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January 05, 2007


Good advice. Democrats had better act very soon.

Mk, of all I've read today, all I can add to your great synopsis is from Laura Rozen.
She quotes an article from NYTimes last evening that has since disappeared:
Military officers and Pentagon officials said that Admiral Fallon would represent a shift in focus for the Central Command, as he would bring expertise in maritime security operations more than land operations. As the Iraq security operation matures, the focus for Central Command is expected to shift toward countering the threat from Iran. In that capacity, the military's role focuses on maintaining regional presence through naval forces and combat aircraft and conducting maritime security operations like interdiction of vessels believed to be carrying banned weapons materials or suspected terrorists, in addition to preparing for combat contingencies.

Then she adds her comment:
Hard to know why it was taken out.

Thanks, guys. This was the operative question for some of us last night. Congress needs to shut Bush and Cheney down RIGHT NOW. This is one instance where Republicans have far more to lose than Dems by not acting, so I see no reason to delay decisive legislative action. I think we have weeks, not months.

The more I think about it, revoking the Iraq War Resolution and replacing it with something more fact-based and tied to getting out soounds betyter and better. Something that says Bush should never take unprovoked military action aqgainst another nation without advanced Congresional authorization. And revisiting the premises of the original AUMF is a good way to look at the assumptions behind the Iraq War, now mostly discredited, such as WMD.

Why choose Fallon ???

cuz Fallon was willing to trade his integrity to get the job

Fallon was probably the first guy george could find who would support the "surge"

I so agree. Man, it seems like the next month is going to be chock full of important discussions. You know what ticks me off as I ponder the thoughts about the next month...is that these discussions happen here but few of my well degreed colleagues follow this stuff with more than a superficial awareness. I mean we are on the verge of important stuff. I mean, it's no wonder that the right wing was able to drag us around the nose for so long by using talking points and never worrying about whether or not they matched reality. I know we've talked about this before, but tonight, I wanted to be able to have this discussion with a fellow democratic but she had no clue about what's going on.

I am so grateful for these blogs which feels like breathing fresh air...after being cooped up in a house for 6 months. I think I will send a letter to my senators (Hagle) and (Nielsen). I will also write to my house representatives. I am going to make the suggestions made here.

wonder what arcane but valid laws exist on the books that the capitol police, congress, the fbi, etc.. may have that they can use to step in and halt any actions by the people that are committing treason. I know that treason is an assumption that many of us believe the investigations will show, but I don't think it is a very long jump.

will anyone tell me why anyone trusts these people in power to do anything that we the people would want? they have done nothing yet. They have never told us the truth. we have forced them to admit numerous lies.

when the trial begins, our national security is going to be challenged when the public hears hard evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. will the private armies and police forces appear with our entire military out of country on a boondoggle?

time to march

Jan 23d will be a start

There are marches on Jan 27 coming up in SF and NY, don;t know where else.

Whilst Fallon's resume may well be relevant to some extent for an attack on Iran, I rather suspect that the appointment is a reflection of the uncomfortable "new" power realities in the Persian Gulf region, and is a tacit acceptance of the strategic failure in Iraq.

Whilst Bush is still pushing for some kind of victory, no one seems to really believe that this is achievable, and the 2008 election is likely to wind up being a referendum on withdrawal. Given that Bush is essentially a legless duck now, the likelihood of the US going to war with Iran is actually very, very low.

Fallon's appointment strikes me as strategic positioning for this eventuality - the threat of "invasion", or even "pressure" from the US military in Iraq has evaporated, and few ( ie none ) of Iran's neighbours appear inclined to permit the US the necessary basing and airspace rights for an USAF bombing campaign. This leaves the navy as the last credible blocking/containment option.

The maritime security/PSI stuff is mostly bollocks: Iran's strategic military imports from China, Russia and NoKo are mostly done by plane these days, no one is going to interfere with Chinese registered shipping under any circumstances, and Iran's potential to threaten Gulf shipping lanes is a contingency option that only comes into play after a third party has initiated a war.

If I were cynical about this, I would picture the Bush circle musing...

How can we get Americans to back a war against Iran ?

Remember the Maine ?

