February 17, 2017


What in the heck is going on with Evan McMullin? Tweeting that the President of the United States is a "domestic enemy" isn't that strange these days - we saw that frequently and from many sources over the last two Administrations. I'm talking about his overt Russophobia.

Is Russia still the heart of a lingering "evil empire?" When the USSR subjected everyone within it's very big but not very beautiful walls, that was an easy sell to a peace-loving western population. But today, they carry our astronauts to the International Space Station for goodness sake! The wall came down in nineteen-hundred and eighty nine. Remember?

And yet, today, Evan McMullin appeared on CNN's New Day this morning to tell Alisyn Camerota that Donald Trump wants to "weaken" the U.S. intelligence community because "he knows as long as he has the issues he has with Russia the intelligence community and he are not going to get along."

What are President Trump's "issues with Russia?" Well, there's the unsubstantiated claim of stealing the election. Each of us must discern whether or not to believe the various claims and counterclaims on that one. But one unambiguous conflict with the "intelligence community" is Trump's willingness for rapprochement with modern Russia.

Camerota asked Steve Hall, the former CIA Chief of Russia Operations about Trumps press conference yesterday. Hall answered that,

"I don't think there is very much good news especially after we saw the press conference Donald Trump conducted yesterday ... he said things like it wouldn't be so bad if we had a good relationship with Russia."

The horror! The next we know, he'll be sending Rex Tillerson on a mission to "reset" U.S. relations with Russia. Who sets U.S. foreign policy, really... the C.I.A.? The Council on Foreign Relations? Senator John McCain? How about the elected Chief Executive and Commander in Chief of the armed forces? Seems I read that in some old dusty document once.

There's clearly something really big going on here, behind the scenes of geopolitics. Past presidents have apparently been willing to let the puppetmasters have their way, in complete secrecy. President Trump on the other hand has a penchant for, shall we say, speaking his mind? And for doing so it is boasted that Trump will "die in jail" as the Intelligence Community prepares to "go nuclear" on him.

What was that old Dwight D. Eisenhower quote? "Beware the military-industrial complex" or something like that? Well, the Sting lyric, "I hope the Russians love their children too" can perhaps be updated to "I hope American Spooks love their children too."

You know it's a red-letter day when this humble blogger links to The Nation, but I find a lot of anti-Leviathan love here. I've never heard of Patrick Lawrence but he self-identifies as a progressive and writes about 'The Perils of Russophobia.'

 "Russian aggression" has to go down as one of the great, pernicious phrases of our time - requiring no further scrutiny whenever deployed. The Russians invaded Ukraine and then stole Crimea without prior provocation. Now they threaten to invade the Baltic states. They cultivate extreme-right nationalists in Europe so as to debilitate the European Union. The Russians are guilty of war crimes in Syria. They have just invaded us, too, corrupting our democratic process and throwing the 2016 election to Donald Trump and his houseful of "Kremlin lackeys."

This is the stuff of our reigning Russophobia. Let us try to identify what it is actually made of.

Every sentence in the above list has four attributes: (1) It is broadly accepted as fact just as written; (2) there is little confirmed, published evidence from impartial sources, if any, supporting it; (3) it is either one or another form of disinformation or misleads by way of omission - or both; and (4) it is a source of delusion. And in the matter of the last it is very weird. Our policy cliques do well enough deluding Americans to the effect that Russia now presents America with "an existential threat" - a thought Pentagon and NATO brass are making common currency, believe it or not - but they appear to think a nation deluded by their incessant repetitions is somehow a fine and sturdy thing.

I can be convinced that Iranian and North Korean nuclear ICBM's pose an "existential threat" but Russia has had them pointed at us for so long, and us at them, that nobody truly fears "mutual assured destruction" anymore. And what is a contemporary term for unsubstantiated delusional disinformation? "Fake news."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:42 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Firstly, tovarich, I will accept your assessment of Evan McMullin. His post-election persona has not filled me with pride for having voted for him. Well, they were desperate times, and I'm not one for regrets.

I'll rather recall the other Mormon I voted for. Gov. Mitt Romney suggested Russia as a strategic threat in the 2012 debate. President Obama channeled The Nation in his derisive "The 1980's called -- they want their foreign policy back."

By all means, call McMullin overwrought, but I'd suggest more caution in disregarding Russian aggression. I'll also accept your bifurcating existential threats versus strategic. But I see Russia ready to work behind the scenes to discredit the US, and quite willing to work with Iran and possibly NKorea to achieve this. Their grisly involvement in Syria is enough to keep them at arms' length.

The only fundamental shift from the bad-old-days to now is the asymmetric difference in strength.
We have to fear them less because they have been weakened. But they still have hegemonic ambitions, and in the diplomatic realm, play chess to our checkers and -- at the risk of mixing metaphors -- hardball to our softball.

I don't stay awake at night fearing Russians under the bed, but I'm wary: a cornered, weakened bear is still dangerous.

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2017 12:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, all of that is very fair. But are these legitimate concerns behind the IC "going nuclear" or is that more of a territorial behavior by an entrenched bureaucracy? One that happens to have some of the world's most powerful tools and influence at its disposal?

"Going nuclear" doesn't seem a proportional response to policy differences. Nor, even to concerns that POTUS has secretive "ties" to Russia. Just leak the details and let's have it out publicly. Unless, such public airing might do the self-described "Spooks" more harm than good.

Posted by: johngalt at February 17, 2017 12:34 PM

September 18, 2015

iran linked to 9/11

Holy smokes this judgement, Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden from Dec. 2011 is still not understood, or cited?? Apparently, the 9/11 Report noted suspicions on this, but no one followed up, except victims' families.

[Judge] Daniels agreed that Iran, Khamenei, former Iranian president Ali Rafsanjani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS), Irans terrorist proxy Hezbollah and various Iranian government departments, government-owned companies and the central bank, had all provided direct and material aid and support to al-Qaida in carrying out the 9/11 attacks.
[on the] website of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York under rulings of special interest.

There is a website for this case, Iran911case.com but Webroot watchguard is telling me it's got cooties; this JP article is clear of nastiness. The families are owed $7B in damages... chump change for the amount of money held up for sanctions. A different judge upheld the ruling (Iran didn't answer) but ordering the seizure of a $500M manhattan tower block.

What in the world is the GOP doing not using this for leverage against the nuke deal?!? Oh, I see, they're still playing 50's era nice-nice politics.

McConnell believes by hammering home the point again on Tuesday he is making the partisan contrast between the two parties even brighter for voters in 2016.

Some things just can't wait, but losers never see that. Per Scott Johnson at PowerLine on the second attempt at the same cursed vote, filibuster .... prevent a resolution of disapproval:

I think this is for losers. It is demoralizing. It represents sheer futility. It is not only for losers, it aggravates the loss.

Good grief, McConnel can't even get a vote on a resolution of disapproval?!? The keystone cops need another captain. I think I'll post the JP article to Cory Gardener's website... heck, Tom Cotton too!!

Posted by nanobrewer at 3:12 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Are you saying that our government and its media "watchdogs" swept an inconvenient truth under the rug so that the public might never connect Iran with 9/11?

I have zero difficulty believing that.

I hereby retract my prior assertion [second comment] that Iran has not been linked to 9/11 legally or militarily.

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2015 11:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I also shared the article on the Weld County Repulicans FB page. Thanks nb!

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2015 11:58 AM

July 24, 2015

Serious Take on Iran Deal

I owe blog friend tg a link on this. I think he wrote this rather serious piece to quiet my lengthy comments on a Facebook post.

You'll want to read the whole thing, so I will provide backstory rather than excerpts. My friend and most serious follower of statecraft that I know is quite nonplussed about "the American Right" for having what he views as unsubstantiated reflexive enmity toward Iran over other powers in the region. Our swell allies, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar, you know the list -- are certainly no more rights-respecting than Iran. I suggested they were less dangerous to the US and its interests, but he rebutted quite well.

He's a statecraft guy (you take that back!) and sees Iran a balance to ISIS, whom he considers a far greater threat.

He's got me pretty well convinced on everything but I hold my Israel card. If PM Netanyahu loved the Iran deal and was sending roses to Sec. Kerry, I guess I would be in. His opposition is enough to sway me double digits.

For those who'd like an additional reading assignment an a sunny Friday afternoon: I had also shared this Objectivist examination (Hat-tip Yaron Brook) of the Iran deal. Peter Schwartz captures my skepticism of international diplomacy and madmen's signatures on parchment.

Neither view matches what I see on Conservative websites.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:40 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:
matches what I see on Conservative websites
Well, apart from nominating Iran as a regional foe and domestic oppressor, as well as citation of Chamberlain's deal from Munich - all of which are widespread - these are quite distinct takes.

Schwartz's view is more rational (as are the comments) and levelheaded than I ever expected possible from HuffPo!

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 25, 2015 8:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, in fairness, I saw 20 minutes or so of PBS's Frontline on the rescue of the Yazidi women from ISIS. I generally would not counsel to decide on policy based on "Frontline," but if one looks at Iran and ISIS on an "evil" scale, there is no contest.

The US backed Marcos, Batista, and Somoza against Communists. I'm not very proud of that, but remain proud of opposing Communism. If I may paraphrase, tg is prepared to claim the Ayatollah as "our son-of-a-bitch." Before you say "never" you might watch a few minutes of Frontline. (DId I really say that?)

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2015 12:10 PM

April 20, 2015

The Real Problem in Iran.

I disappointed blog siblings last week.

Apologies all around, but I cannot see meaningful progress in foreign policy while President Obama is in office. It is not that he is some Kenyan, anti-Colonialist, Socialist plant. He is a bit of an Arabist in the mold of President Carter, a pacifist/appeaser in the mold of the Harvard Faculty Lounge, and he refuses to let foreign expenditures affect his domestic agenda: we'll have no less butter because of guns.

Blog patron-saint Natan Sharansky has a column in the WaPo today which cleaves to the real issue. "When did America forget that it's America?" Sharansky compares the moral certitude of our objection to Soviet totalitarianism to moral ambivalence against Iran:

I am afraid that the real reason for the U.S. stance is not its assessment, however incorrect, of the two sides' respective interests but rather a tragic loss of moral self-confidence. While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.

But in today's postmodern world, when asserting the superiority of liberal democracy over other regimes seems like the quaint relic of a colonialist past, even the United States appears to have lost the courage of its convictions.

You cannot fix this with Corker-Menendez, or a letter to the Ayatollah.

Hat-tip: Insty.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:40 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

"When did America forget that it's America?"

I don't believe she did, per se. A majority of the minority of her voting-eligible citizens who actually went to the polls, chose younger/cooler... twice. [Was GWB younger OR cooler than Algore? Hmmm.] It wasn't a conscious decision to elect one of "the declining number of true believers still loyal to their [Soviet leaders] ideology." It just sorta happened. But now, after a hard and sustained tack to port, I am more confident than ever that America's keel is intact, and her moral certitude will return.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2015 3:55 PM
But jk thinks:

On topic: I don't think Sharansky believes America has forgotten, the piece at directed at our leadership which has.

Side topic: Merciful Zeus, yes. Governor Bush was two years older than the Vice President, but still a young 54 in 2000. Yet the VP suffered from an inability to project a vibrant personal image. My two favorite recollections from the debates are:

1. His (VP Gore's) weird alpha male attempt to intimidate Bush by standing beside him (I recently saw an interview with a debate coach -- they were actually expecting that).

2. In the middle of an answer by the Governor, the VP interrupted by shouting out "WHAT ABOUT DINGELL-NORWOOD???" in a voice that would have sealed the audition for "Revenge of the Nerds."

The less defensible examples of my theory are probably 1988 (Though Gov. Dukakis had zero coolness in the tank helmet) and 1984 (Mondale was neither young nor cool, but he did give several years to President Reagan.)

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2015 5:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We probably agree that all of these examples require filament bifurcation, as they were a contrasts between two Caucasian dudes. Anyone of any age, who is not either white or male, is automatically more "cool" unless the pale guy is quite young. By the very definition of the word. (Even 'The Fonz' stopped being cool once he hit about 30 or so.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2015 2:19 PM

April 15, 2015

Cotton don't cotton

Tom Cotton holds forth with Jeffery Goldberg and does exceptionally well. Goldberg clearly does not agree with almost anything said, but gives Cotton fair questions (some hammered in) and a free range to reply.

Tom Cotton strikes me as the most interesting Senate freshman for any number of reasons

he is quite obviously positioned to lead the most hawkish wing of the Republican Party. He is exceedingly bright, and blessed with a wonk's mindI will readily admit that his knowledge of Middle East minutiae is impressive, even if I disagree with much of his analysis. And he is a superior standard-bearer for the confront-Iran-before-it's-too-late faction in the Senate because, as an Iraq combat veteran, he cannot be labeled a chickenhawk.

The whole thing is worth reading.

The best quote from the newly-minted Senator probably is: Its unfair to Neville Chamberlain to compare him to Barack Obama
I think that Americansand this is not true just now, but over the yearsare not fundamentally opposed to war. They're fundamentally opposed to losing wars
but perhaps most piercingly:
I think Obama believes that if America was less of a leader in the world, the world would probably be a better and more stable place.

He does not shrink from any confrontation, like any good leader:

Q; would you not be engaged in this negotiation at all? Would you issue an ultimatum?

A: I thought that Yuval Steinitz had a good list of proposed changes to the president's proposal, and I don't think you can argue those changes are unrealistic, because all he did was take all the statements that President Obama and John Kerry and Wendy Sherman made at the very outset of these negotiations about stockpiles of enriched uranium, about the past military dimensions of this program, about inspections and so forth. The positions he lists are positions that our government previously held.

and, most interestingly (and at odd with some TS'ers, I believe?)

Q; The idea that you are telling a foreign adversary, Don't trust in our presidentthe man who's making our foreign policy? Did that cause you to ask yourself, 'Maybe I am undermining the executive branch?'

A:No, in part because the letter didn't say that. The letter simply stated indisputable facts of constitutional law, and Iran's leaders needed to hear that message, and they needed to hear it from us. What we did was certainly more measured than what past senators had done, in conciliating with people like Manuel Noriega, Bashar al-Assad, or Leonid Brezhnev. The difference is we openly stood up to a dictator, and in a lot of those past precedents, Senate Democrats privately conciliated and coddled dictators.

