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  #41  
Old 08-19-2010, 04:35 PM
look look is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Yep. He was so into firing supposedly discrediting questions at Flynt and shouting down Flynt's attempted answers that he was unable to make a straightforward argument for the position he was presumably on there to promote. I'm not sure how many theoretical listeners are really in the middle on this, but to the extent he cares about convincing people who are, he did a terrible job.
I'd say he's more like Olbermann foaming at the mouth. Except Olbermann doesn't have guests to interrupt.

Leverett is an Iranophile. He has the view that Obama should 'go to Iran,' as Nixon went to China. I tend to come down on this side, and think Israel's best bet is to just swallow hard and hope for the best, because war with Iran, even with US backing, puts them way further behind the eight ball than they already are, regionally.
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  #42  
Old 08-19-2010, 04:50 PM
Sion Sion is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Mr. Gerecht is a classic example of a manipulative, aggressive person who has to "win" the debate. But truth doesn't necessarily reside with the person who talks loud and fast, interrupts, bullies, and demeans. This behavior doesn't necessarily mean Mr. Gerecht is wrong. But I'm inclined to trust the speaker who doesn't need to use these manipulative tactics.
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  #43  
Old 08-19-2010, 04:51 PM
iqvoice iqvoice is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

I think you err. Once Iran is a nuclear power, there is no "limited" strike capability. After Iran is nuclear, all the military options do involve "100,000 civilian deaths". That's the whole point of "neo-con" preventive strikes--- they are the lesser of two evils.

As to whether an underground facility can be fully destroyed from the air... every bunker I've ever seen has a surface exit. There's your target.
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  #44  
Old 08-19-2010, 04:57 PM
basman basman is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

I too found Gerecht boorish, unsubtle and obnoxious.

And I tried once to take apart his essay on bombing Iran: http://basmanroselaw.blogspot.com/2010/08/gerecht-v-basman.html

That said, he made Leverett look like someone who needs to call his travel agent: time to get that return ticket from Mars.

Itzik Basman
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  #45  
Old 08-19-2010, 05:02 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by iqvoice View Post
What exactly does Iran need to do before any of the libs on this board would agree that military action should be taken?
Satisfying the just war doctrine (or attempting to) would be a start. A summary of the justification under that doctrine is: (a) a genuine and serious threat; (b) no serious non-force alternative to deal with the threat; (c) that the force proposed would have a serious prospect of success; and (d) that the use of force not be likely to create consequences worse than the threat that is being opposed (including the harm to civilians that would result).

Here, the argument in the diavlog (at least from Reuel) was basically focused on the first element, the threat, and the argument was about how bad/threatening Iran is and whether it is really intent on getting nukes (rather than the capacity to have them).

Flynt went on to point out other problems with the recommended action, specifically that it would fail to meet criteria (c) and (d) (although it did not discuss it under this framework) and indicated that he believed (b) was not true but, in fact, non-force options would be better able to deal with the threat. Reuel made no serious effort to address these points.
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  #46  
Old 08-19-2010, 05:12 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by iqvoice View Post
... There's your target.
Would you point that out on this map, please? Thanks.

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  #47  
Old 08-19-2010, 05:55 PM
basman basman is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
Would you point that out on this map, please? Thanks.

Right here: [+]

And you're welcome.

Itzik Basman
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  #48  
Old 08-19-2010, 06:17 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by iqvoice View Post
I think you err. Once Iran is a nuclear power, there is no "limited" strike capability. After Iran is nuclear, all the military options do involve "100,000 civilian deaths". That's the whole point of "neo-con" preventive strikes--- they are the lesser of two evils.

As to whether an underground facility can be fully destroyed from the air... every bunker I've ever seen has a surface exit. There's your target.
You keep making so many bizarre assumptions that I hardly know where to begin. For one, your "military action now will be better than military action later" argument presupposes that, so long as Iran is developing nuclear weapons, military action must be taken either to prevent them from building weapons or to destroy them once they have been built. Why? An Iranian nuclear weapon would have unpleasant consequences for regional proliferation, but it would hardly be an intolerable threat unless you assume that Iran would be likely to actually make a nuclear first strike, and there's absolutely zero reason to think that they would.

Beyond that, your expectations of a relatively painless conflict if we bomb now assumes that Iran won't respond in any way to an Israeli or American attack. Why wouldn't they? Iran and its proxies/allies have plenty of options for making American or Israeli life miserable that it isn't pursuing right now.

