Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 10, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

REGIME CHANGE IN IRAN....Remember the White House Iraq Group? And the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans? Basically, they were organizations designed to sidestep the moldy old national security bureaucracy and market the war with Iraq directly to the American public. And while in retrospect some may have questioned their, um, dedication to precise and sober analysis, you can't deny they were effective.

Well, guess what? Lawrence Kaplan reports that we now have a similar organization for Iran:

Although a spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) declines to comment on its existence, and the press has yet to carry a single mention of it, last month the administration formed something called the Iran-Syria Operations Group (ISOG) a group headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Liz Cheney, the purpose of which is to encourage regime change in Iran. It's no secret that Cheney has over $80 million at her disposal to promote democracy in Iran. But ISOG isn't simply about promoting democracy. It's about helping to craft official policy, doing so not with one but two countries in its sights, and creating a policymaking apparatus that parallels and skirts Foggy Bottom's suspect Iran desk.

Kaplan, for reasons that are obscure, apparently accepts at face value the official explanation that "ISOG has no role to play on security issues, doesn't coordinate at all with White House efforts against Iran at the United Nations, and confines itself to promoting regime change from within." Sure it does. That's why the Vice President's daughter is in charge of it.

In any case, connect the dots. "Promoting regime change from within" = the Iranian exile community. The Iranian exile community = source of dubious intelligence about Iran's nuclear program. Iran's nuclear program = excuse to go to war. Why change a winning game plan?

Kevin Drum 3:27 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (99)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I love this statement this morning:

SCOTT McCLELLAN: We've said multiple times -- we've said multiple times that Iran is not Iraq.

Posted by: Jim Bartle on April 10, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Iran AND Syria?

Oh, goodie. It means the neocons aren't done fucking up yet. More mayhem to come, pass the popcorn.

Posted by: grytpype on April 10, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Lawrence Kaplan reports that we now have a similar organization for Iran.

Well, sure. They're calling it Sell Iranwhacking Memes Pronto, or SIMP.

Word is it's going down like ice cream on the wrong side of the Bell Curve (I forget who said that this morning, but I love it).

Posted by: shortstop on April 10, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Why do I suspect that there isn't a "North Korea Group"?

Posted by: meddling kids on April 10, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Earlier today, Kevin was whining about reports that claim Bush has a contingency plan for Iran that includes a nuclear option.

Now, Kevin is whining about a group promoting regime change in Iran, from within.

Kevin's motto: "When in danger, when in doubt, run and scream, jump and shout."

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 10, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Liz Cheney!!!! You've got to be kidding me...

Posted by: elmo on April 10, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Why change a winning game plan?

So Kevin are you saying you would rather have Saddam running the country right now with his rape rooms, torture chambers, and child prisons? What a sick person you are.

Posted by: Al on April 10, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

FrequencyTroll:

We're meddling in the affairs of a country that's already poised to become the most socially progressive in the Muslim Middle East if we can hold off *wrecking* this process for a decade or so.

Iranian exiles -- many of them pro-Shah and pro-monarchy -- don't exactly count as "indigenous resistance."

All sabre-rattling does is increase support for a rotting regime.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 10, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

The neocons aren't going away after their catastrophic failure in Iraq, they intend to double down. Iran and Syria will save their reputations forever and they will be remembered as liberators of mankind.

Posted by: grytpype on April 10, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Al:

Oh right. As opposed to ghouls in Interior Ministry uniforms dumping bodies in Baghdad dumpsters every day with drill holes in their heads and faces melted away with acid ...

Moral imbecile that *you* are.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 10, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

This would be hilarious if it wasn't eventually going to end up with a lot of people dying. Highlights to come:
- Michael Ledeen pronounces Manucher Ghorbanifar the "George Washington" of Iran.
- Some heretofore unknown Air Force general gets quoted calling Liz Cheney "the stupidest f**ng gal on the face of the earth.
- Gas hits $7/gallon.

Posted by: bling on April 10, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Kaplan, for reasons that are obscure, apparently accepts at face value the official explanation [...]"

Kaplan is a card-carrying and water-carrying neoconservative. That's your reason, and it isn't obscure.

Posted by: JG on April 10, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Thank God these idiots weren't in the White House when we faced a real enemy. If they'd taken this approach to Soviet Russia, we wouldn't have just lost the Cold War the way we're losing the War on Terror--we'd also be dead.

I'm still worried about what's going to happen since they let the North Koreans get nukes. This is what happens when you let adolescent boys in charge of your country--they think it's a game of Risk, so they play it like it's a game. And they lose.

Posted by: theorajones on April 10, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

She has control of 80 million dollars in a position that didn't even exist until 2002, and was rumored to have been created just for her. Unbelievable. Oh well, maybe not so unbelievable with this administration.

Posted by: laps on April 10, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

This is a new low for Kevin Drum. To suggest that the relationship between the VP and his daughter has some conspiratorial implications just because she is the in-charge of ISOG is yellow journalism at its worst.

That the countries of Iran and Syria desperately need a regime change is an objective necessity, and it should be so even for the liberals intent on bringing down the Bush administration by attacks that are based on false and deceptive charges and are getting more and more reckless by the day.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 10, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kenneth, you moron, I know there are going to be pointless fake trolls posting at the beginning of every thread here, but I won't stand by and let you ruin a perfectly good saying (I almost said Heinleinism, but it's not his originally, as far as I can tell).

When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

Now write it on the blackboard a hundred times.

Posted by: Viserys on April 10, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

'Special Plans' for special people.

Posted by: cld on April 10, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Times like these makes me wonder a just how right the Naderites were when they said Gore was worse than Bush.

Posted by: gq on April 10, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Now, Kevin is whining about a group promoting regime change in Iran, from within.

. . . because we didn't learn our lesson from installing the Shah.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 10, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, can you find out who works at State's Iran Desk? IIRC the positions are relatively new, as in, stories from maybe a month ago mention that they're going to set one up. Hard to say a desk with that little experience will have much say in policy, but it really depends if they pulled in any big names. Can you help us out here?

Posted by: zoidberg on April 10, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

My sources have yet to confirm these particular allegations. An attack will no doubt involve using the deep water navy in a somewhat unusual tactical formation, and there may be a slide in the valuation of some currencies.

