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Whistle Me Up a Memory

March 14th, 2013 - 7:57 pm

Obama Says Iran A Year Away From Nuclear Weapon — AP.

“Right now, we think it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close,” he said. “So when I’m consulting with Bibi (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) as I have over the last several years on this issue, my message to him will be the same as before: `If we can resolve it diplomatically that is a more lasting solution. But if not I continue to keep all options on the table.”

This probably means that Iran is going to get the bomb in about a year. In short order the Saudis and the Gulf states will have to get get their own. The administration will not hinder Iran any more than it could stop North Korea. Meanwhile, Pakistan is building one of the largest nuclear arsenals on earth, rivaling that of France, the better to sell to the Saudis. This will compel India to arm up. South Korea is now talking about obtaining a nuclear weapon. One this happens Japan will inevitably build their own nukes. Australia then cannot be far behind.

And so the chain begins.

Despite its denials, the administration is “training Syrian anti-government fighters in Jordan … the training focused on use of anti-tank weaponry …” There are the usual provisos, but one would be foolish to rely on them. The conflagration in Syria can no more be completely firewalled then Libya could from the sub-Sahara.

Jordanian intelligence services are involved in the programme, which aims to build around a dozen units totalling some 10,000 fighters to the exclusion of radical Islamists, Spiegel reported.

“The Jordanian intelligence services want to prevent Salafists (radical Islamists) crossing from their own country into Syria and then returning later to stir up trouble in Jordan itself,” one of the organisers told the paper.”

The question was always, which to believe: what you knew was going to happen or what the administration assured you would happen. Now the choice has become acute. Perhaps the time for wishful thinking is over. Welcome to Hope and Change.

Events are now taking on a life of their own. Little by little, step by step, the world has come to the brink . It is brushing its toe against the precipice blindfolded with lies and comforted with fake assurances. ‘I cannot fall’. ‘I will get my free contraceptives’. ‘I will get paid according to the Lily Ledbetter act.’

How did the world get here? Simple. Step by little unthinking step.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.

One of the most gripping moments in Paul Bracken’s The Second Nuclear Age is when he describes an actual wargame at his think-tank involving American and Israeli players facing the emergence of an Iranian nuclear threat.

Israel wanted to know concretely what the United States would do to stop Iran. The United States said that Iran wouldn’t be allowed to go nuclear. Now Teheran had done so … The U.S. team responded to the Israeli question with a message that Washington “would take all measures necessary”. But Israel wanted to know exactly what that meant. Would the United States join in a pre-emptive strike on Iran?

The US team was worried that the crisis would accelerate the bomb’s spread. There were secret Saudi Arabian and Egyptian nuclear programs. Japan, Brazil and Algeria were also possible candidates for going nuclear.

But the Israelis weren’t in any mood to receive a U.S. lecture … so they ordered two Jericho missiles alerted under a special plan certain to be photographed by American satellites … “We hope it leaks to the media … maybe we should make sure it does,” one Israel team member said.

Israel’s move forced a U.S. decision … So the United States publicly gave Israel a nuclear guarantee. Making it public was an escalation, because it put the American reputation on the line. If one atomic missile hit Israel …

several U.S. team participants expressed genuine frustration with the [game] designers for putting them in this terrible position. There was also anger at the Israel team and, actually with Israel. “Why the hell didn’t the United States force Israel to sign the NPT long ago, to give up the nukes? Then we wouldn’t be in this crazy situation,” one of them said.

Bracken’s account made fascinating reading.  It was the game designers fault for creating such an unrealistic scenario.  There didn’t have to be a plan for an Iranian nuke since President Obama would never let the situation arise.  No need to worry about it. It does not compute. So we were told. So some believed.

And now it’s on the verge of happening. Odds are it will happen.

While it would be emotionally satisfying to dwell on the what-might-have-beens, and to chastise “low information voters” for believing the blandishments of the hucksters, it’s really too late for that. The first and most important thing is to see things for what they truly are. Unless a miracle happens the nations are going to arm up.  Without a global sheriff the only likely alternative solution is a reversion to the Dodge City model.

