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Friday, February 1, 2019

Wormtongue



The first method for estimating intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
-- Niccolo Machiavelli


President Camacho weighs in.




You know, in retrospect, that’s an unfair comparison.

In the movie Idiocracy, President Camacho was a decent person.

He sincerely wanted to be a good leader for all of his people, but he also knew that he was a moron in a nation of morons.

He didn’t know much, but he knew that.

And so Camacho set out to surround himself with those smarter than himself, a key plot point of the film.

Real life president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt once famously said, “I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” In that light, maybe Camacho wasn’t so dumb after all.

Unlike the current, and all too horribly real, resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Trump thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room and he’s managed to convince a bunch of idiots of this. A guy who doesn't know the difference between an adverb describing location and a possessive pronoun (“There economy…” Where economy? There! There economy! And I digress with apologies to Mel Brooks) thinks he’s more intelligent and better informed than the US Intelligence Community.

And once again, his idiot supporters clap and drool in agreement without asking a single question. Trump, he’s so smart!

Speaking as a retired US intelligence officer, to see this coming from a sitting president is horrifying.

Let’s take it apart and look at it one line at a time.

The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran.

Since establishment in its current form in 1947, the US Intelligence Community has devoted extensive assets to the study and manipulation of Iran. It’s damned near an obsession of US Intelligence. In fact, one of the Central Intelligence Agency’s very first major operations was orchestration of the 1953 Iranian coup d'etat, bringing down the elected government of Prime Minister Muhammand Mossadegh and establishing a dictatorship of the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

This was, of course, about oil.

The British and American petroleum industries were angered by Mossadegh’s nationalization of Iran’s oil production, so they complained to their respective governments. And by complained I, of course, mean bribed and influenced and lobbied with whatever it took. Those governments via the CIA then conspired to put Iran into the hands of somebody more willing to cut the West a better deal. See, oil had been discovered in 1908 near Masjed Soleiman. A lot of oil. The “Anglo-Persian Oil Company” was created to exploit it. In 1935, right before the outbreak of WWII, that company was renamed the “Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.”

Now, you wonder where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Well, see, in 1954, immediately following the CIA led coup, the British and Americans no longer felt the need to keep up pretenses. They dropped the Iranians completely from the project and that company was renamed once again.

To “British Petroleum.”

That’s right.

And the guy who coordinated the whole thing, dubbed Operation Ajax, was none other than Kermit Roosevelt Jr., grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt and the top CIA officer in Iran.

Things worked out pretty well for us, for a while.

No one in America cared about oppression and authoritarianism in Iran. Nobody in the West cared what the Shah did to his own people. Nobody cared about the increasing resentment of Iranians, so long as the oil continued to flow. And so it did. Right up until the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

When it all, predictably, went to hell.

The ironic part is since that day when Islamic hardliners overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty and established an anti-Western theocracy, American intelligence led by the CIA has been bent to the task of regime change and supposed establishment of … wait, Iranian democracy?

Yeah. About that, see that guy, back in 1953? Mossadegh? He is widely considered by those who study Iran, to be the closest thing that country has ever had to a democratic leader. He was put into office by an elected parliament. He hated autocracy and he vocally and publicly championed the idea of an American-style democracy in Iran. He used his position to halt and reduce the power of the Shah … right up until he was ousted by the CIA on August 19, 1953.

Of course, by Reagan’s time, we’d completely forgotten our role in creating our own enemies.

But Iran didn’t forget and Iranians have resented America’s machinations to this very day. Since then, since Reagan, driven by Iran’s chokehold over the Straits of Hormuz and thus the world oil supply and in larger part by America’s unending willingness to do the bidding of hardliners in Israel, the US Intelligence Community has devoted enormous resources to the study of Iran.

Every single US Intelligence agency has an Iranian group.

Every branch of the US military has war plans built around endless Iranian scenarios – hell, I did such work myself.

None of this is a secret.

The details are classified, of course, but the fact that we study and plan for conflict with a nation that has declared itself our enemy is no secret at all.

There is no Marine, no Sailor, in the US military who has sailed through the Straits of Hormuz under Iranian guns who doesn’t know this.

Passive? Naïve? Nothing could be further from the truth.

They are wrong!

They are wrong.

