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Monday, January 16, 2006

Finding meaning

Noam Chomsky, Alternet, January 14:

"The fact of the matter is that there is no War on Terror. It's a minor consideration. So invading Iraq and taking control of the world's energy resources was way more important than the threat of terror. And the same with other things. Take, say, nuclear terror. The American intelligence systems estimate that the likelihood of a 'dirty bomb,' a dirty nuclear bomb attack in the United States in the next ten years, is about 50 percent. Well, that's pretty high. Are they doing anything about it? Yeah. They're increasing the threat, by increasing nuclear proliferation, by compelling potential adversaries to take very dangerous measures to try to counter rising American threats."


Blogger Wombat said...

If anyone stil believes the monumental lie that Iraq had anything to do with the war on terror, they need look no further than these links.

One of the worst of the terrorists (Zarqawi) was within reach and on two occasions, Bush canned plans to take out his camp becasue his presence in Norhtern Iraq served to bolster the case for the war.

How sick is that? This man has been held responsible for thousands of deaths and Bush decided to leave him alone to prove the war with Iraq was linked to terrorism.

Monday, January 16, 2006 2:51:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Wait a sec, Addamo, I haven't checked out the link, but ipso facto you're saying that in fact there was an Iraqi terror link...would also point you to Iraq's hosting of Abu Nidal all those years, paying suicide bombers in the West Bank, and docs recovered that suggest extensive terror financing.

The problem with this Chomsky quote is that it suffers from the same dreary determinism of so many other lefties: it assumes the West is the prime mover in all things, and that the physics of geopolitics are Newtonian in so far as any act by America prompts an equal and opposite reaction in her enemies. Yet if America were supine, or uninvolved in the region, do you think Iran would be any less interested in nuclear weapons? Arguably, one could say that a weak America is just as - if not more - provacative than an assertive one.

Monday, January 16, 2006 4:55:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

I don't understand the logic of " a weak America is just as - if not more - provacative than an assertive one."

Oh, you mean that if Iran thought that the US wouldn't come and kick their arse, they would have built a bomb sooner?

I still think that the threat of being regime changed is "so in their face" so to speak, they believe the North Korea model is a better option vis a vis the US.

Monday, January 16, 2006 5:49:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

yeah yeah yeah everything is America's fault, even rogue countries acquiring nuclear weapons.

Chomsky is such a moron.

Monday, January 16, 2006 6:55:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

he's a man dear, what do you expect.

Monday, January 16, 2006 7:12:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Ah yes, Violet, a "rogue state". Or perhaps you mean an "outpost of tyranny".

Do you have any opinions of your own?

Monday, January 16, 2006 8:41:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

I wonder what specific "rising threats" Chomsky is referring to.

And I wonder how he deals with the interesting case of Libya.

Monday, January 16, 2006 8:47:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...


You might want ot consider some specifics. Zarqawi was based in Kurdistan, which was outside the reach of Saddam and under the no fly zones. In fact, he was on Talabani's turf. There was a CIA report issued recently that even suggested Saddam probably had no idea he was in the country. Agin, the military could have had him but Bush left him alone for the sake of the war on terror.

Forget Abu Nidal. He was't active for the decade before ehe died. Most of his targets were PLO figures and other Palestinian nationalists that Israel and its supporters reviled, I'm surprised that Nidal earned such a terrible reputation.

There were many in the Palestinian movement who thought Nidal was a double-agent, and Patrick Seale's book on Nidal, which received oraise from critics, advanced this hypothesis.

Igf you want to bark up the tree of who harbors terrorists, consider that the US has been refuge to Jose Prosada Carriles, who is wanted for the deaths of over 70 people, and the bombing of a Cuban airline. Double standrds are a virtue in the US.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:28:00 am  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...

Back on topic blog-comrades.

Iran sees Australia as a close US ally. It would be a shame if Australia suffered from an Iranian briefcase mini-nuke hand delivered by a suicide bomber. Say in 12 years time.

A bomb is a bomb, even if it comes from a (nobel) developing country.

Why should the opinions of some US academic have any credibility on such a risk to our country?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:18:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...


"And I wonder how he deals with the interesting case of Libya."

What do you mean by inetersting case? Lybia had shelved it's WMD program long before "comming clean".

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:22:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:35:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

You're right, Addamo. Libya wasn't at all responding to the carrot and stick policy Washington has pursued since at least the start of the first Gulf War. They just disarmed in a vacuum, just for shits and giggles - the sheer hell of it. USA - what? They haven't even heard of the USA! Which country is that?

spying bad things - um... an Iranian briefcase nuke? You've been watching too much James Bond. If I were you I wouldn't be talking about credibility in regards to threat assessment if you reckon an Iranian suitcase nuke is a possibility.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:37:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...


My point is that Lybia had hardly anything to lose by giving up so little. Their nuclear progam never got to first base and their chemical/biological program was a joek to begin with.

But why let reality get in the way of a success story?

And you're righ about suitcase nukes. The only country capable of making those are the US and Israel, and maybe Russia. If one goes off anywhere, we shoudl have a fair aidea who the culprit is.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:48:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Actually, their chemical weapons programme wasn't bad back in the day. I concede that it had been withering on the vine for almost a decade - however only a hardened cynic would deny that the disarmament was a diplomatic coup for the United States.

Russia is most famous for once producing a "suitcase nuclear bomb", although no one outside the relevant circles of power in Russia know definitively that such weapons exist/ed. However these weapons - if they (still) exist - would require regular maintenance. If what Alexandr Lebed said was true about the Russian suitcase nukes being sold on the black market, then they are almost certainly inoperable now, as the maintenance required is highly technical and - realistically - would only be economically possible if backed by a financial entity of the scale of a large world national power.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:22:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Although I read that both Russia and the USA produce/d nuclear warheads small enough to fit in large briefcases.