Then of course there's your assumption that an airstrike could actually destroy their program, that if one did destroy their program they wouldn't restart it, and that a preventative strike from the US or Israel wouldn't permanently undermine the fragile diplomatic coalition currently imposing sanctions on Iran. There's no attempt to deal with the commonly accepted criteria for a just war or even an attempt to justify an airstrike on a strict cost-benefit analysis either from you or from Gerecht. It's all fear-mongering and hysteria about how evil the Mullahs are instead of actual reasoning about what the problem is and how to deal with it.
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  #49  
Old 08-19-2010, 06:49 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by opposable_crumbs View Post
After Iraq can you blame him?

You can't have your yellow cake and eat it too, at least I hope not.
Yes, I can. As much as people call out neocnos for reaching for rationales for war, he is the polar opposite of the most extreme variations of "neocon."


On virtually every case he mentions he errs on the side whatever does not involve intervention, not simply that, he weighs raw data and gives it whatever interpretation and spin that calls for the least amount of concern or alarm.


I mean, is this not clear to people?

There was even a brief section when he was confronted with a "what IF" type question, and he refused to consider it.

To me, that is an intellectual Coward. The entire point of such questions is to stretch your assumptions and see how well they hold up under pressure. His response, not going to go there.

Last edited by JonIrenicus; 08-19-2010 at 06:55 PM..
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  #50  
Old 08-19-2010, 07:21 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Yep. He was so into firing supposedly discrediting questions at Flynt and shouting down Flynt's attempted answers that he was unable to make a straightforward argument for the position he was presumably on there to promote. I'm not sure how many theoretical listeners are really in the middle on this, but to the extent he cares about convincing people who are, he did a terrible job.

I agree this was not exactly a persuasive performance from Reuel. There were way too many basic facts these two disagreed with. Reuels approach was to obliterate the notions he considered wrong by discrediting it, or ridiculing it. And look, based off my gut reactions to Flynts dark/amoral tinted view of the world I sympathize with wanting to just lash out. But next time a bit more time should be taken point for point to shed some light on where and why they came to their different views.

Even the basic intentions of US policy are different, Flynt mentioned his code of ethics in small snippets, the words "American interests" being the rallying cry. But what exactly does Flynt mean by American interests?

I submit to all of you his definition of those interests are decidedly more Amoral than the neocon Gerecht, however macabre and destructive you think the latters methods.


What we got here for the most part, were two people speaking different languages.
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  #51  
Old 08-19-2010, 09:17 PM
Lyle
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Default Venus

Mars? You mean Venus, I think.

Would you agree Wonderment brings the boorishness and obnoxiousness in you out?

Last edited by Lyle; 08-19-2010 at 09:20 PM..
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  #52  
Old 08-19-2010, 09:37 PM
Lyle
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Default Reuel Rocks!!

This was the best diavlog in a long while (maybe since Wright v. Hitchens)... a very meaty disagreement at the Chateaubriand level. Wish there was more of this on bh.tv.

Gerecht got the better of Leverett, I think. Leverett's argument is largely unacceptable today... that Iran is not, or has no intention of, building nuclear weaponry. His defense of the thug regime puts himself alongside the likes of David Duke.

(Censor Brenda removed a photograph of David Duke and Ahmadinejad... bh.tv hate photos of David Duke and Ahmadinejad at the "Holocaust didn't happen" conference... yay bh.tv!!!)

Basically, Leverett sucks at what he does for living. It would be nice if Penn State could fire him for sucking so bad at his job, but... I'm guessing he's tenured and the academic system protects his waste of space. The guy is completely delusional.

I disagree with Reuel that Israel will attack Iran or should. I don't think it would necessarily be a 'bad' act, but that it is just too difficult a plan to execute with satisfactory results. Bombing Iran ain't like bombing Syria or Iraq.

I also don't believe the U.S. would allow Saudi Arabia to build nuclear weapons, especially not vis a vis the Pakistani program. I write with no authority on this, but find it more likely that the U.S. would overtly or secretly base nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia and/or other Gulf states at the behest of those governments.

I also disagree with Reuel on the issue of rather or not an Iranian democracy would want to to have or build nuclear weaponry. I think they would (they've got China, India and Pakistan close by) and it would be a more agreeable situation than the one we are all now in.

Anyway, love the diavlog and thoroughly enjoyed Reuel's beat down of Dr. Leverett. Good job Reuel!!!

Last edited by Lyle; 08-20-2010 at 08:50 AM..
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  #53  
Old 08-19-2010, 09:46 PM
ohreally ohreally is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by iqvoice View Post
What exactly does Iran need to do before any of the libs on this board would agree that military action should be taken?
This is a very interesting question. To answer it fairly we must first settle a related question: What does the US need to do before we would agree that punitive action should be taken against the US? For example, would invading a country that has never threatened let alone attacked us be grounds for punitive action against the US? The Nuremberg trials declared this the worst possible offense among nations: in fact, Nazis were not executed for genocide but for aggressive war. So which way is it? If there is an argument why it's OK to attack Iran, then shouldn't the US be severely punished for its own ongoing aggression against Iraq? Or do we revert back to the old line that international laws apply to everyone but not to us?