If an "unprovoked" attack by Iran put an American warship at the bottom of the sea...

Jay: the Reichstag! It is burning!

Fallon is also enamoured of high technology. Besides the "rods from god" and "angels of death" as part of the militarization of space, there are microwave and sonic weapons under development that the military is aching to try out on live populations.

If we'd spent as much time, money, and energy on peaceful ways to dominate this planet (economics and education), rather than on destroying civilizations and bombing people into submission, think of what a different world this would be! Isn't it time we had a cabinet-level Secretary of Peace who concentrated upon building a better, richer world?

To oldtree re: treason.

The reason treason is so difficult to prosecute, and appears so rarely as a criminal charge, is that it is the only crime that the Constitution addresses directly. A conviction requires the testimony of two witnesses, and has generally been supplanted by espionage laws.

What was Einstein's quote about peace...something along the lines of your words hauksdottir...you cannot prepare for war at the same time as you seek peace or something...anyone know the quote. To me that was one of the most valid statements I had ever read about the emotional issue of war and peace. What difference does it make to die for a principle or idea by fighting and leaving the consequences of violence and it's ripples on this earth...when you could die peacefully at the hands of violent behavior having done your best to stay alive but having chosen wisely not to add to the consequences of violence and the ripples of violence on this earth. I mean then you role model that peace is within and not in changing those around you. Yes, you may still die, but the universe supports the behaviors that work and for some reasons martyrs like Martin Luther King and Jesus Christ are remembered. Some factual reason for their behavior being recognized by the majority as being "important". It's just that most of us don't have the courage to die for peace.

Or, people who are willing to die for an idea are often all too willing to kill for that idea. I remember that from European History and believe that was said of Europe's religious wars between the Catholics and others. Cathars, Protestants, whatever.

On Fallon, Laura Rozen quotes form Pat Lang,interviewed on the Newshour, who has the same analysis re: Fallon's relevance to war with Iran.

As Mimikatz said, this is "a theater that is traditionally the province of the Army and Marines" Marines are Navy, so logic prevails.

I don't necessarily think people 'should' die for peace...just that it's interesting that we hold in high esteem some folks who chose not to fight back in a destructive way, and that so many of us don't value the choice of peace on a day to day basis in our interactions with one another. My point being that we are willing to sacrifice our lives for war/change (even when we aren't sure what the mission is), but we don't necessarily view the one who makes a sacrfice for peace as strong, or courageous. I think it's an interesting dichotomy that fits with Einstein's quote.

Does Fallon's past station in Saudi Arabia have something to do with his appointment? Iraq is not a war. Iraq is an occupation. The Navy occupies a lot of bases in foreign countries.

I, like Dan, tend to think that Bush will not strike Iran. Israel will strike Iran, and Bush is using this 'Surge' as an excuse to prepare to support against the inevatable retaliation from Iran. Israel WILL NOT allow Iran to develop nukes - write it in stone they won't. Right now the have the entire US military next door and more ships, planes, and troops heading into the neighborhood. They have a US administration in place that can for sure be depended upon, and that is in all likelihood collaborating with them in planning the strike both operationally and politically. It seems pretty clear to me how this will go - Israel does the first strike, Iran retaliates, Bush steps up the defend our 'allie' against the attack, and the Sauds get the undermining of Shiite dominance that they call Dick over to demand.

Bottom line - If you were Israel, would you wait 2 more years to attack Iran? Hell no, you wouldn't. So, it make take Iran 5 years to build a bomb. There will likely never again be a time where more U.S. support is so ready to provide a security net. Bet on it, guys. Israel will move on this, and Dick has already given them the go ahead. Now the 'surge' makes sense. Besides, we've already lost Iraq. This will give Bush a very good reason to pull out of there. "We didn't lose. We had to go protect Israel."

When do you want a corporate owned idiot in the US Presidency? Never. This whole thing sucks.


