Sunday, March 04, 2012

Is Israel about to attack Iran?

In light of Israel’s ultimatum to President Obama, and hearing of allegations that William Hague is 'under the thumb of pro-Arabist’ diplomats, and that the Foreign Office 'displays a kind of bigotry towards Israel', this may be an opportune time to ask whether an Israeli attack upon Iran might be imminent. This is a guest post by Zach Johnstone:

On Thursday evening at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York the editor of Foreign Affairs, Jonathan Tepperman, chaired a debate on the security threat posed by Iran. The topics of choice included the utility of diplomacy, the threat posed by nuclear proliferation and the credibility of military intervention by an outside power. Given the present geopolitical state of play in the Middle East, this is hardly remarkable; Iran’s intransigent pursuit of nuclear weaponry has the potential to ignite a war amongst disparate nations vying for power in the world’s most volatile region. There are numerous vested interests at play – not only the United States’ close allegiance to Israel but the West’s reliance on its access to Middle Eastern oil as well as the steady income that China and Russia generate from supplying conventional arms and surface-to-air missiles to the Iranian military. The fact that this is a particularly hot topic in intellectual circles is therefore clearly not without merit.

Where the intrigue really lies, however, is in Israel’s recent willingness to talk openly about the fact that it is receptive to the possibility of unilateral military action against Iran. Far from seeking to tow the diplomatic line (as exemplified by the United States and European powers), the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has made it abundantly clear ever since his election to office that if the United States fails to stop Iran then he is quite prepared to do so. In an interview dating back to 2009, he averred that “the Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons”. In a thinly-veiled rebuke of Ahmadinejad, Netanyahu went on to argue that if the “wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death”. The belief that Iran cannot be allowed acquire nuclear weapons is the fulcrum upon which Israeli foreign policy now turns.

These current tensions – coupled with the firm rhetoric emanating from Jerusalem – lead many to judge that a pre-emptive Israeli strike on Iran is not just possible but inevitable. Israel is, of course, right to feel threatened; Ahmadinejad has made no secret of his desire to rid the world of Israel entirely, nor has he given any indication that the UN, US and EU sanctions that are having such a detrimental effect on the Iranian economy will deter him from enriching vast amounts of uranium with a view to producing nuclear warheads. What makes the situation particularly significant is that Israel only has a small window of opportunity in which to halt Iran’s steady march towards nuclear supremacy.

How viable is a unilateral Israeli attack? This is a useful question to consider, and one that is often neglected by analysts. History demonstrates that such action does not necessarily lead to war. In 1981 Israel launched Operation Opera, a strategic mission through which the Israeli military bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor which was purportedly intended to be used for the peaceful production of nuclear energy, evoking not only the fury of Saddam Hussein but admonition from the United Nations Security Council. In 2007, Israel turned its attention to the embryonic nuclear capabilities of Syria by targeting a nuclear reactor – mostly manned by North Koreans – in the Deir ez-Zor region of the country in a mission known as Operation Orchard. Working on the basis of US intelligence, the Israelis justified the attack as a necessary strategic step to ensure its safety. Crucially, though, in both instances Israeli pre-emption passed without retaliation.

An attack on Iran, however, is an altogether different proposition. Israel certainly has the military means to carry out a repeat mission – laser-guided missiles and F-15 fighter jets capable of destroying Iranian targets are in plentiful supply – but the risk to Israeli personnel is significant. Iran’s surface-to-air capabilities (technology it acquired from the Chinese) are advanced and precise; as soon as Israeli planes enter Iranian airspace they are in danger of being shot down. Without United States backing, Israel would open itself up to significant reprisal. It is perhaps owing to his appreciation of this fact that, in an interview with The Atlantic on Friday, President Obama asked Israel to have patience and allow the economic sanctions that are currently in place to take effect. But this will become largely irrelevant if Iran succeeds in transporting its operations to a site free from the risk of aerial attack, something it is very much in the process of doing. If successful in moving its enriched uranium to an underground site located in close proximity to the holy city of Qom – dubbed the ‘zone of immunity’ by Israel – air strikes alone will no longer be sufficient to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat. Unless either Israel or the United States are prepared to commit ground forces (an almost unthinkable strategy), in perhaps as little as a few months Iran will be free to realise its nuclear ambitions without any fear of hindrance.

The likely repercussions of an Israeli attack are hard to quantify at this stage. One thing, however, is certain: Iran would play the victim, and it would likely do so to great effect. Ahmadinejad demonstrated his proclivity for using transgressions against Iran to his own benefit when, upon releasing fifteen British Navy personnel who had strayed into Iranian waters, he declared his act of humility a “gift to the British people”. A preventative attack on Iran would provide Ahmadinejad with ample scope to cast Israel in the role of aggressor, a label that could ultimately negatively affect the country should Iran seek to strike back.

Moreover, it is not even entirely clear what could be achieved. Even the most optimistic of foreign policy experts refuse to countenance the notion that an attack would do anything more than delay Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons – after all, the knowledge behind uranium enrichment cannot be shelled out of existence. Much has also been made of the threat of Iranian proxies; Hezbollah, the Shi’a militant group and political party, is both geographically and militarily able to attack Israel on behalf of Iran, its principal benefactor. Toppling the Iranian regime or even taking out its nuclear capabilities would almost certainly incur the wrath of such Iranian-backed terror cells across the Middle East, providing the scope for the kind of protracted and unconventional conflict to which the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan ultimately led.

The task of seeking the answers to these ‘known unknowns’ has, however, been supplanted by the perceived need to act with urgency. Forced to pick between the ‘wait-and-see’ approach advocated by the United States and the preventative military assault favoured in Jerusalem, the instinct to secure one’s own survival will take over irrespective of the potential fallout. After all, what repercussion could be worse for Israel than ceasing to exist, a not inconceivable corollary of failing to act? Save for a remarkable and unforeseen diplomatic breakthrough, it is for this reason that an Israeli attack before the year is out looks not only possible but predestined.

91 Comments:

Blogger dfordoom said...

I can't see that Israel has any choice. Relying on Obama would be tantamount to committing national suicide.

4 March 2012 at 11:33  
Blogger len said...

History teaches us that there have been many attempts by different people to 'eradicate' the Jewish people.
Now more than ever that the Jewish people have returned to their Homeland their' birthright Israel 'there are many who seek their destruction. The Bible prophesies that Nations will come against Israel with this very intention.(as it has prophesied many other events with 100% accuracy)


Psalm 83
1 O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.
2 See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
3 With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.
4 “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”

5 With one mind they plot together;
they form an alliance against you—
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
of Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Byblos, Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them
to reinforce Lot’s descendants.[b]

9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who perished at Endor
and became like dung on the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession
of the pasturelands of God.”

13 Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest
or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your storm.
16 Cover their faces with shame, LORD,
so that they will seek your name.

17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
may they perish in disgrace.
18 Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD—
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

4 March 2012 at 12:03  
Blogger Roy said...

If an Israeli strike, or an American one, at Iranian nuclear facilities were 100% effective it might be the best option even though it would almost certainly have the side effect of strengthening the Iranian government since the opposition there would respond in a patriotic manner.

However even very well planned and executed air attacks aren't always completely successful. The Dambusters' Raid in the Second World War was an amazing achievement but not all the dams that were attacked were destroyed.