Last edited by ohreally; 08-19-2010 at 09:49 PM..
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  #54  
Old 08-19-2010, 09:51 PM
Lyle
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

The U.S. should be punished for deposing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein? Oh really?
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  #55  
Old 08-19-2010, 10:01 PM
Alexandrite Alexandrite is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamandcheese View Post
I oppose an airstrike for two simple reasons: I believe Iran's nuclear program is for energy and defence, not aggression; and supposing we did bomb Iran, the geo-political domino effect that would cause is not just unknown, but unknowable. People who think its a good idea to do a strike are effectively asking us to jump into a dark unknown. That's irresponsible.
Quote:
Leela: "So after I specifically asked you not to touch anything, you drank a bottle of strange blue liquid? It could've been poisonous acid!"
Fry: "It could've been, but chances were equally good it was an emperor."
I really don't think either side can claim to have better futuresight on this one.

Doves: If we do nothing, things might stay the same, or they might get worse. But if they do get worse, that is an outcome we're prepared to live with.
Hawks: If we do something, things might get better, or they might stay the same, or they might get worse. But you've already ceded that you're willing to accept some level of probability for future bad outcomes if we do nothing, why aren't you willing to roll the die for a chance of a better outcome.

There is some unknown probability X, for which by doing nothing, bad outcomes emerge. There is some unknown probability Y that by bombing bad outcomes will occur. This is contrasted with some positive, not insignificant chance Z that a positive outcome comes from bombing.

You have a *hunch* that Z is small, and Y is really big compared to X, but you can't prove it.

The problem is that when faced with a strategic situation like this, unless you can provide more evidence that Y is super big, and X is super small, it is rational and valid to propose that you play like the one out you have is going to happen. You play to win, even if the chances are small. If Z is the only positive outcome of the scenario, you play like Z is going to happen.

This is a valid argument and very convincing in face of unknowns. Leverett in this case has a much higher burden of proof then he thinks he does. I know what I would argue here in his case, but he doesn't make the case. Gerecht even tried to preempt the argument (would you have supported bombing...), because he thought Leverett was going to make it, but Leverett doesn't.
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  #56  
Old 08-19-2010, 10:05 PM
Always Cynical Always Cynical is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

For a man who's so sure he is correct, Reuel Marc Gerecht sure does scream and yell a lot.

Does Gerecht always carry on like that?

Does Gerecht always talk over his debate adversary, particularly when he disagrees with that adversary?

Oh, and by the way, is the IT staff at bloggingheads always so incompetent, lazy, and unprofessional?
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  #57  
Old 08-19-2010, 10:18 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexandrite View Post
I really don't think either side can claim to have better futuresight on this one.

Doves: If we do nothing, things might stay the same, or they might get worse. But if they do get worse, that is an outcome we're prepared to live with.
Hawks: If we do something, things might get better, or they might stay the same, or they might get worse. But you've already ceded that you're willing to accept some level of probability for future bad outcomes if we do nothing, why aren't you willing to roll the die for a chance of a better outcome.

There is some unknown probability X, for which by doing nothing, bad outcomes emerge. There is some unknown probability Y that by bombing bad outcomes will occur. This is contrasted with some positive, not insignificant chance Z that a positive outcome comes from bombing.

You have a *hunch* that Z is small, and Y is really big compared to X, but you can't prove it.

The problem is that when faced with a strategic situation like this, unless you can provide more evidence that Y is super big, and X is super small, it is rational and valid to propose that you play like the one out you have is going to happen. You play to win, even if the chances are small. If Z is the only positive outcome of the scenario, you play like Z is going to happen.

This is a valid argument and very convincing in face of unknowns. Leverett in this case has a much higher burden of proof then he thinks he does. I know what I would argue here in his case, but he doesn't make the case. Gerecht even tried to preempt the argument (would you have supported bombing...), because he thought Leverett was going to make it, but Leverett doesn't.
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.)
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  #58  
Old 08-19-2010, 10:19 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Breaking news...

NYT banner:
Quote:
BREAKING NEWS9:09 PM ET
U.S. Tells Israel Iran’s Nuclear Threat Is Not Imminent
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  #59  
Old 08-19-2010, 10:20 PM
Fuquier Fuquier is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
The U.S. should be punished for deposing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein? Oh really?
How many lies would you tell and dead civilians allow to depose a dictator? As far as the Taliban is concerned, that was not even a war aim, so does not seem relevant.
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  #60  
Old 08-19-2010, 10:22 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Or do we revert back to the old line that international laws apply to everyone but not to us?
Revert? When was this not the case? Besides, Israel doesn't even make a pretense of complying with international law.
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  #61  
Old 08-19-2010, 10:24 PM
ohreally ohreally is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
The U.S. should be punished for deposing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein?
Yes, and also for having the CIA guide Saddam's troops in the placement of chemical weapons against Iranian infantry: a war crime. The US should be triply punished: 1. for an illegal invasion; 2. for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians; 3. for its material support of the murderous actions of Saddam's regime.

