Archive for the 'nukes' Category

John Kyl (R-Arizona) Says Regime Change Should be Ultimate U.S Goal in Iran

This past week Iran was once again in the headlines. A Summer of violence inflicted on dissidents by the military and security forces following the Iranian Presidential “election” in June, as well as fears that the Islamic Republic could soon acquire nuclear weapons; have gained the country much attention and has created much concern.

Last week at the United Nations, the country’s “President” faced protests by those denouncing his brutish tactics against Iranian protesters in his own country. His diatribes against Israel and denial of the holocaust caused many to walk out during his speech before the United Nations last week. And intelligence of a subterranean facility connected to the country’s nuclear program; elicited rebukes and renewed talk of International sanctions by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and even Russia to a lesser degree.

Now, as the United States remains mired in two Middle Eastern conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq (both countries next to Iran), some of the neocons in the United States think maybe two millitary stalemates aren’t enough.

It appears that Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) and outgoing Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) are mulling regime change in Iran. Kyl and Bond who each appeared on Sunday morning political talk shows, aren’t yet urging an all out Iraq-style pre-emptive war just yet, nevertheless he says regime change should be the ultimate objective of the United States in its policy towards Iran.

“What we’re trying to do here eventually is get a regime change,” he said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“Get a group of people in there that are more representative of the Iranian people, that we really can talk with in a way that might end up with a good result. I think it’s very difficult to do that with the current leadership and especially the elected president,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

My Pavlovian response to such rhetoric is usually a mix between a roll of the eyes, fear of another military adventure that ends in an outright fiasco, and anger that anyone could be stupid enough to be so cavalier after what we have endured with Iraq. But the so-called election this past Summer (and no Senator Kyl he isn’t the “elected President” of Iran he stole the election at least as far as we can tell) shows that there is a reservoir of suspicion and resentment towards Amadinejad that has gone beyond him and was so audacious as to be aimed even at the Mullahs who hold the real power in the country.

Action should be taken for sure, and as of now it appears that Obama is attempting to adopt the approach similar to that George HW Bush took in 1990 following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq; attempting to build legitimacy with the International community specifically within the UN membership to denounce and punish Iran, rather then the bungled neoconservative model of the Iraq war.

As Josh Marshall on TPM points out, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates even says that any sort of military action towards Iran would have limited results. After attacking any facilities what is to say that Iran won’t immediately work to rebuild such capabilities? Would we once again be forced to militarily reconstructing the entire sociopolitical framework of a nation where we are viewed with suspicion and whose culture Americans by and large have little familiarity with? Such a move would further destabilize the global economy, driving further up the price of oil. Not all the weapons sites are likely known in Iran since U.S Intelligence in the country is scant at best if existent at all. It sits in a region where its two neighboring countries Iraq and Afghanistan have unstable, inept regimes that are seen as effective by much of their citizenry and are just possibly fragile enough to also be forced from power in reaction.

The international community would likely not stand alongside the United States and Israel in such an attack, and such talk would only cause Iran to expedite the development of a nuclear program and do something that this summer shows Ahmadinejad and the government were never able to do and that is make him legitimate in the eyes of the Iranian people. His tirades and fear mongering would be validated and any opening the U.S may have had with the Iran citizenry could be very well sealed shut if we are perceived as trigger happy. An attack on Iran could turn more of them against us and in the wake of such an attack we could see a flood of Iranians crossing into Iraq armed with a newly formed hatred in their hearts and thousands of U.S soldiers in their sights.

Finally, the government of Ahmadinejad is not the body that really hold the bulk of the decision making power is done by the mullahs and the Grand Ayatollah. In the larger configuration of things Ahmadinejad is a minute component in the more vast system of the Iranian elite.

If we have learned anything from nearly a decade of struggle and Afghanistan and our invasion of Iraq, its that War and regime change are something that is easy to spout off about, but violent, costly, and painstaking to carry out. We are already locked in two wars rebuilding two nations,to enter a third would be the most absurd and tragic of follies.

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The Terhan Spring?

Following at least two weeks of anticipation in what appeared to be a narrowing race between hard line conservative Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former Iranian Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, as well as two other candidates for the Presidency, results have come forth and the Grand Leader of Iran has declared Ahmadinejad the winner. And not just a winner but a winner with a LBJ Barry Goldwater style landslide with Ahmadenijad garnering a reported 62% of the vote. This despite a larger voter turnout of about 80% of eligible voters.

