Iran may be tied to 9/11, how should the US respond

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=1504&e=1&u=/afp/20040717/pl_afp/us_attacks_iran

If this is true how should the US respond? We can’t afford another $200 billion war that will alienate the entire world. So what else can we do?

Invoke the NATO mutual defense clause, as (if true) the US was attacked by another country? Not that we COULD do that now, but thats what we SHOULD do…if its true. I’ll wait and see what comes out. Certainly makes us look stupid for having gone into Iraq when (if) it was Iran that was the true enemy.

-XT

If the link is well-proven, I would hope that the world would agree that an attack would be justified. In this case at least, perhaps we wouldn’t alienate the world.

Boy, if it’s true, Iran sure pulled one off. Successful major attack on the “Great Satan”, and the payback goes to it’s bitter enemy Iraq.

War with Iran > War with Iraq. Different ballpark.

Anyway, the US intelligence gathering organizations aren’t exactly on the “trust” side of the ledger, with their epic fuckups from the past 3 years. I’ll trust it as far as I can throw it.

I think “true enemy” might be overstating the case a bit. We know who was primarily responsible for September 11th. Iran being linked to Al Qaeda certainly makes a lot more sense than Iraq. One wonders why this didn’t make any impact on the plans for Iraq. :rolleyes:

I think we should invade them. Blow everything up and “secure” their oil. Oh, and free all the citizens. What?! You got any better ideas?

Step 1: Verify the facts.
Step 2: Share the proof with the UN.
Step 3: Gather UN and general international consensus, build a coalition.
Step 4: Blow the living shit out of 'em.

And I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the first three steps.

Bush/Cheney 2004: “Hey, we only missed it by one letter.”

Well I suppose we could invoke the standard options of: A) Do nothing and hope it all goes away, B) Invoke useless sanctions that will only harm the Iranian citizens, or C) Use covert forces to cause a coup and install a dictatorship (seemingly) more friendly towards the US/Europe, or D) Toss a few Tomahawks at them and fuckinforgetaboutit. Its worked so well after all for the last half century or so after all…

-XT

We don’t need much help with that.

I agree that “true enemy” is a bit of a harsh term. Granting right of passage to Al Qaeda, while certainly “helping” them, isn’t being directly involved in the plots and working with Al Qaeda.

As far as Iran trying to actually work with Al Qaeda, we’d need to see a lot of evidence. Like Saddam attacking us, it doesn’t make any sense; they know we can beat the crap out of them. Risking that before they have nukes isn’t quite the most brilliant move they could make.

Oh, I agree completely…I’m FAR from convinced here. I’m taking a wait and see approach like I’ve taken with everything else thats come out about the ME since 9/11. There is so much misinformation and so many wheels within wheels and fuck your buddy going on over there (and here too…and in Europe) that its really hard to get any kind of realistic handle on whats going on anymore…if it ever really WAS possible.

-XT

Another note for the skeptics out there; while Iran and Al Qaeda are indeed theoretically aligned against the same enemy (the US), Iran and Arabs don’t mix all that well on their own. Cesium and water come to mind. Iran doesn’t hate us that much to risk complete demolition to give a bunch of Arab rebels a PR boost, I think.

And of course, #3 is one of those things always easily accomplished. The question is what happens if #3 proves impossible?

This makes Iran’s moves toward becoming nuclear power seem a lot smarter, doesn’t it?

I’m not saying I’ll give Bush/Cheney a free pass on evidence, but I don’t need all that much convincing to believe that Iran and Al Qaeda would team up. They do at least share ideological goals, and Iran is a fixture on the State Department’s terrorism sponsors. I’ll put it this way: I never believed Saddam would cooperate with Al Qaeda, and I can’t say that here.

I don’t know if ANY of those steps are possible now. #1 - 3 because our credibility is so low over Iraq’s WMD and Al Qaeda ties, and #4 because our military is spread thin at the moment.

I strongly suspect that if we can sustain #2, then #3 won’t be so tough. And I think #3 is rather easy, if the proof in number #2 is overwhelming and undeniable.

Granted, our credibility is severely weakened, which is again why the proof has to be overwhelming and undeniable. And with an international coalition, troop strength should be much less of an issue (if the world is behind us, we’ll find the resources).

Short of having irrefutable proof and international support, I would be hard pressed to support much more than the tomahawk lob.

Who is “al Queda”? Do they have a membership roster and a centralized command structure? Can ObL negotiate on their behalf, and instruct his adherents to fall into line accordingly? When the Bushiviks tell us they have eliminated 75% of their leadership, are they talking out of their ass? How would we know?

Is Iran supportive of Islamic movements, terrorist or otherwise. Sure thing, you bet they are. But when terrorists who supported our political views were murdering nuns and archbishops, did we do anything beyond a mildly voiced “Tut tut!” Have we any claim to righteous indignation when another state supports a trans-national movement we disapprove of?

There is, according to reports, a secularized democratic movement in Iran, which we can best support by not supporting. Anyone who is tainted with American support has no chance of being heard. And any move we make to punish or threaten Iran will only strengthen their hand.

Lord help us, it may very well be that the only course of action that makes sense is one of relatively passive self defense, do what we can to secure ourselves from attack, and restrain our vengeful instincts. It may be the only rational course, but any politician who advances such a position is doomed. But you cannot launch an artillery barrage against an incoming fog.

Some problems have no solutions but patience and endurance, the qualities we have in least abundance.

I thought there was a whole Sunni vs. Shi’ite issue with Iran and Al Qaeda buddying up-- like some reports (I’ll try and dig up a cite) that among Al Qaeda’s beefs (beeves?) is that we tend support the Shi’ites, who they think of as apostate. Taliban-led Afghanistan had very poor relations with Iran. So why would Al Qaeda go to Iran for help?

The Iraqi power structure was largely Sunni, who tend to be more sophisticated and secular that Shia, in much the same way that Episcopalians are more so than Baptists. (These are very rough analogies, just sketches, actually…) ObL is aligned with a very, very fundamentalist sect called the Wahabbists, who are connected to the Saudi royal family in a combination blackmail/suicide pact. The Wahhabists are not the only such super-strict group in Islam, but there is little hope of exploiting their theological differences, they are entirely unified on one point: us.

Iranians, on the other hand, are largely Shia. But more importantly, they are ethnicly distinct, being Persians and not Arabs. Most people I read discount the possibility of Iraqi Shia being real cozy with Iranian Shia. Ties of blood and clan come first, religious doctrine is way down the list.

Your humble correspondent pretends no great expertise in these subjects, and will cheerfully defer to anyone who demonstrates more knowledge. Hell, I got cousins who are Baptists waiting for the Rapture, and I don’t understand them for shit either!

The glimmer of a democratic foundation and a (relatively) well educated populace yearning to breathe free represents a better potential for a future democratic ME nation than Iraq, there is no doubt. But religion still plays a controlling role in the political power structure. At least Iran holds out hope for successful democratic nation-building.

Not that I’m advocating that…we may have enough trouble completing Step #1.

Nevermind the turmoil surrounding our intelligence services, which have been totally embarrased- I think you’re being very charitable in assuming that anybody is going to support us at this point. The Blair government did, and they look like fools for doing so. I don’t think our major allies are going to take that risk right now. Maybe if they were convinced Iran posed a big-time threat to them, it could happen. But I think to the UN, this government is the Boy Who Cried Wolf.