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March 27, 2006


"One of the most awful legacies of the American left..."

Does Iran/Contra ring any bells?

Your man W. and your party control every branch of the goverment. If you are not happy with what is happening you can't blame the "left".

The fact is Iran is a real theat with real WMDs and they really do openly support terrorist organizations that hit American targets....unlike Iraq.

When I saw the headline, 'Tomorrow's News Unless We Act Today', I figured it would be about global warming or something like that, not about how Chicken Bushie says the sky is falling.

Eric, many on the left are engaging in "here we go again" attacks on the White House whenever it attempts to address the threat posed by Iran. I am glad that you are not in that group and do recognize that Iran poses a very serious threat.

Do you support military action against Iran by the U.S. and its allies? If so, are you demonstrating that support?

Gina, please, fill in the blanks.

Fool me once, shame on ____; fool me twice, shame on ____.

Note: Neither of the answers are 'liberals.'

"One of the most awful legacies of the American left ultimately may be that it has undermined American and world support for decisive action to stop Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons until it is too late."

You don't think more has been undermined by an Administration that launched a "pre-emptive" war under false pretenses and then botched the occupation that followed? An Administration that has wearied and worn the world's pre-eminent military and whittled away at its combat strength (in a conflict that could have been avoided), in part by failing to provide body armor or vehicle armor?

When history is written of this period, I'm pretty sure it's not the amorphous "left' that's going to get blamed...

Neil, if you seriously believe that global warming is a more serious and immediate threat than a nuclear attack by Iran or another rogue state, I respectfully submit that your perception of relative dangers is being distorted by your political hatred for our current president. In an effort to reach you, however, let me remind you of how much environmental damage a single nuclear attack can cause. To me, it's far more significant that millions of innocent human beings like you and me will be killed.

You don't think more has been undermined by an Administration that launched a "pre-emptive" war under false pretenses...

I think people who are inclined to support a war against Iran, like Gina seems to, should really be angry about this. Ultimately, the greatest harm to the prospect of war with Iran was done by Bush himself, by misleading America on the case for war with Iraq. Assuming that Iran really is a threat, it's not at all hard to see how Bush has poisoned the well of support for intervention by pushing for the unnecessary Iraq war.

Gina, I feel like I'm talking down you by even mentioning it, but an actual nuclear conflict is far from a predetermined conclusion.

Here's an instructive analogy: After getting up this morning, the most serious and immediate threat facing me was that I would fall down the stairs and break my neck. However, I didn't let this distract me from my goal of going to work, even though it would surely take at least a week of not showing up for me to get fired.

I hope your political obsequience to our current President does not cloud your vision too much to understand this analogy.

I see that we will have many visitors today who are primarily interested in defending the left from what they perceived as an unfair attack, or in making additional attacks on America's president or the White House. I will allow some latitude for this as long as it stays away from excessive name calling or abusive comments. Respectful, intelligent debate is always welcome here.

The single most important point of my post is that we face a very serious nuclear threat from Iran and similar radical nations and terrorist groups. We cannot afford to allow politics to keep us from addressing that threat swiftly and effectively.

Oh gee, and the fact that North Korea ALREADY has a nuclear weapon, is controlled by a maniac and has clearly signaled their intentions to use it in a first strike capability is NO problem at all? And you can't blame the left for that one. That was the Bush adminstrations screw-ups right down the line .

Iran is a very real threat. I am deeply disturbed by the radical anti-semetism of Iranian president Mohammad Khatami and the Islamic theocracy. The fact that they have access to nuclear technology is horrifying. Unfortuantely, as far as the US mid-east policy goes, this is a classic case of "painting oneself in the corner".

W. invaded a country without nuclear weapons that had a goverment that was a enemy of Iran. Our millitary is now streached to the limit trying to stop a civil war and support a new Iraqi goverment that ironicly has deep conections culturally and politically with Iran. If we attack Iran our pathetic attempt to create a "friendly" democratic, human rights respecting Iraq (that will still sell us cheap oil) will be even harder if not impossible.

W., Cheney, Rumsfeld, made a horrible blunder. The only way America can pressure Iran and successfully rebuild Iraq is to start with new leadership in Washington.

No, no, Gina, I'm not defending the left, I'm attacking you and your wicked, deceitful argument.

And I'm not attacking the notion that nuclear annihilation is 'very serious,' either. What I am attacking is the notion that we are facing this threat to an unprecedented degree, or even an actionable degree, from Iran right now. You could say that we can't afford to be wrong, but I could say the same thing about not falling down the stairs in the morning.

No, what I am attacking is the notion that George Bush has any credibility on the notion of nuclear threats from the Middle East. I don't feel that I apply an unfair standard; all I say is, in America, you only get one mistake when it comes to launching a war. The American military is a powerful enough apparatus that I'm sure you agree that this is not too strict a standard.

