Ignatius Concludes Bombing “Not Likely”

Citing most of the same evidence that I have written about over the past few weeks, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, whose access to key policymakers (outside of Vice President Dick Cheney’s office) is second to no other Washington daily journalist argues in his Sunday column that the Bush administration is unlikely to bomb Iran before it leaves office. It’s an important column, not only because he is more specific about the messages conveyed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, (and DNI chief Adm. Michael McConnell before him) to top officials in Israel this summer — that the U.S. would “oppose overflights of Iraqi airspace to attack Iran” — but also because he has been told by a “senior official” that the administration will announce what has been rumored for the past month — that Washington will indeed open an interest section in Tehran. Given the trauma of the 1979-81 hostage crisis, I personally believe that the presence of U.S. diplomats in Tehran virtually guarantees that the U.S. will not attack Iran so long as they remain there. If the prediction of Ignatius’ senior official comes true, it’s a very, very big deal in my view.

Ignatius is particularly close to both the Pentagon brass and the intelligence community (and he’s writing a book to be published in September with Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft). His mention of the study by the Washington Institute for Near Policy (WINEP) — which clearly tries to downplay the international consequences of a U.S. and/or Israeli preventive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities — is particularly interesting in that respect. The study, which its authors have strenuously denied is aimed at making such an attack much more “thinkable,” is nonetheless quite concerning, even more so because Tony Lake and Susan Rice (among Obama’s closest foreign-policy advisers) effectively endorsed it. It’s clearly on the minds of some people who count.

After reading the column, you should also look at Col. Pat Lang’s caution about it on his always-incisive blog. He generally agrees with Ignatius’ analysis, expands on it in important ways, but notes that the current commander-in-chief could prove disturbingly unpredictable in the wake of the November elections. If, on the other hand, U.S. diplomats are in place by then, I think his options will have narrowed considerably.

Author: Jim Lobe

Visit Lobelog.com for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service's Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

64 thoughts on “Ignatius Concludes Bombing “Not Likely””

  1. Col. Pat Lang is right that the Iranians need to drop the rhetoric and consider who they are dealing with. I hope the US is serious about diplomacy and a compromise can be made.

  2. Washington WILL open an interest section in Tehran…whether the Iranians like it or not! LMAO! XD

    @ eep: the Iranians know exactly who they’re dealing with…they’re dealing with the Great Satan! It’s the US that needs to consider who they are dealing with! The Iranians have no fear whatsoever about going to war with the US right now at this very moment! The Iranians can, quite easily, obliterate the US naval presence in the region and do so in less than a day…and there’s not one gawlddang thing the US can do about it! The Iranians can shower every american base in Iraq with missile warheads, hundreds of them…and there’s not one dang thing the US can do about it! The Iranians have the most sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons systems in the world and their probably many layers deep by now…stealth aircraft would drop like flies in the event of an airborne attack! The Iranians have a paramilitary force of more than twelve million men, many of whom would gladly get behind the wheel of a truck packed with HE…even if they re instituted the draft the US could only muster about five million men who want nothing more than to play video games, drink cheap beer, and have sex.

    So anyway…the US needs to STFU cause it spits on people when it talks and it’s breath stinks! :D

    1. Note that it is American ships in the Persian gulf, not Iranian ships in the gulf of Mexico. Note that it is American troops occupying Iraq, not Iranian troops occupying Mexico. Iran has invaded no country in its almost 300 year history as a modern nation.

      1. Right you are andy…but what does that have to do with what I said?

        correction: “Washington WILL open an interest section in Tehran.” Whether the Iranians like it or not?! LMAO XD

    2. I agree if there is a war there is going to be a bloodbath.

      My point is that they are giving political cover to their enemies. I find it illogical that they say stuff that ends up on Fox News unless they are actively seeking a bloody confrontation. I saw a clip from someone speaking for JStreet on Fox News wanting diplomacy. This Ann Coulter wanna be kept on bringing up the crazy things Ahmadinejad has said. Then she claimed diplomacy wasn’t working (implying the only option is the military one). Then the guy from JStreet said that the US hasn’t spoke to Iran directly so there really hasn’t been any serious diplomacy by Washington. In my opinion the diplomacy could be nothing more than window dressing for an attack. I think the diplomacy is Bush’s idea through. The Neocons taught the Republicans to take the oppositions idea and redefine it for themselves and take the credit. This is Bush trying out Obama’s diplomacy plan. If it fails then everyone will know Obama’s plan to talk to Iran will not work.

      The political elite need something new and exciting. War is their fun. These people don’t care anything about the young or planes. They can always buy more weaponry from the war profiteers. They can outsource to more mercenaries if the national service proposals by McCain and Obama don’t go through.