Even a completely successful attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would only buy time if the Iranians were determined to continue with their programme. It might buy enough time for other things to happen, e.g. a change of regime, but a partially successful attack might simply delay the Iranians by a year or two and then Israel, the US and the West would be faced with the same dilemma as before.

4 March 2012 at 12:41  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Israel will be in a no win situation if it tries to attack Iran's suspected nuclear development establishments.

It is rather unfashionable in the World these days, to be pro-Israel, since it has long lost the propaganda over 'Palestine' so successfully prosecuted by a global Islamic movement which now is deeply rooted with support in the West itself.

There have been two global generations now for whom the relevance or knowledge of the Balfour declaration, the Holocaust or even the expulsion of the Jews by the Romans, is being lost in the mists of historical revision. The promise of sympathetic support for Israel through European/American world influence is no longer guaranteed.

The prevailing materiel and political conditions that applied at the times of Israeli successes in the 47,48,67 and 73 Arab-Israeli wars have shifted immeasurably since those times. The world and especially Israel's future, is in uncharted territory.

The ME is in turmoil and no one knows what will be the final outcome of the demands for an Arab version of 'democratic' political renewal. Economically the balance of power has shifted to the largely anti-Israeli BRIC economies and the Arab-oil dependent West is firmly on the back-foot.

For me, the only viable option open for Israel's survival and long term peace is to wait. It must resist the option of a pre-emptory strike. The West has to vigorously and urgently engage with Russia and China to deliver on the application of UN's non nuclear proliferation resolution, even though Israel may have breached it already. In the meantime Israel must continue to court a wider acceptance of positive opinion from amongst the post 60s generations, and make it's case more forcibly on the wider media and political fronts.

4 March 2012 at 12:47  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Does Israel have nuclear weapons?
Israel has refused to sign the NPT and has stated that signing it would be contrary to its national security interests.

Has Iran signed it? Is anyone investigating Israel's situation?

Israel has a policy of "nuclear ambiguity". It has never admitted to having nuclear weapons - neither has it denied this. It says it will not be the first country to "introduce" nuclear weapons to the Middle East. What does this mean? That it will not be the first nation there to create, will not disclose, will not make first use of the weapons?

If Israel can demonstrate that Iran represents a real and genuine danger to it's survival then it has a right to defend itself once all other means have been exhausted.

The decision and the responsibility is theirs.

4 March 2012 at 13:08  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

If Israel can demonstrate that Iran represents a real and genuine danger...

Why should it fall to Israel; one tiny Country, the only true religiously tolerant democracy in the Middle East; outnumbered and surrounded by theocratical, hostile nations, to prove this alone.

Considering the stated Iranian foreign policy towards it and the unlimited ambitions of Iran's proxy jihadist paramilitaries, Hezbollah
and Hamas - this is not a one or two country issue.

If suspicions are correct, the danger posed by a nuclear armed Iran, will affect us all sooner or later.

Len;
The Bible prophesies that Nations will come against Israel

Hardly a prophecy - wasn't the situation thus so before the Bible was compiled?

(must go)

4 March 2012 at 13:39  
Blogger dfordoom said...

Dreadnaught wrote...

"For me, the only viable option open for Israel's survival and long term peace is to wait."

So how long do they wait? Until the first missile hits Tel Aviv?

And let's not forget that Israel is only the short-term target. The long-term target is the US. If Israel waits until Iran has the capability to nuke Israel then there is nothing the world can do but wait patiently until Iran has the capability to nuke the US. And talk. There will be endless talk. It's the Neville Chamberlain approach and we all know how well that worked.

4 March 2012 at 13:46  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Dreadnaught, if so, then Israel can act unilaterally if others fail to acheive the outcome she desires. It either is or is not a sovereign nation. By refusing to sign the NPT it reserved to itself the right to make final decisions about its national security.

If any other nation can show that Iran represents a threat to its security then they too have a right to act against it. There is no bi-lateral or multi-lateral treaty in place with Israel binding us to defend her that I'm aware of. If the UN can evidence Iran poses a threat to wider peace and there is a mandate to act, then so be it. Alternatively, those nations so threatened can choose to act independently.

I'm wondering what Saudi Arabia is thinking. Nuclear weapons in Iranian hands ultimately poses as big a security threat to her as Israel.

4 March 2012 at 13:55  
Blogger What me worry? said...

Keeping things in perspective ....Israel believes Iran itself has not yet decided whether to make a nuclear bomb

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/barak-israel-very-far-off-from-decision-on-iran-attack-1.407953

and the difficulties of trying to pull off a raid

http://francona.blogspot.com/2006/03/iran-israels-air-strike-options.html

and the likely outcome for Israel if it tried

http://www.juancole.com/2012/02/how-an-israeli-strike-on-iran-could-radically-weaken-israel.html

4 March 2012 at 14:25  
Blogger Andy said...

Israel will be doing us all a great service when it destroys Iran's nuclear capabilities. Iran makes no secret of its detestation of the west. We are in a war to the death with radical Islam. The sooner our cretinous leaders wake up to this fact the better.

4 March 2012 at 14:38  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

One of the unspoken objectives of the 2003 invasion of Iraq was to prevent exactly this eventuality. A major Islamic power with nuclear weapons is hugely destabilizing to the Middle East. I fear the Israelis have only two realistic options.

1. A pre-emptive nuclear strike (because a conventional strike will likely fail.)

2. Acceptance of an American nuclear guarantee.

Neither option is viable. All that remains is an arms race with Iran. In addition, the loss of the Israeli nuclear monopoly will allow surrounding Arab states greater freedom of action against Israel.

One thing is for certain. If an Iranian nuclear weapon detonates inside of Israel, then Iran has to die. All of it. From Turkey to the Persian Gulf. There is no other way to redress the balance. Otherwise, the precedent is set for a nuclear war of conquest. Let it happen once without mortal consequence, and it will happen again. That's how dangerous this situation could become.

carl

4 March 2012 at 14:52  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len said ...

The Bible prophesies that Nations will come against Israel with this very intention (to destroy the Jews).(as it has prophesied many other events with 100% accuracy).

Yes but that doesn't offer criteria by which to assess either a practical or moral solution to the current situation, now does it?

The question is: should Israel attack Iran or wait on the attempts of the USA to seek a diplomatic solution?

One really shouldn't attempt to second guess biblical prophecy and use this as a basis for decision making. Unless, that is, one has been sent by God with a specific message for humanity. And we know where this leads!

4 March 2012 at 14:54  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@len:

When has God ever required missile attacks to uphold His people?

I share your conviction in God's continued Covenant with the people of Israel, but the fact is, that the Bible gives us as many stories of Israel being led into exile as it does of its military triumph. God was with them even then. In times of war, often He commanded that Israel put aside its own strength that His might better be demonstrated.

So how does this pertain to modern politics? Well, I'd suggest that we should hold faith that God will not abandon Israel, but beyond that, I'd not be too keen to pre-determine how this will shape the political shape of the Middle East. Neither in the sense of being complacent that an existential assault on Israel is unthinkable, or that their victory against Iran is assured.