That’s what the President of the United States said of the US Intelligence attitudes, efforts, and knowledge of our enemies.

They are wrong! There’s no ambiguation there. They are wrong.

How would he know that?

No. No, no, no. Don’t look away. Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t try to change the subject. How would he know that?

Even if true, how could the President of the United States possibly know that about the US Intelligence Community?

Do you see the implications?

The US Intelligence Community isn’t a single monolithic agency, it is sixteen separate intelligence agencies, each with a different mission, different capabilities, operating both together and in conjunction with dozens of outside intelligence organizations and information gathering agencies operated by our allies around the globe.

Trump said, “They are wrong.” He called that entire vast structure “passive” and “naïve.

How would he know that?

Because this entire structure, tens of thousands of skilled professionals, trillions of dollars in assets, a googolplex of information, gathered, processed, crosschecked, verified, refined, and compiled in an endless cycle reaches its apex with … the President of the United States.

That’s right.

The President himself commands this entire vast structure of information and intelligence – which was constructed in large part specifically to provide him with as true of picture of the world as is currently possible.

So, how does the president check the validity of that structure?

They are wrong!

By definition, to say “they are wrong!” with any confidence, he would have to have access to some information processing system that is outside, independent, of the US Intelligence Community. One that is at least as large, as powerful, as well equipped and as capable as the US/Allied Intelligence Community. Some entity capable of checking not just US intelligence assessments, but also the process of how that information is acquired and produced along with the attitudes and outlooks of US Intelligence personnel.

Who is that?

Who can do … that?

Not even the Russians have that capability.

So, who can do that to a such a degree of certainty that the President of the United States, the very Commander-in-Chief of the US Intelligence Community, would confidently trash his own people to the world?

Who?

We’ll come back to that.

“When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict."

Much different?

Much?

How is Iran different now that they know there is no point in signing a deal with the United States? I mean, if they are still are source of “potential danger and conflict” how is that different from previously?

“They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge.”

The edge? The edge of what? Above, Trump implied that since he took office, Iran has behaved differently than they did under previous Administrations. And then he immediately describes how Iran is behaving exactly the same.

“There [sic ] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran.”

Again, how does he know?

This is a guy who doesn’t even know how to operate spellcheck. So how does he know?

Where did he get this information? Not just the alleged assessment of Iran’s economy, but the part where that economy is somehow holding Iran back from greater ambitions? Since we can assume the President didn’t get it from a passive and naïve and wrong US Intelligence Community, where did this assessment come from?

Again, don’t roll your eyes. Think it through.

If the president isn’t getting his intelligence picture from US Intelligence, then where does it come from?

Who’s providing it?

Who shapes how the President of the United States sees the world? And what he tells us. And what he bases his decisions on.

It matters, you know.

In 2002, members of the George W. Bush administration, specifically Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, didn’t like the assessments provided by the US Intelligence Community. Their boss, Donald Rumsfeld thought the US Intelligence Community was passive and naïve and wrong too. So, with the approval of President Bush, they set up the Office of Special Plans (OSP) in the Pentagon. OSP operated outside of the US Intelligence Community, Feith, then Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, called it “a much needed critique” of the Intelligence Community. He called it that, because the CIA wasn’t telling Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld what they wanted to hear – i.e. that Saddam had conspired with Al Qaeda to attack the United States and that 100% for sure Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It was OSP’s job to tell these Neocons what they wanted to hear and to produce the “intelligence” necessary to convince both America and the United Nations to go to war.

And that’s exactly what they did.

You remember how that turned, right?

They were wrong.

They were fucking wrong. Wrong in every detail. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

They were wrong. Not the US Intelligence Community. Them. OSP. Bush. Cheney. Rumsfeld. Wolfowitz. All of them. They were wrong.

I know, because I was there.

I watched it happen from a front row seat.

Those of us who protested OSPs assessment were ordered to be quiet or were shouted down by those with a political agenda and an overwhelming desire for war. And after it was over, after Colin Powell lied to the United Nations and Bush lied to America and the world, after the invasion, after we killed half a million people, after not one single link between Saddam and Osama Bin Laden could be found, after not one single WMD could be found in Iraq, OSP quietly dissolved. Most of those rats disappeared, reinvented themselves, and reappeared later and are now back to skulking around the halls of power and whispering in the ears of gullible and stupid politicians yet again.

“Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!"

I’ll ask you again, where did Trump get this idea?

Where did he get the worldview that led him two days ago to call his own nation’s Intelligence community naïve and passive and wrong?


I waited.


Trump attacked the US Intelligence Community two days ago.

I waited. I waited to see what would happened.

I waited to see if the press would ask a questions. The questions.

I waited to see if congress would ask the questions.

I waited to see if America would ask the questions.

Where did the President of the United States get this information, if not from American Intelligence? Who told him? How did they know? Where did this happen? When?

Where? How? Who? What? When?

The implications here are staggering.

If true, then we are facing a serious crisis, a national security issue beyond anything else. Intelligence drives everything, security, policy, law, budget, the military, national priorities, everything. If the US Intelligence Community is wrong about something so fundamental as the threat posed by Iran – Iran for fuck’s sake – then we are facing a crisis of unprecedented magnitude.  Everything we think we know might be wrong, which means everything that depends from that knowledge could be wrong too.

Why is the Director of National Intelligence not on the carpet before Congress right now?

I mean, if they can’t get Iran right, then the odds are they likely have everything else wrong as well. 

If the President doesn’t trust American Intelligence, why should anybody else?

That’s what the President’s comment implies.

That, right there.

If true.

If true.

But, of course, it’s not true.

It’s not true in any fashion. The US Intelligence Community is neither passive nor naïve when it comes to Iran. And they are not wrong.

So, I waited.

And there it is.

The great White Whale. Thar she blows!

How did Trump know? How did he know that the US Intelligence Community was passive and naïve and wrong about Iran? There’s your answer.

I would suggest you read the COMPLETE testimony from Tuesday.

Ah. Good advice.

Too bad he didn’t follow it.

Too bad we don’t have a President who takes time to gather actual, valid information before attacking his own people.

Just concluded a great meeting with my Intel team in the Oval Office who told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media - and we are very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc

Why didn’t he know this before trashing the Intelligence Community?

Why wasn’t he briefed in advance by his own people? Why didn’t he demand such a briefing? Hell, isn’t he being regularly briefed on Iran by the Intelligence Community already?

If not? Why not? What the hell?

Why wasn’t he personally watching the testimony himself? Why wasn’t he watching the Senate hearings himself as he admonished America to do? And don’t tell me that he didn’t have the time. He had the time to tweet. He had the time to watch Fox News.

Oh yes. Fox News.

I told you we’d come back to this.

That’s where he got his information. He was watching TV instead of watching the actual hearings. Instead of being briefed by his own people. He based his attack on the US Intelligence Community on what he heard one of his favorite pundits say. He admitted it himself, it’s right there.

Their testimony was distorted press [sic].

I used to have this idiot cat who would fall asleep in some precarious position. Then inevitably, it would fall from a height, bonk! It would get up, look around, and then try to pretend that hadn’t just landed on its head like an idiot. Trump and those who surround him don’t even have that much awareness. He’s so goddamned stupid, or rather the people who he surrounds himself with (because these two tweets were threaded, something Trump himself doesn’t know how to do) are so goddamned stupid, that they don’t even realize when they incriminate themselves.

Trump tweeted an attack on his own people because of something he saw on TV – and it never occurred to him to pick up the phone and call the Director of National Intelligence and verify what he’d heard. Hell, he should have already known what his own Intelligence Community believed, because he should be briefed on it every single day.

A day later, after he publicly landed on his head, he tries to act as if it was everybody else who got it wrong. And he literally admonished America to not to do what he does every day.

“Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!"

“I value our intelligence community. Happily, we had a very good meeting, and we are all on the same page!”

The man is worse than a fool.

Trump consistently ignores the reasoned and experienced advice of experts for the honeyed whispers of evil counselors and if Trump can so consistently and so shamelessly get something like this wrong, what else does he have wrong?

What else?

That is, of course, a rhetorical question.

And you already know the answer.


Ignorance is bold and knowledge is reserved.
-- Thucydides


50 comments:

  1. Great post. Small nit for picking: thought (after Donald Rumsfeld) not though.

    Scary stuff, Jim. I still fail to understand why this man has not been removed from office. It seems so obvious.

