Joe Biden’s loose lips

When Barack Obama first named Joe Biden as his running-mate, Washington insiders noted that what Biden is best known for running is his gab-too-much motor-mouth. Too often it seems there is no brain-filter operating to control what comes out of it.
Yesterday, Biden (three-peatedly) told George Stephanopoulos that if the Israeli government chooses to launch a military strike– that is, an act of war– against Iran, then that is quite up to them.
Here’s the first part of the exchange, as transcribed by Politico:

    BIDEN: Look, Israel can determine for itself — it’s a sovereign nation — what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.
    STEPHANOPOULOS: Whether we agree or not?
    BIDEN: Whether we agree or not. They’re entitled to do that. Any sovereign nation is entitled to do that…

Actually, no, Joe. “Any nation” is certainly not entitled to undertake an unprovoked act of war against another nation…
Biden should have remembered, too, that our country has its own direct interests and responsibilities in this matter, for at least three excellent reasons:

    1. The hardware the IDF would use to strike Israel would certainly include US-supplied items, all of which are supplied on the basis of explicit agreements that they will be used only for defensive purposes.
    2. As Stephanopoulos was smart enough to point out, the US controls the air-space in Iraq, Saudi, Arabia, and other countries that Israel would need to overfly in any air-launched attack on Iraq.
    3. Finally– and this for me is the clincher–It is US forces, not Israeli forces, that are “on the front-lines” against Iran. If Israel attacks Iran, the Iranian government can justifiably assume, based in part on points 1 and 2 above, that it did so with at least US collusion, if not active US partnership. On this basis Iran would be entitled to respond to any Israeli attack by counter-attacking against not only Israel but also the many, very vulnerable military assets that the US has very near Iran’s borders and coastline– whether in Iraq, in and around the Gulf, or in Afghanistan.

It is not clear to me why Biden has suddenly become so irresponsibly mouthy about Iran. Back in early April, soon after Benjamin Netanyahu’s inauguration as Israeli PM, Biden was the administration’s point-man in issuing a clear warning that Netanyahu would be “ill-advised” to carry out a military strike against Iran. (Also reported here.)
And today, even as George Stephanopoulos’s show was airing in the US, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was openly warning about the very “destabilizing” effects of any Israeli attack on Iran.
Here’s his exchange with ‘Face the Nation’ host John Dickerson:

    DICKERSON: OK, let’s go back to something also that Vice President Biden said about Iran. He said that if Israel wants to launch a strike to stop Iran’s nuclear capability there’s nothing the U.S. can do. Is that right?
    MULLEN: Well, I have been for some time concerned about any strike on Iran. I worry about it being very destabilizing not just in and of itself but the unintended consequences of a strike like that.
    At the same time, I’m one that thinks Iran should not have nuclear weapons. I think that’s very destabilizing…
    So it’s a very, very narrow window with respect to that. It’s something I’m engaged with my counter — my Israeli counterpart on regularly. But these are really political decisions that have to be made with respect to where the United States is. I remain very concerned about what Iran is doing…
    DICKERSON: But a strike is not a military — I mean that’s not a political decision if the Israelis make a strike, that’s a military consequence you’ll have to deal with.
    MULLEN: I think actually, you know, should that occur obviously all of us will have to deal with that.

Mullen’s position is considerably more in line with the one that has been sustained since Obama’s inauguration by his own immediate boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Gates’s boss, the president, than the one that Biden blurted out yesterday.
Bottom line: If it is still true that– as the old WWII adage had it– “loose lips sink ships”, then the ships that are likely to be sunk if Netanyahu takes Biden’s latest motor-mouthing as giving him a green light to go ahead and bomb Iran are much more likely to be American ships, than Israeli.
Bidens apparent gaffe is all the more notable because since the early days of the recent political crisis in Iran, the many US naval vessels in the Gulf have been under strict orders to hang back and take extra precautions against getting into any confrontation with the Iranian navy and military, since the hardliners in Tehran could then use any such confrontation to rally more Iranians behind their cause.
Obama now needs to go to some lengths, first to clearly restate that any Israeli strike against Iran is perilous for US lives and interests, and second, to try to get Biden to be a lot more disciplined when he speaks about momentous matters in the future.

