Carol Platt Liebau: One, Two, Many

Monday, September 03, 2007

One, Two, Many

Mahmous Ahmadinejad insists that he knows the US won't attack Iran, based in part on "calculation and tabulation."

Shall we surprise him?

14 Comments:

Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Mr. Ahmadinejad's geopolitical calculation is correct; a US attack on Iran would be disastrous to US interests. In the first place, the attack would accomplish nothing politically. It would eliminate all political opposition within Iran and unite the Iranian people against us. It would not stop the Iranian nuclear program but it would eliminate all doubts within Iran as to the necessity of obtaining a nuclear weapon. It would motivate the Iranians to dramatically increase support for insurgency in Iraq. It would trigger Iranian attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf, leading to a dramatic increase in the price of oil and a huge recession or depression in the West.

The only weakness in Mr. Ahmadinejad's calculation is the fact that he doesn't think that Mr. Bush is crazy enough to do something so foolish. Past actions undermine this assumption.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

If Bush bombs Iran, then what?

Another pile of rubble for Bush to stand on? Lets hope Bush can behave himself until his term is up. As we the tax payers have enough to clean up after him, already.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

I just read of a recent Pentagon scenario wherein all Iranian military targets would be struck at once, dessimating his forces, and doing this rather than striking at nuclear facilities. The mere mention of this discussion within the Pentagon, which is what they do, for Pete's sake, provoked all sorts of lefty pants-wetting. Apparently, the Pentagon sees such a thing as physically doable.

Chepe forgets that, unlike our previous president, political points don't motivate Bush. If he thought it was the right move, he'd make it without care of polling numbers. He also forgets that the Iranian people aren't unified in support for their government. Unlike the left here, many Iranians oppose their government for real reasons rather than imagined reasons. Rather than incite them against us, it may encouragement them against their own government and lead to their deposing them. Now the Penatagon hypothetical took into account Iranian response could be negative, but with their plan, Iranian attacks would be next to impossible.

The only weakness in Chepe's analysis is that he gives Ahmadinejad and the Iranian people more credit than he does his own people. (That is if Chepe is an American, which wouldn't surprise me if he wasn't.)

ETC,

Some tax payers are greatly concerned about lunatics running foreign countries.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Chepe forgets that, unlike our previous president, political points don't motivate Bush.

That's quite a non sequitur. Where did I discuss domestic American polls?

Rather than incite them against us, it may encouragement them against their own government and lead to their deposing them.

Yes, just like the 9/11 attacks convinced Americans to stop supporting Israel and pull all American troops out of the Middle East.

You see, Iranians aren't like Americans. If you hit an Iranian in the face, he cowers and slobbers and offers to give you anything you want from him, but if you hit an American in the face, he stands firm, hits back hard and fair. That's the difference between us and them, right? Americans are brave, trustworthy, noble, and righteous, while Iranians are cowardly and vicious. Right?

And the notion that American airstrikes could eliminate all chance of Iranian response is absurd. They can always smuggle weapons over the border into Iraq. Lots of weapons. Many more weapons than they're smuggling across now.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Chepe said,

"Mr. Ahmadinejad's geopolitical calculation is correct; a US attack on Iran would be disastrous to US interests. In the first place, the attack would accomplish nothing politically. It would eliminate all political opposition within Iran and unite the Iranian people against us. It would not stop the Iranian nuclear program but it would eliminate all doubts within Iran as to the necessity of obtaining a nuclear weapon. It would motivate the Iranians to dramatically increase support for insurgency in Iraq. It would trigger Iranian attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf, leading to a dramatic increase in the price of oil and a huge recession or depression in the West. "

So much opinion dressed in such factual tones.

You have no more idea if any of these statements are true than do I or anyone else.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Greg, you dismiss my points as opinion rather than facts. Yes, it's not fact -- it's all subjunctive! Subjunctive statements are not supposed to be facts -- declarative statements are supposed to be facts. This doesn't mean that subjunctive statements have no truth value -- it means that they cannot be empirically tested against fact.

For example, I say that "the attack would accomplish nothing politically." You can't check that because the attack has not happened.

This does not mean that subjunctive statements are wholly subjective and immune to criticism. I can offer the statement, "A Democratic victory in 2008 would lead to greater trade barriers". If you disagree with that statement, I can offer substantiation of that statement.

Thus, your complaint is utterly meaningless. If you disagree with my opinions, please offer your objections and we can discuss them rationally.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Wrong. Your statments were not
subjunctive, they were declarative.

Subjunctive expressly indicates something to NOT be fact, but rather a contingency or possibility. You made no such expression of contingency or possibility.

"Mr. Ahmadinejad's geopolitical calculation is correct" is a declaration - not of fact, mind you, but a declaration none the less.

Had you said , "Mr. Ahmadinejad's geopolitical calculation MAY BE correct IF (contingent upon) ..." you would have been speaking subjunctively.

At least that's my understanding of declarative statements versus subjuntive statements. I am perfectly willing to stand corrected on this topic.

But I would be hard pressed to believe that anyone reading your comments wouldn't have understood you to be declarinig "facts" as you see them. Hence, my observance that your facts were nothing more than unsubstantiated opinion.

Speaking of subjunctive, from Dictionary.com:

subjunctive

A grammatical form of verbs implying hypothetical action or condition. Subjunctives are italicized in these sentences: “If Mr. Stafford 'were' [not “was”] fluent in French, he could communicate with his employees more effectively”; “If Sheila 'had been' here, she would have helped us with our math.”

And then there's this:

—Usage note: The subjunctive mood of the verb, once used extensively in English, has largely disappeared today. The subjunctive survives, though by no means consistently, in sentences with conditional clauses contrary to fact and in subordinate clauses after verbs ...

Were you trying to bring back a "largely disappeared" grammatical style? Now THAT'S nuance!

1:57 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Greg, if you consult your grammar book, you'll see that the word "would" denotes subjunctivity. I use that word seven times in my statement; did it escape your notice?

You can even deduce the subjunctive nature of my comments from semantic considerations. Note that I was discussing the consequences of a US attack on Iran. No such attack has taken place. Therefore, I was discussing a hypothetical situation -- which, as you note, is another element of subjunctivity.

Lastly, the word "if" is the most commonly used subjunctive conjunction in the English language. I don't think it's obsolete just yet.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Chepe,

"That's quite a non sequitur. Where did I discuss domestic American polls?"

What is THIS supposed to mean?

"In the first place, the attack would accomplish nothing politically."

To say that Bush isn't motivated by political points is the same as saying that he isn't motivated by what would be accomplished politically. How else can one judge such things without polling?

"Yes, just like the 9/11 attacks convinced..." That's funny! But the difference is that with regards to the Pentagon scenario, we're talking about military targets, not civilian ones as in 9/11. For a citizenry looking for an opportunity, the decimation (I noted my previous misspelling) of the government's armies MAY (as I stated initially) encourage an uprising.

Of course there's always a way to respond, even with every military installation annihilated, but it would be a weak response if it came at all, and likely not immediately. In the meantime, the blow to scumbag moral in Iraq would be enormous. Speculative, sure. But I like it.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I said I was willing to stand corrected on the whole "subjunctive" thing. I can see where the word "would" denotes subjunctivity. However, you open your post by declaring that 'Mr. Ahmadinejad's geopolitical calculation is correct'.

With that, you have declared what you believe to be fact. Giving you credit for the subjunctive "would" simply means that you have made a declaration of what you believe to be fact and supported it with several subjunctive non-facts.

Taking that along with your concession that you were merely using semantics to discuss possible future events about which you have no real idea proves my original statement to be true:

'You have no more idea if any of these statements are true than do I or anyone else.'

6:02 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Mr. Art, you completely misinterpret the meaning of my remark that an attack would accomplish nothing politically. I admit that I didn't specify it, but when we talk about war, we must never forget the fundamental maxim presented by von Clausewitz: "War is the extension of policy to other means." That word 'policy' is what I was referring to in my sentence. An attack would not accomplish anything in terms of American policy interests towards Iran. Such an attack would violate von Clausewitz's rule.

You assert that 9/11 infuriated the American citizenry but an attack on Iranian military installations would not infuriate the Iranian citizenry because the former attack was against civilians while the latter attack would be against military installations. An interesting distinction. What about Pearl Harbor?

8:18 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Greg, I think you are using linguistic arguments contrary to their meaning. For example you refer to my "merely using semantics" to make a point. Semantics is a rigorous field of linguistic inquiry and in fact is central to rhetorical analysis. "Merely using semantics" is like "merely using logic".

I will happily concede your fundamental point in its literal and ridiculous sense: that I cannot know anything of the future with absolute certainty. For all we know, tomorrow morning we could wake up to read the news that Mr. Ahmadinejad has seen the light, converted to Christianity, regrets his rude behavior, is eliminating all his nuclear facilities, and fervently desires a slew of MacDonald's restaurants in Teheran. We don't know that this won't happen.

But we can make reasoned statements as to its likelihood. Since you want to nitpick over this issue, I'll happily amend my original statement as follows:

"Mr. Ahmadinejad's geopolitical calculation is sound."

Does this satisfy your objections?

10:57 AM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Coyote here.

This dead horse has been beaten long enough.

Let's move along.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Aw, I was just havin' some fun!

2:06 PM  

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