Better by far, I think, to pray earnestly for God's mercy on the enemies of those who do good. For one thing that is certain is that God's wrath is poured out it will be to their utter ruin. Let's pray instead that they might be saved, and that the silent witness of the faithful like Pastor Nadarkhani will renew Iran, and the Middle East from within.

4 March 2012 at 15:03  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@Carl: If ever that comes to pass, I pray to God that He will come soon after. The degree of evil and suffering that would be unleashed in such circumstances is beyond appalling.

4 March 2012 at 15:05  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The modern state of Israel has nothing to do with the biblical nation of Israel, and nothing to do with prophesy. The later state no longer exists. It was irrevocably destroyed when the Romans destroyed both the temple and the temple records of the Priesthood. There is no way to re-create the biblical nation of Israel because there is no way to re-establish the Priesthood. Neither is there any need. The conditional covenant with Moses is gone. The unconditional covenant with Abraham yet remains.

carl

4 March 2012 at 15:11  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@Carl:

I'd not be eager to conflate any political state with a Biblical people either, but I understand that there are Levitical lines in Orthodox Judaism which preserve the Priesthood of Aaron in anticipation of the rebuilding of the Temple.

4 March 2012 at 15:15  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

One really shouldn't attempt to second guess biblical prophecy and use this as a basis for decision making. Unless, that is, one has been sent by God with a specific message for humanity. And we know where this leads!

Dear Mr Dodo

You are of course correct one certainly should not use biblical prophecy as a basis of policy making. However this is precisely what an immensely powerful, rich, influential, and incredibly well connected religious institution, namely The RCC have been doing for many hundreds of years.

The book comes from above does it not? One of the most important tasked entrusted to The RRC, is to make as sure as possible that what is above, so it is below. It sort of gives Gods holy work, a heightened sense of authenticity.

People like Nostradamus (sic) used biblical prophecy far more then his crystal ball, because he knew the power, as well as the well established inclination of The Vatican to garner events to fit as best as possible with it.

Does the above give you any food for thought, or do you seriously believe that people like Nostradamus can really predict the future by reading cards or looking into crystal balls, with any degree of statistically valid accuracy?

4 March 2012 at 15:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl said ...
One thing is for certain. If an Iranian nuclear weapon detonates inside of Israel, then Iran has to die. All of it. From Turkey to the Persian Gulf. There is no other way to redress the balance.

And Russia and China would stand on the side-lines and watch this happen? The other Muslim countries, including Pakistan, would do nothing?

Your are now talking World War III!

4 March 2012 at 15:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Atlas said ...
One of the most important tasked entrusted to The RRC, is to make as sure as possible that what is above, so it is below.

In the sense you're using the expression I think you'll find it is a Masonic principle and not a Catholic one.

To my knowledge the Catholic Church does not have a 'road map' of history or a plan on how to shape world history based on the bible or other methods of fortune telling. Indeed this would direct contradict the bible. It's mission is to spread the Word of God, Baptise nations and lead them to salvation.

Others in their pride might try to implement a script for history, the Church most certainly would not. Unless, that is, you believe it has been fatally infiltrated by some sort of Satanic-Masonic-Kabalistic organisation!

4 March 2012 at 15:27  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

It would take all of three nuclear weapons to functionally destroy the state of Israel. If the Iranians do this, what do you think should happen to the state of Iran as result? What punishment would compensate of the annihilation of the Israelis?

For the record, the Russians and the Chinese and the Americans are not going to go to war with each other over Iran. Besides, they all have an interest in not letting that genie out of the bottle. Pakistan has nuclear weapons because of India. Who exactly would they attack otherwise?

carl

4 March 2012 at 15:56  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl
Israel has to weigh the risks and the options available and do what it believes it has to in its own interests to survive.

Just who are you proposing should illiminate Iran from Turkey to the Persian Gulf in the event it attacks Israel?

4 March 2012 at 16:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Keep an eye on the number of US Aircraft Carriers in the gulf. There’s bound to be some need to finish off Tehran. Sad really, but needs must. Quite looking forward to it. Let blood flow and freely there before they do the same thing to us over here...

4 March 2012 at 16:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I should imagine Saudi Arabia is pretty concerned about Iran too.

4 March 2012 at 16:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Open open message to the people of Tehran from the Inspector...

“If there’s anything you want to do before you die, best do it now. Bloody good riddance, you vicious bastards. Humanity is a great deal better off without you”

4 March 2012 at 16:27  
Blogger Oswin said...

Left to their own devices, Israel would, by conventional means, have 'taken out' Iran's nuclear facilities a long time since, as they have similarly done before. Waiting upon the Americans et al, has made a bad situation far worse.

Pussyfooting about has ensured a crisis, but not necessarily a catastrophy. Sooner beats later; it is already 'later' - but hopefully not too late.

Instead of playing silly games of faux fairness, in kowtowing to medieval tent-dwellers, the world ought to have agreed to split the oil resources of the Middle East, years ago; but 'if wishes were kisses, we'd all have chapped lips' as the saying goes.

4 March 2012 at 16:33  
Blogger IanCad said...

Carl
"The modern state of Israel has nothing to do with the biblical nation of Israel, and nothing to do with prophesy."

How refreshing to hear that!
I have always wondered how much US foreign policy is influenced by those who hold exactly the opposite view. Israel would do far better to go it alone. I believe any talk of nuclear war is very premature. The best way to kill a snake is to cut its head off. Surely Israel must have something up its sleeve.
O.I.G.
It would be utter madness to put aircraft carriers in the Gulf were war imminent. For littoral operations they are entirely obsolete. They would be sitting ducks if Iran has modern missiles.

4 March 2012 at 16:37  
Blogger Oswin said...

IanCad: exactly! Had Israel done as she ought, we wouldn't be in this mess.

4 March 2012 at 16:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

You can’t sit down at the negotiating table with people who are inherently rabid, driven further wild by a wicked religion. What you do is grab them by the throat and take a stick to them. That’s the kind of language they understand, and they’ll fall to their knees and kiss your feet for it. And it will be a warning to their equally unstable neighbours, and the rest of what passes for humanity in the middle east.

4 March 2012 at 16:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

IanCad. Put your money on superior western technology every time, and superior personnel. And don’t forget, lessons were learned when we lost ships in the Falkland war. Iran may have up to date weaponry, but do they have the technicians to use it as intended...

4 March 2012 at 16:48  
Blogger IanCad said...

O.I.G.
Granted both the superb technology and the training of the Western forces, do not underestimate the Persians.
They too can learn. The "Stux" worm was an invaluable lesson for them. What about the captured drone that they managed to kidnap and land on their own airfield?
Are we going to forget the Chinese diesel sub that paid The Kittyhawk a visit in 2007?
Lessons from The Falkands War? You've got to be kidding!!
There is agitation to send an aircraft carrier down there when we already have one. It's called The Falkland Islands and we spend one half of one percent of our defence budget to protect them. We are ruled by traitors.
Lets not get too complacent I say.

4 March 2012 at 17:50  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Israel has to weigh the risks and the options available and do what it believes it has to in its own interests to survive.

Evasion. I asked you a very specific question. What is the minimum acceptable consequence that must be inflicted on Iran if Iran should annihilate the Israelis with a nuclear attack?

carl

4 March 2012 at 18:16  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

AnonymousInBelfast

I understand that there are Levitical lines in Orthodox Judaism which preserve the Priesthood of Aaron in anticipation of the rebuilding of the Temple.

