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With Iran, 'The Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow Motion'

Graham Allison, a Harvard professor who is one of America’s leading security strategists, likes to speak of the U.S.-Iranian nuclear confrontation as “the Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.” Well, on Friday morning, that slow-mo process started moving a little faster, as President Obama issued a stark warning about a secret Iranian project that poses a “direct challenge” to the international order.

World leaders used language this morning that described a dangerous ladder of escalation ahead. Obama said Iran will be “held accountable” for its actions. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that unless Iran changes its nuclear stance by December, harsher sanctions will be imposed. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, normally no Churchill, said there was “no choice today but to draw a line in the sand.”

Allison’s Cuban analogy may strike some people as alarmist, but it seems more and more apt to me. The United States and its allies have caught Iran cheating, again, on International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards -- this time by building a second undeclared enrichment facility in a mountain near Qom. It was an Iranian effort to gain leverage, reminiscent of Moscow’s moves in Cuba in 1962 as described by Allison in his classic book, “Essence of Decision.”

The Iranians outed their covert project in a lame, obtuse letter to the IAEA last Monday. But they must have suspected that the U.S., which has covertly monitored this breakout since the Bush administration, was about to blow the whistle.

A senior Obama administration official described the enrichment facility as a “hardened” facility, built to withstand attack, which has been under construction for several years. Constructing this mountain fortress was a significant Iranian move, since if it had remained undiscovered, it would have allowed them to keep pushing toward bomb production even if the Natanz enrichment site were taken out in a bombing attack or closed through negotiations. Basically, it gave them the ability to cheat.

So why didn’t the Obama administration lay down an even stronger marker in response to this breakout -- by threatening, say, to intercept ships at sea that it believed were carrying parts for the Iranian nuclear program?

The answer, explained the senior official in a telephone interview, is that the U.S. wants to preserve consensus among its allies for much harsher sanctions, even as it heads toward a face-to-face negotiating meeting with the Iranians on Oct. 1.The U.S. has privately communicated with the Iranians in recent days that it wants those talks to go forward, the senior official said.

Obama’s consensus-building seems to be working: The U.S. briefed top Russian officials this week on the intelligence about the Iranian covert enrichment site. “They are now much more prone to join us” in backing tough sanctions if Iran doesn’t back down, the senior official said. “They have been bamboozled by the Iranians. They’re pretty mad.”

If the negotiations fail and Iran makes a further breakout toward weapons capability, “we could always escalate,” says the senior administration official. It’s hard to see how this one will end short of military confrontation if the Iranians don’t start bargaining for real.

By David Ignatius  | September 25, 2009; 12:53 PM ET
Categories:  Ignatius  | Tags:  David Ignatius  
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Comments

It is very hard indeed for me to see this "crisis" ending otherwise than with some form of "violent nondiplomatic action" if this Regime is as hard-line as it has been depicted as being. In other words, I doubt that this impasse will end the same way as the Cuban Missle Crisis of 1962. The Regime may have convinced itself, correctly or not, that it will ultimately succeed in its drive toward nuclear weapons whether or not it has to endure "crippling sanctions", a naval blockade, or even military attack. After all, Britain imposed a naval blockade on Iran in 1950 without success. And the U.S. and Europe have not been able to stop Iran's herculean quest for nuclear weapons for over 20 years. I continue to recall a "slip of the tounge" several years ago by Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who on "Meet the Press" let slip the words "future wars with Iran and North Korea".

Posted by: gualtiero | September 25, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The United States and Saudi Arabia can live with a nuclear-armed Iran, but Israel cannot. Taking out Iran's nuclear capability should be Israel's fight, not ours. But we should not stand in their way if they decide to do so and I would fully understand if Netanyahu and his cabinet decide to do this. I can't say, "I would too in their position", because I would not be in their position. I would have enthusiastically adopted the 2002 Saudi peace plan, and if Sharon had done so, we might not be in this mess now. Because if Bush had stayed out of Iraq in 2003, hardliners might not have might not have come to power in Iran in 2005. Even now, Netanyahu and company would move from a morally enhanced position if they were to adopt the 2002 Saudi peace plan or something very close to it. But nonetheless, even with their flawed vision of the future, no one should expect Israel to commit suicide by accepting a nuclear-armed Iran.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | September 25, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

This is indeed Obama's moment to be Kennedy or Carter. If he succeeds in defanging Iran then the world is his for the asking: healthcare, economic restructuring, legalized immigration, no Republican will be able to stand up to him. If not: if he cannot coopt the Chinese, stand down the Israelis and bring the UN to heel, then he is a lame duck and we are just waiting for his replacement in 2012...with a Republican congress in 2010.

As for Iran, they are done in any case. If we cannot or will not act, then Israel will take out their reactors and their gasoline refineries. Either way, the Islamic Republic is finished as an actor on the world stage.

Posted by: Winston_Churchill | September 25, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I expect this to escalate with President Obama rolling up his sleeves and authoring another strongly worded letter of disapproval.

Posted by: Jeff_in_DC | September 25, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the analogy with the Cuban missle crisis sheds much light on the situation. The Cuban missle crisis essentially involved one super power, the Russians, confronting another super power, us, with behavior roughly equivalent to what we were in the habit of using against them. The crisis did bring us as close as we have ever come to nuclear war. But John Kennedy had the good sense to blink and work out a deal where the Russians noisily took their missles out of Cuba and we quietly took ours out of Turkey. Neither act had any real consequence in changinng the balance of our vital interests. The real consequence was just avoiding mutual nuclear destruction through the stupidity of ideological politics.
The problem with Iran is in one part a developing country demanding a larger place in the world. In another part, it is the problem of the attachment of a large part of the Middle East Islamic world to a primitive fundamentalist male dominated religous ideology of a kind that most of the rest of the world has moved past.
Military confrontation with Iran is not very attractive because they are too strong for us simply to deprive them of their nuclear weapon capability through some low cost surgical strike. If that option was available, the Israeli's would have already done it. We are barely managing to sustain our conflict in Afghanistan. Surely we are not ready for the heavy cost of another protracted war with an enemy significantly stronger than either Iraq or Afghanistan. On the other hand, Iran does not look likely to become strong enough in the near future to become a major threat to us.
The likely result is some long term policy of containment of Iran. If we are clever, we can use Iran's agressiveness to isolate them from everyone except radical organizations like Hamas and Hesbollah. If we are successful in organizing pressure from the rest of the world, it may help finish the job of undermining the stability of an already unstable Iranian regime. Perhaps our biggest real fear is the possibility of Iran finding a way to damage us seriously through some kind of terrorist strike. But that kind of problem appears to be one that we have to live with in any case.

Posted by: dnjake | September 25, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

An appeal to reason:

That segment of the American populace that thumps for a third war with Islam, which would set all of south Asia ablaze from Beirut to the Indus River, cannot see the difference between good news and bad news. It is very good news indeed that Iran has disclosed a second reactor facility. Why?

Because it will now be subject to inspection by the IAEA. Yes, we can criticize the fact that it was not disclosed earlier, but the fact is that it now has been disclosed. Just think for one moment; would this disclosure have been made unless Iran would agree to its inspection? Very doubtful indeed.

The article reads in part: The nuclear material Iran is now producing is 3 to 5 percent enriched and suitable only for energy purposes. Nuclear material for medical purposes must be 20 percent enriched -- purchasing such material would require a waiver of international sanctions. While weapons-grade material is more than 90 percent enriched, making material for the medical reactor could put Iran on the next step to reaching that level."

The radiological signature of Uranium enriched to 5% necessary for civilian power generation and that required for nuclear weapons near or exceeding 90%, are greatly different and easily detectable upon inspection. So this is good news, because it is in reality a clear indication that Iran has no serious intention to produce nuclear WMD. And that is what I want, not a new and most catastrophic war.

I do not want and do not rationalize in any way Iran gaining nuclear WMD. Further, having traveled extensively in Iran in recent years, with in-laws in the beautiful city of Isfahan; let me assure you that I abhor the current Revolutionary Guard government with their street thugs Bassiji, the foul murder of Neda agha Soltan, as do possibly half of the entire population, including the most educated and literate segments. But Iran is changing fast now, and the worst thing possible would be to bomb them for reasons of nuclear WMD, which they do not have and may never develop unless they are attacked. Which would of course result in exactly the consequence we do NOT want to see. Me included.

Posted by: tarquinis1 | September 25, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The destruction of Iran will have extremely severe economic consequences for the world. The price of gasoline will triple at least. To engage in a war like this we need at least a year's worth of oil.

So in preparation we need to put a huge tax on gasoline ($4.00 a gallon) and start stockpiling as much as possible - now!

Posted by: agapn9 | September 25, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Has a “direct challenge” to the international order." now become cause for war and will our war planes take out Dimona on the return run?

Posted by: slim2 | September 25, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The problem is, we don't have a legal leg to stand on until we catch Iran either making or testing a nuclear weapon. Civilian nuclear power, including uranium enrichment, is legal under international law. Even then, our only option will be to attack them militarily - for trying to get what we have thousands of ourselves: nuclear weapons. Are we really dumb enough to start a third war in the Middle East/South Asia? Maybe it is time to reconcile ourselves to the fact that as long as we and Israel consider it legal for us to own nuclear weapons, we will just have to live with the idea that others in the region might decide to make a few themselves. It is called deterrence and it seemed to work pretty well for North Korea. We don't seem to be threatening them with attack, do we? If President Obama is serious about doing away with nuclear weapons, we should start working on that. Vague threats against Iran are either toothless - or worse.

