Jan 23, 2006

The Height Of Hyperbole

Left: Map of Iran's missile capability courtesy of indepundit.com

(Manhattan, KS) President Bush, addressing students at Kansas State University, said that he believes Iran poses a "grace threat" to world peace, as well as this gem:

"The world cannot be put in a position where we can be blackmailed by a nuclear weapon."

I, too, am concerned about the buildup of nuclear arms in the Middle East and Central Asia. However, "the world" will not be blackmailed if Iran is able to develop nuclear weapons.

Tel Aviv, perhaps. Baghdad, certainly. But not the world.

While not as reckless as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "wiping Israel off the map" comments, President Bush nonetheless engaged in rhetorical overstatement that is most likely designed to begin the process of building support for military action in the Middle East.

Iran lacks the means to deliver a long-range nuclear payload; its Shahab-3 missile has a maximum range of only 1,500 kilometers (about 931 miles). In addition, its tests with the Shahab-3 have been at best partially successful, and one test in 1998 resulted in a Shahab-3 exploding 100 seconds after liftoff.

Getting a weapon to a target is only half of the equation, however. While Iran will likely produce enough nuclear material for weapons within a year, it will likely be several years before they perfect the technological process to begin arming missiles.

Mr. President: while I share your concern for the proliferation of nuclear arms, I believe that your statement only increases tensions in an already-volatile region. Save the hyperbole for your golf game or the Super Bowl.


Anonymous said...

Bush just wants to invade Iran and uses nukes as a reason for doing so.

Lisa Renee said...

President Bush seems especially "rhetorical" today with not only the Iran topic other statements today as well.

I agree that Iran just like Iraq was more of a threat to Israel than the US. I also feel that other nations, Pakistan as one example are more of a potential threat given they already do have nuclear weapons and there is some concern of their continued stability as a government.

historymike said...

Yes, Pakistan could fall into civil war at any time, Lisa.

We may not like the mullahs in Iran, but they have been a stable government for almost 30 years.

Pakistan has been averaging a coup about every 6 years since the partition.

McCaskey said...

Good topic, HM. The anti-Iran rhetoric by the administration is getting more heated weekly...but it's hard to imagine we can do anything large-scale while we're mired in Iraq....our "friends" in the region may become more involved in this one...

historymike said...

I think everyone agrees that another member of the nuclear club is a bad thing, especially in the Middle East.

I worry that the Iraq conflict will widen into a major regional war or - God forbid - a third World War.

liberal_dem said...


Be afraid, very afraid!

I will protect you.

Listen to me and do not think.

Be afraid.

Very afraid!

liberal_dem said...

Apparently Laura has been reading Orwell to him as a bedtime story.

Stephanie said...

Okay, if this was Watchblog I'd be lmao about now.


I'm very much hoping y'all weren't among those who used Iran as an argument that Iraq was the wrong war.

It went something like this: We shouldn't have attacked Iraq, because now we lack the resources to make sure Iran doesn't get any of those nasty nukes.

Sound familiar?

Stephanie said...

Now that Big Bad Bush is using some of the same nonsense (though, he obviously isn't going to call Iraq a mistake) liberals are making the exact opposite argument from the ones they made a few months back.

(Not all of them, granted, and I'm not including y'all in that statement, since I haven't seen you make the argument that Iraq was a mistake because IRAN is the REAL threat. This is NOT a personal attack, though I must admit I find the whole thing suspicously fishy.)

Personally, I got worked up when Iraq *omigosh* was going after WMD. I got worked up when *omigosh* NV was going after nukes. (All in my pre-VOID days when I was just getting my feet wet in this whole political b.s.) Now...nukes are like a really cool toy your child wants, and want, and wants, until they finally get it...and put it up on a shelf, saying it's just too cool to play with?

Destructive? Yes. Dangerous? Yes. NOT a good toy to be passing around to all the little kiddies? Yes. But....honestly, both sides seem way too Chicken Little to me now.

Not to mention...um...hypocritical.

historymike said...


No, I don't think Iran would have been the "right" war.

I am more concerned that Iran will be used as the basis for widening the war in the Middle East, and that Bush may get us into a major regional war (or perhaps WWIII).

And yes, there is quite an element of hypocrisy when a nuclear nation like the US whines about other nations trying to get nukes.

Dan Kauffman said...

I hate to tell you this but Iran has gotten some new missle technology from North Korea, better make that closer to 4k kilometers.

Not in the real near future but the not too distant future.