      1. You’re exactly right eep…it’s nothing but a diversion before the initial attack: “We did every thing we could but those Iranians are crazy!”

        The political elite and the war profiteers will get way more than they bargained for this time around! Life will become extremely unpleasant for the Bilderberg-Trilateral-Bohemian Grove types in the very near future! Russia, China, India, and about a dozen other countries, know exactly who’s who and what’s what…Unfortunately in order to get to those responsible, many millions of “innocent” people will have to suffer in the process.

        BTW eep: Bush doesn’t have any independent thoughts or original ideas…every thing comes down to him from President Cheney. Also, there is no such thing as an “Obama plan” or a “Bush plan” or a “Neo-con plan”…there is only the Bilderberg plan!

  3. Nothing has changed!

    Here Jim goes on the basis of Ignatius’ notions, which are irrelevant when Dick Cheney is involved.

    The big story this week – totally ignored by everybody except Keith Olbermann – was that Dick Cheney was actually considering creating a casus belli for an Iran war by faking an attack on a US Naval vessel in the Straits of Hormuz! The concept was to build four or five fake Iranian naval patrol boats, fill them with armed US Navy SEALS and have them attack – or fake an attack – on a US Navy vessel in the Straits!

    Shades of the “Northwoods Documents” from the 1960’s when the Pentagon was considering faking the shootdown by Cuban MIGs of US Air Force jets and a faked shootdown of a US commercial airliner (more shades of 9/11!)!

    And people think Dick Cheney couldn’t have planned 9/11? Please…

    The bottom line: nothing has changed. Either Bush, and then McCain or Obama, have to blink and accept Iran’s enrichment, or Iran has to suspend enrichment. And Iran is NOT going to suspend enrichment for any reason – they’ve made that crystal clear. So where are the options for avoiding a war with Iran sooner or later?

    And if Jim Lobe thinks Israel is going to let the US slide on this war, he needs to think again. Even if the US does not give Israel overflight permission, Israel can start a war with Iran at any time, which will inevitably become a US-Iran war. And here we have an excellent chance that Netanyahu – the warmonger’s warmonger – is going to be the head of Israel sometime this fall.

    I don’t know who’s paying Jim Lobe to keep coming up with this Pollyanna crap about how there’s not going to be a war with Iran, but it’s getting irritating.

    1. "I don’t know who’s paying Jim Lobe to keep coming up with this Pollyanna crap about how there’s not going to be a war with Iran, but it’s getting irritating." Agent Lobe gets his paycheck from the same place that Agent Horton and Special Agent Raimondo get theirs from…FBI headquarters in Washington D.C., COINTELPRO Section.

  4. The mendacity of the Bush administration knows no bounds. Nothing can be put past them. I find very little reassurance that diplomacy is the true reason for wanting to send American diplomats to Tehran. Given their character and history, it is more likely that the Bush administration wants to give Iran easy access to hostages. What better way to quash protest over an air attack by Israel or the USA than to divert attention from the immorality of such an attack to the need to avenge any hostage taking that occurs in reaction. Given the American public’s predictable bellicose response to any hostage taking, it is to be expected that the Bush administration would want to make hostage-taking easy to happen so they can turn that event to their advantage. I think that is the message the Bush administration has taken aware from the trauma of the 1979-1981 hostage crisis.

    My thoughts are influenced by what Bush senior did in regards to committing American troops to Somolia in 1992. Throughout the presidential campaign that summer, Bush senior was non-committal. But the morning after he lost his presidential re-election bid, he committed troops to be sent there. Some announcement to make the day after losing an election. Why? I do not believe it was to help Somalians. It was to bedevil president-elect Clinton. Unfortunately, one fears Bush junior and the Cheney cabal are capable of even greater ignominiousness.

  5. (from the article): Given the trauma of the 1979-81 hostage crisis, I personally believe that the presence of U.S. diplomats in Tehran virtually guarantees that the U.S. will not attack Iran so long as they remain there.

    Sounds to me like those diplomats would be “voluntary hostages” whose lives and/or well-being would be guaranteed only as long as the Yankee Empire behaves itself. Or like the US diplomat ordered to stay at his post in Fail Safe, we’ll know the war has started when we hear their phone shriek.

  6. In the long run it’s better if Bush’s imperialistic, non-traditional, overly belligerent foreign policy fails anyway..but since I drive 50+ miles a day I hope it can all be worked out…Besides, the Iranians need more of the good stuff fm Russia..