You seem to be arguing that the threat is so amazing that we have no choice but to trust our leaders unconditionally. To that I say, hogwash. There was a time when America's enemies had nuclear missiles trained on every major city, ready to launch at the press of a button. Iran doesn't even have any nuclear missiles, and yet you are trying to tell me they're more of a threat than the USSR was?

That's OK Neil. You can talk "down" to me anytime.

You say that "an actual nuclear conflict is far from a predetermined conclusion."

Call me crazy, but I prefer to make plans before the nuclear attack that kills millions becomes a "predetermined conclusion."

Are you aware that Iran shouted "Death to America!" in its parliament on the day that it voted to resume uranium enrichment? Have you read my prior posts on Iran, linked to in my current post?

Are you aware that there are also plenty of other terrorists and rogue states who have been plotting to destroy America and other civilized nations since long before our current president took office?

It's comforting to imagine that there is no threat to worry about, but that comfort will evaporate rapidly when a nuclear weapon is detonated in a major city. I for one am not willing to wait for that day before realizing that we have a serious threat that we need to address.

I definitely disagree with this comment: "America, you only get one mistake when it comes to launching a war."

So I guess since the left considers the Vietman war a mistake, America was wrong to invade Afghanistan to disarm the Taliban and to attempt to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden.

Even if you meant to limit your comment to Iraq, I don't buy it. Al Qaeda isn't limiting itself to one attack on America, and our national security is not a game. This is our nation and our survival is at stake.

Well, Gina, I will call you crazy if you think this weak brew counts as 'actionable intelligence.'

They chanted 'Death to America'? I can't believe you're actually taking politicians seriously. Do you realize that Arab politicians have also discovered lying and playing to the crowd? Venezuela also threatens America, and meanwhile they sell us nearly half of the oil we import, business which they certainly cannot afford to lose.

So, yes, I think you're crazy to think these vague threats constitute actionable intelligence, and I thank God for the small blessing that the people in charge aren't quite as crazy as you.

Now, since we're on the subject already of your bizarre standards of proof, let's go back to global warming which I wanted to talk about. Climate change is going to do a great deal of damage to America and it stands to reason that a preemptive defense could do us a lot of good. It wouldn't require fighting a war, though, so perhaps this is why it doesn't interest you?

So I guess since the left considers the Vietman war a mistake, America was wrong to invade Afghanistan to disarm the Taliban and to attempt to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden.

Ah, no, you misunderstood, but I'm glad for this opportunity to clarify what I said. I was being quite specific, you see, with the term 'mistake.' I don't believe at all that the Vietnam war and the Afghanistan war were 'the same mistake' as they were different wars with different objectives. I also don't believe the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war were 'the same mistake' for the same reason.

However, invading Iran preemptively because of an unproven threat posed by unconventional weapons would be making the same mistake twice, and that's why I don't stand for it.

Since you brought up Vietnam though, I should mention that that war itself was an example of failing to apply my principle. After the failure of the Korean war, which left the Communist North Korean regime in power which threatens us even today, we should have known better than to again invade a former East Asian colony to prevent the spread of Communism and Soviet influence.


There are plenty of countries that would like to have nuclear weapons. A lot of them don't like us. Should we invade them all? What's so special about Iran that we must attack right this instant? Aside from the fact that Krauthammer thinks we should.

A recent National Intelligence Estimate says Iran is 10 years away from a nuclear weapon. 10 years! Yet you think we should start bombing now?
http://tinyurl.com/am7rx (wapo)

N. Korea has nuclear weapons but they haven't attacked us. The USSR had/has nuclear weapons -- they didn't attack us. Communist China has nukes -- they don't attack us.

Do you really think that the leaders of Iran cannot wait to attack us with nukes? Our response would be the immediate destruction of at least Tehran if they did so.

I agree Iran's new president sounds a bit nuts, but are you so sure he's suicidal? Do you think all those nutty clerics want Iran to be destroyed? I suspect they are just like our local clerics -- they enjoy their status and power and they're not interested in losing it.

If you are interested in a second opinion re: Iran, I recommend this article by Juan Cole:
http://tinyurl.com/mo2eq (truthdig)

Neil, with all due respect, it sounds as if you still have not read the rest of my earlier posts on Iran. There's plenty more to Iran's nuclear preparations than "just" its official shouts of "Death to America!" Most Americans, both on the right and left, recognize by now that Iran poses a very serious nuclear threat. Even if you still can't see the danger from Iran, surely you must realize that acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorists and rogue states has already happened or will happen imminently.

If you're still more concerned about the risk of global warming than the risk of a nuclear attack, then I cannot reach you. I wish you well in your efforts to halt what you perceive as a grave threat to America.

Gina, you haven't explained why Iran having nukes in 10 years' time is a threat that needs to be bombed away right now, with an administration of unprecedented incompetence currently in power. Why not wait until adults can take over the controls?

In the meantime, regarding your dismissal of global warming as a serious threat, did you know describes global warming as a threat that could be "greater than terrorism?"

Read all about it.