IRIS 2,3 liquid,solid 3,500-3,750 (2 stage)
4,000-4,300 (3 stage) -- -- LRICBM 2.2 Indigenously developed system with similar performance to the Soviet SS-5. May also flown by North Korea (Taep'o-dong-2).

liberal_dem said...

Not all of them, granted, and I'm not including y'all in that statement, since I haven't seen you make the argument that Iraq was a mistake because IRAN is the REAL threat.

OK, Stephanie, here it is: the Iraq War was a mistake. Well, not a 'mistake' in the sense of naive foolishness. The war was planned by the neocons [Wolfowitz, Perle, Cheney, Rumsfeld] who talked the naive governor of Texas into it.

Now, as a result of this stupidity, Bush is now standing by the fence post with his pants down because he has painted himself into a corner.

Wiser folks would have advised him otherwise and a wiser president would have been able to make more astute judgements.

Now there. Does that satisfy you? You did note my moniker, didn't you?

Dan Kauffman said...

Oh and how about a small Ocean going ship with a complement of Shahid pulling up to the Coast of Israel, Italy, France, Greece? etc

That is a device they can deliver.

Remember it took two tries to take down the World Trade Towers?

And they were pretty plain about their intentions.

The President of Iran has made his intentions plain as well.

It would be wise to take him seriously

Calico Jack said...

When Iran begins building a nuclear whiz-bang, the question becomes 'who is going to take Iran out' and not 'if'. If no one else will act, I'm pretty sure that Israel will eradicate the reactor. I believe that Israel bombed Iraq in the not too distant past for that very reason.

Lisa Renee said...

I believe Israel will bomb Iran, they already have discussed plans to do so. Chances are just like 1981, very little will happen as far as sanctions. It would however seriously ramp up the hatred of Israel to an all time high, but that probably won't stop them. Unless something drastic happens and Pakistan is taken over by a government that supports Iran there would be no real threat of retaliation.

historymike said...


The Shahab-5, as you noted, is still in the experimental stage; that is why I only listed their current capabilities with the Shaahb-3. The Shahab-5 is also based upon notoriously inaccurate North Korean technology, but if the goal was to hit a major population center, the Shahab-5 would probably suffice.

Yes, the Iranians could develop ship-mounted ballistic missile systems, but they are not yet at that stage. Also, given our heavy presence in the Gulf, it is doubtful that the Iranians would be able to pull this off without US knowledge.

the hulk said...

Hulk Smash Iran Nukes!

Hooda Thunkit said...


”Tel Aviv, perhaps. Baghdad, certainly. But not the world.”

Doesn’t that depend more on how the bomb is detonated? Detonation at different altitudes and depending on wind currents, etc. has a large influence on how far and where the fallout will travel. Depending on how evil the intent, much damage could be done…

”Mr. President: while I share your concern for the proliferation of nuclear arms, I believe that your statement only increases tensions in an already-volatile region.’

To which, I must add my own fervent Amen!

I couldn’t agree more.

Maybe this time we should let someone with more to lose (say, Israel) defend themselves from this emerging threat. As I recall, they’re quite good at it…

Anonymous said...

A set-piece conventional attack on or invasion of Iran will not work. The country is too populous, too mountainous, and its military too well established for such an attack to work, considering that our troops have been over-worked due to multiple rotations in Iraq.

Unlike Iraq, there is an organized opposition on the ground in Iran. However, a conventional attack will drive this opposition right into the arms of the mullahs. Instead, we should use the CIA, backed up by Special Ops troops, to assist the opposition in taking power. In the '50s, Kermit Roosevelt and the CIA led the opposition in a textbook operation to restore the Shah to the throne after he'd been overthrown by Mohammed Mossadegh.

Stephanie said...


(Yes, I noticed your moniker)

You can choose to believe and say whatever you wish. That's you're right as an American.

I felt the need to point out the hypocrisy.

If you choose to embrace it, that's your choice and you're welcome to it.

Stephanie said...


"I am more concerned that Iran will be used as the basis for widening the war in the Middle East, and that Bush may get us into a major regional war (or perhaps WWIII)."

Oh, I certainly fear that as well. My point was that, as far as a few months ago, it was the Dems calling for that very thing in my experience. Now that Bush has actually said it (which was stupid, since the ONLY way he can attack Iran with any chance of success is to bomb the hell out of them...probably using some sort of small-time nuclear weapon???) it's ironic to watch the Dems flip to the other side.

historymike said...

Yes, the Dems made a lot of pointless remarks revolving around statements like: "Bush invaded the wrong country."