    1. Bush’s policies are not as “non-traditional” as many Americans think. True, he is more unilateralist and “in your face”, but all American governments are imperial in outlook and mentality. Look at Clinton attacking Serbia in 1999. How was that morally different from Bush attacking Iraq? As I pointed out to my friends at the time, if the U.S. government can launch an undeclared war against a country in the middle of Europe that has never threatened the USA, who knows what a more bellicose administration will do in the third world? What is needed is a sea-change in our thinking. We need to dissolve the informal American empire, bring ALL the troops home, and terminate the military-industrial complex. The Bush administration – and its mentality – are simply the logical outcome of several decades of American ‘muscle-flexing’.

  7. Didn’t Justin Raimondo just do an analysis of Lobe’s new take on the likelihood of war and found it rather vulnerable? Cheney hasn’t resigned in favor of someone else, has he? Why wouldn’t the imminent creation of an “interest section” in Iran be all the more reason to hasten plans for an attack?

  8. The Iranians have thumbed their noses at the the international community for a long time. Many nations, not only the United States, but Britain, Germany, France and others have been trying to convince the Iranians to stop enriching uranium. The United Nations Security Counsel has passed resolutions and multiple rounds of sanctions. Well, at some point, enough is enough.

    The Iranians have been listed by the State Department as the number one sponsor of terrorism for many years going back to before 9/11. The barbaric country is run by a bunch of Muslim fanatics who think it is ok to force a 9 year old girl to get married(yep, that is the law on the books there, go check it out) and they have a President who declares that the Holacaust never happend on the one hand and that, by the way, there are no gay people in Iran. Sounds like he is mentally unstable. And we are going to sit by and let a nation like that go nuclear? What are we crazy? Wake up people. This is no joke.

    You think its child’s play to let the Muslim fanatics get nuclear weapons? They think they go straight to paradise and get 72 virgins if they kill us “infidels” and so why would they have the slightest hesitation to use such weapons if they got them?

    1. Wow Tim – great job at regurgitating the same old propaganda on Iran. Sorry to break it to you but this stuff only works on 30% of Americans and even fewer outside your borders.

      Propaganda – milk for idiots.

    2. There is already a Muslim country (Pakistan) with nuclear weapons. If the immigration policy continues in Europe there is going to be even more Muslim countries with nuclear weapons. Also Iran is the signer of the non proliferation treaty (thanks to the US) so they can use nuclear technology for peaceful means. The NIE last year said they haven’t tried to make nuclear weapons yet. I don’t see what is with the rush to war. They aren’t close to having nukes (according to the NIE), the US military is overstretched, and the other two wars are bankrupting us.

    3. Tim R,
      Turning up the volume control will not make your rant against Iran sound any less hysterical; it justs makes you sound desperate. And that is what the Zionist line of propaganda and hatred for the Muslims is becoming – desperate. Zionist propaganda doesn’t fool libertarians, or even progressives anymore. This month’s Nation magazine has a long article on Israel’s sham archaeological diggings in East Jerusalem being just a cover for some more cheesy land theft by the “settlers”. When you lose the libertarians and the progressives, you have lost the dynamic forces in America. Zionists such as you need to be prepared to back off or risk losing all. The old trash talking of the “ragheads” just isn’t getting it done anymore.

      1. Richard Vajs,

        When did I ever say I was a zionist? I am an American. Again, everyting does not revolve around Israel. Muslim fanatics in Iran and elsewhere are a threat to civilized nations all over the globe–regardless of Isael.

        1. “I am an American.”

          Central, South, or Northern?

          “Muslim fanatics in Iran and elsewhere are a threat to civilized nations all over the globe–regardless of Isael.”

          Really? How so? What is this “threat” *exactly*?

        2. Tim R,
          Please don’t waste our time by being cute. Do you really think we will believe that your hatred of Islam was just picked up from going to Toby Keith concerts? So if you are not a Zionist, why do you howl everytime I say something about Israel? Everyone knows that if you throw a stone in amidst a pack of dogs, you will soon know which one you hit – it will be the one howling.

        3. Richard Vajs,

          My hatred of Islam(radical Islam that is), where does it stem from? I will tell you. I was getting off the subway on the morning of 9/11/01 and watched in horror as the towers came down before my eyes. I was so traumatized I had to switch schools. Afterwards, I began hearing people say that Islam was such a peaceful religion but my logic said, “If its so damn peaceful why are Muslims killing people while shouting about Allah Akbar? So I started looking into it. I read a book called the Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and then a book called the Truth About Mohammmad, both by Robert Spencer. Then I started reading the Quran and the Hadiths for myself. That is where my hatred of Islam comes from. And actually it is not a hatred for all of Islam, just the radical Muslims and the ones who will not stand up against the radicals.

