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-   -   Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=5821)

Wonderment 08-21-2010 10:46 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Gerecht is trying to get us to trust his prediction that Iran will aquire nukes shortly, while we know that in the past his assurances came back false. That's a reason to be sceptical.
There are lots of reasons to be skeptical of Gerecht's sputtering rant. Nevertheless, I am starting to lean toward the view that Israel will attack Iran. Much as I hate to agree with Mr. Goldberg, I think it's about even money with maybe a slight bias toward bombing.

Of course, the whole argument is predicated on Iran refusing to back down. If Iran does reverse course on nukes (assuming it's even on nuke course to begin with) all bets are off.

The reason I'm leaning toward expecting war is that Israeli public opinion has reached a fever pitch. The media is obsessed with Iran, and the idea that Israel must prevent an Iranian nuke AT ALL COSTS is firmly entrenched in popular opinion. I don't see how Israeli leaders can walk that back.

Ultimately, barring the return of a Dick Cheney type neo-con monster to national power in the US, I'd guess that we will take a pass on bombing Iran. We could learn to live with a nuclear-armed Iran just as we've lived with other scary nuclear powers in the past. But Israel is the wild card. The Israelis have convinced themselves (erroneously, I believe) that an Ayatollah with nukes is the ultimate "existential threat."

Plinthy The Middling 08-21-2010 11:16 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
With respect, there is some quite fuzzy thinking here, and a basic misconception.

As to the misconception, you are reading something into the phrase “American interests“ that is quite different from what the two heads meant when they finally came together on the point and nearly used the phrase simultaneously. The point Leverett was trying to get Gerecht to move to is the idea that American interests are to be framed and articulated clearly, comprehensively and in writing by the administration, in such a way that they can be appreciated and expressed throughout all government agencies in a consistent manner. Gerecht finally relented on this point because he would lose all credibility with the foreign policy community were he to deny it, because it has been foreign policy catechism for decades and decades and you cannot secure or maintain a position of significance in an agency without acknowledging it. WHY Leverett moved Gerecht there is because he knew (and in pursuing Gerecht on this demonstrated to all of us) that Gerecht did not come to government office by the professional route and with the professional insistence on that standard, such that the whole time during which Gerecht was in government service is subject to the criticism of not having been dedicated to that standard. Again, Gerecht came in from PNAC, the definitive neocon finishing school of the Clinton years, and spent his time in government with and executing on a parallel agenda that was unwritten, not articulated clearly or comprehensively across the agencies, in fact deliberately hidden from career officers (though not entirely successfully), and in practice very often irreconcilable with what the administration of the day was willing to articulate publicly and state comprehensively. In other words: Team B.

As to fuzziness, you state we should have heard more on Leverett’s standards, presumably to better understand them, yet you also assert that we can somehow devince them as being decidedly more “amoral“. Leaving aside that the way the session went suggests that Gerecht was not in the least interested in encouraging or allowing Leverett an opening to do anything of the kind (and also the fact that Leverett has published a mass of writing on those standards over the years since he left government service, all out there ready for you to google), your two statements are irreconcilable.

You can like the idea of bombing Iran because it somehow pleases you that the U.S. can do such things, and you can prefer Gerecht for standing for the idea of a secretive hidden unstated agenda of civil disruption and implied threats of official violence, but that does not make those things morally defensible or prudent. Indeed, they are hallmarks of rogue states.

Lyle 08-22-2010 12:01 AM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Wait.. the Taliban and Muhammad Omar still control Afghanistan from Kandahar? They're still the ruling government in Afghanistan? Oh really?

Whatfur 08-22-2010 07:10 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 176324)
No, Saddam didn't. That's why there weren't any WMD's in Iraq. This whole conversation is just blowing my mind. To hear the way war supporters are discussing this, it's as if the Iraq War never happened at all.

Your response is so inane in its logical ineptness I won't bother with a response here except to suggest you talk to the Kurds and or maybe read up on "Chemical Ali"

graz 08-22-2010 07:18 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 176324)
No, Saddam didn't. That's why there weren't any WMD's in Iraq. This whole conversation is just blowing my mind. To hear the way war supporters are discussing this, it's as if the Iraq War never happened at all.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 176384)
Your response is so inane in its logical ineptness I won't bother with a response here except to suggest you talk to the Kurds and or maybe read up on "Chemical Ali"

Did ya ever envision it coming to this when you were the captain of the debate team at Davidson?