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    1. I suspect we already know the answer to that one, too: Because the Republican Party values its power over the well being of the nation and its people, and they figure they ain't skatin' QUITE on the brink of utter disaster.

      Yet.

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  2. In 1971 I was stationed at a USHQ with a lot of firepower.

    I had a very high clearance, I could type and I could play Master's level bridge. Nominally of course the reason I spent time in a particular Vice Admiral's realm were the first two qualifications.

    I didn't know what Iran was when I went in there, but we spent a lot of time on the area.

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  3. The rat bastard is looking to give this nation away with his bullshit.

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  4. Well, that took the wind out of my sails, but for all I don't know and don't pretend to know about the military or serving in it, I do know enough that you LISTEN (at least) to your peers, your CO's, the people who know at least as much (if not far more) than you do about things. If not for anything, to at least make a more informed decision. None of this is surprising from Trump. His rampant ego mania and self-aggrandizing (I pretty sure he thinks he's an expert on everything, and his 'instincts' make him an authority on anything) are never-ending and ubiquitious. Just when you think he can't say anything more ridiculous or spout something nonsensical, he goes and does it. His ignorance truly know no bounds. The worst part is this walking Dunning-Kruger poster child (emphasis on child) is potentially risking the lives of people and our troops. Belligerence and arrogance won't get him a purple heart, let alone respect and admiration. He's like the guy who's trolling himself, yet doesn't realize it.

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  5. Thank you, Mr. Wright. Your work gives me some confidence that we are not totally screwed, that there are good people watching this idiot and calling him out and that, hopefully, he will eventually get what's coming to him before the whole country is destroyed.

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  6. I truly wish some reporter would ask him How he knows they are wrong? and what is is sources? his head would explode if that happened.

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    1. Probably something like what happen to Jim Costa would happen, or he would never give another live news conference. Which would be wise on his part. Every time he opens his mouth or types another tweet he displays his ignorance.

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  7. My grandfather worked for Aramco (Arabian American Oil Company for those who don't know) as the head tool and die engineer for many years during the late '40's and 50's. He was there in Saudi when the coup took place. He told my mom about it and said, even then, that this was going to go badly at some point.

    We all know how it went to shit, simply because of greed. You know what I believe is worse than greed? Egotistical maniacs with zero intelligence. That what we're dealing with right now. And not just one of them, but a whole damn pack of them.

    With the Iran coup, there was a plan. With these morons, there is no plan. There never will be a plan. There is nothing but chaos, and that plays right into what Putin wants. For us to be knocked back on our heels and ready to be counted out. We have to find a way to stop this before it's too late, if it isn't already.

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  8. Excellent piece and as little as I know about the intelligence agencies, even I knew some of the things you pointed out. I hate this fool and what he's doing but people like you Jim, people who are really in the know, must be apoplectic and wondering what it takes for Congress or someone to intervene. Thank you for explaining it clearly even though it makes me nauseous and scared for our future.

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  9. This the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a tweet.
    (Apologies to T.S. Eliot)

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  10. Not that it matters, at this point. But does anyone know what the hell Fox (or the voices in his head) was reporting that got him worked up? I assumed he was reacting to Haspel admitting Iran was still complying. It never occurred to me he might be reacting to disinformation. Grateful for your patience and your willingness to share with the rest of us. Damn.

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  11. Excellent. Analysis is based on facts, inferences, method, and discipline. Opinion devoid of any linkage to reality is junk--wish fullfillment. We are blind and in the grips of a raging blind king.

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  12. What more can be said about a guy who has less intellectual curiosity - and, it can easily be inferred, a substantially lower IQ - than that cat of yours? Just think, if your cat had become President, we could all be wearing hats that proclaim, "I'm With Stupid".

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  13. This guy is like your wacky uncle who spends his day expounding his wisdom on things he knows nothing about. The family considers him a harmless old crank. We suffer the hell of having him in the white house.

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  14. Their boss, Donald Rumsfeld though
    -- should be: thought (not though)

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  15. This story is told rather well in, "All the Shah's Men", by Stephen Kinzer. It was a fascinating book.

