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October 27, 2007


Yup, it's all beginning to look familiar.

What's a little different, to my mind, is its reception in the country at large. I remember how it wasn't until being part of a big pre-invasion march that I felt for the first time that there were other people who opposed going into Iraq. Today, I don't know anyone who is at all convinced that a pre-emptive strike against Iran is justified.

They may be convincing themselves of the inevitability of such a strike in Washington, but (heavens forbid!) if they do I think for the first time this will not have a galvanizing effect on the public's support for the administration.

I still think the whole Iran thing is just market research, in effect, "if we can't find a way to bomb them now, we'll float some balloons and gauge the reaction in order to more effectively sell it later on." Of course, there could be some surprise event that catapults an attack against Iran into the realm of the possible, but Americans are so predisposed against Iran in general that I think bombing would be an easy sell in that case, obviating a lot of the current Iran rhetoric..

Mark C

Emphasis on might. The press certainly still seems happy to join in the warmongering. And I'm seriously worried how we can prevent the war when Bush has no interest in Congress, and thanks to Lieberman and Kyl, he's already gotten their okay anyway. At this point, it's up to the Generals (and, frigtheningly, Condi and Gates), and they tend to get fired when they don't do what Cheney wants.

big cylindrical structure

I guess that structure isn't in the pictures we are looking at.

I don't recall ever feeling the US military has such a key role as I do today. And if anyone is interested in what seems to be going on with the military, check out Joe Galloway at McClatchey this week: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/galloway/story/20809.html

I'm sure that more than one of us commenters at TNH have personal acquaintance who've left careers in the military. In my case, a young couple (both engineers, both Iraq War vets) who left the military last year.

Looks like the generals are going to have to do the heavy lifting, under extremely difficult circumstances.

It might have a galvanizing effect, but not the one they want. People might start coming out against the government openly, because it's gone insane.

Laura Rozen has posted a brief article about the foreign part of some of this.

In trying to understand the Syria air strike it seems to me the big clue is the collective silence of Israel, US and Syria. The possibilities regarding the truth of the site breaks down these (and perhaps there are others) possibilities:

1) the site was in-process nuke facility
2) the facility was an abandoned possible nuke facility
3) the site was a conventional military facility
4) the site was a WMD facility

The silence of US and Israel, not to mention the much more useful mechanism of IAEA inspection argues strongly against #1. Nothing would be better for this crowd than to get it right for once.

The context for the attack includes:

* post Lebanon War (part deux) self-loathing by Israel
* neocon desire to bomb something (because its been awhile)

#2 might be plausible, and it would explain the silence by all parties involved. But it seems too risky in that if this were the truth of the matter Israel and US could not support the chosen action when the truth finally outed. To have violated international law in the face of no threat would not be supportable.

#4 might be the case, but it seems to be similarly problematic as #1.

So it seems to be #3. I'm going to guess the following:

* the facility housed missle tech
* the missle tech was from a 3rd country
* Israel bombed to let Syria know it didn't like the missles
* the target and timing was chosen to let Syria know it knew about the arrangment with the 3rd country
* Syria is silent because it doesn't want to admit the 3rd party arrangement


tryggth, the site certainly looks to have a perimter fence and perhaps a military building with a large antenna on an adjacent hill, but I'm still going with the Occam's Razor answer based on a (relativey few) number of photos.

The site looks like an open-pit mine with a large processing building, whose output is trucked to the railhead/riverway (google 'geoeye syria photo').

Why not postulate a purpose-built, state-sponsored Uranium mining operation? or secondarily a Mineral mining operation that also extracts any latent Uranium content?

Perhaps someone with 'mining-operation-know-how' can google earth known Uranium open-pit mines, such as those in Niger, and compare facilities?

Mark C and PJ

but once Iran starts retaliating -- and one way will be terror attacks -- that will galvinize the public against Iran and benefit whoever is in power here, imo.

radiofreewill -

Perhaps. But why no call by US/Israel to have the IAEA take a looksie? If true and verified it would strengthen the hand of US/Israel in any future negotiations.

The other thing to keep in mind is that we now know this site was "suspect" since 2001/2002. Once something becomes suspect like that traffic in and out is most certainly traced to its many fingered destinations/origins. That is the state of overhead. And the film loop can probably be run backwards.

I don't have the link, but I saw an earlier article suggesting that a ship's cargo was tracked to this site.

In a nutshell, what possible legitimate reason can the admin have for not being more forthcoming with info?

