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America and Iran: Three Nuclear Ironies

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Posted on Jul 7, 2006
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From mda.mil

If the Bush administration breaches the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a Pandora’s box will open, with cataclysmic effects for the peoples of the world.

By Tad Daley

Editor’s Note: Tad Daley is a fellow at Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a longtime nuclear analyst and disarmament advocate.  This essay also appears in the July/August 2006 issue of Tikkun magazine.


“With supreme irony,” historian James Harvey Robinson said of the First World War, “the war to ‘make the world safe for democracy’ ended by leaving democracy more unsafe….” With comparable irony, a nuclear war to make the world safe from nuclear peril could end by leaving America more exposed to nuclear annihilation than at any time since the dawn of the atomic age.

A NUCLEAR ATTACK ON IRAN?

In the April 17, 2006, issue of The New Yorker magazine, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons perhaps five to 10 years from now, Pentagon planners were preparing not just military strikes on that country but nuclear strikes. Some analysts, according to Hersh, insist that only our own tactical nuclear warheads can guarantee the elimination of Tehran’s nascent nuclear capability.

President Bush had the opportunity to disavow Hersh’s stunning charge on April 18 when a reporter asked him directly if his administration was planning a nuclear strike on Iran. His reply? “All options are on the table.” Six weeks later, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that Washington was willing to negotiate directly with Tehran if it suspended enrichment and reprocessing of uranium, she was asked whether this meant that any plans to attack Iran had been shelved. Bush, she replied, “was not going to take any of his options off the table.”

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Death penalty opponents often display an unanswerable bumper sticker: Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong? Similarly, one might ask: How can we contemplate nuking people who might nuke people to show that nuking people is wrong? The United States is apparently considering the use of nuclear weapons to keep another state from obtaining nuclear weapons. A Western state appears prepared to employ the nuclear weapon to stop a Muslim state from even seeking the nuclear weapon.

Witness the full depth of the irony here. It’s an irony so towering, so obvious and so unsubtle, that—if it happens—surely not a single member of the world’s Islamic community will fail to take notice.


THE NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION TREATY: THEIR OBLIGATIONS AND OURS

Perhaps because the Bush administration displays such unconcealed disdain for international law, few since the Hersh story broke have mentioned that a U.S. nuclear strike on Iran would explicitly violate the regime of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The grand bargain of the NPT, of course, is that the 183 nonnuclear signatories agreed never to produce or acquire nuclear weapons, in exchange for a promise from the five nuclear signatories eventually to get rid of theirs.

But the NPT regime also contains a number of other, smaller mutual pledges. When the treaty was originally negotiated in the 1960s, the nonnuclear states demanded—in return for their promise to remain nonnuclear—that the nuclear states promise never to attack them or threaten them with nuclear weapons. This, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and former U.S. arms control official Thomas Graham have observed, “could be the most reasonable request in the history of international relations.”

The nuclear states refused, prostrating themselves before the altar of “military flexibility.” But 25 years later, at the NPT review conference in 1995, they finally declared their willingness to adhere to such a promise (with a slight caveat regarding retaliation against nonnuclear states aiding and abetting an attack by a nuclear state). Why? Because they were forced to do so in order to indefinitely extend the life of the treaty, which was set to expire that year.

Three years ago, the United States defied the United Nations to show Saddam Hussein that he could not get away with defying the United Nations. Now, the Bush administration is apparently prepared to breach the NPT to show Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he cannot get away with breaching the NPT.

Count that as nuclear irony number two.

NUCLEAR DOCTRINES AND NUCLEAR CONSEQUENCES

To those who have been paying attention to the Bush administration’s pronouncements on nuclear policy since 2001, Hersh’s revelations come as little surprise. During its first term, the Bush administration codified a new nuclear doctrine that identified several specific scenarios in which the United States would consciously choose to initiate nuclear war. The 2002 “Nuclear Posture Review,” almost wholly unnoticed by the peace and progressive communities, put forth explicit plans for launching nuclear attacks against nonnuclear nations. It even named seven states—including Iran—as possible targets of a U.S. nuclear first strike.

Moreover, the administration intends to both retain and improve the U.S. nuclear arsenal for decades to come. It envisions new ICBMs—our long-range, land-based nuclear missiles that can incinerate entire cities, anywhere in the world, within the hour—coming on line in 2020. It foresees deploying both new nuclear submarines and new submarine-launched ballistic missiles in 2030. It plans to unveil a new intercontinental strategic bomber in 2040. Oh—and freshly designed nuclear warheads for all of them. Just in time for the centennial of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

To the rest of the world all this is sanctimonious and self-righteous. Around the world, in barracks, bazaars and boulangeries, angry young men ask, “Why can the United States have thousands of nuclear weapons, but our countries can’t have even one?” Some, it must seem to them, both anoint themselves as able to be trusted with nuclear weapons and arrogate to themselves the task of assessing whether others meet their tests. President Bush has often let slip this conceit of cultural superiority. “We owe it to our children,” he said in August 2002, “to free the world from weapons of mass destruction in the hands of those who hate freedom.”

