Friday, July 06, 2007

The Objectivist Plan to Defeat Islamic Terrorism

The article by John Lewis outlining the Objectivist plan to defeat Islamic Terrorism linked in Daniel Barnes' post below provides such a superb example of what is wrong with Objectivism that I can't refrain from commenting on it. By attempting to view the world through the prism of Rand's philosophy, Objectivists are unable to appreciate and grasp the complicated web of critical factors making up a given situation.

Not surprisingly, the first thing Objectivists get wrong is human nature. Lewis begins his screed by paraphrasing Thucydides: "Even though circumstances may change, human nature remains the same; and certain human elements—especially moral and psychological factors—are at the root of all wars." Lewis is here off to an auspicious start, much better than one would expect. Thucydides was a very wise man who understood human nature and, for that reason, grasped the motive forces of history. But Lewis immediately distances himself from Thucydides' wisdom by adding: " We can disagree with Thucydides about the identity of those factors, and reject his pessimistic view of human nature..." The question, however, is not whether Thucydides' view of human nature is pessimistic, but whether it is right. And if the course of human history is anything to judge by, Thucydides is in fact right. That is why he is still read nearly two and half millenia after his death.

Cut loose from the most important knowledge of all (i.e., knowledge of human nature), Lewis can proceed to advance his utterly clueless views about foreign policy:
History is clear [writes Lewis]: All-out force against fanatical killers is both practical and moral. It led us to our two most important foreign policy successes—the defeats of Germany and Japan in 1945—and to the permanent peace with those nations that we take for granted today. Such a course was practical and moral then, and it is practical and moral now—an affirmation, and a defense, of life and civilization.
This is an example of foreign policy dictated by ideology. James Burnham defined ideology as “a more or less systematic and self-contained set of ideas supposedly dealing with the nature of reality (usually social reality), or some segment of reality, and of man’s relation (attitude, conduct) toward it; and calling for a commitment independent of specific experience or events.” That, in a word, is what is wrong with Lewis' analysis: it insists that we follow strict, inflexible principles regardless of the specific situation at hand. If we do a little simple analysis, applying intelligence and good judgment to the predicament faced by the United States and the West, we will quickly discover how absurd and misguided Lewis really is. Lewis wants us to give the Islamic world, particularly Iran, an "ultimatum" demanding "unconditional surrender." "When the enemy balks at the ultimatum," he counsels, "atomic bombs are dropped on his cities." Now let us consider what would happen if the U.S. attempted to follow this policy. In the first place, a nuclear attack on Iran would so horrify the rest of the world that the United States would find itself entirely isolated. We would almost certainly lose all our European allies, including Great Britain, and, even more critically, we would lose access to the oil in the Middle East. The social turmoil in the Islamic world caused by a nuclear strike against fellow muslims would force the leadership in Saudia Arabia and other oil producing countries to boycott the U.S. And even if (per impossible) no boycott occurred, the oil infrastructure in the Middle East is so fragile that even a nuked Iran could knock it out, especially given all the support they would get from muslim sympathizers in oil producing countries. Lewis, guided only by his simple-minded ideology, is under the illusion that the President Bush refuses to attack Iran because he is a pragmatic altruistic. This is nonsense. The United States has not attacked Iran for the simple reason that such an attack would pose a serious threat to the oil supply from the gulf. If that supply is cut off, the United State's economy -- indeed, the entire global economy -- would experience a serious downturn that could have catastrophic social and political consequences in the West. The turmoil here in America could be so dramatic that the government, just to get by, might very well have to declare martial law.

Lewis has absolutely no appreciation for how complicated the real world situation actually is, nor does he have a clue how many factors are involved in judging what would happen if the U.S. pursued the policies he and his Objectivist cohorts advocate. To take just one example, has he or anyone at the Ayn Rand Institute kept eye on the financial situation in the world? Does anyone there understand the extent to which banks in the United States, prompted by the Federal Reserve and an irresponsibly deregulated banking system, have extended credit and expanded the U.S. money supply? It's not clear that it would take much to bring the entire economy down, with our over-leveraged asset and real estate markets, and mountainous piles of debt ubiquitous throughout the whole system. There are very compelling reasons explaining why the U.S. has not bombed Iran. It is not currently a viable option. In the real world of fact, rather than the imaginary world of Objectivist ideology, there are oftentimes no easy solutions. Not all problems are soluble, even if we apply Objectivist "reason" to them. Life is tough. To try to evade this by describing it as "pessimistic" or the "malevolent universe principle" is merely to place one's head firmly in the sand. But, as Thomas Carlyle reminds us, "No Ostrich, intent on gross terrene provender, and sticking its head into Fallacies, but will be awakened one day,--and in a terrible a posteriori manner, if not otherwise!"

Ideology is almost always about evading hard facts. Part of the appeal of Objectivism is that it provides an over-simplified view of the world that explains all the ills of mankind as due to a failure to follow "reason," which in concrete terms means: a failure to follow Ayn Rand, a woman with no particular expertise or insight into human nature or the human condition and whom von Mises once described, so exasperated was he by her intransigent bullying nonsense, as a "silly little Jewish girl."

59 comments:

Neil Parille said...

