Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thanks for the laughs 
Not sure where they came over from, but I'd like to thank everyone who came over to this thread and called me a Chickenhawk.

To wit:

You, sir, are a true chickenhawk. The living breathing embodiment of privilege without principles, logic without sincerity, rhetoric without wisdom.

You have no sense of what it means to fight and, therefore, your very claims of needing a war are base out of dangerous ignorance.

The guy who sent me a link to a recruiting website was especially funny.

Why don't you come on down and call me a chickenhawk personally? Meet me at my unit. You'll know you're on the right side of the building from all the combat infantry badges on soldiers' chests and the shrapnel scars visible on a few of them.

Best laugh I've had in a long time.

Of course, when you simply don't have even a basic factual grasp of the issues themselves, and don't even understand the post, I guess the ad hominem attacks are about the only round you have to put in the breech.

(The guy who posted anonymously at 11:05pm, I don't mean you. You rock. Here's what you wrote:

The problem we face in any military option is that we don't know where and what to bomb. Recall that after the Israeli bombing of its nuclear sites in the 80s, Iran has spread out and buried large parts of its military and nuclear infrastructure, we know not where.

If that were not enough, we learned in Iraq that all the smart bombs in the world are only so effective against masses of people willing to throw their bodies at us. And Iraq is considerably smaller than Iran.

We're overstretched in Iraq, and don't have the resources to attack Iran unless we reinstate the draft. What if, after bombing Iran, the regime fails? Who will secure THAT country?

So it's back to diplomacy, for better or for worse. Note that we currently have good relations with Pakistan, another nuclear proliferator, and of course India.

Far better to make the public pretense of dealing diplomatically with Iran while supporting dissidents and agitators behind the scenes.

You are quite correct that some of Iran's nuclear program may be underground, and we don't know where it is. How much is anybody's guess. We know that a number of key sites are above ground, though, and we know where they are because the IAEA has visited them.

These sites will have a lot of capital invested in them, and a lot of skilled technicians. Iran's program can be set back substantially by hitting them, and hitting them hard. But you are correct - if Iran is willing to go through the time and expense of recocking their whole program and putting it underground, the task becomes much more difficult, and cannot be reliably achieved using air power alone.

Which is why I suggested also targeting Iranian industry as well.

Iran has a parliament. They have local rulers with local interests and local constituencies. They have a lot of practical people, even if their current president is a nutcase (though the nuclear program seems to predate him.)

These people do not want to see industry in their provinces destroyed. They do not want to see Iran's ability to export oil destroyed. (Iran's economy is not exactly diverse. It can be ground to a halt with the crippling of a relatively few and finite number of key sites.

If the regime in Iran falls, the risk to the United States is that Iran will become a haven for terrorists. Except, unfortunately, it already is. It will just not be a source of nuclear technology and material for them.

I am not advocating an occupation. I see this as primarily a Navy/Air Force fight, and the Navy and Air Force have plenty of reserve capacity. The Iranians are civicly organized enough to take care of themselves - even if the regime falls.

You are right that we have good relations with Pakistan and India. Pakistan, of course, is a marriage of convenience - we needed Pakistan to get at the Taliban. And Pakistan is not likely to transfer nuclear technology to rogue states when Pakistan itself - and particularly Musharraf - is a prime target for the terrorists they support.

India also has nukes, but they are a far more trustworthy government than any other in the region. Likewise, they are frequent targets of terrorist attack. They are unlikely to transfer nuclear technology to Sudan (Which remains Al Qaeda's most friendly government still in power) when that technology could be turned upon them in blackmail or outright strikes in Kashmir.

We also know why India and Pakistan developed nukes: To deter each other. I don't blame them. Why is Iran developing nukes? It was a reasonable idea while Saddam Hussein was in power. Iran had no choice but to work on a nuclear program, since Saddam was doing the same thing.

(I think anyone who argues for a policy of diplomacy MUST concede that had we not taken down Saddam, the Iranians would NEVER have negotiated away their nuclear program.)

So why does Iran need nukes now? To protect themselves from Qatar? Hardly.

The only reason Iran would need nuclear weapons now is to deter or blackmail the United States and the other western powers. That is their only practical use. So why would it be in the United States' best interests to allow this?

To compare Iran with India and Pakistan is folly. Iran is in a class by itself. Any nation which is a known supporter of terrorism abroad that has pledged to provide nuclear technology to Sudan has essentially already declared war on vital American interests.

If that were not enough, we learned in Iraq that all the smart bombs in the world are only so effective against masses of people willing to throw their bodies at us.

Actually, they are extremely effective against such people. So are claymores. But since I'm not advocating an occupation, they wouldn't have much of a target. They'd have to go abroad.

They could go into Iran - which would be the fastest way I can think of to get the Sunnis on our side.

We have plenty of capacity to attack Iran - and even invade it, if need be - though probably not on the jump. It would take mechanized forces which have mostly traded in their Bradleys for Humvees in Iraq.

We cannot, however, SUSTAIN the occupation, or control the countryside once we do...and that is a cause for caution, and an argument for continuing the path of diplomacy.

Far better to make the public pretense of dealing diplomatically with Iran while supporting dissidents and agitators behind the scenes.

Why is that better? When has that ever worked? How long have we been doing that with Iran already? How long have we been doing that with China? Cuba? How long did we do that with the former Soviet Union? With Iraq? None of it worked. That's not a strategy to succeed. That's wishful thinking. That's something you HOPE will succeed - but you have no reason to believe it will.

You can't even say the risk is lower. Because continuing down that path almost guarantees a nuclear Iran AND a nuclear Sudan. And then what will you do?

And if Sudan has a nuclear weapon - or even nuclear knowhow, Chad will want one, too, etc. etc. Chad will have little choice but to pursue nuclear weapons, since Sudan has already attacked them several times.

Furthermore, we know that Sudan has been a long time provider of support and succor to Osama Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda, and may well have been the nexus of Saddam's relationship with Al Qaeda anyway.

Once Iran has a nuclear weapon, then if the US must intervene in the middle east again, how will we support the effort? From what port? Answer: We can't. We cannot concentrate so much material and manpower in any port of debarkation whatsoever.

Qatar can be bullied into submission. So can Kuwait and the UAE.

The other Arab States know this. They may pay lip service to their own people, but do not underestimate the fear and loathing Arabs have towards Iranians.

Anonymous, you are right to have offered an alternative strategery - and you are alone among the 30 commenters who have done so. But how will your strategy of continuing to support dissidents make it in Iran's best interests to scuttle its nuclear ambitions? How will you actually get your wish to come true - particularly in light of the fact that a nuclear Iran is overwhelmingly popular with the Iranian people?

That said, at present, I do see an alternative course of action for the moment, short of war: Quarantine all shipping in and out of Iran.

This will require the Russians to shut down their pipleline for maximum effect. They might go with it, though, if they know that the alternative is for the US to attack Iran outright.

Robert Lewis:

Uh, with whom do you intend to invade?

Who said I advocate an invasion?

Where will the troops come from?

Diego Garcia, Al Asad, Guam, and the carrier groups.

Have you looked at the retention rates for lower grade officers?

Yes. They're better than they were under Bill Clinton.

Are you volunteering to lead troops into Iran,

Yes, if that's where the President wants me.

where, during the Iraq-Iran war they sent waves of suicide shock troops against US supplied Iraqi weaponry?

Doesn't bother me. Actually, I'd much rather fight them that way than dodge IEDs. I'd much rather fight suicide troops than smart ones who know when to disengage. If you think those tactics will be effective against Americans, you don't know anything.

They didn't work in the Pacific Theater either - and the level of firepower an infantry platoon can bring to bear on any kind of mass attack now dwarfs anything considered by a WWII or Korea infantryman by a factor of 100 or more.

If Iran uses poison gas, then that will be the end of their country as we know it. They will rapidly lose the capability to use chemical weapons ever again.

Dave Johnson:

But the Iraqi Shiites are aligned with Iran.

No, I believe that Iran is trying to align itself with the Iraqi Shias. But Iraqis - even Shias - loathe and despise Iran and are deeply suspicious of Iran. Iran is lending material support to some of the Shia militias as it stands as part of its efforts to ingratiate itself with them - and to expand its influence. But there is no love lost between Sistani, Iraqi Shias in general, and the Iranians.


Oh, I dunno, why don't we do something really radical like overthrow democracy and set the stage for tyranny there for decades. And for good measure, set up a brutal 'secret police force' for the dictator.

Oh, wait, we did that, 1953-1979

What on earth do the New York Yankees have to do with this?

Seriously - your point is a red herring. You have to aim your arguments before opening your mouth. Nothing we did in 1953 has a shred of relevance to the decision before us now. Oh, and there is no risk whatsoever that we'll be overthrowing a democracy, so what's your point?

Regarding 140 dollar/barrel oil prices - You would probably see a further spike in oil prices if there is war - or imminent war between Iran and the U.S. Once that conflagration is over, though, that price will likely drop down to prewar levels - just as it did in 2003 and 1990. Everyone said there would be an oil crisis, and that flatly didn't happen - though the brief spike in 90 contributed to a recession here.

If Iran becomes a nuclear power, though, the petroleum markets would have to build a permanent risk premium in oil prices - to account for the risk that Iran would blackmail the world's oil markets, or use its nuclear weapons to force other countries to lower production. The United States Navy's mission is to ensure open sea lanes enable the free flow of commodities - including oil - at market prices. If the US can no longer do that in the region, because of the deterrent effect of a nuclear Iran, then that risk premium would have to be priced into every barrel of oil in the world.

In short, allowing a nuclear Iran will not mitigate higher oil prices, in the long run. Rather, it will take a temporary market anomaly - demand exceeding suppply - and make it permanent.


You might want to do some reading about what "fascist" means. I'm sorry your professors didn't educate your dim little brain. It doesn't mean what you think it means. For example, there is nothing "fascist" about advocating the prevention of Iran from becoming a nuclear power. That is a legitimate policy goal for a socialist, democratic, Marxist, or right wing power equally. Calling me a "fascist" would do nothing to explain my position or the reasons behind it.

Sorry, but your frankly ignorant of the term.

Anonymous: 6:26AM -- Before you call someone else "asinine," you might want to learn to spell it correctly, friend.

Dr. Magoo:

The bigger point is one that robert lewis brought up earlier - we don't have an army right now with which to fight a new war.

Doctor Magoo, there is this thing we call a "Navy." And also this other thing we call an "Air Force."

You might look into it some time.

and military recruiting has been well short of its goals for many months.

False. Your mouth is writing checks your fund of information can't cash. For example, the Army exceeded its recruiting goals for seven months consecutively through December of last year. And every single one of the Army's 10 divisions exceeded its reenlistment goal for the fiscal year 2005. The Army did miss its ANNUAL target for first time enlistments because of shortfalls early in 2005. The Army exceeded its goals consistently throughout the later half of 2005. Haven't seen numbers for 2006 yet, but anecdotally, they look good in my corner of the Army. I've got so many new soldiers coming in they've swamped my supply sergeant's ability to issue new gear! I've never seen anything like it! I had to detail one of my best young sergeants to working with these troops - now fully a platoon in strength - before they ship to basic and AIT!

As problems go, I've had worse.

Anonymous: 11:42

Sue, let's go into Iran. While we are at it, I suggest wiping off the face of the earth Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Lybia and Syria, on the way to Iran.

Why? Are Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria pledging to turn Sudan into a nuclear power?

Saudi Arabia, the country that gave us 17 of the 9/11 terrorists, should be left alone,

Geez, I'm tired of seeing this dumbass argument come up again and again. Saudi Arabia is at war with Al Qaeda and has killed hundreds of them, and managed to round up 90% of the Al Qaida leadership in their country (as they existed on 9/11/01.)

There are a lot of nasty Wahabbist influences in Saudi Arabia. But the Saudi government is an important partner in the war on terror. When you say these things, you are essentially saying "screw you" to the Saudi Security forces which have been engaged in desperate running gun battles in the streets of Riyadh with Al Qaeda for years.

You're also showing your ignorance of how the War on Terror played out. If 9/11 changed everything for the United States, the bombing of the embassy housing complex in Riyadh in November 2003 changed everything for the Saudis.

By the way - calling me "too dumb to finish high school" isn't the smartest thing in the world to do if you can't even spell "Libya."

Oh, and don't call me "Sue."

Splash, out


Ahmednijad's always flying around to address one Islamic conference or another. I don't see why we don't make sure his plane has a "Fox 2" midair mishap over a large body of water sometimes (unless of course he's flying on a civilian airliner, but I kind of doubt that's the case). It wouldn't mean regime change, but it would send a powerful and not-so subtle message to the mullahs, and we can always deny it, however implausibly, out of one side of our mouths while driving the point home out of the other.
Excellent reasoning, and well thought out.

Actually making a big strike on Iran may lower oil prices in the long run. If we destroy their Naval and Air Forces, and important nodes of their infrastructure, Iran will be forced to sell lots of oil in order to pay for the rebuilding efforts. The infrastructure is probably their weak spot. We have the capacity to destroy every major power plant in the country in a matter of minutes. Any nuclear weapons program needs lots of electricity to function.
Actually, I disagree on one point...

If we throw down with Iran, we have to be prepared to overthrow the regime by any means necessary.

If we aren't, then it's Serbia all over again, where they wait us out. Only Russia turning on them (which brought Putin into power from the backlash) ended the bombing.

There simply isn't enough international political will to support any kind of sustained campaign, much less a military embargo afterwards. So pressure will mount rapidly for us to back off, which will be claimed as a great victory (yet again). An overthrow, on the other hand, presents the rest of the world with a fait accompli.

I also think that we have to be ready to send SOCOM in after key nuclear sites to recover evidence and make sure. That's really hard to do without an outright invasion, or at least a solid threat of one.

One thing going for us is that Iran seems to at least understand the principle of democratic government, and it doesn't have a quasi civil war between ethnic groups (well, yes, it does have some fighting and a good bit of oppression, but not to nearly the extent that Iraq did).

Easy? No. We're talking high stakes and big risks. But if Iran gets nukes, I cannot overstate the trouble that we will be in.
The U.S. can virtually shut Iran down anytime we want to. It won't take a super large force to accomplish a shut down. A few bombs or cruise missile's in the oil processing area's and the dock area's. Knocking out their Nuc's capability is even easier, three tactical nuc's in the right places and there will be no one working in that area for years. Want proof, look at the power plant accident in Russia. I don't know where the leftie infants get the idea that the U.S. military is maxed out, it's far from it even without the help of the left wing cowards. Call me a Chicken Hawk, they are awesome birds of prey. I watch them make a strike every few days. Kind of like a B-1 from 60,000, by the time the prey knows they're in the area it's too late. From an old B-47/B-52H crew chief.
I found the responses from the other thread hilariously asinine. Let me see, if you favor intervention in Iran,

(a) If you aren't in the military or about to join, you're just a chickenhawk and you should shut up about foreign policy.

(b) If you ARE in the military or about to join, you are a loser retard high-school dropout, and you should shut up about foreign policy.

Ain't it wonderful, "debating" the left?
As a "loser chickenhawk", I'm proud of your responses. But I have to wonder who opened the floodgates and let all the kindergartners out to play in the street.

What a bunch of morons they are. Is that CIB weighing too heavy on your breast pocket there, Jason? Or are they just too stupid to know who you truly are?

You press on, son. I'm loving your comments. Stick 'em.

