Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Iraq Redux

Leon Panetta is one scary dude. CBS News carried a piece last night that was an excerpt of an interview with him for 60 Minutes. In it he claimed that Iran has the capability to “assemble” a nuclear weapon in a year or less and that “we will not tolerate” Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. Asked what his reaction to an Israeli strike on Iran would be, he replied that, “We share the same common concern. The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously, for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will deal with it.”

He went on to use the infamous, “no options are off the table.”

I find it rather repugnant to hear the leaders of my country talking about what they will or will not “tolerate” another sovereign nation doing within the borders of their own country.

I find it both repugnant and frightening to hear the leaders of my country threatening to commit acts of war against another sovereign nation, especially on unsubstantiated charges of “weapons of mass destruction” programs which most of the world finds not credible. Did we learn nothing from Iraq and, “We don’t want the next evidence to be a mushroom cloud” rhetoric?

Update, 9:00PM: According to the NY Times, aides in the Pentagon are now backpedaling furiously from Leon Panetta's remarks; No one-year timeline, no war, no "all options are on the table." Hmmm. Interesting, if not altogether reassuring.


bruce said...

I just want to know what exactly can we do about it realistically speaking?

Sanctions don't seem to work. I don't think they really ever do with totalitarian regimes anyway.

Military strikes? Look where that got us in Iraq. Well, invasion anyway. they stole our drone, what do you think they will do to the other weapons we could send their way? And that's if we actually knew when - where - how much - to strike. Do we know? Does anyone actually know, like in hard evidence?

And of course the big question is why? And is there any other nation what would go along? Look at Libya, "NATO" was the antagonist, and we all know that the US is most of NATO. Even thought we tried (and failed) to disguise the official US involvement in that.

Granted that Iran (or any unstable antagonistic nation) having a nuclear weapon is not a desirable outcome, Jayhawk does have a very valid point - do we have the right to tell another nation what they can and cannot do?

I don't want to see mushroom clouds over anywhere. But threats and whatnot are not an appropriate approach.

Bartender Cabbie said...

I don't want to see mushroom clouds either but I do not want troops on the ground. Iran can't have nuclear capability though; peaceful or otherwise. They also can not be allowed to close the Gulf. Targeted and limited strikes with low yield strategic weaponry might be the best way to go if it comes to a real shooting war.

Jayhawk said...

Pakistan has nuclear weapons, and how many times have they used them? India has nuclear weapons, and how many times have they used them? Israel has nuclear weapons, and how many times have they used them? North Korea has nuclear weapons, and how many times have they used them? The possesion of nuclear weaponry does not mean that they will be used. They have been used only once in history, and it was us that did it.

"They also can not be allowed to close the Gulf."

Iran having a nuclear weapon would not close the Gulf. Us attacking Iran absolutely would close the gulf.

"Targeted and limited strikes with low yield strategic weaponry might be the best way to go if it comes to a real shooting war."

Us using nuclear weapons anywhere in the world would be utterly insane. The entire Arab world would declare war on us and on Israel. Not one nation in the world would support us. Israel would not survive, and neither would our economy.

Bartender Cabbie said...

You are correct here. No one has used such weapons since WWII was ended by them. Pakistan and N. Korea have not used them but the Western world and western allies would be better off if they were not armed with such weaponry.

Hopefully war with Iran will not come. The drums are banging though I have noticed. Don't know how much is rhetoric.....

I do not want to see any American forces on the ground whatsoever in Iran. Under any circumstances. If a real shooting war does develop then how would we avoid "boots on the ground?" Conventional air strikes and naval artillery have not historically proven an effective enough weapon to end hostilities quickly, if at all.

Jayhawk said...

"If a real shooting war does develop then how would we avoid 'boots on the ground?'"

If a war develops it will be because we started it. To avoid "boots on the ground" we simply don't start a war.

Bartender Cabbie said...

OK. As long as we have an interest in the oil that flows through that small waterway then we will maintain a military presence.

You may well be correct about who will start hostilities but I submit that this is a moot point. Avoidance of our troops becoming casualties trumps most other considerations.

I am not advocating thermo nuclear war mind you. I can see where it might be easy to miscontrue my position. I do think, however, that if some sort of "real" shooting war does come an option of limited stikes with low yield weapons on military targets only(Padaran bases, naval and air facilties) would end the matter quickly with the fewest number of human casualties.

The last thing I want to see is another Iraq type boondoggle.

Jayhawk said...

So, how does "some sort of shooting war" come about if we don't start it?

And even if there is shooting, if we use one nuclear weapon, anywhere in the world, the whole world turns against us. Can you not get that? The whole world. We are the only nation ever to have used that thing, and we are the only nation making threats to use it now.

Bartender Cabbie said...

I do get it. But there is some reason for us to be in the region militarily. That reason is oil. If we were near self sufficient then we would not care a whit what goes on in that part of the world.It would be of only slightly more strategic value than sub Saharan Africa. I'm looking realistically though. We are there. We will be there, rigthly or wrongly, for the forseeable future. It is unlikely that our govt will allow any interference in the waterway or Iranian dominating our "allies" in the region.

If it does come down to a conflict, no matter who starts the shooting, how would we end it quickly with the least amount of casualties on any side? How?

There are times when I think we would just be better off in isolation. Hell with alliances and "strategic thinking." That won't happen though and taking such a position is not seeing things in a realistic manner.

Jayhawk said...

And if we get into a shooting war with Iran the oil from the Middle East stops. That's why this whole issue is so completely insane. We have a military presence there because of oil, but if we use it against Iran the oil stops, so the only nation against whom we threaten to use it is Iran.

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