Incidentally, Lewis replied to some "criticims" of his article here --

http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2007-spring/letters-replies.asp

Mark Plus said...

Apparently Lewis also doesn't realize that the radicals in Muslim nations have specific political grievances against the U.S. based on this couuntry's foreign policy over the past 60 years, a point articulated by fringe presidential candidate Ron Paul.

And he has no sense of the role of China in backing especially Iran. Iran and China both have ancient civilizations with a long history of trade and diplomatic relations over the Silk Road, despite not having a common border, so it makes sense that they would partner up in response to the perceived common enemy in the U.S. China needs Iran's oil, and Iran imports weapons and other manufactured goods from China. So an attack on Iran could possibly lead to some serious retaliations by China, a much stronger country with nuclear weapons that the U.S. can't bully.

gregnyquist said...

Neil: "Incidentally, Lewis replied to some "criticims" of his article here --

http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2007-spring/letters-replies.asp"

Very interesting link. There's a quote in there that sums up precisely why I find it so very difficult to take Professor Lewis seriously. He writes:
"Recognizing that the Soviet Union was in the same category as Nazi Germany [i.e., a dictatorship], I would have encouraged the Soviets and Nazis to kill each other—after which we could have moved in over the ashes." This is the way ignorant people view foreign policy: as a playpen for their wishes. Objectivists talk about accepting reality, and even make some indignant noise about the futility of evasion, but they haven't a clue what it means to accept reality. It is extremely unlikely that Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany would, by fighting each other, destroy each other. One would almost certainly triumph over the other. If Soviet Russia triumphed over Nazi Germany, Stalin would have wound up controlling all of the European mainland, right to the shores of the Atlantic. If Hitler had won, he would have had access to all the resources, including the critical oil resources of Soviet Russia and the Middle East. Nazi Germany would have become a very formidable power, and it's not clear that the U.S. and England could have done anything about it at that point.

gregnyquist said...

Mark wrote: "And he has no sense of the role of China in backing especially Iran."

Yes, excellent point. Nor does he have any sense of the role of Russia! After all, it was Putin who warned the West that there would be serious consequences, including possible military intervention by Russia itself, if the U.S. bombed Iran. Russia seeks to disrupt oil supplies in the Middle East to increase price of oil (which will great improve their economic situation) and to cripple the U.S. economy (which will allow Russia to leapfrog the U.S. and become the world's leading power). Do we really want the former head of the KGB to become the most powerful man in the world?

Jay said...

I'm not sure I agree with nuking Iran, but I completely support an all-out invasion and overthrow of their government. We haven't applied the "inflexible principles" and "simple-mindedness" you scorn for the last fifty years. So where is the peace and harmony that common sense was supposed to bring?

Principles are exactly what we need hear. There's never going to come a day where the world wakes up to a sane, rational person in control of Iran. The nuttiness and danger of their regime is characteristic of the people running it and the beliefs they profess. If we don't act on principle, then what? More of what lead us to this?

Einstein had a saying about that, and he was no Objectivist.

Daniel Barnes said...

Jay:
>I'm not sure I agree with nuking Iran, but I completely support an all-out invasion and overthrow of their government.

Using what army? And if the US Army wasn't already fully deployed - almost to breaking point - in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we could magic up a force large enough to seize and hold Iran, what would be the likely consequences of doing so? Have you thought it any further through than whether you support it or not?

I fully support free beer, but that doesn't mean I'm going to get any...;-)

Jay said...

I've definitely thought it out further than my supporting it. That's why I said I support it and not "OMFG, I can't believe we're not there already LOL!!!!111one"

I do however agree with Lewis (and the Objectivist "party line") that Bush, out of cowardice, picked a weak, secular regime with minimal ties to terrorism.

I think Iran should've been the target from the start.

Daniel Barnes said...

Jay:
>I think Iran should've been the target from the start.

Ok. How do you respond to Greg's outlining of some of the unintended consequences of, say, a nuclear attack on Iran then?

Jay said...

I think Greg's comments are generally well-founded, especially how it would cut us off from access to oil. That's why I don't really advocate a nuclear strike.

What I do know is that we should have gone in there and cleaned house after 9/11. Look at Iraq. Even with a bumbling, incompetent leader and a half-hearted effort, we did in weeks what Iran could not do for 12 years: topple Saddam. With a full-fledged effort and certainty in our case we could've pacified Iran with minimal casualties and time/money invested.

Daniel Barnes said...

Jay:
>With a full-fledged effort and certainty in our case we could've pacified Iran with minimal casualties and time/money invested.

Undoubtedly (although the comparison is somewhat unfair, as in this case Iraq had already been defeated once over Kuwait and was under heavy international sanction. Had Iran, under no such restraints, decided to take it on in such conditions it could well have won a victory too.)

At any rate, however, I doubt the situation would differ much from the nuclear option. America would still have acted alone, and with nothing like a "smoking gun" connecting Iran to 9/11, and no evidence of a nuclear arms program at that point, the act would simply appear to the Arab world - and much of the rest - a pretext for an oil grab. (After all, most of the terrorists in 9/11 were Saudis. Why hit Iran?)