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  16. In all the higher level turnover, one person who does have Cheeto's ear is son-in-law Jared Kushner. Even without a security clearance, he has reportedly been privy to Presidential Daily Briefings, which Trump refuses to even read much less actually comprehend. Jared had a huge real estate holding that was bleeding money like a slashed artery, namely 666 Fifth Avenue. So he used his unique position as an almost Cabinet member to secure big loans from the Qataris. Saudis were unhappy but now they had some dirt on Kushner (and a bit of power).

    To me, Jared is the Wormtongue speaking in the big ear while First Daughter whispers in the other ear. All of this takes place in private, off the record, of course......family business youse unnerstans.

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  17. I'm thankful for every essay you write, Jim, as I always get an education and a clarification of history. I'm so thankful that you, as a former intelligence officer, are willing to bring such complicated issues into terms we can all comprehend. I'm fairly certain that Trump listens to Fox News because it's the most complicated information he can digest. He certainly doesn't have the intelligence, comprehension, or attention span to benefit from an actual intelligence briefing. He must have just seen Guardians of the Galaxy when he decided to form the Space Force.

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    1. No - he listens to fox because they flatter him.

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  18. "How would he know that?"

    Exactly - the POS.

    Hell of a post, Chief. As always, thanks.

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  19. Mr. Trump is obviously unhinged in some way: every time he speaks anybody sane has to wonder if he is playing some massive joke on all of us. It defies belief that anybody that stupid could become the POTUS. Two questions: since he has managed to alienate his entire intelligence community, both internal (FBI) and external (all the rest of the alphabet soup ending in "Agency"), why have these groups not just released all the dirt they have accumulated on him over the years.You cannot tell me that they don't have a "J-Edgar Hoover" file on the Great Pumpkin overripe with damning information. Second question: Why is the press giving this bozo a pass? Sure there have been some head butting with the resulting expulsions from the WH Press Corps, but I have yet to see anyone actually ask any pointed questions such as "What makes you such a damned expert? Show us the qualifications!".

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  20. Sadly, those who most need to read this, won't. Or won't get past your first admonishment to not look away.

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  21. "Not even the Russians have that capability."

    I know you think Fox News is the source of the president's opinions about the intelligence community, but he was wrong before Fox, and his opinions follow from his positions.

    Russia doesn't have the capability, but they sure as hell can manipulate data, decide what's in their interests, and feign knowledge well enough to fool the president into believing things that aren't true, like Moldova can start WWIII, Poland is invading Belarus. He can be persuaded by Russia to believe 100 impossible things before Breakfast.

    It doesn't matter that Russia doesn't have the capabilities, it only matters that Trump thinks they do.

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    1. I was thinking the same thing before the big reveal about Fox News. When Jim asked how Trump knew that the intelligence Community was wrong, my immediate thoughts went right to Putin. Russia is playing Trump like a goddamn puppet in my opinion.

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  22. I'll bet you he's a really bad boardgamer, and further, an absolutely pitiful wargamer. No matter what he says.

    Thank you, Jim, for yet another great essay.

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  23. Some dude name Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr was involved in that coup.

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  24. I'll admit I'm actually surprised - pleasantly so - that the USA (& Australia because when you go to war my country does too - along with others like the UK) hasn't gone to war with Iran yet. Under Trump & Bolton especially. Its one of the things I dread but half expect to hear everyday & have been expecting most of my life.

    So, Jim Wright, please, is this thought rational and reasonable or not? How likely and imminent in your view, with your expertise, is a war with Iran and the USA plus its allies?

    Is it all just bluster and bombast by a POTUS who will happily shriek imprecations on twitter and off the cuff tough guy posturing at dictators one day then pompously cosy up to them and slobber happily over them like a fanboy the next? (Cough, Kim Jong-un, cough) Or is it seriously likely that Trump driven by Bolton and the (other) psychopaths and chickenhawk fantasists of Fox news will launch a war on Iran (or another nation) as a distraction and / or seeking ultimate "glory" and legacy will start a war?

    Do you think he would and how would you bet on this %~age wise please, Jim Wright?

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  25. Thank you. Very well written. Always enjoy your observations. Just wish it was better news!

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  26. EXCELLENT article, Jim!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  27. I keep waiting for someone in power, anyone, to stand up to the occupant of the White House in public, on live TV, and demand explanations for all the garbage that comes out of his mouth. I know. It will never happen, but a girl can dream.

