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Will the War with Iran Finally Begin?

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Iran Arming Iraq Militias

U.S. military officials on Sunday accused the highest levels of the Iranian leadership of arming Shiite militants in Iraq with sophisticated armor-piercing roadside bombs that have killed more than 170 American forces.

The military command in Baghdad denied, however, that any newly smuggled Iranian weapons were behind the five U.S. military helicopter crashes since Jan. 20 - four that were shot out of the sky by insurgent gunfire.

A fifth crash has tentatively been blamed on mechanical failure. In the same period, two private security company helicopters also have crashed but the cause was unclear.

The deadly and highly sophisticated weapons the U.S. military said it traced to Iran are known as "explosively formed penetrators," or EFPs.

Three senior military officials who explained the display said the "machining process" used in the construction of the deadly bombs had been traced to Iran.

The experts, who spoke to a large gathering of reporters on condition that they not be further identified, said the supply trail began with Iran's Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, which also is accused of arming the Hezbollah guerrilla army in Lebanon. The officials said the EFP weapon was first tested there.

The officials said the Revolutionary Guard and its Quds force report directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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The centerpiece of the display, however, was a gray metal pipe about 10 inches long and 6 inches in diameter, the exterior casing of what the military said was an EFP, the roadside bomb that shoots out fist-sized wads of nearly molten copper that can penetrate the armor on an Abrams tank.

"A normal roadside bomb is like a shortgun blast. But these are like a rifle. They're focused and they're aimed. ... It's going to take anything out in its way, go in one side and out the other," said 1st Lt. Zane Galvach, 25, of Dayton, Ohio, a soldier with the Army's 2nd Division, based in Baghdad.

US Senators remained skeptical.

Skeptical congressional Democrats said the Bush administration should move cautiously before accusing Iran of fomenting a campaign of violence against U.S. troops in Iraq.

Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said "the administration is engaged in a drumbeat with Iran that is much like the drumbeat that they did with Iraq. We're going to insist on accountability."

On the Republican side, Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi said he did not think the United States was trying to make a case for attacking Iran. Lott said the U.S. should try to stop the flow of munitions through Iran to Iraq but that "you do that by interdiction ... you don't do it by invasion."

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First: Make damn sure our information is reliable.

Second: Do our utmost to locate the factory these things are being made in.

Third: Make said factory a smoking hole in the ground via conventional weapons.

Fourth: Tell Iranian rulers to take a look at the before mentioned smoking-hole-in-the-ground and tell them that is what they are going to look like if they do not cease and desist.

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I was at Fort Leavenworth about a year ago when VP Cheney visited. I was in the front row of the assembly, so when he had finished his speech and came by to shake hands, I stepped up to the front, shook his hand, and asked when we were going into Iran. He turned to me, cocked his head, smiled, and gave me the thumb-up, index finger point. Although it is hard to tell what a politician is thinking/giving away, it was obvious to me he appreciated hearing the question. Maybe it will happen.

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"First: Make damn sure our information is reliable."

I can understand why this should be listed, but I object to two implications behind the statement.

1. That the information about Iraq was unreliable. More importantly,

2. That we need even a scrap more intelligence in order to justfiy a full-scale invasion or intensive aerial bombing campaign against Iran. Nothing of the sort is required. Iran has obviously, and by their own admission, been an avowed enemy of the United States since 1979. They have repeatedly carried out and/or assisted acts of war against the U.S. or its citizens and allies. At this stage, though the President should do so because of the political climate, morally he isn't required to provide any more justification -- nor convince the New York Times and IT'S allies -- before taking action.

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jd,

As a 35 yr Republican it is not people of my bent who are the adversaries of the President. What I do believe is there was enough evidence of data mining on the part of our administration in order to justify the invasion of Iraq that it did harm to their credibility overall and they have been on the defensive ever since.

The evidence of Iran's production of these types of weapons needs to be as conclusive as possible and it then needs to be presented to key members of congress from both sides in order to make the Democrats go on record as to their commitment to the welfare of our troops and the security of our country.