Mousavi and his supporters, mostly youth, well-educated, urbanites claim the results were rigged by Ahmadenijad and the conservative establishment. In the wake of the election, unrest has broken out, despite the demands of the Grand leader. There have been reported fires and clashes between masses of pro-Mousavi demonstrators and security forces.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner Saturday of an election that pitted the conservative establishment against candidate with broad backing from the country’s youth. Riot police attacked opposition supporters, beating them with clubs and smashing cars.

A statement from Mousavi posted on his Web site condemned what he described as the “manipulation” of election results.

Demonstrators wearing the trademark green color of Mir Hossein Mousavi chanted slogans condemning the results that gave 62.6 percent of the vote to Ahmadinejad. Protesters set fire to tires outside the Interior Ministry in the most serious unrest in Tehran in a decade.

Witnesses also said a commercial bank elsewhere in the city was set on fire.

Police attacked the demonstrators near the Interior Ministry, where the election results were announced, beating them with clubs and smashing cars. Police also moved to disperse any large gatherings of people around the city.

An Associated Press photographer saw a plainclothes security official beating a woman with his truncheon.

In another main street of Tehran some 300 young people blocked the avenue by forming a human chain chanted “Ahmadi, shame on you. Leave the government alone.”

Meanwhile the Ayotollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the Supreme leader of Iran who is the position with the most power in the Islamic Republic, has thrown his support enthusiastically towards Ahmadinejad. He denounced disruptions and protests, and all ‘provocative and ill-wishing moves’. Some reports earlier even indicated that Mousavi was barricaded in his house and prevented from leaving.

Khordad 22nd elections set a new record in the long history of Iranian elections. Participation of more than eighty percent in the elections and the 24 million vote to the president-elect is a real festival which by the favor of God could guarantee the progress, security and enduring enthusiasm in the country. Yesterday you proved that Iran thank to the Islamic, revolutionary slogans and values even thirty years after the inception of religious democracy in the country, is more alive and enthusiastic than ever and ensures friends and enemies that it would continue its bright way.

Modest towards the will and faith of you dear people, I congratulated the great accomplishment6 to Hazrat Valiollah Azam, to soul of Imam Khomeini and to every one of the people. I urge all people to cherish the favor of God and offer gratitude to the all-wise, all-knowing God.

Enemies would apparently seek to ruin the sweetness of the event through some provocations. I advise all people, especially the dear youths who were the liveliest players in the enthusiastic event, to keep vigilance. Saturdays after elections must always be day of affection and patience. Either supporters of the elected candidate or supporters of other respected candidates must avoid any provocative and ill wishing moves. The president-elect is the president of all Iranian people; every one including the rivals of yesterday must unanimously support and help him. No doubt, this is another Divine test which could attract God’s blessing if passed successful.

Though laying the foundation of a better framework for relations between the U.S and Iran is something inevitably rife with challenges and tensions, it no doubt would have been easier with someone without the bellicosity and adherence to the most jacobinical elements of Iranian politics as Ahmadinejad. So in the end it is the hardliners and neocons who have won the day.

Little doubt that this vote was fixed by the Clerics who are the real power players in Iran and seem steadfast in preserving thirty years of practice as an Islamic republic and a policy of hostility between the West (the U.S partically) and Iran. If the numbers of 80% of eligable Iranian voters emerging to cast a ballot is accurate, it is hard to believe that with high inflation and a terrible economy in that nation, that that many people would come out and support the status quo with such zeal. It will be interesting to see from here forth how Amhadinejad will conduct himself. With such a large margin of ‘victory’ Ahmadinejad like any leader will feel emboldened to continue on the path which he has put his country along. He also no doubt knows that the power structure of the clerics and their animosity towards the west have his back.

However the demonstrations that have followed and the enthusiasm so many have shown for his rival candidate, the bedlham that has followed with the eyes of the world watching, and the fact that the majority of the country is so young and have a yearning to open up with the west; Ahmadinejad could try and manuever a bit more tactfully to appease or at least quell his critics. However given his penchant for pugnacity and inclination towards provocative rhetoric, any dramatic moves in this direction at least from the vantage point of now appear unlikely.

One thing about this whole campaign, the west and the world knows that although the harsh rhetoric, militant attitudes, and authority of the old order remains strong and prevalent, there is a bubbling underneath of resentment and a thirst for reform in some corners of the country. It may not be a victory and it never was going to be an overnight transformation from a theocratic pan Islamic country to a bastion of democracy eager to shed its nuclear ambitions, but this very well could be a sort of mini Prague Spring, where those railing against the entrenched forces may not prevail in the short term, but end up displaying to the world that despite the force exercised by those in power, there is a desire to chart a new course.

Update (4:17pm/ ET)- Reports indicate that the election results show that Mousavi lost his hometown in the votes. One U.S offical meanwhile says the election results seem to be well less than legitimate.

Update (6/14/09, 8:09AM/ET)- According to Andrew Sullivan, Amhmadinejad’s own election monitoring commission deems the election results invalid.

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I have Had Many Concerns about Senator John McCain (R-AZ)


And making light of ensuring that nuclear power is safe alleviate absolutely none of those concerns. (H/T: Americablog)

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The Opening Salvo of the Atomic Age


Today in 1945 was the Trinity Test, the first test of the Atomic bomb that entered America and the globe into the Atomic Age. So I just wanted to say Happy Birthday! by the way that Happy Birthday part, was sarcasm.

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This Date in History Calendar- February 13


The Negro National League was created in 1920.

Courtesy: Hippy.com, wikipedia, History Channel

1866: In Liberty, Missouri notorious outlaw Jesse James and his gang conduct the first peacetime armed bank robbery in U.S History.

1880: Inventor Thomas Edison observes ‘the Edison effect’.

1920: The Negro National League is founded.

1932: Brunno Hauptman is found gulity by a jury in New Jersey, for the 1932 abduction and murder of Charles Lindberg’s infant son.

1945: During World War II, the German city of Dresden is bombed by the Royal Air Force.

1960: France tests its first nuclear bomb.

1971: Along with American aid, air support, and armaments, South Vietnamese forces invade neighboring Laos.

1984: Following the death of Yuri Andropov in the Soviet Union, Konstantin Chercenko suceedes him as General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

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This Date in History Calendar- February 13


The Negro National League was created in 1920.

Courtesy: Hippy.com, wikipedia, History Channel

1866: In Liberty, Missouri notorious outlaw Jesse James and his gang conduct the first peacetime armed bank robbery in U.S History.

1880: Inventor Thomas Edison observes ‘the Edison effect’.

1920: The Negro National League is founded.

1932: Brunno Hauptman is found gulity by a jury in New Jersey, for the 1932 abduction and murder of Charles Lindberg’s infant son.

1945: During World War II, the German city of Dresden is bombed by the Royal Air Force.

1960: France tests its first nuclear bomb.

1971: Along with American aid, air support, and armaments, South Vietnamese forces invade neighboring Laos.

1984: Following the death of Yuri Andropov in the Soviet Union, Konstantin Chercenko suceedes him as General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

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This Date in History Calendar- January 21

Early Grateful Dead (above). On January 21,1966 they gave thier first light show in San Fransisco.

Courtesy: Hippy.com, wikipedia, History channel

1789- What is said to be the first American novel, with the broad title “The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Grounded in Truth” by William Hill Brown, is first printed.

1908: The Sullivan Ordinance, which would outlaw smoking by women in public within New York City is passed. Later it would meet with a veto by the cities mayor.

1924: Newly established Marxist country, still young the Soviet union is left fatherless when its leader Vladamir Lenin dies.

1941: Singer Richie Havens is born.

1950: Following a trial, ex-State Department official Alger Hiss, who was accused by many of being a communist sympathizer, is convicted of perjury.

1954: First nuclear powered submarine is launched.

1966: In San Fransisco the Grateful Dead, play the first light show with about 10,000people in attendance.

1968: In the Vietnam War, a pivotal battle, the Battle of Khe Sanh begins.

1977: Upon taking office, newly elected U.S President Jimmy Carter pardons those who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War.

1985: Amidst heavy snows, U.S President Ronald Reagan gives his second inaugural address and takes the oath of office in the capitol building’s rotunda.

1997: U.S Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, becomes the first Speaker of the U.S House of Representatives to be penalized by the U.S house for unethical conduct.

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