How could they possibly be able to identify a Levitical line without the records of the temple?

carl

4 March 2012 at 18:21  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

IanCad The envisaged scenario is that Israel would have laid waste the beast’s head, Tehran. So unsure what the American position is going to be, but they will be nearby. Would make sense, if only to secure the oil fields, which is part of what it’s all about. This forthcoming operation has much going for it. Confidence all round, what ! Let’s do it now, while it will still be conventional...

4 March 2012 at 18:38  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@Carl:

Tradition passed down? The Kohanim have been subjected to a few genetic tests on the Y-Chromosome, and their genetic hereditary is in fact pretty coherent, which adds some weight to the argument that they are descended from the same lines.

4 March 2012 at 18:58  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl
What punishment would compensate of the annihilation of the Israelis?

Not evasion, I thought it was a rhetorical question.

No punishment would compensate for annihalation of a nation.

But who would make the judgement and administer any punishment and on what authority? The USA? Europe? NATO? The UN? And would it be just to wipe out a whole people in retribution? To what end?

You're the one who continually argues against a supranational authority and argues states are sovereign and free to act on the basis of self interest!

4 March 2012 at 19:18  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

In the sense you're using the expression I think you'll find it is a Masonic principle and not a Catholic one.

My dear Dodo, you are most perfectly correct that it is most surely a Masonic principle. The question for you is...

What makes you so resolutely certain in your own mind that it is not also a principle so fundamentally ingrained within Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and therefore Roman Catholic tradition and high practice, that this form of inner working goes right to the very heart of what The Vatican, as well as much of the Christian Church as a whole has been all about since the first day of its establishment on planet Earth?

Do you seriously believe that freemasonry is based on nothing but silly aprons and other unfounded nonsense?

There are those who believe in the word alone, and those who believe in The Roman Catholic tradition, and those Christian and other religions derived thereof.

I am in no position to make a judgement either way as to who is right or wrong.

I seek truth not an established form of simplistic brainwashing to which to more comfortably ally myself too.

Like all of the worlds greatest art and literature religion most deliberately works on differing levels of understanding, you have every right to remain on one of the lowest of all, if your prefer to do so.

All I ask is for people like yourself to start doing your own homework into what you are indeed following like possibly eternally damned headless chickens, whether you know it or not.

4 March 2012 at 19:41  
Blogger Phil said...

Crusades anyone?

No I don't think so, However,

The penalty for not acting could be severe.

Remember Nevil Chamberlain?

However, our present leaders make old Nevile seem tough.

Don't forget what happened when the piece of paper was disregarded.

He did not go back for another worthless (UN resolution!?!) piece of paper...

4 March 2012 at 19:46  
Blogger graham wood said...

carl jacobs said...

The modern state of Israel has nothing to do with the biblical nation of Israel, and nothing to do with prophesy. The later state no longer exists. It was irrevocably destroyed when the Romans destroyed both the temple and the temple records of the Priesthood. There is no way to re-create the biblical nation of Israel because there is no way to re-establish the Priesthood. Neither is there any need. The conditional covenant with Moses is gone. The unconditional covenant with Abraham yet remains."

Good post Carl - I fully agree.
I suggest the rationale for establishing God's central purpose and will is no longer national Israel, but the clear NT testimony as to the place and mission of the Church of Christ.
The modern secular and militarised state of Israel has little affinity with the 'Israel' of the Bible. AD 70 terminated national Israel as the Lord predicted.

4 March 2012 at 19:53  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 March 2012 at 20:14  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Your attitude is a nice recipe for paralysis. And again you refuse to answer the question. What is the proper response to an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel? Don't worry about by whom, and by what authority. Those are easy questions. (How about the US by its own authority.) The only hard questions is "What response?"

You can't do nothing. That is the worst possible outcome. So what then? Would you go to the Security Council and demand a strongly worded rebuke? Would you impose economic sanctions on Iran until it 'repents.' Would you issue arrest warrants from the ICC? Some clarity would be helpful. Meaningless statements like ...

No punishment would compensate for annihalation of a nation.

... accomplish nothing. A whole nation of people has been destroyed. You can't just rub you hands together and fret.

The end-state that cannot be allowed is this: "Iran achieves its political objective of destroying Israel and yet maintains its political autonomy." Good order and discipline among the nations must be maintained. If that means Iran is held up as an example of what happens to nations that launch nuclear wars of annihilation, then so be it.

carl

4 March 2012 at 20:17  
Blogger non mouse said...

Yes... that's a long frontier between Iran and Iraq. I always thought that's where the motive lay.

And look how things are turning, now that the US is pulling out.

Won't make any difference that they've lost their ally (us) of course.... The new admin obviously wants us where we are now.. without our own defences.

4 March 2012 at 20:19  
Blogger Hereward said...

There are serious misgivings about a pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities. Success would buy 2 to 3 years respite and there are significant risks of failure. It would play into Islamist hands with Israel branded as the aggressor. Current anti-Semitism is widespread enough without being stoked by Iranian “victim-hood” spun as justification for a retaliatory war with unpredictable consequences.

So what is to be done? The option of letting the Iranian regime acquire nukes is equally unpalatable but were they reckless enough to launch a nuclear strike on Israel then Iran would certainly die. Not by Western intervention, but courtesy of the Israelis themselves who – if military capability estimates are to be believed – have enough deep silo and submarine based second strike nukes to turn much of Iran into a sea of glass.

Intervention now is a really tough call but doing nothing will inevitably lead to nuclear stand-off with a belligerent regime that has declared its intention to destroy the Jewish State and is religiously bonkers enough to try it in spectacular fashion. I think that Netanyahu will return home from his audience with Obama in the realisation that he really is on his own between a rock and a hard place. I would not wish to be in his shoes.

4 March 2012 at 20:20  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

One of the unspoken objectives of the 2003 invasion of Iraq...

Don't know what they told the American public, but this was very much a widely trumpeted primary motive for the invasion here in the UK.

4 March 2012 at 20:25  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dreadnaught

I was referring to the hidden objective of pre-empting the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iraq to destroy its nuclear capability.

carl

4 March 2012 at 20:27  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I stand corrected - apologies.

4 March 2012 at 20:39  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

"All aspects of American Power"? The fact that Obama feels the need to go to AIPAC at all proves that there isn't any "American power"?

"Who is the superpower here?", Bill Clinton once exclaimed after a meeting with Netanyahu. That he had to ask made the answer obvious. It still is.

4 March 2012 at 21:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. Iran has said they ‘need’ a civil nuclear program to guarantee electricity production. Apparently they’ve no wish to burn any of the vast oil deposits in their land. On this occasion, our former nuclear weapons turn-key Carl is quite correct. (...Don’t let him know though, he can be quite impossible at times...). Flatten Iran now with casualties in the thousands, before we are forced to irradiate it, casualties in the millions...

4 March 2012 at 21:26  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl< said ...
"Good order and discipline among the nations must be maintained. If that means Iran is held up as an example of what happens to nations that launch nuclear wars of annihilation, then so be it."

My question is who determines "good order and discipline among the nations" and who should take it upon themselve to impose retribution as an deterrent to others? You see this as simple!