Goldberg is also refreshingly honest about the workaday Liberal obsession that he clearly adheres to:

back in 2006. When you were there, did it ever cross your mind, We're in over our heads. What are we doing here?

The experience of Iraq taught me that once the kinetic piece starts, you just dont know for sure whats going to happen. And I don't know that you can predict the response of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps

[me, eyes rolling] Oh me oh my, sure; let's not make them MAD!! Sen Cotton, like the pro he is, swats these down indifferently.

More Cotton, faster please!

Posted by nanobrewer at 1:06 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

A very good interview -- and a good example of a Republican not getting rolled by an interviewer without appearing bellicose.

Sen. Cotton is perhaps a bit more bellicose against Iran than me. I think you keep your bad options always on the table, but I prefer the rhetoric of peace through strength. Tomato, tomahto.

But my real issue is that we have another year and a half with the Nobel Laureate in the Executive Mansion, and any talk of toughness is just talk. He's an historic guy on account of his complexion and he wants to sign historic things, whatever they say inside.

All for Congress asserting its prerogatives and all, but all one can really do is duck and cover until January 2017.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2015 9:21 AM
But johngalt thinks:

One may also call attention to the fecklessness of the Nobel Laureate, and all those who enable him. This voter awareness could be of value in November of 2016.

There is also political value in articulating dangers before the caca hits the ventilador, lest one be conflated with the enablers.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2015 2:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JK - Cotton is perhaps a bit more bellicose against Iran than me

And likely a great deal more realistic. Frankly, the REAL option is regime change... but that's not for discussion in open forums. I'm glad he also mentioned BHO's blowing the opportunity to support the Green Revolters....

There is something that can be done: ensure loud & clear, that no back room deal will be lifting US sanctions (and with that, I don't think the EU block will go with any sub rosa deal BHO tries to float thru the UN).

Recall that Libs needs to talk vague and act even with even more subterfuge than a typical pol: they can't be honest w/ themselves, thereby with voters either.

Sunshine: the ultimate disinfectant!

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 15, 2015 2:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Agree with nb.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2015 3:25 PM

April 2, 2015


From Tom Gross' fascinating ME blog, he cites statements from a variety of sources:

But first, to answer a question JK posed a while back, WTF is BHO thinking?
1. JK, you are laboring under the assumption BHO thinks in a way remotely similar to you and me.

Forget Churchill Obama isnt even measuring up to Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain dealt from a position of weakness, one that Hitler continually exploited in the negotiations.... In sharp contrast, Mr. Obama is acting out of personal aggrandizement. Mr. Obama is dealing from a position of strength that he refuses to use. Instead of using the sanctions to pursue his original promise that Iran would not get the bomb, Mr. Obama has moved the goal post. [nb - this is just human; and it's exacerbated by the next point] Mr. Obama is surrounded by sycophants, second-rate intellectuals, and a media that remains compliant and uncritical in the face of repeated foreign policy disasters.
NY Observer.

Note the last sentence (emphasis mine); not only is BHO's ego tied up with this, but so is a swarm of unelected hangers-on and the media types of whom Brian Williams is a sadly, very average example ... and don't even get me started on the HRC/Harry Reid mindset; I do therefore it must be good....

Now, more general observations:

If a deal on Irans nuclear programme is clinched, it will be hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough. It will be nothing of the kind. If the framework agreement is signed on the basis of current drafts it will a reckless recasting of the Middle East. The deal is flawed and naive.
The London Times (firewall applies)

Once upon a time, only the Chamberlain's of the world cared to spike the ball after completing a deal; in our 24/7 media world, far too many media-types (sorry, I need to hold the word reporters out for those who've proven to be a cut above the ordinary) think their prestige - and in some cases, their next book - is tied up with spiking it first.

And they are just the types that have projected the infallible image that the Lightweight-in-chief believes in himself, where in reality, he's a mediocre example of the faculty lounge gripes-a-lot type.

Clearing the way for Iran to get nuclear bombs may probably will be the most catastrophic decision in human history
- Thomas Sowell.

Many died as a result of Chamberlain's weakness (who was physically quite ill, too); we can only hope and pray that Sowell's "probably" vision turns out to be wrong.

Hat Tip: PowerLine

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:46 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

In the last linked piece, Sowell goes on to suggest that Obama wants Iran to have the bomb:

In Obama's vision, as a citizen of the world, there may be no reason why Iran should not have nuclear weapons when other nations have them.

Politically, President Obama could not just come right out and say such a thing. But he can get the same end result by pretending to have ended the dangers by reaching an agreement with Iran.

But your opening question remains - why? Sowell again:

It is amazing - indeed, staggering - that so few Americans are talking about what it would mean for the world's biggest sponsor of international terrorism, Iran, to have nuclear bombs, and to be developing intercontinental missiles that can deliver them far beyond the Middle East.

Back during the years of the nuclear stand-off between the Soviet Union and the United States, contemplating what a nuclear war would be like was called "thinking the unthinkable." But surely the Nazi Holocaust during World War II should tell us that what is beyond the imagination of decent people is by no means impossible for people who, as Churchill warned of Hitler before the war, had "currents of hatred so intense as to sear the souls of those who swim upon them."

That word - hatred - somehow led my thoughts to Frank Marshall Davis, an Obama mentor. Some of his writings are linked in his Wikipedia page footnotes. This one sets the tone: May 12, 1949: How Our Democracy Looks To Oppressed Peoples

Four years ago, we had the opportunity for world leadershipThis was near the end of World War II, a global conflict for freedom and liberation We shouted our antagonism toward the superior race theones of the Nazis.

But before the guns grew cold, we interpreted freedom, and liberation to be the exclusive possession of the imperialist governments of Europe. I have watched with growing shame for my America as our leaders nave used our golden riches to re-enslave the yellow and brown and black peoples of the world.

As the colonials see it, the Marshall plan is a device to maintain what they call "white imperialism " and no manner of slick phrases can convince them otherwise. They also see our congressional failure to pass the civil rights program as merely the domestic side of the same coin of the oppression of non-white peoples everywhere.

A particular kind of hatred - one rooted in not just race, but what they call "imperialism."

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2015 2:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Related: "Capitalism is an 'oppressive force' against blacks."

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2015 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And if the "established, entrenched, neo-mercantilist statism" that has come to dominate the world economy since WWII is what Davis meant by "imperialism" then he may well have a point. But blaming it on race is a fatal distraction.

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2015 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Tinfoil hats all around! But need I be the first to mention Ms. Valerie Jarrett? The most powerful person not named Obama in the Executive Branch was born in Iran. This is an aluminum receptacle of worms which I'd like to keep sealed on both ends. But...

I'd love to be told I am a crazy conspiracy theorist. Go right ahead.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2015 1:54 PM

March 4, 2015

Elevator Talk on Iran

I watched PM Netanyahu's speech twice yesterday. (Hey, we dropped cable -- it's free!)

I responded to a good friend of LOTR-F who sent an interesting link to Stratfor. You know I hate to waste 20 minutes of typing, so I offer it here as a clarification of my Prosperitarian stance:

Hey, David. Are you by any chance a fan of Dr. Deepak Lal, the UCLA Economics Professor?

He has a bunch of good books, but in "Reviving the Invisible Hand," he discusses the economic importance of what he calls Liberal International Economic Orders. His LIEOs comport roughly to Pax Britannica and Pax Americana.

The iPhone is a marvelous gadget and great example of Ricardian economics -- it uses parts from 42 countries. If the sphere of safety does not include those 42 countries, then the sphere of economics will be shrunk to match. And iPhones will cost more and the world will be poorer. (Some no good friends of mine have me reading Wealth of Nations; it's right there in front.)

I accept from liberty theory your suggestion that we stick to our knitting, and I completely concur with your reading of the founders that it is outside the purview of the American Experiment.

But -- my first and widest break from traditional libertarianism is my willingness to take an expansive enough view of "national interest" to support preserving the LIEO. I call myself a "Deepak Lal Libertarian," and on occasion the silly neologism "Properitarian."

I'm also a fan of William Easterly and have given up foolish ideas I used to hold about exporting Democracy and Nation-building. I'm humbled by the Bush years but not to the point of isolationism. I would stand fulsomely with Israel as the one rights-enforcing state in her region and I would suggest a nuclear Iran to be an existential threat to the LIEO.

I don't pretend these questions are easy, and I enjoyed the link you sent. Our country did a great thing in defeating Soviet Communism, I'll support the fight to contain or vanquish the theocracy in Iran.


Posted by John Kranz at 3:52 PM | Comments (0)

Deeds not words

No links to back up my assertions this time, although I looked. The video excerpt of National Security Advisor Susan Rice's speech to AIPAC most often posted is the one where she "proves" that her boss' bad deal with Iran is a good deal because she repeats the mantra "no deal is better than a bad deal."

In the same speech she said, and I have to paraphrase because I'm going from memory of seeing her say it on FNC yesterday morning - "We must judge Iran by its actions and not its words." By "words" we can consider those of Iran's president when he said, "And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism." Setting aside for now the Islamic Republic of Iran's military exercise to sink a 1/100th scale model of a US aircraft carrier at the peak of "negotiations," this advice is quite sound. Many recent examples of deeds not matching words support Ms. Rice's statement. One such example is quite well known - "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:38 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Or, as Jim Geraghty said "Great News! Obama's Drawing a New 'Red Line' with Iran! We Can Relax Now!"

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 1:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JG: Rice's speech to AIPAC
[learning to properly cite quotes...]

Has been widely reported as "openly derided." That woman has no shame; she's a natural for a Clinton appointee!

Following right after was the widely-applauded speech
by the NJ Senator with a distinctly non-jewish surname that directly contradicted Rice's most salient points.

It will never threaten Israel or its neighbors, and it will never be in a position to start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Not on my watch.
Let us do all we can now to get an agreement that dismantles Iran’s illicit program and ensures that it will not have to be a military response

Bolded above was one of the more promiment snide tweets from Dems in response to Bibi's speech. If I tweeted, my reply to them would have been: "he has plans - it's NOBama!.

Nice to see that bi-partisanship is still alive, and sad w/o surprise to note how distant POTUS is from it.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 4, 2015 3:35 PM

February 5, 2015

Yes, vagabonds, there is a strategy

Michael Doran magnificently and at great length argues that BHO has an iranian strategy, and is following it.

Lee Smith supports and greatly summarizes this, tracing what they think is the origin, namely the disastrous Iraq Study Group's report, led by the well-meaning (but doddering, I think) James Baker:

panel urged "Bush to take four major steps: withdraw American troops from Iraq; surge American troops in Afghanistan; reinvigorate the Arab-Israeli 'peace process;' and, last but far from least, launch a diplomatic engagement of the Islamic Republic"

Smith quotes Doran in saying "The Baker-Hamilton report became the blueprint for the foreign policy of the Obama administration" I don't have time to read it all, but it appears that Obama intends detente with Iran to be his Foreign Policy signature achievement. Figures a lazy faculty lounge lizard would grasp on all the wrong, but faddish ideas....

If this compelling argument is true, it again reinforces what the thinkers have long postulated about the Alinskyite players who are out of the lounges and trying to run the country: they certainly have beliefs, which they dare not disclose!

If, in Bushland, America had behaved like a sheriff, assembling a posse ("a coalition of the willing") to go in search of monsters, in Obamaworld America would disarm its rivals by ensnaring them in a web of cooperation. To rid the world of rogues and tyrants, one must embrace and soften them.
quoth Doran (my emphasis).

NOW, he is starting to make sense. Startling, and horrifying sense, but sensical nonetheless. Someone tell Boehner!

Hat tip: The Hugh Hewitt Show, on whose show Smith said that he informally collaborated with Doran, and pretty much agreed with wholeheartedly.

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:50 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

And this approbational strategy toward the Shiite Islamists prevents Iranian nukes... how, exactly?

ISIL has done a superb job of distracting western attention from Tehran, where the greater threat likely lies.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2015 1:43 AM
But jk thinks:

I am generally suspicious of the "evil genius" theory, most politicians lack one required trait.

But I am reminded of President Carter's White House Diary that he published. I was far less political during the Carter years and did not pay close attention. Reading the diary on the Begin-Sadat peace conference at Camp David it is absolutely stunning how Carter and every member of his team were so incredibly biased against Begin and Israel. The referees were wearing hats with the other team's logo in that one.

I still hold that everything the President does can be best explained by ascribing the "faculty lounge" mindset: Arabs over Israel every day of the week.

I think that explains the President without contradicting Doran.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2015 10:01 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

> strategy toward the Shiite Islamists
> prevents Iranian nukes... how, exactly?

Because Barack Obama.... this is where the "horrifying sense" part of it comes in. What JK said about 'faculty lounge' mindset ('Like') now becomes just as important as all of Doran's research.

One must not quibble over such tedious details as "prevention;" that's so negative and oh... so Cold War of you! Once they're our friend, then all these wonderful things can happen - they might even open enroll for Obamacare! (Someone has to, Congress won't.)

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 6, 2015 10:23 AM

January 27, 2015

Israel shows US an ambassador

Ron Dermer gives an impressive speech in Florida, cited here and noting:

The Prime Ministers visit here is not intended to show any disrespect for President Obama, he continued. Israel deeply appreciates the strong support we have received from President Obama in many areas the enhanced security cooperation, heightened intelligence sharing, generous military assistance and iron dome funding, and opposition to anti-Israel initiatives at the United Nations.

perfect opening moves.... then to answer the WHY doe Bibi wish to address congress:

Th[at] is not just the right of the Prime Minister of Israel. It is his most sacred duty to do whatever he can to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons that can be aimed at Israel.

along the way, saying we have learned from our history that the world becomes a more dangerous place for the Jewish people when the Jewish people are silent

Hat Tip: PowerLine

An impressive stroke; wonder if the Manhattan Media noticed? Why do so many prominent Israeli's have just-across-Mayberry names? And while I'm on a postulating parade: who's the last ambassador we had that was worth a damn?

More Bebi, now.... faster, please.

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:42 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

While we're reading Powerline, let's give this one a look. Perhaps there's another reason the White House doesn't want to be seen with Bibi - they're participating in the Israeli election, and not to Netanyahu's favor. Izzat legal?

