It looks like no US personnel were killed in last night’s missile attack. Steve M thinks that Republicans are going to declare victory and move on, with Trump dancing on Soleimani’s grave during campaign rallies. So maybe we won’t have big lasting consequences from the latest Trump blunder. What say you?
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Formerly disgruntled in Oregon
Yeah, it’s logical.
I just hope it’s not wishful thinking that the fallout will be so limited.
My biggest fear right now is that we won’t be able to take relative victory as being good enough and keep mocking Trump until he feels compelled to strike again.
Since we have two in the family on active duty, with 6 deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and “eastern Africa” between them, I hope to God this is it.
There will likely be other Iranian actions, harder to trace, at times and places of their choosing.
And I think Trump plans to speak this morning? Will be hard to get him not to spike the football.
And Pompeo, Giuliani, and others will still want war with Iran.
And, of course, Trump could always cause another crisis. Don’t forget that he caused this one.
I understand that Pompeo and Pence were the cheerleaders for the assassination of Soleimani. We’ve all been thinking that it’s Trump who wants to wag the dog, but of course Pence and Pompeo are also implicated in the Ukraine thing up to their eyebrows. I don’t buy the “rapture” thing. They don’t seriously believe in that. They want to keep their power.
I am praying for some wisdom to descend on our “leaders.”
Many on twitter would like to see Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric in the front lines.
Some people lurch from crisis to crisis. Trump struts.
And, of course, the warmongering press. Dana Priest looks like a good person to follow on that.
Ultimately, this feels like a peak Trump moment: do something bad that could have awful consequences, back down at the last second, want a reward for stopping the crisis that he created. Even still, I’ll give him a cookie if it means no war.
Depends on which Fox News programs Trump saw last. If he watched Hannity, he’ll want to start WWIII. If he watched Fox & Friends this morning, he’ll use the “address to the nation” to blame Obama for the crisis and sing his own praises
ETA: CNN just said Trump’s “address” will be at 11 AM. My guess is his aides are still slapping him awake after an epic Adderall and foreign Sudafed binge.
@Betty Cracker: Oh the joys of having an impulsive child running 1/3 of the world’s most powerful government.
Hillary, why couldn’t you have just winged it at the debates? /S
I’m sure they’ll be calm and reassuring, explaining our logical goals, showing a path to achieve them, and won’t have any moments of taunting or gloating.
Actually, we probably are likely to get “Good Trump” today which will be dumb but not frothing at the mouth.
@Cheryl Rofer: Good time to check on today’s deli counter specials at the store. I think I need more lunch meat.
This is the end of the public phase of Iranian response.
The next response will be three weeks from now, when Trump Tower Mumbai mysteriously catches fire after a gas explosion in the kitchens.
According to Trump’s Razor: “ascertain the stupidest possible scenario that can be reconciled with the available facts” and that answer is likely correct.
The Iranians are ‘playing the game’- a reaction calculated to defuse the situation. (And allow further actions at points of their own choosing) Maybe they, too, don’t realize Trump is an ignoramus who does not understand, know, or care abt rules, balanced response, anything!!??? Or are they relying on people in DoD (hopeful they aren’t foolish enough to have any faith in dollhand’s inner circle) to ratchet down the situation?
You can get plenty of baloney if you stay home and tune in.
Iranians don’t want full scale war and they want more international support and leverage.
I don’t care if we lucked out. I don’t care what he has to say at 11. I’m still visiting his final resting place for a well-deserved “tribute” when the time comes.
Ceci n est pas mon nym
Good morning, BJ. I took a self-imposed mental-health moratorium from the news beginning around Dec 23 and the first thing I saw when I peeked back into news was this Iran crap. So I bailed out and have only gradually got back into reading news, especially Trump-related stories.
The Trump-administration diet of daily outrage and existential fear for the nation is very hard to get back into once you get off the hamster wheel. (Did I cram too many round metaphors into a square peg there?)
Ceci n est pas mon nym
Far too many of those Pavlovian droolers have column space in newspapers and airtime on TV.
@germy: More of a Polish ham guy.