And since you've asked, no I don't think a whole nation should be annihilated because of the actions of its elite. Raising Iran to the ground would satisy a blood lust and render the region and much of the surrounding area uninhabitable for generations. Would it really deter others?

Those taking any decision to launch nuclear weapons should be brought to justice at the ICC for what would be a crime against humanity.

However, the United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court and you personally don't support it or any other supranational body. The remit of the ICC is to "bring to justice the perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humankind".

Not good enough for you? Your proposal:

"Don't worry about by whom, and by what authority. Those are easy questions. (How about the US by its own authority.)"

Why don't you support this Court and what gives you or your country the right to unilaterally determine world justice and the means of achieving future stability?

4 March 2012 at 21:50  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Herewards contribution is quite useful. I do not generally believe in pre-emptive strikes, my favourite film Dr. Strangelove gives us enough reasons not to do so. Also the fundamental Muslims are so fanatical; the world of Islam would be turned against the west in most unpredictable ways. it is not the responsibility of Christian nations to react in these ways. It is certainly a situation that requires prayer and arbitration to seek a peaceful resolution.
Unlike our own nation that allows freedom of religion, most Islamic states proscribe against proselytising even as it was in the liberal Arab state of the UAE. It is thus difficult to bring the gospel to these peoples who are so indoctrinated the intensity of Islam.

4 March 2012 at 22:19  
Blogger bluedog said...

Communicants seem to be ignoring the Shi-ite-Sunni dimension to the rise of Iran.

The major Sunni powers of Turkey, Pakistan and Saudi-Arabia either border Iran or lie very close. It is apparent that these Sunni powers are concerned that Iran may shortly emerge as the undisputed hegemon of the Middle East by virtue of its nuclear weapons. The concern of the Sunnis is not merely geo-political, but also religio-social; the Sunnis see themselves as superior within Islam to the Shia. So there are other factors at work that may give comfort to Israel, for they are not alone. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the Sunni powers are at present living under the Israeli nuclear umbrella. If Israel were to be vaporised by Iran, these Sunni powers would suddenly be very exposed. There are already exceptionally close links between the Saudis and Pakistan, arguably the Saudi Air Force would hardly exit without Pakistani pilots. So if a Pak nuke found its way to Saudi-Arabia, should one be surprised?

In summary, Israel is merely a catalyst in a potential nuclear war between Sunni and Shia in their mutual quest for regional supremacy.

'Dig for victory' is the best advice this communicant can offer. After all, an Iranian attack on NATO member Turkey would be an attack on all members of NATO, would it not?

4 March 2012 at 22:45  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Those taking any decision to launch nuclear weapons should be brought to justice at the ICC for what would be a crime against humanity.

You do realize that I offered the ICC as a self-evidently risible alternative, right? The Nuremberg Trials were as nothing compared to the destruction visited upon Germany. Which is the greater deterrent? That Germany was devastated, and invaded, and impoverished, and made prostrate before its enemies, or that a handful of Nazi government officials were hung after the war. The only lesson that Nuremberg taught was "Don't lose." The true consequences to Germany were several million dead, burned-out cities, hunger, occupation, a shattered economy, and national humiliation. The Trials were for show.

Who is going to enforce your ICC warrants? Do you expect that law enforcement officers will just arrive in Tehran by airplane and effect an arrest? You would need to invade and occupy Iran in order to do this. Iran would have already proven itself capable of and willing to employ nuclear weapons in combat. So to occupy Iran to enforce your warrant, you would have to assume the necessity of a nuclear war. You haven't thought this through at all.

Would it really deter others?

Yes, it would. Unlike a Potemkin arrest warrant from a Potemkin court that could never be served without fighting the very war you say you don't want to fight. And it's not like the ICC has the ability to fight the war, is it? It's just a building in Europe.

who should take it upon themselve to impose retribution as an deterrent to others? You see this as simple!

The nations are ordered according to power. What nation took it upon itself to reverse the invasion of Kuwait? The UN did not give permission to the US to fight that war. The US used the UN to build an international coalition for that war. The American forces that fought in that war fought by virtue of the authority found in the US Constitution and under US command. That was all the authority required.

carl

4 March 2012 at 22:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

...and when Tehran is flattened, none of this “let’s help them rebuild it” bullshit. Doing it themselves should keep them occupied for 10 to 20 years. A daily reminder of their stupidity...

4 March 2012 at 23:20  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl

You're starting to concern me!

Germany was "devastated, and invaded, and impoverished, and made prostrate before its enemies" and the "several million dead, burned-out cities, hunger, occupation, a shattered economy, and national humiliation." were a consequence of her refusal to surrender. This was not a premeditated deliberate act of retribution. It was a conseqhence of waging war. Thereafter, those responsible for mass murder were held to account.

Who said I didn't want to wage a war in order to hold those responsible to account? I'm objecting to your expressed intention: "Iran has to die. All of it. From Turkey to the Persian Gulf. There is no other way to redress the balance." Pure, indiscriminate retributive justice doled out on innocent and guilty alike!

Yes respond - with or without an international concensus. Invade and if necessary and justifiable, for military purposes, use nuclear weapons. The aim should be holding the regime to account. You cannot just reign nuclear warheads down indiscriminatorily on the country with the prior intention of raising it to the ground to teach it and others a lesson!

Besides, if all of this is a realistic possibility rather than speculation then some action must be taken now by Israel and whatever allies she can muster to avert it.

4 March 2012 at 23:25  
Blogger Ivan said...

Inspector the Iranian people are alright. They are Shiites, far less fanatical than the Sunnis. Taking out the Mahdists and Basanj fanatics is the way to ago. Plus I see that the Israelis are offing the scientists. I wish the Israelis every success in their targeted killings as this a far less bloody way to handle it.

Ivan

5 March 2012 at 01:14  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Ivan

A central tenet of Shia Islam is belief in the coming of the Madhi. Are you saying the majority of Iranians are not Shia Muslims?

According to this belief portents of his coming (apparently he has been in hiding for centuries) include: a great conflict in Syria and death and fear in Iraq. Before he arrives will come the "red death" i.e. violence killing a third of the world's population, with another third of the world dying from plague.

In the wrong hands this belief is a recipe for launching a nuclear war to usher the return of the Mahdi.

Sunni Muslims may be fanatics but they don't subscribe to this belief.

5 March 2012 at 01:43  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

were a consequence of her refusal to surrender.

You really do miss the point. Whatever the motivation for it, the collective impact of the war on Germany and its population was far more important than the fact that a few leaders were hung after the war. You simply can't allow nations that inflict widespread death and destruction to escape with only punishment of the political class. All that collective death and destruction demands collective retribution. Stringing up a few people simply won't accomplish that task. Nations have interests that span political divisions. If the nation can attempt to achieve its political goals while risking only the lives of its leadership, that is a small and acceptable risk. A risk to national survival is another thing altogether. This is the principle that must be fixed in the mind of a potential adversary: "If I cross this line, my nation will be destroyed."