Hat tip: KHOW's Mandy Connell.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2015 11:58 AM

December 13, 2011

Quote of the Day

Jonah Godberg corrects Karl Marx as an Iranian news service reports President Obama "Begs Iran to Give Him Back His Toy Plane."

Its "first as tragedy, second as Farsi."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:44 PM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2011


I guess the "number of days without an accident" sign at Iran's military headquarters has to be set back to zero again. -- Jim Geraghty (subscribe)
Posted by John Kranz at 4:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 31, 2009

The Third Way in Iran

Not quite 8 pm Eastern yet. Still time for at least one more serious post of 2009...

Today Charles Krauthammer predicted that 2010 will be the year of Iran, and that one of three events will come to pass: Israel will launch a military attack against Iran's nuclear sites, Iran will succeed in developing the bomb, or a popular revolution will unseat the theocratic regime and effectively end the Iranian nuclear threat.

Adding weight to the third of these options was Tim Ghami of the Colorado Iranian American Community organization [no website found.] He was the guest of Tom Tancredo who guest hosted for Mike Rosen on Denver KOA radio this morning. In the last quarter of the third hour Tim said this:

What's important for the listeners to understand is that the Iranian people are capable of removing this government. They don't need a dollar, they don't need a soldier, they don't need anything. All they need is just the moral support. Exactly what the people are chanting on the street - President Obama, which side are you on? Are you on the side of the people or are you on the side of the government? Do you want to have a dialog with the Iranian people or do you want to have a dialog with the person who wants to wipe out Israel off the earth? Do you want to have a dialog and have a long-term relationship with the Iranian people or do you want to have a relationship with the person who is killing innocent citizens of the Iranian country?

Seems like a simple enough question to me.

Just prior to this Tim discussed the secular nature of the 95% muslim nation he grew up in prior to the Islamist revolution and described them as friendly to the west, the international community, and to freedom.

UPDATE: I also intended to excerpt the passage when they discussed Iran as the "root" of radical Islamic terrorism worldwide and how vital it is to Western interests [read: capitalist, individualist] that the theocracy be overthrown. Continue below...

Tancredo also asked Tim if instead of playing terrorist "whack-a-mole" it would be more effective to kill the roots of terrorism that are firmly established in Iran. "Now you're saying the root of terrorism is in Tehran, it is the leadership, but is that the root of the entire radical Islamic movement? ... If the government of Iran topples, if the mullahs are thrown out, if some democratic institutions are put into place, if they are non-sectarian and not even based on Sharia law - if all of that could happen how could we feel safer in that knowledge? Would it, in fact, end our fear of, or the threat of radical Islam?"

Ghami - "Yes it will. The reason for that is that we mentioned earlier that 80 percent of the international terrorism the Iranian regime is either directly or indirectly involved. We also must understand that for the first time, about 30 years ago, the Islamic fundamentalist force for the first time was able to capture a state and take over a government. Keep in mind that Iran is a wealthy nation, unlimited source of funds, natural resources, money and all of that. That the most evil global threat, a force that has targeted western civilization for the first time...

[Tancredo interrupts for emphasis.]

The leaders of the Iranian government in numerous occasion have said that they are the alternative to western civilization. And that's why, when you keep that in mind, that their activities would make sense in that context. They've spent millions of dollars sending funds to Palestine and Israel to make that area unstable. They're doing the same thing in Iraq. They're doing the same thing in Lebanon. Their entire motive is to cause instability for western civilization and of course they do that by oppressing the Iranian people which is the number one enemy to this regime."

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2009

Quote of the Day Nominee

The Refugee will not presume to usurp "Quote of the Day" priviledges, but thinks the one below is a worthy nominee. Fouad Ajami, writing in today's WSJ, pens an excellent piece on Obama's naivite and education about Iran.

Days into his presidency, it should be recalled, Mr. Obama had spoken of his desire to restore to America's relation with the Muslim world the respect and mutual interest that had existed 30 or 20 years earlier. It so happened that he was speaking, almost to the day, on the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution -- and that the time span he was referring to, his golden age, covered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the American standoff with Libya, the fall of Beirut to the forces of terror, and the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Liberal opinion would have howled had this history been offered by George W. Bush, but Barack Obama was granted a waiver.

Worth the read.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Not only do you have plenipotentiary QOTD privileges, br, I was looking at this one as well.

What interested me today was how closely Ajami's piece paralleled the Editorial Board's. They said the same things and used the same examples. They're both right.

Nomination seconded.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2009 1:25 PM

June 20, 2009

Can We Revisit "Unconditional Talks?"

Hat-tip: Gateway Oundit

UPDATE: For that matter, can we revisit "The Axis of Evil?"

Posted by John Kranz at 1:54 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

Be sure to read John Hinderaker's post on why Obama is awol.


Damned shame. I got into a heated discussion with the resident liberals at work over it.

What started it was "they're protesting because they saw the hope & change that Obama brought to our country."

Got my blood boiling.

Posted by: AlexC at June 20, 2009 2:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm coming to believe that Obama is not actually AWOL on the Iranian uprising. This is quite a turnaround for me since posting that Obama may actually want Ahmadinejad to remain in power as a fellow member of the Hugo Chavez Fan Club.

As I learn more about the state of Iranian politics in recent years it seems most likely that Mousavi and Rafsanjani, original members of the Islamic Revolution 30 years ago, are part of a widespread effort to change Iran's course away from a suicidal confrontation with Israel. It also seems plausible that the CIA may be aiding their effort. While I give Obama zero credit for initiating it I can quite easily believe he would support and continue a clandestine effort in Iran that was launched sometime during the prior administration.

Gunny Bob Newman opined on FNC this afternoon that he doesn't have any knowledge but he hopes that the CIA is active in Iran and if so that the President is playing it exactly right. Don't be too outspoken or else you'll give the government hardliners cover for even more forceful repression, and don't be silent and give the impression you are up to something.
If the CIA is pulling strings then they're also advising the President what actions to take publicly. This would explain to me how he seems to know what he's doing, since I have no confidence he actually does.

Personally I don't think it makes a great difference how much Obama says, the rebellion seems to have reached a self-sustaining stage and will run its course regardless. Newman thinks there's a 1 in 5 chance of regime change. From all I've observed I'd have thought it was better than that, but even 1 in 5 is darned good. Krauthammer has it right - The fall of the Islamic Republic "would do to Islamism what the collapse of the Soviet Union did to communism - leave it forever spent and discredited." Such outcomes aren't easy to come by.

And to those who say Iranians are protesting in the streets against their government because they covet the "hope and change" supposedly brought to us by Obama I would counter, "No, what they actually see is the prospect of Israeli mushroom clouds outside their windows if they continue on their present course." For all but devoted aspirants to martyrdom that's enough to prompt a movement for REAL change.

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2009 6:51 PM

June 18, 2009

But I'm Not Done Yet...

A post by JK two days ago regarding the current events in Iran spawned a spirited debate and some excellent comments. The events are so important, however, that The Refugee decided to enter this post to bring the central issue to the fore. Bottom line, an internal Iranian regime change would be the most transformative global event since the fall of the Berlin wall. Without a bellicose Iran and its funding, the Syrian, Hezbollah, Hamas and maybe even al-Qaida dominos would fall. This is a seminal event, and as others have pointed out, Obama is voting "Present." This is neither hope, nor change nor leadership.

Blog Brother TG, rightly, critisized The Refugee's supporting data as anecdotal (positions from two Iranian ex-pats). This is true, though in defense The Refugee will take the opinions of two Iranians whose families still live there over a country full of pundits who apply analysis-by-projection to the situation. The core argument is whether or not the Iranian people want regime change or are satisified with the current theocracy.

Writing in today's WSJ, Afshin Ellian, another Iranian expat and European professor, has this to say:

This week's protests prove that the people of Iran -- the children of the revolution -- will accept the rule of the mullahs no more. The regime is no longer able to exercise sovereignty over the Iranian people without resorting to extreme violence.

Iran is now at a crossroads. Either the will of the people will be accepted and a peaceful transition to democracy will take place, or the regime will respond to these massive demonstrations by unleashing a bloodbath.

The essential question: Can a regime, despised by a huge majority of the population, transform itself into a democracy that recognizes the rule of law? Has such a transition ever taken place without bloodshed?

The Refugee will assert that the majority of Iranians do want a change and that this is an opportunity to save millions of lives and billions of dollars. The alternative is almost inevitable war with a nuclear Iran. Barack Obama needs to seize this opportunity. He has yet to make the transition from Candidate Obama to President Obama. Now is the time.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 12:19 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith thinks:

"Now is the time." And I doubt his ability to take advantage of this golden opportunity. He was so counting on the opportunity to sit down and talk with Ahmedinejad without preconditions, too.

It just won't be the same if A-jad is no longer a head of state when that conversation takes place.

Why do I have this notion that when it happens, A-jad will be living the good life in Bermuda, sipping mojitos on our dime?

Posted by: Keith at June 18, 2009 1:09 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Keith: I would take that trade!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 18, 2009 2:18 PM
But Keith thinks:

As would I - but I'm of a mind to think the Prezznit wants A-jad in power because he promised the world he'd sit down with A-jad. This "robust debate" going on in Iran just muddies up his appointment caldendar.

Posted by: Keith at June 18, 2009 4:17 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Worse than that, Keith. An A-jad status quo gives Obama plausible deniability when no progress is made. "Don't blame me - everyone knows the guy's a nut." The current developments require that Obama actually do something and the very real possiblity of mucking it up without even George W. Bush to blame.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 19, 2009 6:35 PM
But T. Greer thinks:


I would be careful with predicting regime change.

Remember, Mousavi's proposed "reforms" are not revolutionary; he is part of the old guard. He (and most of the people who voted for him) were not attempting a socio-political revolution on par with that in Berlin 1989. Rather, he wanted to push change from within the existing system.

So yes, should we be standing behind Iranian anger with political fraud and oppressive tactics?

YES - it is not even a question.

But - and this is a large but - please do not expect a new '89. I fear that you will only be disappointed with unrealistically high expectations.

P.S. If the regime turns stupid and tries to shut down all of this, matters may change. As it stands now though, I remain reluctant to proclaim this a revolution at all.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 19, 2009 11:37 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

TG: Not predicting regime change, and would not categorize Mousavi as regime change. That would require the end of the Revolutary Council, in my book. I am hoping for such a change, regardless of the odds. No one forcast the end of the USSR until it happened.

Based on all I've been reading, many, if not a majority (no one knows for sure) of Iranians want a significant change. I would even settle for benign theocracy and suspect most Iranians would as well.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 20, 2009 12:17 AM

June 17, 2009

Image of the Day II

Not as cute, but:

Yea! Iran football team denounces regime, wears green arm bands at World Cup qualifier

Hat-tip: @mkhammer

Posted by John Kranz at 4:16 PM | Comments (0)

Image of the Day


Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 1:08 PM | Comments (0)

High Fives from Hugo

President Obama appears to be giving short shrift to Iran's newly resurgent pro-freedom and anti-theocracy uprising. Many of this blog's luminaries are debating the wisdom, or lack thereof, of that strategy. One question that is missing, however, is whether Obama actually prefers that Ahmadinejad stay in office. I don't have the answer but I'll offer two observations for readers to ponder.

13 June 2009 - Chavez congratulates Ahmadinejad

In a telephone conversation with the Iranian president, Chavez said, "The victory of Dr. Ahmadinejad in the recent election is a win for all people in the world and free nations against global arrogance," Iran's Presidential Office reported.

5 November 2008 - Chavez congratulates Obama, suggests rebuilding relations

Caracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez congratulated US president-elect Barack Obama Wednesday on his "historic" win and said the time had come for the two countries to establish new relations.

UPDATE: Reformatted 6/18 in an attempt to sharpen the point. (The openly socialist Chavez cheered the "against global arrogance" victory of Ahmadinejad and the "time to establish new relations" victory of Obama.) They are all, at least in Chavez' eyes, birds of a feather.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2009

If You Have To Ask...

Bret Stephens in the WSJ:

On the one hand we have democratically elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reputed hardliner, who on Sunday abandoned his own long-held position and, to the immense disappointment of much of his political base, spoke of his willingness to accept a Palestinian state -- provided only that the Palestinians forswear military pursuits, resettle Palestinian refugees in their own territory, and recognize Israel as a Jewish state, just as the U.N. did at the country's founding.

On the other hand there's Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Holocaust-denier and nuclear aspirant, who on Friday was declared the winner of an election so transparently rigged that the only serious question is whether the regime even bothered to stuff the ballot boxes. Since then, scores of reformist politicians have been arrested or intimidated, rallies have been banned, and the possibility of an Iranian Tiananmen hangs in the air.

Question: Toward which of these two leaders does President Obama intend to play the heavy?

I guess we all know the answer. The whole Stephens piece is great.
Someday a future president may have to apologize to Iranians for Mr. Obama's nonfeasance, just as Mr. Obama apologized for the Eisenhower administration's meddling. But the better Eisenhower parallel is with Hungary in 1956. Then as now a popular uprising coalesced around a figure (Imre Nagy in Hungary; Mir Hossein Mousavi in Iran), who had once been a creature of the system. Then as now it was buoyed by inspiring American rhetoric about freedom and democracy coming over Voice of America airwaves.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (13)
But jk thinks:

I cannot say I like discussing the "target audience." I made sport of poll-testing responses and here we are -- "how is freedom playing this week in the 18-25 male demo?"

If you require a target audience for speaking up for freedom, I will offer:

1) The protesters in the street who are choosing to actually put their lives on the line for a chance at self-government. This is not a metaphoric hollywood-makes-the-3,856th-movie-about-McCarthyism courage, this is real, Gandhi and Selma courage. It deserves affirmation and approbation.

2) All the other tin-pot dictators around the world who believe they can host a phony election and then club to death any citizens who complain.

3) The heirs of Sharansky and Solzhenitsyn who rot in jail cells in Cuba, Burma, Venezuela and yearn to feel "the power of the solidarity of the free world."

When this blog was started, Freedom was on the march. We watched the Orange Revolution, the Cedar Revolution, purple-inked fingers of voters in Iraqw and Afghanistan. We had "Whiskey, Democracy, Sexy" and protest babes and one could almost tyranny was dying out. A bit naive, but compared to a US President who just sits and waits for things to die down before he meets with Ahmadinejad, I find myself missing 2005.