I am not convinced that Israel can really execute a sustained long range bombing campaign to make a dent on the Iranian nuclear program. I remember reading a while ago on Pat Lang's blog that only the US had assets to carry out such an air attack. If I remember correctly he mentioned requiring thousands of sorties and many waves. Israel does not have that many long range bombers nor the quantity of cruise missiles. Iranian nuclear facilities are dispersed and some are even hardened. Its not a single above ground Osirak reactor that was destroyed in Iraq. Now of course Israel may create facts on the ground that may "draw" in the US.

Its good to be concerned about escalating the conflict to include Iran. Its not at all inconceivable that Cheney may finagle an attack order. However, I believe they have not yet laid the ground work for the intense propaganda required to gain congressional and public support. My sense is such a propaganda blitz will happen before any attacks.

In the short term Cheney and Israel and Bandar would likely try destabilization and the weakening of the Shia alliance. Likely targets would be providing funds, arms and intelligence to Iranian dissidents, March 14th aligned militias in Lebanon as well as dissidents in Syria.

Just tonight a story posted on Raw saying that Isreal has a strike plan built around using nuclear 'bunker buster' warheads to knock out 3 key Iranian facilities. Now where would Israel get such a weapon? Isreal, as you clearly know, has done just such a strike in the past. Harder targets this time, yes, but they will have access to the needed weapons. Also, has anyone forgotten that the US has been running ops inside Iran for some time now? My guess is they are narrowing the list of targets, making sure the three or four targets Israel can credibly hit have the desired impact.

By the way, has anyone noticed the absolute lack of coverage of the Iranian elections in major media. Am I overlooking something, or does it seem like the powers that be would rather the general public not know that democracy is moving things in our direction in that country. One thing is for sure, covering that election does nothing for bolstering the case for war, and if it weren't for John Stewart the lack of snow in Key West would have gotten more coverage.

Ab - I just don't think Cheney cares about congressional or public support, and he knows he can't get it now anyway, so why would they bother with an prop campaign, plus how could they then pretend some distance from Israels first strike. To me the climate looks exactly like this is in the works. Iran better get to the table pretty damn quick. Short of that Israel ain't gonna sit around an let them build a nuke, and they ain't going to let George get out of office or hamstrung before they take action.

It's so it will be easier to evecuate US personnel to aircraft carriers.

Remember the article earlier in the week...about how Israel could hit Iran without help from the united states military?? The ground work is being laid. Today there is an article threatening back from Iran. "if you use nuclear strikes, you will quickly suffer for it" or something. I am a lazy poster. I think it's on raw story this a.m. Oh Goody. This all has to break open for so many reasons politically and financially...it's like watching a horrible accident in slow motion and not being able to stop it. What are the american people to do...what are the legal ways we can stop this? I have written my representatives house and senate. What's next??

I just pray that this country has learned some lessons about corporate take over, and religiosity that we do not forget for a very long time.


It's worth reviewing the long history of Israeli threats to Iran in this context - these date back to 1991 when Mossad was spreading the rumour that Iran had acquired nuclear weapons from the former USSR and that the US had to reprise Desert Storm to counter the threat.

Israeli political, military and intelligence officials have been making direct threats to bomb Iranian infrastructure since 1995 - and there has yet to be a sniff of an airstrike. Now the Israelis could have transited through Iraqi airspace during the no-fly zone period between 1995 and 2002 - although it is hard to believe that they could have maintained operational secrecy in doing so; they didn't because the target set is too dispersed, at the extreme edges of their operational ranges and the odds on a "successful" mission are low. There's also the risk of losing a large percentage of their air force.

There have been some incredibly ( in both senses of the words ) detailed press accounts of Israeli combat plans to attack Iran's nuclear sites. It's worth noting that in 1981 the attack on Osirak came as a complete surprise ( even after the Iranians had tried to bomb it a few months earlier ) without any leakage of details beforehand. Either the Israelis are now incapable of maintaining operational secrecy and their defence/intelligence staff is run by fifth-columinst traitors, or, I would suggest, that there is an awful lot of bluffing, psychological gaming and propaganda going on.

Whilst Israeli aircraft "notionally" have the combat radius to reach Isfahan or Natanz without refuelling, it's not really worthwhile taking the trip if you cannot carry a payload to deliver, or are doomed to fail if you have to do some fancy flying to evade Iranian air defences or, potentially, interdiction by Iranian combat aircraft.

The real kickers are the issues of surprise, airspace and refuelling. The most direct route to the Iranian targets is through US controlled Iraqi airspace - but the US controls this under a very specific UN mandate that expressly forbids the use of Iraq's airspace for transit by any party to attack another party. Strictly speakig the US is obligated to interdict or shoot down Israeli aircraft that intrude; if it fails to do so then it is an active party to the aggression and is fair game for the ensuing reprisals. I think it's safe to assume that the "sovereign" Iraqi government would never give permission for the Israelis to do any such thing. There is little likelihood that the IAF could attack a dispersed target set without the Iranians having sufficient warning to complicate the issue - there are enough Chinese, Russian, European and other surveillance satellites over the region to make surprise impossible, especially if the Iranians are on the distribution list for Russian or Chinese product; the Iranians also have at least one surveillance satellite of their own.

The Israeli strategy is, and has been for at least 15 years, to get the US to attack Iran - this is a political/propaganda/intelligence operation, not a military operation. If you look at recent Israeli statements regarding points of no return, Iran crossing red lines, estimates of when Iran will start manufacturing nuclear weapons, they all imply that this will happen before the end of the useful idiot administration. I doubt that Isreali planners are confident that they will have the same leverage on the US polity in 2009 as they have at present.

I don't normally comment on things I see online, but this one is driving me nuts. Between the conspiracy nuts and other people who are totally clueless about the military, there is a lot of misinformation here. I happen to be a US Army officer, btw, and currently in Iraq, almost finished with my second tour.

From Mimikatz: "why would he appoint a Navy Admiral to head a theater that is traditionally the province of the Army and Marines?"

First of all, as just ONE person pointed out, just what branch of service do you think the Marines fall under??

Second, since the 1980s, all senior officers take extensive training on joint operations. Of course, even so, Army Generals still know more about driving a tank and Admirals know more about navigating a ship. But at the theater level, such specifics are simply not part of the planning process. The theater commander decides on numbers of personnel in theater, policies, where the joint intel assets are used, etc. He doesn't get involved in minutae like how to kick in doors or perform a cordon and search. Heck, during the Clinton years, there was a Navy Admiral in Charge of the Balkan operation for awhile. I don't know if Admiral Fallon was the best choice for this job, since I don't know anything about him. But its ridiculous to make claims like he was the only one Bush could find that would suck up to him, or that this means they have already planned to attack Iran. C'mon people, educate yourselves a little and grow up before shooting your mouths off.

yo, JS, I didn't say that Fallon was the "ONLY" Falg Officer who would kiss george's ass

I said that Fallon was the "FIRST" Flag Officer george could find who would kiss his ass

after clearing that up, I'd also like to point out that there are very few Army Officers who are wiolling to kiss george's ass

you might think I'm "misinformed", but I bet you can't name a single comparable combat situation where the occupying force was successful, so who is really "misinformed" here ???

Iraq is a clusterfuck. The Iraqis will hate us for a thousand years. And, absent killing off 90% of the Iraqi population, there ain't no way to turn the occupation around

JS @09:02:

I don't normally comment on things I see online, but this one is driving me nuts. Between the conspiracy nuts and other people who are totally clueless about the military, there is a lot of misinformation here...

...C'mon people, educate yourselves a little and grow up before shooting your mouths off.

JS, I think the kind of corrective perspective you bring here is very helpful, but I don't think your dismissive tone is going to add much. I do understand the need to blow off steam when you think people are wasting time and attention on things you think are unmerited; but it just doesn't really add to the substance of what you say. Bear in mind, I think that substance is considerable; but that doesn't mean that I think that you have adequately disposed of the topic.

When you get annoyed with "conspiracy theorists", I think you're on empirically shaky ground. The Bush Administration has demonstrated with almost academic clarity that conspiracy is really the way they work. Whether it's actual Fiendish Plots (working to enable war profiteering), or blundering opportunistic too-clever-by-half responses to events (manipulating, and outright fucking up, the Katrina response in order to make Louisiana less Blue?), Bush and Company have made conspiracy theory into a respectable branch of analysis.