Posted by: johnsonc2 | September 25, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Rather than contemplate war with Iran over their desire to build a nuclear bomb, why don't we put all our efforts into an alternative transportation fuel. Said fuel can still be gasoline, just not made from petroleum. A company in Madison is building a demonstration plant that uses traditional chemistry. I've read of two companies that have engineered microorganisms to make the hydrocarbons that make up gasoline. When oil is worthless gunk, Iran and the rest of the Middle East will be made moot. Then we won't have to care about what they do to each other. It'll be like Darfur or East Timor, really sad what's happening over there but not worth actually doing much about.

As for North Korea do a deal with China. In return for North Korean regime change the US moves all military personnel and intelligence assets out of the Korean peninsula and we recognize Tibet as being Chinese. Just don't give up Taiwan.

Posted by: caribis | September 25, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

RE: ripvanwinkleincollege.

Israeli reaction to 2002 Saudi plan was lukewarm, in part because the initiative came at the height of the violence in 2002. Terrorist attacks had killed about 100 Israelis in that month and Israel was concerned with addressing that problem urgently. The Arab states all supported or acquiesced in this "resistance" in the form of suicide attacks and would soon join in the false accusation that Israel had committed a massacre in Jenin, during operation Defensive Wall. Peace was not politically feasible from the Israeli point of view and wasn't on the agenda. Entusiastically accepting the Saudi plan would place Israel in a dangerous position, and an act of supreme irresponsibility on the part of any Israeli leader. A plan that places a nation at a political amd military disadvantage with respect to its hostile neighbors is not a peace plan, but an invitation to war. I recommend that you study your history a bit closer.

As for the hardline government in Iran....it has been in power since Carter was president. I understand that you are a college student and quick to lay blame for the world's problems on former President Bush, but there is no causal relationship between the US invasion of Iraq and the hardline nature of its government.

Posted by: hsroth1 | September 25, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

djjake, I agree with your post above, but would add that there is another dynamic at work that we all need to stay mindful of.

It's kind of interesting that you stuck in the "male dominated" aspect of the culture over there as part of the geopolitical equation. Because the Arab/Muslim world is operating under acute memories of a kind of enduring emasculation by the West, ever since oil was discovered in the mideast in the 1920s. And most Americans are blissfully unaware of it, but in 1953 we ousted the democratically-elected government in Iran because Mossadegh was about to nationalize Iran's oil for the (supposed, at least) benefit of the Iranian people. Our greedy oil companies couldn't stand for that so our CIA toppled him and put the Shah in. Iranians, even the moderate ones, haven't forgotten that.

I say that as important backdrop to all of this. We need to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear state, yes, but there is value from our OWN perspective in doing it as lighthandedly (at least publicly) as possible. The more heavyhanded we *appear* outwardly to be, i.e. if we were to unnecessarily go in and humiliate them militarily, this is only going to reap extremely negative dividends for us down the line. The militant Islamic movement isn't all about religion, though clearly it is at least cloaked in that. But 9/11 happened largely because of our (collectively with the rest of the West) geopolitical domination of the Arab world - NOT because we are not all reading the Koran, as FoxNews and the Ahmadinijad-like demagogues in our own country like to try to convince people.

All I'm saying here is that we should be as heavyhanded as we need to be to get it done, but as lighthanded as we can seem outwardly - and if possible in truth in the inner workings - as we can be. Not to be nice guys, but so as not to be sending out a request on a silver platter for another 9/11.

This is not appeasing terrorists, this is to be sane. Any people humiliated badly enough will strike back in any way they possibly can. That goes equally for a conservative birther-like American like Timothy McVeigh as for your random angry Islamic militant. We all know this, even those of us who like to dismiss Al Qaida as purely an insane religious nutcase organization. It is denial not to acknowledge the real human psychological alterations you cause to other people or cultures when you are (or are perceived as) bullying them - which we HAVE been doing, in reality.

Posted by: B2O2 | September 25, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

To hsroth1
A history lesson is indeed in order. the ripvanwinkle in my name means that I was in the government for 26 years before I took an early retirement and went back to college. I was in middle school at the time of the Six Day War.

Although I don't agree with the Palestinians decision to resume the intifada when they had nonviolent means at their disposal, Israel was not dealing in good faith with the Palestinians in negotiations throughout the 1990s. They kept expanding settlements all the while, and even at the end, they insisted in this so called "best ever offer" peace deal that Jews living in what would have been the future capital of Arab East Jerusalem would have to be under Israeli law. What a crock. And what would be the difference between that versus the situation now, where they have no restrictions on buying land and pushing out Palestinian residents? No rational leader could have accepted such a condition. The Arab outrage against this supposed "deal" was entirely understandable, even if they had no justification for it to turn murderous.
And if a legitimate, rational peace deal had been made, we would not have been in this situation now, which was my broader point. All that Clinton had to do was to exercise some statesmanship to pressure Israel, but he was more worried about potentially offending Jewish voters in New York which might ruin his wife's Senate campaign. So, there was no deal, and then Arafat yielded to the worst elements in his coalition, just as the Israelis did.
But with the bigger issue about Israel's right to defend itself from Iran, I agree that they have every right to do that. My argument is only that if they had made wiser choices at earlier timeframes, it would not now be necessary.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | September 25, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

How about a nuclear Israel? Iran has not started any wars in the recent history, whereas Israel has not stopped the war that it started in 1948. Iran did not use the chemicals against Iraqis who repeatedly used it against Iran. Israel just recently used Phosphor bombs against the defenseless people of Gaza which is against the Geneva Convention. So Which one has the possibility of using a nuclear bomb when she really gets mad, Iran or Israel?

Posted by: 1humanity | September 25, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

From Guardian regarding how some so-called "Americans," such as Ignatius, are willing to jeopardize our national security for the benefits of Israel
"Within the US Israel exploits a willing circle of Likudist advocacy groups and thinktanks – such as the Washington Institute for Near East Peace, the Israel Project, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs as well as Aipac itself – that are closely scripted and co-ordinate their political message with Israeli diplomats. While some of these groups deny such a close affiliation, there is proof of scripting and amplification of the Israeli government's agenda. And of course there may be cases in which the organisations know the needs of their patron so well that they need no prompting.

In another example, Israeli diplomats monitored and encouraged a member of Congress to host an anti-Iranian conference that would advocate Israel's message of sanctions (and more).

Israel, along with enablers like Aipac, has not shrunk from hounding its critics. One peace activist in the US so angered Israeli authorities that he was driven from a job through a whispering campaign in the community, which also included a disparaging article leaked to a willing reporter.

The level of hubris necessary to pull this off is astonishing. Fresh off the dismissal of the Rosen-Weissman spy charges involving its own employees, Aipac is flexing its political muscle and reminding the world of its resurgence. It does this through a combination of manipulation, public lobbying and punishment of its enemies.

We in the US must be prepared to resist. We must protect ourselves from Israel's propaganda offensive ginning up war with Iran. We must encourage President Obama to stay strong in his commitment to Israeli-Arab peace, whether or not Israel is a willing partner. Keeping our eyes on the prize of peace is going to be the hardest challenge of all, because the Netanyahu government is doing everything it can to divert the world's attention."

Posted by: 1humanity | September 25, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

It's all well and good for a "senior administration official" to tell us all that "Russia is pretty mad."

I don't buy it one bit, not after what President Medvedev said today. Here is his quote:

"I do not believe sanctions are the best way to achieve results. Sanctions were used on a number of occasions against Iran but we have doubts about the results. Nevertheless when all instruments have been used and failed, one can use international legal sanctions. That is common…I think we should continue to promote positive incentives for Iran and at the same time push it to make all its programs transparent and open. Should we fail in that case, we'll consider other options."

Wow. He's really drawing a line in the sand, isn't he?

Nice going Obama administration. Russia is going to stay in Georgia, they are going to continue arming Iranians (who will then arm Taliban and al-Qaeda members who are fighting us), and we've given up on missile defense in Eastern Europe.

Please remind me again...what did we get in return for our capitulation exactly?

This administration is in so far above their heads, their noses are hemorrhaging.

We'd better hope Israel acts, because we sure as hell aren't going to do anything about it, except maybe try being nice again (while Ahmadinejad laughs at us).

Posted by: etpietro | September 25, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

hsroth1:

And turning Iran's biggest rival into its biggest ally was one of Mr. Bush's greatest achievements in the region? At least Saddam isn't funding suicide bombers in Israel anymore...

Posted by: MrNewmaster | September 25, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Iran is just like everyone else with the bomb. They don't get it to use it, they get it so they won't have to use it. It is the single most effective defensive weapon ever. Until they get it, they are forever vulnerable to attack. Once they get it, they are safe. Simple.

Posted by: steveboyington | September 25, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

So I am curious what Obama's plan actually is. I doubt he will go to war with Iran. No Democrat likes to go to war. They are much too soft for that. Why does it feel like there will be sanctions after sanctions imposed on them, with no real change in the current course of action. I mean come on, look at North Korea. Has anything really changed there? Sanctions are a joke! Especially when they are agaist a country that has oil! Sanctions are also like the non-binding agreements that Nancy Pelosi is so proud of. A voicing of a strong disagreement without having to actually DO anything.

I am going to make a prediction here. Unless Obama decides to go in for a pre-emptive strick (GASP! Surly he wont follow yet another Bush security plan), Iran will have full nuclear capabilities in the future, with more than two plants! GUARANTEED!!!!

Posted by: sanmateo1850 | September 25, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

What does Iran -a country half the world away from the United States- have to do with the Cuban missile crisis?

Iran will NEVER, EVER, be able to launch a nuclear bomb on U.S. territory. It's just too far away.

But Venezuela could!!!

And Nicaragua!!!

And Russia, if given enough time and the right facilities, somewhere near the United States!!!