If you look here and here you'll find some things that might surprise you. Ultimately we'll know more when the DoD releases specifics. We should all just sit tight until then and not engage in hysterics and wild speculation. Remember what happened to the Dems the last time they did this?

Posted by: tbrosz on April 10, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

How comforting that Liz Cheney is heading a group that will bomb Iran! Was she a provost at a university before taking this job?

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on April 10, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

My sources have yet to confirm these particular allegations. An attack will no doubt involve using the deep water navy in a somewhat unusual tactical formation, and there may be a slide in the valuation of some currencies.
Posted by: tbrosz on April 10, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck yeah! America kicks ass! Yeah! wooooo! Nuke those bastards!

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 10, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Always check the e-mail address. Neither tbrosz posting in this thread came from tbrosz (unless he's now doing his own parody trolling).

Posted by: PaulB on April 10, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

I see the new GOP phrase-of-the-day is "wild speculation" meaning, using the New Dictionary of Convenient Conservative Redefinitions of course, "the speculation is true and we are falsely claiming to be favoring diplomacy just as we did with Iraq but you will never get us to admit it because we, the GOP, are inveterate liars."

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Is Liz the lesbian daughter or the non-lesbian one? I can't keep the Cheney women straight.

Posted by: C.J.Colucci on April 10, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Is ISOG dealing with a lot of Iranian exiles? That's not mentioned in Kaplan's brief piece. What I had heard sounded more a matter of trying to fund groups within Iran. (I guess there's also the "walking-around money" for the Kurdish shepherds and others our special forces are apparently lurking around with, but that must be another budget.)

I'm sure there are plenty of Iranian exiles who'd be glad to play Chalabi. But he had spent many years to build up the contacts he played so well. I haven't found any coverage of Iranians doing likewise. Is this happening?

Posted by: nandrews3 on April 10, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me, or is the defense of ISOG moronic and self-contradictory (in addition to probably being false)?

"ISOG has no role to play on security issues, doesn't coordinate at all with White House efforts against Iran at the United Nations, and confines itself to promoting regime change from within."

I mean, for a minute, lets take this at face value as true: an office exists in the executive branch, headed by a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State that:

1) Is promoting change in Iran and Syria, two rather important and pivotal countries in the Middle East, and
2) Has a role that is viewed as divorced from broader national security policy ("ISOG has no role to play on security issues"), and
3) isn't coordinating at all with the White House while the White House is pursuing its own program seeking to change the behavior of Iran.

And this is supposed to be reassuring? The official explanation is that, while we're fighting a War on Iraq, the Executive Branch is pursuing multiple, unrelated, entirely uncoordinated policy initiatives direct at Iran (and Syria), and views fomenting internal uprisings in Iraq's neighbors as something to be advanced without regard to the security interests of the United States?!

I mean, how bad must the reality be, if the cover story is that monumentally stupid?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 10, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Is Liz the lesbian daughter or the non-lesbian one? I can't keep the Cheney women straight.

Married mother of four. Whether or not she also digs women I can't say.

Posted by: shortstop on April 10, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK
I'm sure there are plenty of Iranian exiles who'd be glad to play Chalabi. But he had spent many years to build up the contacts he played so well. I haven't found any coverage of Iranians doing likewise. Is this happening?

Are you familiar with, e.g., Manucher Ghorbanifar?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 10, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

"I can't keep the Cheney women straight."

Yes, Dick has that problem too.

Posted by: Kenji on April 10, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but you people are hilarious. Like I suggested earlier, and Kevin has suggested more than once, could you sit down and collect your notes about what you think SHOULD happen with Iran? I hate to say it, but Kenneth had a point.

The only thing missing now is Kevin making a post complaining that Bush has left Iran up to Europe and the U.N. for too long.

Bob:

We're meddling in the affairs of a country that's already poised to become the most socially progressive in the Muslim Middle East if we can hold off *wrecking* this process for a decade or so.

Uh...right. Are we both talking about Iran here?

A "decade or two?" That's going to be a tight race with the bomb-builders. Wonder who's going to hit the finish line first. Wish you had that kind of patience with Iraq's democracy.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 10, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase someone very wise: warfare is the greatest affair of the state, the way to life or death. It must be thoroughly analyzed.

So you make a group and they make and sell a plan.

You become enamored with the plan.

You take steps to set it up in case you want to use it.

The trucks roll. The plan is closer to fruition.

You examine the options. The plan seems very workable. You like it. Maybe you are looking at Schlieffen's work.

So you use the plan, and people die and your country is imperiled.

Posted by: Chris on April 10, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Wish you had that kind of patience with Iraq's democracy.

I am glad that you have patience with constructs that reside only in your brain.

Posted by: lib on April 10, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

I am glad that you have patience with constructs that reside only in your brain.

Try finding anything about any "Iran-Syria Operations Group" other than in that one article. Between this and Hersh, the self-panicking is approaching a peak. All we need now is a "revelation" from Woodward to make it a hat trick.

The "CurveBall" syndrome can work in both directions.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 10, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Are you familiar with, e.g., Manucher Ghorbanifar?"

A name like that will never sell. Manucher sounds too much like "moocher", nobody likes a moocher. Let's change it to Mani (MAN-ee), not sure if it's an actual Persian name but noone will know the difference. We need to lop a syllable off of Ghorbanifar as well. I'm on the fence between "Gorbani" (rhymes with Mani!) and "Banifar" (Bennifer, anyone?). Run it by a focus group and get back to me by Friday.

"Gorba" is a hot nickname though, should make the rubes think of Gorby. Everybody loves him. I only want to see this guy in a tweed jacket and a well-trimmed beard. Glasses too. Think history professor.

Now get out there and get us 50.1%!

Posted by: ISOG Marketing on April 10, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "Why change a winning game plan?"

Why, indeed, especially if you think you can snooker the rubes again. This shows pretty clearly the very low opinion this administration has of the American public's inability to figure out how badly it was snookered on Iraq. Bush's approval ratings may be near bottom but he's counting on the people's willingness to roll the dice with him again. Some marks never catch on, you know.

Posted by: Taobhan on April 10, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz

You are full of unadulterated shit.