If Iran managed to destroy Israel, and escape Israeli retaliation, then something must be done to reverse the outcome. The Israeli state is destroyed and will not be reborn. Iran as a nation must not be allowed to profit from that result. Now you say you would fight a war to impose your will on the political class of Iran. So you fight your war, find the politicians and hang them. Then what? Is that all? Would you then seek to restore Iran to its place among the nations? Then you have failed. For Iran has achieved its objective of destroying Israel without permanent cost to itself. What permanent fate then would you impose upon Iran to provide recompense for the permanent annihilation of Israel? This isn't a matter of individual justice. A few executions of a few political leaders won't matter. Eventually Iran will receive back its sovereignty, and Israel will still have been destroyed. The political class may be punished, but the interest of the Iranian state survives with the state. So what permanent punishment are you willing to impose on Iran that tips the scales against Iran such that no nation in the future will cross the line?

It's not just the innocent in Iran at stake, you see. It's all those who would die in the next war because you didn't have the courage to respond properly to this one. The one that happens when some leader says "Look, the Iranians used nukes and nothing happened to them."

carl

5 March 2012 at 06:10  
Blogger Inteliblog said...

I am a citizen of the world who is, probably like you, anxious in regards to what would happen if/when Iran does get the bomb. I read and reread the IAEA reports over and over again and I have to say that I am quite convinced that Iran is forging the way to build a bomb.Time will tell if the IAEA and I are right…I certainly hope not. In the meantime, Iran keeps on claiming that nuclear weapons are a sin, that they will never develop nuclear weapons etc…On the other hand, they keep on threatening that they will take their program underground and that repercussions will be horrendous.(I found this site that has quite a few quotes: http://iranuclear.wordpress.com/). I put together this infographic of all the violations by Iran according to the IAEA with links to the respective paragraphs in the IAEA reports at my blog – IRANandIAEA.wordpress.com. I do hope that I did not miss out on anything – if I did , please be kind enough to correct me and I can change the infographic. I also tried my hand at creating a small movie of the infographic – link. Would love your feedback and, if you do decide to publish this infographic, please be kind enough to inform me about it Hope this can be of help.

http://iranandiaea.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/iran-and-iaea.pdf

5 March 2012 at 11:38  
Blogger Inteliblog said...

I am a citizen of the world who is, probably like you, anxious in regards to what would happen if/when Iran does get the bomb. I read and reread the IAEA reports over and over again and I have to say that I am quite convinced that Iran is forging the way to build a bomb.Time will tell if the IAEA and I are right…I certainly hope not. In the meantime, Iran keeps on claiming that nuclear weapons are a sin, that they will never develop nuclear weapons etc…On the other hand, they keep on threatening that they will take their program underground and that repercussions will be horrendous.(I found this site that has quite a few quotes: http://iranuclear.wordpress.com/). I put together this infographic of all the violations by Iran according to the IAEA with links to the respective paragraphs in the IAEA reports at my blog – IRANandIAEA.wordpress.com. I do hope that I did not miss out on anything – if I did , please be kind enough to correct me and I can change the infographic. I also tried my hand at creating a small movie of the infographic – link. Would love your feedback and, if you do decide to publish this infographic, please be kind enough to inform me about it Hope this can be of help.

http://iranandiaea.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/iran-and-iaea.pdf

5 March 2012 at 11:38  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl
Just what "permanent punishment" was imposed on Germany and Japan for mass murder? Were the citizens of these nations as guilty as their leaders for genocide? These countries were actually rebuilt by the victors after the WWII. Was this wrong? Are they pariah states today?

The greatest evil perpetrated on the people's of this world in recent times was probably by Stalinist Russia. Is justice only to be administered when it can be? Might is only right when it can succeed?

I don't accept a regime driven by ideological fanaticism will learn lessons from
history. Retributive and restorative justice of the type you are advocating here is to my mind immoral. It also fails to take into account the reactions of other states - China, Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia.

5 March 2012 at 11:51  
Blogger D. Singh said...

'Save for a remarkable and unforeseen diplomatic breakthrough, it is for this reason that an Israeli attack before the year is out looks not only possible but predestined.'



Don't discount an earthquake.

5 March 2012 at 12:58  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

The word "predestined" troubles me. It implies Israel should attack in order to fulfill some higher preordained purpose.

On the other hand, the logic of the intractable dispute between Israel and Iran and other Arab states indicates confrontation is inevitable - "predestined" - at some point. We just have to chose sides once all the alternative solutions are exhausted!

5 March 2012 at 14:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Could this be the beginning of the end times. Although the end times are promised, why should they be now. Must mankind go lamely on to fulfil prophesy, or is the future fluid. If we kill the beast now, there will be no comeback at this stage. Islam can’t hate us any more than they are doing now. They might even discover respect for a more powerful enemy. Like crazed dogs, either at your feet or at your throat…

From the news..

Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, used for a third of the world's seaborne oil trade, if Western moves to ban Iranian crude exports cripple its energy sector.

Military experts say the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet patrolling the Gulf - which always has at least one giant supercarrier accompanied by scores of jets and a fleet of frigates and destroyers - is overwhelmingly more powerful than Iran's navy.

5 March 2012 at 17:50  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector, don't go getting all mystical and prophetic! All we can do is deal with what's in front of us as morally and as we effectively as we can.

5 March 2012 at 18:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Now Dodo, I think we can all agree something bloody awful is going to happen in that area, if not this moment, then eventually. With that in mind, might as bomb Tehran next week...

5 March 2012 at 18:20  
Blogger len said...

Ahmadinejad seems to be preparing the way for the 'Imam Mahdi.'


'He sees his main mission, as he recounted in a Nov. 16, 2005, speech in Tehran, as to “pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance.”'

With Iran’s continued development of nuclear technology in defiance of the West, some analysts fear Ahmadinejad’s intent is to trigger the kind of global conflagration he envisions will set the stage for the end of the world and the re appearance of the Mahdi.

It would appear that Israel takes this threat very seriously.

5 March 2012 at 18:30  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector, I agree things could reach a climax at some point in the near future. Steady nerve needed and hasty action avoided, should be the order of the day. Israel and USA need to box clever and no go for the knock-out too soon.

5 March 2012 at 21:32  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

I've got a bad feeling about what's going on.

Putin wants to glorify Mother Russia. He is about to spend $775 bn on upgrading his military hardware.

There is nothing to the north of Russia he wants; to the west is NATO; to the east is a strong China; all he's got left is to the south: the Beautiful Land.

On a perhaps (?) unrelated point; does anyone know anything about these strange metallic sounds coming from the sky that people around the world are hearing?

6 March 2012 at 07:58  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Mr Singh asked ...

... does anyone know anything about these strange metallic sounds coming from the sky that people around the world are hearing?

It's Ernst communicating with his ET mates. "Ernst go home"

6 March 2012 at 11:29  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"Ernst go home"

John 14:2

2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Aaah, HOME! Ernst is waiting with bated breath lad.

Whereas your 'home' appears much nearer at first glance and the journey can be made courtesy of Alitalia to Fiumicino Airport (Rome) and on to the Vatican. (As poor dodos are flightless creatures, are they not?)

Your Journey time is approx from
Manchester, 2 hours 45 mins.

Whereas Ernst's is "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,"
*massive chuckling*

Ernst 'flying 1st class, on the wings of Angels' Blofeld

6 March 2012 at 11:48  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Not good. The Book of Revelation describes 'something like a mountain buring with fire being cast down into the (Mediterranean) sea...and third of the ships and a third of the fish died....' Thermonuclear airburst?