Once again, whether this is true or not is really speculation, because neither side would officially confirm (or deny) the existence of such a weapon.

Israel I don't know about.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:24:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...


Intersting stuff. I find you observation particularly relevant, "would only be economically possible if backed by a financial entity of the scale of a large world national power."

So irrespective of who detonated the device, it can be assumed that any such event could only take place with the co-opertion or complicity of the countries you mentioned. Pretty profound implication don't you think?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:53:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Or a few rogue individuals within the military or military industrial complex. This is what Lebed believed was going on in Russia. He has yet to be proven correct.

Or, he could be correct and the suitcase nukes are past their shelf life.

Most analysts who specialise in such things argue that in all likelihood, if suitcase bombs had have been stolen, they would have been used by now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 5:23:00 am  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...

I wouldn't dismiss the financial power of Iran to produce tiny nuclear weapons. Large amount of hard cash would permit it to "buy" scientists (say from Russia) with the necessay expertise to make the things.

In terms of size we needn't think even think "suitcase". Suicide bombing allows the delivery system to be manned.

Say a committed pilot of a business jet in which a 1 tonne device has been integrated.

No need to land on the target country/city - just explode low over it.

To avoid this - if I were Israeli a preemptive strike against Iran may seem necessary.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 11:31:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

The thing is Spy, that micro nukes are harder to make than their larger cousins. They require more experitise.

Anyway, before you even get there, you need to produce an enrichment facility. That in itself is incredibly difficult to achieve.

The thing is that Israel knows Iran is nowhere near producing such a weapon. Their own intelligence agencies have said as much. An attack on Iran is simply about lessening Iran's influence in the region, which Iraq has served to bolster.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 11:48:00 am  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...


At the current rate of development its been suggested Iran may take around 9 years to produce a usable nuclear device.

However suggestens are that corners can be cut to reduce this timeframe or produce a more advanced device than expected.

One way to cut the timeframe is to buy the enriched uranium (or plutonium) via Russian technicians, North Korea or even Pakistan.

In terms of delivery system and size I admit the extreme miniturisation (suitcase) is more difficult than larger size.

Hence I've shifted to a different scenerio (also more in the bin Laden style). Suicide bombing in the form of rogue pilot allows a larger device to be integrated into a standard business jet flying innocuously.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:16:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...


Given Pakistan's history of slling nuclear components, anything is possible. I doubt Russia woud actually sell such material to Iran.

As for rogue pilot scenario, I think that it is also highly unlikely. Former CIA agent, Phillip Giraldi has leaked a report he witnessed that describes plans put in place by Cheny to nuke IRan in the event of any attack on the US - whether Iran is complicit or otherwise.

I doubt that Iran has a collective death wish.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:29:00 pm  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...


I agree Russia is unlikely to make a state decision to sell enriched uranium or plutonium to Iran.

However I specifically wrote "Russian technicians" because Russian individuals or groups technicians may be sufficiently venal to "grease" their way into Russia's nuclear stockpiles.

9/11 was "highly unlikely" until it happened. If the US has a nuclear retaliation plan which includes Iran then all the "rogue states" and maybe Russia as well are on the list.

Israel is the more likely target of an Iranian built bomb.

Given what the Iranian President has recently been saying, he, on behalf of the Iranian people, already has a "death wish".

Would a regime (or leader) sacrifice its people on a mass scale for a religion or ideology? Its standard procedure through history ie Hitler's Germany and Moa's China.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:57:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

James if you're there,

I just came across thsi glom and doom article abot the US financial situation. Would be interested in your comments.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:40:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 6:01:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

personally I think the 2,300 is quite a lot just to make a few people rich. And to kill only a few hundred thousand towel heads? What a waste of effort! I guess you don't really care because it's only southern white trailer trash and "coloureds".

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 7:13:00 pm  
Blogger boredinHK said...

Addamo-01 and others interested in Iran /Us conflict scenarios -
From the Telegraph Opinion pages .;jsessionid=AAHGLZBI5QK2XQFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/opinion/2006/01/15/do1502.xml&sSheet=/portal/2006/01/15/ixportal.html

I hope the link works - the one point I would doubt is his idea that China would intervene an the Iranian side. If push comes to shove they would side with the winner ....

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 7:26:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

My god. The odds of that? China knows which side its bread is buttered on. Ditto Russia.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 8:00:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

boredinHK said...

" Addamo-01 and others interested in Iran /Us conflict scenarios -
From the Telegraph Opinion pages .;jsessionid=AAHGLZBI5QK2XQFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/opinion/2006/01/15/"


Sorry bored - but that's pot boiler CRAP

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 10:06:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

I'd still like to know what specific "rising threats" Chomsky is talking about.

I'm not talking about inferences made by feverish conspiracy theorists with too much time on their hands. I'm talking about stated threats made by the US that would make another nation want to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:31:00 am  
Blogger orang said...

I'm sure we're not briefed on every little detail on these things.

And I'm sure that GWB is more nuanced than Ahmadinejad.

And I'm sure that a man with your considerable researching skills could find plenty of evidence-if they wanted to.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 7:07:00 am  
Blogger boredinHK said...

sure, these articles are speculative but what else is the world of journalists producing ?
I don't think the scenario written about is particularly illuminating - it is more interesting that these speculations are occurring.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 10:36:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Orange - I'd rather let the accusers do the legwork. Seems only fair. If they want to make outlandish statements, they should justify themselves or look like hacks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 1:01:00 pm  

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