Whatfur 08-22-2010 07:19 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hamandcheese (Post 176330)
The parallel is not historical. The parallel is about his writing. Gerecht is trying to get us to trust his prediction that Iran will aquire nukes shortly, while we know that in the past his assurances came back false. That's a reason to be sceptical.

Sorry, your response is right up there with Zeke's. In arenas as important as this I would certainly want to look at the current situation particulars and not add to the opaqeness by calling into question the credibility of someone based on an opinion that was hardly unique at the time.

graz 08-22-2010 07:22 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 176387)
In arenas as important as this I would certainly want to look at the current situation particulars and not add to the opaqeness by calling into question the credibility of someone based on an opinion that was hardly unique at the time.

I call word salad!

Whatfur 08-22-2010 07:30 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 176331)
There are lots of reasons to be skeptical of Gerecht's sputtering rant. Nevertheless, I am starting to lean toward the view that Israel will attack Iran. Much as I hate to agree with Mr. Goldberg, I think it's about even money with maybe a slight bias toward bombing.

Of course, the whole argument is predicated on Iran refusing to back down. If Iran does reverse course on nukes (assuming it's even on nuke course to begin with) all bets are off.

The reason I'm leaning toward expecting war is that Israeli public opinion has reached a fever pitch. The media is obsessed with Iran, and the idea that Israel must prevent an Iranian nuke AT ALL COSTS is firmly entrenched in popular opinion. I don't see how Israeli leaders can walk that back.

Ultimately, barring the return of a Dick Cheney type neo-con monster to national power in the US, I'd guess that we will take a pass on bombing Iran. We could learn to live with a nuclear-armed Iran just as we've lived with other scary nuclear powers in the past. But Israel is the wild card. The Israelis have convinced themselves (erroneously, I believe) that an Ayatollah with nukes is the ultimate "existential threat."

Did Gerecht predict the timetable to nuke capability? I think he said he was not sure. You can call it sputtering, but he certainly seemed to have 5 arguments for every one of his opponents and you have to admit that Flynt offered little more than talking Iran's own talking points. Would you prefer all the inferences were ignored? Iran's government has certainly not shown a high degree of rationality. You seem to want to throw the ball over the wall and see what happens. I dunno...does not seem prudent.

Oh and we are damn sure Saddam has no WMDs now and that his sons arn't pushing people off of buildings for the fun of it..

look 08-22-2010 08:00 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by graz (Post 176388)
I call word salad!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9efgL...feature=search

graz 08-22-2010 08:01 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
My eyes and brain are easily offended ... what can I say?

Lyle 08-22-2010 11:46 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
No, there wouldn't need to be evidence of an imminent attack. All you need is evidence of concrete steps being taken to build a nuclear facility capable of providing weapons grade nuclear material.

Preemptive strikes are effective, not ineffective... see Israel's bombing of nuclear facilities in Iraq and Syria. And there's certainly nothing immoral about destroying a despot's or despotic regime's nuclear weapon building facilities. I'd argue keeping nuclear weapons out of Saddam Hussein's hands was a very moral act.

Don Zeko 08-23-2010 01:25 AM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by graz (Post 176386)
Did ya ever envision it coming to this when you were the captain of the debate team at Davidson?

Oddly enough, Davidson doesn't have a debate team. In fact, it's pretty slim pickings there for academic competition in general. There's a Mock Trial team and a very casual Quiz Bowl team, and nothing else that I was aware of. I suppose that comes from having a small student body. But if it did have one, I'm sure I would have joined. So I hope that hypothetical me would have been aware of the idiots out there that persist in believing demonstrably untrue things, but can never really be sure that my hypothetical self would have been.

Whatfur 08-23-2010 08:07 AM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 176419)
Oddly enough, Davidson doesn't have a debate team. In fact, it's pretty slim pickings there for academic competition in general. There's a Mock Trial team and a very casual Quiz Bowl team, and nothing else that I was aware of. I suppose that comes from having a small student body. But if it did have one, I'm sure I would have joined. So I hope that hypothetical me would have been aware of the idiots out there that persist in believing demonstrably untrue things, but can never really be sure that my hypothetical self would have been.