Well, I don't know nuthin about no nukular site in Syriana, but this New England Patriots football team might be real up and comers. Why they might even win a few Super Bowls if they could find a decent quarterback..... Oh, and a receiver he could throw to......

Here's an alternate hypothesis: could this be the intended site for the (proliferation-resistant) light water reactor that Syria agreed to buy from Russia in 1998?

That way, the Syrians couldn't deny that the Israelis bombed a reactor site, and the Israelis couldn't claim that there was any realistic possibility of the reactor site becoming a reactor capable of producing a nuclear weapon.

The proximity of the building to the Euphrates does suggest that water was involved in whatever it was doing. Missiles don't require large amounts of water

bmaz -- I thought the Pats were pretty disappointing today, I was hoping for triple digits ;) Go Sox! By the way, my favorite sign at the protest march in Boston yesterday read "Red Sox Fans for Impeachment". Yep.

EW--You are right that the press is going along with the war-mongering.

There is no shortage of critical reporting that COULD be done to frame this issue--your post is an example.

Republicans are preparing to campaign in 2008 on Bush's IRAN war, and the lack of patriotism of critics of his next attack. Same playbook. You run the play until the other side can stop it.

tryggth, check out these links;


Input syr/3/003 in the project information box at the top right and read the datasheet.

Syria Nuclear Facilities profiles:


Do we know if any of the described locations match the bombed location?

radiofreewill -

I couldn't find a match on the location using Google Earth. Right now I'm trying to track how this file was produced:


I don't give much credence to the source site. But it is a weird thing for someone to produce.

I'm also fascinated by the weird degree of detail Laura Rozen clips here:


Good ArmsControlWonk article on Extracting Uranium from Phosphates in Syria:



Whatever the case with the Syrian 'facility', it certainly isn't an enrichment or conversion facility or anything worthy of Pre-Emptive Attack.

Cheney bombed a site that could only barely be called 'nuclear' - as an act of Lawless Warmongering. Pathetic, again.

radiofreewill- this is an interesting link quoting someone far more knowledgeable than myself. My guess? Jr. has stepped in it again. I can just hear him fuming "Ooo, that Cheney did it to me again!"


tryggth, we may not be NRO photo analysts or WMD experts, but I think we've run this story to the ground - it was just another Bogus Cheney Maneuver to elevate the Terror Level by flattening a 'nukulur' out house.

They're shameless!

William "I can write and suck at the same time" Broad takes dictation again...

The purpose of the wars are the wars. A reason for the administration being so secretive is that Americans believe that a war should have a reason to begin killing and dying, followed by more killing and dying, and finally an end to the tragedy, preferably with victory as the end result. It is a little difficult to sell Americans on a war without end, which is what happens when a war is waged against 1.25 billion people, many of whom were not enemies until the U.S. waged a war that included the killing of "acceptable" numbers of foreign civilians, the application of torture, and imprisoning soldiers as if they were terrorists.

Terrorists are criminals who target civilians, normally unaffilliated with a nation's military. The only bond and ideology terrorists share is their hatred for the society or culture their leaders have demonized.

The war without end has several purposes, not the least of which is to support a failing economic model based on deceit. while this war would be unnecessary if Americans changed their lifestyles; I'm beginning to believe that is a sacrifice they are not willing to make.

Richard Cheney said that the American lifestyle is non-negotiable, which sounds tough, but is about the dumbest statement I have heard in a long time. Unless killing everyone who is not an American so we can have it all to ourselves is the goal. Then we will start killing each other for whatever is left. Now, that is what I think of when I hear the word "plan". Although, I have a distinct feeling that there will be resistance to a "plan" of this type.

Terrorists are criminals, normally unaffiliated with a nation's military, who target civilians.

It might be worth noting that Arms Control Wonk is Jeffrey Lewis, the same expert quoted in the earlier Schachtman post.

Wingnuts and probably others are being told that we will have to take several hits (by nukes) if we don't act in the most extreme way. They also say the Constitution is NOT a suicide pact.

Taken together those two statements allow our 'leaders' to discard all restraint and do whatever they want with the full support of some people.

The question is, do we still have the Rule of Law or will they in fact be allowed to act without restraint of Law.

Where are the Leaders this country desperately needs?

Uh, why are we even debating whether he will or won't go into Iran? From the beginning it was clear this is the exact path this madman was intent on following - the only change that was needed for them was moving an "n" into a "q." Rather than tying up our brains with this "unknown known," can't we focus on other areas where debate is more needed? Is there really anyone here who doesn't believe that there's no question that this is the game plan?

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