Sorry, I meant to say "THE PENTAGON describes..."

Gina, I think that a nuclear attack would be worse than global warming; but since the tools of diplomacy and public opinion are not any good against global warming, I'm more prone to support taking direct action against it. As I said earlier, though, we seem to have different ideas of what constitutes a threat worth responding to. I think a tsunami heading towards the shore calls for immediate action; you think that some saber-rattling Arabs with a nuclear weapons program are a bigger deal. I have more faith in using diplomacy and public opinion against the Arabs than I do of using them against the tsunami.

Colin, I appreciate your thoughtful post. However, based on reports I've read from numerous sources, I believe that the estimate that it will take another 10 years for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons capability is very unreliable. Unless Iran is stopped by one means or another, it will have nuclear weapons well before 2016.

As reflected in my prior posts on Iran, at least one expert believes that Iran already has at least one or two nuclear bombs. Other experts believe Iran is months, not five or ten years, from full nuclear weapons capability.

Iran has been operating centrifuges for a number of years now and has access to natural uranium. This capability alone may already have allowed Iran to build one or two nuclear weapons. Iran has acquired cruise missiles with a 3,000-kilometer range.

Iran also has 85 tons of uranium gas stockpiled for enrichment at its Isfahan facility, enough for at least 10 bombs. Since last month, the Iranians are reported to have been feeding uranium gas into 20 centrifuges at Natanz. Iran plans to install another 3,000 centrifuges for enriching the gas at its Natanz underground complex by the end of the year.

The danger from Iran is on our doorstep. The question is what to do about it.

Extensive diplomatic attempts to resolve the Iranian problem, led by the European Union, have failed. The U.N. has thus far shown itself to be toothless when it comes to this threat. Now what? Hope and pray?

We need to do more, and we need to do it now. Iran is not frozen; it is moving as rapidly as it can. We cannot afford to be frozen in our response.

"One of the most awful legacies of the American left ultimately may be that it has undermined American and world support for decisive action to stop Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons until it is too late."

Gina, I think the above quote is the only thing I take issue with, because it makes it sound like progressives started the war in Iraq and stretched the military to the breaking point.

This administration made a mistake with Iraq, and it is those blunders, not criticism of the war, that has undermined our capital with the rest of the world when it comes to Iran.

Just listen to people on this board (progressives) Of course they don't trust the administration after the war they got us in. America was behind the President when he went into Afghanistan, and I think that if we did not invade Iraq, and Iran started saying "kill the Jews" and "Down with the U.S" while re-starting their nuclear program, we would have the world on our side when we started dealing with the Iranian problem. In fact, I think the reason Iran feels so comfortable saying what it's saying is PRECISELY because Bush screwed up in Iraq so bad, that the President of Iran KNOWS that the U.S. isn't invading them any time soon.

Can you really say something so provocative as "the liberals screwed us!” and feel comfortable?


I'd like to read some of these other experts' opinions.

Can you post some links?

As we're now entrenched in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran's president knows full well that Bush has spent up all that "political capital", and that his prospects for starting a war on Iran are null and void.
Where is Iran going to ferret their "WMDs" off to before we invade? Syria already has Iraq's gutted airliners.
Sorry, we fell for this once, and I can unequivocably state: global warming IS a greater danger than Iran's purported nuclear weapons program.

I too, would like to see links to reliable information that Iran has 2 nukes as we speak.

"One of the most awful legacies of the American left ultimately may be that it has undermined American and world support for decisive action to stop Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons until it is too late."

Well! That's an improvement.

Last week, the left was in cahoots with Iran to start a nuclear Armageddon. Now, we're just anti-American and directly responsible for permitting a nuclear armageddon to happen.

I'll take the change in attitude as representing an improvement in the right-wing's reality testing.

If you keep going in this fashion, pretty soon you just may return to consensual reality and together we can go about the business of recovering from this catastrophic disaster of a president.

Colin, please check my post's link to my earlier posts on Iran. Once you're in that category you can do key word searches like "already" and "months." I'd do it myself but there are several earlier posts and I need to leave my computer for a while. Here's a recent Guardian article I've referenced: http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,1727805,00.html
Thank you again for your intelligent discussion of the issue.

KC, I haven't seen definitive proof that Iran has two nuclear weapons. As I said, at least one expert believes it's possible that Iran already has at least one or two nuclear bombs. Here's a quick link to that post before I leave my computer for a while: http://ginacobb.typepad.com/gina_cobb/2006/01/does_iran_alrea.html

Others will tell you that once a country has nukes, it's too late. (Some have said that about North Korea already.) So we can't have it both ways -- too early if they don't have nuclear weapons, too late if they to. That's a guaranteed prescription for failure.

Now I need to bow out of the comments thread for a while. Best to all.

Please calm down and take a deep breath. It would be 15 to 20 years before Iran would be able to make even one small nuke. Going to war against Iran would trigger World War III, and it would go nuclear, and we would all die because of nuclear winter.

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