It is despicable that the lives of our soldiers have been used as political fodder by some, and in a way what I called for is more of the same. However the difference is that Bush should call for the strikes against their factories irrregardless of what the Democrats think. However by doing what I suggested it will insure that the general population knows where they(Democrats) really stand on these matters.

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LW,

I agree that it's important for the President to layout the case to the American people, particularly in light of the subsequent history in Iraq.

I don't agree that it's necessary, nor particularly desirable, to rest the case on having hard evidence of the production of nuclear weapons by Iran. Whether they are or are not makes the case easier or more difficult. But there is plenty to justify a military strike either way.

One of the errors Bush, et al made was making too much of WMD. Even if they had been found it need not have been the centerpiece of the justification for the effort.

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In the spirit of what I interpret to be the initial intent of this thread, I offer into evidence exhibit #Umpteenth that Iran has been at war with the United States by proxy at least since 1979.

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Alas, yesterday the news was full of a poll that says only 22% of Americans think Iran is a threat.

That SHOULD be irrelevant but I am 95% confident the administration will allow itself to be guided by this sentiment.

Sentiment will change when the mushroom cloud sprouts.

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Everyone is worried about an Iranian nuke. I think we'd be lucky if all we were up against was the possibility of a mushroom cloud rising over NYC and/or another major US city.

Nukes “enjoy” a huge amount of clout. I think that that’s mostly because building one requires immense knowledge, expertise and a willingness to defy the spirit of nonproliferation agreements.

What worries me far more than a nuke going off on US soil is a well though out biological attack.

Discreetly releasing a lethal virus that can go human to human at a few mall and airports could kill tens of millions of Americans, shutting down the nation for months.

Even if the US were to respond by wiping the Middle East off the map by unleashing a few ballistic subs, we’d be offline for a very long time.

JohnRGT

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It's interesting that this alleged warrior felt the need to lie about his involvement in the Embassy seizure when he became "President."

JohnRGT

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Alas, yesterday the news was full of a poll that says only 22% of Americans think Iran is a threat.

That SHOULD be irrelevant but I am 95% confident the administration will allow itself to be guided by this sentiment.

Yes, the media and the dhims have done a grand job of disarming this country. And the Bush administration has done a lousy job of keeping American's focused on the truth. For instance, we have found WMD all over Iraq, just not in the stockpiles they said we would find; both the Democrats and the media know this, and equivocate for political reasons. It should also be pointed out that we gave ample warning to Saddam (:) ) that we were coming, giving him time to move whatever stockpiles he had to Syria.

It is important for the American public to be informed, and to be behind whatever is being done. It isn't merely a matter of perception, it is dangerous, both at home and on the battlefield. We've lost people in every upsurge of activity after prominent politicians stood up and said we ought to leave Iraq now, or other such anti-war rhetoric coming out of Washington and the major media. I'm not saying that there isn't an argument to be made, but that the arguments actually being made show monumental weakness and fit right in with enemy propaganda. Those like Kerry and Kennedy, who call Bush a criminal and push the idea that we are the barbarians, we are in the wrong, that there was no cause, that our actions go against international law, and that our military have committed crimes against humanity aid and abet the enemy with every word out of their mouths, and encourage young Muslims who had not thought to join the jihad to do so . Why not? We won't hit back in any meaningful way. A people who won't stand up for their right to life and civilization are a debauched bunch and don't deserve the civilization others fought and died to establish.

I don't understand those who think we can just leave Iraq with no more consequence than when we just left Viet Nam. I won't go into the considerable consequences of our leaving Viet Nam, except to say that one of the greatest is the battle we're fighting right now. We showed our enemies around the world how to defeat us, and they are using that weapon with worrying success against us today. The Vietnamese had no wish to follow Americans to their shores. Our present enemy in already living among us, and there are more on the way. It isn't true that the perception of victory isn't important to the enemy and doesn't matter. The perception of victory swells their ranks all over the world (the war is global, the media just doesn't bother telling us about it, just take a look at Thailand, the Philippines, even China has begun to act like a dhimmi).

