I guess the Answer is "Yes, we are Frakking Nuts"Jun 02, 2012 by Ugh
I'm not sure what to say. I guess for one we shouldn't have made fun of John McCain's whole "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" thing since, well, we did, though without the fun explosions. For another, there are the especially appalling parts of the article (the whole thing is appalling, IMHO). Such as:
Some officials question why the same techniques have not been used more aggressively against North Korea. Others see chances to disrupt Chinese military plans, forces in Syria on the way to suppress the uprising there, and Qaeda operations around the world. “We’ve considered a lot more attacks than we have gone ahead with,” one former intelligence official said.
Now there are some great ideas. What could possibly go wrong? Oh:
In the summer of 2010, shortly after a new variant of the worm had been sent into Natanz, it became clear that the worm, which was never supposed to leave the Natanz machines, had broken free, like a zoo animal that found the keys to the cage.
Oops. Mistakes were made, as they say. And, the inevitable blowback:
[Mr. Obama] repeatedly expressed concerns that any American acknowledgment that it was using cyberweapons — even under the most careful and limited circumstances — could enable other countries, terrorists or hackers to justify their own attacks. . . . In fact, no country’s infrastructure is more dependent on computer systems, and thus more vulnerable to attack, than that of the United States. It is only a matter of time, most experts believe, before it becomes the target of the same kind of weapon that the Americans have used, secretly, against Iran.
But alas, now everyone knows. Also, shouldn't Congress have to authorize this? For example:
It appears to be the first time the United States has repeatedly used cyberweapons to cripple another country’s infrastructure, achieving, with computer code, what until then could be accomplished only by bombing a country or sending in agents to plant explosives.
How is this any different than sending in a B2 to blow up Natanz when nobody was around?
UPDATE: The Pentagon certainly seems to believe a similar act directed at the United States could be an Act of War. Hooray!
UPDATE #2: Not to be outdone the WaPo has this article: A review of strikes there so far suggests that the Obama administration has embraced a broader definition of what constitutes a terrorism threat that warrants a lethal response.
So we're now allowed to bombs away, as long as they're terrorists? Yep:
“We’re pursuing a focused counterterrorism campaign in Yemen designed to prevent and deter terrorist plots that directly threaten U.S. interests at home and abroad,” aid Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council.
Permanent war. Carried out by both sides of the aisle. Get used to it (just graduated high school seniors, age 7 or so on September 11, 2001, know nothing else).
Jun 02, 2012, 14:54:18 Turbulence wrote:
"How is this any different than sending in a B2 to blow up Natanz when nobody was around?"
(1) It wasn't clear that a B2 could actually destroy Natanz.
(2) A B2 is not deniable. If everyone kept their mouth shut, Stuxnet was.
Which raises the question: are our national security reporters just so awesome that they managed to break the story? Or was it selectively leaked as part of the President's reelection efforts. I doubt most people will know or care, but it might be very helpful in shaping elite media's perception of Obama, which can further shape coverage. This might the sort of thing that gives centrist wankers permission to embrace Obama: "See? He not only continued a Bush program but accelerated it! He's a centrist (after all) so he must be awesome!"
Jun 03, 2012, 02:01:53 DonaldJ wrote:
On the leaking thing, Greenwald has been pointing this out ever since the Wikileaks thing and maybe before--this Administration hates whistleblowers and leakers, except when it does the leaking for its own self-glorifying purposes.
On Stuxnet, I was a little surprised--everyone sort of knew Israel was involved, but I don't recall any hint of us being linked. But maybe my memory is off. It does make you wonder if the US is also involved in the assassinations of Iranian scientists.
And on a related note, the earlier NYT story clarified where John Brennan got his notion that the drone strikes only killed militants. It turns out that any military aged male that we kill is a militant until proven otherwise. But Obama reads Aquinas and Augustine (Aquinas was pro-torture, iirc), so it's all good.