Also I take it from your argument that if the US one day falls into dictatorship you'll be praying for the Chinese to invade and kill a few million Americans to help restore our way of life.

Now, I must correct your egregious mistake. The US didn't depose the Taliban. The Taliban are slowly but surely "deposing" the US from the Pashtun south.
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  #62  
Old 08-19-2010, 11:15 PM
opposable_crumbs opposable_crumbs is offline
 
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Default Re: STOP THIS PROPAGANDA!!!!!

I found Reuel to be pretty shameless. After all he blasts Flynt for not championing the Green movement, despite the fact that so far Flynt's scepticism seems to have been borne out, but shows not the smallest hint of remorse or reflection on his own cheer leading for a war which has left thousands of Iraqis dead.

But sadly, tragically even, he and his fellow neocons are still part of the debate and as such I'm glad that his views, vapid and as hollow as they are, are put up here for scrutiny. There will be no shortage of news networks who will echo his talking points without such examination.
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  #63  
Old 08-19-2010, 11:52 PM
Alexandrite Alexandrite is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
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.)
Think of the decision trees being presented like this:
Don't Bomb Iran: No Outcome / Bad Outcome
Bomb Iran: Good Outcome / No Outcome / Bad Outcome

A critique of the hawks is that the Doves are willing to play a game with scenario of not bombing: You can have no outcome or bad outcome, and that's OK, but are unwilling to consider scenario B, which also has the possibility of neutral and bad outcomes, but ALSO is the only scenario in which you can 'win'. Given that all probability of all events is unknown you should only consider the events with possibilities of winning, even if that likelihood is small.

There is a flaw in the hawks judgement of this, but it's not addressed.
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  #64  
Old 08-20-2010, 04:16 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexandrite View Post
Think of the decision trees being presented like this:
Don't Bomb Iran: No Outcome / Bad Outcome
Bomb Iran: Good Outcome / No Outcome / Bad Outcome

A critique of the hawks is that the Doves are willing to play a game with scenario of not bombing: You can have no outcome or bad outcome, and that's OK, but are unwilling to consider scenario B, which also has the possibility of neutral and bad outcomes, but ALSO is the only scenario in which you can 'win'. Given that all probability of all events is unknown you should only consider the events with possibilities of winning, even if that likelihood is small.

There is a flaw in the hawks judgement of this, but it's not addressed.
The flaw is that in the bombing scenario the "bad outcome" could also turn out to be a "worse outcome"

Is the good outcome enough to outweigh the possibility of the worse outcome?

Hawks are more likely to think yes in a given case than a dove or so called realist (dove nick name).


Once that position is locked in due to the personal character of the person, the rest is spin. The hawk seeks to highlight and exaggerate the bad of the status quo, as well as the possibility of even worse scenarios of inaction.


The doves of course seek to damp the bad of the status quo, we saw a ton of that from Flynt here. They also seek to minimize the worse outcomes of inaction and in some cases argue that action in and of itself could only lead to worse action.


Neither take is a sterile analysis of the facts and probabilities. But for my part, I can't bring myself to be quite so cynical about better outcomes to ever be a card carrying dove like Flynt. And I hope I never get to such a nihilistic amoral view of the world and public policy.
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  #65  
Old 08-20-2010, 08:26 AM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
But what exactly does Flynt mean by American interests?
I would imagine probably one of them has to do with not getting into another expensive war on dubious grounds.
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  #66  
Old 08-20-2010, 08:39 AM
Lyle
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Actually deposing the Taliban was a war aim. Are you not aware of what took place in 2002 and why?

Propaganda to take down Saddam Hussein... not a bad use of propaganda. Not unlike kill the German and Jap propaganda of World War II that helped end the Holocaust. Yay to fibbing a little bit!!
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  #67  
Old 08-20-2010, 08:42 AM
Lyle
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

The U.S. did depose the Taliban. Is Mullah Omar still in control of the country?

How should the United States be punished? What should happen to us?

If the U.S. became a dictatorship... I'd be killing some people. If China was coming to help me out (like the France of old)... more power to them.