And, as long as we're talking the validity of conspiracy theory, don't forget that the neocons fancy themselves as master conspirators. (They're not, but that's how they like to operate :-P ) I don't know anything about "Fox" Fallon either, but CDR Huber seems to, and he describes Fallon as being ideologically close with the neocons.

Anyway, my point here is that conspiracy theories cannot now reasonably be dismissed out of hand. Unfortunately, we do have to consider them as possible realities. Heaping scorn on "conspiracy theorists" in general doesn't help us do that.

Okay, having said that, I think your information about the joint operations training, and the normal context of theater commander activities and selection, is really a very welcome addition to the discussion. It does diminish the likelihood that ADM Fallon was selected in order to coordinate an air assault on Iran just because he knows how. (His inherent grasp of naval aviation remains a huge plus, of course, if the deal goes down. I doubt that, say, and Army General, joint ops training or no, would manage such a campaign as well.)

However, I am not convinced that he was not selected as the best man to plan and conduct an attack on Iran. If he's known to be an aggressive commander, with possible ideological leanings that might make him less likely to buck batshit crazy orders from the White House, it still makes him the right kind of guy for this.

All in all, JS, your perspective leaves me better informed, for which I thank you; but not much comforted. :-/

dan@ 14:04:

Remember the Maine ?

If an "unprovoked" attack by Iran put an American warship at the bottom of the sea...

I was a Submarine sailor, and so perhaps I'm influenced by my lingering Bubblehead perception of surface ships in general as targets. But I really do think that putting ships into the confines of the Persian Gulf, given Iran's known and conjectured arsenal of antiship missiles (including the Russian Moskit that was supposedly built to get past Aegis defenses), would be putting U.S sailors very much in harm's way. And...

And: is there anyone here who thinks the Bush Administration, given past behavior and statements, would not at least consider sacrificing a US warship in order to evoke the kind of mindless "KILL THE BROWN PEOPLE!! GO TEAM!!" response that the American public would reliably exhibit? I mean, this is Bush we're talking about, and Cheney and Rove... C'mon. They might not do it -- I hope to hell they would not do it -- but if they are willing to send an additional "surge" of troops to Iraq for what appears to be nothing more than domestic political purposes, would they really flinch away from thinking about it?

Good grief, freepatriot... I admire your enthusiasm, but if JS is in fact in the military, perhaps some of us comenters might be courteous enough to say "Thanks for tossing a few dots our way."

I certainly don't have all the insights and answers to these most complex. and IMHO, ominous developments, saber rattlings, musings, and extrapolations.

Military historians provide plenty of examples of combat situations, successful and otherwise. I'd recommend anything by John Keegan for your reading list, partly because he's a good writer, but also because he examines the role of leadership on military outcomes.

As is quite clear from any of my comments, on any blog, I regard the Bush administration as a bunch of corporate crooks (and that's just for starters). I think they are blinded by ideology, fundamentally a bunch of cowards who spent too much time at top-drawer, expensive colleges and think tanks -- and they lack the good sense, decency, work ethic, and humor of most Americans that I know.

But if JS is, in fact, a military officer who feels so strongly about comments here that s/he has been willing to comment, I don't believe those remarks should be flamed, insulted, nor ridiculed.

When it comes to trolls, I'll ridicule, insult, and flame to my heart's content. But may I be struck by lightning if I ever insult anyone who honestly seeks to provide insights, perspectives, and useful knowledge to blog conversations.

freepatriot, I admire your passionate engagement with these topics, but please use a bit more care in your remarks at people who probably are NOT trolls, and who seek to help us all get a better grasp of matters.

JS, thanks from at least one reader here.

Hey we're all just bouncing things around here. Free's response was about equal in tone to JS's so no foul. I'm certainly interested to hear more from JS, though I understand an Army Officer may not be able to be as candid as he would like.

I thought Dan put up pretty good counter to some of my earlier speculation, I want to believe you, Dan, but I do remember the Maine.

Good luck to you JS. I did my duty, got lucky when things didn't get out of hand with Bush senior. I hope your comander and chief can get his shit together, but I fear his boss Dick has no intention of allowing him to do so.

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