If one Iranian nuke hits Israel, Netanyahu knows that if he does not respond with superior force (Google Jericho 2 missile) immediately the USA will prevent retaliation. Nuclear retaliation will therefore be immediate. As Hal Lindsey broadcast on YouTube last week, looking at Obama's cringing apology for Koran burningn (40 killed in riots so far, Obama's apologuy almost legitimises this) the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine worked during the cold war because neither side wanted to be incinerated. This cannot be relied on in the case of Iranian leadership, who hope that martyrdom by nuclear apocalypse will reveal the hidden Mahdi of Shia Islam and bring in the global Caliphate.

I am under no illusions that diplomacy or other action can avert the inevitable. I plan to spend more time with my loved ones, pray more, and complete my post apocalyptic novel before it becomes irrelevant.

6 March 2012 at 14:01  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

"ET(Ernst &Tiddles) is going home!
Having abandoned the one, true Mother ship in favour of an alien race, ET will be leaving shortly to join his chosen beings.

In the run up to collection and transportation by a craft expected any day now, one can expect increasingly strange comments as he fully acclimatises to these new influences.

Mid-March is the estimated time of departure as the conjunction of Venus and Mars will offer sufficient distraction for this event.

6 March 2012 at 14:02  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Appleseed said ...

" ... the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine worked during the cold war because neither side wanted to be incinerated. This cannot be relied on in the case of Iranian leadership, who hope that martyrdom by nuclear apocalypse will reveal the hidden Mahdi of Shia Islam and bring in the global Caliphate."

I tend to agree. It depends on whether the Iranian leadership actually believes all this and one suspects they really do. It should also be borne in mind that some Christian fundamentalists also subscribe to the idea that a similar calamity will precede the return of Christ.

The time for decisive action and decisions is fast approaching. Let's treat it as a political problem and not a theological one. If it can be evidenced the Iranians are developing nuclear warheads and it is suspected they intend to use them, then a preemptive strike is demanded now.

6 March 2012 at 14:13  
Blogger Jon said...

Carl, I'm concerned by the following phrase:

"You simply can't allow nations that inflict widespread death and destruction to escape with only punishment of the political class. All that collective death and destruction demands collective retribution. Stringing up a few people simply won't accomplish that task."

This is the logic of Al Qaeda attacks on the Twin Towers - "you voted for these leaders so you must die" and I'm not comfortable with it, especially since the Iranians wouldn't have voted to nuke Israel, or have Ahmadinejad as leader for that matter.

The correct response to the eradication of a civilization? Since it's not happened for a long time (and one of the previous victims was of course, Persia itself) I think we should give pause before committing ourselves in advance to genocide in response to possible genocide.

I'm not advocating appeasement, but an unthinking commitment to genocide will see what remains of the West's moral credibility shredded (and surely lead to WW3). What's more, how does this comfort the scorched remains of Israel? The clumsy deposing of Saddam by Rumsfeld created the room for Iranian regional hegemony. What would the even clumsier "decapitation of Tehran" achieve? Total Sunni hegemony in the region and the expedience of a Caliphate? Terror cells around the West with nuclear suitcases? What is the end game?

If attacking Iran pre-emptively is the best thing we can come up with, then supra-national support from Iran's erstwhile allies must be helpful. Surely it's up to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan to twist the arms of the Russians and Chinese to forsake trouble making and hydrocarbon needs respectively for the prize of long term regional stability?

6 March 2012 at 15:02  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"ET(Ernst &Tiddles) is going home!

Well I keep blogging along trying to make up a song about what to thread to you,
Telling how the Roman lights and the Sistine nights are like a mare come true

CHORUS:
You Dork, You Dork, so funny you threaded it twice,
You Dork, You Dork, Catholic scandal and the vice, You love it!
You Dork, You Dork, now isn't it a pity.........
What they say about Vatican City!

Ernst 'waxing lyrical' Blofeld

6 March 2012 at 15:34  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

There once was a chap named Blofeld,
Who to criticise Rome felt compelled.
Each day he did dream
A new critique extreme,
But none were ever upheld.

6 March 2012 at 17:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Life is all about choices, choices….

"A one-megaton nuclear bomb, a study found, might kill 90 percent of unprotected people over an area of 300 square kilometres. A chemical weapon of 15 tons might kill 50 percent of the people in a 60 square kilometre area. But a 10-ton biological weapon could kill 25 percent of the people, and make 50 percent ill, over an area of 100'000 square kilometres."

England = 130395 sq Km

Tehran = 730 sq Km

The Inspector recommends the dropping of the dreaded ‘Dysentery bomb’ first, see if Johnny Iran changes position after that…

6 March 2012 at 17:54  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Jon

Carl, I'm concerned by the following phrase:

Yes, Jon, I'm concerned about it, too. Understand that I used to have my finger on that trigger. I don't make these statements lightly. I just don't have a better answer.

The expectation of annihilation is central to preventing a nuclear attack. If deterrance fails, then the reality of annilihation must be enforced or the whole concept loses credibility. Once people decide that nuclear weapons can be employed without that risk, they will attempt to realize the tremendous military advantages that nuclear weapons provide.

carl

6 March 2012 at 18:29  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl said ...
"The expectation of annihilation is central to preventing a nuclear attack. If deterrance fails, then the reality of annilihation must be enforced or the whole concept loses credibility."

So if Israel nuclear bombed Iran you'd annilate Israel? It is the only power in the region with nuclear capability.

6 March 2012 at 19:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. Israel would be better off flying a plane loaded with a few hundred tons of effluent, to be pumped out over Allah’s best. Accompanied by the message”It’s shit this time, tomorrow it’s death”

6 March 2012 at 19:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

So if Israel nuclear bombed Iran you'd annilate Israel? It is the only power in the region with nuclear capability.

If you were couragous, you would have presented the following argument:

So if the UK nuclear bombed Iran you'd annilate the UK?

Strange that you didn't, since it would have more clearly illustrated your point. Perhaps you steered away from using the UK as your example because you cannot conceive of the UK launching a nuclear war of annihilation against another country. Neither can I conceive of the Israelis launching such a war. Now, if the Israelis were more like (say) Iran, then maybe your question might serve a purpose.

carl

6 March 2012 at 22:59  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Okay, but motive or integrity isn't the issue you raised. You've also shifted from restorative and retributive justice too.

As I understood your reasoning, the only way to keep the genie of nuclear warfare in the bottle is deterrance and this means annililating any nation that uses it - regardless.

It could be Britain, Russia, China, North Korea - anywhere.

6 March 2012 at 23:09  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

And carl, I can envisage a situation where the State of Israel might threaten and then use nuclear weapons.

Given their limited capacity to wage convential warfare, if a situation arose where their very existance was threatened and annilalation seemed imminent by a coordinated assault from Islamist nations, can you honestly say they would not threaten do so and then carry out this threat? Why else do they have a stockpile of such weapons when no other country in the region has?

6 March 2012 at 23:53  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

This is a complicated subject. It's hard to be precise in short posts. There are three separate issue in play here.

1. Deterring the use of nuclear weapons.

2. What to do when a nation decides to launch a nuclear war of annihilation. This has been the context I assumed in my comments.