Last edited by Lyle; 08-20-2010 at 08:47 AM..
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  #68  
Old 08-20-2010, 08:48 AM
Ken Davis Ken Davis is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by harkin View Post
Wow - so much hate for Reuel.
Why use the term "hate" as a synonym for "disagreement", "criticism" or even "condemnation"? It's become a part of popular culture these days - "don't hate on me" - but it's lazy usage, and a buzz word in a political context.
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  #69  
Old 08-20-2010, 10:58 AM
Diane1976 Diane1976 is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

I'm quite sure the Navy didn't shoot down a civilian plane on purpose. Who knows why they did but they probably were full of beliefs and expectations about evil Iranians. However, I certainly wouldn't blame anybody for not buying the US government explanation or being disgusted by its response.

"When questioned in a 2000 BBC documentary, the US government stated in a written answer that they believed the incident may have been caused by a simultaneous psychological condition amongst the 18 bridge crew of the Vincennes called 'scenario fulfillment', which is said to occur when persons are under pressure. In such a situation, the men will carry out a training scenario, believing it to be reality while ignoring sensory information that contradicts the scenario. In the case of this incident, the scenario was an attack by a lone military aircraft."

The US government issued notes of regret for the loss of human lives and in 1996 paid reparations to settle a suit brought in the International Court of Justice regarding the incident. The United States government never admitted wrongdoing, nor apologized for the incident. In August 1988 Newsweek quoted the vice president George Bush as saying "I'll never apologize for the United States of America. Ever, I don't care what the facts are."
(Wikipedia)
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  #70  
Old 08-20-2010, 12:13 PM
ohreally ohreally is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
Actually deposing the Taliban was a war aim.
Yes it was (I never said otherwise) and it was not achieved. Just like controlling Iraq was the aim and the achievement was to hand it over to Iran.

Anyway, now we know that, after the Chinese invade and kill 4 million Americans, Lyle welcomes them and collaborates with them. At least we settled that.
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  #71  
Old 08-20-2010, 12:17 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
The flaw is that in the bombing scenario the "bad outcome" could also turn out to be a "worse outcome"

Is the good outcome enough to outweigh the possibility of the worse outcome?
That's one flaw. Another flaw (not the only additional one) is framing the question as if there are only two possibilities -- bomb and don't bomb -- with all else equal. There's also "do X," "do Y," and so on. Some of those things could be done as well as bombing, some not (or with a lower chance of them working). If something thinks there's a possibility for a good result due to doing some of these other things, bombing may preclude this possible good result.

It's really ridiculous to insist upon a binary view of the discussion, right down to classifying people as "hawks" or "doves" and insisting that what they think is entirely determined by that. For the vast majority of people (including, I am sure, Reuel and Flynt), whether they want to use force or not depends on the circumstances.

Quote:
Neither take is a sterile analysis of the facts and probabilities. But for my part, I can't bring myself to be quite so cynical about better outcomes to ever be a card carrying dove like Flynt. And I hope I never get to such a nihilistic amoral view of the world and public policy.
Insisting that looking at the facts and seeing the result from using force as not positive in a particular case does not make one amoral (I'm curious what you mean by this term, as you seem to be using it oddly -- systems are amoral, not sure what an amoral view would be in the sense it's being applied) or nihilistic.

You are trying to avoid the hard questions by putting these value judgments on them. Well, yeah, in hypothetical case X it appears that a war would lead to bad consequences. But there's a 1% chance it could miraculously lead to something good and, well, I'm a DOER who CARES. Even if this made sense -- which it does not -- it is not how anyone in the government looks at it or ever has, it does not explain our military engagements in any useful way, and thus is hardly makes sense as a way to define people as "hawks" or "doves." As for the idealistic point, perhaps what people arguing against military action in a particular case prefer is to look for some strategy other than immediately defaulting to military action by the US. That's perhaps idealistic (I think true pacifists -- which most of the people you are talking about aren't -- are idealists, not nihilists), but no more idealistic than your justification for military action.

Last edited by stephanie; 08-20-2010 at 12:21 PM.. Reason: typos
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  #72  
Old 08-20-2010, 09:59 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
There would need to be evidence of an actual imminent Iranian attack. Actually attempting to follow a doctrine of preventative war, in which the capacity to attack us or our allies is grounds for invasion, is ineffective and immoral.
Zeko:

You strike me as a pretty reasonable guy, although we probably disagree on about 80 percent of the topics that come up for discussion on this site. But your statement above strikes me as being in the "not reasonable" category.

Back a few years people who thought a war with Iran was imminent -- and an imminent disaster -- argued there was no evidence that Iran had a nuclear weapons program. Then some facts came out (e.g., Iran working on fabrication of uranium metal into spheres*, something which has no application)other than for use in a nuclear bomb, and secret, undeclared sites (see previous link) like the one at Qom. A lot of this info came not from the IAEA's sleuths, but from Iranian exile groups and defectors.