The perception of defeat among Americans is also important. Every one assumes that Americans will rally to the barricades. There will be those who do, but I'm not so sure anymore that this will be a significant number of Americans; I fear that we'll see Americans fighting Americans before it is all over. What will Americans do as Muslims continue to infiltrate our government by legal means? What happens when they incrementally codify special laws governing Muslims? These things are happening now. It isn't as bad as it is in Europe--especially in Britain!--but everything that allowed European countries to be stopped in their intellectual tracks is already in play here in the US, and they have many in politics, in our universities, and in our media who cheer them on.

Rome didn't fall all of a sudden. The rot took years to destroy the underpinnings of Roman society and civilization. Objectivism is the philosophical answer to the most important questions, but we are no where near being in a position to influence what is happening today. I'm not sure how we are to get there when there are Objectivists who insist we back the transnationalists in this country, who deny that there is an enemy beyond George Bush and his made up war.

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Perhaps the war has begun with little fanfare.

Bomb Kills 11 on Military Bus in Iran

A car loaded with explosives blew up near a bus carrying members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards in southeastern Iran on Wednesday, killing 11 of them and wounding 31. An al-Qaida-linked Sunni militant group reportedly claimed responsibility.

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The bombing came amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran over the crises in Iraq and elsewhere in the Mideast. Iran has in the past accused the United States of backing militants in the southeast in order to stir up turmoil in the country.

Let's only hope that is the case.

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Perhaps the war has begun with little fanfare.

Bomb Kills 11 on Military Bus in Iran

That's the first time I recall the violence being brought to Iran, at least in the past two decades. (Perhaps others recall incidents to the contrary?) For some time all that I have read has been sporadic student rebellions that never materialized into any serious resistance, certianly not against the military.

Let's only hope that is the case.

I'm doubtful of this indicating any sustained resistance, but I join you in hoping to be so.

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--------

I'm doubtful of this indicating any sustained resistance, but I join you in hoping to be so.

I was watching O'Reilley a few nights ago and he was interviewing someone who implied that the US was taking covert action: some Iranian nuclear scientist was killed. O'Reilley didn't follow up with a question about this so I have no idea if the person has any insight into what is going on.

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Iran Arming Iraq Militias
U.S. military officials on Sunday accused the highest levels of the Iranian leadership of arming Shiite militants in Iraq with sophisticated armor-piercing roadside bombs that have killed more than 170 American forces....

And now the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, is questioning the surety of the Iran connection. From ABC news.

Pace Questions Whether Iran Arming Iraq

JAKARTA, Indonesia Feb 13, 2007 (AP)— The top U.S. military officer said Tuesday the discovery that roadside bombs in Iraq contained material made in Iran does not necessarily mean the Iranian government was involved in supplying insurgents.

The comments by Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called into question assertions by three senior U.S. military officials in Baghdad on Sunday who said the highest levels of Iranian government were responsible for arming Shiite militants in Iraq with the bombs, blamed for the deaths of more than 170 troops in the U.S.-led coalition.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Monday he was confident the weaponry was coming with the approval of the Iranian government. On Tuesday, Snow said Pace's comments do not conflict with those of the senior military officials or the White House.

Pace told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, that U.S. forces hunting militant networks in Iraq that produced roadside bombs had arrested Iranians and some of the materials used in the devices were made in Iran.

"That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this," Pace said. "What it does say is that things made in Iran are being used in Iraq to kill coalition soldiers."

On Monday, Pace said he had no firm knowledge that the Iranian government had sanctioned the arming of the insurgents.

"It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it's clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit," Pace told the Voice of America.

Iran denied it gave sophisticated weapons to militants to attack U.S. forces.

"Such accusations cannot be relied upon or be presented as evidence. The United States has a long history in fabricating evidence. Such charges are unacceptable," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters in Tehran.

When pressed repeatedly about the apparent mixed message, Snow said "We're not on separate pages." He said he had spoken to Pace about it.

Not that we need any further evidence to justify bombing Iran, but these sort of conflicting interpretations do not help the matter.

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And now the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, is questioning the surety of the Iran connection. ...

Not that we need any further evidence to justify bombing Iran, but these sort of conflicting interpretations do not help the matter.

No, not if they are coming from the bottomless pit of modern skepticism, in which no amount of evidence will ever be sufficient, even if Ahmedinejad were to drive up to the Green Zone for a photo op with a truckload of IEDs.