3. My own personal desire to not see many people slaughtered in a nuclear war.

So let's go through them in turn.

1. There is a concept called 'Flexible Response.' Not every nuclear attack must be met with massive retaliation. The amount of cost imposed is relative to the amount of damage inflicted. As one goes up, so does the other. Consider for example this scenario. Say a hypothetical country detonates a nuclear weapon over Miami. Said detonation will kill a million people and inflict massive damage on the American economy. It will not however threaten the existence of the US. There will be a response and it will be disproportionate, but it's not going to be the same kind of response that is warranted by an attack aimed at destroying the US. To deter this kind of attack, the US must convince the hypothetical aggressor to fear the cost of the attack more than he anticipates the benefits of the attack. If deterrence fails, the aggressor must suffer that cost so that the threat behind deterrence is maintained. By enforcing the cost, you punish the aggressor, and send fair warning to others. "The cost is real."

The US does not maintain a nuclear deterrent just to protect itself. It also maintains that deterrent to protect its allies. In general this is a good thing. Many nations (Japan, for example) don't see the need to maintain the capability as a result. So the US will also commit itself to responding for its allies. North Korea for example might consider striking a major city in Japan. The cost to North Korea would be severe - probably fatal to the Communist Gov't. It knows this. If however the US were to ever demonstrate an unwillingness to actually employ nuclear weapons, the threat to Japan would markedly increase. In such circumstance, the Japanese might have to consider their own deterrent.

There are a limited number countries that are actually capable of getting nuclear weapons. Mid-level powers see nuclear weapons as a way to isolate themselves from the threat of the major powers. Some of those countries might try to elevate themselves from mid-power status to major power status by using them. It is generally not in the interest of the US to see these weapons employed. If one country (even if an ally of the US) decides to use them, then the threshold of use is lowered for everyone. A second country might then try to use them in a circumstance that it felt didn't affect the interests of the major powers. Again the threshold of use is lowered. Eventually a vital interest for a major power might be threatened. This is how things start. You have to keep the threshold of use high.

(To Be Continued.)

7 March 2012 at 05:19  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo (continued)

So the question of US response becomes "What is the US interest?" Is it in the interest of the US to engage? It's hard to predict the answer to that question unless it involves a US ally or a US vital interest. We always have an interest in keeping the threshold of usage high, but we aren't the nuclear guarantor of the world. So what about Iran and Israel? The US has a vital interest in the Middle East. The US has a vital ally in Israel. That's why a nuclear attack on Israel would generate a response. It would be essential to maintaining our credible deterrent and protecting ourselves and our allies. Of course, it's possible the Israelis would handle it themselves. But if for some reason they couldn't, the US would.

There are circumstances where the US would not respond to a nuclear attack on a third party. We would have to accept the danger of the lowered threshold. That's just the cost of living in the real world. As a practical matter, however, these countries are typically enemies of the US that threaten allies of the US. Since our primary interest is to protect ourselves and our allies, it's in our interest to enforce the cost of use. I said before this isn't about fairness or justice. It's about good order and discipline.

2. My comments about Iran proceeded from the assumption that a nuclear attack on Israel is a de facto war of Annihilation against Israel. That country is too small to sustain that kind of damage. It has too few major cities. It has too concentrated a population. Israel is an ally of the US. The credibility of our deterrent depends upon the perception of our strength and willingness to respond. The US cannot watch a major ally be eradicated and do nothing about it. There are too many lives that depend upon the perception of our strength. So we must respond and the response must be relative to the damage inflicted. Since the damage inflicted is the annihilation of our ally, then the response must entail the annihilation of our enemy. Would the US do that for any country in the world? No, it wouldn't. The US is not the nuclear guarantor of everybody. Even so, the devastation will still serve as a sobering example of what could happen. On the other hand, if nothing is done, and the US watches a major ally get destroyed, then there is no reason for anyone to fear our deterrent unless the US is itself directly threatened. Then there will be a lowered threshold. Nations will feel no particular compunction to avoid usage. The pressure to acquire them will only grow. Eventually, someone will miscalculate.

There are again circumstances where the US could do nothing about a war of annihilation against a third party. This is again a cost of living in the real world. In the case of Iran and Israel, we could, however, and it would make a salutary example for the rest of the world. And again, the contrary example would be disastrous. The US would be seen to stand by and let its ally be totally annihilated by an enemy power. What other country would then be safe from similar attack? It is this negative example that must be avoided.

Now you will say (as you have) "What if the Israelis did it?" Well, they won't. But more to the point, this isn't a philosophy class. It's part of living in the real world. The US has a deterrent that is intended to deter specific types of countries. You can't separate motive from capability. The US isn't deterring the UK from attacking the US for obvious reasons. The UK may have the capability. But there is no motive.

(One more time)

7 March 2012 at 05:53  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

3. Everything I have said so far is Realpolitik. It all deals with how a nation must operate in its relations with other nations. But I also know how effective and deadly these weapons are. One atomic blast over the right harbor, and the Iraqis would have stopped Gulf War I in its tracks. Of course, Iraq would have suffered the consequences. But still the point is made. Nuclear weapons allow a nation to directly achieve strategic objectives. Achieving strategic objectives is how you win a war. If nuclear weapons can be used in war with impunity, they will be used.

I personally don't want to see these things used. But the paradox of my position is that the best way to prevent usage is to demonstrate a willingness to use them, and to act on that willingness if required. These weapons are never going away unless they are obsoleted by something worse. They simply provide too much capability. People who would trust to treaties are fools. So you have to manage them. And that means you have to be willing to use them at the right time and with the proper degree of force.

Lots of people will die if you do that. Lots more people will die of you don't.

carl

7 March 2012 at 06:08  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

carl

Thanks for the time taken to post the above comments. Certainly food for thought.

I'm still struggling with the idea of a nuclear attack for the purposes of a lesson and a deterrent to others. If the objective is retaliation then this is acceptable. If it is to punish aggression and deter this in the future by others, no problem.

However, these ends might be achieveable without the carnage of a nuclear strike. If so, then I would argue the use of nuclear weapons cannot be justified. America has demonstrated its capability of surgical precision in warfare that minimises the deaths of civilians.

A State can be brought to its knees through measures short of annilalation and the massacre of innocent people.

7 March 2012 at 19:07  
Blogger Ivan said...

Dodo,

I knew a few Iranians back in the 80s, they were kind and polite people. As a proportion of the populace the fanatics are a small fraction of the Iranian nation. Shiites in general are far less obdurate and fanatical than Sunnis.

8 March 2012 at 15:13  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Ivan, I do accept what you're saying. There's good and bad in Persians, Arabs and Jews.

8 March 2012 at 16:22  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: Jews don't give praise to a manual of conquest, regadless of individual natures of men.

10 March 2012 at 00:37  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin, true but neither do all Persians or Arabs. Some are nominal Muslims whatever the ideological constraints of their religioious system.

Not all Russians were communist and neither are all North Koreans or Chinese. I thinkk that's the point being made.

13 March 2012 at 16:56  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: I thought you knew better. These days a ''nominal'' muslim, in a muslim country, is a very quiet muslim; or else dead, imprisoned or, at the very least, fearful.

13 March 2012 at 17:11  

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