So who will decide? Who will render subjective, ad hoc verdicts on whether certain leaders or certain peoples do not love freedom quite enough to be permitted the nuclear prize? Who will serve as prosecutor, judge, jury and enforcer?

Why, of course, the Freedom Lovers in whose hands nuclear weapons already reside.

In response to the Hersh revelations, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) conducted a study of the potential medical consequences of a nuclear first strike on Iran. PSR has a long history of such analyses after its groundbreaking research published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1961. Using unclassified software developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, PSR concluded that a U.S. nuclear attack on the Iranian facilities at Isfahan and Natanz would kill 2.6 million people within 48 hours. Soon thereafter, 10.5 million more would be exposed to catastrophic radioactive fallout in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Much of that fallout could make vast areas uninhabitable for decades to come.

If the U.S. actually does roll out a few atomic bombs in the skies over Iran, there will be no turning back for any of us. The taboo that has prevailed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki will prevail no more. The distinction between conventional and nuclear war will forever be lost. The inhibition that has kept everyone from stepping over the nuclear precipice will disappear in a single flash. Once someone throws open the nuclear Pandora’s box that has been so precariously held shut since Aug. 9, 1945, it will never be shut again.


NEW KINDS OF TERRORISTS AND NEW KINDS OF TERROR.

If the United States does cross the nuclear Rubicon, who will be the next to do so? Probably not Iran itself, because it doesn’t have any nuclear weapons yet. Probably not any other state, for that matter, because of the logic of nuclear deterrence.

But that logic doesn’t apply to the non-state nuclear terrorist, whom so many of us have so feared since 9/11. When a loosely affiliated global terror network does not actually control any dirt, deterrence becomes essentially meaningless, because there is no place or thing to threaten to retaliate against. How effective were America’s thousands of bristling nuclear warheads when they came up against 19 determined young men, armed only with box cutters, on 09/11/01? What were we going to do, dispatch a nuclear cruise missile through the window of Mohammed Atta’s bachelor apartment in Coral Springs, Fla.?

Osama bin Laden, in his highly publicized statement in January of this year, claimed that his minions were already “preparing operations” inside the United States. If one actively tried to conjure up a motive for our enemies to take the next step to nuclear terror, it would be hard to come up with something better than a nuclear first strike—on a Muslim country, no less—to perpetuate the nuclear double standard.

The greatest effect of such a first strike might be on those young Muslim men, both inside and outside Iran, who are essentially still on the fence. Who are still contemplating whether to buy themselves a one-way ticket down the dead-end road to jihadi martyrdom. Who have not dedicated their lives, yet, to getting their hands on one of the 30,000 atomic bombs floating around the planet, using it to slaughter all the inhabitants of a major U.S. city, and perhaps causing a panicked American nation—wondering which city might be next—to utterly unravel.

Nothing could do more to provoke a nuclear terror attack on the United States than the use of nuclear weapons by the United States. Some of the military officers now planning the Iran campaign undoubtedly realize this, which must be why some of them, according to Hersh, are considering resigning over the nuclear option. If the United States pursues that option, it would arguably be striking the finest, purest Faustian bargain in all of human history.

We are the ones who created these weapons in the past. We are the ones contemplating the use of these weapons in the present. We are the ones who vaingloriously insist that we—but not others—must perpetually possess these weapons into the future. And now, we are the ones who may soon feel the wrath of these weapons brought down upon ourselves. We are the ones who may be the authors of our own annihilation. We are the ones, perhaps, who will be devoured by our own creation.

In the end, that could turn out to be the greatest irony of all.

 


New and Improved Comments

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By glyn mabbitt, November 16, 2007 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All have sinned and fall short. Gods Word will be forfilled, this is the generation to see all these things come to pass. If we die tonight, where will you spend eternity. Maranetha, Glyn

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By mike, November 9, 2006 at 1:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

bush is a crap president he invades other contris for ther oil and until you americans see that and do not vote for him in the elections
then america and iran will be at nuke war with bloody britain with america

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By zenseeker, July 18, 2006 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Have you guys tried this Nuclear Newt Gingrich and World War III flash game: at http://zenwire.com/flashmedia.php
Try it when you guys have some time.

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By Pietro M. Di Giorgio, July 16, 2006 at 7:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Admiration for American principles has given way to fear for an America bent on copying Imperial powers of the near and distant past—Britain and Rome.  Power in the hands of a committed right-wing, that gives only lip service to democratic ideals increases the danger of the conflagration we feared in the 50’s.  I do not believe that, to achieve the goals of this international elite of power led by the American right wing, is going to let conscience or the pleas of the international peace community impede the completion of its goal of planetary domination.  Two fundamentalist groups bent on destroying one another is going to make us run to our respective nuclear shelters.  Sad, that homo sapians are not more sapian.