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2009 9:46 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Whew. I have a lot to respond to (and not much time), so forgive me if I sound more terse than usual.

I do not have any friends from Iran. I do however have a friendly acquaintance with an exchange student from Venezuela, who I have talked politics with a couple of times. She informs me that everybody she knows hates Chavez, and that he has very little popular support.

These claims, be they about Venezuela, China, or Iran, remind me of Arthur Miller’s lament in 2004, “‘How can the polls be neck and neck when I don’t know one Bush supporter?’

They are cases of anecdotal evidence, and when extrapolated to a nation as a whole rarely hold true. In the VZ case, both the recent (popularly decided) Venezuelan constitutional revisions and public opinion poll results lead to the conclusion that there are plenty of Venezuelans who love Chavez.

While I may be overstepping my authority, I think a similar dynamic can be seen in Iran. George Friedman stated much of my thoughts on the 15th:

” Americans and Europeans have been misreading Iran for 30 years. Even after the shah fell, the myth has survived that a mass movement of people exists demanding liberalization — a movement that if encouraged by the West eventually would form a majority and rule the country. We call this outlook “iPod liberalism,” the idea that anyone who listens to rock ‘n’ roll on an iPod, writes blogs and knows what it means to Twitter must be an enthusiastic supporter of Western liberalism. Even more significantly, this outlook fails to recognize that iPod owners represent a small minority in Iran — a country that is poor, pious and content on the whole with the revolution forged 30 years ago.

There are undoubtedly people who want to liberalize the Iranian regime. They are to be found among the professional classes in Tehran, as well as among students. Many speak English, making them accessible to the touring journalists, diplomats and intelligence people who pass through. They are the ones who can speak to Westerners, and they are the ones willing to speak to Westerners. And these people give Westerners a wildly distorted view of Iran. They can create the impression that a fantastic liberalization is at hand — but not when you realize that iPod-owning Anglophones are not exactly the majority in Iran.

He exaggerates the point a bit, but he is right. The majority of Iranians – the rural base that supports Ahmadinejad – are fine with the regime. That most statisticians who have crunched the numbers think Ahmadinejad won the election despite Khomeni’s fudging of the totals is a testament to this. That these great protests and riots are only happening in a few of Iran’s larger cities is a testament to this. There is no reason to believe that the silent majority is ready to jump into the streets and overthrow the government.

[As an aside, before I move onto other points: BR is correct with his Am. Revolution proportions. However, matters are quite a bit more complex than this- I am reminded of Joseph Ellis’ wonderful book, American Creation and his chapter on the winter GW and co. spent in Valley Forge. Ellis remarks how strange it was for American troops to be starving in what was then the most agriculturally productive area in the colonies, and further outlines how Washington was able to turn the tactical and logistical nightmares of working in the region to his benefit. Ellis notes that the key to Washington’s success was wooing over and providing security for the farmers and merchants who lived in the region, the undecided folk who called themselves neither Loyalist nor Patriot. Without gaming their support, GW’s campaign would have dissolved. The undecided’s can decide a lot.]

Thus we are left back where we started. What can the West do to help the anti-regime movement grow?
I remained unconvinced that an American statement of unequivocal support for the protestors would do any good.

To be sure, most Iranians are not anti-American. But then again, most people in the Middle East are not. I am reminded of Michael Totten’s piece for Commentary magazine, where he questions a HuffPo writer’s assertion that Syria is not “a hotbed of anti-Americanism” because of the Syrian people’s personal warmth towards herself and other American tourists. No, one can feel fine towards Americans and still view America as a bullying, self-interested, imperializing power.

That the Iranian government has already started to blame America for “meddling” reinforces this point. The best the Iranians have is “The Swiss say the Americans say”, but they are running with it anyway. That is the thing I think a few of you around here seem to miss. Third world leaders do not blame problems on America because they cannot think of a better excuse- they blame problems on America because it works. The narrative of the evil America is a potent and credible one. How much more potent and credible would it be if Obama had undeniably been interjecting America into an Iranian crisis?

Jk, there is always a target audience. Reagan always knew who is target audience was and how his words would be interpreted by them- it is why he is called the Great Communicator. This is not useless PR spin. Grandiose speeches are fine and all, but if they hurt the cause of liberty more than they help it, then they are not worth it.

I have already outlined the some of the bad affects of such statements. You have proposed some good ones. Here are the problems I have with accepting your case:

1. Nothing Obama could say would be credible. You talk about tin pot dictators- do we include Egypt and Saudi in this group as well? We have clashed on this issue before, and I hate to drag you into it again, but it matters. America cannot be seen as anything but a meddling bully when she pulls a fit over the Grand Council’s harsh tactics but does not condemn those of Mubarak, or when she supports the election of Musuavi but will not do the same for Hamas. To those in the Middle East –those tin pot dictators and those on the Arab/Persian street – American statements of moral absolutes ring hollow; “speaking up for freedom” is seen as speaking up for American interests. And you know, I can’t blame them! We are awful selective in our support for freedom. Why should they think that we are standing up for freedom, instead of trying to destabilize a regional annoyance? What statement could Obama give to dispel this illusion?

Posted by: T. Greer at June 17, 2009 3:10 PM
But jk thinks:

I agree. President Obama could not make a believable convincing case for freedom because he neither believes in it nor has convinced himself.

I'll add another argument to your side. President Obama could do a lot of damage by making a forceful speech from which the dissidents infer a greater level of support than exists. Then you have a "GHWB-Shia uprising style" scenario that is bound to end badly.

But I wish, tg, that the White House were occupied by somebody who believes in the power of freedom. A Ronald Reagan or a (boo, hiss!) George W Bush would have naturally played this as an opportunity, which I think it is. See if Persia can find her Washington (though not that guy from 300).

My Yahoo/AP headlines said it all the other day:

-- Thousands protest Iranian elections, 15 slain
-- President Goes to Capitol Hill to push Healthcare plan.

AP later backed off the 15 figure, but the juxtaposition spoke volumes. No, I won't coach the President on what to say. I just regret we have a President who "took the 3:00 AM phone call and voted 'Present.'"

I continue to reject your poll references. If a thousand Iranian dissidents seek freedom from tyranny, I will proudly if metaphorically stand at their side. And I wish the President felt the same.

Posted by: jk at June 17, 2009 4:11 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Over at Shadow Government, Christian Brose wrote up a nice post as to what Obama should be doing for Iran.

Just so you folks don't get think I believe we should be doing nothing.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 18, 2009 11:49 AM
But jk thinks:

TG, I know you are anxious to get on with your life and I hesitate to drag this out further. But I will, of course.

What did you think I asked for that was beyond what Brose asks for? I wanted something beyond "will you kids knock it off! Daddy's got a Health Care Overhaul to finish!"

Had the President done half of what Brose suggests, I would be pleased:

I am whole-heartedly in favor of America playing the supporting role. I'm all for doing things like getting Twitter to keep its website up and available to Iranian users. But let's not mistake passivity for support.

Let's demand that foreign journalists in Iran be free to report on events, not confined to their bureaus or have their press credentials revoked. Let's put some of our new cyber-warfare capabilities to the test, quietly and covertly of course, to disrupt Tehran's ability to shut off the flow of information to Iranians and between them. Let's start trying to rally and unify the community of nations -- the democratic ones, if nothing else -- to start speaking with one voice: to condemn the violence against peaceful Iranians, to call on Iran's government to address allegations of voter fraud, and to state that supportive nations will continue to support Iran's dissidents in this internal Iranian matter as long as they feel that justice has not been done. Let's start defining some broad international expectations for Iran's government -- how it should and should not treat its people. The only person in the world who can orchestrate this kind of diplomatic effort to build international consensus in support of Iran's dissidents is the President of the United States, and it's high time that he start.

I objected because the President did nothing. If Brose's suggestions have your support than we have no argument after all. Another ThreeSources Kumbaya Moment...

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2009 12:17 PM
But T. Greer thinks:


Perhaps this is where the difference between what has been advocate here (see Reagan quote) and what Brose is advocating can be found in his opening sentence:

Obama is correctly not saying anything that the Iranian regime could use to discredit the opposition. And his expressions of support for Iran's sovereignty, respect for its people, and resolve that it is Iranians, not America and not anyone else, who should determine the outcome of Iran's election are absolutely right. We can't say all of this enough, as I suggested yesterday.

It is a fine line, I will admit. I think the difference between us might just be how willing we are to draw close to it. I am sure you would say that if you err, you would rather err in favor of liberty. While I would agree to this sentiment in most all other cases, I tend to think that here, erring on the side of liberty and Iranian backlash is one and the same.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 19, 2009 11:25 PM

June 15, 2009

We Are All Iranians


In Iran today, a sham election has been met with an open revolt. This takes great courage. The world's free nations need the courage to do better than respond with the sham policy of making nice with an illegitimate regime. -- WSJ Ed Page

UPDATE: Heres' Hoping, indeed:

Posted by John Kranz at 10:51 AM | Comments (5)
But Keith thinks:

... whereas election irregularities here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave are met be a shrug of the shoulders and a big "so what?" I wish we took fair and free elections as seriously as the Iranians do.

I wonder sometimes what our Lexington and Concord will be.

Posted by: Keith at June 15, 2009 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't know, my friend. I am deeply disturbed at the amount of chicanery and abuse that we tolerate. I think Governor Gregoire stole an election in Washington State and Mister Franken is well on his way to a Minnesota Senate seat. A bit of outrage is warranted.

But I fulsomely reject an equivalence to announcing the final numbers before the ballots were collected. Oh, surprise, surprise, it looks like President Ahmadabad has won! Who saw that coming?

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2009 1:11 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Speaking of Lexington and Concord, Tehran's Azadi (Freedom Square, ironically enough) is starting to look like Boston Common. Here's hoping.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 15, 2009 5:26 PM
But Keith thinks:

I don't mind it looking like Boston Common, so long as it doesn't end up also resembling Tienanmen Square - if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Posted by: Keith at June 15, 2009 6:33 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Agreed, Keith. And let's hope that it doesn't take six years for Iranians to cast off the crown, er, hijab, as it did the Americans.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 15, 2009 7:29 PM

June 13, 2009

Define Conservative...

From Reuters:

The state election commission said early Saturday that Ahmadinejad, a hardline conservative, was ahead with 66 percent of the votes in Friday's election after 21 million ballots were counted.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 3:04 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

The real story here is Iran's popular revolt against the fundamentalist regime that is being quelched by election fraud. Just as in Zimbabwe, the imprimatur of democracy covers the tyranny of thugocracy.

With the growing influence of ACORN and Chicago style politics in major American cities one wonders if this might be a preview of the 2012 Presidential election, but that is pure pessimistic speculation. What we're seeing in Iran right now is blatant fraud. And yet nations like Iran, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Venezuela are permitted membership at the UN. What a farce.

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2009 6:11 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Well, I'd put it more like:

Supports death penalty for homosexuality: check!

Tough on immigrants, tougher on emigrants: check!

Supports forced prayer in schools: check!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 15, 2009 2:15 AM
But Keith thinks:

jk should be awarded bonus points for his sublime use of irony! I duly applaud your wit.

But Harrison's post catches the essence of an importance of a principle: he who frames the argument has already stacked the deck in favor of winning it. It's happened before - as the Soviet Union was crumbling, it was the American media that labeled the leaders trying to keep the USSR under party rule as "conservatives" and the reformers trying to dissolve the USSR as "democrats." It was also the American media that popularized - very deliberately, I am convinced - the use of "red," the color of blood and anger, for Republicans, and the peaceful, unthreatening "blue" for Democrats.

Seems to be it wasn't that long ago we had a similar chat about the relative validity of labels carelessly bandied about...

Posted by: Keith at June 15, 2009 11:53 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Ha. "Hardline Conservative"-- in my dreams. As someone smarter than myself put it:

"Iranian politics thus do not fit the mold of left versus right as in the West, or even really reformist versus conservative. There is the establishment, and then there is the slightly less establishment.

What Ahmadinejad is is a populist anti-establishmentarian--he is taking on the old guard of the Revolution. He has replaced senior officials in all branches of the Executive with his own guys--the people he replaced mostly got their jobs due to political connections with the Old Guard. One of his most radical moves was to completely replace the senior diplomatic staff of the government. His constant refrain is to argue against the "corruption" of the old Guard... He's a caudillo wanna-be, greatly limited by the Constitution's emphasis on the LOTR and various institutions designed to guarantee the Islamic nature of the government.

Mousavi is the old guard, a previous prime minister, tied in with the Revolutionary Guard, the bonyad system†, and backed by Rafsanjani--he is the establishment choice, which is why he might be the first presidential candidate to unseat the incumbent in the history of Iranian presidential elections."

Posted by: T. Greer at June 16, 2009 1:16 AM
But Keith thinks:

"... greatly limited by the Constitution's emphasis on the LOTR and various institutions..."

The Iranian Constitution places emphasis on Lord of the Rings? Then Khomeini was Morgoth, Khamenei is Sauron, and the country is modeled after Mordor? Ahmadinejad is about the right height to be Gollum, and about as good-natured. Well, then, our problems are solved! All we need to do is drop the One Ring into the nuclear reactor at the Fires of Orodruin, and...

Oh, "Leader of the Revolution." Guardian Council and all that. Sorry.

Posted by: Keith at June 16, 2009 11:48 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Yep, I had that same problem two weeks ago when the Iranian election became a hot topic.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 16, 2009 12:05 PM

April 22, 2009

What Would Obama Do?

Some of you may remember The Heretic, a self-confessed liberal of Indian decent who opined on these pages prior to the last election. Well, The Heretic and The Refugee have been debating which is a bigger immediate threat: Iran or Pakistan. The Refugee picks Iran, while The Heretic has thrown his nod to Pakistan.

The Heretic questioned The Refugee's judgement with this reference (Times of India) to The Taliban taking control of the Bruner district, just 60 miles from Islamabad. The Refugee posed this question: "What would India do if the Taliban overthrew the Pakistani government?" The Heretic responded by saying that it's more important to know what the U.S. would do.

And, he's absolutely right. As the world's lone Super Power, it is important to know what Obama would do. So, The Refugee enlightened The Heretic and thought he would share the solution with Three Sourcers. However, he accepts no credit for prescience as any Three Sourcer could have done the same.

1. Condemn the aggression.
2. Blame George Bush.
3. Ask for calm.
4. Promise that we won't torture them.
5. Say that we need a "united front" against such aggression.
6. Go the United Nations for a resolution.
7. Dispatch the Sec of State to the region for high level "summits."
8. Accept rebuke from Russia and China (and possibly France).
9. Blame George Bush.
10. Accept that the UN will do absolutely nothing and declare it a victory.
11. Apologize for everything America has ever done, might have done, or been accused of doing.
12. Hold a press conference to lecture Americans about how we need to take the time to listen to the Taliban so that we can understand why they hate us and how this will surely change the dynamics of the "failed policies of the past."
13. Remove our troops from Afghanistan, because that's what made the Taliban mad in the first place and our presence is just a terrorist recruiting tool.
14. Blame George Bush.
15. Tell everyone how "green energy" is the solution.
16. Write another book entitled, "The Crimes of Your Fathers."

At least Bill Clinton had the testicles to blow up an aspirin factory.

UPDATE: Here's a great treatise on "The Obama Doctrine" by Ben Shapiro writing for Townhall, summarized as "Don't Blame Me." Worth the read. Hat tip: realclearpolitics.com

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 4:39 PM | Comments (1)
But T. Greer thinks:

BR- I imagine this conversation between you and the Refugee was quite interesting. Could you share with us the reasoning behind your position? Personally, I would not put Iran in the top five security threats facing the United States, much less the #1 position. Would it be too much to ask what prompts you to stake out this position?

Posted by: T. Greer at April 24, 2009 3:53 PM

December 15, 2008

Teachable Moments - Who's Getting the Lesson

While some Iraqi's support those who throw shoes at a foreign head of state, and the one who gave them the ability to rear back, no less, the WSJ editoral page highlights growing, open dissent in Iran. Could it be that that bit of tinder we call Iraq is igniting the cause of freedom throughout the middle east? That may be wishful thinking, but a raging inferno starts with but a single spark. The editorial is not conducive to pulled quotes, but it's short so give it a read.

Even though the dialog in the video are meaningless to the Farsi-challenged among us, the pictures are worth a thousand words.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:29 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I read the editorial earlier but the video is stirring!

Hollywood folk love to call themselves courageous for making their 394th anti-McCarthy film. But this is what courage looks like. This young man puts his life on the line for freedom.

Posted by: jk at December 15, 2008 4:02 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Uh, am I seeing things, or is the one on the left holding a giant foam hand?! "Go Revolutionary Guard"?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 16, 2008 9:04 AM

November 7, 2007

Hail Multilateralism!

I'm ready to join the Black Helicopter crowd. First Larry Kudlow brings us the story of the World Bank's $900,000,000 loan to Iran. As America successfully gets business and some pensions to divest of Iranian holdings and start to apply financial pressure, the mostly-US-funded World Bank dives into the breach. A commenter says "It's good to know dictators in need have someone to turn to."

The World Bank will float them, and the UN will protect them. The Wall Street Journal Ed Page today criticizes the International Atomic Energy Agency (paid link):

For the past year, [IAEA head Mohammed] ElBaradei has been running an independent foreign policy from his IAEA perch. People tell him he is "doing God's work" -- or so he tells the New York Times. In August, he announced a nuclear agreement he had reached with Iran's mullahs, without consulting his political superiors at the agency. Even the Europeans protested that one.

The agreement made no reference to the U.N. Security Council's demand that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program, a demand Mr. ElBaradei himself dismisses as moot. The agreement also allowed the Iranians to dribble out information on the dozen outstanding questions the IAEA has yet to resolve.

Mr. ElBaradei has coasted on the IAEA's reputation as the authoritative source of information on the world's nuclear secrets. Yet this is the same agency that was taken by surprise by nuclear projects in Libya, North Korea and Iraq in the 1980s. And now in Syria, which in September was voted co-chair of the IAEA's General Conference.

We're funding these outfits and spending millions to host them and staff our portion. I've said a hundred times that the UN could have stopped the Iraq war if not for Oil for Food. Now they are setting themselves up to ensure that no peaceful resolution or restrictions on Iran can be affected.

Where is the blogswarm that scuttled the Dubai ports deal? A legitimate, profitable, and honorable business deal is immolated by populist fury, but I don't hear anybody complaining that International Agencies we finance are financing war against us.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM

October 11, 2007

Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Iran

John Morgan, liberal progressive blogger is bent out of shape that Bobby Casey voted to ... well let him explain...

Senator Robert P. Casey is trying to explain his vote on the Lieberman/Kyl Amendment granting George W. Bush the authority to begin military combat operations against Iran. He sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton meaning our most esteemed representatives in Washington are completely susceptible to brainwashing and are utterly incapable of reading an actual text before voting.

The overwhelming majority of blogospheric traffic about this is on the left, and it's generally dripping with hysterics.

Meaning it's likely a mountain out of a molehill.

Indeed, despite doing a good job of posting the scary text of the bill, he does so without a) providing a link b) providing a few more paragraphs of context... probably because it would blow the outrage right out the door.

The words he (along with the rest of the liberal bloggers) neglected to post: "It is the sense of the Senate".

Sense of the Senate (or House) aren't very "toothy" declarations of anything!

But don't believe me. Believe C-SPAN.

SENSE OF THE SENATE is legislative language which offers the opinion of the Senate, but does not make law.

Bed wetting is so tacky once you're older than two or three.

Posted by AlexC at 11:29 AM | Comments (2)
But John Morgan thinks:

The text of the entire Amendment and a link are contained in an earlier article about the vote which my regular readers are familiar with.

Posted by: John Morgan at October 11, 2007 12:02 PM
But AlexC thinks:

You linked, but did you read?

Surely you would have noticed the Sense of the Senate text?

Isn't that rather important to the imminence of the invasion?

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 12:35 PM

June 3, 2007

Nothing to See Here...

... please move along.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who triggered outrage in the West two years ago when he said Israel should be "wiped off the map", has often referred to the destruction of the Jewish state but says Iran is not a threat.

"With God's help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon and Palestine," Ahmadinejad said in a speech.

"By God's will, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future," he said. He did not elaborate.

While the media and Europe might not be taking Mr Ahmadinejad seriously, you can be Israel and our "diplomats" who just visited with Iranians are.

But I have to ask... at what point does his rhetoric become cause for action? Because inaction would be national suicide.

Posted by AlexC at 12:11 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Michael Ledeen reminds that Iran now holds five American Hostages and that our inaction emboldens the hard-liners against democratic moderates.

Again, I fear that we need a president who can politically lead us into involvement in Iran. President Bush may have the strength and will, but somebody is going to have to tell the American people what is at stake. With any luck, Iran will be the chief issue in 2008 and President Giuliani or Thompson will have the mandate to put substantive pressure on Ahmadinejad.

Discussing the "Department of Peace" with my beloved moonbat sister-in-law, I used a Hitler analogy to demonstrate the occasional need for war (I'm not proud that I went straight to Hitler, but my time was limited).

She said things were different then. I ask today's peace at any cost folks to name three substantive differences between Hitler and Ahmadinejad -- the ones I know make the Iranian leader look worse.

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2007 12:31 PM

March 26, 2007

Iran Hostage Crisis - Day 3

We can only hope that the 15 British servicemen taken hostage on March 23 by Mahmoud and the boys will be released unharmed faster than the 52 Americans taken hostage at our own embassy during Jimmy Carter's presidency. This certainly seems to be a return to form by the Iranian president who, many claim, took part in that very kidnapping in 1979.

For his part, British PM Blair is getting tough. "The Iranians should not be in any doubt over how seriously we take this act, which was unjustified and wrong." At the same time, an American lieutenant commander echoes a question that occured to me when I first heard of this: "Why didn't your guys defend themselves?"

"I don't want to second-guess the British after the fact, but our rules of engagement allow a little more latitude. Our boarding team's training is a little bit more towards self-preservation."

"The unique US Navy rules of engagement say we not only have a right to self-defence but also an obligation to self-defence."

"They had every right, in my mind, every justification to defend themselves rather than allow themselves to be taken. Our reaction was, 'Why didn't your guys defend themselves?"'

Asked whether the men under his command would have fired at the Iranians, Commander Horner said: "Agreed. Yes."

If they had a reputation for defending themselves, perhaps they would not have been the target of Iranian Revolutionary Guards' elaborate plot to manufacture an international crisis.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Nice post. Many things might have deterred this, but I fear that Ahmadinijad might have correctly surmised that Britain and the US are too fatigued to pursue a military solution.

I don't think the military is, but they do get CNN and see a new Congress trying to extricate us from the MidEast.

Are they right?

Posted by: jk at March 26, 2007 7:26 PM

December 19, 2006

Peace in Our Time (Again)


(tip to HotAir)

Posted by AlexC at 1:12 PM | Comments (2)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

That'll be cross-posted by the end of the week!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at December 19, 2006 9:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This is far too close to the truth to be funny. "50 million dead" may be a slight exaggeration, but only slight.

Posted by: johngalt at December 20, 2006 12:47 AM

Person of the Year

Some people are upset about my selection as Times' Person of the Year

    For Time's Man of the Year, now Person of the Year, is the figure who, for good or evil, dominates the news. Yet this year Time could not bring itself to name the obvious choice. Instead, it chose you and me, all of us citizens of the digital democracy who create on the Worldwide Web. Why the copout?

    Perhaps it was Ahmadinejad's hosting of a conference of Holocaust skeptics, including David Duke, that caused Time to recoil. Perhaps it was fear that the face of the Iranian president on the cover of Time would repel the American people and be death for sales.

    Surely that was the reasoning behind Time's refusal to name Osama bin Laden in 2001, choosing Rudy Giuliani instead, though history is unlikely to conclude that Rudy, his crowded hour notwithstanding, was the central figure of that annus horribilis.

    Richard Stengel, editor of Time, as much as concedes he could not bring himself to choose by the traditional standard, if that meant choosing Ahmadinejad: "It just felt to me a little off selecting him."

    Understandably. But the refusal to select Ahmadinejad reveals an unwillingness to confront hard truths. For putting his face on Time's cover would have done a useful service, jolting America to a painful realization. Not only George Bush, but the United States, its Arab allies and Israel, had a dreadful year, as Iran emerged as first beneficiary of a war fought by this country at a cost of 25,000 dead and wounded.

Posted by AlexC at 12:54 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Richard Stengel will never be featured on Stephen Colbert's "Profiles in Balls."

Posted by: johngalt at December 19, 2006 3:03 PM

December 7, 2006

Iraq "Surrender" Group Report

" . . . more than six people cannot agree on anything, three is better -- and one is perfect for a job that one can do. This is why parliamentary bodies all through history, when they accomplished anything, owed it to a few strong men who dominated the rest. Never fear, son, this Ad-Hoc Congress will do nothing . . . or if they do pass something through sheer fatigue, it will be so loaded with contradictions that it will have to be thrown out." --Bernardo de la Paz, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, pg 162 [Robert A. Heinlein]

I've been waiting all week for someone to blog the celebrated Iraq Study Group report, for I have a comment I'd like to make about it. Alas, nobody has obliged on these pages. But with each passing day I've come to realize that the real blogging is taking place on the front pages of the major dailies. They took the slap dash 97 page report as their kernel and proceeded to concoct every sort of meaning from it in their headlines. Every one, that is, except for making the world safe for liberty. Well, here goes.

Let's start with part I, subpart D: Achieving Our Goals:

We agree with the goal of U.S. policy in Iraq, as stated by the President: an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. In our view, this definition entails an Iraq with a broadly representative government that maintains its territorial integrity, is at peace with its neighbors, denies terrorism a sanctuary, and doesnt brutalize its own people. Given the current situation in Iraq, achieving this goal will require much time and will depend primarily on the actions of the Iraqi people.

It is critically important to understand that, with Saddam gone, Iraq matters little in the present war between civilization and archaic totalitarianism. Re-read the passage above and replace "Iraq" with "America." An America that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. [...] Given the current situation in America, achieving this goal will require much time and will depend primarily on the actions of the American people."

And where America represents civilization in this war, the seat of archaic totalitarianism today is... anyone? anyone? Bueller? That's right: Iran. Now re-read the passage above replacing "Iraq" with "Iran." In our view, this definition entails an Iran with a broadly representative government that maintains its territorial integrity, is at peace with its neighbors, denies terrorism a sanctuary, and doesnt brutalize its own people.

Now, what actions of the American people can do anything to help Iraq "govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:10 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Speaking for myself, I was so happy that the report wasn't worse. I think it significantly undercuts the cut and run crowd and can be used more to the Presidents favor than his detractors.

The idea of using Iran and Syria seems tedious but there is an interesting context. I don't know if you saw Brit Hume's panel discussion on this (you get kicked out of the VRWC if you don't watch 4x a week) but Secretary Baker believes that Syria might be incentivized to help us and the Sunnis. "Flip Syria" he said to Brit as they were packing up their cameras.

It's a long shot and I hate to think of the price but it is not necessarily "nuts."

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2006 7:33 PM
But AlexC thinks:

They want peace in the middle east. That's a bold vision.

How much did we pay for this, again?

Posted by: AlexC at December 7, 2006 11:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And now, my long awaited comment. With respect to diplomacy with Iran, or even Syria:

"Do steers sign treaties with meat packers?" -Robert A. Heinlein

I agree with John Murtha. It is time to redeploy coalition forces to "another region in the Middle East." TEHRAN

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2006 8:51 AM
But jk thinks:

I also resent the implication that ThreeSources was behind in commenting on the ISF. We hit the idea of Syria help on November 21.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2006 11:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Credit duly noted. And that post also reminded us what we get whenever we employ "realpolitik" when killing people and breaking things is in order.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2006 3:09 PM

November 13, 2006

Nothing to See Here

Iranian President Ahmadinejad:

    The western powers created the Zionist regime in order to expand their control of the area. This regime massacres Palestinians everyday, but since this regime is against nature, we will soon witness its disappearance and destruction,

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:
    "We will not tolerate the possession of nuclear weapons by Iran," Olmert told NBC television's "Today Show" program, ahead of talks with President George W. Bush on Iran's nuclear ambitions and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Asked whether his country was considering a preemptive strike targeting Tehran's nuclear facilities, Olmert answered: "I hope we don't have to reach that stage."

    But the Israel leader said his first choice is a negotiated resolution.

    "Every compromise that will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities, which will be acceptable to President Bush, would be acceptable to me."

Ahmadinejad isn't bluffing. When he pulls the trigger, some will say "I told you so," and some will say "we didn't think he was serious."

Unfortunately, there are too many of the latter in power around the world.

Olmert and Israel are in no position to bluff.

Expect this to flare up in the spring during another Israel / Lebanon / Hezbollah flare up.

Posted by AlexC at 11:45 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I don't think they'll admit "we didn't think he was serious." Instead I expect it will be Bush's fault, even if he's left office. "The Iranians would not have felt such an action was necessary if the Chimpmeister hadn't invaded their neighbor for no good reason." Yeah.

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2006 2:52 PM

November 1, 2006

Cartoon Contest Winner!

In case you missed it, the Iran-government sponsored "Anti-Semitic" cartoon contest winner was decided.

    Meant to be a response to the Danish cartoons of Islam's Prophet Muhammad that sparked rage among Muslims around the world, the exhibit appeared inspired by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's tirades calling for Israel to be destroyed.

    Teheran has several times announced plans to host a conference to examine the scientific evidence supporting the Holocaust, dismissing it as exaggerated. Its most recent announcement came in September during Annan's visit to the Iranian capital, where he said he discussed the cartoon show with officials.

Just in case anyone ever tells you Iran isn't going to be a problem.

(tip to HotAir)

Posted by AlexC at 10:16 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

If this is the winner, I think we can call the Cartoon Wars safely won by the Danes.

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2006 10:18 AM

October 19, 2006

In Case You Were Wondering

Crazy guy in Iran who happens to be President.

    "The Zionist regime is counterfeit and illegitimate and cannot survive," he said in a speech to a crowd in the town of Islamshahr in southwestern Tehran.

    "The big powers have created this fraud regime and allowed it to commit all kind of crimes to guarantee their interests," he added.

A guy who works for a crazy guy in North Korea.
    If President Bush continues to ask North Korea to "kneel," war "will be inevitable," and it would begin on the Korean Peninsula, North Korean Gen. Ri Chan Bok told "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer, in an exclusive interview inside North Korea.

If only we had a topical quotation from Hugo Chavez, Robert Mugabe or Fidel Castro, then we'd have a crazy trifecta.

A general who impliments policies of a government who's crazy to respect a religion that can't respect itself, or it's gays, or it's women, or religious minorities, or... or... or... ad nauseum.[1]

    The U.S. military spokesman says there has been a 22 percent jump in attacks during Ramadan and the drive to secure Baghdad has "not met our overall expectations."

    The spike in violence during the Islamic holy month of fasting was "disheartening" and the Americans were working with Iraqi authorities to "refocus" security measures, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell said.

Note 1: Out of respect, weren't we supposed to scale back our military activities around Islamic holy days? I'm glad the other side got the message. As a reward, we should treat their prisoners nicely. Maybe they'll stop the beheadings.

Posted by AlexC at 11:51 AM

September 15, 2006

Sharansky & Iran

Threesources' favorite Natan Sharansky has a piece up in the La Times discussing non-state actors and their patrons.

It's a "must read the whole thing in it's entirety" kind of commentary.

    The Iranian regime's intentions are clear. It calls for "wiping Israel off the map" and tells its followers to "imagine a world without America." It seeks to dominate the Middle East. By failing to hold Iran accountable for its brazen support of Hezbollah, the free world has undermined a central pillar in the war on terror and given the Iranian regime a huge weapon for achieving its ambitions. Now the mullahs know they can attack a democratic country with impunity.

    Considering the apocalyptic fanaticism of Iran's leader, it is an open question whether the current regime in Tehran is capable of being deterred through the threat of mutually assured destruction. But given how the world has responded to Hezbollah, the point may be academic. For surely Iran would be better served by using proxies to wage a nuclear war against Israel. And if there is no accountability, why stop with Israel?

    The road to a suitcase bomb in Tel Aviv, Paris or New York just got a whole lot shorter.

Posted by AlexC at 11:54 AM

August 27, 2006

Capabilities vs Rights

al Reuters

    Iran's president launched a new phase in the Arak heavy-water reactor project on Saturday, saying Tehran would not give up its right to nuclear technology despite Western fears it aims to make atomic bombs.

    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was speaking just days before an August 31 deadline set by the U.N. Security Council for Iran to halt uranium enrichment -- the West's biggest worry in Iran's atomic program -- or face possible sanctions.

    "No one can deprive a nation of its rights based on its capabilities," Ahmadinejad said in his speech to inaugurate the heavy water project.

I did not know that rights were capability based. I'll make sure to remember that next time Israel retaliates (invoking it's right of self-defense) in a way which makes the liberal comentariat complain that there is no proportionality.

Posted by AlexC at 6:01 PM

August 22, 2006

Blood for Oil


    Iran attacked and seized control of a Romanian oil rig working in its Persian Gulf waters this morning one week after the Iranian government accused the European drilling company of ``hijacking'' another rig.

    An Iranian naval vessel fired on the rig owned by Romania's Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) in the Salman field and took control of its radio room at about 7:00 a.m. local time, Lulu Tabanesku, Grup's representative in the United Arab Emirates said in a phone interview from Dubai today.

    ``The Iranians fired at the rig's crane with machine guns,'' Tabanesku said. ``They are in control now and we can't contact the rig.'' The Romanian company has 26 workers on the platform, he said.

    Iran, which holds the world's second-largest oil and gas reserves, is due to respond today to a European Union-led offer of incentives aimed at persuading it to halt uranium enrichment activities that are crucial to its nuclear program.

Wonderful. Let's continue diplomacy.

Posted by AlexC at 2:34 PM

August 20, 2006

Damn the Torpedoes

Why do we bother with these people? They're a perfect example of why diplomacy without muscle to back it up, is worthless.

    Iran said on Sunday it would not suspend uranium enrichment, ruling out the main demand in a nuclear package backed by six world powers that aims to allay Western fears Tehran is seeking to build atomic bombs.

    Iran says it will formally respond by Tuesday to proposals made by the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany. The six have offered incentives for Iran to suspend enrichment, a process that has both military and civilian uses.

    Tehran, which insists its nuclear aims are purely civilian, shows no sign of accepting the package.

    "We are not going to suspend (enrichment). The issue was that everything should come out of negotiations, but suspension of uranium enrichment is not on our agenda," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a weekly news conference.

They're not going to stop.

At that point, why don't the diplomats hang it up?

Posted by AlexC at 9:01 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

At what point will the United States refuse to be sandbagged again? The UN solution in Lebanon is an insult to the IDF forces.

The diplomats have no incentive to hang it up. However badly they screw up the world, they can stay in New York and eat at fine restaurants, and not pay parking tickets. Who'd hang up that gig?

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2006 9:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I propose it's time for the United States to become a "rogue state." Iran and North Korea can do whatever they want and all they get is, "stop that or we'll sanction you" from the western world. Fine. Let's fire 10 missiles of our own, but ours have MIRV nuclear warheads. It's well beyond time for the tyrants of the world to know that we WILL defend our lives and our property. Dozens of mushroom clouds visible from every square inch of Iran and North Korea should effect a new cooperation from these heretofore unaccountable bullies.

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2006 3:15 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

"Dozens of mushroom clouds visible from every square inch of Iran and North Korea should effect a new cooperation from these heretofore unaccountable bullies." In the land of the martyr? Care to place a wager on that?

Posted by: silence dogood at August 25, 2006 4:10 AM

July 19, 2006

World War?

I thought the DNC talking points after the renewal of combat in Lebanon included the line that "This is World War III." I surmised that they wanted to be able to claim that World War III began under Bush's leadership... that warmongery begets warfare.

I just listened to former supreme commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark in an interview with a local talk radio show. The first questions for the general were, "Who is our enemy and what is the name of the war we are currently in." Simple enough questions, right? Fat chance.

Clark said only Republicans like Newt Gingrich or (can't remember the other guy) call this "World War III" or "World War IV" respectively. Alternately, the General says we are not even engaged in a war. Instead, we have a "loose conglomeration of individuals trying to pursue their own ends." He admitted that they use terrorism as their method, but his solutions were all "law enforcement." The natural question then is, "Whose laws?"

The big picture of the Clark interview is that he can't see the big picture in human events. Doesn't he read the Australian newspapers? (Or he sees it but is forced to deny it because Bush named it first: Axis of Evil.) Those who deny any link between al Qaida and Iraq also deny any link between either of them and Hamas or Hezbollah. Or Iran.

In answer to the questions the General never answered:

OUr enemy is every nation, organization, or "loose conglomeration of individuals" who practice Islamofascism and attempt to impose it on others by force.

The name of the war is "The Islamist War."

There, now let's go win the frackin' thing.

UPDATE: On last night's show, Bill O'Reilly said, and I paraphrase, "Regarding the war on terror, Americans can be divided into three camps: One says bomb the crap out of them, the second says it's all America's fault, and the third says I don't want to hear about it, let's go to the beach." Dagny and I are proud members of the "bomb the crap out of them" camp.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:57 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

The WSJ Ed Page suggested that September 11, 2001 was the start of World War IV, WWIII being The Cold War. This Republican is happy with that terminology. I worry more that people forget there is a war than they think it started under President Bush.

The World War appellation ties in 9-11, London, Madrid, Mumbai, and the current Israeli two front conflict.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2006 11:19 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

The Islamist War ... a bit like our 2 conflicts with Iraq ... seems to be an extension of the Crusades. A clash of ideologies.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at July 19, 2006 11:57 AM
But jk thinks:

Bill O'Reilly would be another good reason not to get AlexC's 103" plasma screen. I favor a muscular response but would be loathe to characterize it as "bombing the crap out of 'em."

We've said some harsh words about President Bush over the years but I have to say that I am bursting with pride. His unwillingness to reach moral relativism, his unscripted comments with PM Blair that were caught on mic -- he is doing it right and we are very lucky to have him in the White House.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2006 12:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Like I said, I was paraphrasing. I think "bomb the crap out of them" was just the way I remembered it.

As for the president, I very much agree. (I'm biting my tongue now to prevent mention of the pending stem-cell bill veto. Let's debate that in a separate thread.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2006 12:42 PM
But jk thinks:

I missed the paraphrase bit, mea culpa.

I would still suggest that there is more nuance in the BTCOOT demographic. Israel will lose ground as Reuters and the BBC highlight civilian casualties over the campaign.

(New post above for stem cells, BTW)

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2006 1:31 PM

July 18, 2006

The World We Don't Want

The lead editorial in today's Wall Street Journal (Free link) presciently correlates the current Israeli conflict with the Ghost of Iran future if Tehran's nuclear ambitions are not stopped.

The war between Hezbollah and Israel is a tragedy for its victims, but it could also be a clarifying moment if the world draws the proper lessons. To wit, this is a preview of what the Middle East will look like if Iran succeeds in going nuclear.

The threat of a nuclear Iran isn't primarily that the mullahs might actually use such a weapon if they got one. The more immediate threat is that Iran would use the weapon as a shield to pursue its hegemonic ambitions throughout the Middle East, promoting terrorist attacks on its enemies and intimidating anyone with the nerve to fight back. The Hamas-Hezbollah double assault on Israel is a portent of things to come unless the world gets serious about Iran's radicalism.

All the more reason to let the superior Israeli armed forces establish superiority and damage the arms turned against them.
The better and necessary response is to let Israel's counterattacks continue until Hezbollah's military power is substantially degraded. As for the G-8 and the U.N., they can be constructive by moving swiftly to impose sanctions on Iran for rejecting the generous offer to negotiate directly with the U.S. It's clear now that Tehran perceived that offer, which was promoted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary Nicholas Burns, as a show of weakness.

Iran is testing the world right now. And if there is to be any hope at all of a diplomatic solution to its nuclear program, the mullahs have to see that their military option won't be tolerated.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM

July 17, 2006

Stand with Israel Rally - NYC

Pamela from Atlas Shrugs attended the Stand With Israel Rally in NYC today and gives a weblog report. She has great coverage on her site 'Atlas Shrugs' including some great photos of Hillary swallowing her bile when Elie Wiesel said, "Thank God Bush is in the White House."

Great stuff Pamela! Check it out.

UPDATE: Here's the Rush Limbaugh program transcript of Pamela's "breathless" call to the show on Monday. Man, she was on fire! (And if you look close on Pamela's post, you'll see that the very first trackback ping is: Three Sources!)

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:37 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Not many times I wish I lived in New York, but I would have liked to have been there.

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2006 11:04 PM

July 16, 2006

Iranian Nukes? We'll Soon Know

We knew this was coming sooner rather than later when we witnessed the "elections" of Ahmadinejad in Iran and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. When the "imperialist" American administration and the "Hitler" and "Ghengis Khan" like Israelis did nothing to provoke open warfare with Iran, those swell Iranian mullahs grew tired of waiting. As Robert Tracinski writes, "If, in the face of repeated threats and provocation by an aggressive dictatorship, you refuse to go to war, the war will eventually come to you." Two years after the 'forward strategy of freedom' swept the Syrian army out of Lebanon, Hezbollah was under growing pressure to leave as well. No reasonable person should have expected them to leave peacefully. (What do you think they are, pluralistic democrats? No, they're Islamofascists you fools!)

A timely example of such a fool is Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, who said on Fox News Sunday this morning that, essentially, it's Bush's fault! Dodd attributes the military action in south Lebanon to diplomatic failure:

"It seems to be that you have to go beyond just understanding the friendship, which is important, but for Israel's benefit and our own, we have missed, I think over the last number of years, the ability to really engage in the kind of diplomatic efforts in the middle east. From 1967 up until the end of the Clinton administration, every administration has remained very, very engaged in the middle east. This administration unfortunately has seen the word diplomacy and negotiation as somehow a favor to your enemies. I think unfortunately we've allowed this time to elapse over the last several years, the resolution 1559 was adopted two years ago, and the administration's done nothing in my view to really insist that the Lebanese rid southern Lebanon of Hezbollah and so this time has gone through without really engaging in the process thus we find ourselves today, Israel certainly has the right to defend itself. What it's doing is absolutely necessary. If Lebanon and Syria will recognize that those soldiers need to be returned and also Hezbollah has to get out of southern Lebanon then I think you could bring a cease-fire about."