**Saudi Arabia, the country that gave us 17 of the 9/11 terrorists,**

Again and again with this one.

Read the 9/11 Commission Report. It's very clear on WHY 17 of them came from Saudi Arabia. It was a calculated move on Al-Qaeda's part to infiltrate their agents into the country. They had their pick of anyone of the beauty school dropouts from all over the muslim world who were attending their terrorist training camps. They chose Saudis because they had better chances of getting into the country on their visas than yemenis, palestinians, afghanis.

They chose them - because our previous good relations with the Saudis permitted Saudi citizens easier access.
I have a nagging reluctance to attack Iran. Well, at least militarily. It's time to sanction them. We should have the Iraqi's try to talk to them. Not our Iraqi ambassador, he's still American. Not that re-opening diplomatic ties with Iran is out of the question, it just isn't consistent and they have not given us a positive reason to reopen full diplomatic channels. The other thing we should do is use the Cold War strategy: Start Building Nukes again or researching quantum weapons.

Iran is totally in the Axis of Evil (along with North Korea and I guess Sudan now?). However, I'm not sure they were when they had their previous president. Not that they were a full democracy, but at least they had a reformer. This may have been Bush's blunder as he didn't recognize progress in Iran. Yes they have their Supreme Islamic council, but things were better off with the previous Iranian President Mohammead Khatami.

Lastly, we don't know for sure they are going for weapons. Are they researching it? Yes. Are they actively developing them? Not sure. The CIA hasn't impressed me the last 15 years or so. We can't expect them to know everything.

Let's look at how a war would play out:
Given 1: Iraq fought Iran to a standstill for about 10 years
Given 2: We beat Iraq in 1991 in what, 10 days total 3 days ground?
Given 3: We beat Iraq in 2003 in about a month.
Conclusion: It would be a slaughter and we would stop it before completely defeating them because we would feel guilty

If we just used some airstrikes, they'd probably send some suicide bombers to Iraq, but no real consequences. Could we make Iran hate us more than they already do?

Maybe we could start being a little nicer to them and allow American Companies to directly invest in them. Them WHEN (not if, it's definitely when) they don't cooperate with IAEA or whatever, pull all money out and double the sanctions. Don't even let them get Game Boys (1987 b&w model). And start sending hippies to protest in the stree there.
Intersting post. I'm much less sanguine about the involvement of Pakistan in nuclear proliferation then you express, despite the fact that they are now "allies" in the war on terror.

Abdul Quadeer Khan ran what can only be defined as a commercial nuclear trade network, shipping know-how, centrifuges, etc. with significant support from within the Pakistani government. I have significant doubts about the Pakistani's ability and attitude towards policing their own technologies.
Diplomacy is a great tool. But diplomacy, in ulitmately boils down to 2 words: "Or Else". If you are not willing to exercise the "Or Else" option, then you might as well be wasting air with diplomacy.

Invading Iraq is an option, but not one that would be high on the list. Yes, our current force structure is tied up, but most folks don't realize is that only about 1/5 of the total Active force is engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq. We haven't even scratched the surface of our reserve components yet.

And for all you armchair generals out there: You can't get to Iran overland without taking the countries adjacent to it first. That would mean, even if Iran was the biggest threat and should have been target #1 from the get go, we would STILL have to take out Iraq and/or Afghanistan first (Iraq being the more logical choice as the Afghan/Iranin border is mountainous and not a good invasion route).
Here is a nugget for your recruiting info next time someone tells you recruiting is down. The Navy needs to cut 16,000 personnel by the end of the year. Not sure of the Air Force but they have too many people as well.
I don't remember who said it, but my favorite quote about diplomacy is:

"Diplomacy is the fine art of saying 'Nice doggy' while you look for a stick."

I have a feeling Bush will be finding a stick sometime after the midterm elections.
You might want to point out to the poster you quoted that the Israelis didn't bomb Iran's nuclear facilities - they bombed Iraq's nuclear facilities, effectively destroying Iraq's muclear program.
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