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By Dr. Roger Dittmann, July 14, 2006 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment
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Nuclear Disarmament: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?
Roger Dittmann
Professor of Physics Emeritus
California State University, Fullerton
http://www.faculty.fullerton.edu/rdittmann
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Some four decades ago Morton Halperin wrote an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about the Chinese position on nuclear proliferation. In their analysis, the US government would not accept nuclear disarmament until a great deal of proliferation eroding their nuclear monopoly cum oligopoly had occurred. Nuclear proliferation spread through all of the major victorious WWII allies that constitute the non-elected [“Permanent”] members of the UN Security Council, and the first class sovereigns in the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT), then stalled until Israel developed nukes. For many reasons, proliferation has been a slow process to the current eight, perhaps nine (claim of the Peoples’ Republic of Korea) known nuclear countries , with others pending or potential. Rep. Royce (R, CA), didn’t mention Israel, but proclaimed, “If Iran were to go nuclear, many other countries in this combustible region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey, to name a few, might follow ”, a commonly shared sentiment. Much spent nuclear fuel from research reactors has now decayed to radiation levels low enough to tempt even non-state actors to seek the fissile [bomb] material . Proliferation is an adverse threat to security, but in adversity lurks opportunity—opportunity to shed the illegal nukes that could potentially destroy us in 20 minutes, the “nuclear insecurity blanket”, and achieve the relative security of universal nuclear disarmament essentially agreed in the NPT .
Recently, this opportunity [and necessity] in the midst of adversity has been recognized by the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission [“Blix Commission”] proposing sixty concrete proposals to achieve universal disarmament of weapons of mass destruction .

Bombs and Deterrence
Napoleon: “Bayonets are wonderful! One can do anything with them, except sit on them!”
                “Nukes are wonderful! One can do anything with them, except use them!”
Apartheid South Africa developed nukes with Israel, but has now abandoned them along with Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. Fourteen others have abandoned nuclear ambitions, presumably due to recognition of their limited military utility.  Over 95% of UN members don’t possess the nukes that the US government argues are necessary for security, presumably because both political and nuclear deterrence essentially renders them militarily useless . The illegality of nukes doesn’t guarantee that criminals won’t use them, if available. They must be eliminated, with controls to prevent their development. We have a chance to recapture lost opportunities to remove this threat to our security .

The Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]
“All sovereign nations are equal, but some are more equal than others”
To discourage further proliferation, the NPT was signed in 1968, formalizing Eisenhower’s 1953 “Atoms for Peace”  program that abetted the spread of nuclear technology for power generation, which Israel, India, and Pakistan [all non-signers] diverted to the proliferation of the very bombs that the program was designed to prevent. Second class signatory states agree not to develop nukes (that they probably didn’t want in the first place) in return for nuclear technology (that ironically could be used to develop nukes!)], and for the [unfulfilled] promise of good faith negotiations for universal nuclear disarmament and a nuclear free zone in the Middle East . It is time to abide by that treaty.

The Nuclear Insecurity Blanket
The US is endowed with oceans east and west, and weak and friendly neighbors north and south. Until 911, only nukes threatened the US. For whatever reasons (class conflict cum imperial ambition), the US government clung to its “nuclear insecurity blanket” and rejected proposals for universal nuclear disarmament out of hand.

Lost Opportunities
The best chances for nuclear disarmament occurred during the diplomatically busy year of 1946, shortly after the US government dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The very first resolution of the UN General Assembly was to ban nuclear bombs and to promote peaceful nuclear applications. This was followed by the Acheson-Lilienthal Plan to establish international control of nuclear technology (without banning bombs) . Bernard Baruch presented his proposal to the UN Atomic Energy Commission that proposed establishing what became the IAEA and suggested that the US, with its nuclear monopoly, would abandon its nuclear bombs if it deemed controls to be adequate , and if it had guaranteed security.  The USSR responded with the Molotov Plan (universal nuclear disarmament with controls), which was unacceptable to the nuclear monopolist, perhaps depending upon Gen Groves’ estimation that it would take the USSR decades to develop nukes, “if ever”. .
I suspect that Indians and Pakistanis, Jews and Gentiles, Orientals and Occidentals, everyone would feel more secure knowing that the world was free of nukes, and would stay that way. It is time to resurrect diplomacy to achieve universal disarmament of these illegal nukes. Of the 191 nations in the world, 183 are already nuclearly disarmed—only eight to go [If we expedite!]

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By Lower Than Human, July 13, 2006 at 5:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you honestly believe that marketing spin from Al Quaida

I think for myself. And when 911 happened I was only surprised by the scale and the fact that it succeeded, not the fact that it happened.

The photos to which you link are irrelevant in the context of this discussion. In fact they betray your predujices because you obviously did not research Muslim protests against violence - something you categorically stated does not happen - and are just attempting to butress your anti-Muslim position.

So let me do the research for you - read this and here

Do you now withdraw your statement that Muslims have not protested against violence?

As for Ahmedinejad’s statement, the full quotation, from Jonathan Steele’s page, is “the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” - that is not a threat to anyone, and certainly not to the country called Israel. It is a call for a radical change in government in Israel. Sort of like what the US/UK threatened to do in Iraq (and then did) or what they are threatening to do in Iran, or what they tried in Venezuela in 2002, or many times in Cuba. Except that Iran is not trying to carry out the regime change.

