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#17671 - 01/23/06 11:12 AM Re: Strange and Scary Thoughts [Re: crackers]
oenophore Online   confused
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Registered: 09/24/01
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Quote of the day

January 22nd, 2006

“About two thousand kilometres.”

Lieut-General Dan Halutz, Israel’s Chief of Staff, on being asked how far Israel would go to stop Iran’s nuclear programme.

Source: Economist, 21 January, 2006, page 53.

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#17672 - 01/23/06 02:25 PM Re: Strange and Scary Thoughts [Re: oenophore]
Daniel Online   content
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Registered: 05/23/01
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Would Netanyahu so act without sub-rosa approval from Washington?

I think that Israeli leaders are perfectly willing to act without U.S. approval. (Not that it would probably be necessary. As Tom Friedman said some time ago, Sharon has Bush so deep in his pocket that he can't find him anymore.)

But there's a serious question as to whether Israel has the capacity to carry out a strike effectively because the Iranian operations are so dispersed. Even we could have difficulty doing it. From a Sunday Times Week In Review piece :

"'You are talking about something in the neighborhood of a thousand strike sorties,' said Mr. Lang [former head of Middle East intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Agency]. 'And it would take all kinds of stuff - air, cruise missiles, multiple restrikes - to make sure you've got it all.' Other former officials say fewer bombing runs would be needed.

"The Israelis, who see Iran's nuclear program as a threat to their existence and have been far more outspoken about a military option, give a similar assessment. But they also say they lack the air power, or the reach, to do the job."

Seems to me that a military strike could hinder operations but not stop them--and piss off a lot of moderate Iranians in the process. Also seems to me that our best opportunity in a bad situation is to reach out to the general Iranian population, most of whom are young and seriously dislike the mullahs that are running their country, and hope for long-term change. But who knows if our own government is capable of thinking in such terms anymore.

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#17673 - 01/23/06 02:43 PM Re: Strange and Scary Thoughts [Re: Daniel]
Mike Rawdon Offline

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Quote:

[Also seems to me that our best opportunity in a bad situation is to reach out to the general Iranian population, most of whom are young and seriously dislike the mullahs that are running their country, and hope for long-term change.




You mean we should get democracy on the march in Iran and hope that free elections will install a Western-friendly government?

Given the recent failure of that Beltway dream in Iraq, I wouldn't hold your breath.

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#17674 - 01/23/06 04:08 PM Re: Strange and Scary Thoughts [Re: Daniel]
crackers Offline
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It would not take anything like a 1000 strikes to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities for the foreseeable future.

It would take no more than a few hundred conventional bombs.

And I would disagree with the 'most young iranians hate the mullahs.' its just not true.

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#17675 - 01/23/06 05:34 PM Re: Strange and Scary Thoughts [Re: crackers]
chazman Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 944
I guess I’m not such a global dooms-day thinker… how about: Gas prices keep going up (or am I the only one who thinks that?), Ford cuts 25,000 to 30,000 jobs and idles 14 facilities, credit card companies must now almost double the minimum payment they are required to collect (over 7% of card holders make only the minimum payment), housing prices are (arguably) over inflated and the record number of “creative” mortgages that allowed John-Q-Public to buy that McMansion are suddenly facing a balloon payment that may be higher than the equity in the house, the new Medicare drug benefit plan is not the gift it was promised to be to the nations elderly (especially those with mental illnesses) are having trouble getting medications, the cost of the war is looking to be in the Trillions and we still can’t get New Orleans back on its feet (except for the majority white neighborhoods),… I think 2006 will be full of all kinds of fun surprises right here without having to think about the rest of the world.

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#17676 - 01/23/06 06:11 PM Re: Strange and Scary Thoughts [Re: Mike Rawdon]
Daniel Online   content
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Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
You mean we should get democracy on the march in Iran and hope that free elections will install a Western-friendly government?

Given the recent failure of that Beltway dream in Iraq, I wouldn't hold your breath.


Hey, I never said it was a great option. I just think it's the best of a bad lot. I think bombing will only delay, not prevent, Iran's nuclear capabilities. And if the Muslims out there dislike us now, just wait until we hit a few schools by accident.

This Slate Magazine article has a good discussion on the Iranian nukes problem. On the feasability of the military option, it says:

"So, what if diplomacy does fail? One thing is clear: The Israeli air force has spent the last several years preparing for that possibility. They have reportedly practiced bombing runs against a scale model of Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor, which they have built out in the desert. They have equipped all their F-15I and F-16I attack aircraft with external fuel tanks; each plane now has a combat radius of over 1,500 miles—more than enough to reach the real Bushehr and several other nuclear facilities. Israel has also acknowledged buying from the United States 500 BLU-109 air-to-surface bombs—popularly known as bunker busters—which can penetrate seven feet of reinforced concrete.

"However, some defense officials say this isn't enough. The Natanz facility, site of Iran's uranium-enrichment, is dug deeper still. The BLU-109 doesn't release a powerful enough blast to destroy Natanz. The site would be damaged, and the enrichment would probably be set back by several months, maybe even a year, but that's all. Meanwhile, the airstrike would likely spark a war with Israel (including stepped-up attacks by Iranian-funded Hezbollah), rally regional and international support for Iran, and stiffen the Iranian people's support for their besieged regime.

"If the United States joined in an airstrike, pounding the nuclear sites with repeated attacks from bombers and ship-launched cruise missiles, Natanz and the other facilities probably would be destroyed. Some U.S. officials fear that, for this reason (and because an Israeli attack would be widely interpreted as having an American stamp of approval in any case), the Israelis might launch an attack with the intent of drawing in the United States."

The rest of the article is well worth reading, though the author admits he doesn't have any good answers either.

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#17677 - 01/23/06 07:51 PM Re: Strange and Scary Thoughts [Re: chazman]
crackers Offline
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Registered: 03/21/01
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Well, the really interesting part of credit card and mortage failure is the costs that will be absorbed in the reinsurance market with the failure of CDOs as an asset class. I say really interesting because the catastrophic effects of bank failure is significantly greater than individual bankruptcy: oh wait, you can't declare bankruptcy anymore!

As for the Iranian thing, why focus on conventional weapons?

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#17678 - 01/25/06 05:19 PM Re: Strange and Scary Thoughts [Re: crackers]
Daniel Online   content
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Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
Am I the only one more worried about Pakistan than Iran?

Iran is years away from having nukes, even if they had free access to the technology. Pakistan already has them (and has exported the technology), and missiles to put them on. Pakistan has more than its share of extreme religious groups. Pakistan is being run by one person whom we support despite his failure to return the country to democracy, which hardly makes us popular over there (never mind our recent bombing of terrorists there which also took out a number of civilians). The country is not stable. If some nutcase takes out Musharraf, that place could descend into chaos and who knows where those bombs might end up.

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#17679 - 04/10/06 11:44 PM Re: Strange and Scary Thoughts [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5968
Loc: 212 land
You might say we're living in interesting times. See Seymour Hersh's article about this subject in the Apr. 17 New Yorker.
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#17680 - 04/11/06 01:03 AM Re: Strange and Scary Thoughts [Re: oenophore]
chazman Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 944
Quote:

The doctrine of prevention is to work together to prevent the Iranians from having a nuclear weapon. I know -- I know here in Washington prevention means force. It doesn't mean force, necessarily. In this case, it means diplomacy. And by the way, I read the articles in the newspapers this weekend. It was just wild speculation, by the way. What you're reading is wild speculation, which is -- it's kind of a -- happens quite frequently here in the nation's capital. "W"



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