So the Kurds were not really gassed? Chemical Ali was a janitor or something? WMDs are not restricted to nuclear and seeking is not finding. If you think Saddam did not wish to enhance his arsenal then I have a mock duck to sell you to go along with your hypothetical brain.

graz 08-23-2010 10:16 AM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 176419)
Oddly enough, Davidson doesn't have a debate team. In fact, it's pretty slim pickings there for academic competition in general. There's a Mock Trial team and a very casual Quiz Bowl team, and nothing else that I was aware of. I suppose that comes from having a small student body. But if it did have one, I'm sure I would have joined. So I hope that hypothetical me would have been aware of the idiots out there that persist in believing demonstrably untrue things, but can never really be sure that my hypothetical self would have been.

Crystal!

ledocs 08-23-2010 04:53 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Gerecht had better do something to hide that eponymous hard-on.

Start your holiday shopping for the kids early. "Winnie the Pooh" and other children's classics read by Reuel Gerecht, a beautiful boxed set of 3 CD's, only $29.99 through www.childrenscorner.com. This limited edition comes without the hard-on.

hamandcheese 08-25-2010 01:46 AM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 176387)
Sorry, your response is right up there with Zeke's. In arenas as important as this I would certainly want to look at the current situation particulars and not add to the opaqeness by calling into question the credibility of someone based on an opinion that was hardly unique at the time.

So Gerecht is more credible now because he's more unique? To whom do smaller voices speak louder? And are you conceding that Gerecht advocated intensely for a war with a conviction not based on rational introspection or evidence seeking, but rather hive-mind and group think? And does that not end his credibility anyhow? Rhetorical question?

Whatfur 08-25-2010 07:17 AM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hamandcheese (Post 176724)
So Gerecht is more credible now because he's more unique? To whom do smaller voices speak louder? And are you conceding that Gerecht advocated intensely for a war with a conviction not based on rational introspection or evidence seeking, but rather hive-mind and group think? And does that not end his credibility anyhow? Rhetorical question?

Mr. Sandwich,

Lets not spread the mustard too thin. I am saying that was then and this is now and that it would be folly to dismiss Gerecht arguments because someone found an article written a decade ago where he also advocated intensely and along with many others was not entirely correct. Instead of playing dumb and trying to attack what you considered the weak link in my case, I suggest in the future you go with the pumpernickel like a man.

I submit the following to diffuse the follow-up accusing me of not answering your questions and I apologize in advance for some coming with questions themselves...

Is he unique? I don't think so.
Did you hear much pushback from Flynt on the quoting of "small voices" he asks as he liturally quotes small voices? I didn't...mainly yabut yabut responses.
No, I concede no such thing. That is your invention. I believe its obvious that Gerecht floats his own boat.
The previous answer negates the necessity of answering the final two, I believe.

hamandcheese 08-25-2010 04:04 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Fair enough, Whatfur. I think the problem arose out of what someone called your word salad. I am use to picking things out of salads, but grapes and olives can look deceivingly similar in low light. Still, if you reread your post quoted below I think you'll at least see what I was seeing, even if it was not quite what you meant.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 176740)
In arenas as important as this I would certainly want to look at the current situation particulars and not add to the opaqeness by calling into question the credibility of someone based on an opinion that was hardly unique at the time.

The bold line implied the following to me: It's wrong to count otherwise credibility-ruining opinions when they're widely held; and his Iran position is comparatively unique (and therefore held to a higher standard?).

Quote:

it would be folly to dismiss Gerecht arguments because someone found an article written a decade ago where he also advocated intensely and along with many others was not entirely correct.
I agree completely. That would be an ad hominem. This is slightly different, however, because he's not simply making arguments to be taken on their merits. He's asking for a level of trust. There is no silver bullet evidence proving Iran's intentions, or what the fallout of an air-strike would be. He's to an extent 'feeling out' their intentions and the fallout based on his knowledge and experience. Geo-politics is art, not science. It would be like if someone kept saying "feels like rain!" and it never rained. The Iraq essay he wrote is evidence of his broken barometer, so to speak.

Also, I enjoyed the puns.

Whatfur 08-25-2010 04:44 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hamandcheese (Post 176808)
Fair enough, Whatfur. ...

I agree completely.
...
Also, I enjoyed the puns.

Also fair, but I would counter that the barometer is not necessarily broken. Gerecht probably would not be enjoying his third decade in the business if all of his opinions were wrong. Not sure if he has a dog in this hunt somehow other than the same one we all do. He certainly seemed to know his stuff from the inside out as opposed to Flynt, whose stuff seemed gained from some buddy who was an Iranian diplomat.

Its also why I would like to see Gerecht here again with someone who can push back better than Flynt did. The softies here don't like what Gerecht had to say nor his style in saying it. I think it prudent not to discount him at this point.

One last thing. Is war inevitable with Iran if we bomb? It seems to always be talked about as such. Some could argue we already are.

ledocs 08-26-2010 08:17 AM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
This was not as boring as many of the recent dv's. I kept waiting to hear an explosion.

Whatfur 08-26-2010 10:37 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Only 2?

Gilbert Garza 08-27-2010 12:03 PM

Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 176201)
I strongly approve of trying to find appropriate wisdom for any situation in Futurama dialogue. But I'm pretty sure you missed or underestimated a few variables in your analysis. Such as: the number of people directly endangered by the sort of military action being imagined here; the inevitable regional instability it would almost certainly create; the degree to which such an action would strengthen the Mullahs and the current Iranian regime in general; the possibility that such an action provides a new, powerful cassus belli among Islamic radicals, and the degree to which it would provide an imoetus toward further radicalization. I wouldn't take your bet, and I hope Netanyahu isn't stupid enough to do so, either. (But, regarding Netanyahu, I have little faith in that last.)

Knowing the variables is insufficient without a strategic historical context, and without considering appropriate local, regional, and global strategies. I am disappointed at how little influence the writings of Robert Wright (and Thomas P.M. Barnett) have had on this blog communnity. I know. I'm going.

look 08-27-2010 03:26 PM

You can call him Shirley
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 176813)
Also fair, but I would counter that the barometer is not necessarily broken. Gerecht probably would not be enjoying his third decade in the business if all of his opinions were wrong. Not sure if he has a dog in this hunt somehow other than the same one we all do. He certainly seemed to know his stuff from the inside out as opposed to Flynt, whose stuff seemed gained from some buddy who was an Iranian diplomat.

Its also why I would like to see Gerecht here again with someone who can push back better than Flynt did. The softies here don't like what Gerecht had to say nor his style in saying it. I think it prudent not to discount him at this point.

One last thing. Is war inevitable with Iran if we bomb? It seems to always be talked about as such. Some could argue we already are.

Quote:

Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is a former director of the Project for the New American Century's Middle East Initiative and a former resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Gerecht also served as a Middle East specialist at the CIA. Also known as Edward G. Shirley (a pseudonym used while a former case officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations). He is the author of Know Thine Enemy: A Spy's Journey Into Revolutionary Iran (1997).

Gerecht holds a hawkish position on Iran and in an interview with PBS Frontline has said "The Iranians [...] have terrorism in their DNA."[1] Simultaneously however, Gerecht has also advocated the re-establishment of diplomatic relationships with Tehran before any military action is taken.[2] According to journalist Andrew Sullivan, Gerecht also defends the use of physically coercive interrogation techniques in the ticking time bomb scenario.[3]
PNAC director? Nah, no dog in the hunt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reuel_Marc_Gerecht

Whatfur 08-27-2010 03:37 PM

Re: You can call him Shirley
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by look (Post 177063)
PNAC director? Nah, no dog in the hunt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reuel_Marc_Gerecht

Couple things. Thanks for the legwork. Your placement of "..." has me inclined to do a little legwork myself though. Working for the PNAC CAN certainly mean we are sharing that dog.

Whatfur 08-27-2010 03:43 PM

Re: You can call him Shirley
 
First from Wiki:

"This article needs additional citations for verification."

but following the footnote:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gereght on Frontline supposedly
"But he could also punt it. I think it largely depends on what you're wanting to do. If they continue to kill Americans in Iraq, if they continue to thumb their nose at the European Union, if they continue to stall on the nuclear weapons program, on the enrichment program, it's possible that in 14 months time, or before, you could see military action.

If they do, what are the likely consequences?

The Iranians will certainly respond with terrorism. That's one of the reasons [they] want to have nuclear weaponry anyway, is because they have terrorism in their DNA. I would expect them to try to cause trouble in Iraq."


look 08-27-2010 03:58 PM

Re: You can call him Shirley
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 177066)
Couple things. Thanks for the legwork.

y/w
Quote:

Your placement of "..." has me inclined to do a little legwork myself though.
Those are the Wiki contributor's ellipses, but yes, I didn't notice that...
Quote:

Working for the PNAC CAN certainly mean we are sharing that dog.
Yes, I'd already noticed your phrasing could be taken a couple ways.

look 08-27-2010 04:36 PM

Re: You can call him Shirley
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gereght on Frontline supposedly
"But he could also punt it. I think it largely depends on what you're wanting to do. If they continue to kill Americans in Iraq, if they continue to thumb their nose at the European Union, if they continue to stall on the nuclear weapons program, on the enrichment program, it's possible that in 14 months time, or before, you could see military action.

If they do, what are the likely consequences?

The Iranians will certainly respond with terrorism. That's one of the reasons [they] want to have nuclear weaponry anyway, is because they have terrorism in their DNA. I would expect them to try to cause trouble in Iraq."

Interesting to note that ellipses are thrice used in the Gerecht section of the article, and I'd like to know what he was going on to say in the penultimate paragraph.

Quote:

I think it's fair to say [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad really does believe the United States is too weak to respond to him now, and I think [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei thinks probably the same way. But whether others think that way in the regime is not clear. We'll see. That's why I think it's very, very important that every time [Seymour] Hersh writes a piece in The New Yorker saying the Americans are getting ready to bomb -- you know, great! It is the best psychological ops the Americans could possibly have. ...

So I think it is in our interest to have the clerical elite believe that George W. Bush, yes, he could in fact bomb those facilities. I actually think he could. I don't think the planning on this or the intention on this is nearly what has been rumored in certain quarters, but I do think it is possible.

But he could also punt it. I think it largely depends on what you're wanting to do. If they continue to kill Americans in Iraq, if they continue to thumb their nose at the European Union, if they continue to stall on the nuclear weapons program, on the enrichment program, it's possible that in 14 months time, or before, you could see military action.

If they do, what are the likely consequences?

The Iranians will certainly respond with terrorism. That's one of the reasons [they] want to have nuclear weaponry anyway, is because they have terrorism in their DNA. I would expect them to try to cause trouble in Iraq. Now, the one thing you're not going to see is Iranian Revolutionary Guards taking on American soldiers; they'd be slaughtered. ...

Now, will the Iranians be patient and try to figure out ways to strike the Americans? Absolutely. But again, is that damage less or more than allowing a regime with the history that the clerics have to have nuclear weaponry? I would say no. I'd rather take a risk. ...

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...t.html#gerecht

I think it's interesting that he thought, at the time this was written...around 2006, maybe, that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards would be slaughtered by American soldiers if push came to shove, but Hillary Mann, in the same article says:

Quote:

The Iranians have an asymmetric warfare capacity. ... They could cut off supplies to U.S. troops very quickly. They have an incredible infrastructure and network in southern Iraq, and our troops are supplied from Kuwait, essentially. ... And that's just inside Iraq. That doesn't even deal with their own networks in Afghanistan, in Lebanon, worldwide. ...

Whatfur 08-27-2010 04:55 PM

Re: You can call him Shirley
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by look (Post 177068)
y/w
Those are the Wiki contributor's ellipses, but yes, I didn't notice that...
Yes, I'd already noticed your phrasing could be taken a couple ways.

Yeah.."Not sure" meant I wasn't sure...I know/knew little about Gereght before this. Does seem quite the pit bull. Still think he has some valid input here. Iran has its pit bulls too.

look 08-27-2010 05:02 PM

Re: You can call him Shirley
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 177072)
Yeah.."Not sure" meant I wasn't sure...I know/knew little about Gereght before this. Does seem quite the pit bull. Still think he has some valid input here. Iran has its pit bulls too.

Group selection, baby, group selection all the way.

Whatfur 09-05-2010 02:28 PM

Re: You can call him Shirley
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by look (Post 177076)
Group selection, baby, group selection all the way.


This seemed as good a place as any for this.

Whatfur 09-05-2010 10:51 PM

Re: You can call him Shirley
 
and this...


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