To be fair, it has been nearly five years since Islamofascists unilaterally slaughtered 3000 American civilians with airliners. But despite this, why is Dodd still endorsing the realpolitik appeasement cum stability strategy of the past thirty years? Does he genuinely believe that it will lead to regional and worldwide peace if we just give it another decade or three to work itself out?

I can't say whether it is a symptom or a cause of America's confusion in general, or Dodd's in particular, but there is clearly a filter in place between the events of the mideast and the front pages of America's news media. Compare some recent news excerpts in America to those in, notably, Australia:

WSJ- 'World Leadership Reacts To Escalating Mideast Violence'
"Haifa was hit with at least 20 rockets fired by Lebanese guerillas, in retaliation for a wave of bombings by Israeli airplanes early Sunday morning when about 18 powerful explosions rocked southern Beirut."

AP (via Houston Chronicle)- 'Hezbollah rocket barrage kills 8 in Haifa'
"Hezbollah's firing of at least 20 rockets at Haifa and 30 elsewhere came after Israel unleashed its fiercest bombardment yet of the Lebanese capital, starting after midnight Saturday."

And, in the most offensive of my three examples,

Chigago Tribune- '2 dead on Israeli warship; jets attack Lebanon anew'
"A draft resolution under consideration, from Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, demanded the release of Lebanese captives and detainees in Israeli prisons, and supported Lebanon's right to "liberate them by all legitimate means."

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes renewed attacks on Lebanon early Saturday, targeting bridges, fuel depots and gas stations in the east and south, security officials said."


""You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war," Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a taped statement broadcast Friday. He vowed to strike even deeper into Israel with rockets."

The clear message to American voters: The "cycle of violence" continues and Hezbollah/Lebanon are defending their sovereignty from Israeli aggression.

In contrast, Australians read the following headlines:

The Australian- 'Militants' missile hits ship with Iranian troops' help'
"Israel says the troops involved in firing the missile were from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, an elite corps of more than 200,000 fighters that is independent of the regular armed forces and controlled by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."


"A military official said the group was also believed to have longer-range projectiles that could hit the Israeli commercial hub of Tel Aviv."

The Australian- 'Strikes to intensify in four-stage strategy'
"In the first stage, which began shortly after the Hezbollah incursion across the border last Wednesday, Israeli warplanes attacked missile caches in south Lebanon and elsewhere, particularly those housing long-range missiles.

Fifty caches, some hidden underground and in private homes, were reportedly destroyed. It is unclear what percentage of the 13,000 missiles known to be in Hezbollah hands that accounts for."


"In the second stage, which began early on Friday, warplanes attacked the heart of Hezbollah power, shattering high-rise buildings in south Beirut housing the militia's command structure as well as the home of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who was reportedly trapped for a while in the underground command centre when the building above it collapsed."

"The third and fourth stages are still secret. However, the sources said the operation calls for each of the four stages to be more powerful than the previous one."


"Israeli officials say the international community will not force Israel to stop before its goals are achieved."

Sydney Morning Herald- 'With US backing, Israel determined to go for the kill'
"Israel's goal is to either eliminate Hezbollah as a security threat, or altogether. The broader goal of the US is to strangle the axis of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran, which the Bush Administration believes is pooling resources to change the strategic playing field in the Middle East.

Whatever the outrage on the Arab streets, Washington believes it has strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab leaders also nervous about the populist militants - with a tacit agreement that the timing is right to strike."


"Israel and the US would like to hold out until Hezbollah is crippled. "It seems like we will go to the end now," said Israel's ambassador to the US, Daniel Ayalon. "We will not go part way and be held hostage again. We'll have to go for the kill - Hezbollah's neutralisation."

These stories give a far different perspective on the current munitions exchanges: Israel is under attack by Iran-sponsored terrorists embedded in a third nation, Lebanon. Hezbollah rockets target Israeli civilians while Israeli laser-guided bombs target, Hezbollah rockets. Contrary to the protestations and accusations of one Christopher Dodd, the Bush adminstration has clearly been working in concert with regional and world governments to lay the groundwork for Israel to help Lebanon exorcise Hezbollah from its cities and countryside without manic diplomatic attempts to protect the terrorists.

Dodd warns that, "This could spin out of control to such a degree that we have a major, major war in the middle east." The reality is that the cold phase of that war has been raging since at least 1979, with Iran's Islamic revolution. Iran has decided it is time to turn up the heat on this war and it certainly appears that Israel, the Bush adminstration and key western governments anticipated it, were prepared for it, and are in the process of winning it.

There is little reason for concern that Israel's defense forces will fail in this effort. The two areas of concern are that diplomatic failures will allow allies like France and Russia to reverse course and, more ominously, that Iran's threat that attacking Syria " ... will definitely face the Zionist regime with unimaginable damages" portends their possession and imminent detonation of a nuclear bomb. Let us hope that western intelligence and military authorities have this matter as well in hand as they appear to have Hezbollah's rockets.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:59 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I hate to respond to a thoughtful post with an anecdote, but I have been thinking about Senator Dodd all week. I did not know he was on FNS, I have that TiVoed and will watch it soon.

I have been considering the Senator from Connecticut who is still respected by his party because I purchased some Contra Cafe coffee on July 4, and it recently showed up. The coffee is great and is grown by former freedom fighters in Nicaragua.

I think of Senator Dodd because I remember his fighting President Reagan tooth and nail. I think of he and Kris Kristofferson as leading the pro-Sandinista movement in the US. Rather than admit he was wrong, Dodd -- 20 years later -- opposed the nomination of Otto Reich to be Assistant Secretary of State. His crime? Supporting democracy against communism in the Western Hemisphere.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2006 2:27 PM
But jk thinks:

And one quibble. I would disagree with conflating the Iranian and Palestinian elections. The election in Iran was a farce and remains worthy of scare quotes. The election in palestinian-controlled-Isreal, however, was legitimate.

I'm not happy that they chose Hamas, though people should remember the other choice was Fatah. They were, however, real and legitimate elections and their constituencies are getting the government they deserve.

I include their number in my accounting of folks living under self elected government.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2006 5:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I hesitated to group them together for the reasons you mentioned, but I was trying to economize on words in this post, believe it or not. In defense I'll point out that when your democratic choices are limited by force or by "belief in unproven things" it is not a free election in either case.

I can live with this quibble though. My charming bride said she wasn't sure she shares my sanquinity that western intelligence and military authorities have this matter "well in hand."

That comment forced me to consider the source of my optimism. I re-read my own post to find the answer: The unprecented combination of Israeli resolve to "to to the end now," and not go "part way and be held hostage again," coupled with supportive words from key Arab leaders. The Israelis are implementing the Bush Doctrine and no one of consequence - not the multiculturalists of Old Europe nor the Islamic apologists of Egypt or Saudi Arabia - dares, strike that, chooses, to stand in their way. Selfishly, they all want Hezbollah "crippled" or, better yet, "neutralized."

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2006 7:33 PM

June 26, 2006

Khobar Towers

The Wall Street Journal reminds us that it's been 10 years since the Khobar Towers were bombed by pig-tailed girl scouts.

Oh, I'm sorry.


    It soon became clear that Mr. Clinton and his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, had no interest in confronting the fact that Iran had blown up the towers. This is astounding, considering that the Saudi Security Service had arrested six of the bombers after the attack. As FBI agents sifted through the remains of Building 131 in 115-degree heat, the bombers admitted they had been trained by the Iranian external security service (IRGC) in Lebanon's Beka Valley and received their passports at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, along with $250,000 cash for the operation from IRGC Gen. Ahmad Sharifi.

    We later learned that senior members of the Iranian government, including Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Spiritual Leader's office had selected Khobar as their target and commissioned the Saudi Hezbollah to carry out the operation. The Saudi police told us that FBI agents had to interview the bombers in custody in order to make our case. To make this happen, however, the U.S. president would need to make a personal request to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.

    So for 30 months, I wrote and rewrote the same set of simple talking points for the president, Mr. Berger, and others to press the FBI's request to go inside a Saudi prison and interview the Khobar bombers. And for 30 months nothing happened. The Saudis reported back to us that the president and Mr. Berger would either fail to raise the matter with the crown prince or raise it without making any request. On one such occasion, our commander in chief instead hit up Prince Abdullah for a contribution to his library. Mr. Berger never once, in the course of the five-year investigation which coincided with his tenure, even asked how the investigation was going.

Please read all of former FBI Director Louis Freeh's op-ed.

Posted by AlexC at 5:55 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

(Keep in mind millions of pig tailed girl scouts never blow up a U.S. Embassy. Be careful not to paint with a broad brush.)

I may surprise some folks around here, but I thought Director Freeh may have been too tough on the Clinton Administration. While the record is clear on their fecklessness, it was the Chief Executive's decision whether to publicly implicate a foreign country, not the FBI's.

I do not appreciate the current CIA's setting their own policy in opposition to the Bush Administration, I can't condone the FBI's doing the same to the previous administration.

Can I? I'd like to.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2006 6:37 PM

June 2, 2006

Effective sanctions?

Pardon a little skepticism.

William P. Kucewicz pens a guest editorial in the beloved WSJ today (Free link, click away!) In it, he is pretty upbeat about the opportunity for effective sanctions against Iran

Condoleezza Rice, in signaling a new U.S. willingness to negotiate with Iran, also warned that "international isolation and progressively stronger political and economic sanctions" would follow if Tehran defies its international obligations by continuing to develop nuclear weapons. Although the likelihood of those sanctions increased yesterday after the Iranian regime rejected the U.S. offer, it has been the threat of such sanctions, and the crippling effect an international embargo would have on Iran's economy and exchequer, that have always been the likely catalysts for any possible negotiation.

There's simply no getting around the fact that you can't eat petroleum. Iran's 132.5 trillion barrels in proved oil reserves--10.2% of the world total--are of little benefit unless they're earning money. A trade embargo would hit Iran especially hard, because its economy and government budget are inordinately dependent on petrodollars. Oil shipments account for about 25% of GDP, represent 90% of total export earnings and provide as much as 50% of fiscal receipts.

Were we not still in the wake of "Oil for Food," I'd hop onboard the sanguine-train. Oh, and if China and Russia weren't pandering to Iran and Sudan, I'd feel better. And if I couldn't buy Cuban cigars and coffee (their coffee rocks!) in Ireland.

The fact is, somebody will end-around any sanctions to buy cheap oil. This will create a humanitarian crisis, yet will further enrich connected folks. Certainly long enough to develop noo-cyoo-lur weapons.

Again, Bullwinkle? That trick never works!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

It would work with an Allied naval blockade.

The best point made by this article is that the mighty industrial juggernaut (USA) is not, in fact, impotent against this puny but ambitious theonutcracy whose oil exports produce 90% of total export earnings.

And another thing...

Where the H. is Al Gore on the intolerable policies is Iran? Forget about nuclear warheads, they not only don't tax gasoline, they subsidize it! Their domestic consumption (of imported gasoline) has been growing by 8-10% annually. And why not - it only costs 40 cents per gallon.

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2006 2:23 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Yes, isn't that the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at June 2, 2006 9:48 PM

May 30, 2006

Iran: Spreading Its Tentacles

Jihad Watch -- yet again :) -- reports on an AP news release:

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - To Iran's west lies a natural ally and perhaps its most potent weapon in the international fray over its nuclear program. While Iran and Iraq were arch enemies during the rule of Saddam Hussein, all signs point to an increasingly robust relationship now that Shiites have achieved a dominant role in the Iraqi leadership.

It's a bond that has yet to reach its potential - in large part because the U.S.-led invasion is responsible for Iraqi Shiites being at the top of the political heap for the first time in modern history. Iraqi Shiites are not looking the gift horse in the mouth.

But Iran and Iraq share a Shiite Muslim majority and deep cultural and historic ties, and Tehran's influence over its neighbor is growing. Iran will likely try to use Iraq as a battleground if the United States punishes Tehran economically or militarily, analysts say.

Many key positions in the Iraqi government now are occupied by men who took refuge in Iran to avoid oppression by the Saddam's former Sunni Muslim-dominated Baathist regime.

Iraq's powerful militias, meanwhile, have strong ties to Iran and have deeply infiltrated Iraqi security forces. They can be expected to side with Iran if the West should attack, said Paul Ingram of the British American Security Information Council.?"

"Iran has ties with Iraq which have not been mobilized as they could have been," Ingram said. "The militias based in Iraq received much of their training from Iran and they have not taken any instructions yet."

The Mahdi Army, loyal to firebrand anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Badr Brigade, the military wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, both have significant links to Iran....
If Iran is attacked, "Iraqi Shiites will not take this lightly. They will not sit and watch," said Diaa Rashwan, a Cairo-based analyst....

"The Shiite political class in Iraq believes that if they generally cooperate with the U.S. and Britain, eventually they will withdraw and leave the Shiites in power," asked Juan Cole, a Middle East political analyst at the University of Michigan. "So far things have worked out wonderfully. Why rock the boat?"

While the jihadists and Islamofascists plan and prepare, we slumber...

Posted by Cyrano at 3:04 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

It's good to see right-wingers finding Professor Juan Cole so useful. Any port in a storm, I suppose. And for the gloom-and-doomers, it is always stormy.

There are no shortage of things that could go wrong in a post war Iraq, and a tighter Iraq-Iran bond is high on the list. Yet the dominoes could more easily fall the other way. If we create a free, stable, and prosperous Iraq, the democracy advocates to their East will have more opportunity and motivation to expel theocracy.

Posted by: jk at May 30, 2006 12:16 PM

Two Things: Islam and the Rule of the Clerics

Since the American media is too busy attacking the American military and America, making a big deal about lies coming out of Guantanamo, we don't hear stories about real abuses which occur in prisons.

The UK Telegraph reports:

A leading Iranian pro-democracy and women's activist, who was jailed on trumped-up charges last year, has revealed how the clerical regime cynically deploys systemic sexual violence against female dissidents in the name of Islam.

Roya Tolouee, 40, was beaten up by Iranian intelligence agents and subjected to a horrific sexual assault when she refused to sign forced confessions. It was only when they threatened to burn her two children to death in front of her that she agreed to put her name to the documents.