Whistle me up a memory
Whistle me back where I want to be
Whistle a tune that will carry me
To Tombstone Territory

If your past has run afoul the law
It’s a handy place to be
But your future’s just a good as your draw
In Tombstone Territory

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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Top Rated Comments   
Back in the early 60s, I was part of an informal group of young officers at Aberdeen Proving Ground who played huge, elaborate war games in the evenings. At the conclusion of a particularly harrowing game we were discussing the way it turned out, and the fact that the outcome seems to be determined by the assumptions made when the game is being set up. I commented, "Yes, and there are two kinds of assumptions. The more dangerous is the kind you don't know you're making."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
At least Chamberlain had the decency to resign.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All of a sudden you wake up and find that what you were relying on wasn't there.

"Few readers will be surprised to learn that decades of incompetence and entrenched corruption in Detroit’s government have not only helped wreck the city; firms linked to former Democratic mayor Kwame Kilpatrick also looted the pension fund....

Kilpatrick’s partner in slime is his ex-college frat brother Jeffrey Beasley, who is accused of taking bribes and kickbacks as he made bad investments that cost pension funds $84 million. Overall, a Detroit Free Press investigation estimates that corrupt and incompetent trustees appointed by Democratic officials over many years in Detroit are responsible for almost half a billion dollars in investments gone wrong.

I honestly don’t know why there is so little national outrage about this despicable crew and the terrible damage they have done. The ultimate victims of the crime are Detroit’s poor and the middle class and lower middle class, mostly African-American municipal workers who may face serious financial losses in old age."

How many people worked for years with the false sense of security that they would be taken care of by their pensions?

Surprise, surprise. No. Not really.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (82)
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“test test test”

Copy the link, paste into a new window and open the linked comment. This allows both comments, with proper window sizing, to be visible at once.

Copy the link, paste into a new tab and open linked comment. This allows us to alternate between current and linked comments.

With both methods, the linked comment window reverts to the default message order (newest messages displayed first).

I find managing new tabs is easier than new windows. The linked comment tab (IE10) is always to the right of the current comment and I am much less likely to close the wrong window.

I see that many here have resorted to using the Reply bug, burying their comments far from either end of the comment stream.

For the life of me, I’m unable to grasp the logic behind this new comment scheme. The guys who designed this must have some reason for this madness, but that reason has so far escaped my simple brain. Perhaps one of the designers can explain the advantages of this scheme and or describe its intended usage.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here's a suggestion. Let's refer for comments using the "Link to Comment" feature. lick on it, copy the anchor url and paste it to refer
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
this is a test. i tried 'lick'-ing on the comment but it just makes my touchpad slimier.

seriously the boxed links do not cut-n-paste using kindle browser...

dont you just LOVE new technology?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
These nested comments are a bane.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Earlier today, my wife showed me a CNN e-mail news alert about placing those new missile defense assets. My first, last, and enduring sense regarding anything we hear from this administration: they are lying to us.
I just wish I had a better idea about what it is, exactly, they are lying about.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This time they are telling the truth .... but downplaying a small detail.

buried in the text:

The new interceptors will be based at Fort Greely, an Army launch site about 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, and are projected to be fully deployed by 2017, Hagel said.

Anybody want to make book on the odds of the crisis waiting till 2017 before it gets critical? And it is only a projection that they would be deployed in 2017.

Best short term defensive response would be the STANDARD III AEGIS anti-missiles being on a short leash. Best short term strategic offensive response would be South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan declaring that they have nukes and that an attack on one will be an attack on all. And that China will be held responsible for North Korean actions.

The sound you would hear in that event would be sphincters slamming shut in both Zhongnanhai and the Oval Office.

And note that the only hope for dealing with our enemies lies outside the US government.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They are lying about everything.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Nuke the pestilence holes before these maggots grow wings.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not going to happen. At least not before they 'grow wings'. Obama's utter incompetence, arrogance and mendacity will make sure of that, count on it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In '96 I was one of several senior staff to the Admiral in charge of the USN forces in a large wargame held annually in Korea. At the time it was the largest joint-force mustered to address the much feared 48 hour artillery barrage of Seoul, and million man invasion of the South, without resorting to nukes, which would have of course devastated both sides, once begun.

