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Ret. U.S. General Would Accept a Nuclear-Armed Iran

John Abizaid, the retired Army general who headed Central Command for nearly four years, said according to Yahoo! News:

"I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear," he said, referring to the theory that Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike by using a nuclear weapon against the United States. "There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran," Abizaid said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. "Let's face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we've lived with a nuclear China, and we're living with (other) nuclear powers as well."
Totally unrelated: Gainesville Sun reports about a shrewed journalism student and the incompetent and brutal security service at the University of Florida. Many US universities are better than German universities, but here students don't get tasered, not even obnoxious self-promoters.

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Mr. Bingley on :

Well, based on that I'm glad he's retired.

Don S on :

The General's remarks were somewhat more nuanced than the part you quoted, Joerg. ". The thrust of his remarks was a call for patience in dealing with Iran, which President Bush early in his first term labeled one of the "axis of evil" nations, along with North Korea and Iraq." Well, yes. But the Bush administration has of course impatiently pushed ahead with attacking Iran. No, they haven't? Could that perhaps be described as 'patience'? "We need to press the international community as hard as we possibly can, and the Iranians, to cease and desist on the development of a nuclear weapon and we should not preclude any option that we may have to deal with it," he said. He then added his remark about finding ways to live with a nuclear-armed Iran. Certain portions of the 'International community' have clearly expressed the preference that the US unilaterally rule out any use of force at all in dealing with Iran. Doing so would seem to qualify as 'precluding' certain oprions, a measure the general specifically warned against. There is little disagreement here, except perhaps in rhetorical terms. The Bush administration HAS exhibited patience in practice and there are few signs of imminent war. The US government has carefully not 'taken options off the table' despite strong pressure from Germany among others.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

"there are few signs of imminent war." So you see some? "The US government has carefully not 'taken options off the table' despite strong pressure from Germany among others." Good decision. In strategy 101 students learn not to exclude anything ever. Keep your opponents guessing what you would do or would not do. US rhetoric re Iran, however, is different from the smarter US rhetoric on Taiwan/China, because it is more subtle. [b]Three questions:[/b] What "strong pressure from Germany" do you see? How do you define "strong pressure"? I think only something of the magnitude of full economic sanctions would qualify as "strong pressure." Everything else is just a conversation among friends. Besides, have Merkel or Steinmeier explicitely asked the US to rule out military options? Or have they just said something like: "A war does not solve the problem." ?? Statements like that are just like typical US statements to other countries about respecting human rights or so. It's just talk.

Don S on :

"there are few signs of imminent war." "So you see some?" No. It's all rthetoric at this point as far as I'm aware. "What "strong pressure from Germany" do you see? " There was a lot of pious baning on about how the US must take all military options off the table some time ago. Perhaps that was just window-dressing to justify not increaing sanctions on Iran. How is one to tell? I took it at face value. As for economic sanctions on the US, rotsa ruck. We can get our machine tools from Japan, France, etc. What we can't build ourselves that is. Buy a few more Lexus' and a few less Mercedes...

Don S on :

The General may be correct. I think the fear is that Iran is just aanother brick in the wall. If Iran why not Kenya? Uganda? Zaire? Why shouldn't Zimbabwe aspire to be a nuclear power and hold it's neighbors to ransom? Sudan's government could resolve the Darfur crisis - using a few nukes. In the end why shouldn't various tribes and countries work out their differences this way. That is what people are afraid of. Ahmadinejad plays into this with his threat to Israel. If Iran nukes Tel Aviv and Haifa there is no telling where it stops. Almost certainly the response will not be limited to Iran. Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt?

pen Name on :

Yes, indeed. If Pakistan nukers Tehran or Israel nukes Abadan, what should we in Iran do? If US starts landing soldiers on Iranian costal areas, withour lack of an airforce, how are we to stop an invasion? We were invaded in WWI, in WWII, in 1980 by Iraq and we were attacked by WMD. Never again.

Pat Patterson on :

I sense some inconsistency with the rationale that Iran will use its nuclear weapons which supposedly it doesn't have because all these non-transmission lined facilities are only for power generation. A few months ago pen Name argued that Iran was fully capable of stopping an invasion of its territory via a forward defense in the Gulf and an inelastic border defense somewhat like the Iran-Iraq War. Then weeks later it is to be a defense in depth and activation of sympathetic allies, state of non-state in the ME. Then it was to be a guerilla war, also with allies and everybody else should run for the hills. Now the peaceful acquistion of nuclear power is admitted to be for first strike use against conventional forces. Iran is rapidly running out of tactical solutions and seems to see only strategic solutions. But I don't really think Iran will exercise that option unless, as some in the West claim, that its administration truly does have Messianic dreams. Because the consequences of a retaliatory strike by the West would leave Iran prostrate and unrecognizable. And as pen Name has pointed out those "whoring Arabs" will not lift a finger to help their co-religionists. I still think that eventually the mullah monopolists will simply say, "How much?" But there are strong possibilites that Israel may act, probably with either the US turning a blind eye or actively supporting the strike. This recent foray into Syria, where the same updated Russian supplied air defenses and "volunteer" Russian technicians that Iran has received, proved staggeringly ineffective. One report, probably fanciful, had one of the IAF jets fly directly over one of the sites and found the radar was never even turned on until after the flight was miles away. Slightly O/T but here is the link to a fairly recent paper from MIT, admittedly by two graduate students, that talks extensively about Israel's increased ability to repeat a anti-proliferation attack with enhanced bombs and to attack without air assets. [url]http://web.mit.edu/ssp/Publications/working_papers/wp_06-1.pdf[/url]

Don S on :

"If Pakistan nukers Tehran or Israel nukes Abadan, what should we in Iran do?" In the first case I would think making common cause with a certain large country on Pakisatan's southeast border might be the obvious move. Is Iran having diplomatic tensions with Pakistan? As for Israel, well... Seems to me that Israel has closer problems than Iran. If Iran stepped down support for Heztbollah and throttles down the rhetoric one suspects that problem would take care of itself.

Zyme on :

Think of Gas and Biological means as the other weapons of mass destruction - although they are not as huge in radius, in how many wars have they been used, while how many nations had and have access to them? This should comfort everyone who is terrorized by the thought of a nuclear armed Iran.

Mr. Bingley on :

Zyme, that's not really a valid comparison. They haven't been used because they are very difficult to control and they're really not that effective, tactically; there's just as good a chance they will kill your own soldiers as those of your enemies. A gas weapon, as you said, only affects a very small area and strategically it makes no sense with the negative political baggage that such use carries to use one if you're "only" going to kill a few thousand people. And since you can't control the spread of a biological agent or effectively protect your own people from it there's no reason to use one except as either a last gasp strike or because you don't care about the consequences. So there is absolutely no comfort in the thought of Iran having nukes.

pen Name on :

Here is an interesting paper on the topic by Sir John Thomson: http://www.basicint.org/pubs/Papers/iran2.pdf The org tracks the issue here: http://www.basicint.org/update/iran070905.htm You have been warned.

Don S on :

"but here students don't get tasered" Well, it's pretty rare in the US also. This is the first incident I've heard of. The story was a little amusing. The student heckled a Peraon who Ought Not to be Heckled. Not Bush, or Cheney, or Petraeus, or Gonzolez. No, they ought to be heckled. No, this aspiring scholar had the temerity to heckle the august John Kerrey, Junior Senator of the Comonwealth of Massachusettes. There is only one worse Personage to heckle in all of the United States, the Honorable Albert Gore, former Vice President and future Saint of the Church of Gaia. Arguably Kerrey is worse, actually. He's also a member (by marriage) of the US highest nobility, the company of billionaires. Old money, yet. Lese Majesty indeed!

Pat Patterson on :

In fairness to Sen. Kerrey he called several times from the podium to let the student finish his question. However it now appears that the whole thing was a setup to draw attention to that student's website. Where one could see several filmed confrontations with celebrities, average citizens and law enforcement geared to elicit either a verbal or physical reponse. One of which shows the student loudly pleading not to be tasered but trying to grab the taser from the policeman. There was a recent case at UCLA when a student was tasered after struggling with a few campus police after he had creatd a disturbance in the library and then refusing to produce student ID. That particular case is still grinding its way through the courts.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

"he had created a disturbance in the library" Well, it is my understanding that he refused to show his student ID in a routine check in the library after 11:00 PM. I would consider it annoying to identify myself every day when he clock turns 11:00 PM and I am still in the library. The UCLA officer, who used the taser, was an ex-Marine. Isn't a taser a pretty girly weapon? Why can't an ex-Marine take care of a geek or nerd without any weapon? Why not just be nice? At Johns Hopkins we had extremely nice security officers. One lady called nearly everyone "sweaty" and "honey" and asked how we are doing etc. Nobody ever made a fuss about showing an ID. And if you forgot your ID, she let you pass, because she knew our faces. ======== And re the new case at Univ of Florida: Yeah, the student is obnoxious, but he won because of the security officers incompetence. There was really no need to taser him. Definitely not in front of everybody. They could have just carried him outside. I don't have sympathy for the student, but I think the group of security officers were incompetent. There is this old and stupid phrase: If you have a hammer, then everything looks like a nail that needs to be hit. Perhaps it is the same with the taser. ======== I wonder how many other students are tasered, but we don't know about it, because nobody filmed it. We know of the UCLA and the Univ of Florida case, because other students filmed it and put the video on Youtube or some other site. "Citizen journalism" Yippie Yeah.

Pat Patterson on :

Owing to the amount of rapes, reported and unreported, and the number of robberies on campus and nearby, UCLA instituted a policy that all campus buildings open at 11:00 PM were closed to non-students or even any student without university ID. In this case all the students in the library were requested to show ID or leave. This particular student, who had previously been escorted off campus, this time refused to cooperate. Are you suggesting that an unidentified young male be allowed to stay in the library with dozens of individual students. Plus should the ex-Marine not tasered him and merely used normal police procedure by pain compliance? When I was a graduate student at USC the school had the same program in place as the result of the surrounding area having a bad reputation for crime. Plus we also had a large population of homeless, dopers and the mentally challenged that would come on campus, looking for truth like Diogenes as suppose. Escorting non-students off campus seemed and still seems rather benign. But at SC the campus police, also mostly ex-servicemen, used trained German Shepherds, not the kind with flutes and staffs, but the ones with lots of sharp teeth. Not tasers! By the way, calling you "sweaty" was an insult not an endearment.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Oops that was a typo of mine. "Are you suggesting that an unidentified young male be allowed to stay in the library with dozens of individual students." I'd say: Just check everybody's ID, when they enter the library and then leave everybody in peace studying rather than disturbing folks with ID checks when they are in the middle of figuring out the theory of relativity or whatever. It all comes down to: Why has crime been such a huge problem in so many parts of the US for the last few decades? Why don't you manage to reduce the crime rate to European level using all your American ingenuity etc? Reduce all the fear etc.

Don S on :

Joerg, there is another side to this. I saw it on the Tube about a month ago. I was riding the underground when the train had to terminate short of the final destination. We were assured that another train would soon come by to take us the rest of the way. Fine. Except for one thing. One lady (a bit the worse for wear) refused to vacate her seat. Several tube employees came to remonstrate with her - but strictly hands-off. All the rest of the passengers waited for this one woman to leave for 45 minutes, during which time all the remaining trains were aborted and the drivers went home. All the passeengers had to make other arrangements to get home - at 1:30 in the morning! One touch with a taser would have avoided that.

Pat Patterson on :

Ok, but the US crime rate(reported) is less than New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, the United Kingdom and we also beat out Germany and the Netherlands by a few hundred or so muggings. Why would we want out crime rates to rise to those levels? There had been a court case in California in the 60's that allowed the Regents of the university system and the state college system to post "Property of ..." signs but they are still not allowed to bar pivate citizens from the campuses except when establishing a nighttime curfew, which is what UCLA did. But college campuses, for the sake of legal status, are considered private property and still have some leglal methods of excluding non-students. The hypothetical student, especially female, might resent having her concentration joggled by having to produce an ID, would also be the first to find a lawyer if assaulted and the university could have prevented it. Most campuses in California are laid out encompassing an entire township and are usually surrounded by private residences. Thus you would have to wall off anywhere from 4 to 6 miles of the campus to check entering students IDs, irritating for the students and enraging the local voters. Some campuses, Johns Hopkins included, have satellite buildings off the campus proper which creates even more security problems for a school which is still responsible for the safety of the students. Yeah, I knew it was a type but the image of a foreign student getting excited by the casualness of America when called "sweaty" was too hard to resist.

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