Get the idea?

Frankly your knowledge of ME affairs or even US/UK foreign policy is rudimentary, at best. You display the marks of a person constantly and exclusively exposed to western propaganda, from belief in bloodthirsty Muslims to Islam is a religion of war to west is superior and thus right. You were probably even shocked to discover that Iraq had no WMD’s.

‘Give me liberty, or give me death’ are the words of Patrick Henry. They apply to any man, not just a select few in the US and the UK. Now would be good time to reread the speech from which the quote originated.

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By Irony? Not hardly, July 12, 2006 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Speaking of muslim protests, here are some great photos taken from one in London, which did not make the mainstream press, just like you said!

http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/muslimprotest.asp

Those protest signs sure do warm the heart.

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By Irony? Not Hardly, July 12, 2006 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Then you discover that 9/11 is not an event born from a bloodthirsty religion, but rather it is the reaction to oppression and brutality.”

If you honestly believe that marketing spin from Al Quaida, you need to read Sam Harris’ book, ‘The End of Faith’.  He pretty much obliterates that argument far better than I could attempt to do in the space here.

As for the Ahmadinejad quote, what I posted was not the original version, but a more accurate translation given later by native speakers:

In June, 2006 Guardian columnist and foreign correspondant Jonathan Steele cited several Farsi speakers and translators who state that the phrase in question is more accurately translated as “eliminated” or “wiped off” or “wiped away” from “the page of time” or “the pages of history”, rather than “wiped off the map”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad#Antagonism_toward_Israel

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By Lower Than Human, July 12, 2006 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You obviously aren’t a bigot when it comes to the United States or western culture, are you

Obviously wink

But seriously, I visited Disney World this year. I am writing this on a PowerMac. I drive Chrysler Voyager. I wear a pair of Levi 501’s everyday (not the same pair…) I can tell the difference between the US government and the US people.

You are either deliberately ignorant or brainwashed. As an example, if you do the research you will discover that Muslims protest against violence carried out in the name of Islam all the time. It’s hardly ever reported (obviously) in the news sources you access, so like the tree in the forest, if it falls and no Western news source reports it, did the tree even exist?

I do not care much for religion either (FWIW I am an athiest), but I see cause and effect. When 911 happens there can be 2 reactions:-

1. “bloody uncivilised bastards and their bloodthirsty religion which makes them kill us must be wiped off the map”
2. “why the hell are they attacking us?”

If you start with 1, then you have been brainwashed.

If you start with 2 and through objective research reach 1, then power to you.

If you start with 2 and discover that I have NOT BEEN CHANGING THE SUBJECT… well, then you have to face the fact that the US/UK has been complicit in crimes against humanity and the violence which you condemn is a reaction to that. Then you discover that 911 is not an event born from a bloodthirsty religion, but rather it is the reaction to oppression and brutality.

The US overthrew an elected government in Iran in 1953, installed the Shah as dictator and after a revolution we have the Iran of today. Think about that for a while. They set back the political, cultural and religious development of Iran by at least 53 years. Iran today is further back than it was in 1953 because the US/UK wanted access to the oil fields.

The US helped Saddam into power, and supplied him with help after encouraging him to invade Iran.

The US/UK supplies Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with weapons and torture devices, trains their officers and, in so doing, helps them to suppress the democratic forces that have been trying to gain a foothold since mid last century. This so that they can access to oil.

In the ME the US/UK actively help to suppress democracy.

And don’t get me started on Palestine…

If you believe that the cause of all of this is Islam, then you are telling me that you believe a Christian or Jewish or Hindu or whatever nation would accept being oppressed.

As for your quote from Ahmedinejad - not only was he misquoted about wanting to wipe Israel off the map, but Iran clarified what he had said. Again, like the tree, your news sources did not report the clarification and thus it never happened.

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By MK, July 12, 2006 at 6:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good lord. Enough with the dick stretching here. Crimeny…

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By Miguel, July 12, 2006 at 6:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In response to:

“Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous” (Koran 9:123)

Here’s something to chew on…

Exodus 22:20 “You must kill those who sacrifice to or worship another god.”
Deuteronomy 13:6-10 “Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own.”
Deuteronomy 13:12-16 “Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you.”
Deuteronomy 17:2-7 “Kill everyone who has religious views that are different than your own.”
Deuteronomy 17:12-13 “Kill anyone who refuses to listen to a priest.”
Deuteronomy 18:20 “Kill any false prophets.”

I guess the Old Testament teaches violence, too.

If you take things literally, then I guess Christianity, Islam and Judaism are very violent religions.

Thank God I’m not religious!

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By Irony? Not hardly, July 11, 2006 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Your views are the tired views of a bigot”

What a stupendously hypocritical statement. You obviously aren’t a bigot when it comes to the United States or western culture, are you?  Presumptuous also, it seems. The assumptions you made about my personal politics and nationality are pretty amusing, but I’ll let you go right on assuming.

