It’s one thing for an hysteric like Seymour Hersh to go off the deep and and talk about the real possibility that we would use nuclear weapons to destroy Iranian nuclear research and development sites. We expect such stupidity from the man who accused the American government of deliberately testing the Soviet Union’s air defenses by sending a passenger plane into Russian air space only to have it shot down much to our propaganda advantage.
But when the theory is advanced by “experts” like George Lakoff, well. . . all we can do is bow to the superior intelligence and perspicacity of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley and start digging bomb shelters:
The stories in the major media suggest that an attack against Iran is a real possibility and that the Natanz nuclear development site is the number one target. As the above quotes from two of our best sources note, military experts say that conventional “bunker-busters” like the GBU-28 might be able to destroy the Natanz facility, especially with repeated bombings. But on the other hand, they also say such iterated use of conventional weapons might not work, e.g., if the rock and earth above the facility becomes liquefied. On that supposition, a “low yield” “tactical” nuclear weapon, say, the B61-11, might be needed.
If the Bush administration, for example, were to insist on a sure “success,” then the “attack” would constitute nuclear war. The words in boldface are nuclear war, that’s right, nuclear war—a first strike nuclear war.
We don’t know what exactly is being planned—conventional GBU-28’s or nuclear B61-11’s. And that is the point. Discussion needs to be open. Nuclear war is not a minor matter.
At the very least, we can gather from his writing that the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley is concerned about nuclear war. It’s just a shame that a Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley is a little deficient in the cognitive and not very adept at the linguistic.
But then, it takes a Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley to understand the nuances and “Euphemisms” of the enemy (that’s the White House to those uninitiated into leftist doublespeak) in order to wrest the truth from the dark corners of the Bush Administration so that the glorious light of reason can be shone and the nefarious plans of Bushco destroyed:
As early as August 13, 2005, Bush, in Jerusalem, was asked what would happen if diplomacy failed to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear program. Bush replied, “All options are on the table.” On April 18, the day after the appearance of Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker report on the administration’s preparations for a nuclear war against Iran, President Bush held a news conference. He was asked,
“Sir, when you talk about Iran, and you talk about how you have diplomatic efforts, you also say all options are on the table. Does that include the possibility of a nuclear strike? Is that something that your administration will plan for?”
“All options are on the table.”
The President never actually said the forbidden words “nuclear war,” but he appeared to tacitly acknowledge the preparations—without further discussion.
I see the cognitively challenged Professor’s point. The President also never actually said the forbidden words “Hillary is a slut” but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t wholeheartedly believe it.
Or maybe, this linguistics expert missed the President’s point. Do you think that when he said “All options are on the table” he really meant “I’m gonna nuke them suckers back to the stone age?” Or did he mean “All options are on the table?”
It’s a tough call which is why I’m glad we have a Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley working on the translation problem. In this case, not just any old High School English teacher will do. We need someone with not only the linguistic skills to decipher the President’s cryptic comments but also someone very well versed in cognitive dissonance – er, theories that is.
As for the aforementioned Hillary Clinton, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley helps in translating her rather obscure pronouncements on Iran:
Hillary Clinton, at an AIPAC dinner in NY, said,
“We cannot, we should not, we must not, permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons, and in dealing with this threat, as I have said for a very long time, no option can be taken off the table.”
Translation: Nuclear weapons can be used to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons can also be used to make excellent scrambled eggs but that doesn’t mean we will use them for that purpose – or for any reason for that matter. But our cognitiveless professor can see beyond the nuance, beyond the horizon, even beyond reason to glean the truth from the utterances of the powerful. Or so he thinks.
The nomenclature “All options are on the table” has been used in one form or another for centuries. The idea of using that phrase has never been to threaten or even hint at the use of nuclear weapons in any situation but rather to 1) state the obvious; and 2) keep a potential adversary guessing about your intentions. To make the gigantic leap of illogic as the professor does that all of a sudden this innocuous, boilerplate response – a response fully expected by the questioner – somehow is revealing of the deep, dark plans of the Bush Administration to use nuclear weapons on Iran is absurd on its face. It is idiotic. And it is embarrassing for anyone with more than a 6th grade education to advance such puerile drivel.