Now, I guess because the Iraq war was allegedly illegal, immoral and fattening, the goal posts have been pushed back. Now the only justification for a military strike would be an "imminent (nuclear?) attack." Iran gets a few nukes? Eh, no biggie. But if they tip their hand that they're gonna use 'em, boy, then there'll be serious repercussions! What, exactly, would constitute such a threat? I mean, would a missile known to be armed with a nuclear warhead have to be in the air? How would you obtain such evidence, apart from a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv, I mean?

I doubt that Iran's Arab neighbors, to say nothing of Israel, will be quite so sanguine. Just how far do you think this whole regional arms race should be allowed to run?

*Isfahan Conversion Facility
This facility is capable of converting uranium yellow cake into uranium hexafloride (UF6), uranium dioxide (UO2), and uranium metal. UF6 from this plant will presumably be shipped to Natanz for enrichment. According to press reports, this facility became operational in late February. The June 18th resolution adopted by the IAEA Board of governors called on Iran to freeze the conversion of uranium in Esfahan.

Source: "Iran's Programs to Produce Plutonium and Enriched Uranium" Carnegie Fact Sheet, Revati Prasad and Jill Marie Parillo, Updated February 2006
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:49 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

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Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Zeko:

You strike me as a pretty reasonable guy, although we probably disagree on about 80 percent of the topics that come up for discussion on this site. But your statement above strikes me as being in the "not reasonable" category.
Why think you. I'd say the same of you, and add that I disagree completely about the reasonableness of my statement.

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Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Back a few years people who thought a war with Iran was imminent -- and an imminent disaster -- argued there was no evidence that Iran had a nuclear weapons program. Then some facts came out (e.g., Iran working on fabrication of uranium metal into spheres*, something which has no application)other than for use in a nuclear bomb, and secret, undeclared sites (see previous link) like the one at Qom. A lot of this info came not from the IAEA's sleuths, but from Iranian exile groups and defectors.
OK. Well I think it's basically certain that Iran's nuclear development is aimed at, if not producing a bomb, then at least producing break-out capacity to build a bomb on short notice. Now can you explain to me how this relates to the morality of preventative war?

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Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Now, I guess because the Iraq war was allegedly illegal, immoral and fattening, the goal posts have been pushed back. Now the only justification for a military strike would be an "imminent (nuclear?) attack." Iran gets a few nukes? Eh, no biggie. But if they tip their hand that they're gonna use 'em, boy, then there'll be serious repercussions! What, exactly, would constitute such a threat? I mean, would a missile known to be armed with a nuclear warhead have to be in the air? How would you obtain such evidence, apart from a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv, I mean?
You're discussing an Iranian bomb as if there's no historical precedent for dealing with unfriendly countries armed with nuclear weapons. Neither China nor Russia ever nuked us, although we had decades of extremely poor relations and plenty of irrationality about the absurd idea of "winning" a nuclear exchange on both sides. Similarly , Pakistan and India have each refrained from blowing each other up, because recognizing the logic of nuclear deterrence is basically the bare minimum of rationality in statecraft. Even totalitarian states led by madmen haven't pulled the trigger. Why should Iran be any different?

As far as I can tell, your logic here suggests that it would have been morally appropriate for the United States to invade the Soviet Union in 1946 in order to prevent them from getting the bomb. Whether you agree that such action would be morally appropriate or not, I think this particular argument illustrates the three conceptual mistakes one has to make in order to support preventative military action here. First, one has to greatly exaggerate the prospect of Iran actually using a nuclear weapon, so that the only scenario worse than the likely fallout of a war with Iran is being discussed as if it is the probably consequence of failing to bomb. Second, one has to assume that military action will be successful, something that is far from clear, if it's even possible. Third, one has to discount the human consequences of even a successful military strike, or at least discount it.

I should add that I didn't say "an immanent Iranian nuclear attack," just an immanent attack. If Iran were, say, lobbing conventional cruise missiles at Israel, or if we had some sort of reasonable evidence that they were about to, the United States or Israel would be perfectly justified in attempting to stop them with military force.
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  #74  
Old 08-20-2010, 10:55 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

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I doubt that Iran's Arab neighbors, to say nothing of Israel, will be quite so sanguine. Just how far do you think this whole regional arms race should be allowed to run?
You're sounding as if the only way to prevent nuclear war is to wage war. Almost everyone else in the world, however, thinks the way to prevent nuclear war is to wage nuclear peace. That basically means what Obama has said (but not done): downsize nukes immediately, get all nations to comply with the NPT and eventually (sooner rather than later) abolish all nuclear weapons. Iran should not have nukes, and neither should anyone else.

Everyone needs to stand down together. There are many steps on the road to nuclear disarmament, but the way NOT TO do it is for the big nuclear global and regional bullies to impose their will on everyone else. Let Israel come clean about its nukes and join the NPT. Let India and Pakistan do the same.

It strikes me as crazy to expect an Iranian to believe that Israel should have 200 nukes and they should have none. It strikes me as crazy to expect Iranians to suffer severe sanctions for simply pursuing a nuke program, while Israel, a rogue nuclear state, is accountable to no one.

What IS reasonable is for Iran to say, "This is a global problem. If we renounce nukes and take them off our menu, what nukes come off your menu and Israel's?"

That's the type of negotiation we should be pursuing. Instead, we are letting Israel call the shots. One dumb Israeli decision and we get dragged into a major war. And trust me, the Netanyahu government is quite capable of many stupid decisions.
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  #75  
Old 08-21-2010, 12:09 AM
Whatfur
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Default Re: Reuel Rocks!!

Been saving this one. Worth it.

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Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
This was the best diavlog in a long while (maybe since Wright v. Hitchens)... a very meaty disagreement at the Chateaubriand level. Wish there was more of this on bh.tv.
Hear him! Hear him!

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Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
Gerecht got the better of Leverett, I think. Leverett's argument is largely unacceptable today... that Iran is not, or has no intention of, building nuclear weaponry. His defense of the thug regime puts himself alongside the likes of David Duke.
I want to say that Gerecht might do himself better if he dialed it back a bit, however he certainly does not have to do it on my account. His passion adds to his believability. Gerecht knows where he stands and there is no hesitation in his expressing that stance...nor apology...nor eyes to the ceiling word choice to make sure there is room for walk back.

Leverett should actually be a diplomat for the current Iranian regime or at least I can hear them parrotting the same points that dominate his "stance". Leverett also apologizes for nothing but he is very careful in his limb selection...matter of fact his tree was pretty much a pool cue. Even when pushed on his Green movement stance he shied away here...I assume he was not as shy about them elsewhere.

I would like to see both of these guys again...however, not together.

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Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
(Censor Brenda removed a photograph of David Duke and Ahmadinejad... bh.tv hate photos of David Duke and Ahmadinejad at the "Holocaust didn't happen" conference... yay bh.tv!!!)
As for the censorship...in their general direction:
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  #76  
Old 08-21-2010, 12:19 AM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Well I think it's basically certain that Iran's nuclear development is aimed at, if not producing a bomb, then at least producing break-out capacity to build a bomb on short notice. Now can you explain to me how this relates to the morality of preventative war?
I should say first that I'm not sold on the idea that a strike against Iran's known nuclear facilities would stop them from getting a bomb. Much ink has been spilled on the question of whether sites as widely dispersed and presumably well fortified as Iran's could really be put out of commission purely through air strikes. And though I'm no better informed on military tactics than the average newspaper reader/History Channel viewer, you can count me among the skeptics. A ground campaign, given the U.S. difficulties elsewhere, seems unlikely--to put it mildly.

I do think, however, that a sustained bombing campaign would, if nothing else, underscore to the Iranians the high cost of pursuing nukes, and would raise those costs significantly. Presumably, that's what military planners are thinking when they talk about air strikes.

As for whether it is worth the moral cost, in terms of civilian casualties, etc., that is a question inherent in all military actions, and one that we should not take lightly, as I argued here.

Quote:
You're discussing an Iranian bomb as if there's no historical precedent for dealing with unfriendly countries armed with nuclear weapons. Neither China nor Russia ever nuked us, although we had decades of extremely poor relations and plenty of irrationality about the absurd idea of "winning" a nuclear exchange on both sides. Similarly , Pakistan and India have each refrained from blowing each other up, because recognizing the logic of nuclear deterrence is basically the bare minimum of rationality in statecraft. Even totalitarian states led by madmen haven't pulled the trigger. Why should Iran be any different?
I will concede that we've never had a nuclear exchange with a nuclear weapons state. Does that count as a concession? It is also true that India and Pakistan have not nuked each other, at least so far. And that's unquestionably a Good Thing.

But look where the logic of this leads: If Iran is only pursuing a nuclear insurance policy against U.S. or Israeli aggression, as some of its apologists seem to believe, what's to stop others from making the same calculation? The Arab states will want their own nuclear insurance policy, as will the Turks, which will raise the stakes for the Greeks...

Are you seriously prepared to play MAD games with, say, 10 or 15 states in the region, not all of which can be described as stable? Let's leave the shredded NPT aside for the moment and ask ourselves how safe such a world would be. Pakistan and India, China, Russia, and the guys on our side--France and Britain--as well as the U.S. itself, whatever else one may fault them for, are status quo powers; they benefit from a stable world order and don't have any conceivable interest in starting a nuclear war. I would say Israel fits into this group too. Iran? Maybe not.

