1. So, a question for Arjun.

    How many explosive bombs, mortars, and bullets can be made from the fossil fuel backup required to operate all the wind and solar systems that are supposed to be able to replace nuclear powerplants?

    How many bullets could be made from the extra steel needed for all those wind farms (wind farms have very high steel requirements per lifecycle kWh). How many people could be killed with those bullets?

    How many people are being killed by bullets worldwide, every year?

    1. I liked Mr. Adams question to Arjun in the atomic show #183 (paraphrased):
      If you are so interested in preventing/mitigating terrorist attacks, why don’t you advocate against large sporting venues/stadiums?

      Additionally, Kirk Sorensen made the point, why don’t people who drive cars and pump gas ever worry about how much napalm could be extracted from their fuel tank?

      I get the impression that Arjun and other anti-nukes care neither about public safety, the environment, nor solving energy issues.

    2. If Arjun’s big beef is with plutonium production (of any isotopic mix of plutonium), then the destruction of plutonium must be sheer joy. Accordingly, can we anticipate his fervent support of power reactors fueled by plutonium-thorium MOX?

      1. Of course not. Arjun just hates nuclear anything, like there are a dime a dozen anti nukes. They do not actually care about plutonium. They just want nuclear to die. DIE! Evil nuclear! DIE! If plutonium did not exist at all, Arjun and the other dimes in a dozen would still hate it. It is a mindless hate, and unthinking hate, that is always the starting point.

        Plutonium, proliferation, wastes, these are just little lies leading to the ultimate objective: nuclear must go.

        I know this personally as I once was like this too. I didn’t think about nuclear. I just hated it like anyone else.

        Funny how these things turn out, me now being among the strongest nuclear advocates…

  2. PT Barnum related quote – There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute.

    I’ve come to see some of this anti-nuclear propaganda as an odd sort of snake oil. There are customers willing to pay for it. I wonder if the great state of Minnesota paid this man for his testimony.

    “Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER)” is a great selection of name. It so very resembles the name of the credible organization, “Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)” The similarity of the names gives the illusion of credibility which as was pointed out does not exist in this instance.

    Thanks to Mr. Adams and Mr. McDowell for revealing the truth.

    1. The name “institute” suggests that there are hundreds or thousands of people working at IEER. In fact a handful of people is all there is. Its just a bunch of acerbating people with axes to grind against nuclear power. They intensely hate it and that is always the starting point. It is hardly an institute, more like a handful of morons.

  3. Dr. Makhijami has made the mistake of assuming his audience is a bunch of school children. They’re a bit more sophisticated than that. There isn’t much of a threat that Minnesota will become a rogue state and nuclear proliferant.

  4. I always enjoy Gordon’s videos. I hadn’t seen that one though. My hat’s off to Gordon’s well-researched videos. BTW my hat’s off to you as well Rod. That video-ending podcast you held with Dr. Makhijami, – the one where he hung up on you – I’m hoping will be easy to find. If not, would you mind posting it here?

      1. Thanks Rod. FYI, I tried searching for it but was unsuccessful using “Makhijami” as the search term.

        Interesting tack he took when being challenged for more detail – “I’ve explained that in general terms and for more details read my book. Beyond that, this conversation isn’t productive so I’m out of here. Goodbye.”

        1. You have it spelled wrong; it’s “MakhijaNi” with an “N”. (That should be a lower-case letter “n”, of course!) Makhijani has a very long history in the anti-nuke movement, and I believe he got his start in Greenpeace as an undergraduate. You will find no shortage of information about, or from, Dr. M..

          Good hunting!

          (Corrections to any and all information I offer are welcomed and appreciated.)

  5. Rod – would you please link to the IEER Form 990? As with Amory Lovins’ RMI, it’s interesting to see where the funding comes from.

    1. That would be really interesting, but I understand that public Form 990 does not include donor information ?

      I’m not at this point convinced that it’s really the general public through a sum of small individual donations that provides this man a few hundred thousand dollars every year.

  6. Inviting someone to lie to large bodies of american politicians is a longstanding tradition in our political reality. The truth is only desirable to these scumballs when it serves a political agenda. More oft then not a lie serves the agenda far better than the truth. Note Netanyahu’s recent complicity in Boener’s despicable political machinations. Makhijami was merely conducting business as usual, providing the script for a political agenda, at the behest of those masquerading as “representatives” of the people’s will.

  7. Greetings!

    While I read this informative article which again strees the top priority of the nuclear community to aggressively promote nuclear energy to combat FUD, I wish to go on a tangent here since there’s no “free-wheeling” banter sub-forum here, but my question is, can you have a “molten core” nuclear reactor? I caught a History Channel sound-bite of past ideas in Hawaii to sink thick ceramic tubes into subsurface lava lakes to pump water through to make electric-generating steam by. As exampled by the steel process, there are refectory ceramics that can hold molten metals at meltdown temperature. Nuclear reactions a’la a meltdown continue (or can be sustained?) in a molten state, is this right? If so, forgetting the horrible inefficiency of it, just strictly as a proof of concept, Is it physically possible to have a “melted-down state” reactor with a molten nuclear core (maybe segmented in retractable cells for power control?) sitting in a refractory vessel with steam pipes running through via this lava power idea? Since the “core elements” are already melted, wouldn’t this would exclude the need for high- pressure containment vessels or steam pressure hazards, just a shell cap to keep whatever radioactive vapors contained? If not this way, can you think of any way to make such a concept work? Just wondering wildly!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. James,
      E-P gave you a great “lead.”
      Also, when you look into molten salt reactors, you will find other designs that meet your description: aqueous homogenous reactors and liquid metal fueled reactors, for example.
      They are all “fluid fueled reactors.”