Posted by: lib on April 10, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

All we need now is a "revelation"

Did someone say "Revelation"?

Posted by: 4Horsemen on April 10, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz and Al,

Just how does it feel to have been so absolutely right about everything you guys predicted about Iraq?

Man, you guys were almost as right as Bush and Cheney and Wolfie and Gaffney and all the rest.

What fucking visionary skills!

Posted by: angryspittle on April 10, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

lib,

Are you calling tbrosz a colostomy bag?

Posted by: angryspittle on April 10, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz--

Yeah Iraq might turn into a Democracy sometime in the 2020s. In the meantime, it seems like 500,000 people will have been killed by violence. Is "democracy" worth 500,000 lives? Is it worth the 100,000+ lives that have already been lost above the pre-war level? You also have to consider the fact that even if Iraq does stabilize someday, well how do you know that that wouldn't have happened anyway without an invasion and an extra 100,000+ deaths? Saddam wasn't going to live forever, after all. If you have any faith at all in the "freedom-loving Iraqis", surely you'd have to entertain the strong possibility that Iraq might have turned out better and more democratic without our horribly botched intervention.

Why does no one mention this?

Posted by: kokblok on April 10, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely -- Thanks for the Ghorbanifar link. The Wiki entry linked to a Laura Rozen piece that was also really helpful:

http://www.prospect.org/web/printfriendly-view.ww?id=9361

(Sorry, can't seem to paste links.) I guess I see what Kevin was referring to.

From reading this, I'm not sure how worried we should be. Compared to Chalabi, Ghorbanifar seems a lot farther from having any real pull. He can't even pass his "info" directly to Curt Weldon -- he has to launder it thru his ailing friend. So, Michael Ledeen got him a meeting with DOD people a few years ago. He seems to have come across as a grifter. Chalabi wants to rule Iraq. Ghorbanifar seems to want to get paid.

Then again, Seymour Hersh's former DOD official claims that military planners believe "a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government." That's so bizarre, it does seem like there must be someone telling them that, to give them any reason to believe it.

Ledeen still stands by Ghorbanifar, apparently, and for some reason he's said to have lots of defense contacts. Is that what's going on here?

Posted by: nandrews3 on April 10, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

So essentially, we, the American People paid for the White House Iraq Group to funnel money to Iraqi exiles who in turn bought bogus intelligence and funelled it back to us so that we could have a pretext for war.

Now we have it happening again with Iran. We the American people are paying with out tax dollars to fund Iranian "democracy" movements which will undoubtedly turn up "credible evidence" of Iranian weapons programs which BushCo will then use as a pretext for war.

It is bad enough getting duped, but to have to pay for it too is really galling. I want my prorated share back.

That is like hiring someone burn down your uninsured house and using your childrens piggy banks to pay the arsonist.

Posted by: coltergeist on April 10, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

So Kevin are you saying you would rather have Saddam running the country right now with his rape rooms, torture chambers, and child prisons? What a sick person you are.

I'll say it. Iraq WAS better off (and the US was too) with Saddam in charge. HIS rape rooms and torture chambers can't be any worse than ours and those of our best buds running the show now. Or perhaps you think it is better to be raped or tortured by US personnel, contractors, or puppets than by Saddam's boyz?

Now that Iraq is totally dicked up and in the hands of Iran, for all practical purposes, the Bushies want to hand Iran over to a bunch of REAL wackos who have no compunction about attacking the US and Europe with terrorists? Let me let you in on a non-secret: Iran doesn't sponsor terrorists attacking Europe and the USA. There is not a single terrorist attack in the West that is tied to Iran. They are very very focused with their ill will, kind of like Bush is very very focused with HIS ill will. Iran is after Israel and Bush is after the Constitution.

Iran's threat is much easier to deal with and live with than is Bush's.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 10, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz,

You're right in that, and I don't have an answer.

All these years when there should have been some kind of constructive engagement with North Korea and Iran have led us into this dead end where we can only sit and hope these two idiots, Bush and Ahmadinejad, don't annihiliate each other too much.

If we withdrew completely and unilaterally from the Middle East that wouldn't forestall the Iranian nuclear program, but it might strengthen the democratic movement over the next few election cycles. But that wouldn't forestall their nuclear program, either.

I think we could only bomb it after they have a demonstrable weapon, and I think that would be something like,

a) Iran develops bomb
b) Iran has 'accident' with bomb, killing 500 thousand people
c) White House laments bombs are dangerous
d) Iran announces the accident happened nowhere near where the bomb is and invites the UN to come and look at it
e) White House sends in the army to seize the bomb
f) Bomb goes off on a container ship in the middle of the ocean
g) We were right.

Posted by: cld on April 10, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

A "decade or two?" That's going to be a tight race with the bomb-builders. Wonder who's going to hit the finish line first. Wish you had that kind of patience with Iraq's democracy.


You red americans are funny that way. In your own country you allow civilians to buy handguns, sniper rifles, even cannons on the general principle of people being free to arm themselves, to be able to effectively defend their lives and property.
But when the wealthy muslim loudmouth of the globe starts bragging about how he's going to conquer the world, out goes the principle and you'd rather make a nice little nuclear preemptive attack to prevent them for arming themselves with the only weapon that can provide a resourcerich country with any kind of bergaining leverage against outside aggressors in this day and age?
If comparies are considered judicial persons with rights roughly eqivalent to human persons, might it also be fair to assume the contries could have an inalienable right to arm themselves according to capacity?

You invented it, you mass-produced it, you showed the world how invention and production of weapon technology aiming at mass destruction is done, when its done right.
And now we all accept that the US is The Big Dog on the block and nobody wants to seriously get on the wrong side of the 800 pound gorilla in the rom.
So could you please stop the jumping and shouting and go back to the old "Speak softly but carry a big stick" routine?
Stirring the public toward aggresion is not something you should play with for sortsighted gains.
Oh, and we all like it much better when you show us how to do, not what to do.

In short: Sit down, you're rocking the boat!

Posted by: OmniDane on April 10, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Better teach those Zorastrians to lock and load in Diego Garcia.