Perhaps just as shocking as the physical abuse were the chilling words of the man who led the attack. "When I asked how he could do this to me, he said that he believed in only two things - Islam and the rule of the clerics," Miss Tolouee told The Sunday Telegraph last week in an interview in Washington after she fled Iran.

"But I know of no religious morality that can justify what they did to me, or other women. For these people, religion is only a tool for dictatorship and abuse. It is a regime of prejudice against women, against other regimes, against other ethnic groups, against anybody who thinks differently from them."

Miss Tolouee's account of her ordeal confirms recent reports from opposition groups that Iranian intelligence officials use sexual abuse against female prisoners as an interrogation technique and even rape young women before execution so that they cannot reach heaven as virgins.

Few women from the Islamic world are willing to discuss such matters, even with each other, but Miss Tolouee said that the regime routinely committed sexual attacks against female detainees.

Compare this story to flushing a Koran down the toilet (most to all of those stories were fabricated, or actually were perpetrated on one prisoner by another) -- and ask: why is the American media not all over this?? Their behavior, their silence on issues such as this Telegraph story, speaks volumes.

Now what is going to be left, if the American media has its way, and America is anhilated, while Iran still stands? Who will then win, and who will loose -- good or evil?

And remember the line "When I asked how he could do this to me, he said that he believed in only two things - " -- straight from the mouth of the "religion of peace..." Invocation of Islam to justify such atrocities is not isolated to this example...

HT: Jihad Watch

Posted by Cyrano at 2:30 AM

Riots In Iran, II

The BBC also had an article about the riots in NW Iran. Since AlexC did not talk about the "inflamatory" cartoon in his post, I thought I'd have the honor:

Azeris said the cartoon, which was published earlier this month, compared them to cockroaches. ... The cartoon was published in a state-owned newspaper.

It showed a succession of people attempting to talk to a cockroach in Persian.

Each time, the insect responded by saying, in Azeri: "What do you mean?"

Azeris are the largest ethnic minority in Iran, and the cartoon caused outrage among those who believed it suggested that all Azeris were stupid.

So as to show that they were not stupid, thousands of Azeris went into the streets and proved their worth by...acting stupid:

Reports from the cities of Ardebil, Naqadeh and Meshkin Shahr say Iranian security forces fired on demonstrators, killing at least five people.

Dozens of others were injured and hundreds arrested.
Thousands of people took to the streets in protest and, shortly afterwards, the newspaper was shut down and its editor arrested.

But that did not quell the anger. In the latest protests on Saturday, government buildings were targeted, and a number of banks and television stations burnt down.

Hey, Azeris!! Quit acting like barbarians, and write a letter to the editor or something!! Write a paper showing the achievements of your people, your great standardized test scores, the thoughts of your philosophic geniuses, the wonders of technology you have brought into the workld, the marvels of medicine of your doctors, or the great art your artists, ahead of their time and breaking new ground, have raised up to the world!!!

Or at least learn how to write and how to behave wth civility, and let the rest of us get on with our lives...

Posted by Cyrano at 2:11 AM

May 29, 2006

Riots in Iran

In case you missed it.

    Four people were killed and 70 were injured in riots last week in the Azeri region northwest of here, according to local news reports, as tensions spread after the publication of a cartoon that has outraged Iran's Azeri population.

    The deadly protests occurred last Thursday in the city of Naghadeh, and followed other demonstrations in Ardabil.

    On Sunday, about 2,000 Azeris demonstrated in Tehran outside Parliament and were dispersed by the police, the reports said.

    In a show of defiance that appears to have unnerved the government, demonstrators chanted in Turkish Azeri, as the language is known here for its close relation to Turkish, and demanded that it be taught in schools.

Posted by AlexC at 1:49 PM

May 26, 2006

Response to Ahmadinejad's Letter To Bush

A Letter to Ahmadinejad by Ebrahim Nabavi

Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

I read your letter to US President George Bush. I'm surprised that no one tried to talk you out of this or now that the deed is done, tried to convince you to hide the letter in your drawer. If you really thought that these things had to be said to the Bush, you should have ensured that no body except Bush himself would have read the letter and avoided its publication.

Why did you do this my dear? Didn't it come to your mind that Iranians, Americans or other people on this planet may come to read your letter? Honestly, did you even think before writing or dictating this letter? Or did this come to your mind like your impulsive trips to government ministries. Did you just come up with the idea, pick up pen and a piece of paper and start writing to George Bush?

You, naughty little boy craving for attention!

You said you wrote to Bush to offer solutions for global problems. Its a very good idea but have you noticed that the problem facing the world today is yourself? Do you know that many of the miseries of the free nations and states originate from a creature named Ahmadinejad? You are the problem, and you want to solve it yourself?

My dear son Mahmoud!

In your letter to George Bush you invite him to ponder about the contradictions in his goals and the message and wishes of Jesus Christ. Who told you these things, my dear son? Do you really believe that Bush wants to create what Christ envisioned. What makes you think that Bush and Americans wish Christ to rule the world? Even if some body told you this nonsense, why did you put it down on paper and disgrace everybody? All Westerners, including Americans, have for the past two hundred years been yelling that they do not want a religious government and that they believe in secularism and the separation of church from government. And you come and say that they want a religious government Are you out of your mind? Find the person who told this nonsense and distance yourself from them. They see you as a nave person and thus tell you these things.

They want to make you look like an idiot and laugh at you. Why do you think Bush has anything to do with human rights or liberalism? Even if he is, what has that got to do with you? Are you a supporter of human rights? Why are you upset if he violates human rights? Don't you know that this just a toy in the hands of the superpowers? Why do you defend it then?

My dear fame-seeking Mahmoud!

Your letter to Bush you say there are prisoners in Guantanamo Bay who have not been tried. This is not your business. Aren't you the president of a country that has imprisoned political prisoners who have no access to a lawyer and a fair trial? Their families cant visit them, they are kept outside their own country and there is absolutely no international supervision over them. My dear friend, these issues are not your business. You are the president of a country that has put Shirin Ebadi, Abdolfatah Soltani and Akbar Ganji in prison. Isn't a philosopher Ramin Jahanbeglou in prison now? Do Iranian prisons have international observers? How could you claim that referendum is good for Israel when you cannot tolerate that idea for Iran? If prisoners in Guantanamo have no defense attorneys, at least American lawyers are not summoned by their judiciary everyday, like the ones in Iran are.

Ebrahim Nabavi is an acclaimed international satirist from Iran who regularly contributes to Rooz Online

Footnotes are available at MEMRI to explain who some of the people mentioned in the letter are.

HT: The Objective Standard Blog.

Posted by Cyrano at 9:46 PM

May 19, 2006

Never Again?

Canada's National Post

    Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

    "This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

    Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."

    The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

    Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

I think this calls for another round of diplomacy.

How long till people start doing the calculus of "It's only 25,000 .... etc.... "

It's disgusting. Yet there are people willing to turn a blind eye this week. Last week, last month, last year, and I fear in the future as well.

Posted by AlexC at 10:24 AM | Comments (5)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

This has to be intended as a 'shock-jock' move. On the other hand, Good Lord!

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at May 19, 2006 1:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

First, a qualifier: Various reports have contradicted the validity of this story. Still others have claimed the law originally passed 2 years ago but hadn't yet been implemented.

I have to correct Rabbi Hier who said, "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis." Iran adopted the ideology of the Nazis about 27 years ago with the so-called "Islamic Revolution." What they're moving closer to is the same fate that befell the Nazis - their own destruction.

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2006 11:23 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Fire up the Daisy Cutters! This lunatic needs to die,..now!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 20, 2006 8:23 PM
But howard thinks:

"Various reports have contradicted the validity of this story"

-including organization that reported it.

Posted by: howard at May 21, 2006 1:54 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Howard, I posted your comment into the body of my original post. Thanx for the heads-up!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 22, 2006 9:00 PM

April 17, 2006

UN, Hard at Work

About those top ten stories...

    Under threat of United Nations Security Council sanctions for its own nuclear program, Iran has been elected to a vice-chair position on the U.N. Disarmament Commission, whose mission includes deliberations on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.


    It happened on the same day that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised his people "good news" about the country's nuclear program.

    The following day, Iran announced that it had managed to enrich uranium, a key ingredient in the production of a nuclear bomb.

No, it's not a joke.

(tip to Tammy Bruce)

Posted by AlexC at 9:21 PM | Comments (1)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Makes perfect sense. I mean, who knows more about how to hide nukes than these guys!? Same reason we should have had Pol Pot and his ilk chairing the Human Rights commission.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at April 18, 2006 1:15 PM

A Damned Thing

Mark Steyn

    You know what's great fun to do if you're on, say, a flight from Chicago to New York and you're getting a little bored? Why not play being President Ahmadinejad? Stand up and yell in a loud voice, "I've got a bomb!" Next thing you know the air marshal will be telling people, "It's OK, folks. Nothing to worry about. He hasn't got a bomb." And then the second marshal would say, "And even if he did have a bomb it's highly unlikely he'd ever use it." And then you threaten to kill the two Jews in row 12 and the stewardess says, "Relax, everyone. That's just a harmless rhetorical flourish." And then a group of passengers in rows 4 to 7 point out, "Yes, but it's entirely reasonable of him to have a bomb given the threatening behavior of the marshals and the cabin crew."

    That's how it goes with the Iranians. The more they claim they've gone nuclear, the more U.S. intelligence experts -- oops, where are my quote marks? -- the more U.S. intelligence "experts" insist no, no, it won't be for another 10 years yet. The more they conclusively demonstrate their non-compliance with the IAEA, the more the international community warns sternly that, if it were proved that Iran were in non-compliance, that could have very grave consequences. But, fortunately, no matter how thoroughly the Iranians non-comply it's never quite non-compliant enough to rise to the level of grave consequences. You can't blame Ahmadinejad for thinking "our enemies cannot do a damned thing."

Pretty much.

Posted by AlexC at 4:08 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:


I love to see these guys on TV look right into the camera and assure us that it will take Iran five or ten years to create a weapon. If the experts are certain, I'll sleep well at night...

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2006 5:42 PM

April 8, 2006


I spent the whole week waiting for Friday to get my fill of Victor Davis Hansen.

He does not disappoint.

    Ever since September 11, the subtext of this war could be summed up as something like, Suburban Jason, with his iPod, godlessness, and earring, loves to live too much to die, while Ali, raised as the 11th son of an impoverished but devout street-sweeper in Damascus, loves death too much to live. The Iranians, like bin Laden, promulgate this mythical antithesis, which, like all caricatures, has elements of truth in it. But what the Iranians, like the al Qaedists, do not fully fathom, is that Jason, upon concluding that he would lose not only his iPod and earring, but his entire family and suburb as well, is capable of conjuring up things far more frightening than anything in the 8th-century brain of Mr. Ahmadinejad. Unfortunately, the barbarity of the nightmares at Antietam, Verdun, Dresden, and Hiroshima prove that well enough.

    So far the Iranian president has posed as someone 90-percent crazy and 10-percent sane, hoping we would fear his overt madness and delicately appeal to his small reservoirs of reason. But he should understand that if his Western enemies appear 90-percent children of the Enlightenment, they are still effused with vestigial traces of the emotional and unpredictable. And military history shows that the irrational 10 percent of the Western mind is a lot scarier than anything Islamic fanaticism has to offer.

    So, please, Mr. Ahmadinejad, cool the rhetoric fast before you needlessly push once reasonable people against the wall, and thus talk your way into a sky full of very angry and righteous jets.

Posted by AlexC at 1:01 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Someone recently trotted out one of my favorite dicta from General Eisenhower: if a problem is intractable, enlarge it. I fear that serious escalation of the Iraq war into Iran may be necessary before it is ever stabilized.

Perhaps that will not have to be soon, and perhaps the internal, Iranian democrats can be leveraged but it appears that it must be done.

Great post. Very stirring words about the march to freedom.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2006 10:33 AM

March 10, 2006

Not Tough Enough

Israel is saying that the US is not tough enough when it comes to Iran.

    The United States has until now not done enough to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, a senior Defense Ministry official has told The Jerusalem Post while expressing hope that Wednesday's referral of the Iranian issue to the United Nations Security Council would prove to be effective.

    "America needs to get its act together," the official said. "Until now the US administration has just been talking tough but the time has come for the Americans to begin to take tough action."

    The only real way to stop Teheran's race to obtain the bomb apart from military action was through tough economic sanctions that caused the Iranian people to suffer. "Once the people understand that their government is bringing upon them a disaster will they realize that the [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad's regime needs to be replaced," the official said.

In other words, here's your chance to get the job done, or we will.

If Israel steps up and takes charge of the Iranian situation, the world will breathe a sigh of relief, but the Islamic world will rise up in rage.

Posted by AlexC at 1:02 PM | Comments (3)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

So when exactly have economic sanctions caused the people to rise up and change a regime? And hey, the mugger is in your neighborhood, you deal with him.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at March 10, 2006 1:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Lefties may disagree but American weakness is bad for the world.

I agree that we're not tough enough but it is difficult to see how we could be much more bellicose. The President's poll numbers are down, Iraq is "a quagmire" how can this country be led into a larger and more difficult war?

A commentator on FOXNews used my favorite Gen/Pres Eisenhower dictum: "If a problem is intractable, enlarge it." Perhaps the reason we cannot solve Iraq is that we're not "solving" Iran and Syria.

Scary days.

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2006 2:01 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Silence, we only need to look 90 miles to the south. Cuban's rose up and ousted their dictator so many years ago, I forgot. 45 was it?

Posted by: AlexC at March 10, 2006 4:42 PM

March 5, 2006

Willing Dupes

It's hard to believe that the EU3 can be so stupid. It had to be on purpose.

    In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear programme was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.

    He boasted that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant but at the same time convince European diplomats that nothing was afoot.

    "From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.' The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them'," he said.

So what now?

I vote for another round of strongly worded condemnations laced with the threats of additional strongly worded condemnations.

What Would Chamberlain Do?

Posted by AlexC at 1:45 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

This is serious. I'd say VERY strongly worded.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2006 4:05 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I think Israel is going to step up with their own letters of condemnation.

They'll be delivered by missile.

Posted by: AlexC at March 5, 2006 4:27 PM