In fact, that is happening already.

Hugo Chavez has spent many BILLIONS of his petrodollars buying large amounts of Russian weapons: fighter jets, warships, tanks.

This escalation has prompted other countries in Latin America to increase their defense spending as well. Last week, Brazil's President Lula signed a major defense deal with France, aimed at containing the Russian-Venezuelan menace in the Atlantic.

Moreover...

For several months now, two Russian NUCLEAR SUBMARINES have been patrolling the eastern coast of the United States, using a tiny Venezuelan island in the Caribbean as their base.

And two weeks ago, Hugo Chavez went to Iran and Russia and renewed their ANTI-U.S. alliance, which includes building A DOZEN nuclear plants in LATIN AMERICA, in those countries where Chavez's buddies are in control: Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, of Course Venezuela, and probably Cuba. The cover-up is the same: "we are pursuing nuclear energy for strictly pacific purposes".

Of course, nobody talks about nuclear threats this close to U.S. soil. It's a lot easiear to go with the old enemy: Iran.

Posted by: tropicalfolk | September 25, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Please spare us the moaning that the Obama administration did anything to speed up or slow down the Iranian program. The Iranians have been working for years or decades. Nothing will stop them short of invasion. Last thing I checked, the Bushies were in full power for a long time and did nothing. What could they do? The same as the Obama folks. Nothing, short of invasion. Partisans are as tiresome as they are blind.

Posted by: steveboyington | September 25, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Cuban missile crisis is a poor analogy...hey, I was a student in D.C....it was a very scary moment in U.S. History and a major power play by Russia to protect their former client state, CUBA......they won, and we pretty much left Cuba alone, in isolation, since.

All IRAN Has to do is point a finger at Israel and read off the violations of UN policy they have committed with impunity and quote OBAMA...ALL NATIONS ARE CREATED EQUAL.

game over!

Posted by: Common_Cents1 | September 25, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

IAEA demands discloser of nuclear production facilities 6 months before nuclear material is introduced to the plant. Iran claims and the western intelligence agencies confirm that no nuclear material has been introduced to this plant yet, i.e. it is a building and some related equipment we are talking about not any uranium being refined in secret. It also looks like Iran has declared the existence of the plant to IAEA in time and according to the rules and regulations of the agency. So why is our media reporting this matter as if Iran is cut cheating? Ignorance is bliss?! Not this time. It is preparation time to start yet another war and once more our media is a willing accomplice.

Posted by: Shiveh | September 25, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Graham Allison, the authority cited, seems to base his analysis on the need not merely to threaten but negotiate. One of his main examples is the Cuban missile crisis, where in his view offers as well as threats played a part. He's presumably thinking of the removal of NATO missiles from Turkey. He also mentions that the Bush policy of dealing with NKorea only with threats led nowhere, except to more NK missiles, and had to be replaced by more realistic negotiation. He thinks it will be necessary to offer Iran 'security guarantees'. These would, I suppose, involve some settlement in Palestine/Israel, though I don't think he draws this conclusion.
There's something of misrepresentation of Allison in Ignatius' remarks, whose only real suggestions are threats and war. Allison may be wrong, but if people are going a) to refer to him b) to take an opposite view they owe us an explanation of why he is wrong.
It's often said that the United States should attack Iran because otherwise Israel will do so. But it's strange to say that A should attack B because otherwise C will. A should say either 'this is between B and C' or 'this is against my interests and I will dissuade C'.

Posted by: MHughes976 | September 25, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Of course, the infallible logic is that we ought to commence bombing immediately. The Iranians are ALL obviously mad men, delusional about their power in the world order. They will understand one thing only - bombs raining down from American war planes.

If we don't start soon, the Iranians will think us total wimps. America has a Mighty Stick and America should use that Stick to immediately destroy any and all who fail to fall under our spell.

The Big Stick Theory has given us amazing results.

Just look:

1. we replaced the elected ruler of Iran with The Shah. Now look where we are.

2. We replaced one South Vietnames government after another and look what benefit that has brought. We are now able to outsource jobs to Ho Chi Minh City.

3. We has Salvador Allende killed after he was duly elected and then we got Pinochet. Now there's a marvelous bargain.

4. We try and try to use the Stick in the never-ending drug war. A stroke of genius. Now, USA demand for mind-altering substances is more HUGE than ever and Mexicans are murdering one another on our border in order to see who will profit from American addiction.

YES - we must immediately start shelling, bombing and neutralizing those irksome Iranians. And hey, while we're at it, perhaps we ought to destroy Tripoli as well. After that annoying speech by Kadafhi, it is only right that a few hundred-thousand Libyans die as well.

Yes, our military can't seem to defeat a hand full of Taliban dudes hiding in the foothills, but with our Big Stick we can definitely have a major impact on Tehran.

Posted by: hartman_john | September 25, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Why do terror apologists always bring up Israel? We're talking about Iran's nuclear program here -- Iran is ruled by a tyrant who violently kept his hold on power this year, who aggressively pursues a nuclear program of dubious purpose, and who has vowed to aid in the destruction of other sovereign nations. Iran is a threat to world peace. Arguing about Israel's alleged wrongdoings in this context is like arguing about United's and American's on-time schedules while their planes were hitting the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

Posted by: simpleton1 | September 25, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Many good comments here, along with a few rants.

I would just like to point out that Iran's construction of a secret hardened unranium enhancement facility is completely rational from the perspective of their own interests, as long as there is the possibility of Israel launching strikes on the known facilities. However, it also increases the risks of such as strike when the US thinks it can't rely on IAEA monitoring of Iran's nuclear activities.

The other "secret" chip on the table, here ignored by Ignatius, is Israel's bombs. Will we ever raise the same concerns about Israel's nukes? Can we hope that they will be included in projects to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world?

Posted by: j2hess | September 25, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

sanmateo1850

"So I am curious what Obama's plan actually is. I doubt he will go to war with Iran. No Democrat likes to go to war. They are much too soft for that."

Let's see:

Woodrow Wilson - WW I
FDR - WW II
Harry Truman - Korea
JFK/LBJ - Vietnam
Clinton - Kosovo

No, no Democrat would ever go to war. Hah!

Posted by: joe37 | September 25, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Comparing the Iranian situation to the Cuban Missile crisis seems a reductio ad absurdum at best! Iran is far more likely to become another Iraq should Obama suddenly lose his wits and fall prey to the wealth and power of AIPAC.

Posted by: dangerosa | September 25, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

This endless round-robin of discussion, covering the same territory again and again, has become coldly irrelevant.

The Iranians, the North Koreans, the Taliban, Alqueda and other Islamicist groups have looked over our President and decided that he is virtually worthless.

What happens in Iran andd in the war against Islamism is pretty much in the hands of those who hate us, and those who want to destroy us.

For me an for many other Americans, it's a frustrating, very frightening time-- and it may well be the worst is yet to come...

Posted by: AlongTheWatchTowers | September 25, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

What Iran has done is ENTIRELY 100% correct.
Facts are that for all Obomba Longa Donga's rants about Iran not following its obligations, the facts are that Obomba Longa Donga in his nere 9 months as President has an even longer list of failing to follow international obligations:
Facts are that Obomba has:
- DEFENDED torture by US troops
- ENCOURAGED torture rape and child molestation by US troops by claiming that it would be unjust to prosecute the "poor darling" paedophiles in the US military because the "poor dears" didn't know that rape and torture is illegal !!!
- FAILED to eliminate or even REDUCE the US nuclear stockpile despite his obligations to do so under NNPT

Until the lying 2 faced clown Obomba starts living up to his obligations much of the rest of the world will be laughing at his pompousity

Posted by: Trojan14 | September 25, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

no we do not need another military intervention anywhere.look where we are today because of the neocons.no other administration in american history would have did what bush and his people did.in 2002 condi rice declared the taliban was defeated. look at us today.over 7 years later .she should be held accountable for her words .slam dunk, mission accompolished,greeted as liberators,oil will pay for war that should have never been waged.these people are getting teaching positions scores of thousands of dollars for speeches.only in america.

Posted by: donaldtucker | September 25, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

This constant blathering about possible (probably never) nuclear weaponry by Iran with nary a word addressing the hypocrisy of Israel's nuclear weapons is "shocking"! As the chief supplier of taxpayer dollars and sophisticated weapons to Israel, the US should demand that Israel accept the Saudi peace proposal which is based on sound and worldwide recognized International Law. How embarrassing that the US, as a defender of one, should align itself with this lawless state. Who among the Administration or Congress has the integrity and courage to speak up for the interests of the US; apparently no one!

Posted by: frklynson | September 25, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The problem is, we don't have a legal leg to stand on until we catch Iran either making or testing a nuclear weapon. Civilian nuclear power, including uranium enrichment, is legal under international law. Even then, our only option will be to attack them militarily - for trying to get what we have thousands of ourselves: nuclear weapons. Are we really dumb enough to start a third war in the Middle East/South Asia? Maybe it is time to reconcile ourselves to the fact that as long as we and Israel consider it legal for us to own nuclear weapons, we will just have to live with the idea that others in the region might decide to make a few themselves. It is called deterrence and it seemed to work pretty well for North Korea. We don't seem to be threatening them with attack, do we? If President Obama is serious about doing away with nuclear weapons, we should start working on that. Vague threats against Iran are either toothless - or worse.

Posted by: johnsonc2"

That's a very sensible and logical post - you're obviously not American........Americans seem to be too busy getting in line to fellate Obomba

Posted by: Trojan14 | September 25, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I am a conservative. I have little confidence in Obama, his abilities or his advisers. But I pray that he does this right. There is no "I told you so" in me on this one.

Posted by: aloysius1 | September 25, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Pacifism breeds aggression. Weakness breeds contempt. Iran, North Korea, Russia, etc do not respect us any longer. We are an international door mat.

We are in the process of reversing a couple of centuries of military, economic, and democratic successes. Enjoy the change.

Posted by: dmorris1 | September 25, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

no we do not need another military intervention anywhere.look where we are today because of the neocons.no other administration in american history would have did what bush and his people did.in 2002 condi rice declared the taliban was defeated. look at us today.over 7 years later .she should be held accountable for her words .slam dunk, mission accompolished,greeted as liberators,oil will pay for war that should have never been waged.these people are getting teaching positions scores of thousands of dollars for speeches.only in america.

Posted by: donaldtucker | September 25, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse"

Typical American - screech at everyone "take personal responsibility" then blame everyone else for your screw-ups. Facts are that:
over 70% of Americans supported, wanted and encouraged and cheered on the damn stupid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Included among those were: Joe Biden (current VP) Shrillary "under sniper fire in Bosnia" Pantsuit (current SofS); Johnny McMelanoma (losing Presidential candidate)
Facts are that over 70% of you idiot americans would have made the same dumber than a plank of wood mistakes that Chimpy McCodpiece made - which probably explains why you were so busy worshipping him for the past 8 years

Posted by: Trojan14 | September 25, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Pacifism breeds aggression. Weakness breeds contempt. Iran, North Korea, Russia, etc do not respect us any longer. We are an international door mat.

Posted by: dmorris1 | September 25, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse"

Er hate to break it to you Cletus but pretty much No One in the world respects you any more - that probably has a lot to do with your worship, reverence and adoration for an Alzheimers riddled old f@*t in the 1980s and a drunken baboon for the past 8 years

Posted by: Trojan14 | September 25, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We need some thinking here. Obama is toast either way. The Obama official said they knew about this all along. That's what they say, but did they? They don't want to look like they got surprised.

The emotion and indignity expressed by Brown and Sarkozy did not sound like someone who knew all along. The Iranians sent the letter to the IAEA on Monday, so Russia could easily have known about it before his meeting with Obama. And, if this letter was turned in to IAEA on Monday, and Obama was speaking to the UN on Tuesday, why did he not include something on it then which would have given it much bigger impact?

On the other hand, if the US HAS known about this Iranian underhanded dealing, then Obama is an even bigger green horn for all his talk about "outstretched hands," etc. In view of this, and Obama's policy of concessions, he looks even more misguided and naive that I ever thought was possible. If he knew and still went ahead with his soft handed policy, we are in big trouble.

Posted by: cregan1 | September 25, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

More disinformation from Ignatius the Blood Sucker.

Yeah sure, Iggy -- this situation is just the same as one superpower installing nuclear weapons 90 miles from the shore of another. What a tool you are. (Hey, is your next column going to be about Sibel Edmonds' testimony about the Israeli Firster blackmail op run out of Rumsfeld's Pentagon by traitors[and your regular tennis buddies] Richard Perle and Doug Feith? No??

Funny how it went down this week:

1. Let Netanyahu punk the West on settlements.

2. Show live a 2-hour rant by Qadaffy Duck, with occasional split-screens of Obama & the Duck, even once a triple-screen of Obama, Qadaffy, and Ahmadinnerjacket.

3. Show only the anti-Holocaust stuff from the DinnerJacket's speech.

4. Show all of Netanyahu's speech, rerunning dozens of times the part about the "Tyrants of Tehran". (Which is really funny coming from this midget gangster, since Iran hasn't attacked anyone since the 16th Century.)

5. Release information on that zany Zazi NYC Subway Terror Plot.

6. Have someone leak the existence of the Goldfinger/Qum Holocaust Denier Memorial Nuclear Bomb Plant.

7. Always equate the Israeli gangster government with Jews & Judaism.

8. Begin again.

Boy, good thing you and your readers aren't falling for it!

Posted by: Paladin22 | September 25, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Iran will do well, in in time it can:

1: Open up all its nuclear facilities for inpertational inspections under the aegis of the IAEA.

2: Immediately put a cap on and rolled back the program.

3: Negotiate with the western powers - the USA, the UK and France.

4: Start work in earnest towards freeing its prisoners of conscience and generally worked on freeing the press and stopping all polemics.

It is a tough world. Can be a wicked world for those possessed by unreason and stubbornness. The world is indeed on a short fuse.

So let us read the writings on the wall, very, very carefully.

No one denies that Iran has the right to generate nuclear energy. Everyone is wary of the Iranians having the N-bomb, especially because of the charges of tie-ups with extreme-right wing organizations which it is purported to foster and support, in the absence of documented denials.

It looks more of an act of defiance and denial and does not brook well for peace in the region.

Let us be very, very careful,guys.

"Take care to get what you like or you wil be forced to like what you get". an axiom from George Bernard Shaw, which will always hold true.

"Blessed are the peacemakers. For they are the children of God" - Jesus Christ.

Posted by: mdsubramonia | September 25, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who'd like to leave the Iggy Swamp for the world of true conservatism, the Sybil Edmonds full interview can be read here:

http://www.amconmag.com/article/2009/nov/01/00006/

Posted by: Paladin22 | September 25, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Ignatius, ur country invaded Iraq afteran 8 year war with Iran, and after another war to liberate Kuwait, and after another 18 years of all out sanctions. Interestingly, ur country still cannot claim a victory over Iraq. And for that matter, they cannot claim a victory against Afghanistan either... or even against Bin Laden...
Now stop talking nonsense...
U need the Mullahs help to run away from Iraq and Afghanistan...
Oh, and when u negotiate with the Iranians, be nice to them...

Posted by: Kinesics | September 25, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"Iran is just like everyone else with the bomb. They don't get it to use it, they get it so they won't have to use it. It is the single most effective defensive weapon ever. Until they get it, they are forever vulnerable to attack. Once they get it, they are safe. Simple.

Posted by: steveboyington"

Except it doesn't work that way. Nukes raise the threshold to war, but they don't eliminate the possibility of war.
What has happened is that nuke powers recognize that certain conventional wars, even conventional attacks on their homelands...but nukes will not fly in response. Only in last-ditch, dire extremis will they be used. And a small nuke arsenal is no guarantee that such a country is now immune from attack by a nation that could turn their entire country into a puddle of glowing green glass.
India and China fought a conventional war with China's nukes not a factor. China kept its few (at the time) nuke bombs unused as Indonesia liquidated 500,000 Communists of Chinese ancestry and their families back in 1965.
Vietnam and China had a small war back in the late 1970s.
The 1973 Arab-Israel War, the only one the Arabs truly can be said to have started, was something that went ahead because Arabs calculated they should pay no heed to Israel's nukes.
Russia fought CHechens.
9/11 happened because Taliban was confident the US would not respond with nukes.
Iraq held off using WMD against allies in the Gulf War, even though they lost it..because Saddam correctly knew the consequences of unleashing a full anthrax or nerve gas attack would kill as many troops as a couple of nuke bombs..and result in his obliteration.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | September 25, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The Iranians-- or any of the Islamacists-- have no reason to fear us or the West. Our enemies see us as incredibly strong and willingly unable to exert any sense of strength, let alone pointed aggression.

For the first time in my long life, we have a President who is seemingly unable to accept the greatest responsibility of the Presidency-- to protect America and Americans.

It is a frightening prospect, inviting terror and death. God forbid another 9-11, but if it happens, I look forward to President Obama being impeached and driven from office in disgrace.

Posted by: AlongTheWatchTowers | September 25, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Let us phrase Ignatius's question/headline another way:

if Ignatius were anything but an Israeli shill...
would he be working for the zionists WaPo?

Would Americans have had just about enough of both? Do these zionists know how to test the tenor of the times, getting a little dangerous;

or will they just keep up their really stupid and backfiring Israeli propaganda? Have they read history regarding such?

Posted by: whistling | September 25, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

steve boyington wrote: "Iran is just like everyone else with the bomb. They don't get it to use it, they get it so they won't have to use it. It is the single most effective defensive weapon ever. Until they get it, they are forever vulnerable to attack. Once they get it, they are safe. Simple."

I don't get your logic. Iran is the only country repeatedly calling for the destruction of another country.

Posted by: paris1969 | September 25, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Iran has the right to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Why would it need this secrecy? How could it justify it, if only to itself?

The United States has allowed a bullying, aggressive, racist Israel to constantly threaten and terrorize the Iranians for pursuing legitimate development. Israel is given a free hand to all sorts of illegalities, even genocide. Of course this Zionist barbarism has consequences. Israel is today led by an avowed terrorist, Netanyahu, who just a few years ago held a two day festival celebrating the terrorist bombing of the King David Hotel. A memorial plaque was installed. It is reasonable for Iran to seek to secure its rights through subterfuge when sabers are being rattled at it by a terrorist admirer such as Netanyahu.

Unless Israel is reined in this sort of thing can be expected by other nations. Laws must be for all. alleged Israeli exceptionalism, enforced by a corrupt Washington establishment, is the root of many of the world's flash point problems. Perhaps it is time to pour water on the brat playing with matches.

Posted by: tadzio | September 25, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Crisis? Hardly.... Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan now Iran? Korea = Draw, Vietnam = draw/loss, Grenada = win (ala Oklahoma vs U of Idaho?) , Panama = (see Grenada) , Iraq = draw/loss, Afghanistan = loss. Arguably we have "tried our best" against all of the above over the past +50 years and other than Grenada/Panama = we objectively did not win any of these conflicts. Iran, with a land mass 3x that of Iraq will surely be a "draw" at best. Does anyone who actually knows anything about Iran really think it is the Iranians goal to invade/threaten the United States? Israel = surely threatened, but last time I checked, although Israel is a red headed step child of the USA, it is not a state of the USA and therefore does not concern us directly (since we are in Iraq permanently we no longer need Israel in any way). All we have to say (and to keep it simple) is: "if you mess with the USA - we will kill you "Mr President Whoever" and ( no questions asked) we will put in a puppet government". That should be enough to keep any of these little countries in line.

Posted by: mtbunker | September 25, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

If we were even remotely serious we would accept some basic realities. First, Obama is a paper tiger. He will not use our military against Iran or anyone else...fair enough, he ran as a passivist in a nation tired of mid-eastern conflict. We got what was advertised..no complaint here. Second reality is that Isreal and the palestinians are in a battle to the death. Neither side will ever capitulate to a true two state solution. Palistinians want every jew run into the ocean and the Isrealis want the palistinians strewn out of the West Bank and Gaza. There will never be peace without one side totally killing off the other. Third, the rest of the arab world uses the isreal-palestinian conflict as a red herring to hate the US and the west. Fourth, our best ally in the region is Isreal. Therefore reality would suggest that it is in our interest to support isreal in exterminating the palistinians and ending the conflict one and for all.

Posted by: PSOG | September 25, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse


It is stunning.

Have the Israelis thought ahead? Considered where they will be two years from now?

Figured out their stuff has NEVER served them well, (how many of them are left, for example?)
How comfortable, safe, are they in the world, for example?

Still they do the same things over and over. Ignatius talks the game, his posters show another generation is just behind him.

Well, okay. It'll be hard for even the most sympathetic to care then their stuff hits the fan. And it will. It always does. For the same same reasons.

Posted by: whistling | September 25, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we self-absorbed Americans fully understand the dynamic operating here. This time it isn't "all about us." While we dither . . . the Israelis likely will not --- and who can blame them under the circumstances?

There seems to be a lot of unfounded confidence that Iran --- or at least it's government, once nuclear-armed will act with the self-restraint that we or even the Soviets would. I think the more prudent path, particularly if you live in Tel Aviv, is to take Ahmadinejad at his word.

Having failed to act effectively as the super-power we are over the past few years (Bush and Obama), we now find that events are quickly moving beyond our ability to control them.

Posted by: prosecutor1 | September 25, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

David,

I don't give a darn about the opinion of your Harvard expert:why is he so mute about "israel's" formidable nuclear arsenal???-which arsenal is the reason why Iran is scrambling to develop its nuclear technology.

How ironic that the loudest voices agianst Iran are France,Britain and the US, who were instrumental in building "israel's" nuclear arsenal.

Iran's claimed "nuclear facilities" sound like Iraq's WMDs-which turned to be the lie of 21st century.

The whole propagnda campaign against Iran is manufactured by "israel" and baised media to distract from "israel's" war crimes in Gaza and more importantly its day light theft and colonization of the little Palestinian land that is left of their homeland.

Posted by: asizk | September 25, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Good Grief! We lived through the cold war with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons pointed our direction. Why am I going to get hysterical about ten Iranian ones? If Iran looks like they are going to attack the United States they are a parking lot. President Obama should not let the arm chair tough guys goad him into a war. The arm chair tough guys are usually fat old men who can't leave the house without their medication.

Posted by: orange3 | September 25, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Iran is no threat to the US, nor is it seriously a threat to Israel. Yes, really. Iran's problems now are internal. An attack by Israel, either with or without US santion or support, would play directly into the hands of those currently ruling Iran. Have any Harvard professors considered the possiblility that this is why the Iran leadership made this announcement?

Of course, conservative factions in both Israel and the US would greatly benefit from another war; it keeps them in business.

Iran is not going to attack anyone, even if it acquires a nuclear weapon, with the exception of their own people. Everyone else, calm down. Way, way down.

Posted by: ammonite88 | September 25, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"The 1973 Arab-Israel War, the only one the Arabs truly can be said to have started, was something that went ahead because Arabs calculated they should pay no heed to Israel's nukes."

The Arabs were operating under the Soviet nuclear umbrella. It was even thought at the time that the Soviet Union had placed nuclear weapons in Egypt. And the reason the Arab states started the 1973 war was to force American and Soviet intervention.

It would be difficult to look at the North Korean experience and argue that nuclear weapons, even only a very few weapons, do not confer a strategic advantage. Of course North Korea has usefully combined them with a rather massive conventional force, and a cultivated reputation for craziness. In Iran's case, proximity to the Straits of Hormuz provides a credible conventional threat, and Ahmadinejad is providing the needed hint of derangement. This last may explain why the mullahs decided to risk their reputation as political arbiters by throwing the election his way.

You have to love this development. Now even a nuclear attack on Iran could not stop the development of an Iranian bomb, if Iran were so minded. If heavy sanctions are imposed, Iran will merely accelerate the development of nuclear weapons and follow the trail blazed by the North Koreans. Eventually the sanctions can be played off in negotiations over how quickly and how large the Iranian nuclear arsenal grows.

As for Ignatius, he should stop his impotent bellowing. All the aircraft carriers in the world can't fix this one. First came Bush with his axis of evil, then came McCain singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb..." What did you neocon twits think was going to happen?

Posted by: fzdybel | September 25, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I disagree w/ Mr. Ignatius' premise that "consensus seems to be working."

It is clear the US and other Western powers have known about this facility for years [WaP, "Iran Reveals Existence of Second Uranium Enrichment Plant"].

If this were the case, why ON EARTH, wouldn't the entire "consensus" be present for this "threatening" speech? Germany? Absent--a prior commitment. What prior commitment would out-trump a UNIFIED consensus against Iranian denuclearization?

The US, France, & GB are NOT a consensus.

It is quite premature to believe Russia has "been bamboozled by the Iranians" and is willing to join sanctions. Not to mention the sounds of crickets re. to China.

This consensus *far* from established.


Posted by: TMIL1 | September 25, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Re. orange3: >Good Grief! We lived through the cold war with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons pointed our direction. Why am I going to get hysterical about ten Iranian ones?

You are showing your naiveté. Today's balance of power and global threat is not based on Mutual Assured Destruction, but asymmetric warfare. It not just the IRANIAN Govt to fear, but their close ties to TERRORISM that—TOO—would benefit from this capability. If Iran has “the bomb” so does Hezbollah.

Posted by: TMIL1 | September 25, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Many have asked how this situation can be compared with the Cuban missile crisis, the United States and Iran being separated by vast geography and even vaster differences in military power.

The reason is that Hawks like Ignatius and his friends see the Persian Gulf and Israel as the fifty-first and fifty-second states, respectively. They don't want to come right out and say that here, because making war for oil or for comforting a bunch of out of control yids is likely to be unpopular following on the heels of Bush's "long war."

Posted by: fzdybel | September 25, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"If Iran has “the bomb” so does Hezbollah. "

Twaddle. If it were so, and if Hezbollah used that bomb, Iran would face assured destruction. If Hezbollah wants a bomb, it's going to have to build one of its own.

Posted by: fzdybel | September 25, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Iran , as a sponsor of terrorism , created the deadly IED's in Iraq , this means , that Iran is ready to use new , deadly methods in terror tactics

That is why Iran will perfect the IED , and create a nuclear IED implanted in the towns of "infidels "

Sneaky cowards , fighting by proxy and stealth , the Iranians will not dare fire directly an ICBM with a nuclear warhead on the Christian world

We must strike first , with the use of our nuclear weapons on Iran , before they use theirs on us

God help us

Posted by: michel1835 | September 25, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Thankfully we have a president who can create consensus rather than destroy it. At the end of the day, it will be up to us to act, but it is much better if the other interested parties have bought into the situation.

Posted by: foxjh | September 25, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Ignatius is a jew b@sta@rd who was defending the 'harsh methods', a.k.a, torture committed by the CIA only a few weeks ago. Mr. Ignatius, how do you sleep at night you scum?

Posted by: playa_brotha | September 25, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Psst! Israel has undeclared nuclear weapons. And refuses to even sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, much less observe it.

Thought you'd want to know so those things seem to bother you so much.

Posted by: patrick3 | September 25, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

The following commentor and all the other Lefties screaming about Israel! Israel! Israel! hypocrisy! hypocrisy! completely miss the point.

----------
Psst! Israel has undeclared nuclear weapons. And refuses to even sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, much less observe it.
Thought you'd want to know so those things seem to bother you so much.
Posted by: patrick3
-------------
The world could give a flying hoot about the hypocrisy garbage on Lefty shouts at another Lefty to achieve moral equivalency.

What the nations out there care about is level of threat.
The Zionists have had the bomb for over 35 years and even while Israel is detested, rightly so in my mind for many things, unfairly for others.....no one has seen it as the huge problem that the NORKs are, what Iran would be, and what Russia and China even say discetely about how dangerous Pakistan is.
IF tomorrow, Brazil or Canada or Sweden announced they were a nuclear power, it wouldn't matter much...nations would not feel threatened.

Does anyone feel Britain is a threat because it has nukes for the last 55 years? France? Anyone worried China or the US or Russia will give a few to "freedom fighters" ? Or launch on one of their foes if their survival was not involved?

No!

I - to use an analogy - am not concerned that the local SWAT has full auto M-16s, or guards at an explosives factory nearby -

And I would not buy the argument that because SWAT or the TNT plant guards are armed with such, it would be hypocritical for me to protest anyone else in town, even the drug gangs with a record of lawless behavior..from having full auto M-16s as well.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | September 25, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

To compare this to the missile crisis is saber rattling in the extreme. The Soviets had missiles, weapons, and the ability to use them. The Iranians have none of the three. Not a single gamma ray ever entered that complex.

And if the US was willing to negotiatate knowing about the complex, why are they not willing to negotiate with the Iranians knowign about the US knowing about the complex? Is this some sort of diplomaticspeak I don't understand?

Posted by: ggreenbaum | September 25, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, it was not Kennedy who had the good sense to blink in the missile crisis. It was Khrushchev. Who may have saved the world.

Posted by: ggreenbaum | September 25, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse


The zionists will never be satified until they can goad Obama into helping them attack Iran.

Posted by: demtse | September 25, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

So the regime that denies the holocaust, has called for the destruction of Israel, shot Neda down to bleed to death in the street, that is racing for a nuclera arsenal they can share with Hugo Chavez has been lying to the world and to Obama! And Obama is surprised? I wonder which part of the above bothers Obama? Want to know what Obama will do? Nothing! He will whine, and appease, and do NOTHING! Iran's is months away. The question here is what the Israelis will do, not Obama! Obama is too busy watching the video of the 5th graders since praises to dear leader to deal with Iran!

Posted by: valwayne | September 25, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

The United States and Saudi Arabia can live with a nuclear-armed Iran, but Israel cannot. Taking out Iran's nuclear capability should be Israel's fight, not ours. But we should not stand in their way if they decide to do so and I would fully understand if Netanyahu and his cabinet decide to do this. I can't say, "I would too in their position", because I would not be in their position. I would have enthusiastically adopted the 2002 Saudi peace plan, and if Sharon had done so, we might not be in this mess now. Because if Bush had stayed out of Iraq in 2003, hardliners might not have might not have come to power in Iran in 2005. Even now, Netanyahu and company would move from a morally enhanced position if they were to adopt the 2002 Saudi peace plan or something very close to it. But nonetheless, even with their flawed vision of the future, no one should expect Israel to commit suicide by accepting a nuclear-armed Iran.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | September 25, 2009 1:34 PM | Report

What are you talking about. Iran is run by clerics. The President is not the ultimate power in Iran. These problems have existed since the 70's. Allowing Iran to become a nuclear power is unacceptable. If you think the only one's they have on their list is Israel then you're delusional.

Even the people of Iran know this and that's why their trying to change course. However the clerics and President are doing their best to turn them back into a dictatorship. If the people of Iran are unable to end this then I'm sorry but the US and Israel will. Don't be a fool and think you're safe. That's the quickest way to end up dead.

Posted by: askgees | September 25, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Lets get over the Cuba analogy, because there are just too many differences.

When Cuba got its nukes we still had a Navy left over from WW II and Korea, which had only been eight and seventeen years over, respectively. Cuba was only ninety miles from Florida, and we had our Cold War Air Force and Cold War Army available to call on if necessary.

We have no spare assets, Army, Air Force, Navy, or marines, and Iran is a long way from ANYBODY, and an especially long way from US.

The Cuban missile sites were in the open and vulnerable to even short range sorties by small aircraft and small bombs. The defenses would have been WW II vintage Soviet anti air craft machine guns and SAM IIs, state of the Soviet art but easily defeated by the air tactics standard in the Air Force at the time.

Iran has quite convenienty placed mountain ranges and deserts to make any assault of any kind on its heartland and core decidedly dicey regardless of the assets we might try to deploy against them. Any attack would be a bloody mess for the attacker, and would be a miserable failure in making Iran consider taking any action except outright war on its attackers. Since that war would cut the world off from most Saudi oil, and all Persian Gulf oil, putting Japan in extremis and hurting they whole Pacific rim severely.

Military action against Iran hasn't been a viable option since the seventies, and it wasn't viable then, as demonstrated by the disaster in the desert. There aren't enough troops under arms on this whole earth to make Iran say uncle, and we couldn't raise enough such troops were we to mobilize like WWII to do it on our own.

We are left with but putative two options, learn to talk to Iran, or raise something like 1120 Army Divisions, dozens of Air divisions, lay down hundreds of warships including dozens of battle ships, (needed to try to go in against the barrage of anti ship missiles that would flow out of Iran) and dozens of carriers, most of which we should be prepared to lose in the typhoon of steel the fleets would face trying to stand off Iran's coasts and shoot at them.

(Perhaps it is time to rue the fact that so many Republican "Military Experts" have so little understanding of what the costs of the kind of military effort they are projecting are)

Talk is cheap, and the alternative, which is unlikely to accomplish our objectives anyway, is ruinously expensive.

Guess which option the republicans prefer?

And one question for those warhawks,

H O W do you propose to pay for your option?

Posted by: ceflynline | September 25, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

We have the assets on the ground. But the more real force we have, the easier it will be to negotiate a real agreement. That will be of more value in the long run. We must demonstrate to Iran the benefits of changing their behavior and attitude to one of cooperation and not revolution.

Is that possible?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 25, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

The Iranians will be a nuclear power in approx. 2 1/2 years. The calendar ends 2012. This has been predicted by Nostradamus , Casey, The Mayans, The Incas and so on. Do the math. I don't necessarily believe in these predictions but the fact is they have been made by many people and cultures. Do the math. You may get to see it.

Posted by: askgees | September 25, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

We have the assets on the ground. But the more real force we have, the easier it will be to negotiate a real agreement. That will be of more value in the long run. We must demonstrate to Iran the benefits of changing their behavior and attitude to one of cooperation and not revolution.

Is that possible?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 25, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

It's possible if they put a bullet into the heads of the clerics and the President. Give the Iranian people a chance. It's only the leaders that are off the grid. The people don't want this anymore than we do. They know if it comes down to it the US, Israel UK and many others will level the country before their allowed to launch a nuclear weapon.

Posted by: askgees | September 25, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm a liberal and I'm all for the beginning of hostilities with Iran as soon as possible. No other state in the world is a greater sponsor of terror. Hell, their appropriations for terror are in their annual budget for all to see. They have embarked on a nuclear path. It wouldn't bother me one iota to see Tehran melted.

Posted by: seve2yoo | September 25, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Can you please just skip the build up and the hysteria and just go straight to killing more brown people with a different religion. I find the pre killing sanctimony a bitter apetizer and would as soon just get the blood banquet over with as soon as possible.

I am sure this war will be the one that ends all war. And saves America. And defends freedom. And whatever else todays empires use to justify keeping their boot heel firmly on the neck of the 'lesser peoples'.

And of course, given this is the US, I should end with a reference to God. How about may the Prince of Peace damn you all to the fiery pits of hell.

Perhaps that will suffice.

Posted by: dehall | September 25, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Can you please just skip the build up and the hysteria and just go straight to killing more brown people with a different religion. I find the pre killing sanctimony a bitter apetizer and would as soon just get the blood banquet over with as soon as possible.

I am sure this war will be the one that ends all war. And saves America. And defends freedom. And whatever else todays empires use to justify keeping their boot heel firmly on the neck of the 'lesser peoples'.

And of course, given this is the US, I should end with a reference to God. How about may the Prince of Peace damn you all to the fiery pits of hell.

Perhaps that will suffice.

Posted by: dehall | September 25, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

If they become a nuclear power you may just be condemned to a fiery he11 as well ret@rd. You act as if the free world is trying to keep food from them. Talk about ignorant.

Posted by: askgees | September 25, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

"We have the assets on the ground. But the more real force we have, the easier it will be to negotiate a real agreement. That will be of more value in the long run. We must demonstrate to Iran the benefits of changing their behavior and attitude to one of cooperation and not revolution. Is that possible? Posted by: GaryEMasters "

What assets?

Army: exhausted. We couldn't field a single division at this point for any conflict anywhere. Every combat brigade in the Army is committed, prepping for commitment, or recovering from commitment.

Navy: understrenght for any tasking but pure peacetime show the flag. Desperately short on amphibs and small boys needed to escort them, and totally lacking in shore bombardment capability. Any Army 155 howitzer battalion Commander outguns the entire American fleet.

Air Force: Not even well prepared for Cold War type operations and sadly lacking in warthogs and their equivalent. Couldn't man and maintain close air support operations for ANY sustained period of time.

Marines: already over committed, and flatly unsuited to long term commitment in the kinds of oparations needed to go into Iran.

Meanwhile all of the services are completely stripped of the logistics support and combat service support units they would need in sustained ops. We couldn't put a single Transportation brigade, Engineering brigade, Intelligence Brigade or radio reaserch Group in the Area any time in the next three years. No Rev Dev, Special Forces, or Sapper units not currently otherwise occupied. Totally lacking in Farsi, Dari, Pashto linguists.

Basically without the forces we would need to contemplate military action against Iran

Again, what assets?

Posted by: ceflynline | September 25, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

The Iranian government wants to be respected and to be a great power, which sounds all well and good until you recall that Hitler wanted the same thing for post-WWI Germany. Iran wants nuclear arms as part of being a great power but the present government could no more be trusted with them than Hitler could have, for pretty much the same reasons. It is a violent, semi-legitimate force against peace. Perhaps a solution to this problem would be a two-fold strategy. 1) impose a quarantine until the present government is gone. Nothing goes in, nothing comes out. The price will be more expensive oil and gas, which at least would have the virtues of making the Russians happy and getting the rest of us off the dime on the subject of alternative energies. 2) the detonation of a nuclear weapon anywhere in the world by the Iranian government will lead to immediate armed retaliation at whatever level is appropriate at the moment.

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Posted by: stopthewar | September 25, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Nothing is going to happen other than Obama wagging his finger at Iran and the Bearded Monkey cackling back with a raised middle finger. Iran is going to get and deploy nuclear weapons. Period. The USA under Bush wasn't willing to stop them, and Obama certainly won't. Israel can't stop Iran with conventional weapons since the sites are too numerous, to well buried, and too far away. A massive nuclear strike on Iran would stop them, but the Israeli Jews are way too liberal to do this. Israel could stage a nuclear accident to take out one site, but that only works once, and won't stop Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons power. Therefore, they will do nothing, and Iran wins.

Posted by: andrewp111 | September 25, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

No more stinking needless wars. Let Iran have nuclear bombs. What good will they do them? What good have they done anybody else?

Posted by: fudador | September 25, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I just don't think Obama will do anything at all. He is too weak. All he does is talk and blame failures on Bush. Brave men take responsibility, blame no one, and do not brag, and simply get the job done. Those that can, do. Those that can't, talk.

Posted by: edgar_sousa | September 25, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Israel is a nuclear-armed regional power. Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf States are enormously rich. Why should the USA take on a fight for them when they are capable of handling it themselves? We've got to get out of this mindset of looking after everyone else's affairs.

If we were to do Israel's and the Arabs' bidding, you can be sure they'd have all sorts of complaints about how they could have handled it better, understanding the region as they do. Rather than hear the lectures afterward, let them handle it now. We can cheer from the sidelines.

Posted by: Matthew_DC | September 25, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

"I just don't think Obama will do anything at all. He is too weak. All he does is talk and blame failures on Bush. Brave men take responsibility, blame no one, and do not brag, and simply get the job done. Those that can, do. Those that can't, talk. Posted by: edgar_sousa "

Quite obviously you conceive of your self of one of the brave and decisive kind.

May I suggest that, being so brave and decisive and intelligent you head off to your nearest Army recruiter and sign up for Monteray Language School, Farsi linguist? That way when some idiot republican gets us into this war with Iran you seem to want you will show your intelligence, decisiveness, courage etc. by being in the first wave going in over the beaches on the Omani Coast.

When weactually let your braggadocio get us into this uncalled for war, and they need a draft, let the first names drawn be all you loudmouths who think that Obama keeping his toungue in check is doing it out of fear or weakness.

The Torch invasions of North Africa, small for what we eventually did in WW II required two American Armored Divisions, and about five American and British infantry divisions, several battleships, a dozen medium and heavy cruisers, several aircraft carriers, dozens of destroyers, doozens more transports, in all something like 100,000 men. Much too small, by the way, for the war you propose. Backing them up were twice those numbers of combat divisions to come in after them for the conquest of Western North Africa.

Guess what such a force would cost today.

To put a Torch sized force into Iran would require an Army of about five times the current total active and reserve and National Guard. A whole new Navy. Three to five years to get it all together.

Talk is cheap and bold talk on a blog is cheap in a very debased currency.

WHEN, God forbid, you get your wish action will be costly indeed, and I suspect that the hands that post this bilge will never be raised to take the Oath of Enlistment. Good Republicans, of course, have better things to do with their lives.

Posted by: ceflynline | September 25, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

What does Iran -a country half the world away from the United States- have to do with the Cuban missile crisis?

Iran will NEVER, EVER, be able to launch a nuclear bomb on U.S. territory. It's just too far away.

But Venezuela could!!!

And Nicaragua!!!

And Russia, if given enough time and the right facilities, somewhere near the United States!!!

In fact, that is happening already.

Hugo Chavez has spent many BILLIONS of his petrodollars buying large amounts of Russian weapons: fighter jets, warships, tanks.

This escalation has prompted other countries in Latin America to increase their defense spending as well. Last week, Brazil's President Lula signed a major defense deal with France, aimed at containing the Russian-Venezuelan menace in the Atlantic.

Moreover...

For several months now, two Russian NUCLEAR SUBMARINES have been patrolling the eastern coast of the United States, using a tiny Venezuelan island in the Caribbean as their base.

And two weeks ago, Hugo Chavez went to Iran and Russia and renewed their ANTI-U.S. alliance, which includes building A DOZEN nuclear plants in LATIN AMERICA, in those countries where Chavez's buddies are in control: Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, of Course Venezuela, and probably Cuba. The cover-up is the same: "we are pursuing nuclear energy for strictly pacific purposes".

Of course, nobody talks about nuclear threats this close to U.S. soil. It's a lot easiear to go with the old enemy: Iran.
Posted by: tropicalfolk | September 25, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

=============Null Hypothesis:
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Posted by: randomsample | September 26, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

What does Iran -a country half the world away from the United States- have to do with the Cuban missile crisis?

Iran will NEVER, EVER, be able to launch a nuclear bomb on U.S. territory. It's just too far away.

But Venezuela could!!!

And Nicaragua!!!

And Russia, if given enough time and the right facilities, somewhere near the United States!!!

In fact, that is happening already.

Hugo Chavez has spent many BILLIONS of his petrodollars buying large amounts of Russian weapons: fighter jets, warships, tanks.

This escalation has prompted other countries in Latin America to increase their defense spending as well. Last week, Brazil's President Lula signed a major defense deal with France, aimed at containing the Russian-Venezuelan menace in the Atlantic.

Moreover...

For several months now, two Russian NUCLEAR SUBMARINES have been patrolling the eastern coast of the United States, using a tiny Venezuelan island in the Caribbean as their base.

And two weeks ago, Hugo Chavez went to Iran and Russia and renewed their ANTI-U.S. alliance, which includes building A DOZEN nuclear plants in LATIN AMERICA, in those countries where Chavez's buddies are in control: Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, of Course Venezuela, and probably Cuba. The cover-up is the same: "we are pursuing nuclear energy for strictly pacific purposes".

Of course, nobody talks about nuclear threats this close to U.S. soil. It's a lot easiear to go with the old enemy: Iran.
Posted by: tropicalfolk | September 25, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

=============Null Hypothesis:
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em,": protect them and insure 'em.:

Technology & Weapons
Banking System, Peace & Crop Insurance, Inc.

http://web.me.com/welcome.perfect/Good_Cops/%22Put_your_money_where_your_mouth_is,%22.html
============Null Hypothesis//

Posted by: randomsample | September 26, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

The only thing Obama has the stones for is going abroad and to the UN apologizing for his own country. He is not likely to act decisively against any rogue nation because in his mind, and the minds of his core supporters, the US, like Israel, has only dubious rights to protect itself. Obama's legacy is likely to be that his presidency ushered in nukes for Iran, the beginning of the end of the US commitment in Afghanistan, and going wobbly on support for Israel. Don't forget, he's the president who, in one of his first symbolic acts, sent the bust of Churchill--a gift from Great Britain--back to them. People, get a clue.

Posted by: joef2 | September 26, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

I don't see the issue here. A false flag attack from Iran needs to happen. The West can then step it up in terms of regime change - a velvet revolution so to speak needs to happen - then we the west can step in and 'assist' their change to a democracy we like. From there, we are golden. The Canada oil-sands are already supplying the US big-time...we'll all be ok. Yet, if everyone in the west buys an electric car tomorrow we can all put these sand-monsters to bed.

Posted by: gurudynamics | September 26, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Alongthe WatchTowers said: "It is a frightening prospect, inviting terror and death. God forbid another 9-11, but if it happens, I look forward to President Obama being impeached and driven from office in disgrace." Well, I didn't see Bush being impeached. He was on watch when the bonafide 9-11 happened.

All the recent "frightening" events (i.e., propaganda), e.g., discovery of NYC terror plots, Netanyahoo's UN speech, Mr. Ig equating the Iran situation to the Cuban missile thing (he might really think that Israel and the US are the same one country), media calling into question Obama's effectiveness, etc., apparently were orchestrated as as effort to sway American sentiments towards supporting an Israeli attack on Iran.

Regardless, it will fail this time because the rest of the world (especially Russia) would not be fooled again and the US knows that it can't afford to go at it alone another time (someone will undoubtedly still come up with some formula to say that we can afford another war).

Posted by: KT11 | September 26, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

David: What a Move!! What a Move!! We are now getting ready for a Regime Change! Thanks to BN and his smart move, taking all us by surprise. They (Israel) has the, all the Intellegence, of the covert operation of the Iranians,their Nuclear Facility. I give up! I surrender let my brother "Be in Charge" and Command us to a victory in Iran. Are they ready to take some responsibilities in Iraq and Afghanistan as well? Can we hire "Mercenaries" from our brother BN, or BN knows where to get "Mercenaries", perhaps in Africa or Asia ; and give a breather to our young men and uniform for this Grandiose Operation BN Command? Good luck BN. I as a Republican am very proud that keeping our President engage , is better to distract from No Health Care Reform. How about that? You know my friend BN and David,I think, Osama could be hiding somewhere ? BN knows it? BN is the smartest politician of this century. Good luck and God speed!!

Posted by: Golam | September 26, 2009 4:17 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin would have been on this from the start. She wouldn't have waited for a politically correct moment to help her in the polls.

She wouldn't have punted on this with an eyebrow furrow and a tepid demand, while the British and French heads of state stated a hard line demand.

Everytime I watch our President try to impress, I see nothing but a timed response to a need to improve his polls. The election is done. Quit campaigning and make a decision.

If we disagree, then present a real case for why you really have a better idea. If you cannot do it with the American people who voted for you, Mr. President, then how in the world do you expect to convince leaders of other countries after you have shown weakeness repeatedly?


Obama's need to succeed in the favorable column is going to be our undoing on every single stage at home and abroad.

This President is too driven by outside forces, to be able to make a decision that is in the interest of the United States, much less the world.

Every move is calculated to move him up into some ruler of the world scenario, which will only continue the problems for the people who live on this earth.

Obama, we were not born to feed your ego. Either learn how to be a President or quit pretending. Those behind you direct your plays on the field. It is apparent that you are the quarterback rather than the coach.

America and the world don't need a quarterback who is waiting on the words of hundreds of coaches. So far every play that has been called has been a loss of yardage. Money gone, cars gone, health care gone, jobs gone, houses gone, freedom gone, and on it goes.



Posted by: letscheck | September 26, 2009 4:33 AM | Report abuse

I would like to add that I agree with Qaddafi on one thing.

Get the UN out of NY and out of the United States.

Obama plans to run his foreign policy through the UN?

I guess that says a lot about what his long term plan is...World Leader.

Get the U.N. out of NY and the U.S. Make Qaddafi happy on this one issue only.

Stop funding it from the U.S. and stop hosting it. Stop pretending that it is really having any effect on those who will do what they will in their own countries, and allow it to fulfill the real need for speakers from socialist/Marxist countries to have their say on another country's money while they spend their vacation time on the sand.

Obama has given up the U.S. every chance he gets so make some use of that. I don't want to pay for the U.N. sideshow anymore.

Posted by: letscheck | September 26, 2009 4:54 AM | Report abuse

After Iran is bombed which nation will the US and its allies decide to bomb next time? When will the next time come?

Will the US and the West be outraged if those who are bombed object to being bombed and decide to retaliate?

The US and the west are guilty of hypocrisy. They have nukes and they believe that they have an entitlement to them. They also believe that they have an entitlement to bomb nations who contravene their policies and demands.

Why are there double standards? If you think that this is not the case then make an overwhelming argument that can be presented to the Iranian people so that they can understand why you are prepared to kill some of them and invade their sovereignty. I do not think that you can do it.

The US has a history of violence and that history continues. How do you think it will end? Will it be WWIII? If not, will the world become peaceful after the US has bombed another nation?

Posted by: robertjames1 | September 26, 2009 5:51 AM | Report abuse

If you haven't heard of Hassan Abbassi, then the delusion that the core of this is Israel, jews, or american lives wasted on same is a disease confirming your inner compulsions. If you haven't heard Hassan Nasrallah comment on Israel's REAL relation to the USA, ('the Israelis are just a battalion of the USA') you are merely going to be totally wrong

Google Abbassi then comment. HE never mentions Israel. Israel is just the closest handy representative of the arrogant powers and god's choice via the quran to suffer for their manifest sins.

But don't worry. Barack Obama is not going to attack ANYONE, and this is no more than Stanley Baldwin being compelled to say something or look even more foolish.

But we should all be quite sanguine that NOTHING short of firepower will stop Iran, and that nothing short of elimination will stop Israel from acting SOMEHOW, and that nothing will stop that from resulting in 1914, certainly for the entire region.

Avoiding that end should be what policy is about, all of which keys on stopping Iran. Who, like Pakistan, would rather as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said - 'eat grass' if they have to.

So should we kill a few and dirty ourselves? Or do nothing and feel clean as Israel and Iran exchange nuclear, chemical, and BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS from which there will be no safety ANYWHERE on the planet?

Just asking

Posted by: epaminondas1 | September 26, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Just another example of BO's insane behavior. We cannot afford an insane president for three more years. Time for impeachment for reason of insanity.

Posted by: cmvairin | September 26, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

If the "world community" (whatever that really is) and UN isn't able to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, then the entire edifice of the non-nuclear proliferation program crashes down around us.

One, two, three and many other Irans will follow.

A nuclear arms race in the Middle East and elsewhere.

This doesn't end well, folks.

Posted by: SteveMG | September 26, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

You know what the slowest part of this "slow-motion Cuban Missile Crisis is"? They still haven't gotten around to putting the nuclear missiles in Cuba. Oh, and they still haven't gotten around to making any nuclear missiles. Oh, and they still haven't gotten around to make any actual nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, we're waving around satellite photos of buildings and claiming we have proof of something nefarious. Bah. We've seen this movie before.

Posted by: vinsons | September 26, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

If a facsimile of the Cuban Missile crisis does in fact occur, we will all learn to our sorrow how very much unlike JFK the current incumbent actually is. The blatherings of Caroline Kennedy notwithstanding.

Posted by: diana11777 | September 26, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama will do nothing but temporize and strut. This past week was truly pathetic. Bibi knows that Barack is worse than useless. When the time comes, Israel will act decisively.

Posted by: emmet1 | September 26, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Comparing Iran to the Cuban Missile Crisis is preposterous.

Posted by: piniella | September 26, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Iran must be stopped, preferably by sanctions, if needs be by force and we should prepare for the terrible costs that this might entail. President Bush was no keener than his successor to attack Iran -
something Republicans seem to have forgotten. Already, the Kurdish Iraqi President has aligned himself with Iran on the issue of an Israeli flyover, giving us a taste of what US soldiers stationed there may face after the holy city of Qom has been set alight. In the event of war, Iran's navy, with its shkval-type torpedoes, must be destroyed or it will sink many American ships and oil tankers. Oil will go up and the world economy will take another massive hit. Terrorism will be the least of our worries.

Amidst all this, supporters of Israel seem irritated their favorite country is getting less than uncritical praise. Iran must take responsibility for its own actions but the fact that there has been
a nuclear arms race in the ME, with one runner on the track for most of the last fifty years, is getting remarkably little air-time. Israel has nukes aimed at Iran and is seeking to preserve indefinitely its nuclear monoploy in the ME. Actually, it's even funnier than that. Israel, having lied to successive administrations about its own program and bullied Nixon into a humiliating promise of silence, still refuses to acknowledge its program at all, let alone open it up for inspection. American politicians are still terified of mentioning Dimona. And now the premier of a nuclear outlaw state has the gall to talk of Iran's NPT obligations and threatens to hit Iran, possibly with nuclear weapons.

When this mess is sorted out, America will have to address the issue of Israel's nukes. It can wait no longer.

Posted by: galb | September 27, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama's response will be timidity which he will attempt to obscure with a lot of stern words delivered with that furrowed eyebrow of his. The style will be strong, the substance will be weak. That's the Obama style.

I also agree with others who fault the author for equating Iran with the Cuban Missile Crisis. When JFK found out the Soviets had put missiles in Cuba, he surrounded the island with 100 warships and put 250,000 troops on alert. All within a few days. He communicated American resolve, not with a flowery speech containing Kumbaya abstractions, but with overwhelming preparation for war.

Kennedy did so without getting the prior permission of any other country. Kennedy did not let this country's defense hinge on the indulgence of the UN or others. He acted alone because he had taken an oath to act alone if need be to defend the United States. This is what worthy presidents do.

Obama would never do this. He is not a decisive man by nature. Look at his fickleness with his own handpicked commander in Afghanistan. Even now that the Iranian deception clearly proves, beyond all rational doubt, that they are after nuclear weapons, Obama will not decisively act. He is already outsourcing US foreign policy to the UN, which is where clarity and courage go to die. He is already speaking in terms of "consensus." This is ObamaCode for doing nothing that matters and making American security rest on the consent of others.

And if decisive action is not taken against these nuclear facilities, the Iranians know only "sanctions" and a "united world front" will be the price they need to pay.

They will be happy to pay them. If you're an Iranian theocrat who believes it is your religious duty--as they have repeatedly said--to harm or destroy Israel and the United States, a cutoff of gasoline or suffering Barack Obama's stern disapproval is not going to persuade you to stop building the one weapon that could catastrophic damage on your enemies.

Barack Obama is an appeaser to his core. It's time to come to terms with that fact and with what it means: Until at least January 20, 2013, we face a lot more danger than we now know.

The silver lining to all this will be the election of a different president in 2012, as the American people will overflow with outrage at Obama, once it is clear that beneath his forthcoming avalanche of words and photo ops about Iran, the logic of Obama's policy will almost certainly lead to a terrorist state armed with nuclear weapons.

That bottom line is where we are headed under Obama, and it is the only thing that matters.

Posted by: SARileyMan | September 28, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

"Obama would never do this. He is not a decisive man by nature." Posted by: SARileyMan

Considering he hasn't the 100 ships to put in the same ocean, he most assuredly wouldn't ever do this.

Kennedy had the Cold War U. S. Military to work with. Forty-five years of republican paring away at that military, sometimes under the more teeth less tail banner and mostly under the its too expensive banner has left the Navy, like the Army, starved for available resources. No draft means no over stuffed reserves to call up and put to sea, or put boots on the ground in some unanticipated flash point.

It has also meant that we haven't the remotest chance of paying for much more military than we already have, especially since for the last two decades we haven't done a very good job of paying for the military we have already.

Meanwhile, all these fire eaters who insist that "We HAVE to do something" need to answer one question:

Just what level of loss of life in the attacking forces they seem to want someone to launch will be acceptable for a military action that will only make Iran more dedicated to getting nuclear weapons?

Because we have seventy years experience with trying to change our enemies minds by bombing them back to the stone age, and we have NEVER had the slightest lick in demoralizing the people down there dodging those bombs.

Iran MIGHT still be amenable to doing what it is they claim to want to do, become a nuclear power power, but once the bombs start falling they will get bombs, most definitely plural, and then decide just how to use them.

And in 2012 the question of just how many lives the Republican candidate feels is a tolerable number to show how "resolute" he is will certainly be asked an aweful lot.

So all you Sarah Palins and Mike Huckabees better decide just how big a number you will need to keep your base happy.

What am I bid, five hundred planes and crews, ten thousand dead and a hundred thousand maimed to show Iran how manly you are?

Posted by: ceflynline | September 28, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Why was Cheney's Halliburton Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran at least until 2005?

http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/2-halliburton-charged-with-selling-nuclear-technologies-to-iran/

Posted by: ohhey | October 2, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

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