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  28. I'd be inclined to believe the president's intelligence briefings are in two copies, one a factual and deep dive into global surveillance and threat analysis that is under lock and key and accessible when due for emergency use, the other with a lot of [this page intentionally left blank] that goes to a president that be all accounts never opens them.

    Off topic, I'd like to offer you kudos, Jim for stating and/or quoting more incisive and thought provoking insights in one blog post than arose in a presidential twitter term.

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  29. Rockets? Never heard of em. What do they play? Are they like The Runaways?

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  30. trump only reads what has him as the main subject. We are so screwed

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  31. Thank you once again, Jim. Your insights clarify the amorphous dread that clouds my thoughts lately. I often take these as talking points. Slight correction for "if the press would ask a questions." should be "question". Stay strong, sir, I appreciate your sustained excellence.

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  32. You had me from "Wormtonuge." Great job!

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  33. Ah, Thucydides - Now there's a guy who knows a thing or to about war with Iran .... errr ... I mean, Persia.

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  34. Bolton in the White House and his hate for Iran do not help matters.

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  35. What a read. Actually jaw dropping to learn the intricacies of our intelligence committees. You literally wrote Bill Maher's intro in regards to this on last nights episode.

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  36. As the late but exceedingly smart Bob Townsend once said "First rate people hire first rate people. Second rate people hire third rate people".

    One hesitates to speculate where on the continuum Trump falls but his hires do not inspire confidence any more than he does..

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  37. Jared, Stephen, Hannity,Bannon and Bolton come to mind as the wormtongues nearest the idiot supreme. That there are no leaders speaking out against this lunatic and his daily lunatic ramblings says so much more about where this country is and is going than anything else. Why don't we have real leadership? Where are the experts? The USA is in deep trouble here with no real light at the end of the tunnel.

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  38. I like how he cites intelligence failures from the Iraq war as justification for ignoring intelligence reports.

    He has written a history of the time in which intelligence agencies got everything wrong and Bush/Cheney were tragically led astray for believing them.

    In reality of course Bush/Cheney started with a preferred conclusion, promoted any intel that supported it, ignored any that opposed it, and flat out made shit up to seal the deal.

    Exactly what Trump is now doing.

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  39. Well well well, can't you also please point out the parallels with what is going on right now with Venezuela? They have oil right?

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  40. Thanks Jim,

    I'm a retired high school history teacher. I taught this stuff for 22 years and when covering these topics with 15-17 year olds I would get a blank stare. I have little confidence that my lessons sunk in to those minds that were only thinking about the "hot" boy or girl sitting next to them. Unfortunately, for many this is the only time they get any historical context for events that affect us today. Now, when I talk to adults and try to explain the historical context of my views on Iraq and Iran, they still don't want to hear it. My experience over the the last 30 years is that most people feel that geopolitical topics are something that anyone can master. "Its just common sense" is often what I hear. Or, "Both sides are equally at fault." The American electorate is woefully unprepared, intellectually, to deal with the complexities of world politics even-though, they have google at their finger tips. All they want is something that is short and sweet and explains all the worlds problems in one tweet. And, to that, I give you Trump.

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  41. Trump should cast himself in the starring role of a remake of "The Brainwashing of My Dad."

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  42. Since the Shah fell almost 40 years ago, the US (and others - Saudi Arabia and Israel being two examples) have been demonizing and threatening Iran with war. (I am not denying that Iran has made blustering threats also). As a sovereign nation, who wouldn't seek to arm themselves to the teeth with anything they could get their hands on to make sure a war against them wasn't started? And they have some serious weaponry, particularly Soviet Moskit (Sunburn) cruise missiles designed to take out naval fleets, especially aircraft carriers. We (the American public) associate Iran's capabilities with the laughable Korean War vintage Scud missiles of Saddam Hussein, basically point and light glorified bottle rockets and have no idea how a battle against a well equipped military would transpire. How will we respond to our Persian Gulf carrier group sunk within a half hour of the first strike? Yes, they have anti-missile protection, tested and marketed by Raytheon under heavily scripted scenarios - never in real conditions. Here's an old essay that says it better than I can, I'm sure our defenses have been upgraded as much as their offenses since it was written: A Bridge Too Far

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