    2. Not only can you have a molten core, you can have a vapor core. One of the proposals I saw when the INERI program was running back in the early 2000s was for precisely that. It had a multistage power extraction, with the first stage extraction based on an MHD process. Its not as far-fetched as it sounds because some of the composite materials being developed today can contain those temperatures. There is also electrostatic or magnetic confinement. The concept has been studied for awhile. There is a short article on it in Wiki.

  8. I was most amused by Caldicott’s statement that “when you fission the atom, you are harnessing the power of the Sun.” Such an informed woman — great that she has such a large and appreciative audience. And here I thought for almost half a century that the Sun was powered by fusion, not fission.

    1. Imagine Helen Caldicott as a primary health clinician for a loved one. Scary. The world is blessed she is spends her time on the psudo-science edu-tainment circuit.

      1. Excellent point — except that she greatly leverages her ignorance.
        She sort of reminds me of Jenny McCarthy. Not in every way, of course.

  9. The ideal level of proliferation resistance in a commercial nuclear power plant design is one that is just barely cheap enough, just barely fast enough, and just barely simple enough to lure a customer into taking that path to nuclear weapons.

    A totally proliferation proof design is the most dangerous design, from a proliferation standpoint, because it guides a weapons desiring state into one or both of the two easy, cheap, fast paths to nuclear weapons.

    1. Enrichment.

    2. Plutonium 239 production in a dirt simple, non pressurized, non electric power production reactor.

    When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor we did not know if nuclear weapons were possible, Yet we developed the technology and manufacturing facilities in 3 1/2 years by finding and using the easy paths.

    Now the reaction cross sections, metallurgy, chemistry etc. are largely available on the internet to great precision.

    All of the popular commercial nuclear plants available for construction today are are way beyond the optimum level of proliferation resistance already.

  10. Arjun Makhijani’s lack of integrity is stunning. Ther has been a considerable discussion of proliferation issues on the internet over the last 15 years. Distinguished scientists, such as nuclear disarmiment specialist Alexander de Volpi, in addi9tion to his ANL colleagues Gerald Marsh and George Stanfold have posted extensive arguments challenging the claims that Arjun Makhijani made recently. Both Rod Adams and I have posted on de Volpi’s papers on nuclear proliferation. NOE Notes also carried a brief account with discussion. Neither Makhijani nor Lovins, nor any other anti-nuk spokesperson answered any of these posts. Nor did they answered numerous other pro-nuclear blogers, who have challenged the anti-proliferation argument. Thus, inlight of their resounding failure to answer their critics, anti nuclear spokespersons who advance the proliferation argument have been discredited by the unanswered criticism. There is simple rational argument supporting the view that building reactors in the United States will lead to the development of nuclear weapons by other countries. Unless they stand prepaired to answer their critics, anti-nuclear spokespersons who rely on the nuclear proliferation argument are either charletons or idiots.

    1. “Unless they stand prepaired to answer their critics, anti-nuclear spokespersons who rely on the nuclear proliferation argument are either charletons or idiots”

      Substitute “anti-Iran” for “anti-nuclear” in your paragraph, and it pretty well sums up the current political situation in DC.

  11. A note for Gordon, to enhance the video: The graph at the 5:34 mark mentions 180 days as well as 3 years. I think 3 years is probably more what that graph is intending to portray.

    I am no fuels expert, but I know that most refueling cycles are either 18 or 24 months between refueling, so 540 days is a typical amount of minimum irradiation time for commercial fuel. A fuel assembly typically is utilized for 3 cycles prior to being considered “spent” and with no plans to ever be returned to the reactor vessel. Therefore, 1500 days of irradiation is probably more typical of a commercial fuel assembly. I am not sure how that changes the isotopic mix, but it is probably all that much more unsuitable for a bomb by that point.

  12. I really don’t understand how it is so easy for many of you to recognize the fictional nature of what you call “FUD”, yet you are so willing to drink the swill being fed to you about Iran’s “nuclear weapons program” by known liars and war mongers. Its really quite surreal.

    1. Few people here comment much about Iran, present company excepted. Personally, I think beyond enriching for power reactors, they’d like to enrich and develop for submarines so that they could control the Straits of Hormuz, which would require much greater enrichment than power reactors. Of course they want their own Nuclear warheads to counter balance Israel, and the US, which looks down on their quest for middle eastern and worldwide Iranian Shi’ite domination. Do you really want to place your faith in the Iranian Mullah oligarchs? At least we vote our plutocratic supporting representatives into office.

    2. poa wrote “you are so willing to drink the swill”

      Just to be clear, describe the swill in maximum detail.

      According to public reports, the administration has agreed to allow them to keep 60% of their known centrifuges.

      The Hiroshima bomb used about 150 pounds of uranium. Modern designs are reported to use less than 25 pounds. If the Iranians can improve the efficiency of their design by 40%, they will be right on track, with no sanctions and the blessing of the Obama administration.

      1. “describe the swill in maximum detail”?

        Do you really need to encourage him?