          As for Israel? To me its simple math: The Arabs control over 20 countries in the area. Israel just one country the size of the state of New Jersey. It is is less than 1 percent of the size of the Arab nations and yet they scream and yell about Israel. Why were the Arab Muslims not screaming and yelling during the Srebrenica Massacre when the Serbs murdered almost 8,000 people in a SINGLE DAY? Why were they not pitching a fit when over 200,000 of their fellow Muslims got killed in Darfur? But if Israel does anything wrong they howl and scream. Sounds like a double standard to me.

        4. Tim R,
          Adults learn that when things go wrong, there are usually underlying causes. You experienced the horror of 9-11. Did you not ask why these things happened? We have been fed a lot of trash as to how the Muslims hate our freedom, how the Muslims are irrational, how twisted the Koran is, etc. Well, supposedly the man responsible , Osama bin Laden, said that three things led to the attacks: 1. Our troops in Saudi Arabia 2. Our exploitation of their natural wealth; and (with his emphasis) finally and most importantly 3. Our support for Israel in their destruction of the Palestinian people.
          Which is it – was Osama responsible or was this horror created by people unknown. If you say Osama, well what of his reasons? What does his own emphasis tell you?
          The books you read (all by this Robert Spencer) are biased junk, have you ever read anything else? As for the Koran being “hateful”, try comparing it with the Torah – bloody slaughter for bloody slaughter and you will see that Islam is mild compared to Old Testament Judaism.
          Also you lump all Mid Eastern people in one category -“Arabs”. Actually Turks, Kurds and Iranians (Persians) are not Arabs and not all of these people are even Muslims. A lot of Lebanonese, Syrians and especially the Palestinians are Christian. As a seperate question, one has to wonder if John Hagee knows that he is persecuting his fellow Christians with his support for Zionism?
          Finally, you always wonder why in a world full of strife, I pick on Israel. Answer, America is responsible for all of the petty land theft and racism does which inflames the the whole Mid East. It is our fault and we can certainly put a stop to it in short order.

        5. Richard Vajs, I have compared the Quran to the Old Testament, and you are right the Torah does have some things in it that are appalling and horrible. But guess what? Jews have progressed, they don’t do those things anymore. When was the last time you heard of a Rabbi stoning someone to death for being gay? or for committing and “sexual crime?” It has not happned in over 2,000 years! But the Muslims still do it until this very day. They have not progressed. THAT is the difference.

        6. Tim R.

          Sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but Muslims, and especially Bin Laden, probably had nothing to do with the events of 9/11. See the FBI’s most wanted web site:


          Osama Bin Laden is wanted all right, but not for anything to do with 9/11. An FBI spokesman has stated that there is insufficient evidence to indict Bin Laden for 9/11! Furthermore no Arabic names ever appeared on any 9/11 related passenger lists.

          Considering that the Feds are pretty tenacious in slapping charges, couldn’t they find even a crumb of evidence to link Osama to 9/11? It makes one wonder why the US invaded Afghanistan and why Gitmo is filled with afghans.

        7. Tim R,
          Of course, most Jews have evolved. Generally when thinking of Jews, I get a mental picture of a concert violinist or some doctor like Jonas Salk. Jewish ethics can be very high. But not the Israeli government leaders or the so-called “settlers” – these are paranoid sociopaths with a racist world view. They are capable of stealing land off of the Palestinians, herding them into the Gaza like Nazis herding people into the Warsaw Ghetto, denying them education, access to medical care, shooting them out of spite, dumping human waste on their property, poisoning their livestock, appropriating their wells, and even physically attacking their children. They compound their guilt by lying, mooching and stirring others to warfare. These particular individuals are “evolved Jews” like the guys who dragged the black man on a rope behind their pick-up are “evolved white men”.

        8. Richard Vajs writes,

          “They are capable of stealing land off of the Palestinians, herding them into the Gaza like Nazis herding people into the Warsaw Ghetto, denying them education, access to medical care, shooting them out of spite, dumping human waste on their property, poisoning their livestock, appropriating their wells, and even physically attacking their children. ”

          I don’t doubt that over the years the Israeli government has not been kind to the Palestinians and has in fact at times treated them in an unfair, cruel and reprehensible way, and I for one make no excuses for them. However, I am curious about some of the examples you give. I am not saying your are right or wrong but I really would like more information on it. Where do you get these examples from? From what sources? I mean dumping human waste and shooting them out of spite? I don’t know, maybe it has happened but I would like to know where you get your sources from on that. As a matter of fact, I have travelled to the west bank and I never saw anybody doing anything like that to Palestinians, not that it might not happen, but I did not see it. They certainly are extremly poor and I felt bad for them but I never so the kind of wanton abuse you mention. And in fact the only one that got things thrown at was me. I had fruit and bottles thrown at me since I was with a Jewish group. And as God is my witness I did or said nothing to provoke anybody. Another friend of mine was in Hebron and he was walking to synagogue when he and a family came under sniper fire. They had to dive behind an IDF jeep to save their lives. Also, are you aware that some Israeli doctors peform free treatment for the Palestinians and that there have been cases of Israeli people that have donated organs to save the lives of Palestinians? I don’t think all Israelis are quite as evil as you make them out to be.

