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The Military United States Technology

Iran War Clock Set At Ten Minutes To Midnight 315

Hugh Pickens writes "The Atlantic has assembled a high-profile panel of experts, including a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Deputy Head of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, and a military correspondent at Haaretz, to periodically estimate the chances of conflict with Iran. The Iran War Clock is not designed to be pro-war or anti-war. Instead, the purpose is to estimate the chances of conflict in the hope of producing a more informed debate. Each panelist makes an individual estimate about the percentage chance of war and we report the average score and based on this number, the Iran War Clock is adjusted so that the hand moves closer to, or further away from, midnight. 'On the one hand, the panelists are highly knowledgeable. On the other hand, there are sufficient members of the panel that any individual error should not have an overly negative effect on the aggregate prediction.' If there is a zero percent chance of war, the clock hand is at 20 minutes to midnight. Each extra 5 percent chance of war moves the hand one minute closer to midnight. 'We're humble about the accuracy of this prediction, which is really a collective "gut-check" feeling. But it may be closer to the truth than the alternative forecasts available.' The panel's first estimate puts the odds of war in the next twelve months at 48 percent, consistent with predictions market Intrade.com, which estimates a 40 percent chance of a U.S./Israeli strike by December 2012."
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Iran War Clock Set At Ten Minutes To Midnight

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  • Re:Framing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @03:38PM (#39304241)

    This was my first thought too!

    If there is a zero percent chance of war, the clock hand is at 20 minutes to midnight

    We're basically rigging the system to LOOK like war is inevitable no matter what we do. This sounds like a PR event to get people READY for war more than give a realistic assessment.

    People will see "20-minutes to midnight" and think OMFG!@!@!@!@!11111@@@@@ (internet has changed how people thing)

    If you're used to seeing we're only 20 minutes from war- when war comes it is just because it is a foregone conclusion. No reason to complain to the government... we've been this close all along!

    Using the same scale we're currently at 20 minutes to midnight before Obama personally castrates all men in West Virginia using a switch blade knife... only 20 minutes from midnight folks... it's inevitable- don't fight it.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday March 09, 2012 @03:51PM (#39304435)

    Every Israeli is require to serve in the military (or equivalent public service). And when those soldiers finish basic, they do it on top of Masada [wikipedia.org]. Pretty powerful message. Better to take on the Roman Empire and be completely wiped out than to compromise, even in the slightest.

    If Israel wants to jump off the cliff and start a war, that's their business. If they would rather all die than to compromise with the Palestinians or Iranians in any way, that's their call. Build all the provocative settlements on Palestinian land you like, put up more walls to ghettoize them even more, kill all the Iranian nuclear scientists you like. Keep being pricks all you want.

    But this American doesn't want to follow them off the cliff that they seem DETERMINED to jump off of. I don't want to see my President start World War III out of some foolish bullshit belief that Israel is looking out for ANYONE else but Israel, that we're BFF's. Find another way to get the Jewish vote, Mr. President.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @03:56PM (#39304513) Journal

    Eh... it could go either way (waggling hand).

    The world isn't about right and wrong and anyway, what you consider right and wrong is considered rather silly by 6 billion people. It is about trying to ensure that tomorrow won't be a hell of a lot worse then today. And a Muslim run world would be a hell of a lot worse? Want to proof me wrong? Reverse the migration streams. As bad as some claim the west is, a lot of people would risk a dangerous crossing in tiny boats for a living as toilet cleaners rather then be anywhere else.

    What does migration have got to do with it? Libya used to help Europe in stemming the tide of immigrants from further south. Further uproar in that area will not help stem further migration, it was one of the reasons actions against Libya were opposed in the west by a lot of people (because they were for peace you thought? How silly).

    Iran is a lynch pin in a very complex scenario where all the actors and their lines are unknown and performed in the dark for a blind audience. You could say it is playing a game but what game? With what rules and with which cards? The west has learned the hard way that enforcing its values on another culture doesn't work, Iraq and Afghanistan are disaster areas. Libya is too early to tell so going into Iran is unlikely be a quick easy win. But as long as Iran remains, Syria remains. Sudan remains, Northern Nigeria remains... gutting Iran would send a strong message but is also unacceptable... so what to do?