OT – I’m getting an ad for pizza ovens. More like this please. :)
Since ‘The Far Side’ returned, there have been lots of appropriate links. Here’s one:
Jim, Foolish Literalist
all the smart people say Iran will bide its time, let everybody get complacent, then hit in an asymmetric way
the probability that trump will be as obnoxious as he will in his triumphalist probably won’t go unnoticed
Couple of problems still to contend with as a result of Trump’s fun little game of international hornet nest whacking: Iran has pretty much declared that the JCPOA is dead and that it will forge ahead with its nuclear program. That’s not good. Second, while the mullahs who run Iran were no doubt outraged by Soleimani’s killing, they were almost certainly also high-fiving each other behind closed doors. This was an unprecedented gift right at a moment when the popular anger against them was starting to boil over. Now everyone’s back on the “Death to America” bandwagon and rallying behind the ayatollah. They will almost certainly use this “national emergency” to further crack down on dissent and entrench their power.
That this was for Iranian TV. What is coming next won’t be near so photogenic.
@MattF: LOL Well done, Mr. Larson.
Good piece by Margaret Sullivan. I hadn’t expected to laugh while reading it, but I found this line funny:
New Deal democrat
I have been trying to game out Iran’s response ever since Friday. Here’s a few points:
1. Just to be clear, Iran miscalculated too. They kept poking the bear and not getting a response, so they got more and more aggressive. Well, they finally got their response. Probably not the one they wanted.
2. Further on the same point, Trump has made very clear in the past that he doesn’t understand why the US doesn’t make use of its nuclear weapons. We are at most two more rounds of escalation before Trump impulsively decides to use one.
3. Presumably (hopefully?) Iran’s decision-makers know that too. So here’s their quandary: how do they hit back to the assassination of their senior General enough to be a reasonable retaliation from their point of view, without escalating the situation so that Trump starts to consider even more extreme measures (see #2 above)?
4. Last night’s response looks calculated to fit into the narrow slot of #3 above, all the while preserving their freedom of action do retaliate further if they feel like it.
5. If I am Iran, I look for Iraq’s leadership to follow up on the demand for US troops to leave by setting a timetable. I maybe also discreetly help the Taliban in Afghanistan inflict more punishment on the US deployment there to get those troops out as well. And maybe I play footsie with Putin to get him to help Trump see the light to pull out of Syria. In short, not taking further hostile action now can accomplish Iran’s longer term aims without escalation.
6. Once the US is out of Iraq, and probably Afghanistan too, the US is deprived of a platform to meaningfully attempt a land war on Iranian soil.
7. If the Democrats beat Trump in November, and he and his family are out of the White House in January 2021, he no longer has access to the nuclear button. *That* is when, to quote a mobster movie, “revenge is a dish best served cold,” perhaps very personally.
I had occurred to me to wonder whether or not the Iranians were themselvs behind the intel on Soleimani. Not saying they were, just that it would make a certain sense for them.
@germy: He rides a golf cart. The media describes his pantload waddle as a strut.
@germy: No idea. If I were them I’d engage in some more sabotage on KSA oil facilities etc in a deniable fashion. Sending oil past $100/barrel would leave a mark.
ETA and I am thinking along the lines of an “industrial accident” caused by an agent working at a facility, not another drone attack via proxy.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I’m sure he’ll be a model sobriety, gravity and restraint in discussing his foreign policy
Various reporting indicates they deliberately missed. They could have landed those missiles on barracks and mess tents. They landed them in an empty field. They could have blown the shit out of the place. They didn’t. They just let us know they can.
“Counting coup” is only scalping, taking your dead enemies’ hair – a unique white-man’s tradition – in the movies. That’s just mutilating the dead. Stealing your sleeping enemies’ horse, or a lock of his hair, is “counting coup”.
@jonas: On the nuclear agreement, check this out. It’s not dead unless Trump wants it to be.
I suspect that Trump is curled up in a fetal position under his desk.
It’s a day ending in “y”.
The Vegas over/under says Dolt 45 will take Iran’s restrained “show of force”, as an opportunity to denigrate Iran further, ( “their” ( insert demeaning adjective here) missiles can’t hit anything, “our” missiles kill millions),
and the side bet is at 1:7 that Mini Himmler Miller slips sove variation of “raghead” or “towelhead” into the speech.
Meanwhile, all anti-ISIL Operations are frozen, training and assist missions are frozen, Coelition Forces are still transiting from embedded and forward positions to defendable bases, German, France, Britain, Canada and the rest of NATO are condemning US actions, will not assist if things escalate, and are laying assets in place to evacuate troops, police, and everybody else.
I wonder if this will be like Yemen, when the Chinese Navy evacuated American citizens?
I find the administration’s assertion that timidity invites further aggression to be interesting. Apparently they don’t realize that that cuts both ways.
150 foot CEP.
Blast radius out to 1500 feet, so yeah.
4 allegedly failed, but unlike Tomahawks, none seem to have missed their targets in Iraq entirely, and wound up in Turkey and Syria instead.