But, in a rational world, if this were an objective professional opinion of the current state of the evidence, to be followed up by a serious, rational investigation of the source of these weapons, then it would be the right thing to say. A followup from this same General with a conclusive connection to the Iranian military would be stronger than an assertion without that evidence. I agree that the context in which this was said, of an apparent desire to believe anything that would allow us to avoid further military action, does not bode well. And it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, that such munitions would find their way out of Iran without government sponsorship, since this is a repressive dictatorship: Nothing is exported from Iran without government approval.

But why are these munitions the issue? We have already captured senior Iranian military officials in Iraq. That was in December. If we needed an excuse to defend ourselves from Iranian attacks and proof of their involvement in killing of Americans, what more do we need?

It appears that there is an effort not to see these things and, if they are seen, to deny their significance. That is what is disturbing.

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That's the first time I recall the violence being brought to Iran, at least in the past two decades. (Perhaps others recall incidents to the contrary?) For some time all that I have read has been sporadic student rebellions that never materialized into any serious resistance, certianly not against the military.

The U.S. has used military force against Iran on a couple of occaisions since 1979 and the scope of that use of force was NOT small:

1. In the mid- to late '80s the U.S. Government backed Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran with a modest quantity of key supplies and extensive diplomatic subterfuge -- the State Department managed to get much of the American and the international press and many of the world's diplomatic missions to demand that Iran accept peace talks with Iraq and to demand that Iran accept a peace deal once talks began. Iran was badgered about not talking peace, not Iraq...as if it were Iran who started the war that got half a million Iranians killed.

2. At the end of the Iran/Iraq war, Iran mined some of the shipping channels in the Persian Gulf and the U.S. Navy immediately intervened. The U.S. Navy swept up the mines and destroyed three of Iran's offshore oil platforms with naval artilery in retaliation for having place the mines. During that deployment, the Iraqi Air Force accidentally attacked an American destoryer, killing a significant number of crewmen and nearly sinking the ship...but, as the U.S. partner in America's proxy war against Iran, our government gave Iraq a pass on this fatal mishap. Meantime a U.S. missile cruiser accidentally shotdown an Iranian wide-body passenger jet, killing hundreds of civilians on board.

3. In 2005, the Iranians protested that the U.S. was covertly backing a minor terrorist campaign by the "Marsh Arabs" of southwestern Iran -- a campaign that saw four or six fatal bomb attacks in Iranian cities along the Iraqi border. The Iranian protest probably did not have any merit...but there can be little doubt that American and British support for Shiite "Marsh Arabs" inside Iraq helped, in some indirect way, this little car bomb campaign.

Despite these episodes, the U.S. has not ever systematically opposed the Iranian regime and its corrosive influence in the region, as such -- not militarily, not diplomatically -- not ever.

...that is, not until quite some time after President Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech.

In the winter of 2005/2006, the Bush Adminstration began detailed internal military planning against the regime. Since that time, the U.S. has taken a systematically hostile foreign policy stance against Iran...but has chosen a policy of weak and incremental increases in pressure on the regime while the regime has re-invented itself as a more religiously radicalized and militarily expansionist, agressive regional power.

Last year, the Bush Administration has completed detailed attack planning for an air campaign that would cripple Iran's nuclear weapons development program. It is unknown if the military campaign is also designed to hit centers of military and political organization, to kill individual leaders, or to cripple the country's petroleum-heavy (and highly flammable) economy. Probably not.

This spring, the U.S. military will have all military assets in place for a major air and naval campaign (Because the plans are secret, the scope of the plan is not known. All that is known is that it would envolve air and missile strikes, it requires three air craft carrier battle groups, and that kinetic energy warheads (perhaps tungsten or depleted uranium) have been designed for the terminally-guided D-5 SLBM re-entry vehicle.)

Our country is not -- however -- anywhere near ready to make that decision. While it is possible that the Commander-in-Chief could make the decision without any support behind him, the lack of support for an attack from Congress, from the press, and from the American people is crippling.