    Nothing? Then you keep having to react to whatever it pulls next... Iran not hostile? Yeah, the mass murdering in Sudan and Nigeria are just for laughs. Iran knows Muslims soldiers have the military value of they regimental donkey so they fight their wars by proxy.

    What do YOU propose is done in Syria? Nothing? Deny anything is wrong? Somehow blame it all on Israel? Well nothing you can do it about it without upsetting Iran. So thousands of Muslims die at the hand of Muslims and you do nothing? Speak up when you say that... no, that is not acceptable either.

    Politicians are often said to think as this, "people say something must done, this is something, so it must be done". That is true enough... but people keep shouting "something must be done". YOU come up with something better.

    Ideally, war should be the last answer, it often is. The pity is that it often also is the only answer. Will Iran be attacked by the end of the year? No idea. To many interest, not always as you expect, many conflicting and a lot of actors who are pulling unseen strings. It is not just about testing the west by proxy, those pulling those strings would also not want to be seen to fail again, so they might force their puppet to relax. (If Iran backed by China fails and the Chinese economy suffers are the oil now moves west again without China buying it cheap thanks to the Iran embargo limitting competition for it would the Chinese people realize they can rebel as well) Overly complex but that is how it is all connected.

    War happens when those pulling the wires loose control of them. It has been happenig quite a lot really and by definition of loosing control, you can't predict it.

  • by yog ( 19073 ) * on Friday March 09, 2012 @04:03PM (#39304649) Homepage Journal

    What about Iran's continuing threats to destroy Israel, not just the supposedly mistranslated rhetorical device "wipe from map" but also the very real and unmistakable threats to destroy the country? What about their continued stockpiling of advanced missiles in Lebanon, manned by Iranian technicians, with the sole purpose of bombing Israel from just over the border, in direct violation of the 2006 UN-mediated armistice? What about Iran's continued sponsorship of terroristic activities all over the world? The large number of American soldiers blown up by Iranian-supplied bombs and armor-piercing ordnance in Iraq?

    You can cluck about peace all you want, and both a mercantile/high tech Israel and a war-weary U.S. would love it to be a peaceful world, but unfortunately the real world simply is not so, and Iran least of all. Most of the Iranian people doubtlessly want peace just as we do, but they are ruled by crazy mullahs who have an apocalyptic vision of a golden cloud over Jerusalem. They are planning to nuke Israel, and idiots in the West ignore this at their own peril. Not only would Israel undoubtedly retaliate and destroy most of Iran's cities, but the conflagration would probably spread. Tens (if not hundreds) of millions of people are going to die if we don't stop them, by sanctions or by espionage or by outright war.

    My gut feeling is that while the Israelis are talking war, they are actually planning more devious steps to halt the Iran nuclear project. For one thing, they have hinted all along that they have resources deeply embedded in Iran who have been sabotaging the nuclear projects since the 1980s. This may be a kind of disinformation, but Israel has thousands of Iranian immigrants to draw on, who are fluent in Farsi and the culture.

    Probably, Mossad is hoping to detonate a dirty nuke of some sort deep inside the enrichment facility that would render the place unusable, kill minimal bystanders, and set the Iranians back by several years. It would be hard to trace the cause, and Iran would be faced with either admitting it was building nukes, or else try to cover it up while trying to rebuild, a daunting prospect given the tightening noose of sanctions. This would be the most appealing outcome to the situation.

  • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @04:11PM (#39304791)

    Eventually, they will ride the peace train long enough to arrive at Nuclearville.

    In Islam, they have a word for this: Hudna. Basically, a call for peace, or temporary cease-fire, when you need to reload. The fact that the religion/culture of this area of the world is taught this concept, and has a word for it, should speak volumes. Bin Laden called for peace when he was being bombed in 2001. Hamas has called for peace when they were attacked by Israel. None of them seriously want peace; just time to reload.

  • by LifesABeach ( 234436 ) on Friday March 09, 2012 @04:55PM (#39305431) Homepage
    Arabic is one of the finest languages for telling someone what they can do to themself. It's sad that it's wasted on the Arabs.

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan