be funny as hell. Run the comments as a “MS3K” snark zone. (The comments would have to be moderated though, but if you got a good group contributing regularly it would be absolutely brilliant.)

  65. “These aren’t serious points.”

    Too damn funny, you Neocon Bush apologists.

    Too damn funny.

    You weasels woudn’t last a second at a left-wing or liberal site, and I can predict with high certainty that you never even tried. You prefer to play gang-up on people who point out your obvious stupidity and thinly veiled partisanship.

    Not that you need me for that, but it sure is fun (and easy) every now and again.

    Notice that the question that began my commentary here was NEVER answered, nor were my substantive ones in #57.

    So, tell me, what should be my motivation for “playing nice” around here? I’m reflecting perfectly your own tone. Only I have the balls to go up against a gang of crazy fools, while you cower behind each other and well-worn Right wing talking points.

  66. Wizener,
    To the contrary, we’ve treated you and your comments with far more respect than they deserve given your lack of substance and fondness for cheap insults.

    Sputtering namecalling like yours only confirms your lack of seriousness. Conduct like this is why Democrats are not viewed as competent in foreign affairs matters by the American public.

  67. #73

    I swear I couldn’t possibly make up stuff like that if I even tried.

    Quite a feat.

    By definition, if you support Bush in light of his PROVEN incompetence in both foreign and domestic affairs (over the PREDICTED incompetence of Democrats planted in your febrile minds by your Right Wing drill sargeants), you will, and are, viewed as both UNSERIOUS and MISGUIDED.

    Its truly amazing to me that strong opposition to the Man-child you voted for provokes such visceral and irrational responses. I honestly cannot think of anything more dangerous to America than people who are so willing to hold such blind faith and mindless devotion to a Leader who is so demonstrably working against your own interests.

    But you go with that in November and let’s see how it plays out.

  68. Armed Liberal chimes in with, “back to the issues?”, and it seems to work for a while.

    Memo to any who have forgotten: the arguments aren’t with the commenters on the “other side.” With tempers and emotions high, they are unlikely to suddenly see the light. The audience is comprised of the people who are paging through, lurking (if any).

    Wizener: I’m not a Republican or a Bush fan. It’s faute de mieux, coupled with my opinion that he is getting some things right. I suspect some of these traits are shared by some of your vocal correspondents. Since I share some of the views they’ve expressed in the thread, it makes me kind of roll my eyes a bit when you get down ‘n dirty.

    Of course, the invective gets turned your way sometimes, too. Fair play? Maybe. But it won’t sway those (mythical?) lurkers. And you’re sincere in your opinions and your anger. Some of your challenges (eg demanding evidence of stated Iranian nuclear bellicosity) have prompted some worthwhile digging, and thought.

    “Here”:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,193080,00.html via Hugh Hewitt is a column by liberal Democrat Susan Estrich, worrying about the practical effects of displays of hatred and loathing of Republicans in general, and Bush in particular.

    It’s interesting.

  69. AMac,
    Certainly I don’t expect to convince Wizener of anything. That someone thinks that repetition of “proven incompetence” devoid of actual rational argument to establish that no longer surprises me. What continues to completely baffle me is that there are people who can convince themselves that repetition of juvenile insults is some sort of weird “victory” over their purported opponents.

    Meanwhile, the level of discourse over these very serious foreign policy questions is polluted by huge groups of people who have abandoned rational discourse in the throes of Bush Derangement Syndrome and the belief that “neocon” is not merely a label but a complete argument.

  70. AMac,
    Normally I don’t find Estrich’s insights all that … err, insightful. But you are right that in that column she definitely puts very clearly the case that large numbers of Democrats are driving themselves off a self-congratulatory and tone deaf cliff.

  71. Well, this didn’t work out quite the way I’d hoped.

    I’d send you all to your rooms without dinner, but it’s too late in the evening…

    So everyone take a step back, take a breath, and remind yourself – we all have to live together, like it or not. We’re stuck with each other.

    A.L.

  72. > driving themselves off a self-congratulatory and tone deaf cliff.

    Metaphor Police here. 10-88 (Mixing Violation) in progress!

  73. Wizener:

    Pres. Bush did not immediately leave the school when told of the attacks until the Secret Service had determined the way was clear. In light of what was happening, any “mad dash” would have been foolhardy.

    I think everybody else here except you already knows that.

    Or maybe you actually know it, too.