In fact I think most of the consequences would be the same. Further, there is little to suggest that the situation on the ground would be any better than in Iraq right now even if John Galt himself was US president. Terrorism expert Louise Richardson* makes the crystal clear point that the basic problem in Iraq is that the American storyline - "we invaded Iraq to protect New York" is frankly incredible to most Iraqis. The Arab street storyline - that the US is on an anti-Muslim crusade to establish a permanent military presence and steal their assets - is far more believable. Hence it is almost impossible to control unrest in the population long term. There is nothing to suggest Iran would be any different - if anything, its way worse.

Look at the basic math:
Iraq population:26m
Iran population:70-ishm

And we haven't even asked how the will Russians react? And the Chinese? They'll be reading it as a clear strategic resource maneuvre too and will be working over time both upfront and behind the scenes to make sure it comes apart ASAP.

Such a move, far from being a neat beheading of a nasty problem, could easily trigger a mega-crisis instead.

Consider your own argument in reverse: if they can't hold a smaller and weaker opponent after an easy victory, what chance a far larger one in a far more difficult situation?

*I've got quite an interesting review of Richardson's book if you'd like to have a read. I don't want to publish it all due to fair use. Send me an email at estigon2001youknowthesymbolyahoo.co.nz if you want a copy.

Daniel Barnes said...

FYI, here's a key graf or two:
The reviewer quotes Richardson:

'"Americans opted to accept al-Qaeda's language of cosmic warfare at face value and respond accordingly, rather than respond to al-Qaeda based on an objective assessment of its resources and capabilities."

In essence, America's actions radically upgraded Osama bin Laden's organization from a ragtag network of plotters to a great enemy worthy of a superpower's undivided attention. Even as it successfully shattered the group's core through the invasion of Afghanistan, America empowered al-Qaeda politically by its loud triumphalism, whose very excess encouraged others to try the same terror tactics....'

The way to lose this struggle is to turn it into a cosmic mission between Good and Evil, rather than a set of practical problems to be solved by logic, experience, shrewd judgements about human nature, hard work - and a little luck.

Jay said...

I was always more of a Hank Rearden fan anyway. Galt seemed like a very stiff, wooden character, and I thought Francisco deserved to wind up with Dagny.

But I guess that's off topic ;)

One thing worth mentioning about Iran is the presence of a growing unrest and resistance among their citizens. I think that would have been a major advantage to us.

Daniel Barnes said...

Jay:
>One thing worth mentioning about Iran is the presence of a growing unrest and resistance among their citizens. I think that would have been a major advantage to us.

Gotta agree with that. However, as collateral damage and unintended consequence is likely to be large in such an operation, it's highly likely ot turn them against us. Veteran war journalist Chris Hedges, in his excellent book "War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning"
(http://www.amazon.com/War-Force-that-Gives-Meaning/dp/1400034639) shows how outside attack unites the population even around stupid and previously widely unpopular regimes. For example the Junta in Argentina were widely despised before the Falklands Wars. The minute Britain confronted them, the regime was suddenly vastly popular. So again: not as simple as it seems.

Daniel Barnes said...

Richardson:
"In essence, America's actions radically upgraded Osama bin Laden's organization from a ragtag network of plotters to a great enemy worthy of a superpower's undivided attention."

In Objectivist terms, basically America should have pulled a Howard Roark-to-Elsworth Toohey line: "But I don't think of you." On the surface at least....;-)

Stephen said...

I'm so sick of hearing about how we're alienating the world every time America tries to protect our interests. G-damn, I mean look at the Iraq war.. supposedly we alienated the whole world, but did you see Sarkozys speech the other day to the US Congress?! What about Angela Merkel? These (what the press is calling lap-dogs for Bush) were elected during the Iraq war, and now fully back the US and will back us against Iran as well.

You altruists are the Nevel Chamberlains of the world and throughout modernity tried to destroy the tenants the US was founded on.

How can a country make proper decisions about it's security based on what our COMPETITORS think about us?

Ditch this noise.

Stephen
24
Los Angeles

libuse1564 said...

"How can a country make proper decisions about it's security based on what our COMPETITORS think about us?"

That's a straw man if I ever saw one. The post states that attacking Iran might cause the rest of the Middle East plus China and Russia to turn against us.

As gregnyquist noted in one of the comments, attacking Iran might result in two things, 1) China backing Iran and giving them nuclear weapons or 2) Russia intervening on Iran's behalf, as a way to improve their own economy and reclaim their superpower status.
That's a little bit more at risk than simple "hurt feelings."

You noted, of course, that France and Germany might back us, but I'm skeptical as to how much they can actually do. Russia has the greatest amount of mineral and energy resources; China is the second largest exporter in the world. Do Germany and France rank anywhere near that?

Citizen Warrior said...

"Ideology is almost always about evading hard facts."

I like that.

Citizen Warrior said...

Mark Plus said, "Apparently Lewis also doesn't realize that the radicals in Muslim nations have specific political grievances against the U.S. based on this couuntry's foreign policy over the past 60 years."

Apparently Mark Plus doesn't realize Muslims have had specific religious grievances against non-Muslims who were not subjugated by Shari'a law over the past 1400 years.

It doesn't matter what their grievances are now. They operate on the same principle of pretext that their Prophet used.