Posted by: toast on April 10, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Plan for Iran (broadly applicable to the rest of the world)

1) Apologize to the Iranians for installing the Shah. We should have give democracy a chance, no matter how much it cost.
2) Institute a gasoline tax equal to the unfunded external costs of petroleum of the past almost 60 years.
3) Out of those funds, make reparations to Iran equal to the sums looted by the Shah's and lost oil revenues. Deduct penalties owing to the US hostages.
4) Tell the Israelis to get out of Palistine, or else.
5) Pull our troops from the Middle East.
6) Redeploy our nuclear arsenal.
7) Tell all of the above that if they attack anyone with WMD, that will be the end of their country.
8) Step back and allow democracy to happen, even if said democracy is hostile to US interests.

Posted by: Ray on April 10, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

When Saddam was in charge in Iraq, the lefties all said, "let people rise up and remove him from office". After more than 300,000 were killed or disappeared over a period of 12 years, the U.S finally moved in and removed him from office. The number of deaths since the war was mentioned as being over 100,000. I have seen no mention of a figure that high save a loony publication from England. Most reports place that figure in the 20,000 to 35,000 range. Too high by any standards, but then you still have terrorists and Sunni Baathists killing people. Only now they are killing them without the blessing of Saddam's government and many of them are also meeting Allah.
As to Iran, it is different than Iraq. In Iraq, Saddam kept people guessing on his WMD's. His connection to terrorists grows daily with evidence such as this .
Whereas WMD's were a guessing game in Iraq, The president of Iran is boldly pronouncing his desire for nukes so he can destroy a democratic nation. This info isn't coming from a bunch of exiles. Kevin says "Why change a winning game plan?" He must mean the plan where the left said "let's let sanctions work". They worked very well, by lining the pockets of Germany, France, Russia, and Saddam. Is that the plan Kevin wants to follow?

Posted by: meatss99 on April 10, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Plan for Iran (broadly applicable to the rest of the world)

Pretty nicely laid out. I agree. It would go a LONG way to defusing the fear and hatred of the US in the ME as well.

We should also apologize to the Saudi's (the people, not the House of Saud) for propping up their dictatorship for so long and bail on them too. Let nature take its course, support the people's choice of government. That principle can be applied generally. We apologize to virtually ALL of Latin America for feeding and supporting their despots for so long and promise to never again impose a government from outside. Period.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 10, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Ray,

sounds like a good plan, no shit.
Distinctly american in tone, very simple, very cost efficient to boot.

Very good material for a democratic presidential campaign, even if the UN might raise an issue or two.
Unless, that is, the realpolitik take on the situation is, that democrats might not want to commit to a Chomsky-like proposal like that, for fear of discovering how the US economy will react to being without a conventinal military backbone throughout the worlds gas station.

Posted by: OmniDane on April 10, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Liz Cheney's previous/other current project was/is the MEPI project at State. That said, it seems she might be the right person to plug into a non-natsec-related Iran/Syria thing, no? I'm as suspicious of the white house crips as the next guy, but let's not go crazy just yet.

Posted by: Pabodie on April 10, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK
he's now doing his own parody trolling. PaulB 4:31 PM
From your keyboard to:
A "decade or two?" That's going to be a tight race with the bomb-builders. Wonder who's going to hit the finish line first. Wish you had that kind of patience with Iraq's democracy. tbrosz 5:04 PM
Iran has a democratically elected government now; however, that election was influenced by Bush's trash talk before the vote. If you want a moderate regime, don't insult and threaten the people. Of course Bush and the neo-cons did not want a moderate government in Iran.

The desire to have a nuclear deterrent in that region should be obvious to all but the densest RepubliConTarian ideologue who cannot remember the propaganda build up to the unnecessary, illegal, and counter productive attack on Iraq. After thousands of casualties, hundreds of billions wasted, and tens of thousands dead civilians in Iraq, some fools refuse to learn.

When Saddam was in charge in Iraq, the lefties all said, "let people rise up and remove him from office". meatss99 7:16 PM

Point Number 2 of "You know, you just might be a Republican
Sixteen ideas in which you must believe to be a Republican today."
By Jeff Sklar Santa Monica Daily Press April 8-9, 2006 page 5
2 Saddam was a good guy when Reagan, Rumsfeld and Wolfowicz armed him; a bad guy when Bush Sr made war on himj; a good guy when Cheney did business with him; and a bad guy when Bush Jr needed a war
Saddam was the creation and a lapdog of Republicans

Posted by: Mike on April 10, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

I know this is a tough crowd here, but I think there is a fair chance that 20 years from now we will have witnessed the birth of freedom and democracy across the entire area from Afghanistan through Syria. Not asking for a debate, although it might be nice if some at least agreed that would be a great thing and it might actually happen.

Posted by: brian on April 10, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

brian, what we have witnessed is the latest chapter in the West screwing up in the Middle East. We've been dicking around in there since WWI and no peace and freedom and democracy and ponies have resulted. And Bush's f-ed up military interventions are not going to get those results.

I do like peace and freedom and democracy and ponies though.

Posted by: grytpype on April 10, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

...it might be nice if some at least agreed that would be a great thing and it might actually happen.

I don't know of anyone of note on the liberal side of the aisle who has expressed the view that democracy in the region would be a terrible idea.

Come to think of it. I can bet that many on the right are secretly hoping that our occupation of Iraq continues till its oil reserves are depleted or a viable substitute for oil is found. Otherwise, the administration will not find it so hard to declare that we do not intend to have permanent military bases in Iraq.

Posted by: lib on April 10, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

Put the gay daughter in charge of things. She probably has good liberal values.

Posted by: Neil' on April 10, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Is Liz the lesbian daughter or the non-lesbian one? I can't keep the Cheney women straight.'

Liz is the one that speaks both Arabic (Syrian dialect) and Farsi.

OK. Would you believe that she speaks just Arabic?

No? Would you believe that she lived many years in the Middle East?

Not that either? How about she once ate in a Syrian restaurant in DC?

Not even that? Would you believe she once stayed in a Holiday Inn Express?

Posted by: arkie on April 10, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Not even that? Would you believe she once stayed in a Holiday Inn Express?
Posted by: arkie on April 10, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Please, tell me she at least saved a bunch of money on her car insurance. . .

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on April 10, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

I know this is a tough crowd here, but I think there is a fair chance that 20 years from now we will have witnessed the birth of freedom and democracy across the entire area from Afghanistan through Syria.
Posted by: brian on April 10, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Bah. Moving goalposts again.

My conservative buddy said "ten years" (from May 2003). That means that in May of 2013, if there is "Peace in the middle east" - I will take my buddy to a bar, buy a round of drinks, and toast George W Bush "the great peacemaker".

I have no fear that that's actually going to happen. Peace? Don't make me laugh. Freedom and Democracy? You must be riding the short bus. . . or you have a funny definition for "Freedom" and "Democracy". Hell. Iran's a fucking "Democracy" already - so what's your point?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on April 10, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

The middle east may indeed prove to be a garden of freedom and democracy sometime in the future, as there are immense global cultural and political pressures to move all nations towards such a state of affairs. I doubt, however, that the history will be kind enough to GWB to give him credit for this transformation, as such changes will probably occur despite his missteps and not because of them.

Posted by: lib on April 10, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Please, tell me she at least saved a bunch of money on her car insurance. . ."

Now there an opportunity for Dick Cheney to make some money.

Scene: A small band of US soldiers are defending an isolated outpost under attack by thousands of angry Iraqis (think Rorkes Drift and the movie "Zulu" but without the great Zulu and Welsh singers).

In their midst, Dick Cheney appears saying he has good news. "You have a plan to get us out of here?", a soldier asks.

"No," says Cheney, "I just save a bunch of money on car insurance."

Posted by: arkie on April 10, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK


SHORTSTOP: Is Liz the lesbian daughter or the non-lesbian one? I can't keep the Cheney women straight.

Married mother of four. Whether or not she also digs women I can't say.


KENJI: I can't keep the Cheney women straight.

Yes, Dick has that problem too.


TBROSZ: I'm sorry, but you people are hilarious.


I'm not sorry they're hilarious. But reading further into your comment I was amazed to learn that you weren't laughing at shortstop's or Kenji's cute jokes, which immediately preceded your remark. Instead, you found it uproariously funny that Kevin and others weren't agreeing with . . . Frequency Kenneth?? When you found out that Al Franken and Bill O'Reilly don't see eye to eye, did that crack you up too?


Posted by: jayarbee on April 10, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, "Democracy from within" operations are bad. "Democracy from outside" operations are bad.

Why don't you just admit that you guys have:

1) No foreign policy.

2) No response to repression but to claim the repession was caused by your political opponents for historical action or not giving concessions to repressive states

Posted by: McA on April 10, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

A "decade or two?" That's going to be a tight race with the bomb-builders. Wonder who's going to hit the finish line first. Wish you had that kind of patience with Iraq's democracy. - tbrosz

We do have that kind of patience with Iraq's democracy. In fact, we should follow the same policy for both countries - get our troops out of there within the next 6 months and let them evolve on their own for the next 20 years or so, with as much non-military aid and civil society building aid as they need.

As for the bomb builder problem, here's an idea for a last ditch option: tell the Iranians they can have their bomb, if they accept international monitoring of the bomb building program so they can't give any of them away. It's a lousy option, but it's better than the alternative, which appears to be a bomb building program without any safeguards at all.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

What's bad is "operations". Democracy-building programs such as those George Soros has been sponsoring in Eastern Europe and elsewhere for the last 15 years, which were important in the nonviolent democratic transitions in Georgia and Ukraine, are great. The ones USAID sponsors are mostly pretty productive, too. They work slowly, on a scale of decades - like democracy itself.

And that's our approach to democracy-building. The difference between ours (democracy built through civil-society-building aid) and the GOP's (democracies installed on the back of tanks) is that ours works, and theirs doesn't. Ours produced Ukraine, and theirs produced Iraq.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I know I'm post-bombing here, but I just had a brilliant idea for the Bushies. How about we start an Office for Democracy in Vietnam, staffed mostly with Vietnamese-Americans who left the country when they were 16 or younger, and sponsor a bunch of conferences at which aging former members of the South Vietnamese regime can discuss how to violently overthrow the Communist government and install a democratic one? Saigon fell in '75, Tehran in '79, so it's not that big a difference. And guess what? Vietnam has oil, too!

Now, why is it that the total idiocy of this idea is apparent to any sentient being, even Republicans, while the idea of whipping up some bogus committee of Iranian exiles and thinking they're going to overthrow the mullahs seems plausible to a plurality of the morons currently running this country?

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

A "decade or two?" That's going to be a tight race with the bomb-builders. Wonder who's going to hit the finish line first.

If we are bellicose with Iran, if we are too threatening, we reinforce the radicals and we undermine the people that might be predisposed to align with us.

Posted by: Windhorse on April 10, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

I want to know what David Duke's crowd thinks about all this.

Iran does mean Aryan, after all...

Have the white supremacists heard about this rumour?

Posted by: floopmeister on April 10, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, "Democracy from within" operations are bad.

The problem with ISOG (or with OSP or WHIG) isn't that it is a "Democracy from within operation" (as OSP and WHIG weren't), its that it appears to be (as OSP and WHIG were) a crony echo chamber policy shop deliberately detached from the rest of the national security policy apparatus of the government, including especially those with expertise in its notional subject area, specifically, it seems, to avoid exposing the preordained policies of the administration to people who actually might have a clue what they are doing.

And, seeing how disastrous that was the last time, some of us would rather not see it repeated.

Disagreeing with the administration's approach doesn't mean disagreeing with their superficial goals (though even their story about the ISOG is, as noted above, monumentally stupid.)

Posted by: cmdicely on April 10, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

lib,

I know you cannot even imagine history being kind to President Bush.

I bet you also thought Ronald Reagan was a fool and he would not succeed in ending the cold war and bringing down the evil of the Soviet Union, but you now stand and watch in amazement as Reagan is elevated to the patheon of great presidents.

At the time, I assume you preferred Carter, Mondale and Dukakis.

Posted by: brian on April 11, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

> "We're meddling in the affairs of a country that's already poised
> to become the most socially progressive in the Muslim Middle East
> if we can hold off *wrecking* this process for a decade or so."