  74. #75

    I see where you’re coming from. I do. But I simply cannot take seriously the advice of someone who is only willing to admonish the Left or Dems for “harsh rhetoric” but not the right.

    There is no “balance” here. Susan Estrich does not need to argue that inflammatory speech comes ONLY from the Right…but rather that the DEGREE and KIND has no equivalent on the left.

    When you can show me “things like this”:http://tinyurl.com/ewxw4 from the Left, then we’ll talk about balance.

    And this is just one of many similar examples. Listened to Hannity, Limbaugh or Coulter lately?

    Until then, your offense at my strong (and NOT hate-inspired) anger at Bush is completely baseless. From where I sit, it smacks of pre-emptive political maneuvering.

    Because there exists no valid argument based on an unbiased view that explains why I must tone down my attacks, I regard them as a litmus test for the rational and fair-minded.

    I couldn’t care less if people get upset because I criticize Bush in strong terms. The expression of my views is certainly not driven by a desire to avoid offending those who helped to put us in this awful compromised position. Anyone who responds in that matter has a problem, IMO. They deserve everything they get at this point.

    And they can let fly with counter-insults until the cows come home….that’s more than their right; it’s their instinct. And I find its clockwork predictability to be somewhat comforting.

    #80

    Everybody here also knows that not only didn’t he leave the school, but he didn’t even leave the CLASSROOM. Do you think the SS was checking the hallways for terrorists? Perhaps.

  75. Wizener #81

    bq. But I simply cannot take seriously the advice of someone…

    No problem, it’s free.

    bq. …who is only willing to admonish the Left or Dems for “harsh rhetoric” but not the right.

    Perhaps you are inviting me to expand the scope of this modest ‘civility’ effort from this blog to the entire web? Er.

    bq. When you can show me things like this from the Left, then we’ll talk about balance.

    Of course I can, eg in the comments of the post you linked. Immaterial.

    bq. Listened to Hannity, Limbaugh or Coulter lately?

    Nope.

    bq. Your offense at my strong anger at Bush is completely baseless. Because there exists no valid argument based on an unbiased view that explains why I must tone down my attacks

    You missed my (and Estrich’s) point. Eye-rolling isn’t offense. Stay within the commenting guidelines and don’t trollishly derail the discourse.

    bq. they can let fly with counter-insults until the cows come home

    Yep, like you, they can, within A.L.’s very generous bounds. But then they’ve missed my point as well [sob].

  76. Wizener, like AMac, I’m not a Republican nor am I a Bush fan. I’m emphatically not a neocon.

    I’d hope you’d engage with the commenters here rather than dismissing them out-of-hand. For example in this comment:

    Rafsanjani is neither “IRAN” nor in an official policy-making position in Iran.

    Your other provided quotes only illustrate that Iran and it’s leadership are belligerent and need to be dealt with carefully.

    I’m concerned that you misunderstand Iran’s political system. Rafsanjani’s pronouncements are extremely important in Iran. In my view he represents the real leadership in Iran for which Ahmadinejad is only a figurehead. Is that wrong? How is it wrong? Do you have evidence for your position? I don’t see that in any of your comments.

    I’m opposed to the military approaches that some of the commenters here support (they mostly think that I’m unrealistic I suspect) but I do think that some action needs to be taken immediately. What do you think? Is there no threat? What would constitute adequate evidence to satisfy you?

  77. I’ve avoided this thread. I believe that the discussion has been hijacked by someone whose underlying logic is never more apparant than in post #32.

    If I may make a suggestion to the rest of the regulars here, simply don’t respond to trolls at all no matter how they bait you, how stupid the things they say are, how unfactual the things they say are, no matter how faulty thier logic, or how much they insult you. They’re only here for the hystrionics. All they want is to be the center of attention, and they don’t care what sort of attention that they recieve. If you ignore them they will get bored and go away. Either that or they’ll be so provoked by the fact that you aren’t paying attention to them, that in an effort to get you to pay attention they’ll say something really stupid and get banned.

    Either way, the quality of the discussion will return to its usual high level.

    We all pretty much know each other. We know our faults, biases, and backgrounds. You know that we all hold different opinions and disagree over various things, including Iran and what should be done about it. But our disagreements don’t normally resemble this thread. And they don’t need to. Simply don’t feed the trolls. I know that it is tempting to answer stupidity, precisely because it seems so easy to find the flaw in the argument, but I assure you that your best rejoinder is simply going to bounce off the indurate armor of self-assured ignorance without so much as making a dent precisely because what you are dealing with is stupidity.

    Contrary to appearances, this isn’t a discussion that you are in. This is someone’s masturbation experience, repeatedly engaged in to give them a thrill. There isn’t going to be any give and take. There isn’t going to be any meeting of the minds. There is just going to be someone setting on the other end of the connection revealing in the emotional experience to the extent that they increasingly feel the need to fullcaps every third word.

    Please, don’t feed the trolls. I hate even saying, “Don’t feed the trolls.”, because even that is more consideration than they deserve, but after watching this thread I felt people needed to be reminded.

  78. #82

    “Of course I can, eg in the comments of the post you linked. “

    The comments?

    Here we go again….

    If you need to reach down into anonymous comments to find examples of alleged “left wing hate” then you’ve already lost the argument. You could never prove, for example, that they weren’t trolls or poseurs.

    I’m not saying there aren’t any nuts out there saying crazy things regardless of political affiliation. What I’m (clearly, to me at least) saying the Republicans have accepted this into their mainstream. They have institutionalized the politics of hatred and divisiveness.

    I hope that this is what will bring them down in the end. From what I see going on around me, I am becoming increasingly optimistic that this may in fact be the case.

  79. “Contrary to appearances, this isn’t a discussion that you are in. This is someone’s masturbation experience, repeatedly engaged in to give them a thrill.”

    Wow. I must be missing something here. The only feeling I get after posting here is that I need to go interact with some normal rational humans in the real world. Luckily my life affords me that opportunity in great abundance. I’m not sure the same could be said for the rest of you…likely out-of-work or work-at-home “consultants” (like AL…what the heck does this guy actually do for a living anyway?).

    Perhaps I’m onto something here but I’ll leave it to the more clinically minded to work out.

    But really Celebrim, if you know something about having such emotional or sexual responses to posting online, please do share them with the rest of us.

    “I know that it is tempting to answer stupidity, precisely because it seems so easy to find the flaw in the argument, but I assure you that your best rejoinder is simply going to bounce off the indurate armor of self-assured ignorance without so much as making a dent precisely because what you are dealing with is stupidity.”

    This describes exactly my sentiments wrt continuing to post here in the face of such unrelenting idiocy and ignorance. Thanks for defining it so neatly.

    In my view, you’re the trolls in my online world.

  80. Wizener #85:

    bq. The comments?
    Here we go again….

    You miss my point. Re: #84, the burden is shifting to you.
    #78 and “A two-pipe problem, Watson.” Do we even remember the context of that quote?
    Short original post. Long thread with some good citations earlier on. An unheeded reminder. So I’ve said my piece here.

  81. Point of information: Has the now-self-congratulatory-and-prickly Wizener ever posted anything of substance on WoC? I’m not asking Wiz, I’m asking AL, JK or anyone else. Has this guy ever carried any intellectual water for his points, on any thread here? Really. Be fair.

    Can anyone he’s trying to fight with provide a pointer? Bueller? Note that I’m asking for hard data, not bashing. And I’m asking for it in a non-bashing way. E.g.: I’ll refrain from asking how Wizener knows how to characterize others as he does in #86, since that only adds credence to the notion that that sort of thing is the point of the exercise. As Amac succinctly rejoins in #87: it ain’t.

    [counsellor_troi] “I’m sensing… …frustration… [/counsellor_troi]

  82. Wow. i haven’t seen a thread wit hthis little content here in a while; I’ll be closing comments right after this post goes up.

    I’m a little unhappy wiht our side – we have a chance (as Tom started to do) to set out some baseline facts that would bolster some claims being made and policies suggested, and we got entrapped in personal blabla instead. Yes, Wiz is provocative – deliberately so, I think – and sadly, he mayu not be interested in or really open to a serious argument.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make one anyway. Wiz isn’t the only person in the room listening, and – in case you haven’t noticed – our side is not exactly carrying the public argument these days, and could use all the help it can get.

    And Wiz, you can *so close* to entering into a real argument before backsliding. I’m not sure if I should compliment or chastize you.

    But you made a self-revelatory comment when you slagged me, and I think I’ll make a post out of it.

    But first I have to go to a meeting in the Mayor’s office, and then to a board meeting. It’s tough to do, given that I never leave my room (or change my clothes, bathe, or shave – Howard Hughes is my role model), but somehow I’ll make it work.

    A.L. “consultant”

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