The main goal of Islam is to make the whole world submit to the law of Allah (Shari'a). I'm not making this up. This is the PRIMARY OBJECTIVE articulated in the Qur'an and toward which all devout Muslims must work.

However, it is forbidden in Islam to be the aggressor.

This rule seems like it might effectively stop Islam from taking over governments by force. But Mohammad found a way to aggressively take over countries and establish Islamic political dominance by using another rule from the Qur'an: A Muslim must always defend Islam.

So Mohammad provoked his enemies until they responded. Then he used that response as a pretext for hostilities.

And they're still doing it today.

The U.S. could pull out of the Middle East entirely, change their foreign policies, and so on, and what do you think would happen? Muslims would live out their contented lives in the Middle East? They CAN'T. They are not allowed to. Allah has told them they must STRIVE (the meaning of jihad) to fulfill Allah's goal of making the whole world Islamic.

Allah even says (in the Qur'an), basically, "I know it's hard. I know you have other things you'd rather do, but if you want to live for eternity in Paradise, and if you don't want to burn in a torturous hell forever, you must continue to strive for Islamic world dominance until the day you die."

Citizen Warrior said...

I agree with the author of the article that dropping nuclear bombs on Iran would be stupid.

But military force against Iran would not be stupid, and if it makes the U.S. "unpopular" around the world, or if Muslims around the world might try to do something bad to us, that is not a good enough reason not to do it.

That would be the same as avoiding war because the Europeans won't like us or the Muslims have threatened us. Is that really what you want our foreign policy to be based on?

The danger of losing oil from the Middle East might be a consideration. But I think if the U.S. was very firm with Iran, and if Iran just would not cooperate, and had plenty of warning, and the U.S. invaded, I don't think it would necessarily cut off all our oil. Maybe not even most. As far as I know, we're not buying any oil from Iran anyway. I don't think Saudi Arabia is very friendly with Iran and we get most of our Middle East oil from Saudi Arabia, and besides, the U.S. doesn't get most of its oil from the Middle East!

An important consideration might be that Russia and China buy oil from Iran.

But it wouldn't be wise in the long run to completely write off military force against Iran even so. They are actively killing our troops in Iraq. That is a declaration of war. What do you propose to do about it? Nothing? Have talks? Those talks will mean nothing to Iran unless the U.S. is willing to back up its demands with military force.

As Lee Harris has written, "In a world full of bluffers, the ruthless will rule."

gregnyquist said...

Citizen Warrior: "But military force against Iran would not be stupid, and if it makes the U.S. 'unpopular' around the world, or if Muslims around the world might try to do something bad to us, that is not a good enough reason not to do it."

It's not primarily an issue of unpopularity (although that's issue that can't be dismissed out of hand). It's an issue of: are forces are spread too thin to pull it off. We already involved in two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan); we don't have the forces to involve ourselves on a 3rd front, particularly when it would put our oil (and hence our economy, already on the verge of collapse because of the credit crisis) at risk. What is worse, Russia has said they will use military force against anyone who goes after Iran. Anyone up for a nuclear war against Russia? In other words, it's just not a realistic option at the present time.

Citizen Warrior said...

Gregnyquist, so in other words, we cannot defend Americans being attacked by a country because of fear of retaliation by another country. The United States should be intimidated by Russia? I don't think so.

Damien said...

Citizen Warrior,

I have to agree with you, America can't just ignore the plight of Americans to avoid war if said nation is attacking Americans.

Damien said...

Greg,

Wasn't it Nicoli Machiavelli who said that "there's no avoiding war, it can only be delayed to the advantage of other?" You named one of your webpages after him? You called it the the Machiavel Review. Its where I first came across what you had written. Of course you don't have to agree with the statement, regardless of who said it, but if a nation is attacking American soldiers, doesn't that make that nation America's enemy? Should we tolerate such behavior?

Citizen Warrior said...

Yes, should we tolerate such behavior because we're afraid of the threats of Russia? Hell no. Keep that up and everyone will be trying to intimidate us. In a world full of bluffers, the ruthless will rule, as Lee Harris says.

gregnyquist said...

Damien: "Wasn't it Nicoli Machiavelli who said that 'there's no avoiding war, it can only be delayed to the advantage of other?'"

Yes, he did say that; but keep in mind, his statement is a rather loose generalization applying to a small Italian city state. It does not apply to a global power already involved into two major conflicts as well as many behind the scenes proxy fights. To repeat what I wrote earlier: we are not position to go to war with Iran. We're spread too thin as it is. Nor is it clear that an overt attack against Iran would in fact be the best strategy at the present moment. In fact, Iran can do far more harm to us if we attack them then if we take no major action against them for the time being.

Damien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gregnyquist said...

Citizen Warrior: "should we tolerate such behavior because we're afraid of the threats of Russia? Hell no. Keep that up and everyone will be trying to intimidate us. In a world full of bluffers, the ruthless will rule."

This is a complete misreading of what's going on. Russia has not only made explicit military threats against anyone who would attack Iran, it has provided Iran with sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles and is assisting them in their nuclear program. So what should this tell us? That it's Russia, not Iran that's the problem.