        1. “Do you really need to encourage him?”

          Good comment, Rick. Almost as smart as calling me an anti-semite. The depth of your argument is amazing.

          BTW……even the Israeli intelligence services have disputed Netanyahu’s exagerated assertions about Iran’s nuclear program. They didn’t exactly call it swill, but ….uh….swill is swill, is it not?

      2. Well….part of that “swill” is demonstrsted by your “the blessing of the Obama administration”. You imply that the Obama administration desires a nuclear armed Iran. Seems to be the latest bit of far RW garbage offered up to derail the negotiations and put us on a ccollision course with war with Irran. It completely baffles me how such ignorant and disingenuous talking points can be show-cased here by participants on a blogsite that seeks to dispel propaganda. Does this ignorance and disingenuous partisan insinuation go beyond politics, and intrude on the science here as well?

        What about it, Bill? Is it your opinion that Obama abides a nuclear armed Iran? Thats what you imply. Do you really expect to be taken seriously while offering such partisan and divisive crap?

        And what terms of the NPT is Iran violating exactly? I see the phrase “Iran’s nuclear weapons program” constantly offered as if its a reality, when in fact its only an accusation. Is it your contention that such treaties are meaningless, that we have the right to exclude a signing nation of being afforded the rights the treaty guarantees? What right do we have to impose our will on any nation, much less one that has signed a treaty that allows them the pursuit of nuclear energy?

        1. @poa

          Once again, I need to remind you that the comment threads do not necessarily reflect the views of Atomic Insights. I take responsibility for the main posts and comments with my name attached. The rest reflect the views of he authors.

          1. “Once again, I need to remind you that the comment threads do not necessarily reflect the views of Atomic Insights”

            I full well realize that, Rod. In fact, I entertain the suspicion that you and I are of a like mind on some of my comments about Israel, Iran, and our relationship with both countries. And I understand that due to the nature of your audience here, and the motives behind your site, (which I find laudable), you need be a bit more tactful in your comments than I am here.

            But what baffles me is that so many of these folks that spout partisan nonsense, ad nauseum, also universally concur with your assertions, conclusions, stances, and observations concerning NE. For one unschooled in nuclear science, its easy to read the brainless political crap from some of these jokers and conclude that they wouldn’t know a comic book from a well researched historical textbook. So why should one think they are any better at discerning sound science than they are at discerning political realities and truths?

            1. @poa

              It’s easy to find plenty of examples of people who are well versed in a particular technology, skill, or profession who have almost indefensible views about the rest of the world. We live in a complex society and today’s method of distributing information will inevitably lead to some people developing worldviews that are reinforced with positive feedback from their limited choices of reading and viewing material. Groupthink is an easy trap; it takes an inquiring mind and a willingness to spend a lot of alone time searching for truth to avoid it.

        2. The more nuclear bombs there are in the world, the more likely it is that millions of people will be killed by nuclear bombs. I would prefer to live in a world without nuclear bombs.

          It was a mistake to allow the Soviet Union, England, France, Israel, Pakistan North Korea etc. to acquire nuclear bombs. Truman should have used all of his power and influence to convince world leadership to agree to a complete ban on nuclear bombs.

          I encourage Iran to develop nuclear power. Enrichment is a small fraction of the cost of a nuclear KWh, They can buy enrichment services cheaper than they can develop their own, especially deep underground. If they must have their own enrichment plant they can build it on the soil of a nation that has good relations With the IAEA. Boeing, GE, GM and many others have manufacturing facilities on foreign soil.

          If Obama signs an agreement that allows Iran to have centrifuges or secret facilities free from inspection, he will be green lighting their nuclear weapons program.

          Yes, I believe Israel and Iran have nuclear weapons programs. Most treaties are a terrible waste of paper and ink.

          I would rather go to war with Iran now rather than later. The death toll would be much smaller now. But I would only go to win quickly and decisively, not to tie or lose as has been our fashion.

          1. @Bill Hannahan

            The more nuclear bombs there are in the world, the more likely it is that millions of people will be killed by nuclear bombs. I would prefer to live in a world without nuclear bombs.

            History shows that a few hundred thousand people died from nuclear bombs at a time when there were only 3 nuclear bombs in the world. One was exploded in a test, the other two were dropped on people that had no means of retaliation and were awed by the power released by both the reaction and the nation that used those weapons.

            I am as proud of being an American as anyone, but I am deeply troubled by the way that some people believe our founding fathers were just talking about natural born American citizens when they wrote the inspiring words in our fundamental documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

            We did not “allow” any other nation to acquire nuclear bombs. We had no moral authority to tell others to avoid developing the technology because we insisted on the right to retain our own weapons. Truman had no power and influence on the rest of the world for that reason.

          2. Rod, biotechnology is advancing rapidly. Imagine a day when it becomes apparent that soon it will be possible for a nation or even an individual to purchase the equipment and knowledge to build a virus or bacteria with the capacity to kill every human on the planet.

            Imagine you are president, will you do anything to suppress the development and/or the availability of that technology at home?

            Will you do anything to suppress the development and/or the availability of that technology outside the U.S?

            1. @Bill Hannahan

              No. Besides, that is not the best possible analogy. In the case of suppressing nuclear energy development, the industrialized world retained its abject dependence on burning hydrocarbons for power instead of more rapidly developing nuclear energy technology for beneficial uses.