    4. I’m so grateful that I don’t live in a barbaric country that forces 9 year old girls to get married. In civilized America, by contrast, everything that our rulers do is for the good of the children. We do wonderfully enlightened things such as forcibly drugging 9 year olds to keep still in school so that they can learn about how their lives will be ruined, rotting away in jail if they get caught taking certain drugs that our caring rulers disapprove of.

      And this silly sexist male martyrdom for 72 virgins is so medieval. Here in the land of the red, white and blue we do things on a grand industrial scale for the benefit of all genders. Where but in America will tens of millions of True Believers be instantly transported into the presence of the Almighty at the first sign of mushroom clouds over the Holy Land? You Muzzies can keep your wimpy Allah and his 72 virgins.

      And can you believe that lunatic Iranian President demanding physical evidence for the Holocaust? He of all people should know that no evidence is required of religion. What would he do to Iranians who questioned the existence of Allah? It’s no business of his that thousands of people are jailed every year in civilized Europe for the thought crime of questioning the Holocaust. Do you think that any of the millions of True Believers would dare demand evidence that God speaks to our beloved Decider? Of course not. They believe and obey. It’s the American way!

      Just because the Iranians haven’t attacked anyone in about 300 years doesn’t mean that they are not bloodthirsty fanatics. And just because the USA has attacked dozens of nations in the past century doesn’t mean that we are not peace loving.

      1. Meta Cynic,

        We are on the same page as far as drugs. I think it is disgusting that we give dangerous psychiatric drugs to kids and it is equally disturbing that we put people in jail on drug charges. I’m against the whole “war on drugs.”

        But still you will compare that to Iran? Where they still STONE peope to death for sex crimes? And where they can force a 9 yo kid to marry? Come on, get real.

        1. “Over the centuries, morality changes. For example hundreds of years ago, it was considered OK to execute people for shouting, in rome – and it was the done thing to kill them as painfully as possible, probably by grating them to death while their knees were being chewed by hogs.
          But nowadays we would say that is _completely_ barbaric, and it’s much better to kill someone by tethering him to an electric chair and then passing electricity through his head and bones, until he starts to smoke, vomit, have his lungs turn into two boiling haggises and then his hot p*ss and turds drop onto the floor infront of a room full of press photographers.
          So in that respect, I suppose we’re much more civilised.”

    5. I wonder what Truman’s afterlife reward was for nuking 150,000 women and children in a country that was trying to surrender. But hey, we’re America, and we do as we damn well please.

      1. R. Nelson,

        I don’t think Truman should have dropped the Atom bomb on Japan, intentionally killing thousands of innocent children, women, and defenseless old folks can never, under any circumstances, be justified.

        However, to say that Japan was trying to surrender is untrue. After Truman was informed that the Atom bomb was operational, he sent a final warning to Japan that they must surrender or face “total destruction.” Japan ignored the warning. All US military experts, with the exception of Admiral Leahy, told Truman that we had to use the bomb or Japan would not surrender, and that if we invaded Japan without using the Atom bomb we would most certainly see 250,000 to over 500,000 US soldiers killed. So even though I think Truman was wrong to do it, I understand his thinking and its not as though he wanted to kill people. But his thinking was that he was actually saving lives of Americans in the long run by bringing the war to fast conclusion.

        1. Tim R.

          Months before the atom bombs were dropped the, Japanese leadership was ready to surrender but only if they could keep their emperor. The US demand for unconditional surrender served only to unnecessarily prolong the war. Since the Japanese were allowed to keep their Emperor anyway, what was the point of the atom bombs?

          The estimates of up to 1/2 million American dead in a full scale invasion of Japan is a face saving exaggeration. The military estimates were for 46,000 American dead. The naval blockade had brought the Japanese population to the brink of starvation.

          In addition to Admiral Leahy, General Eisenhower, General McArthur and Admiral Halsey were also opposed to the use of Atom bombs on civilian targets.

        2. “However, to say that Japan was trying to surrender is untrue. After Truman was informed that the Atom bomb was operational, he sent a final warning to Japan that they must surrender or face “total destruction.”