@hilts: I doubt that. To the extent he has the ability to think and reason, he is more likely to be thumping his chest and getting ready to preen for the cameras.
@Ten Bears:That is a great point. Thank you. Didn’t “counting coup” start as an elaborate native ‘game’ of touch tag as war? In the Northeast, I heard the tradition was to touch your enemy with your war club (get close enough to do it) rather than beating them to death with it?
I remember we did the same thing to the Ruskies in Syria. Ok, you dropped mustard gas and petrol bombs onto civilians. We will retaliate by attacking the airfield you used for the operation!! We hit some out buildings, no one was liked (or even injured?) And we somehow entirely missed the runway or aircraft facilities.
I hate to quote him, but;
@Hawes: WTF India is roiled with protests, the RWNJs are tearing the country apart, why would you wish this on Mumbai even in jest. Fuck you.
It’s not going to last. Something will come up to make trump freak out and order more strikes on Iran. The impeachment process is not going away.
trump is a barely-functioning addict. he’s going to want his next high.
Pence will also be at the “address,” or so CNN tells me. Will the VP’s loving spaniel gaze play the role of a security blanket? Or will Trump outsource the non-braggy parts of the speech to Pence because Trump can’t read a teleprompter for more than a few minutes without glazing over and mispronouncing simple words?
We are officially in the timeline where IRAN is the rational actor on the global stage.
@Betty Cracker: Maybe Pence will deploy the Stern Glare of Manliness that he used oh so successfully at the Korean DMZ a century or three ago.
So, update to comment #44:
So, the missiles were either programmed to arm shortly before target impact, ( arming circuit tied to the navigation system or track profile to minimize casualties if it goes astray), or the warhead failed to dentonate, ( less likely).
Don’t exaggerate. They’re simply the less irrational actor.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
asymmetric possibility: Adam Davidson states as a fact that IRGC money was laundered in trump’s Azerbaijani project.
What does Iran have to lose by leaking proof of that?
all depends, still, on how focused Iran is on trump as opposed to the US
@Baud: This. And if their goal is getting US troops out of Iraq, Trump’s actions have helped that tremendously.
Yes, we did. (What is luck, on a large scale?)
The unbearable lightness of luck: Three sources of overconfidence in the manageability of nuclear crises (Benoît Pelopidas, 2017, 23 pages)
It is about the failures of French scholarship regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis.
See also Why No Mushroom Clouds? (Michael Krepon, December 16, 2019)
@Ten Bears: Read hrs ago that scalping started in French and Indian War when either French or British wanted Natives to supply scalps of dead to prove number of enemy killed
So a ‘savage’ act came from the ‘civilized’ whites
@PaulWartenberg: Ummm, Iran was also the rational actor in 2003 when they offered to help Bush oppose BinLaden and alQaeda.
We said ‘fuck you’ to them then, instead.
Certainly not an expert, but I think this was a semi-brilliant move, if it works, by the Iranians to defuse or deescalate the current situation. I think it would be extraordinarily naïve to think that means it’s over for them, in regard to Soleimani. They wanted the Shah’s body back after he died. But also it seems to me they’ve gained a lot already (American isolation on this matter, possible eviction from Iraq, etc) and the more rationally and moderately they act right now, the better they look to everybody. I also just don’t think Trump has any idea what he’s dealing with here and agree with the person above who said one future action from Iran might be aimed at him or his family, after his finger is no longer on the nuclear trigger. I’m reminded of a great old film The Long Good Friday. First time I ever saw or heard of Bob Hoskins. He’s a big London mobster – big enough to try to get the Olympics for Great Britain. One of his underlings holds up and kills some IRA guys. As they begin to get revenge, he hands out guns (hey, it’s England) to his crew to try to find out who is after him. The IRA blows up his restaurant.
The photos of the Saudi oil storage tanks with holes carefully in the centers, does seem to stand in contrast with last night’s missiles. of course that attack on the Saudi Oil fields was claimed by the Houthis
@Ladyraxterinok: YEARS AGO!!!
@Bill Arnold: It’s way too early to decide that we were lucky. Another day that didn’t result in as big a catastrophe as it might have is not my idea of being lucky. We have a long, long way to go.
@Ladyraxterinok: Originally, they wanted heads, but heads are bulky and harder to preserve.
Iran has been a rational actor on the World Stage for decades.
Usually, under Democratic Party Presidents the US has been “more rational”, but even on the Democratic Party side, the “butthurt” from the Iranian Revolution has taken a long time to dissapate (for some).
Funny thing is, a crapload of that butthurt on the Democratic Party side should have been targetted at the ReThugs,…..
It’s my hope that when our esteemed leaders of the military give Trump options in the future that they learn from this and no longer include options that are insane. I was a little shocked to hear they tagged that assassinate option on to the list to make the other options appear better. They should know not to try to use that type of reasoning with this Moron In Chief.
Fingers crossed that Trump tries to do a victory lap. (Not an actual victory lap – he wouldn’t get halfway through it.)
Some good news in India on the electoral front, BJP continues its string of losses in district level elections. They have lost their stronghold of Nagpur. Nagpur is where the Sangh (RSS) headquarters are. The man who writes PM NM’s script, Mohan Bhagwat, is here.
“Iran” has always been a rational actor, wanting what was “best” for Iran, as they viewed events from Iran. They have always played chess.
some US Administrations have played chess, but most played either “21” or “Go Fish”.
It’s a day-by-day thing, yes. (Might want to skim the armscontrolwonk piece.)
they should have known from the beginning not to add on that option, but they did,
and even though it was “unthinkable”, they still followed “orderz”, from top to bottom.
pretty sure by now, ( 17+ never ending, copy paste, whack a mole wars of choice for over 30 years now), the JCS, Pentagon, what remains of State and the rest of the MIC is incapable of “learning”.
good, I wish things happened faster for India, but, good.
Kick the bums out.
I think Iran decided to de-escalate and hit low priority targets that would have no casualties on purpose. They know the US media has the attention span of a gnat. 45 never looks ahead and thinks about anything past his own conceited nose. They are betting on him making an ass out of himself and further alienating our European and ME allies. They have been playing the long game in looking like the sane reasonable partner vs. Israel for a while. Nobody has any empathy and patience for the US bungling foreign policy anymore. Don’t believe for one instance Iran believes this is over. They are just more subtle than the Sauds.
Did we luck out? You know, the thing the GOP doesn’t *ever* seem to comprehend is just *how* stupid Trump makes us look.
Iran had, very reluctantly, agreed to the nuclear deal.
Trump comes along, insisting he can make a better deal, and withdraws from it. Of course, anyone who knows any thing will recognize how stone cold stupid this is; it was an involuntary deal from Iran’s point of view, why should they just give up additional concessions, because some cranky old man thinks he’s smart? Do you let a car salesman increase the price of the car while you’re trying to drive it off the lot, with all the paperwork signed? No; so why did anyone except Trump think that would work?
(Oh, come now – sure, there was RW blather suggesting it was a terrible deal, but that was because it was the Obama administration’s work; that’s the fun thing for RWers; you never need *facts*. But not even the RW dunderheads actually thought ripping it up was a good idea; they just needed the rubes to think the Obama deal was bad.)
So then, one day, he assassinates an Iranian military hero, which is stupid, unplanned, and could cause massive chaos. Not only is he an untrustworthy negotiator, with dumbass ideas, he’s also a loose cannon with no regard for consequences; he’s the kind of moron who pardons murderers, and parades them around as heroes, and, his political party parades around calling him a brilliant leader and statesman, who is being unfairly attacked in the press.
And, Republicans – I’m not sure if you get this, but: ALL YOUR RUBES ARE AMERICANS! The REST OF THE ENTIRE PLANET, 6.7 BILLION PEOPLE? Yeah – they’re not your rubes, they don’t listen to your lamebrain propaganda. They see what kind of complete and total moron you’re parading about, claiming he’s an actual *hero*.
Yeah. We’re not lucking out; we may have stanched the blood flow from this pointless, self-inflicted wound, *if* we’re really lucky, but we’ve still proven that we’re following a moron, and half the nation is too stupid to realize it.
(Flashback to a Doonesbury punchline:
“You’re a cynical man…”
“TELL ME ABOUT IT!”)
I'll be Frank
@zhena gogolia: front line of what, coke? I would have done a spit take had I been drinking. That family wouldn’t ever get near anything resembling service, that’s for the suckers.
I read a long thread by Yasher Ali last night about how it’s not all over and Iran will be playing the long game. It made me think that for the first time, Iran (or anyone else with a grudge) now have targets that directly impact the Orange One himself – his property empire. It wouldn’t surprise me to see an attack, or even the threat of one, on a property with the Trump name on it, months down the line.
Much easier targets to hit than embassies or other US interests and not guarded by US military either. In fact, pay the entrance fee and they’ll wave you in.