Even if the president decides to go against the whole culture and launch the attack, many powerful voices in the culture will work hard to undercut the attack and work to turn it into a major American defeat...just as they've been it is unlikely he will do it that way.

Last spring, I predicted that George Bush would attack Iran by June or August. Following the president's pattern of patiently gathering together military resources and patiently paying several months of lip service to demands that he abide by multilateral "processes" with the U.N. and E.U. negotiators, I expected him to go ahead and attack. It's 7 or 9 months later and he hasn't. Each month that passes, the president contiues to visibly waver between attack and submission.

Unlike the launching of the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns, the president has moved the U.S. no closer to dealing with Iran's war on the U.S., not one inch. All he has gained over the past year is that he's convinced most honest observers that he no longer has any sense of certainty in what is the right thing to do in the world.

Mr. Bush's Secretary of State, Condie Rice (a woman in whom the president has misplaced all of his confidence and on who's judgement he relies almost to the exclusion of all others), has undermined every practical plan for opposing or countering Iran with counter-proposals for more talk, more patience, more carrots and sticks, more multi-lateral chit-chat, more self-defeating nonsense.

Since last May, the president has chosen every single one of Condie's intiatives for platonic opposition over every single one of the real-world, mind-body integrated plans to oppose Iran.

At this point I do not predict Mr. Bush will maintain his integrity as a defender of the United States that he established -- within the extent of his intellectual vision -- in the years 2001 - 2005. One may count on the president's limited virtues to the extent that he will persist in fighting the Muslim fascists in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the other places where he has already engaged them. One may no longer count on Mr. Bush's virtues to initiate new action, no matter how obviously advantagious it is. His virtues do not extend that far.

Mr. Bush's virtues cannot stand against the whole world and -- with persistent 65% disapproval ratings here in the U.S. and 75%+ disapproval ratings in most of the rest of the world -- the whole world is standing against him. He's not philosophical enough of a man to maintain the level of independence and moral courage requried to IGNORE the fact that the vast majority of the men of the free world are wrong, dead wrong, self-destructively wrong.

Mr. Bush is capable of ordering the planes and missiles to fly -- he is the only major political leader in power today who has capacity and anything like the nature to do it. (Israel's Ehud Olmert is no more likely to make such a decision.) But even if he sees and understands the evil consequences of not doing it -- and I think Mr. Bush sees and understands most of those evil consequences -- no can predict he wil do it. To launch an attack on Iran would be an act of independence and moral courge that would take the man nearly outside of himself.

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Everyone is worried about an Iranian nuke. I think we'd be lucky if all we were up against was the possibility of a mushroom cloud rising over NYC and/or another major US city.

Nukes “enjoy” a huge amount of clout. I think that that’s mostly because building one requires immense knowledge, expertise and a willingness to defy the spirit of nonproliferation agreements.

What worries me far more than a nuke going off on US soil is a well though out biological attack.

Discreetly releasing a lethal virus that can go human to human at a few mall and airports could kill tens of millions of Americans, shutting down the nation for months.

Even if the US were to respond by wiping the Middle East off the map by unleashing a few ballistic subs, we’d be offline for a very long time.

JohnRGT

John,

I don't agree with your fear of biological weapons. I'll conceed that I'm no bio-weapon expert. To be that, I'd first have to be an expert on epidemics and disease.

What I do know is that -- by the forces of natural selection -- the best, most resillient micro-organisms are being bred every day by natural processees -- processees that are superior in their effectiveness to anything that human engineering has yet to come close to equalling. But -- since the invention of mass-produced and mass-distributed vaccines and mass-produced and mass-distributed antibiotics -- even nature's superb "bioweapons lab" hasn't had a chance.

The last plague to infect the western world was in 1918 and that may have only been made possible by the fact that the people of Europe and just endured 4 years of mass-displacement and mass-privation in which nutrition levels, shelter, and sanitation had suddenly dropped to 19th Century standards in many areas of Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe.

We're too well fed, too big strong fat and roubust in physique, too well protected from the elements, too well washed and well supplied with pure water...and we have too many medical professionals trained to look for and kill any singificant disease vector, or any significant new microbe for any American or northern/western European to be a target for a man-made plague.