          You’re clearly either a deeply ignorant, or an ineptly deceiptful, individual, Mr R. Japan *was* seeking to negociate a surrender, albeit a conditional one. Trumann demanded an *unconditional* surrender

        3. Actually Japan wanted to surrender as early as 1944 when Saipan fell to the advancing Americans. This caused the collapse of Tojo’s government. It was only the “unconditional surrender” policy that prevented this. Japan wanted guarantees regarding the emperor’s safety and status.

  9. eep,

    The fact that Pakistan has nuclear weapons is scary. We should have never allowed that to happen. Why compound the problem by letting Iran get them.

    As to Europe and their immigration policy regarding Muslims, I suppose they are bent on national SUICIDE. Let’s hope they come to their senses.

    1. Iran is a signer of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. I don’t see how Iran could be prevented if they wanted to develop nukes. I don’t think the rest of the world is going to declare war on Iran. It weakens the strength of the US and it’s position in “The Great Game.” Our military is a sitting duck in Iraq. Our leadership suffers from delusional disorder. They thought Iraq would be a cakewalk and Afghanistan is a mess. Then the American people have chosen authoritarianism over liberty. The land of the once brave. Iran is just another global crisis for people to worry about for entertainments sake as they apathetically give up their freedom to ease their paranoia. I don’t think we know ourselves or our enemy. I doubt many people know the history and philosophies underpinning themselves and other people’s actions. A guy comes on TV, is presented as an expert and he tells us what to think. We’ve been taught since childhood to look up at authority figures for answers. What we do today has consequences for tomorrow. Iran is attacked then what?

      Europe has the same policy (a bit further along) as the US. The free movement of goods and people within a regional empire run by experts. The Europeans (from what I’ve read) are torn between respecting the cultures in their Empire and enforcing their secular humanist dogma on them. The end result is that it leaves people angry from being managed.

    2. But it was “okay” for India to acquire nuclear weapons, huh Tim? How EXACTLY would you (well not actually YOU, since I’m sure your a chickenhawk) have prevented it from happening? A permanent military occupation of the country which has several times Iraq and Afghanistan’s population? We all know how well that’s worked out. In reality the obtainment of nuclear weapons has undoubtedly prevented the outbreak of any further Indo-Pakistan wars.

      1. No, of course, it is not a good thing that India got nuclear weapons. I wish no other countries got nuclear weapons. But, compared to Pakistan, India is a much safer nation to have nuclear weapons. India is a civilized nation that is inhabited by peaceful Hindu people who are not homicidal maniacs like the Muslims running around in the hills of Pakistan. India’s biggest problem is that she has let to many Muslims in there. Her people have been murdered, trains have been bombed, the Indian parliament was attacked a few years back, all by Muslim fanatics.

        1. Tim, you are as ignorant of India as you are of the Islamic world. India DIDN’T “let too many Muslims in there”. Those Muslims have been in the sub-continent for a millenium. By the way, you never did ANSWER my question. How EXACTLY would “YOU” (I put YOU in quotations since I’m pretty sure your a chickenhawk) have prevented Pakistan from obtaining nuclear weapons?

        2. Andy,

          I am happy to stand corrected. India’s Muslims have been there quite a long time. But I still say that her Muslim population is her biggest problem, well, that and over-population. How would I have stopped Pakistan from getting nuclear weapons? Same way I would stop Iran: First try diplomacy. Offer them economic incentives and the like (this is the carrot approach). If that fails you try the “stick approach.” Put more diplomatic pressure on them. Get UN resolutions odering them to stop their nuclear weapons program. If that fails, you go on to economic sanctions, starting with mild sanctions and making them progressivly more severe if they fail to give in. As a last resort you have the US Air Force go in there and bomb their nuclear facilities, send in the Special Forces for a covert raid, whatever it takes to get the job done. So since you asked, there you have it, that’s how I would do it.

    3. The fact that any nation has nuclear weapons is scary. Especially considering that the nation with the most nuclear weapons is the only nation to have actually used them.

  10. The new ’embassy’ in Tehran will be for sending people like Christopher Hill and other traditional diplomats so that Dick Cheney can then kill them with bombs.

  11. The whole idea of a US interests office in Tehran is being looked at in an unrealistic way I think. The office could actually be used to further destabilization efforts inside Iran, much like the current US Interests Section in Cuba. As Seymour Hersh has reported, we are ALREADY at war with Iran by funding armed terrorist groups to spread violence inside the country, and Hersh has an even deeper insider background than Ignatius.

  12. I am sometimes amzed by the naivete of the bloggers and the relavent comments. A president cannot issue an order for war and automatically gets his wish; his orders has to first pass through a chain of command before it is executed, ie Defense Secretary, chief-of -staff, theatre comand, etc., each position is appointed by an act of Congress and has to be approved by that body. Once these persons have come to the conclusion war is not in the best interest of the country and have voiced their intention of resigning before carying out the order–as some have–it is no longer that easy to go to war, for there must be found replacement for them, which takes time, and by which time the public would be drawn into the discussion. On the other hand I do supposed (gathering from what we have since learned about 9/11) there is a fear by the perpetrators of what awaits them once their leave office, and in desperation they might do anything to distract from their involvement I do not believe Bush and/or Cheney would be indicted for their participation (too dangerous), but other mysterious things may happen to them. Sharon sleeps comfortably in his bed today; I don’t believe he wanted this, but others obviously thought it was best for him.

  13. Notice that, as the rhetoric against Iran has subsided somewhat, and some experts are opining that an attack is unlikely, oil and gas prices are now falling steeply. The average gasoline price is down by 23 to 25 cents per gallon from the peak a few weeks ago when the anti-Iran talk was at a high point.

    Remember, too, that when Israel assaulted Lebanon in 2006, oil shot up to the then-scary level of $75 per barrel, over fears that Israel’s war would draw in Iran and then the US on Israel’s side. But it was anti-Semitic to notice this connection, even though oil dropped down dramatically to $50 a barrel once the war was over without having involved Iran or the US.

    No, no; when oil goes up, it’s never because of these wars for Israel. And when it goes down, after threats of war with Iran subside a bit, it can only be because consumption has fallen. And if there IS a war with Iran, and gas becomes more expensive than Chanel no. 5, it’s only because of the oil demands of emerging powers China and India, and because of our failure to stop using this commodity, which is sold by Muslims and therefore a threat to Israel.

    1. The high price of oil in USD is not, as Hofmeister and the other mouthpieces for US oil companies say, simply a question of supply and demand. Threats of war in the Middle East, as you say, do play a role, particularly in futures trading. But the main portion of the price increase from $19 per barrel in January, 2002 to as high as $147 per barrel in July 2008, reflects the collapse of USD, which is no longer the world reserve currency, but merely an alternative, if a still important one for the nonce.

      At this point, the constriction of the US economy, with no prospects of short-term expansion and recovery, is perhaps also playing a role, but in a fashion exactly counter to what the US oil propagandists are saying.

      If Obama is seriously promising expanded drilling offshore and in Alaska to private oil interests he is a greater fool economically than one might have suspected, even of a man legally trained.

      There is very little choice at this point save to nationalize US oil, not as a matter of ideology, but to limit the currency collapse and give what economy the US has left some breathing space.

      Getting out of Iraq and not attacking Iran are also required, it almost goes without saying.

      There may be other ways besides nationalization to get the same result but they do not seem easily workable.

      One does not doubt that, left to their own devices, the Democrats will make a mess of this, on the model of Pemex, for example.

      Taxes on “windfall profits” and such are also nonsense, unless returned to all consumers, individual and commercial, in the form of instant rebates. They do not lower the price of oil in the US in any way, but simply give a larger portion of the profits to the Federal government, which is the last place it will do any good for the economy or the currency.

      That is all the more reason to formulate what a rational nationalization plan might look like toward the end of financial and economic recovery.

      Given the present Disneyfication of Left and Right in the US, on the other hand, to think the political and financial elite is capable of either “rationality” or a rational “nationalization” is itself perhaps no more than wishful thinking.

      1. You’re right in saying that the value of the dollar is a huge factor, especially in futures trading, but remember that futures traders worried about war with Iran may be worrying not just that there will be supply interruptions caused by conflict in the Gulf, but also that such a war itself would drive the value of the dollar down much further – because the collosal expense to the US will drive the US debt burden to catastrophic levels.

        So there isn’t such a clear distinction between Iran-war worries and dollar-decline worries when it comes to trading in oil futures. The former fuel the latter.

        1. Absolutely–the fundamental weaknesses of the US economy, obvious even before the collapse of subprime to those who looked, is also a factor. In fact there are several different recursions involved.

        2. One might also note that the two strands are sepearable to some extent, particularly since the first stges of the collapse of the USD preceded by some time the prospects of a US or Israeli attack on Iran.

          For those who look closely into the matter one might also point out that the war in Iraq, and the rise in the price of oil therefrom, contributed directly to the collapse of sub-prime, though most economists, whatever poison they name as their theoretical bent, still do not see how. Sub-prime mortgages in turn fueled high real estate prices and the prospect of buying residential real estate as an investment.

          Bush and Cheney and their wars have been the decisive node in the financial collapse, but Clinton also played an important role in getting rid of long term bonds and with the war against Yugoslavia.

  14. Timmy, you may never have said you are a zionist. I believe you on that score.

    It only serves to highlight your dishonesty.

    1. Well, one supposes if someone like Condoleezza Rice asks the Iranians very politely, saying pretty please, rather than talking of “stalling” and “the runaround”, the Iranians might allow the United States to surrender. But I doubt it. Though extremely civilized and polite in their own way, they don’t have the empathy for US “face” that the Chinese and Vietnamese did in regard to the war in Southeast Asia.

      Also it is a much different time and place, isn’t it? And quite apart from their present religious fundamentalism, the Iranians have not been treated well by the US since the days of Dr. Mossadegh.

  15. I am surprised Lobe falls for Ignatius’ latest gift to the Cheney-Netanyahu regime. Nothing takes the steam out of anti-war activism and agitation and political pressure like sober-sounding assurances from establishment left of center opinion shapers that war is not in the cards. What malarkey. Talk has never been so cheap as it has been the last seven years. Short of the miraculous, the United States will be involved in military conflict with Iran before November 4. The Lobby knows its influence is starting to take a hit thanks mostly to the ballsy efforts of Mearsheimer and Walt. This is their last sure chance of deploying US military assets for Israel’s agenda on Iran. (They discount Obama’s pathetic bootlicking of world Zionism as purely motivated by election needs which he will discard once he is in office. In my view, Obama’s sycophancy is genuine–that is, even as president, he would lack the scrotal toughness to stand up to them. But no matter) And the neo-connivers have steadily created a deliberate and irreversible momentum to war on Iran. It is astonishing that anyone with any judgment would continue to give credence to any informaton purportedly coming from the Cheney white house. One should judge warmongering douchebags by their actions, not their prattle.

    1. Pretty much my vision of things as indicated above, JP. Great minds think alike. :-)

      We are rendered passive here, I’m resigned to that. The only thing that will avert an attack on Iran is the imminence of an horrific economic calamity, not that one isn’t in the offing. The reptiles that make up the American political class simply use the two party structure as a way of funnelling discontent into a meaningless franchise watching it emerge later, eviscerated, through some wormhole into the void. The hope of the next election consists solely in the swelling of the extremes, and that means Nader and Baldwin, basically. The Barr and Green Party candidacies are irrelvances that awaits suitable euphemisms. As some here know, I’ve been “checking” on Barr periodically and will continue to do so. The system needs purified of its filth and, in my view, Barr’s no help. Best to sit tight, stay home on election day and watch the whole affair crumble of its own accord.

      1. John L, good to see your comments again. As someone who is totally opposed to EC's proposed 'oil nationalization', I am curious as to your take on his opinions re: the US oil industry. I disagree with EC on moral and economic grounds, but there is also a political dimension that the wise curmegeon Fred Reed exposed in one of his columns. FR makes a good case that one of the few brakes upon the warmongers of DC is the price of oil. To the extent that the centgov can divorce oil prices from its overseas enormities will the US subject not care about DC's depredations. The grumbling over 4frn/gal oil is enough to give pause at this moment to Shotgun Dick and his imperial posse, else the US centgov would be at overt, rather than the current covert, war with Iran. Twelve frn/gal gas would cause a tidal wave of protest against DC – I do not know how pertinent a consideration potential high gas prices will be in future DC political calculations. Oil nat would also give the US mil, the world's largest gas guzzler, first rights to gas, further distorting supply and demand. To the extent that the oil industry is a handmaiden to DC, EC is correct re: recognition of the fact.

        EC, a clarification regarding Bastiat and the Socialists:http://www.lexrex.com/informed/otherdocuments/the
        If you can find Bastiat in sympathy with the Socialists in that statement or any other within "The Law", more power to you, and I would appreciate it if you shared your discovery with me. Your insistence on impeachment is superb – had the impeachment power been in wide but careful use since at least Adams pushed through the Alien and Sedition Act, we would not have the hellish imperial state we are in now. That we and the world suffer underneath our imperial burden further strengthens my belief in peaceful anarchy, since even a constitutional government cannot restrain itself from its own nature. Funny zinger above regarding the Irans accepting US capitulation – rather be an observer of your wit than a target. ST

      2. Your right. WE NEED NEW PARTIES. Parties that will truly represent the people and not special interest groups. At the foreign policy level there really is no difference at all between the Republicans and the Democrats. Both are fully committed to an imperial foreign policy. Both are essentially bought and owned by AIPAC. For all practical purposes America is a one-party state. We have the ILLUSION of democracy but that’s all it really is.

  16. TimR. What are we going to do about Israel’s hundreds of atomic weapons? They threaten to use them all the time and are by far the most dangerous nation in the world.

  17. As Fletch (Phil Silvers) says to Sam Bass (Lee Van Cleef): “These are not your guns, Sam–they are your teddy bears….”

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