              We thus accepted a number of risks with the major result of enhancing the profitability of extracting oil, natural gas and coal.

          3. “I would rather go to war with Iran now rather than later.”

            Always blows my mind seeing statements like that. Have any of you, (those thinking a war with Iran might be “necessary”), thought it through? Tell me, what do you think “victory” would look like? How are our “victories” in Iraq and Afghanistan looking?

            So, we kill a coupla million Iranians, wipe out the nuclear development sites, spend a few thousand billions, lose an unforesesable number of troops…….then what? Occupy Iran? You think the Iranians, after we’ve raised their infrastructure and killed millions of them, are going to lose their ambitions to kill Americans and abandon their efforts to acquire nuclear weapons?

            Take a hypothetical…..

            Iran builds its first nuclear bomb tomorrow…..

            Now, fast forward ten years….

            That enough time to test, build up an inventory, develop a delivery system, that would give them a preacher’s chance in hell of prevailing in a nuclear exchange with us? Of course, any such exchange, now or later, would be a suicidal move on Iran’s part.

            Is that what you think of the Iranians? That they’re just a suicidal nation, that will sacrifice their entire existence just for the opportunity to nuke Israel or the United States?

            I look forward to you describing what a “victory” would look like in a war with Iran, and how long it would take for such a victory to be won. Maybe you can ask Cheney, Wolfowitz, North, Bush, Rumsfeld, McCain and that crew of lying treasonous criminals. I mean hey, they really got it right in Iraq, didn’t they?

          4. “I look forward to you describing what a “victory” would look like in a war with Iran, and how long it would take for such a victory to be won”

            Hmmmm….. just as I suspected. When most of you Fox News swilling bots have exhausted the full body of the script, you’re at a loss for words. What happened to Mays? I ‘m still waiting for him to qualify his assertion that I’m an anti-semite.

            Oh well, keep your chin up. I see ‘ol Jeb has,released a list of those he hopes will advise him on foreign policy. He musta got the list from his brother. Soooooo…..we get to keep on keepin’ on with our murderous crusade. Iran, here we come.

        3. poa said

          And what terms of the NPT is Iran violating exactly? I see the phrase “Iran’s nuclear weapons program” constantly offered as if its a reality, when in fact its only an accusation.

          You and I have been through this one before. And I again urge you to read WNA’s take on the matter: Nuclear Power in Iran.

          One does not obtain unanimous agreement from the P5+1 on every issue. Iran’s nuclear program is a rare exception. Iran does indeed retain certain rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. She also has certain responsibilities. Mainly not to engage in nuclear weapons-related research and development activities, and to allow IAEA verification of most aspects of her nuclear program..

          By failing to declare hidden enrichment facilities, by conducting un-monitored weapons-type explosives tests, and by enriching uranium in quantities and degree far, far beyond any conceivable civilian use, Iran has done the first, and has disallowed the second. It is Mr. Kerry’s job to ensure this situation does not recur, that the assurance be peaceful, and that Iran’s verifiably legitimate uses of atomic energy may proceed without foreign meddling or interruption. The parties appear to have made significant and sincere progress toward this end. One hopes a mutually satisfactory conclusion may be reached.

          1. @Ed Leaver

            The NPT does not limit enrichment levels. I have worked on a number of thought experiment designs for useful nuclear energy production devices that would greatly benefit by using higher levels of enrichment than are generally found to be acceptable to those who added extending language to international “agreements” to limit enrichment levels of low enriched uranium to less than 20%.

            Interestingly enough, when enrichment is as cheap as it can be with modern centrifuges, using HEU can be a way to dramatically reduce the production of “nuclear waste” and the plutonium that people like Makhijani dread.

            Think about it; if you don’t have much U-238 in the fuel elements…

  13. It is not unexpected that anti-nuclear “experts” equate plutonium in SNF with weapons plutonium. But I was somewhat dismayed to read this in the Transatomic Power white paper:

    Today, proliferation risks require that all SNF be guarded in perpetuity.
    Even though SNF has fairly poor isotopic composition for making a nuclear weapon, it may be feasible to make a rudimentary nuclear weapon using the plutonium in SNF.
    Some analyses indicate that one ton of SNF contains enough Pu-239 for one atomic bomb if it could be completely extracted [20], and the world has accumulated 270,000 tons of commercial SNF. The amount of SNF worldwide is growing by 10,000 tons per year and is further accelerating as the rest of the world builds more light-water nuclear power plants in more countries.
    Starting up a typical 1GWe light-water reactor in a foreign country requires 90 tons of initial fuel, and a further 20 more tons of fuel, on average, for each year that the reactor is in operation. After 60 years, the foreign country has 1200 tons of SNF – enough for a weapons program to build as much as one thousand atomic bombs. The foreign SNF is therefore a perpetual threat to become the materials source for a weapons arsenal someday, if the state goes rogue or if the material is stolen.

    With friends like these, who needs enemies? I do like the TAP design, but why must they advertise its advantages by telling blatant untruths about the current LWRs?

    1. @RRMeyer

      Concur. I keep reminding nuclear proponents of all flavors that the “non proliferation” movement is largely an invention of people who wanted to create another plank in their argument against all nuclear energy. The used fuel from a commercial reactor is not a proliferation risk when compared to natural uranium, which is widely distributed throughout the Earth’s crust and is concentrated into mineable deposits available in almost every country if they look for them.

    2. [20]T.B. Taylor, Nuclear safeguards, Annu. Rev. Nucl. Sci. 25 (1975) 407-421

      The assumption that it could be COMPLETELY extracted is 40 years old!

  14. The report mentioned in the video was asked about by Geoff Russell. Here’s a few links I needed to figure out what & where it was…



    …and the report itself…


    …I don’t want to do a data dump here in Rod’s comments… but energiewende is mentioned (“EEG”) on page 8, 15, 51 & 52.

    I hadn’t read it until today, I was just going off the video content and not the report itself. As they say on page 8, it is “rather sobering.”

  15. At any rate, there is a easier path to proliferation than that offered by plutonium in spent nuclear fuel, and that is the Neptunium-237 path. For every ton of U-235 burned in a thermal reactor, up to 800 pounds of Neptunium 237 is produced. Np-237 is weaponizable,but is a neutron eater in thermal reactor cores. However, Np-237 can be extracted from spent nuclear fuel, and is certainly superior weapons material wnen compared to RGP. Furthermore a Np-237 device can use a gun type trigger. Thus a Np-237 bomb would not require test.

  16. “It completely baffles me how such ignorant and disingenuous talking points can be show-cased here by participants on a blogsite that seeks to dispel propaganda. Does this ignorance and disingenuous partisan insinuation go beyond politics…”

    For those of you who don’t measure up in POA’s estimation, perhaps he’ll invite you over for some educational rumination at the nearest Obama sycophant site where you’ll learn the answers to such questions as: What happened in Benghazi, why was there no rescue, and whose is to blame? Who is responsible for the IRS and DOJ subpoena scandals, Fast & Furious, the deterioration of our relationship with Israel and race relations in this country, Obama Care website glitches, NSA spying on our allies, how an unsatisfactory but stable situation in the middle east went to hell and a hand basket following Obama’s assumption of power, why we traded 5 top terrorists for an apparent deserter, how Obama magically obtained the constitutional authority he claimed he didn’t have to allow some 5 million law breakers to remain in America, why you CAN’T keep your doctor or medical plan and just who is Jonathan Gruber?
    You will all be immeasurably enriched by the revelation that the answer to each and every one of these questions is…it’s ALL George Bush’s fault…except for that darn internet video.

    1. I’m interested in you providing example of me defending the Obama administration on any of the issues you raise. In regards to Israel, the Obama administration has actually increased monetary aid and security assistance with Israel. Don’t take my word for it. Tune out of Fox News and do a little research. As far as Obama’s stance on Israel’s illegal settlement expansion, Obama’s stance is exactly the same as the Bush Administration’s was.

      So, what is YOUR take on Iran and Israel? War with Iran? Because absent a diplomatic solution….. If thats your choice, I ask you the same….What is victory, and how long to achieve it?

    2. “…….perhaps he’ll invite you over for some educational rumination at the nearest Obama sycophant site……”


      I am unaware of any such sites, and I assure you if I did know of any its not where I’d be posting comments. But hey David, thanks for buttressing my appraisal of some of the commenters political bent. Your laundry list is a prime example of someone that repeats a partisan script by rote.

      I’m a little curious….

      Are you actually proud of your comment? Do you entertain the notion that it somehow refuted the comment you were responding to?


  17. @ POA

    What is the purpose of your writing? Is it to be seen to prevail in the verbal jousting matches you have with a number of folks here, or are you interested in communicating useful data, in changing minds? If you have logged half the amount of time in the news sources you claim to have (I take you at your word), then you have something to share, but if you wield it like a cudgel, your learning will have been wasted.
    As for Iran, we should never have reduced the sanctions. Allowing states that sponsor terrorism to obtain nuclear weapons is the height of folly (although we’ve been hearing about this imminent achievement for many years). Sanctions should have been enforced with all severity possible UNTIL Iran publically renounced its threats against Israel and America, stopped funding terrorism, ie., cut Hezbollah loose, and allowed full and unfettered inspections of its nuclear programs. If after the collapse of their economy they haven’t changed their tune (I suspect it would not) and their people haven’t overthrown their government, then America should, with the aid and support of other western and middle eastern countries, attempt to destabilize Iran’s government.

    “What is victory, and how long to achieve it?” It is keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran’s hands and it is an on-going battle made more difficult by the current commander in retreat.

    “Do you entertain the notion that it somehow refuted the comment you were responding to?”
    Did YOU fail to understand the purpose of my response?

    To satisfy your curiosity, let me assure you pride was not an issue but merriment was, and it was accompanied by modest knee slapping. Although I desire a more genial dialogue, I fear you will, in the near future, provide me with more opportunities for similar entertainment.

    1. @david davison

      Allowing states that sponsor terrorism to obtain nuclear weapons is the height of folly (although we’ve been hearing about this imminent achievement for many years).

      Just curious – what is the moral difference between sponsoring terrorism and sponsoring armed forces that have a history of indiscriminate bombing campaigns against civilian occupied areas?

      1. “…what is the moral difference…”

        I am always surprised when folks feel a need to ask such questions. First, assuming, based upon Brian’s response, that you are referring to WW2, in addition to the fact that we were and ARE the good guys, our bombing campaigns were a means to bring about the end of the war, and had we the means of striking only military targets, we would have done so. In addition, the enemy had already demonstrated they had no compunction against bombing civilian targets so why should we? Third, our bombing did in fact bring about a swifter end to the war and when wars end quicker, less civilians perish. Indeed, the atomic bombs saved not only allied lives but Japanese lives as well.

        Fourth, with terrorists, civilians usually ARE the target. The jets on 911 could have targeted military bases (the Pentagon qualifies) or ships but they chose to kill civilians many who whom were not even American.
        Today, the American and British forces go out of their way, in fact too far, in avoiding civilian casualties. How many Americans are dead because we waited to be fired upon before taking out what were obvious, but not demonstrably, enemies. The shoot down of Distortion 17, the largest loss of life of Navy Seals in US history comes to mind.

        I’d like to add more but I’ve run out of time.

        1. David – Actually, I’m pretty sure that Rod was referring to Israel’s military and specifically to last year’s conflict in Gaza, in which Israel targeted “civilian” buildings where Hamas was storing weapons to be launched against Israel and in some cases actually firing weapons from these densely populated areas.

          My point was that you have to be careful when you decide to go there, because who has so little sin that they’re privileged to cast the first stone?

          In any case, if someone cannot see the difference between acts of war — particularly acts of self defense — and prolonged campaigns of outright terrorism, then his moral compass is so broken that I certainly don’t think that I can help him.

          1. @Brian Mays

            The last true “act of war” that the US committed was related to the last officially declared war in which we were engaged. I believe that does date back to WWII.

            We are certainly not in a war today, even though we have been engaged in shooting conflicts since 2001.

            Our politicians should stop trying to have it both ways. Either declare a war in a constitutional manner or quit trying to pretend that imposing our will on others through the force of arms is a legitimate use of our military power.

            A few days ago, I asked someone if they had ever served in the military. That person accused me of “appeal to authority.” My actual intent was to ask the person if they had a real understanding of what it means to pull the trigger or to be under fire or to be ready to pull the trigger or be shot even if that never actually happens. I’d like to expand that to ask people who advocate using arms against others how many people in their immediate family would be involved that that effort. How many of their close friends and how many of the children of their close friends are in the active or reserve arms of the US military?

            I served for 33 years. That time included 11 strategic deterrent patrols during which we were within 15 minutes of shooting for a major portion of the period at sea. At least half of my close friends did as well. My father, two uncles, one aunt and a step father served. My daughter, son-in-law, brother-in-law, and two nephews are still serving. Dozens of my friends have children who are currently serving.

            Talk about using force is personal. It is also far more consequential to shoot and be shot than armchair quarterbacks understand.

          2. Rod – Declarations of War are about as obsolete as cavalry charges these days. They belong to another time, when bravado counted for much more than it does today.

            Now, if you want to reform the War Powers Resolution, or (even better) replace it with something more effective at reining in the Executive Branch then I’m all with you. The position of Commander in Chief has been abused by Presidents from both parties since the mid-twentieth century.

            But you ought to be careful about asking people about their experiences and overly personalizing things. For example, someone might ask you whether you’ve ever had to worry about a loved one getting on a bus because of the possibility that some crazy SOB with a bomb strapped to his chest might try to kill everyone on board. It’s all too easy to play “armchair quarterback” from your comfortable home in Central Virginia, a place that hasn’t been shelled in 150 years. But when you live in a place where a terrorist organization masquerading as a regional government is firing rockets over your home, hoping to kill whomever they can, without discrimination, your attitude just might be a little different, don’t you think?

            And for the record, I don’t think that my family has anything to be ashamed of when it comes to service in the armed forces. I would have served in the Navy myself (my preferred branch) if they had given me a four-year scholarship for college. They offered me only a three-year scholarship, however, so I told them thanks, but no thanks. I wasn’t hurting for tuition money, and I figured that someone else probably needed the scholarship more than me.

        2. @david davison

          I had in mind the massive and continuous support we have provided to Israel’s efforts to bomb Gaza into submission. The drone war also comes to mind. How many suspicious assemblies of people have turned out to be wedding parties?

          Why did you make an assumption about the thoughts behind my question based on a response to that question from someone else?

          1. @ Rod
            It would have been helpful had you clarified that Israel was who you had in mind negating any necessity on my part for making assumptions.

            So, regarding Israel, what would you have them do with a people who openly declare their intent to destroy Israel and demonstrate by their rocketing and terror tunnels and bus bombings and kid napping that they mean to do just that? I feel for the civilians who are caught between the monsters who use them as shields and the Israeli Air Force who must destroy those who would destroy Israel. If the fate and existence of our own country were as tenuous as that of Israel, we would behave in like manner and be proud of it.

            Drone war? My biggest complaint is that we lose the intelligence that might have been gained through capture as opposed to assassination; and just how many wedding parties have we bombed? I do know the terrorists bombed Israeli weddings, weddings that were in NO way suspicious but were exactly the kind of targets they specialize in.

            As I mentioned in the earlier post, the west in general and America in particular, go out of their way to avoid civilian casualties and do so to the extent that they endanger their own troops. Is there any indication that those with whom we war are under a similar inhibition?

            As far as wars, Korea and Vietnam were definitely wars. War is war whether one formally recognizes it or not. I would, however, be in favor of formally declaring war on militant Islam.

            Lastly, I too have a long military tradition in my family some having experienced some serious combat. I am quite certain that none of them would have anything but loathing for Obama’s policies (worst President in US history).

            1. @david davison

              War is not as portrayed in history books or in stories told. Real people with real families get horribly wounded and often die. It should be a very last resort, not something to resort to because of a feeling of being threatened. Maybe there’s a good reason why Eisenhower was the only president of the second half of the 20th century who didn’t send soldiers into battle on his watch in the White House.

              Both you and Brian misunderstand me. I wasn’t bragging by pointing to the stake I have in preventing another war. I was trying to express how many reasons I have to lose a lot of sleep when politicians rattle swords.

              I saw first hand how much treasure we expended in the years between 2001-2010. I know the money continued to flow after I retired, but I stopped looking at the figures on a regular basis. Way too depressing, especially know how little they purchased.

          2. @ Rod

            No, I didn’t misunderstand you and I didn’t feel you were bragging. Perhaps its a tired expression, but I appreciate the service of my fellow military men, particularly your sticking it out for 33 years (even though you were a member of the O corps, once rich targets of my enlisted animosity)! Ha!

  18. I didn’t realize this thread had further comments. There’s much I could say to rebut David and Brian. Truth is, they offer nothing more than talking points that have been fed to them. Particularly in regards to Israel, it is obvious that they both have accepted a narrative as truth, without actually venturing beyond the source through which they have formed their world views. Arguing with them is futile, as they will counter actual facts with partisan blather, ir worse, justvresort to thebtimeworn tactic of spitting the accusation of anti-semitism as if that counters criticism of Israel. Their ignorance is disheartening.

  19. The very bizzarre aspect of this whole thing is how Israel has managed to exploit the concept that it is somehow the victim. A brutal occupier, for 48 years now it has dehumanized the Palestinians, defied international law, and gobbled up more and more contested territory. All the time playing the victim. Will you ever see those such as Brian or David acknowlege what the Palestinians have endured under this occupation? Recognize Israel’s own actions against the Palestinians as being the fuel that propels groups like Hamas into power? One has to marvel at the arrogance of the ignorance displayed by Brian and David.

    Gideon Levy says it eloquently……


    1. What?! How is Israel the victim? They’ve decisively won every major conflict with their Arab neighbors in the past seven decades. That sounds like a survivor, not a victim, to me.

      Every time that Israel “gobbled up” more territory, it was the result of a war in which they were attacked by one of their neighbors. Well, tough luck. The lesson to be learned is not to attack Israel. You’d think that would be easy to comprehend, but sadly not so for many of the people who live in the Middle East.

      As for the Palestinians, I’ve given up on them. If they could elect a leadership who wasn’t a bunch of lowlife thugs (they’re almost as bad as Chicago), then perhaps they might have a chance. Until then, I don’t have much sympathy for a people who so readily embrace terrorism and dismiss compromise.

      But that’s all opinion. How about some facts?

      Fact: Israel gave the Gaza Strip back to the Palestinians.

      Fact: Israel forcibly removed its own settlers from this area to give it back to the Palestinians.

      Fact: Israel was repaid for this effort by rocket attacks from this Palestinian territory last year.

      The situation is so obvious that it’s almost an IQ test. Just how stupid do you have to be to buy into this Arab propaganda? Any objective person can see what is happening. Some people seem to be so caught up in left-wing politics that they can’t see what is obvious to everyone else.

      Or maybe they’re just too stupid or too bigoted to understand.

      1. @Brian Mays

        I’m neither stupid nor bigoted, but I disagree with nearly everything you wrote.

        For example, Israel “gave” Gaza to the Palestinians in about the same way as the U.S. gave Native-Americans certain reservations. Then they surrounded it with a fence and naval vessels and periodically choose to bomb it while preventing delivery of food and concrete for repairs.

        Where do you get your “news?”

        1. @ Rod

          How many rockets have these Native-American reservations fired upon the civilians living around them?

          What should Israel do? What is the solution to this seemingly intractable problem? Do the Palestinians bear any blame at all in this conflict?

          @ POA

          What do you feel your audience is supposed to gain from the link you posted? Yea, somebody expressed their opinion, big deal. Are there any facts included that would help change one’s mind? I didn’t see any.

          “Brutal occupier?” Israel accepted the partition of Palestine, the Arabs did not and immediately attacked Israel. The Arabs lost and the Israelis kept the land they had gained (who wouldn’t).

          Do you recognize Israel’s right to exist and if so, in what capacity? Do you actually believe the Palestinians will ever leave Israel in peace even if Israel was to trade the West Bank, Golan Heights, and Gaza for this peace? If so, what have the Palestinians done that would lead you to believe this?

          “Talking points.” Did it ever occur to you that they may be “talking points” precisely because they are GOOD points? Rather than assuming your audience are hapless simpletons and dismissing their/our points without addressing them, try to refrain from wasting so much time berating others and just present your case…I for one respond well to fact based evidence.

          What do you make of the facts Brian presented?

          Lest you feel I uncritically green light anything Israel does, I took an extremely dim view of their shooting up the Liberty and would have withdrawn funds allocated to them in the exact amount that Pollard’s spying cost America…billions.

          @ Brian

          At least the Egyptians learned to stop attacking Israel. Israel gave them back the Sinai which they had lost AGAIN, after their surprise attack on Yom Kippur. Israel traded land for peace and in this case, both have kept the agreement…an agreement that cost Sadat his life and is apparently lost on the Palestinians.

          I agree with virtually everything you had to say above (I would not have added the stupid or bigoted).

          1. David – Yes. Why can’t people learn from the deal that President Carter managed to put together? Israel has traded land for peace again and again, but aside from the deal with Sadat, who was an honorable man, they have received nothing for it.

          2. “What do you make of the facts Brian presented?”

            Specifically list the “facts” you alledge Brian presented, and I will respond. I didn’t see facts. I just saw ignorance.

            And by the way, I am still waiting for Brian to either apologize for accusing me of anti-semitism, or qualify the accusation by citing an antisemitic statement or stance that I have offered. I am not holding my breath though, because Brian’s consistent posting here does not demonstrate the kind of character or integrity that would allow for such behavior.

        2. Of course you don’t agree, Rod.

          Hey, it’s not my fault that the Palestinians don’t have enough sense to build casinos on their newly acquired “reservations.” 😉

          Seriously, however, here’s a piece of land that the Palestinians wanted. It borders — in fact hugs — the Mediterranean Sea (and shares a border with Egypt), meaning that trade with Europe should be a non-starter. So far, Israel has interfered with shipping only to confirm that weapons are not being smuggled into the country, a policy not only approved of, but assisted by, neighboring Egypt, an Arab country. The problems in Gaza were created in Gaza.

          I don’t get my news from MSNBC, if that’s what you were asking. I guess that’s no surprise to you. I already know that you get your “news” from such sources as Think Progress, so I’m not even going to bother to ask. But, if you decide to turn your blog into a mouthpiece for them, then I will cease to be a paid subscriber to your blog.

          If I wanted to get my information from MSNBC, I’d watch MSNBC. If I wanted to be an idiot who gets all of his information from comedy shows like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, I’d watch those shows. The one thing that I don’t want is to pay for someone to ask me where I get my “news” from. Understand?

          1. “So far, Israel has interfered with shipping only to confirm that weapons are not being smuggled into the country”

            That is either a bald faced lie on your part, or yet one more demonstration of your ignorance of the situation. I suggest you inform yourself, or limit your “contributions” here to a topic you know something about. If, in fact, such a topic exists.

            The list of items blockaded from entering Gaza is legion, and includes items that are necessary for basic human needs. Most notably, Israel has routinely refused to allow many building materials in that are required for rebuilding the infrastructure that Isreal destroys every few years. Medicines and basic commodities are routinely refused entry, or held up for months at a time.

          2. “If I wanted to get my information from MSNBC, I’d watch MSNBC”

            Yet one more demonstration of base ignorance, Brian. MSNBC is well know as a left leaning network, and, as such, rarely offers opinion or news that is critical of Israel. In fact, Rachel Maddow is infamous for her refusal to report on, or criticize, anything having to do with Israel. It is statements, like the one I quote on this response, that expose you as someone who merely repeats, by rote, anything your “sources” of information feed you.

          3. “The one thing that I don’t want is to pay for someone to ask me where I get my “news” from. Understand?”

            Well, if Rod doesn’t understand, which I sincerely doubt is the case, I certainly do. Its simple. You don’t want to cite your “sources”, so you threaten to withhold future donations. Thats ironic, really, because I have not donated here because I don’t see the logic in donating to a cite that allows baseless accusations of bigotry to stand unchallenged, while disallowing mild oaths. Calling you a certain type of equine seems to me far less insulting and far less despicable than spitting the accusation of anti-semitism at someone that has bothered to inform themselves about Israel and the Palestinians. But that seems to be all you’ve got, Brian, because your “facts” ain’t worth a hill of beans.

            By the way, both Rod and I are willing to provide our sources for anything we present as fact. (I am presuming when I include Rod, but my experience here tells me I read him right).

            You have a problem with being asked to provide sources while engaged in a debate?

            Hmmm….what are you afraid of?

          4. “So far, Israel has interfered with shipping only to confirm that weapons are not being smuggled into the country”

            Heres a good response to that comment, presented by a non-partisan source, describing Israel’s blockade and its effect on the Palestinians and their economy. But hey, its a pretty long read, Brian, so maybe you oughta just call the author an anti-semite and go drink a beer.


        3. Gee Rod, how do you like being labeled an anti-semite? Seems Brian has discovered the pat answer to criticism of Israeli policy. Seems thats ALL he’s got, though, ’cause the rest of his braying is just scripted blather.

      2. “Every time that Israel “gobbled up” more territory, it was the result of a war in which they were attacked by one of their neighbors.”

        A statement like that only underscores my accusation that you are ignorant of the truth. The settlements do not fit your ignorant (or purposely disingenuous) rebuttal.

      3. “Or maybe they’re just too stupid or too bigoted to understand”

        Anyone that has bothered to inform themselves would agree that you fit both categories perfectly, Brian. And your assinine assertion that somehow criticism of Israel is a “left wing” practice only makes you appear even more ignorant. The democratic party has long been a major enabler of Israel’s policies, and whores itself to AIPAC to a degree that the Republicans are just now learning to do. Hillary is a long time ardent supporter of Israel. And as far as policy goes, aid to Israel has INCREASED during the Obama Administration. And Obama’s stated position on Israel’s continuing and ILLEGAL settlement activity is EXACTLY the same as the Bush administration’s.

        Brian, you are merely repeating stuff you have heard from rabidly partisan pundits and posturing politicians. And in so doing, to any reasonably informed person, you are once again making deleted

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