Why would Russia make explicit military threats against anyone who might attack Iran? If you think they're just bluffing, then you haven't looked deeply into the situation. The fact is, it is in Russia's interest for Iran to be attacked? Why? Because such an attack would endanger the gulf oil supplies, which would drive up price of oil up and greatly benefit Russia, which is a major oil producer. So, if it's in Russia's interest for Iran to be attacked, why are they are making these threats? The only plausible explanation is they are making the threats so that Iran will feel emboldened to engage in behavior that will incite an attack from either America or Israel. Russia is manipulating Iran into fighting a proxy war with the West, so that Russia can regain superpower status without exposing itself to a direct confrontation with America. So what's the lesson to be drawn from this? Simply this: that Russia is the main enemy, not Iran. And that by explicitly attacking Iran, we would merely be falling into a trap set by Russia.

I say "explicitly" attacking Iran, because of course we are engaged in military action against Iran. We're not letting them simply get away with killing Americans without repercussions. But all that's done behind the scenes, under the pretense that nothing is being done at all—which is exactly as it should be. The threats facing America are extremely complex and have to be dealt with a great deal of subtlety and finesse.

Citizen Warrior said...

Gregnyquist:

You asked, "Why would Russia make explicit military threats against anyone who might attack Iran?"

Simple: They buy oil from Iran.

You said, "If you think they're just bluffing, then you haven't looked deeply into the situation."

I wasn't saying THEY are bluffing. I'm saying if we do nothing, the ruthless will rule. If we bluff, the ruthless will rule. The only way to prevent the ruthless from ruling is to exert more power than the ruthless, not in bluffing but in reality.

I understand the situation is complex. But the only thing that has ever worked in any dealings with an Islamic power or with Russia is an undeniable exertion of force.

You say we're stretched too thin. Bullshit. We have far more resources and manpower we can employ than we are now employing. This is not a small population with meager resources. We are barely scratching the surface of what we can do.

Damien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Damien said...

Greg,

What about the Issue of Iran developing nuclear weapons?

Damien said...

Greg,

Here's a rather chilling article from FrontPage Magazine dealing with the danger of a nuclear Iran. I'm afraid that at some point Iran might attack Israel or the west with Nukes. If they don't do it openly, they may give nuclear weapons to terrorists that could carry out a nuclear 9/11. Do you think there is a way to stop this without invading Iran?

gregnyquist said...

Damien: "I'm afraid that at some point Iran might attack Israel or the west with Nukes. If they don't do it openly, they may give nuclear weapons to terrorists that could carry out a nuclear 9/11."

My understanding is that Bush has already decided not to attack Iran (i.e. bomb nuke targets). Israel, on the other hand, is planning on bombing Iran before the end of the year. It's probably better that way, since there's less of a chance of a world war if Israel bombs Iran rather than the U.S.

As for the threat of Iran giving nukes to Islamic terrorists—it's not possible. The kind of nuclear weapons that Iran will be able produce are not of the kind that can be given to terrorists. Nor do any Islamic terrorists have the training to know how to maintain, say, a "suitcase" nuclear weapon. The only nation that has the personel to carry out a terrorist nuclear strike against the U.S. is Russia. I have it on good authority (from Stanislav Lunev, the highest ranking military intelligence officer to ever defect from the Soviet Union to the United States) that Arab or Islamic terrorists would not be capable of exploding a nuclear device in the United States; and that if ever such a device were exploded, it would be Russian Spetsnaz that were responsible for it (whatever you might hear to the contrary).

Citizen Warrior said...

I don't believe it. If Iran had nuclear capability, why wouldn't they make it a point to create a smaller nuke or a dirty nuke just for the U.S.?

You know, there have been a lot of things "experts" have said were impossible that nevertheless happened. Iran should not get nukes. Period. They are a danger enough to the world already.

Damien said...

Citizen Warrior,

You have a good point there, I couldn't have said it better myself?

Damien said...

Greg,

Is it possible that your friend could be proven wrong despite the fact that he used to part of the KGB?

At one point there were people in America that would have told you that the Soviets were too stupid to develop nuclear weapons, but they were quickly proven wrong.

gregnyquist said...

Damien: "Is it possible that your friend could be proven wrong despite the fact that he used to part of the KGB?"

First, a couple of corrections:Lunev is not a personal friend; any information I have from him comes through my brother, who's an expert on Russia and nuclear war. Second, Lunev was not KGB, he was GRU. He spent most of his career preparing for nuclear war against the United States. Just before he defected, he was in charge of finding places inside the United States to hide nuclear weapons. He knows a great deal more about the subject than either you or I.

citizenwarrior: "If Iran had nuclear capability, why wouldn't they make it a point to create a smaller nuke or a dirty nuke just for the U.S.?"

I assume that "dirty nuke" means dirty bomb, which is not a nuke, but a conventional explosive surrounded by radioactive material. The notion of Iran producing smaller nukes and giving them to terrorists is grossly implausible. Nuclear devices require a huge amount of maintenance because the fissible material that makes them so deadly causes all kind of problems to their electrical systems. More compact devices are particularly vulnerable in this respect. Since everything is designed around the radiation source, the electrical components are quickly compromised. This is why you need highly trained people to prepare them for detonation. Apparently Lunev shares the disdain that most Russian military personel have of the ability of Arabs (or, for that matter, Persians) to carry out any kind of sophisticated, tech related task. Why do you think the Israelis always win every war they have against the Arabs, even when badly outnumbered? Israel does not have a huge tech advantage. The Israelis always win because Arabs, probably due to Islamic culture, are incapable of the kind of discipline required to master the sophisticated technological tasks required in advanced warfare.

Citizen Warrior said...

All right. Let's let the have their nukes and see if you're right.

Damien said...

Greg,

I sincerely hope you are right, and that Jihadist won't be able to develop or use Suit case nukes. I have heard many disturbing stories about Al-Qeada trying to obtain the tools to build and operate nuclear weapons. If you and Stanislav Lunev are wrong, many of us may pay with our lives.

Damien said...

Greg,

I told a A fellow blogger (revereridesagain) over at the Infidel Bloggers Alliance about the discussion we were having on this subject. She thinks you should read this article.

gregnyquist said...

Damien,

I've read the linked article. There are actually many scarier rumors out there about Arab terrorists getting nukes, including one that claimed that Al Qeda has already obtained suitcase nukes from Chechnya. But I keep coming back to what Stan Lunev, who has an expertise in this field that I don't have, told my brother: "If a nuclear weapon is detonated on American soil and they say it is Arab terrorists, don't believe it."

Damien said...

Greg,

And if a nuclear weapon was detonated on American soil and it was claimed that it was Islamic terrorism, what would prove you and Stan Lunev wrong? If the goverment claimed it was Al-Quada terrorists, what kind of proof would they need to convince you that you were wrong?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

They are actively killing our troops in Iraq. That is a declaration of war. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________

Israel actively killed our troops. Was that a declaration of war?



___________________________________

As Lee Harris has written, "In a world full of bluffers, the ruthless will rule." - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________



Do you think Hitler and Tojo might have agreed with that?


___________________________________

"Ideology is almost always about evading hard facts."

I like that. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________





Does that apply to your idealogy as well?



___________________________________

I don't think Saudi Arabia is very friendly with Iran and we get most of our Middle East oil from Saudi Arabia,... - Citizen Warrior
-----------------------------------
The main goal of Islam is to make the whole world submit to the law of Allah (Shari'a). - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________





Then why buy oil from Saudi Arabia?


Why do you think Saudi is not very friendly with Iran?

___________________________________

... but if a nation is attacking American soldiers, doesn't that make that nation America's enemy? - Damien
___________________________________




Didn't Israel attack U.S. Navy?


If so, then by your definition, does that make Israel America's enemy?




___________________________________

Should we tolerate such behavior? - Damien
___________________________________




Indeed, following your logic, shoud we tolerate such behavior from Israel?




___________________________________

Citizen Warrior,

I have to agree with you, America can't just ignore the plight of Americans to avoid war if said nation is attacking Americans. - Damien
___________________________________



So does this mean you believe U.S. should have gone to war against Israel?


___________________________________

At one point there were people in America that would have told you that the Soviets were too stupid to develop nuclear weapons, but they were quickly proven wrong. - damien
___________________________________





Who were they?



___________________________________

Greg,

And if a nuclear weapon was detonated on American soil and it was claimed that it was Islamic terrorism, what would prove you and Stan Lunev wrong? If the goverment claimed it was Al-Quada terrorists, what kind of proof would they need to convince you that you were wrong? - Damien
___________________________________





Do you think invading Iran will make Al Qaeda happy or unhappy?

Damien said...

Red Grant,

Israel targeted our troops? What on Earth are you talking about?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Red Grant,

Israel targeted our troops? What on Earth are you talking about? - damien
___________________________________



You mean you didn't even know about it?


On June 8, 1967, US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty was suddenly and brutally attacked on the high seas in international waters by the air and naval forces of Israel. The Israeli forces attacked with full knowledge that this was an American ship and lied about it. Survivors have been forbidden for 40 years to tell their story under oath to the American public. This USS Liberty Memorial web site tells their story and is dedicated to the memory of the 34 brave men who died.




The Attack


After surveilling USS Liberty for more than nine hours with almost hourly aircraft over flights and radar tracking, the air and naval forces of Israel attacked our ship in international waters without warning. USS Liberty was identified as a US naval ship nine hours before the attack by Israeli reconnaissance aircraft and continuously tracked by Israeli radar and aircraft thereafter. Sailing in international waters at less than five knots, with no offensive armament, our ship was not a military threat to anyone.

The Israeli forces attacked without warning and without attempting to contact us. Thirty four Americans were killed in the attack and another 174 were wounded. The ship, a $40 Million Dollar state of the art signals intelligence platform, was later declared unsalvageable and sold for scrap. - from www.gtr5.com

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

This is a complete misreading of what's going on. Russia has not only made explicit military threats against anyone who would attack Iran, it has provided Iran with sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles and is assisting them in their nuclear program. So what should this tell us? That it's Russia, not Iran that's the problem.

Why would Russia make explicit military threats against anyone who might attack Iran? If you think they're just bluffing, then you haven't looked deeply into the situation. The fact is, it is in Russia's interest for Iran to be attacked? Why? Because such an attack would endanger the gulf oil supplies, which would drive up price of oil up and greatly benefit Russia, which is a major oil producer. So, if it's in Russia's interest for Iran to be attacked, why are they are making these threats? The only plausible explanation is they are making the threats so that Iran will feel emboldened to engage in behavior that will incite an attack from either America or Israel. Russia is manipulating Iran into fighting a proxy war with the West, so that Russia can regain superpower status without exposing itself to a direct confrontation with America. So what's the lesson to be drawn from this? Simply this: that Russia is the main enemy, not Iran. And that by explicitly attacking Iran, we would merely be falling into a trap set by Russia. - Greg
___________________________________




Brilliant analysis, Greg, I, too, have reached the similiar conclusion independently.

JayCross said...

I had never considered that. Makes sense.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

... but if a nation is attacking American soldiers, doesn't that make that nation America's enemy? - Damien
___________________________________




Didn't Israel attack U.S. Navy?


If so, then by your definition, does that make Israel America's enemy?




___________________________________

Should we tolerate such behavior? - Damien
___________________________________




Indeed, following your logic, shoud we tolerate such behavior from Israel?




___________________________________

Citizen Warrior,

I have to agree with you, America can't just ignore the plight of Americans to avoid war if said nation is attacking Americans. - Damien
___________________________________



So does this mean you believe U.S. should have gone to war against Israel?




___________________________________

Red Grant,

Israel targeted our troops? What on Earth are you talking about? - damien
___________________________________



You mean you didn't even know about it?





___________________________________

On June 8, 1967 while patrolling in international waters[2] in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, USS Liberty (AGTR-5) was savagely attacked without warning or justification by air and naval forces of the state of Israel.[3]

Of a crew of 294 officers and men[4] (including three civilians)[5], the ship suffered thirty four (34) killed in action and one hundred seventy four (174) wounded in action.[6] The ship itself, a Forty Million ($40,000,000) Dollar state of the art signals intelligence (SIGINT) platform, was so badly damaged that it never sailed on an operational mission again and was sold in 1970 for $101,666.66 as scrap[7] .

Israel acknowledged the following facts without qualification:

USS Liberty was an American ship, hence a neutral vis-à-vis the June 1967 war between Israel and its Arab neighbors.[8]
USS Liberty remained in international waters at all times on June 8, 1967[9] .
The attacking Israeli forces never made a positive identification of the nationality of USS Liberty before unleashing deadly force in their attack on the ship.[10]
At approximately 0600 hours (all times local) on the morning of June 8, 1967 an Israeli maritime reconnaissance aircraft observer reported seeing "a US Navy cargo type ship," just outside the coverage of the Israeli coastal radar defense net, bearing the hull markings "GTR-5".[11] This report, made to Israeli naval HQ, was also forwarded immediately to the Israeli navy intelligence directorate.[12]

Throughout the remainder of the day prior to the attack, Israeli reconnaissance aircraft regularly flew out to USS Liberty's position and orbited the ship before returning to their bases in Israel. A total of no fewer than eight (8) such flights were made.[13]

At approximately 1050 hours, the naval observer from the early morning reconnaissance flight arrived at Israeli air force HQ and sat down with the air-naval liaison officer there. The two officers consulted Jane's Fighting Ships and learned that the ship reported earlier in the day was USS Liberty, a United States Navy technical research ship.[14]

From 0900 hours on June 8, 1967, until the time of the attack five hours later, USS Liberty maintained a speed of approximately five knots and a generally westerly-northwesterly course.[15]

At 1400 hours, while approximately 17 miles off the Gaza coast, USS Liberty's crew observed three surface radar contacts closing with their position at high speed. A few moments later, the bridge radar crew observed high speed aircraft passing over the surface returns on the same heading.[16]

Within a few short moments, and without any warning, Israeli fighter aircraft launched a rocket attack on USS Liberty. The aircraft made repeated firing passes, attacking USS Liberty with rockets and their internal cannons. After the first flight of fighter aircraft had exhausted their ordnance, subsequent flights of Israeli fighter aircraft continued to prosecute the attack with rockets, cannon fire, and napalm. [17]



From www.ussliberty.org
___________________________________








___________________________________

Why is it wrong for me, and Greg to accuse them of hypocrisy? - Damien
___________________________________

Red Grant said...

Damien,

Is there a particular reason why you don't want to answer my questions on topic you yourself have brought on?



and what happend to the Citizen Warrior?

Damien said...

Red Grant,

You asked,
-----------------------------------------------------------
Is there a particular reason why you don't want to answer my questions on topic you yourself have brought on?
-----------------------------------------------------------

I'm sorry if you are disappointed, but I try to answer your questions. However you just keep asking them over and over again and you don't seem to be satisfied with what ever answer I give you. So eventually I just feel overwhelmed.

you asked
-----------------------------------------------------------
and what happened to the Citizen Warrior?
-----------------------------------------------------------

He's still around, but he chooses to spend his time doing other things. If you want to talk to him, you can find his email under his profil. there you can also find his webpage

Citizen Warrior said...

Red Grant, I agree with Damien. I feel as if you are asking endless questions, tying up my time when I could be talking to someone who will learn on their own and take the ball and run with it.

I feel that your questions are kind of like an intellectual sport for you, and I don't have that kind of time to waste. I have told you where you can find all the answers you need, but you obviously have not even started to read the Qur'an, and show no indication that you ever will.

Argument is really pointless here. The information is clear and readily available. If you really wanted to know what kind of a threat Islam poses or what you can do about it, you would have found out by now, and your questions would reflect that. But they don't.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Red Grant,

You asked,
-----------------------------------------------------------
Is there a particular reason why you don't want to answer my questions on topic you yourself have brought on?
-----------------------------------------------------------

I'm sorry if you are disappointed, but I try to answer your questions.

However you just keep asking them over and over again and you don't seem to be satisfied with

what ever answer I give you.

So eventually I just feel overwhelmed. - Damien
___________________________________






But you never answered my questions that were originally based on your own statement and questions you yourself had asked.



Here they are,




___________________________________

... but if a nation is attacking American soldiers, doesn't that make that nation America's enemy? - Damien
-----------------------------------

Didn't Israel attack U.S. Navy?


If so, then by your definition, does that make Israel America's enemy? - Red Grant
___________________________________




___________________________________

Should we tolerate such behavior? - Damien
-----------------------------------

Indeed, following your logic, shoud we tolerate such behavior from Israel? - Red Grant
___________________________________




___________________________________

Citizen Warrior,

I have to agree with you, America can't just ignore the plight of Americans to avoid war if said nation is attacking Americans. - Damien
-----------------------------------

So does this mean you believe U.S. should have gone to war against Israel? - Red Grant
___________________________________






Please show me what answers and when you gave me for my questions to you above.




As for your question,


___________________________________

Red Grant,

Israel targeted our troops? What on Earth are you talking about? - damien
___________________________________





I've already answered it more than once.

Damien said...

Red Grant,

I read over that website on the USS_Liberty. It sounds like the attack might have just been a mistake on behave the Israelis perhaps thinking it was something other than it was. I'm sorry if I forgot to look into this earlier, but its not the same thing as continuously funding and supplying an army of terrorists, who are continuously attacking our troops.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Red Grant, I agree with Damien. I feel as if you are asking endless questions,...
-----------------------------------
I have told you where you can find all the answers you need,... - The Citizen Warrior
___________________________________





But you never even answered my questions in this thread based on your logic.



Here is just one of them,




___________________________________

They are actively killing our troops in Iraq. That is a declaration of war. - Citizen Warrior
-----------------------------------

Israel actively killed our troops. Was that a declaration of war? - Red Grant
___________________________________





Please show me what answer you gave me and when.

Citizen Warrior said...

Red Grant, your question to me is a good example of pointless, time-wasting intellectual sport.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

It sounds like the attack might have just been a mistake on behave the Israelis perhaps thinking it was something other than it was. - Damien
___________________________________





Not according to Adm. Moorer,


___________________________________

I cannot accept the claim by the Israelis that this was a case of mistaken identity. I have flown for years in both peace and war on surveillance flights over the ocean, and my opinion is supported by a full career of locating and identifying ships at sea.

Thomas H. Moorer, Admiral, US Navy (Ret.),

http://www.gtr5.com/quotes/moorer.htm
___________________________________

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Red Grant, I agree with Damien. I feel as if you are asking endless questions,...
-----------------------------------
I have told you where you can find all the answers you need,... - The Citizen Warrior
___________________________________





But you never even answered my questions in this thread based on your logic.



Here is just one of them,




___________________________________

They are actively killing our troops in Iraq. That is a declaration of war. - Citizen Warrior
-----------------------------------

Israel actively killed our troops. Was that a declaration of war? - Red Grant
___________________________________





Please show me what answer you gave me and when. - Red Grant








In reply:


___________________________________

Red Grant, your question to me is a good example of pointless, time-wasting intellectual sport. - Citizen Warrior
___________________________________

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

... but if a nation is attacking American soldiers, doesn't that make that nation America's enemy? - Damien
___________________________________




Didn't Israel attack U.S. Navy?


If so, then by your definition, does that make Israel America's enemy?




___________________________________

Should we tolerate such behavior? - Damien
___________________________________




Indeed, following your logic, shoud we tolerate such behavior from Israel?




___________________________________

Citizen Warrior,

I have to agree with you, America can't just ignore the plight of Americans to avoid war if said nation is attacking Americans. - Damien
___________________________________



So does this mean you believe U.S. should have gone to war against Israel?






___________________________________

FAQ: Why was the attack unlawful?

Q:
Why was the attack unlawful?


A:
First, you have to bear in mind that USS Liberty was in international waters, had no offensive armament, and was moving so slowly that she was barely making way. No one, not Israel, not Egypt, not the Soviets - no one - had a legal right to fire on such a ship. The attack was, per se, a violation of international law. Under international law, in the absence of an attack against the Israelis by USS Liberty, the only legal right the Israelis had was to approach the ship and identify her. They did not do this.

From ussliberty.org
___________________________________






___________________________________

Why is it wrong for me, and Greg to accuse them of hypocrisy? - Damien
___________________________________

Anonymous said...

Jay, why don't you sign up for the armed forces instead of being an armchair General?

I'm sure they could use a man like you.

Alex Harman said...

"No Ostrich, intent on gross terrene provender, and sticking its head into Fallacies, but will be awakened one day,--and in a terrible a posteriori manner, if not otherwise!

Flanders and Swann wrote a very funny song about that.