> Uh...right. Are we both talking about Iran here?

Well if you don't think I'm talking about Iran, then you obviously
know very little about the country. Iran is *already* the most
socially progressive country in the Muslim Middle East. Katamei's
social reforms have never been rescinded, so there's no more religious
police hassling young couples in the parks, etc. The Persian character
is also fundamentally different than the Arabic character; Persians
are ill-suited by cultural history to be puritan zealots. Every
Persian I've had the pleasure of knowing has confirmed this.

Iran is a great country with a huge history of civilization that
stretches back much further than the Islamic conquest. There are
built-in impedances against Islamic fanaticism (cf. their New Year
celebration, their rich tradition of love poetry and wine drinking,
etc. Persians are Medeterranean in spirit, not desert ascetics.)

> A "decade or two?" That's going to be
> a tight race with the bomb-builders.

Let's unpack the assumptions in this. First, while most people
seem to think so, we don't have any concrete evidence that Iran
is even trying to build a bomb. Though it's probably a prudent
assumption, Khatamei claims that possessing nukes would be un-Islamic.
No rhetoric of which I'm aware has come out, even from the demagogue
Ahmadinejad, claming that Iran has a right to build a nuclear bomb.

But more importantly -- isn't the whole idea here a way to
delegitimate Islamist regimes that use the power of the state
to take away fundamental human rights? -- a long-term goal
which, incidentally, liberals share with the Bush war cabinet.

> Wonder who's going to hit the finish line first.

Well, isn't that exactly the point, Tom. Everybody who studies
democracy with the remotest degree of seriousness knows that free
elections are less important than the rule of law, transparent
institutions, role-based contract relations trumping ascribed
status relations (what the classical German sociologists called
Gesellschaft vs Gemineschaft -- or society vs community). Look
at the history of the West; look at how many false starts arose
before Western Europe developed democratic institutions. Sheesh,
look at Italy for crying out loud -- and realize how long ascribed
status relations (who you are, who your family is, who you know) takes
to die, even in cultures that have produced great art and science.

Now look at all the Mideast elections that have taken place in the
shadow of the Iraq war. Every single one of them -- in Iran, Egypt,
Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan -- have empowered Islamists
who believe that the Koran ultimately trumps democracy. This is what
happens when you push countries to change quickly rather than evolve.

> Wish you had that kind of patience with Iraq's democracy.

Heh. Well obviously, it is the Bush war cabinet that wouldn't know
patience if it jumped them in a broom closet and gave them a blowjob.

But leave aside Iraq for a minute and contemplate just how
counterproductive it is to sabre-rattle against its larger Persian
neighbor. Iran is poised for a huge demographic shift; there's an
immense youth cohort born in the Iran/Iraq war who are now teenagers
and young adults. These kids grew up after the Revolution and nearly
all of them loathe the mullahs and the internalized self-loathing that
drives their deeply un-Persian brand of social control. They also
adore Western contraband (movies, music, alcohol, clothing, makeup).
Now look at the current generation of leaders. The senior ayatollahs
on the Guardian Council are ancient; Ahmadinejad, the dour soldier of
the Revolution, the Iraq War veteran, is in his late 50s. Once power
transfers from that generation to the baby boomers, when the original
religious ideologues of the Revolution are long since in their graves,
Iran is all set to make an incredible democratic transformation.

Think also of how valuable this process would be as an object lesson
to the greater Middle East. Iran has had its Islamic Revolution.
It has failed the people, not by empowering fanatics but (like the
Soviets) actually by the reverse -- by entrenching the very most
conservative elements in Iranian society, including the wealthy
business elite. It's hugely ironic to hear all the American scare-
talk about "mad mullahs" when the genuinely frightening apocalyptic
Shi'ite Ahmadinejad is held firmly in check by the Guardian Council.

So what should *we* do? It should be fucking obvious, shouldn't it.
Containment, containment, containment. Tell Iran that if they develop
a nuke and use it, then we'll make Islamic atomic -- and they can kiss
that great Persian civilization goodbye forever. Stop this idiot
game of military chicken which only gives Ahmadinejad that much more
reason to play the national pride card -- and which gives ordinary
Iranians that much less reason to embrace Western values. When you
threaten people, they support their own despite internal differences.

Our goal should be instead to play up these internal differences.
Our goals in the Middle East should be directed towards facilitating
long-term cultural evolution and not short-term political upheaval.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 11, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that Reagan was president when the Soviet Union collapsed from within is entirely coincidental. Talk about being in the right place at the right time... or you think "Mr. Gorbachev, take down that wall" was responsible for the whole thing...

Posted by: ExBrit on April 11, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you, Bob!

I'm not quite as sanguine as you are about the Iranian youth revolution, though. Young people aren't always liberal - just wild. The Red Guards and the Nazi Youth weren't exactly screaming for more jazz and shorter skirts. (SDS had its fascist side, too.) I haven't seen any analyses of how many young people are going for Ahmadinejad's combination of apocalyptic nationalism and pro-poor populist programs, but it seems plausible that while better-off educated urban youth might swing left, worse-off uneducated rural and slum youth might swing right (especially where "right" equals state welfare, not laissez-faire).

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 11, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

ExBrit, yeah, that's why Kerry etc. always look like assholes when they talk about Reagan. They think politics are all about appearances. They think people call Reagan the great communicator because of his speaking skills.

Posted by: aaron on April 11, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Ahmadinejad is to Iran what Baghdad Bob (Saeed al-Sahaf ) was to Iraq. Pay more attention to the man beind the curtain, Ali Khamenei.

Posted by: has407 on April 11, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

about more info Car InsuranceDon't be punished for paying monthly
Want to pay your car insurance rate monthly? Most companies will happily charge you extra for the privilege. Not us. We let you break-up your payments into bite-size monthly morsels at no extra cost for car insurance qoute. Monthly cheap car insurance payments subject to status.
Buy online and save at least 10% discount car insuranceGet a car insurance quote online and we'll knock a tidy 10% off the cost.
Car Insurance mesothelioma is a disease in which asbestos cancer(malignant) cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura) or abdomen (the peritoneum)

Posted by: SUNNY on April 11, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Khatamei = Khamenei.

Sheesh, why do these guys have such similar names?

