Wednesday, September 20, 2006

unprovoked nuclear first strike against Iran

* emptywheel continues her great work into the mobile weapons labs:
"This chronology suggests there's even more correlation between the internal debate about the trailers and Judy's reporting. Her first article would serve to publish positive results before the mid-May team(s) reached any conclusions. The May 21 article almost certainly served to pre-empt the Jefferson Project study. The subsequent May 28 declassification of the White Paper served to negate the results of the Jefferson Project. And Judy's June 7 article clearly integrates the reaffirmation from the CIA (in the Condi briefing), which was sent on June 6. Every time they needed to reaffirm their claims for the MBLs, Judy magically wrote a new article on them."

* arkin:
'I received lots of hate mail yesterday in response to my "Shock and Awe" piece, some accusing me of working for the Israelis, the CIA or -- even worse -- the State Department. Others called me a tool, a puppet, an errand boy, or a plain fool.

My guess is that there is little I could say to “prove” my views on the Israel-Hezbollah war. The camps are pretty well established; their positions hardened.

Yet I want to write a “myths and facts” column to try to establish some baselines, regardless of their popularity. My observations on the ground in both countries and my discussions with experts and government officials paint such a different picture to the dominant we-have-the-answer-to-what-this-all-means position, officially as well as among the public.

I don’t mean to promote a morally relative take on what happened, or suggest Hezbollah and Israel are equivalent because both went to war. To me, the issue isn’t that one man’s massacre is just another’s military success.

The problem is the massacre itself. We have grown exaggerated in describing war. The words "massacre," "genocide" and "war crimes" flow too freely.

I didn’t see any massacres, period. I didn’t see any wholesale killing of civilians. There was no genocide.
As the Israel-haters get lost in their denunciations and conspiracies, they further conclude that no reason is possible in dealing with the Israelis. Their view is that they have always been shown to be aggressive and indifferent to human life; they need to be eliminated.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Israeli smoting section. Israel may have erred by failing to fight more aggressively, go in on the ground sooner, train its reservists to super-status, get hot meals to the front, react earlier."
* zaman:

"A new report states building Turkey’s nuclear capacity in the long-term is a logical and credible option for dealing with Iran, which has long been on the world’s agenda for its nuclear activities.

The report titled “Iran, Its Neighbors and The Regional Crises” published by Chatham House, a British think-tank, cites Turkey may join the nuclear race with Iran in order to maintain its regional power in the face of a potentially nuclear armed Iran.

“To the Turks, diplomacy and military action seem for the moment to be ineffective mechanisms to thwart Iranian ambitions for nuclear weaponry. Furthermore, Turkey does not wish to see additional instability in the Middle East beyond Iraq nor hostile relations with its Iranian neighbor. Building Turkish nuclear capability appears to be the only logical and credible long-term option at present,” the report read."

* yglesias:

"At this point, I think I need to bring up what one might call the Craziest Goddamn Thing I've Heard In a Long Time. This story came to me last week from an anonymous individual who I would say is in a position to know about such things. According to this person, the DOD has (naturally) been doing some analysis on airstrikes against Iran. The upshot of the analysis was that conventional bombardment would degrade the Iranian nuclear program by about 50 percent. By contrast, if the arsenal included small nuclear weapons, we could get up to about 80 percent destroying. In response to this, persons inside the Office of the Vice President took the view that we could use the nukes -- in other words, launch an unprovoked nuclear first strike against Iran -- and then simply deny that we'd done so. Detectable radiation in the area of the bombed sites would be attributed to the fact that they were, after all, nuclear facilities we'd just hit.

Now I rather doubt that's going to happen. Typically, Bush dials down the crazy factor a notch or two relative to what comes out of the OVP. Nevertheless, it's a sobering reminder that we have genuine lunatics operating in the highest councils of government at the moment. It's an extremely dangerous situation."

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