Perhaps it is the result of this Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley being so far out of his depth that he is unable to see the nose in front of his face. But that simply doesn’t matter. It is the superior goodness, the purity of heart, the absolute moral certitude of the professor that counts when coming to grips with the problems of . . . dare I say the words that none dare say?
To use words like “low yield” or “small” or “mini-” nuclear weapon is like speaking of being a little bit pregnant. Nuclear war is nuclear war! It crosses the moral line.
Any discussion of roadside canister bombs made in Iran justifying an attack on Iran should be put in perspective: Little canister bombs (EFP’s—explosively formed projectiles) that shoot a small hot metal ball at a humvee or tank versus nuclear war.
Incidentally, the administration may be focusing on the canister bombs because it seeks to claim that the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 permits the use of military force against Iran based on its interference in Iraq. In that case, no further authorization by Congress would be needed for an attack on Iran.
The journalistic point is clear. Journalists and political leaders should not talk about an “attack.” They should use the words that describe what is really at stake: nuclear war—in boldface.
First of all, I agree with the professor. From now on, when writing the words “nuclear war” on this site, I will place a smiley face immediately after it (boldface can get old very quick – especially when you consider how many times every day I write the words “nuclear war” on this site, being the war mongering, bloodthirsty neocon that I am.)
As far as the Bush Administration believing that the AUMF is all that is needed for an attack on Iran, isn’t it strange that the only ones making that argument at the moment are liberals in the blogosphere? I have yet to hear anyone from the Administration advance that rather novel theory – especially as the professor frames the issue as being Iran’s interference in Iraq. So far, the Administration has used what they consider evidence of Iran’s assistance to the militias and death squads only to crack down on Iranians in Iraq and not to threaten an attack on Iran itself. That certainly may change. I sincerely hope not. But Bush would almost certainly find the political rug pulled out from underneath him if he attacked Iran without specific Congressional authorization. Even many Republicans have made that clear.
Lakoff is pathetic. His rationale for not using nuclear weapons is self evident and simple minded. What is truly stupid is his belief that he’s somehow saving the world by writing about it – as if the rest of us had become so enamored of destroying Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities that we have lost sight of the consequences of using nuclear weapons. It takes someone awfully full of themselves to presume to lecture the rest of us about the immorality of using nuclear weapons or even the practical consequences that would flow from nuclear war :-).
Nor is the professor’s list of worst case scenarios complete – not by any means. No word from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley about what Vlad the Impaler in Moscow might think of a radioactive cloud wafting over Russian territory. Such a turn of events would almost certainly spoil family outings in southern Russia for quite a while. For that reason alone, despite the claim that “all options are on the table,” I think that we can all stop digging those new bomb shelters and emerge from the darkness with a fair amount of assurance – if not absolute rock solid certainty – that we will not use nuclear weapons if we decide to take out Iranian nuclear sites, thus avoiding “nation destruction” and – heaven help us – nuclear war!
From the milblog ARGGHHH!!:
Sometimes itâ€™s best to actually study the subject before you go off screaming, â€˜Bush is going to start a nuclear war!â€™ Just being smart doesnâ€™t make you a polymath with a deep grasp of everything you know.
Do you have to destroy something to put it out of commission? Is mission kill sufficient? Is offline for 2 months to a year sufficient for national policy goals? What are the national goals wrt Iranian nuclear weapons research? None of these questions is asked. Just straight to â€˜those batiches are going to employ nuclear weapons because we know heâ€™s a Nazi!â€™
And why are these guys taken seriously? I can only guess ignorance.
Actually, reader Patrick Murray just emailed to remind me that Lakoff was hired in 2004 by the DNC to “reframe” the message coming from the Democratic party for the election.
We know how well that worked out.
During the 2004 campaign, Lakoff suggested that instead of talking about how Bush had run up the national debt, Democrats should label it a “baby tax’’ the Republican president had imposed on future generations.
He has suggested that same-sex marriage should be referred to as “the right to marry.’’ Trial lawyers like vice presidential nominee John Edwards should instead be called “public protection attorneys,’’ and the term environmental protection, which brings to mind big government and reams of regulations, should instead be termed “poison-free communities.’’
Excuse me while I call my public protection attorney about suing my poison free community so that my partner and I have the right to marry and allow us to work together, hand in hand, cheek to cheek, to lower the baby tax.
Is this a great country or what?