The same cannot be said for the Muslim World. Any well-engineered plague a Muslim warrior tries to start will probably kill only Muslims and other non-Westerners in the Third World.

Throughout the course of the Cold War the U.S., Russia, and many other nations spent prodigious efforts at producing deadly pathogens...diseases with long latency periods, high pre-symptomatic virility, and high lethality. Not one was ever extensively weaponized. Not one was ever found to be a substitute for nuclear weapons. And even Saddam Hussein found that weaponized anthrax -- quite lethal in societies without up-to-date drugs, good hospital systems, or the economic means to procure either -- was a second choice to poison gas.

As someone who is familiar with nuclear weapons, I must say that their deterrent "clout" does NOT come from the mastery of "heavy" and very expensive technology. It comes from their killing power.

A single 15 kT Uranium gun (a design so simple, the U.S. dropped it on Hiroshima without testing the device.) exploded on the 50th floor of a buildling in mid-town Manhattan on a busy Tuesday morning could kill more Americans that died in all of WW II.

No weapon anywhere equal to the killing power of the fission bomb has been invented -- except for the thermo-nuclear fusion bomb...which can release 1000 times more energy that a fission bomb while being in a configuration small enough to be dropped from a mid-sized jet aircraft.

The nuclear bomb is the only true weapon of mass destruction.

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Jack,

I always enjoy reading your posts, but I wonder in this case how you know any of this planning about Iran. I'm not trying to be insulting, but the way you tell it, this was all done behind closed doors. Do you have an inside source, or are there public references you could suggest that discuss some of the planning you say has taken place.

Of course, it's reasonable to suspect that this type of planning is going on, but I haven't come across any news stories reporting it.

Can you help out here?

Respectfully,

Jeff

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I'm also not very confident that Bush will take on Iran anytime soon, but I disagree about your assessment of the American people. Certainly, they are (by this time) largely against what has gone on in Iraq and don't want any more of that kind of half-assed approach.

I'm still inclined to believe, though, that the majority would support it, and that his approval ratings would climb precipitously, if he were to act aggressively against Iran, provided he made a good case for it. (Not very hard to do, really. In any debate between the editors of the NY Times and an honest George Bush, even one so severely weakened, I'd bet on Bush.)

Maybe we simply are looking at different evidence, but I don't get the sense that the majority are against taking on Iran, provided it's shown that they are a major factor behind the terrorism in the region and around the world.

Of course, with his own senior generals sticking their heads in the sand, there's little hope Bush will take a strong stand. On that, we agree.

Jeff

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It's interesting that this alleged warrior felt the need to lie about his involvement in the Embassy seizure when he became "President."

JohnRGT

Mark Bowden discusses this point in his book, "Guests of the Ayatollah." in the chapter titled

THE GEROGAN-GIRHA

The complicated role the hostage crisis plays in current Iranian politics was suggested after Ahmadinejad's election in July 2005. News reports from the United States linked him to the embassy takeover. Former hostages Roeder, Scott, Daugherty, and several others claimed that they recognized the president-elect from still and moving pictures and named him as one of their captors. Roeder was particularly adamant, saying that Armadinejad was one of those who, in an effort to get him to talk, threatened to kidnap his disabled son in suburban Virginia and begin cutting off his fingers and toes. The diminutive, bearded former appointed mayor of Tehran promptly denied it, and members of the Muslim Students Following the Imam's Line, clearly encouraged by the regime, held press conferences to help him put distance between himself and the takeover.

The denial itself was revealing. There was a time in Iran when any association with the gerogan-giri would have been a tremendous boon to a politician. (p. 615)

I think anyone interested in this subject should consider this book.

Guests of the Ayatollah

The chapter I quoted from is of particular importance.

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Mark Bowden discusses this point in his book, "Guests of the Ayatollah." in the chapter titled

THE GEROGAN-GIRHA

[...]

Rick, in the quote you provided, the author says "[t]he denial itself was revealing." Assuming that Ahmadinejad was culpable in the embassy take-over, and assuming that he lied, it is not clear to me exactly what is so "revealing." Is there some one particular conclusion drawn from those facts that the author, and, presumably yourself, have derived?

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