Nearly every human being on earth is a bigot of one variety or another, and yes I am absolutely bigoted against religious fundamentalism of any kind and theocracy especially.

Religion is a psychological virus in the human species. Islam is the most virulent and deadly strain at this moment in time, as demonstrated yet again in India with the train station terrorist attack by militant Islamists.

The world is growing tired of the politically correct apologists for Islam who can’t come to any rational defense of Islamic violence around the world other than to point fingers at some other group doing something else bad as you have done repeatedly here.  Basically, their only defense is to change the subject.

The world sees endless terrorist attacks by Muslims around the world every week, and yet where is the public outcry and protest by other Muslims? Where are the crowds of peaceful muslims condemning the slaughter of innocents in the name of Allah? Even in the United States, there are huge anti-war demonstrations by Americans who disagree with their administrations foreign policy, but when it comes to muslims around the world, we get nothing but complicity by silence after each terrorist attack.  Silence until somebody publishes a cartoon of the Prophet and then suddenly the streets are full of righteous muslims around the world, ready to burn the world down for this insult to Islam. Apparently mass murdering in the name of Allah isn’t nearly as insulting to Islam. What a twisted culture the world of Islam has become.

But I guess if you are right, we have nothing to be concerned about when it comes to the Islamic theocrats in Iran having nukes. What’s to worry about after all? I mean other than calling the jewish holocaust a “myth” and repeatedly stating the the nation of Israel must be “eliminated” and “wiped away”, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hasn’t given us any reason for concern about his intentions, has he?

Sheesh.

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By Lower than Human, July 11, 2006 at 2:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why not quote the ENTIRE paragraph:-

More power to them I say, especially as they embody a heck of a lot more of the so called spirit of freedom that the American’s are supposed to personify. In truth you American’s are no more than the schoolyard bully. And the Arabs are one of the bullied who have said ENOUGH!!

It’s clear my reference to freedom was associated with the fight back, not any religion. You are trying to twist my words to suit your worldview. Tough - will not work.

It is a purely pragmatic issue of national security

Only if one gives into your fantasies about the threat posed by Iran.

Your views are the tired views of a bigot. They are nothing that we have not seen before, from colonising Europeans to slave owners - you believe that they need civilising and it is your duty before God or National Security or Freedom to carry out the conversion, whether they want to be converted or not, giving rise to yet another irony - forcing your freedom onto them.

You have a problem with Iranians killing gays, or Muslims killing adulterers? How about the problem with the US killing non-Americans? They have killed many more civilians than gays or adulterers killed by Islam and yet you see fit to point a finger at Islam? Maybe you should get your own house in order first.

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By Bukko in Australia, July 11, 2006 at 1:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Because Seymour Hersh’s article from April was mentioned in this piece, it should also be noted that he had another story in the New Yorker in July about how the military is resisting Bush’s push to nuke Iran. Some guys in uniform will actually have to push the buttons and take other physical actions to launch weapons of mass murder. Hersh quotes unnamed military men who say they’ve been arguing against this. They see how the Iraq has only made things worse and weakened the U.S. military. Maybe our hope if for “good Nazis” to resist “just following orders.” On the other hand, the ones Hersh found said they zlso respected the principle of “civilian command” so maybe they would pull the nuclear trigger.

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By Irony? Not Hardly, July 10, 2006 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Those of you who took issue of my analogy of the cop shooting the criminal missed the point completely (why am I not surprised), which was that disarming Iran has nothing do with symbolism or showing right from wrong. It is a purely pragmatic issue of national security.

My point was to show the absurdity of the question “How can we contemplate nuking people who might nuke people to show that nuking people is wrong?”. That is a naive and childlike mischaracterisation of a security issue. Surely it makes for good protest signs, but ultimately it means nothing, as it has nothing to do with the issue.

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By Irony? Not hardly, July 10, 2006 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lower than human asked “I said that? Read it again”.

Perhaps you should read what you wrote again. Here are your own words with bold added for emphasis on your establishment of the subject and continued identification of said subject as “them” and “they”.  If you meant to change subjects from Islam to Muslim Arabs, (as if there were any real significance to that distinction in this context of this discussion), you neglected to do so. FYI, Iranians are not arabs for the most part, but they are overwhelmingly Muslim, and they are the ones that executed the gay teenagers.

Maybe your problem with Islam is not their ‘concept of martydom’. Maybe it is that they refuse to lie down and die so that you can run roughshod all over them.

More power to them  I say, especially as they embody a heck of a lot more of the so called spirit of freedom that the American’s are supposed to personify.

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By Lower Than Human, July 10, 2006 at 4:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right, so did you not comprehend the phrase “at present”, or did you merely overlook those words?

Right, so did you not comprehend the phrase “A devastation that continues to this day….”, or did you merely overlook those words?

the bit about Islam embodying freedom is so laughably detached from reality that it is hardly worthy of a straight faced response

I said that? Read it again - I said nothing about Islam as a philosophy and nor do I want to get involved in a debate with you about the philosophy of Islam - you evidently lack that knowledge.