We were given to understand it was serious as given Clintons unsuccessful negotions on nuke plants, it might be taken off the shelf. We were given two completely un-realistic assumptions just to be able to play the game, that were real-world deal-stoppers to the amphibious assault that was considered key to winning the campaign: that we could defeat the minefields, and find the Chinese diesel subs.

I've no doubt we can bottle up Iran's access to refined petroleum, as one poster notes. But it also makes me wonder what this admin is faking/deluding itsel on in campaign assumptions in re: Syria/Iran right now.

Layers within layers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In 2008, the Abadan refinery represented just 28% of Iran's refinery capacity. In 2008, Iran imported 40% of its consumption needs. With new refinery construction, some analysts projected that Iran might be self-sufficient as early as 2010-2011. It would certainly be useful to mine the approaches to the Abadan refinery but given the logistics, it's unlikely to be a magic bullet.

The only way to be certain that Iran won't get the bomb is to militarily attack them. Which is NOT going to happen. Obama won't do it and Israel lacks the conventional resources needed to accomplish it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Diesel-electric subs are wildly overrated because their range is pitiful when submerged. Hence, the course of U-boats in two Atlantic campaigns. They can't even stay down all that long even if they don't move.

The big shift is AIP. An AIP sub really is a game changer.

As for mines: my father had direct experience, June 6, 1944, with German magnetic-acoustic mines. He was one of a trivial number of uninjured survivors.

Their weakness is that you must lay them down like common seed to stop what is, in effect, a shock attack -- attack in echelon -- which will ALWAYS grind its way through. Mines make shock assaults bloody -- but never repulse them.

Worse, they can be spoofed. If necessary, sacrificial ships can be sent in first.

(My father's assault ship was a 'Forlorn Hope' aimed at Omaha Beach. Bradley didn't share that little detail with the engineering task force.)

In actual practice, the lead elements get trashed -- and then the steam-roller crushes through the coastal crust. Hence, Patton's commentary WRT the Atlantic Wall.

It was WWII experience that informed the wargame parameters. Subs never even showed up -- and would've been destroyed even making the attempt. Mine fields either didn't exist (Pacific Theater was only occasionally mined. Locals finked -- so IJN mines were marked. IIRC, our only major loss was the USS United States (troopship conversion) when its captain sailed into a field marked on his own charts. (!)) or were too thin -- because the cost and sophistication of first rate mines was too great to inflict more than pin pricks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Unrealistic assumptions are necessary because of political considerations. But somewhere there should be a plan with only physical restrictions. I forget which admiral it was who said nothing surprised him in the Pacific War because all the scenarios were in War Plan Orange.

WPO is fascinating. It is all times, distances, and logistics. It is a kind of naval terrain map of the Pacific. When all the bets were off, the USN had this map with nothing but reality in it.

That's what we need. Not that it will be carried out. Until everything collapses diplomacy and politics must be allowed full scope. But if the day comes when all the diplomacy goes into the shredder there has to be a Purely Physical Plan somewhere, and general officers (and statesmen) who know which way is North and what way is Up.

Fantasy and hope has its place. But in your back pocket there must always be a fallback based on reality. My worry is that there is no such cadre of senior people. That fantasy is all they know and all they will ever know.

Can it happen? It happened to the French in '40. Yes it can happen.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The admiral was Nimitz.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's actually a really good idea. A "war plan" for a changing society, with no thought-crime restrictions, no panic-stricken chicken little, just clear thinking about who has power in what realm and why. A road map of who can do what to whom when the gloves are off.

Cloud-based (maybe wiki), continuously updated, with plenty of mirror sites and a downloadable archive.

Difficult (maybe impossible). Bruce Bueno de Mesquita probably has the right tools for cataloging the correct information, but he's too enamored of making predictions from it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Conceptually the plan isn't that hard. You need two plans. A non-nuclear Conquer The World plan and a Survive Armageddon plan.

The non-nuclear Conquer the World Plan requires two things: sea control and space control. You destroy all hostile communications and surveillance assets in space. At sea, the navy pulls up all the fiber optic and communications cables that line the sea. About 99% of all Internet comms runs over these cables.

Then follows the distant blockade of China, probably from the Indian Ocean and blockade the Persian Gulf. The US can live on Western hemisphere physical resources. If Europe is desperate enough it can take the oil fields of the Middle East for itself. But for the moment, European survival is not a priority.

Australia will have a bad moment because it does not have a stockpile of liquid fuel. But it can crash convert to coal. And it can feed itself.

The political goals of that all-out putative War are problematic. If a next war comes, it will be the result of the failure of the Global Blue Model. Logically the war will only end when a new basis for peace becomes available. Peace probably requires the end or restriction of unlimited fiat money; hard limits on government debt and the destruction of rogue states.

The post war world, assuming there is a world, will essentially be one of vastly smaller governments focused on one thing: keeping civil society viable. In fact, it might resemble the United States of the World with all national governments having enumerated powers.

With any luck what will follow is the expansion into the Solar system and a new golden age. But for now, all our efforts must be focused on one simple thing: surviving and making sure there is a political exit to the current world crisis, or failing that, a non-nuclear victory scenario.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yikes, Richard. Maybe you should expand that to a post. There are some key principles embedded in there that need to be unpacked. Looking through the wrong end of my binoculars, I can see:

1) The next war is a result of the failure of the Blue model
2) Victory conditions to include a (temporarily, at least) stable monetary system
3) Victory conditions to include destruction of rogue states: why? and what's a rogue state?
4) A global Constitution, with enumerated powers for all states; enforcement mechanism?
5) The crisis must be fought to an end short of extermination
6) The breakout; mankind claims his place among the stars
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“The administration will not hinder Iran any more than it could stop North Korea.”

I’m convinced that Iran could not have built a bomb without the assistance of North Korea, and vice versa. Neither could have North Korea and Iran developed space launch capability without aiding each other. And neither of them could have gotten a good start without additional outside assistance. Russia aided Iran in nukes and North Korea in missiles, in both cases probably far more than even the most suspicious of us realize.

Linkage – there is a huge difference in perceived linkages between the Left and the Right. Remember the Axis of Evil? Remember who said that and what it implied in terms of strategy? But instead the Left eschews that viewpoint and instead draws linkages between Global Warming and industrial activity, between guns and crime, between the Minimum Wage and poverty. The fact that their linkages never work out does not deter them.

And our missile defense programs would be in far better shape had not the Democrats and certain elements of the scientific community hindered it in a vast number of ways, large and small. Now, all of a freakin’ sudden Obama has found the value in at least some missile defense. Back in the 60’s an argument against missile defense was that it would make politicians more reckless, tougher in dealing with pour adversaries – instead we have found out it’s the other way around – it enables them to be weaker and more feckless.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My reading is that Russia is not at all interested in letting Tehran have the Bomb.
The technology leaker is Red China. Iranian finks have even revealed that their blue-prints had Nork and Chinese legends (side by side) on them.
And, the design was for an implosion device.

Barry's estimate for 12ver atomics must be based upon the residence time required to convert 20%HEU into 100% Pu -- in 'research' reactors.

Such devices already exist -- decades old in fact -- and can be slipped under major buildings just about anywhere.

BTW, the Persians are the world masters of digging hydraulic tunnels -- going back to Cyrus the Great. They have a pre-existing network of cold water collection all over the countryside.

Ancient elements of this technique are still found in western Afghanistan -- which was Persia 25 centuries ago.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is not the barbarian who destroys civilizations, they are merely entropy's agent. Nor is it even a civilization's internal enemies who are ultimately responsible for its demise. At base, it is a civilization's own immature, insecure, egotistical fools...for neither the barbarian nor the seditious traitor can accomplish their goal(s) without the assistance of a society's selfish, gullible fools. The greater the number of reality denying fools, the closer to collapse a civilization stands.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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