In any event, I don't think the Israelis can reasonably be asked to live with a nuclear armed neighbor possessed of a revolutionary credo and a leadership that has (Mr. Leverett's disingenuous talk of the subtleties of the passive voice notwithstanding) called repeatedly for its destruction.

Quote:
As far as I can tell, your logic here suggests that it would have been morally appropriate for the United States to invade the Soviet Union in 1946 in order to prevent them from getting the bomb. Whether you agree that such action would be morally appropriate or not, I think this particular argument illustrates the three conceptual mistakes one has to make in order to support preventative military action here. First, one has to greatly exaggerate the prospect of Iran actually using a nuclear weapon, so that the only scenario worse than the likely fallout of a war with Iran is being discussed as if it is the probably consequence of failing to bomb. Second, one has to assume that military action will be successful, something that is far from clear, if it's even possible. Third, one has to discount the human consequences of even a successful military strike, or at least discount it.
The Soviets got their nuke, as they were bound to eventually. After having just exhausted ourselves defeating the Nazis and Japan, to suddenly turn upon our "allies" would have been correctly viewed as treachery--even though Stalin did something similar with the Nazis in the '30s, presumably we didn't want to lower ourselves to his level.

The first "conceptual mistake" you refer to, I tried to answer above. If no country in possession of nukes is ever likely to use them, then why not have the IAEA pass out, say, 10 warheads to every country on the planet? It might stop wars from ever happening. Of course, even this nuclear deterrence doctrine run amok discounts the possibility of wars started by mistake, rogue generals, terrorist groups, etc.

I've already conceded your second and third points. It seems to me there's considerable room to ratchet up sanctions further in the interim--banning imports of refined petroleum into Iran, for example, and see if that gets them to play ball. The Israelis, however, may have a different strategic calculus. Those who want to prevent a conflict should focus their efforts, not on condemning Israel's "nuclear hypocrisy" or wailing about Neocons and their nefarious war-mongering plots, but instead try to persuade the Iranian leadership that it is playing with nuclear fire.

Quote:
I should add that I didn't say "an immanent Iranian nuclear attack," just an immanent attack. If Iran were, say, lobbing conventional cruise missiles at Israel, or if we had some sort of reasonable evidence that they were about to, the United States or Israel would be perfectly justified in attempting to stop them with military force.
Fair enough. That's why I put the question mark after "nuclear."

In the end, the best and perhaps only long-term solution is for us to support political reform and hope the regime abandons its program on its own. Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa are all examples of former authoritarian states that gave up their weapons programs. But the good professor tells us this hope is "an illusion."

Let's hope he's as wrong about that as he is about Iran's apparent nuclear intentions.
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Last edited by rfrobison; 08-21-2010 at 11:02 AM.. Reason: punctuation; whom>>which
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  #77  
Old 08-21-2010, 01:11 PM
hamandcheese hamandcheese is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

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Originally Posted by brucds View Post
Why not just let Gerecht himself destroy his credibility:

http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraq-20010514.htm
The key quotation is here:

"[Saddam] has unceasingly sought weapons of mass destruction, and will in all likelihood have a nuclear bomb within a few years."

Replace Saddam with Khamenei and nothings different. Indeed, it reads exactly as his Iran piece for the WS. Gerecht's crystal ball isn't just opacic. It's reflective.
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Old 08-21-2010, 01:59 PM
Whatfur
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

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Originally Posted by hamandcheese View Post
The key quotation is here:

"[Saddam] has unceasingly sought weapons of mass destruction, and will in all likelihood have a nuclear bomb within a few years."

Replace Saddam with Khamenei and nothings different. Indeed, it reads exactly as his Iran piece for the WS. Gerecht's crystal ball isn't just opacic. It's reflective.
Oh come on Mr. Sandwich...So you do not think Saddam "sought" WMDs? Or is it Gerecht's repeating the same quote heard uttered by Clinton, and democratic leaders around the same time, the thing that cuts your crusts? But I guess if simplistic parallels are all you got...

[added] and not to go Okeefe on you but I think the word you are searching for is opaque.

Last edited by Whatfur; 08-21-2010 at 02:43 PM..
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Old 08-21-2010, 04:57 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

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Oh come on Mr. Sandwich...So you do not think Saddam "sought" WMDs?
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.
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:54 PM
hamandcheese hamandcheese is offline
 
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Default Re: Bomb Iran? (Flynt Leverett & Reuel Gerecht)

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Originally Posted by Whatfur View Post
Oh come on Mr. Sandwich...So you do not think Saddam "sought" WMDs? Or is it Gerecht's repeating the same quote heard uttered by Clinton, and democratic leaders around the same time, the thing that cuts your crusts? But I guess if simplistic parallels are all you got...

[added] and not to go Okeefe on you but I think the word you are searching for is opaque.
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.
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