Khomenei = original Grand Ayatollah and architect of the Iranian Revolution.

Khatamei = reform-minded president of Iran (also an ayatollah) who rescinded some of the draconian social policies of the Revolution and offered a "dialogue of civilizations" with America. It was under his watch that Tehran held a candlelight vigil for the victims of 9/11.

Khamenei = current Grand Ayatollah and Supreme Leader of Iran.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 11, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Ahmadinejad is to Iran what Baghdad Bob (Saeed al-Sahaf ) was to Iraq. Pay more attention to the man beind the curtain, Ali Khamenei.

From what I've read, Ahmadinejad is making a credible play for more power than the non-clerical government has ever had before. It seems his Rev Guards or whatever are taking over all sorts of posts that used to be staffed exclusively by the clerics. It's not surprising that a nationalist movement should have the strength to effect this type of staffing coup, where the liberal reformers lacked such organized strength. It's true that Ahmadinejad's power is sharply limited by the clerics (as government leaders in Communist states are sharply limited by the Party), but he sounds like a strong politician who is altering the map of power in his favor, in ways Khatami never could.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 11, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

Thanks :) The info I got for that essay on Iran came from a couple
in-depth articles by British journalists who spent quite a lot of time
in Iran. Sorry, I can't remember the publications, but they were
linked in comments several months ago.

Surely I wasn't generalizing about the power of youth -- which of
course can cut both ways. Forget the SDS -- look at how so many Baby
Boomers embraced Reagan as they took their places in the economic
power structure. And, of course, the original Iranian Revolution was
very much a student-based movement -- as those painful memories of the
hostage crisis attest.

I think what's happening here is different, though -- to the point
where you can make generalizations about the orientation of Iranian
youth. First, they were born in the shadow of a truly horrible,
ultimately meaningless war -- which they've heard all their young
lives justified in Islamic terms which simply don't ring true to
their experiences. Secondly, the natural tendency of youth towards
self-indulgence runs into both expanding consumerism (including
the black market) and Islamic prohibitions against indulging it.
Couple this with an increasing stratification by wealth driven by
by world oil demand (which, of course, Ahmadinejad exploits), and
this youthful discontent is broad enough to threaten the entire
regime. Islamist governance looks neither morally righteous nor
politically effective. And while the poor and less educated might
be more receptive to Ahmadinejad's apocalyptic rhetoric, I still
think the discontent is vast enough to threaten the entire regime
as these kids begin to mature and take their places in society.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 11, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

It might be more (frighteningly) accurate to say that Ahmadinejad is to Iran what George Bush is to America -- a middling-educated zealot with an apocalyptic vision bent on transforming government by appointing his cronies all up and down the bureaucracy -- circumventing the established lines of power.

That's precisely why watching these two Jesus-told-me / Allah-told-me assholes confront each other in the psychic funhouse mirrors they mutually hold up is truly terrifying ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 11, 2006 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

Also, the sheer size of the iranian baby boomer cohorts is staggering. Over half the population of Iran is under 25, if I'm recalling that correctly ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 11, 2006 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe: From what I've read, Ahmadinejad is making a credible play for more power ...

Well, Ahmadinejad has a big mouth for sure, but the buck stops with Khamenei. If Ahmadinejad can rally sufficient support then it's possible he could gain control of the Assembly of Experts (as they are elected and can pass judgement on the Supreme Leader), and thus sideline or eject Khamenei, but that's extremely doubtful. since the candidates are vetted by Khamenei et. al.

If Ahmadinejad did make a power-play, it would have to have enough popular supprt to roll over the Guardian Council, Expediency Council and the Judiciary and Military leaders encsconced by Khamenei. Essentially, a popular uprising that would overthrow the current structure in favor of something even more conservative. We'd basically have Revolution II. I don't think Ahmadinejad is up to that.

Moreover, it would be extremely risky for Ahmadinejad--unlesss he's really sure he has enough guns and the backing of the military--assuming the anecdotal evididence of disaffection with the currnet hard-line leadership among the rank-and-file is accurate. IN short, and tt the risk of oversimplifying, Ahmadinejad may be little more than a Judas goat.

Posted by: has407 on April 11, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

has407:

I've read similar things as has brooksfoe (can't recall specifics), and I think what Ahmadinejad is doing is stocking his loyalists in lower-level administrative posts. Technically, they're still accountable through the clerical councils (as is the entire government including parliament), but they still have a great deal of leeway in the day-to-day administration of the state. It's a question, really, of choosing which laws to enforce and how vigorously.

Ahmadinejad is not choosing to re-Islamicize aspects of daily life that Khatamei and his parlaiment liberalized. Dress codes are still unenforced, at least in the cities, and the religious police hasn't made a resurgence. They're trying to get alcohol use under control, but at this point the black market is thoroughly entrenched and alcohol sellers are choosing to risk the jail time and fines because the business is so profitable ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 11, 2006 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

parlaiment = parliament

Posted by: rmck1 on April 11, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

has407:

Also, if Ahmadinejad isn't the ultimate power in Iran -- well, neither is George Bush in America ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 11, 2006 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

rmck1 -- The big question seems to be how Ahmadinejad is perceived by the rank-and-file. Is he considered more or less tolerant than the powers-that-be? If perceived as more tolerant--and assuming the rank-and-file appreciate that (which I think they would)--then he may be able to rally the popular support needed to face up to Khamenei et. al. That's still a big "if".

Although Ahmadinejad was elected largely on his promises to clean up domestic issues--corruption, unemployment, etc.--the "outsider" who was pure and with no favors owed--it's far from clear that he has succeeded (or will succeed) to the satisfaction of the electorate. Fundamentals haven't improved much (if at all), and while the nuclear tet-a-tet provides him some rhetorical room, it won't last for long (unless of course, we attack). Moreover, his rise to power is--and I believe, and no one in the rank-and-file believes otherwse--attributed to the powers-that-be, so Ahmadinejad is indelibly linked to them.

In short, I think Ahmadinejad is little more than a hand puppet of Khamenei. And any populist measures to keep the rank-and-file happy--or as a foil with the West--are less the product of Ahmadineja's than Khamenei's.