40 thoughts on “Joe Biden’s loose lips

  1. Domza

    I’m afraid that Biden looks like the man in charge, not Obama.
    Obama looks as if he is cornered. Obama looks like he has no way to move against Biden or anyone like him. Biden just has to look Obama in the eye and say “You and whose army?” and that will be the end of the Obama story. That’s the way it looks from here.
    Seven Days in July, anybody?

  2. Alex_no

    There was a piece in the London Times today: Saudis give nod to Israeli raid on Iran. It is by that pair Mahnaimi and Baxter, who are often messengers for their masters in Tel Aviv.
    The only problem is to decipher what it means, as Israel is unlikely to let out in advance what they really intend to do.
    Could be a warning to the US to cooperate. Could be part of a deception, when the real war plan is different. Or it could be that it is a double bluff, tell the truth and nobody believes it.
    In fact, I wouldn’t put it beyond the Saudis to have agreed. If so, they would be so obsessed with the danger of the Shi’a in the Eastern Province, that they would admit any strike that might weaken the global Shi’a position. But in fact it might end up being dangerous for the Saudi regime, if it went the wrong way.
    That rang a bell. This is typical Israeli contempt for Arabs, silly people who make silly decisions. In 2006 and before, it might have worked, when people in the Arab world didn’t realise what was happening. Today I would think there are many Saudi princes, if not the King himself, who would be opposed to risking their regime, by potentially destabilising the Shi’a population.
    The Israeli message is based on an old outdated contemptuous assessment. That is typical of Israel.

  3. Domza

    There has been a movement of US troops into the part of Afghanistan adjacent to Iran’s Eastern border. Figures given are 4000 US troops in addition to 9000 British troops already in situ.
    The announced reasons for this operation (i.e. occupying space and making contact with the local “elders”) are not credible.
    Nor should one ever set too much store by numbers given, or locations given. Military information that would be valuable intelligence to an opponent if true, cannot be true.
    Therefore it has to be possible or even likely that the numbers of troops and the general logistics are of greater magnitude, and the location is even closer to Iran than stated.
    Please, if there is a God in heaven, let us not have another war.

  4. Murray Polner

    It is hard to believe that Obama has the backbone let alone the will to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran. If that should occur and the Iranians in retaliation strike back at US targets, then the US government and media propaganda machines will surely present this as yet another Pearl Harbor– another patriotic war to kill in “defense” of the homeland.

  5. scott h

    Alex, I wouldn’t take anything on this topic at face value if it appears in Murdoch’s London Times. (a dim shadow of its former self) They’ve been quite breathless in trying to drum up an Israeli strike on Iran.
    And Dom, what’s your source please on the assertion of US massing troops in Afghanistan on border with Iran?
    Given how badly stretched such US forces are, this seems highly unlikely.
    Is this also from Murdoch media?

  6. Christiane

    Look at a map.. Iran is the last missing piece : it goes all the way, from Pakistan through Afghanistan through Iraq and the Gulf states and Turkey; the only missing piece of America power dream is Iran. Obama had made tough talks on Pakistan before his elections and he expanded the war in Pakistan tribal zones.. he has talked tough on Iran.. and we can see it coming..

  7. Paul

    Ok, let me get this straight. Mossad releases a story that the Saudi’s will turn a “blind eye” when they bomb Iran. At the same time as Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon are getting closer, and we are wondering why?
    Let’s think about that now.

  8. Sand

    Alex-no — you’ve reminded me — this isn’t the first time little Ms. Baxter has done Israel’s bidding:
    September 16, 2007
    Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’
    Secret raid on Korean shipment
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2461421.ece
    She’s had other neo-con inspired posts around election time but unfortunately I didn’t save the links.
    I do hope that Biden clasps his balls for once, and clearly states “what’s in our interests” if Israel should be insane enough to commit suicide and want to bring our kids down with them?
    BIDEN: [from AP reporting] “We cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do,” the vice president replied. “Israel has a right to determine what’s in its interests, and we have a right and we will determine what’s in our interests.”
    Israel is no friend of ours!

  9. John Francis Lee

    1. The hardware the IDF would use to strike [Iran] would certainly include US-supplied items, all of which are supplied on the basis of explicit agreements that they will be used only for defensive purposes.
    The hardware the IDF would use to Iran may well include nuclear weapons. Obama/Biden say it’s OK:
    Obama gives Israel Green Light to Nuke Iran
    “Israel can determine for itself – it’s a sovereign nation – what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.”… He [Biden] added that this was the case, “whether we agree or not” with the Israeli view…. Mr Biden said Israel, like the US, had a right to “determine what is in its interests”
    2. As Stephanopoulos was smart enough to point out, the US controls the air-space in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other countries that Israel would need to overfly in any air-launched attack on Iraq.
    The light is Green!
    3. Finally– and this for me is the clincher–It is US forces, not Israeli forces, that are “on the front-lines” against Iran. If Israel attacks Iran, the Iranian government can justifiably assume… that it did so with at least US collusion, if not active US partnership. On this basis Iran would be entitled to respond to any Israeli attack by counter-attacking against not only Israel but also the many, very vulnerable military assets that the US has very near Iran’s borders and coastline– whether in Iraq, in and around the Gulf, or in Afghanistan… US Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was openly warning about the “very destabilizing” effects of any Israeli attack on Iran.
    The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff represents what he thinks are American interests.
    The President of the Unite States represents what he thinks are Israeli interests.
    I think Obama now needs to go to some lengths, first to clearly restate that any Israeli strike against Iran is perilous for US lives and interests, and second, to try to get Biden to be a lot more disciplined when he speaks about momentous matters in the future.
    Obama has never clearly stated that any Israeli strike against Iran is perilous for US lives and interests to begin with and is unlikely to so so now.
    Biden does not have the finesse of Barack Obama but he was “in the room” when this policy was discussed and is now speaking out of class, to the chagrin of the apologists and enablers of Barack Obama’s betrayal of America, Americans and all the people on the face of this earth.
    Bush III, Barack Obama, is worse, much worse than Bush I or II.

  10. Alex_no

    Scott h
    Alex, I wouldn’t take anything on this topic at face value if it appears in Murdoch’s London Times. (a dim shadow of its former self)
    I wouldn’t for a moment believe what was said, and I thought I made myself clear on that.
    However, on the issue of source analysis, things are more complex than you say. True that the London Times is a Murdoch rag; they themselves maintain that when Murdoch took it over, it was insisted that an independent editorial council maintain control. You can believe that or not.
    The only real way of judging them is piece by piece. The conclusion is mixed, but certainly not pure Murdochian propaganda. Their news service is very good; at times ahead of the BBC. They’re also good at getting into stories, like why Michael Jackson died. Their Paris correspondent, Charles Bremner, is excellent, and has done superb reporting on why AF447 fell into the ocean. On the other hand they have a collection of far right commentators and correspondents who peddle politically motivated material, as Mahnaimi and Baxter.
    I used to take your view; since then, I filter out the crap, and it’s the second site of my daily round, there’s always something interesting.

  11. Sand

    Iran appears still in political limbo with Gary Sick basically saying it’s gonna be sometime before things to work themselves out.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-06-22/the-crisis-in-iran-is-just-beginning/2/
    …and now we have Biden coming out with this crap on a Sunday morning — It appears that some faction either inside the WH or outside is trying to speed up the timeline for an attack? Oh sooo Bolton.
    Why haven’t we heard much on Dennis Ross — is his new post as special advisor truly that, now having the exclusive ear of the President, or as some are saying was transferred out of State to NSC as a way to get him out of Holbrooke’s and Clinton’s hair?
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2009/07/harper-on-ross-clinton-et-al.html
    I’m more cynical, especially with Clinton wanting uber spinmeister Blumenthal on her side.
    Biden rejected the Kyl-Lieberman vote — why does he seem to be changing his tune now?

  12. bevin

    Isn’t it sickening, so soon after the Gulf rose five feet from the crocodile tears shed over Iran’s elections, that the objection to the idea of an Israeli attack on Iran is that it puts US troops at risk?
    That is: military personnel in an all volunteer force (occupying Iraq in defiance of International Law). The point is that the lives of Iranians, guiltless of any military ambitions, going about their lawful pursuits in their own country, are at risk. That is where the problem lies.
    Iranians, remember them? The ones whose democratic rights concerned the media much more than those of the residents of Ohio or Florida ever did: it is their lives of which the Vice President is so indifferent that he cannot bring himself to suggest that they are not at the absolute disposal of the government of Israel.
    Because that is what he means.
    It is the Biden doctrine: Israel can attack whomsoever it chooses.
    That is its right as a sovereign state.
    Clearly therefore, any state may attack any other state whenever the fancy takes it. And the United States may arm any state without regard to whether or not…
    It is a recipe for eternal war. A contradiction of every principle in International Law, as it has evolved over two millenia.

  13. JES

    Alex, if it makes you feel any better, all the military analysts on the three major Channels here in Israel have been treating the Times story as a joke. As Channel 2’s Alon ben David put it yesterday, the IAF really doesn’t need Saudi permission to overfly its airspace, and doesn’t want to have to depend for some Saudi sergeant commanding an anti-aircraft battery for the ultimate success of any such mission.

  14. JES

    BTW, unless Joe Biden is entirely senile, I don’t think that it is appropriate to refer to something he repeated three times in a half-hour interview (with commercial breaks)as a gaffe! No, this is a well-coordinated effort involving Obama and all players in the Executive Branch.
    According to Aluf Benn, it appears that the Obama Administration may be drifting back into the stance of its predecessor in response to the recent actions of the ruling regime in Tehran and to a severe “dissing” that the little monkey meted out to Obama.

  15. Domza

    Bevin, yes, it is as if Biden had been reading our discussions about Westphalia and had decided to make a pre-emptive strike on us by “saying the thing that is not”. Instead of no state having the right to interfere in the affairs of another, he flips over it to EVERY state has the right to interfere etc.. From where he stands he can laugh at us in his arrogant way, because we do not have access to his pulpit so as to be able to confront his lie at his level – and who else will?
    Scott, in our house here in Johannesburg we are getting satellite TV at the moment including BBC, Sky, CNN, RT, Al Jazeera and several other international news stations. The item about the US operation (it has a bravado name which I have forgotten) has been playing for several days on all those channels, described as “the first major US offensive in Afghanistan”. In other words it is explicitly NOT being billed as “NATO”.
    If there is a war coming, then the material side of it will have been prepared long ago, and the moves in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan are evidence of such preparations.
    The public propaganda “justifying” the war and the manufacture of the spurious “casus belli” are some of the last moves in the process. The Western agitation around the Iranian presidential election were undoubtedly pure war propaganda of this kind, although not necessarily the last round. It would be normal to such a run-up to war that there may be several iterations, and there have already been many build-ups of tension, slight relaxations, followed again by further build-ups in relation to Iran in recent years, as we all must have noticed.
    Also on international TV, on a daily basis, but confined to RT , the imminent visit of US President Obama to Moscow for discussions with Russian President Medvedev is being vigorously trailed. President Ahmadinejad did make a brief visit to the SCO/BRIC meeting in Ekaterinburg in the week after being re-elected president of Iran. Therefore, whether there is any element of surprise at the level of great-power diplomacy is questionable. Both Russia and China (via SCO) must have been discussing the US moves at strategic and tactical levels. There is a possibility that they could insist on peace. There is also a possibility that they (Russia, China, Brazil, India and central Asian states) have decided to drop Iran into the mouth of the warmongering monster. In return for what. The Obama/Medvedev meet should be a litmus test of sorts.
    Those who pray, must pray now for peace.

  16. bb

    “BTW, unless Joe Biden is entirely senile, I don’t think that it is appropriate to refer to something he repeated three times in a half-hour interview (with commercial breaks)as a gaffe! No, this is a well-coordinated effort involving Obama and all players in the Executive Branch.”
    Spot on. The “confessions” have already started; the show trials will be next, followed by the the glamour pusses being consigned to chador.
    These current events have added a whole new dimension of urgency to the question of a fundamentalist Iran as a totalitarian police state acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Becoming the North Korea of the middle east.
    So unless Rafsanjani and co can overcome the radical zealots, and soon, we are in for a very dangerous time.
    btw – funny that it was big mouth Biden who predicted that Obama would be challenged in the first six months of his presidency. And how.

  17. Alex_no

    JES, you don’t expect us to believe old stories out of the Jerusalem Post, of all sources.

  18. JES

    First of all, I don’t expect you to believe anything Alex. Secondly, this isn’t an “old story”. It was published five days ago. Thirdly, the author (who judging by her name is Iranian in origin)clearly states “There was no independent confirmation of the report.”
    So, Alex, why don’t you just take it for what it’s worth.

  19. Salah

    the IAF really doesn’t need Saudi permission to overfly its airspace, and doesn’t want to have to depend
    Whether there is Israeli strike to Iran or not which in doubt.
    Nevertheless, talking about Saudis… what you think about them do they know what Passover their heads?
    When Israeli did bombed Iraq nuclear research centre in 1981 “Operation Opera,” fourteen F-15s and F-16s flew off the runway of Etzion Air Force base in the Negev, flying over Jordanian, Saudi, and Iraqi airspace, to attack Iraqi nuclear research reactor.
    King Hussein of Jordan was vacationing in Aqaba during the attack. Seeing the planes pass over his head, he immediately notified the Iraqis to warn them that they may be the targets of an Israeli attack. It appears that Iraq never got the message as communication errors prevented the message from reaching Iraq.
    Look to the precision of telling by isralies, what happen?
    Israelis did not say that they used advanced jamming devices caused King Hussein’s message did not went through to Iraqis.
    During the Israeli ride over Baghdad few mints before the firing all Iraqi TV stations, Iraqi radio stations went off air, all the radar stations surrounding Baghdad related to Air defence System was Jammed by very advance jamming signals on wide range of frequencies that no such Radar can operates.
    So, back to what been discussed and telling if Israeli really planning to strike Iran they will never come to tell you or tell Saudis and anybody. Iraqi experience with Israelis in regards to his nuclear research program was bloody, they targeted all the program from the supplier to Iraq, they targeted all the elite researchers killed dozen of them.
    They destroyed another French-built nuclear reactor after handover to Iraqi was loaded for delivery when the shipment was arranged to Iraq . All that never happens with Iran until now.
    This raising doubt about the seriousness of Israelis attack to Iran.

  20. Salah

    “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

  21. JES

    Salah, I think that you’ve amply made my point for me. Israel is certainly not going to telegraph their plans for an attack on Iran, despite what the entrail-examining-pundits, indcluding Helena, have been saying here for the past several years.

  22. omop

    According to Maariv, Hezballah has enough missiles to drop
    600 of ’em a day for 60 days on Tel Aviv.
    Whether Biden was/is aware of such threats is conjecture. Still was his “loose lips” comments a “lapsus lingue” or telling Bebe and Avigdor to put up or shut the f#^k up.
    Personal opinion is that Iran is too smart to attack any US interests in retaliation for an Israeli act. Their one and only concentration will be Israel/Israeli.
    Interestin times.

  23. Alex_no

    Salah, I think that you’ve amply made my point for me.
    That’s very noble of you JES, claiming for yourself a point which had already been made by others at the beginning of the thread. If the Israeli media are reacting to the Mahnaimi/Baxter story as you say, they are being very slow today.
    It is quite obvious that this story is a product of Mossad or whatever black operations outfit in Israel, and is intended to have an effect. Nobody imagines it is the truth, and certainly not the story’s authors.
    The only question is what is the intended effect.

  24. JES

    That’s very noble of you JES, claiming for yourself a point which had already been made by others at the beginning of the thread.
    Oh come on Alastaire, Salah was directly addressing me by quoting what I had written.
    If the Israeli media are reacting to the Mahnaimi/Baxter story as you say, they are being very slow today.
    That’s because they gave it thorough coverage yesterday. It’s old news. They’ve already moved on to new stories. (I think the top story today is Noam Shalit testifying before the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva. It’s the first time an Israeli has been asked to do so.)
    It is quite obvious that this story is a product of Mossad or whatever black operations outfit in Israel, and is intended to have an effect.
    Yes. And I suggest you check under you bed tonight, because the Mossad is out to get you too!!!

  25. epppie

    For God’s sake, will you listen to yourself, Helena? You have been one of the few remaining voices of sanity, but more and more you sound like just one more kool-aide drinker. Yeah, everytime someone in the Obama administration says something warlike, it’s not Obama’s fault. Oh no, they must be going off plan (though, in fact, Obama himself has repeatedly emphasized the bogus idea that the US has nothing to say over whom Israel attacks and why and when, re. Iran). But when someone in the Obama administration says or does something that actually makes sense (eg., declares that Israel’s nukes should be treated as a proliferation issue), Obama gets credit for somehow taking US policy in the right direction.
    Wake up. We are closer to war with Iran than we ever were under Bush. This blog entry is a particularly glaring example of wishful thinking. You set up Mullen as your evidence that Biden was going offplan, but in fact, Mullen’s declaration was nothing more than mealy-mouthed-ass-covering. One can easily read anything into it, and that’s what it was designed by Mullen, obviously, to allow for.
    Stop reading tea leaves. Stop projecting. See the reality – Obama is worse than Bush was. Yes, worse, because Bush couldn’t even send an extra ship to the Persian Gulf without the peace movement sweating bullets. But Obama can escalate war and threats of war WITHOUT THERE EVEN BEING A PEACE MOVEMENT TO SPEAK OF in opposition!!!
    Continuing to pretend that Barack Obama is God’s Gift to Peace is not helping anything.

  26. omop

    Several of the commenters might be provoked by israel Shamir’s conclusions.
    “The enemies of Obama are indeed plentiful, from out-and-out racists who hate to be ruled by a black, to Zionists who are afraid Obama will take an independent course, to loony radicals of the left and of the right. We should stop them, not add to their numbers.”
    http://www.israelshamir.net/English/Lynch.htm

  27. Inkan1969

    It’s astonishing to read epppie’s hysterical rant about Obama being “worse than Bush was” right after she demands Helena to “stop projecting”, and implying that epppie’s a judge of what a voice of sanity is.
    Joe Biden’s remarks are an outrage to the point of meriting resignation. Obama should take responsibility for his Veep and explicitly clarify the administration’s position on military strikes against Iran in a press statement. Not to mention that Obama owes the opposition movement in Iran an apology, for endangering the people they’re fighting for. The absence of this clarification though has allowed epppie and JFLee to take Biden’s statement and fly off on their crazed conspiracy theories about imminent attacks on Iran. Chicken little screaming about a green light for attack reminds me about how many months have passed since Seymour Hersch’s third claim that the attack was about to go. Or was it third?

  28. Brad Stroud

    I like Juan Cole’s interpretation:
    “So what Biden was really saying is that the Obama administration intends to engage Iran diplomatically, and that if anyone wants Iran attacked they will have to do it themselves. This is not a green light to the Israelis, who hardly need one. It is a tough message to the right wing of the Israel lobbies that the Obama administration is not going to launch any hostilities with Iran, even after the hard line power grab of three weeks ago.
    Oh, and the statement may serve as a reminder to a recalcitrant Iran of what might happen to Tehran if it refuses to negotiate in good faith over its nuclear enrichment program.”
    This interpretation has the virtue of supporting the idea that the Obama administration actually has a middle east foreign policy strategy they intend to follow through on including a new less cosy relationship with Israel.

  29. Shirin

    Maybe I just don’t understand diplomatic language, but Juan’s interpretation looks like a mighty big stretch to me.
    And by the way, Israel most emphatically does NOT have the “sovereign right” to “preventatively” attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, or anything else Iranian any more than I have a right to destroy my neighbor’s car to “prevent” his twelve year old daughter from driving it through my front window one day. That would be a crime, and so would Israel (or the U.S.) attacking Iran.
    Oh – and Iran doesn’t HAVE to negotiate over its nuclear enrichment program. It has a perfect right to develop nuclear technology for domestic use.

  30. John Francis Lee

    Juan Cole and, sadly I have discovered, Helana Cobban are apologists for Barack Imperial America Obama. The only real difficulty for either of them seems to have been the figure cut by the previous administration.
    They both like the cut of Obama’s jib. They, like he, believe in Manifest Destiny and America’s Burden. Or they don’t, but accept it as the ineluctable state of play.
    I hope that the Israeli attack on Iran does not come to pass. But all the barriers to its accomplishment have now been removed, one by one.
    Who would have believed that the US would invade Iraq prior to the Neocon putsch in 2000?
    The election in 2008 was a makeover. The means, they felt, of solidifying their gains and, having demonstrated that they can as easily control the Demoblicans as the Republicrats, of using every last pfennig of America’s wealth in pursuit of their ends.
    Looks like they’re right on target to me, at least in terms of consuming the resources of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
    I’m very disappointed. Furious, really. Why can we not even try to break the gyre?

  31. jawbone

    I’m thinking trial balloon and Obama and Biden are playing good cop/bad cop (Biden being the heavy).
    It’s not “loose lips” when the guy says the same thing three times and very much the same way each time.
    Sounds like Iran better make nice or…the US will let slip the Israeli dogs of war.

  32. JES

    Israel most emphatically does NOT have the “sovereign right” to “preventatively” attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, or anything else Iranian any more than I have a right to destroy my neighbor’s car to “prevent” his twelve year old daughter from driving it through my front window one day.
    I love it. Somehow, Biden’s words that Israel has the soveriegn right to makes its own decisions (whether or not the US Administration agrees) has morphed into that Israel has the sovereign right to attack another soveriegn state.

  33. Titus

    I am with Brad and jawbone, it is pretty obvious that using Israel as a stick has the advantage that you pretend you cannot control your doberman, and doesn’t require Congress to be in the loop. The Iranian responses will be against Israel, or be deniable terrorism, they are not stupid to pick up a frontal fight with the US by attacking the US military in Iraq. Somehow that Iranian rationality is beyond Helena and she keeps regurgitating that line about harm to troops. And doesn’t she think that protection from Iran was considered in 2003 when the US invaded Iraq? Or they were counting on Ahmadinejad’s gentleman’s word? Please.
    My prayers are for a successful operation if there is one, and for quiet sleep every night from the operation on. If we get Israel to do the dirty work I would retract any criticism I have made of Obama and will nominate him as King Obama the first.

  34. Salah

    Israel’s interests are in the middle of the “yes-no” spectrum.

    The threats of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad provide all the moral justification necessary for a severe pre-emptive strike, including a willingness to absorb considerable damage and casualties in whatever response and escalation occurs. On the other hand, it would be nice to avoid damage, and hope that rationality prevails among the Iranians who make decisions. Threats, bluster, news leaks, and invented stories of Israeli-Saudi cooperation might have some deterrent effect on Iran. Life is not good for the average Iranian, and the recent commotion may not be the end of the protests. A continuation of sanctions, even at their current modest levels, may have some effect.

    We will not know in advance.

    Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
    Department of Political Science
    Hebrew University

  35. Biden Sucks

    biden should be impeached for his lack of understanding of what a STATESMAN IS.
    being s zionist areshole is not the kind of jacka** we need telling another government to start another war we don’t need. Just ask April Glaspie, who told Saddam; “yeah, go ahead into Kuwait, we don’t have a problem with that…the U.S. doesn’t have a problem with that..”
    Biden should resign or be impeached. He’s incompetently a ZIONIST WAR MONGERING A**HOLE!

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