I was referring to the desire of the Arabs to free themselves from the yoke of oppression imposed by countries that boast a 21st century philosophy. They embody what Hollywood/US tells us is a uniquely American virtue, but clearly the US is more an oppressor than a liberator.

Your speculation about how an Islamic theocracy would behave once armed with a nuclear weapon is, to be charitable, just that, speculation. On the other hand we do not need to speculate about how the US would behave. Hiroshma, Nagasaki and the current threats to non-nuclear nations are merely a pointer. The US record of human rights violations on all continents bar Antarctica make it clear that the US is no champion of freedom.

You want a good argument against Iran obtaining nuclear weapons? Once they have it they might want to treat you the way you treated them…

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By Irony? Not hardly, July 9, 2006 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lower than Human wrote: “Really?!? You say this after almost 500 years of CHRISTIAN devastation wrought on the non-Christian world? And done in the name of Christ?”

Right, so did you not comprehend the phrase “at present”, or did you merely overlook those words? In any case, just to bring you up to speed, we are living in the 21st century now. Western societies have moved on from the middle ages, whereas much of the Islamic world seems to still be very much entrenched there. The Islamic world in general is philosophically hundreds of years behind the west. Sad, but true. And if Islamic theocracies acquire modern nuclear weapons, that sad truth will become the world’s problem.

As for the remainder of your post, the bit about Islam embodying freedom is so laughably detached from reality that it is hardly worthy of a straight faced response. Try picking up the newspaper and see what those zany freedom-loving muslim societies of the world are up to any any given moment. All too often it is murdering or beating anyone who doesn’t follow their brand of religious truth.  Muslim gangs are having a grand old time attacking anyone trying to play music in public or watch a soccer game on TV in Somalia right now. In several countries, muslims still like to do fun stuff like burying people up to the head in sand and stoning them to death for adultery, and hanging teenage boys from the neck until dead in front of a cheering crowd, just for being homosexual. Then there is sentencing a man to death for converting from islam to christianity, and even slaughtering other muslims by the thousands because they follow brand X of Islam instead of brand Y.  But that is Sharia and Allah is with them, after all, so they must be righteous. The Koran says so, after all:

“Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous” (Koran 9:123)

Yes,  Islam surely is a religion of peace and freedom…

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By James, July 9, 2006 at 10:56 am Link to this comment
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There is still enough time to save ourselves, but we should suspend our day to day activities in the name of survival- a concept long forgotten by modern thinkers - and march in mass to the government buildings where protest by a concerned public will have an impact on foreign policy. Failing that, our extinction is assured, because those with the high foreheads just don`t get it!

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By Lower than Human, July 9, 2006 at 9:08 am Link to this comment
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Nobody who believes in the Koranic concept of martydom

Please tell us what the Koranic concept of martydom is…

Islam is simply the most dangerous fiction in the world at present.

Really?!? You say this after almost 500 years of CHRISTIAN devastation wrought on the non-Christian world? And done in the name of Christ?

A devastation that continues to this day….

Maybe your problem with Islam is not their ‘concept of martydom’. Maybe it is that they refuse to lie down and die so that you can run roughshod all over them.

More power to them I say, especially as they embody a heck of a lot more of the so called spirit of freedom that the American’s are supposed to personify. In truth you American’s are no more than the schoolyard bully. And the Arabs are one of the bullied who have said ENOUGH!!

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By Lower than Human, July 9, 2006 at 2:09 am Link to this comment
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That’s like asking a cop who shoots criminal reaching for a gun:

Your logic already considers Iran a criminal. Is it because they have brown skin? Or because they refuse to subjugate themselves at the Washington alter?

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By SamSnedegar, July 8, 2006 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment
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Let me see here . . . we didn’t stop Israel, we didn’t stop Pakistan, we didn’t stop India, we didn’t stop North Korea, we didn’t stop Libya, but we are planning to stop a mideast country which sits on about a tenth of the world’s oil supply?

Is this deja vu all over again? We didn’t invade Afghanistan which had both the terrorists who attacked us, and we did occupy Iraq which had nothing to do with nine eleven or terrorism in general. Ah, but Iraq ALSO sits on about a tenth of the world’s oil. Could there be some logic here that we (shhhhhh!) don’t mention because to admit that we steal oil would also be to admit that we covet, lie, and kill?

There is only one way to look at this conundrum: all animals are created equal; but some animals (pigs) are more equal than others. The USA can do no wrong, its friends (who knuckle under) can do no wrong, and any country or person who disagrees with the USA is automatically wrong and ought to expect to be nuked for it.

And there is the Bush logic: it’s been so long since anyone has been nuked with a bomb (Nagasaki 1945) we need to nuke someone to show the world why it ought not ever use nuclear weapons of any kind. We need some real horror and some millions dying of radiation sickness so that no one will ever think of doing anything against the Bush gang again. It’s called the policy of preemptive nuking, and we will show great caution in using it lest we contaminate some oil supply somewhere on the globe.

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By Irony? Not hardly, July 8, 2006 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
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Ken C asked: “why is it that the world can not afford a nuclear armed Iran but seems perfectly content with nuclear armed Israel, Pakistan, India, Russia, the United States, etc. “

The answer is simple: Islam. None of those countries are run by Islamic theocrats (including Pakistan). Nobody who believes in the Koranic concept of martydom should be allowed with a thousand miles of a nuclear weapon, in this world filled with ‘infidels’.

It’s rather like the difference between trusting a trained police officer with a gun vs. trusting an escaped lunatic with one.

Hilding, please don’t quote the bible to me. All religions are fiction.  Islam is simply the most dangerous fiction in the world at present.

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By paul kibble, July 8, 2006 at 11:24 am Link to this comment
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To Comment #13254Z (Not Hardly):

Wow, those big brass balls of yours are clanging so loud I could barely make out what you were saying. But I think I got the gist of your little testosteronefest. It’s called “macho bullshit.”

Here’s a specimen of your, um, logic:”. . .that’s like a a cop who shoots criminal [sic] reaching for a gun.”

What a silly analogy, to paraphrase. . .who was it? Oh, yeah.

1. “Shoot first and ask questions later” and “Kill ‘em alll—-let God sort ‘em out” may sound like cool aggro slogans, but they’re maybe not the best way to keep the peace.

Sure, the adrenalin rush of blowing someone away makes you feel like a stud with a cock of pure titanium. But then afterwards there’s that messy clean-up and all these nosey civilians (and some of your by-the-book “superiors”) and their pesky questions. Plus, what those military types call “blowback” from those other criminals or their wannabes-in-training who may be lurking in the next alley, or the next city, or the next country.

See, the thing is, a cop who shot a criminal would first have to make sure the criminal was actually reaching for the gun. A cop may act in self-defense, but he/she can’t engage in preemptive strikes. Believe it or not, they’re not the same! Damn those liberals and their pussy-ass “nuances.” That means a cop can’t enter a criminal’s home and shoot him/her at point blank range on the assumption that the criminal MIGHT one day shoot them. Got it?

That’s true even if the cop discovers a cache of AK-47’s stored in the bad boy’s basement. However, a cop working through those slow, cumbersome “official” channels in the criminal justice system might be able to get certain sanctions (incarceration, fines)imposed if a known criminal breaks the law.

Thus, most felons aren’t allowed to possess firearms and if caught with them could face serious penalties. But possession doesn’t warrant immediate execution, unless you’re a rogue cop in, say, L.A.‘s Ramparts division or certain of the NYPD’s wild cannons.

This kind of go-it-alone cowboyism has managed to piss off most of the rest of the world (including our allies) while failing to make us any safer. As unfair as it may seem, even cops sometimes have to obey the laws they’ve sworn to uphold.  Talk about frustrating!

2. Thanks for sharing the results of your one-on-one briefing with Rummy and some (but by no means all) of his Pentagon co-conspirators. Wish we all had that kind of insider access, although in this case your sound bites sound a lot like they’re recycled from some Foxpert’s pro-Bush talking points.

Since you’re privy to all these state secrets, bet you can explain why some of these most highly placed insiders—-for example, generals, who, unlike civilian Rummy, undestand the actual risks and consequences of even a limited nuclear strike—-have argued against this suicidal strategy.

As for those “small tactical bunker buster nukes” hitting “innocent civilians”—-what’s up with the ironic quotes around the innocent civilians?

Problem is,  a few of us have actully caught glimpses of this war through something other than the rose-colored bomb sights of the Bush mafia’s PR machine. (Still buy the “Saddam-had-WMD’s” scam?) So we inconveniently noticed that some innocent civilians—-no quotes needed—-were taken out by those “smart” bombs (overhyped for their mythical precision) during the initial shock-and-awe phase of Project Iraqi Freedom. (Never mind that other “collateral damage”: up to 50 K dead Iraqi civilians.)

Oh, and, um, fallout? Shhh, let’s not complicate the discussion with reality.

3. Smart of you to avoid one Daley’s key points and its obvious implications: “The greatest effect of such a first strike might be on those young Muslim men. . .[w]ho are still contemplating whether to buy themselves a one-way ticket down the dead-end road to jihadi martyrdom. Who have not dedicated their lives, yet, to getting their hands on one of the 30,000 atomic bombs floating around the planet, using it to slaughter all the inhabitants of a major U.S. city.”

You avoided addressing that issue because it’s essentially unanswerable. Stateless terrorists can’t all be rounded up and mowed down, although that’s clearly what you’d obviously prefer. But who are they? Where are they? And what do they look like? Why, that nice Sikh man who runs the local Minute Mart could be one—I mean, he wears a turban, know what I mean?

Oh, fuck it, just take out all them goddam towelheads, right? And fuck shades of gray, too: the world is so much easier to manage in black and white.

 

Still buying the Saddam-had-WMD’s bit about our reasons for invading Iraq?

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By Robert, July 8, 2006 at 11:21 am Link to this comment
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On top of his doing nothing about global warming, he’s gonna nuke Iran?  The impending doom is snapping at our heels.  How to prevent it?  We the people change the world, that’s how.

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By FreeDem, July 8, 2006 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
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Amazing how ironic folks can be who deny there is any irony. Who’s the cop and who is the criminal?

Does being the bully standing astride the world make us the cops, or just the troops


I mean it’s not like the Iranians helped to install an illegal government in this country

Of course with the long history of Muslims working togeather the right wing Shia theocrats have nothing but the best interests of their right wing Sunni Taliban theocrat’s in their war with right wing Christian theocrats.

Certainly Nuking Iran will keep right wing terrorists out of this country

Its because they hate our freedom.

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By Ken C, July 8, 2006 at 10:39 am Link to this comment
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I think Irony needs to do a bit more research on the effects of the nuclear bombs we might use on Iran.  There will be mushroom clouds and there will be fall out.  In addition, why is it that the world can not afford a nuclear armed Iran but seems perfectly content with nuclear armed Israel, Pakistan, India, Russia, the United States, etc.  I don’t think Iran should have nuclear bombs, but, then, I don’t think any of us should.

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By R. A. Earl, July 8, 2006 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
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But Kabir, “Peace loving people throughout the world need to raise their voices in unmasking the ugly faces of the warmongers.”... IT DOESN’T SEEM TO MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE TO THE “WARMONGERS” IF PEOPLE OBJECT TO WHAT THEY’RE DOING.

In fact, to add perversity to insanity, it seems to titillate their aggressive hormones to the point of near ejaculation!

There’s something seriously defective in the human gene pool that vaccinates us against LEARNING FROM HISTORY, at least in enough numbers to put a stop to this stupidity once and for all.

We, pathetic humans, are destined to carry on as we have until we are no longer. If it were up to me, I’D JAIL FOR LIFE ANY POLITICIAN OR BUREAUCRAT WHO EVEN SUGGESTED AGGRESSION AGAINST ANOTHER COUNTRY.

The ONLY justification for even having an army would be to DEFEND SOVEREIGN TERRITORY… the actual SOIL, not some virtual nonsense about preemptive assaults to justify invading other countries and killing their people, etc.

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By Hilding Lindquist, July 8, 2006 at 7:20 am Link to this comment
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Reply to Comment #13254 by Irony? Not hardly on 7/08 at 5:18 am:

The cult of power is so “Old Testament” ... Joshua commanded to kill every man, woman, child, and animal in Jericho except the prostitute who helped his spies. (or something like that.)

We now know that the stonger party to a conflict has to break the cycle of violence. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” Being a peacemaker is NOT being either a wimp or a bully.

All Joshua did was lay the groundwork for the future annihilation of Israel by Persia or Babylon or whoever the next big power was to come down the pike.

If the best we can do is nuke Iran, (like, why don’t we ask Israel to give up its nukes while we provide a security blanket for all parties?) I mean, violence has such bad karma, folks.

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By Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, July 8, 2006 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
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Those small nuclear weapons are the size as the weapons dropped on Hiroshima.  Not harmless at all.

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By Irony? Not hardly, July 8, 2006 at 5:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“How can we contemplate nuking people who might nuke people to show that nuking people is wrong? “

What a silly question. That’s like asking a cop who shoots criminal reaching for a gun: “why did you shoot someone who might shoot you to show that shooting people is wrong”. Showing right and wrong was the farthest thing from th cops mind. It is about self defense.

The world can not afford the threat of a nuclear Iran. Whatever it takles to prevent that is in the self defense interests of the world.

For the record, the united states is NOT contemplating using nukes as WMDs against people in iran, but is considering only small tactical bunker buster nukes to destroy undrground facilities. These do not wipe out cities or populations, they don’t send mushroom clouds into the air or cause fallout, they are equivalent to the underground nuclear tests that go on all the time, except they would be used to destroy undergound nuclear facilities only.

Don’t count on many ‘innocent civilians’ to be hanging around in secret underground nuclear facilities. If some dead scientists and a few poisoned ground wells is what ist takes to prevent suitcase nukes from going off in western cities down the line, then so be it.

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By Kabir Chowdhury, July 8, 2006 at 3:58 am Link to this comment
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An wonderful article by Tad Daley. There are plenty of reports that the Bush administration is planning to use “low yield” nuclear weapons in its forthcoming war with Iran. What a shameful bankruptcy of policy! Nuking others to prevent them from acquiring nukes is ultimate hypocrisy and nuclear terrorism. The dogs of war are loose again. Another U.S. military adventurism in the Middle East could have devastating consequences for the whole world. Peace loving people throughout the world need to raise their voices in unmasking the ugly faces of the warmongers.

George Bush has already generated enough hatred
in the Muslim world by invading Afghanistan and Iraq. Further State terrorism by U.S. and Israel (like attacking Iran) would only make this world less safe and achieve nothing good.

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