It's also woth noting that Rafsanjani s the deputy chairmain of the Assembly of Experts, which selects the Supreme Leader. That suggests--but is by no means definitive--that Rafsanjani et. al. execise more of a moderating influence than is otherwise apparent.


p.s. Also, if Ahmadinejad isn't the ultimate power in Iran -- well, neither is George Bush in America ... Point taken.. However, I think that Ahmadinejad has far less leeway that GWB.

Posted by: has407 on April 11, 2006 at 4:07 AM | PERMALINK

has407:

Well, I basically agree with you. Iranian electoral politics is pretty much stage-managed by the clerics, and they kept several genuine reformers off the ballot. Nobody was terribly enthused by Rafsanjani -- and as a reformer, his credentials were somewhat compromised by being so close to the business class, anyway.

But the impression I get from Ahmadinejad is not that he's a Manchurian candidate of the mullahs, but rather that he's even more religiously insane than they are. He has been alleged to support a Shi'ite secret society that Khomenei banned, because it believes in fomenting chaos to create the conditions for the return of the Twelfth Imam -- the basis of Shi'ite eschatology. Orthodox Shi'ism, however, believes that any human action intended to bring that about would be arrogant folly. Whether this is true or not, if you've heard his famous commentary on his speech at the UN -- where a holy light was alleged to descend on him and all the world leaders looked at him knowing he was speaking the Divine Will -- you know the guy's for sure a true-believing religious fruitcake.

Where we agree, though, is that any action he'd take on the world stage is directly constrained by Khamanei. In fact, it's Khamanei who has the authority to declare war as Supreme Leader, and not the elected president.

Posted by: rmck1 on April 11, 2006 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

He has been alleged to support a Shi'ite secret society that Khomenei banned, because it believes in fomenting chaos to create the conditions for the return of the Twelfth Imam -- the basis of Shi'ite eschatology. Orthodox Shi'ism, however, believes that any human action intended to bring that about would be arrogant folly.

Dude, you've got to be kidding me.

Why is this stuff so incredibly predictable, across eschatological faiths? Be it the anti-Zionist Hassids (who believed that the Jewish state couldn't be established by man, only by the Moshiach) versus the ultra-orthodox settlers of Shas and Kach (who think they can make Moshiach come by annexing Shechem); be it the pre-Millennialist Evangelicals versus the post-Millennialist Evangelicals (who have some weird dispute about whether the Judgment will precede or follow the return of Christ to rule on Earth for a thousand years that somehow affects their belief that humans can hasten the Second Coming); be it the Otto Bauer socialists believing in the inevitable evolution towards Communism versus the Leninists who believed in making it happen...

Same damn thing, over and over. Can't they think up some new ideological dispute? Something weird and unpredictable? The nature of consciousness, or something?

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 11, 2006 at 6:49 AM | PERMALINK

Hersh: There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bushs ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. Irans President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be wiped off the map. Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. Thats the name theyre using. They say, Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?

Now, where are all the trolls claiming that Bush has lost the argument on Iran under Godwin's Law?

I mean, if the trolls are going to misapply Godwin's Law to liberal commenters on these blogs, the least they could do is be consistent and misapply it to Bush.

But I forget that conservatives are mendacious hypocrites suffering from Bush Infatuation Syndrome with double-standards that rationalize away every Bush flaw.

Nevermind.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 11, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Jury says the No. 2 drugmaker misrepresented the risks of Vioxx to regulators

Yet more evidence of just how deep the conservative character trait of dishonesty runs.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 11, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

The Mullahs just fucked themselves:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060411/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_nuclear_8;_ylt=AvOrDey7Mr57yHk9qrDtBC5Sw60A;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

"Iran has put into operation the first unit of 164 centrifuges, has injected (uranium) gas and has reached industrial production," the Kuwait News Agency quoted Rafsanjani as saying.
Enriching uranium to a low level produces fuel for nuclear reactors. To a higher level, it produces the material for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, securities experts analyzing the situations estimate Iran will be bombed in 2007.

Sounds about right to me.

Persia Delenda Est.

Posted by: peanut on April 11, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

peanut:

You and what army?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on April 11, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Iran has put into operation the first unit of 164 centrifuges"

Even if Iran were working for a bomb, would this be the point of no return? According to a Reuters article, Iran would need 1,500 centrifuges operating 'optimally' to produced enough HEU (Highly Enriched Uranium) for a bomb.

Without more centrifuges (in operation), Iran could have enough material for a bomb in 10 years. Clearly, this doesn't qualify as an imminent threat, under any circumstance.

And to the person who spoke of making reparations to Iran for the coup that installed the Shah (and his subsequent plundering of Iranian economy) you neglected to mention that the US provided Iraq with chemicals that were clearly dual-use and kept providing Iraq with these same chemicals, after it was clear they were using them on the Iranians. The Iraqi's were not only using US provided chemicals to kill Iranians, but also using US provided intelligence (satellite photos) to evaluate the effect of such weapons.

Despite all these criminal acts that were perpetrated by the US, Iran still hasn't sought revenge. If Iran is building a nuclear weapon, it's clearly intented to prevent further crimes against humanity (against Iranians) of being perpetrated by the US.

http://today.reuters.com/news/NewsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-04-11T145543Z_01_OLI150175_RTRUKOC_0_US-NUCLEAR-IRAN-CENTRIFUGES.xml

Posted by: dm on April 11, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

The American Torture and Rape rooms are MUCH better than Saddam had. Our Torture and Rape Rooms are Democracy blessed, broom-sticks equipped.

And they're all over the world !!!!


Torture: A Christian Tradition (Spanish Inquisition of 500yrs) and an American Value.

God Bless AMerica and the Brutal Dictator from "God".

Posted by: yuri vil on April 11, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm amazed at the general tone of the Iran discussion around the country -- it seems eerily similar to what we had in 2003 over Iraq.

[Hit the link under my name to a sample discussion]

Posted by: Constant on April 11, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

map,song,actor,bbs
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map

Posted by: dfsdfsd on April 12, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Even if Iran regime change were a good idea, should we trust the Bush administration not to screw it up? Will Congress get some cahonies and demand that Bush get permission before he does anything too stupid?

Posted by: bakho on April 12, 2006 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly