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Tilting at Windmills

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February 25, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY....Over at the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh says the Bush administration is honing its plans to attack Iran. Meanwhile, the London Times reports that if Bush actually goes through with an attack, "up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack."

I have a limited interest in both stories. Contingency plans are a dime a dozen, and breathless British press reports are about a dime a thousand. I hope the Times is right, but I'm not holding my breath.

In any case, Hersh's story has far more of interest than its throwaway lines about military planning. The gist of his piece is that the Bush administration has essentially decided to redirect its attention away from radical Sunni jihadists -- i.e., the folks who attacked us on 9/11 -- and instead take sides in the brewing Sunni-Shiite civil war in the Middle East. In fact, he says we've pretty much decided to throw in our lot with the Saudis and buddy up with the al-Qaeda wannabes:

This time, [a] U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that "they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was 'We've created this movement, and we can control it.' It's not that we don't want the Salafis to throw bombs; it's who they throw them at -- Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran."

....During a conversation with me, [a] former Saudi diplomat...objected to the Lebanese and Saudi sponsorship of Sunni jihadists in Lebanon. "Salafis are sick and hateful, and I'm very much against the idea of flirting with them," he said. "They hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly."

....In an interview in Beirut, a senior official in the Siniora government acknowledged that there were Sunni jihadists operating inside Lebanon. "We have a liberal attitude that allows Al Qaeda types to have a presence here," he said. He related this to concerns that Iran or Syria might decide to turn Lebanon into a "theatre of conflict."

Is this true? Who knows, since the sources mostly seem to be Hersh's usual anonymous cast of ex-spies, ex-consultants, and ex-diplomats. But the story is plausible. Having never really believed in the threat of non-state terrorist groups like al-Qaeda in the first place, the Bush administration may now have come full circle from 9/11, tacitly teaming up with Sunni jihadists in the hope that they'll help us take out the state-based terrorist threat of Iran -- after which, presumably, the jihadis will all go home to watch TV and raise their families. Just like they did after the Afghanistan war.

Lovely, no? And one more thing: Hersh says the covert side of this plan is being run by the vice president's office. Which means, of course, that it will be handled with the same finesse in international relationships and grounding in reality that Dick Cheney is famous for.

Read the whole thing for more. And buckle your seat belts.

Kevin Drum 6:38 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (121)

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Comments

You have "a limited interest in both stories?"

But your intellectual curiosity is piqued by the etymology of Andrew Sullivan's pet phrases? Well Ok then.

Posted by: Triskele on February 25, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

how is it that you continue to parrot the bushit prevarications concerning the perps of 11/09/01?

sunni jihadists responsible?

over the last few weeks at eschaton, at hullaballoo, there have been lengthy discussions of FAITH. your linkage of any sunnis to the events of that day is the epitome of FAITH...faith in the propaganda of the bushit us government in the face of a monstrous volume of detail that contradicts the entirety of the usg prevarications concerning all of the events of that day.

Posted by: albertchampion on February 25, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - why take anonymous sources seriously?

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on February 25, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Surrealpolitik is more like it. If this were grounded in reality, if this were not being run by the same crowd of neocon glue-sniffers that promoted the Iraq war, maybe we could call it realpolitik. But to me, it looks more like it is just plain crazy.

Or to put it another way -- surgery is not for the squeamish, either, but one expects actual surgeons to do the operating, and not a pack of clowns with hacksaws. I object to clown-surgery not because I am squeamish, but because a clown is not a surgeon.

Posted by: dr2chase on February 25, 2007 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Look at a map folks - the second and third largest known oil reserves on the planet are under Shia feet.

And people said I was delusional when I said they were launching an energy war back in 2002.

(Still waiting for that acknowledgment that I have been right all along.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 25, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, be honest. Cheney has been totally and utterly wrong about everything for 6+ years. He has to eventually get something right!!

Posted by: Gore/Edwards on February 25, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Let me get this straight. After 3,000 American deaths by suicide bomber in New York and D.C., and 3,100-plus more deaths of our military in a pointless attack on the wrong country, the Usurper is now making a deal to not just let the Saudi murderers off the hook, but to actually become their ally.

In other words:

Bush has committed treason.

Period.

Case Closed.

Nothing left but the execution.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on February 25, 2007 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

WTF is your obsession with Iran?

You know for someone who detests war, and can find no reason for it, it's all you speak of.

Moveon.org (pun intended)

Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2007 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, be honest. Cheney has been totally and utterly wrong about everything for 6+ years. He has to eventually get something right!!

Got to admit, Gore/Edwards' has a point there. Let's keep doublin' down on Dead Eye Dick!

Posted by: Jeff S. on February 25, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Watch the CNN interview with Hersh:
http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/02/25/seymour-hersh-negroponte-iran-contra-fundsoh-my

Posted by: LJ on February 25, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

WTF is your obsession with Iran?......moveon.org (pun intended)

Give Jay his merit badge for clever - then snatch it away the content of the message.

Attacking Iran could be the end of our way of life, and we don't want to see that happen. That's worth getting a little excited about.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 25, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

According to you lefty nutzoids, Muslims around the world only hate Republicans.

Please cite your source for this claim.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 25, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Hersh has a pretty good track record, and what he says is consistent with what we know about Cheney and his team (which includes Elliot Abrams of Iran Contra).

These stories are not very important unless they're true, but very important if they are. One thing the Hersh story says is that Cheney plans to have the war underway without involving the Army, the CIA, or Congress.

The reason why I think that we should pay attention to these stories now is because I fear that if Cheney is right to think that if he presents a fait accompli (a war in progress) he will win. By the time we know for sure about this, the game might be over.

Posted by: humble blogger on February 25, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush has committed treason.
Period.
Case Closed.
Nothing left but the execution" - Yellow

Then DO IT!

Quit f-ing talking about it, demand your representatives proceed with impeachment and withdrawal from Iraq. NOW!


Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Please cite your source for this claim." - BGRS


Political Animal 2005-present

Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk: "International relations aren't for the squeamish."

Neither are they for the foolish and the ignorant, which are two dubious characteristics your buddies in the White House and Foggy Bottom possess in abundance.

American Hawk: "We worked out a deal with North Korea, and that's also somehow wrong. Is there anything that pleases the left?"

All the Bush Administration did was to agree to restore the status quo agreement originally worked out by the Clinton Administration in 1994. So all that bellicosity and mindless posturing went for naught.

Next thing you'll want to tell us is that the White House has re-invented the wheel and built a better mousetrap.

Frequency Kenneth: "Kevin - why take anonymous sources seriously?"

Yeah, Kevin -- why don't you manufacture the quotes instead, just like F.K..?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 25, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Attacking Iran could be the end of our way of life, and we don't want to see that happen. That's worth getting a little excited about." - BGRS

So you've already declared defeat. That was quick.

Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2007 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Global- You were right all along, so sayeth I. You are like the Amazing Kreskin!

Posted by: bmaz on February 25, 2007 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, it's not a matter of "should" or "shouldn't." The idea that the jihadis would turn around and decide to ally with the U.S. is-- is-- is-- I don't have the words for the depth of delusional thinking involved in shuh a thing.

Hersh does have a good track record. I can only hope he's flat-out wrong on this because it's utter insanity. In which alternate universe, please, are the Salafists more concerned about Iran than the U.S.???

Posted by: gyrfalcon on February 25, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

As I seem to assert every so often, this administration does not even know what the word diplomacy or even "political solution" is.

Everything revolves around terrorism, freedom, and the military.

I don't exactly know what they are trying to spread in the world. But it's certainly not freedom.

Posted by: Nick on February 25, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

"All the Bush Administration did was to agree to restore the status quo agreement originally worked out by the Clinton Administration in 1994. So all that bellicosity and mindless posturing went for naught." - Donald

The damage was done. NK had been working on their program since the mid to late 90's all the while telling, and convincing Clinton that everything was above aboard. Guess not. Sometimes dictators lie, someone should tell Amanpour.

Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

I don't put much confidence in anything Hersh writes, but let's just suppose it's true that Bush is funding extremist Sunni groups allied with Al Qaeda. It's just another example of Bush throwing you libs into a tizzy by doing the unexpected. Like I wrote the other day about the Cole. The attack is connected to Al Qaeda just around the time Bush takes office and you might expect him to respond with military force but ... zing! .... he lets the Yemen legal system deal with those terrorists, treating the whole thing as if it were merely a common criminal act. And you know what burns up you libbies so much? It worked. The terrorists were tried in a Yemeni court, convicted, and imprisoned, and not allowed to escape for several years. Sure, they're at large now, but for like three or four years they were locked up and unable to do any harm to us at all.

Then came 9/11, which as anyone but a lib knows, changed everything. We're hot on the trail of OBL, we've got the Taliban on the run, and you'd think Bush would continue to press the attack full force. But ... zing! ... suddenly we're pulling troops out of there to go to Iraq of all places, to support ... wait for it ... a UN resolution! And to do ... wait for it ... nation building! Double zing! And the libbies just have their heads spinning round and round.

Or how about North Korea? Bush badmouths the Clinton agreement, lets Kim build nukes, then ... zing! ... makes an agreement essentially the same as the original Clinton agreement. Except now Kim has nukes! And the libbies just have no idea what hit them.

So if Bush is funding extremist Sunni groups allied with Al Qaeda, you know what? I don't even care why. It's enough that it makes you libs get all bent out of shape.

Posted by: American Hock on February 25, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Well then Jay, you should have no problem finding multiple permalinks that show various Democrats stating Muslims around the world only hate Republicans on these threads.

So you've already declared defeat. That was quick.

Not at all. But I am realistic. Our military is stretched to the breaking point. We are unable to maintain order in a country 1/4 the size of Iran with 1/5 the population - the average age of that population is about 25 - and then the cultural factors. For instance, Iran had has a strong cultural identity that predates Islam by about 1500 years and contributes to a strong national identity that Iraq, cobbled together from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire, never knew.

Is understanding a culture I once lived in being defeatist? I fail to make that connection.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 25, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

bmaz - thank you for that. My cranium won't explode for another 24 hours...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 25, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Jay - I have been absolutely fucking right about absolutely every fucking thing all along in this fiasco, there is really no precedent to assume I am wrong now.

(Unless I'm just due, of course.):-^

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 25, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

The damage was done. NK had been working on their program since the mid to late 90's all the while telling, and convincing Clinton that everything was above aboard. Guess not.

Not quite false, but utterly misleading. NK had been working on an unsuccessful uranium refinement program. Even the Bush administration stopped trying to claim they'd gotten close to building a bomb that way.

The bombs NK now has were not the product of that program at all. They were made with the plutonium that was under IAEA seal, and that we were able to monitor, when Bush took office. You talk about "their program" as if they only had one, but in fact they had two: one that the Clinton deal stopped, and another that it didn't. But the one that the Clinton deal stopped was orders of magnitude more dangerous to us than the other.

NK doesn't need the uranium program any more. Maybe Kim is smart enough to dismantle it in exchange for more economic aid. What Bush will have accomplished then will have been to let Kim trade a failed uranium enrichment program for six or so actual plutonium-based nuclear bombs, and to induce Kim to make this trade that is enormously in Kim's favor, Bush will have given lots of fuel oil and economic aid.

What a negotiator. Helping a lunatic dictator with ties to our worst enemies get nukes, and giving fuel and economic aid to him in the bargain.

Posted by: jobo on February 25, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's post is where I came in this morning. I have been noodling what Hersch wrote and what he told Wolfe Blitzer.

It seems the new policy is Cheney's attempt to respond to the mistake that is Iraq. The only winner of Bush's bogus Iraq adventure is Iran. Iran now has a realistic chance of controlling Iraq (or at least its oil reserves.) It could become the world's biggest oil superstar--surpassing Saudi Arabia.

That prospect has frightened both the Israelis and, far more importantly, the House of Saud. They have apparently demanded we do something to protect their sorry asses from the gathering Shia dragon. Hence the shift in policy.

Bush/Cheney are very reactive. They never do proactively. I am not sure they are capable of deliberate thought. They never evaluate alternatives, or look into the future. They never ask the hard questions, like what happens next.

I once read that military officers can be divided into four types. There are those who are competent and proactive. They are the best. They are very rare. Then there those who are competent but reactive. They constitute the bulk of the officer corp. They don't do much damage. Then there those who are both reactive and incompetent. They can cause make the lives of individual service members hell, but because they are easily found out, normally they aren't allowed to do much more (George Bush probably falls into this camp.) Finally there are officers who are both incompetent and proactive. This kind of officer is prone to get his people killed. They are extremely dangerous. If one of them is lucky, or has a sponsor in his youth he might be promoted a long way. Dick Cheney and nearly all of the neo-cons I have enountered fall into this camp. Tell me that incompetent but proactive doesn't describe Doug Feith to a tee.

Instead of just doing something our leadership should be standing there looking and calculating what really needs to be done.

As someone said in an earlier thread Dick Cheney hasn't been right in 6 plus years. What makes anybody think he is going to be right now. Frankly, the current Israeli and Saudi leadership don't seem very sharp either.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 25, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

You only have to look at a map to realize that the Muslim world is too big to be converted to democracy all at once. It must be done step by step, and the President is absolutely correct in his methodical approach.

Posted by: Al on February 25, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Well first of all, there will be no "war" with Iran for the forseeable future(hopefully limited to sanctions and inspections). Secondly, it's not the culture, country or even the "majority" of people in Iran that is under attack, rather an ideology who's time has come to be battled. Wahabii Fundamentalists and Salafists have been treating this planet like it's personal picnic ground for over three decades, killing indiscrminately, and with malice people in several different countries.

The majority of Muslims in Iran/Iraq and elsewhere are extremely peaceful, intellectual, cultured people, far more than we'll ever know. It's unfortunate that they are, for the most part held captive to Fundamentalists because of their culture and the unwillingness of the rest of the world to "stay in the fight". They're afraid of abandonment. Do you blame them?

Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

"I have been absolutely fucking right about absolutely every fucking thing..." BGRS

Well of course you are, that's part of being liberal. You know what's best and if only everyone would just listen and let you run things, right?

You still believe in free speech though right?

How much tax money did you want again?

Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

I absolutely agree with Yellow Dog on this. Before I posted the Hersh story, I'd already passed it on to my Congressman, and three Senators, asking for an investigation as a prelude to impeachment, for treason.

If Hersh is right - and his track record is sufficient in my book to warrant a full Congressional investigation - the bottom line here is that Bush is funding terrorists, including Al Qaeda allies.

Impeachment, while Congress and democracy exist, is the only recourse now.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on February 25, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't say anything about tax money or about curtailing free speech. I also don't want my emails read and my phone tapped because I have international communications.

As to what I have been right about - the folly of the war. I have been right in every instance. Being liberal hasn't that much to do with it. Being thoughtful does, however.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 25, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

All this fits with the idea -- advanced by others in other forms and aspect -- that the core theory of the Cheneyites is that political and military chaos in Oil Country is a good thing for us.

There are certain superficial attractions to it. We ARE the pre-eminent military power, and the only one capable of force projection to any material degree. That sort of chaos saps the energies of the regional players, and thereby reduces their abilities to become powerful actors, either economically or politically. And the combination of the two effects -- their difficulties and our capabilities -- makes us more powerful, even essential, than we were.

So to that extent, the Grand Strategy of stirring up the bees' nests, when we really REALLY want the honey, makes a certain limited sense.

That is, until you get beyond the first move or two in the game. And then the people who INVENTED chess start to make clever moves of their own.

The Cheneyites are (1) drugged with their own hubris, and (2) completely out of their depth. (Which is not to say ANYONE has the depth to strategize that situation at all successfully.)

The best we (and the unfortunate residents of the region) can do is hope that their delusions don't visit TOO much more death and destruction before they are out of power (and firmly ensconced in historical ignominy).

What a fiasco...

Posted by: bleh on February 25, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Al. You can't do them all, but he isn't even doing one.

Democratizing the Middle East -- zero nations at a time!

Posted by: humble blogger on February 25, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Jay - I have been absolutely fucking right about absolutely every fucking thing all along in this fiasco, there is really no precedent to assume I am wrong now.

Blue Girl, Only because reality has a well known liberal bias

Posted by: klyde on February 25, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

I would ask George W. Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney to look at these pictures of life in Iran before they commit mass murder again. Iran is one of the most modern countries in Southern Asia and has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Before they slaughter the beautiful people of Iran, I implore them to look at these pictures.

TCD

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 25, 2007 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

Is this true? Who knows, since the sources mostly seem to be Hersh's usual anonymous cast of ex-spies, ex-consultants, and ex-diplomats. But the story is plausible.

I sure hope you normally have a more rigorous filter for the accuracy of a news story than this.

Posted by: merlot on February 25, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Y'all carry on without me - I have a paper to write.

Before I go, I'll just do a little shameless promotion and let those who enjoy bmaz's comments here know that he has joined our dirty hippie blog party.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 25, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

"In which alternate universe, please, are the Salafists more concerned about Iran than the U.S.???"

In no universe. Hersch isn't saying that the Salafists are allying themselves with the US. They are simply taking our money and going about their business. They are playing us for the idiots we are. And we fall for it every time.

"The damage was done. NK had been working on their program since the mid to late 90's all the while telling, and convincing Clinton that everything was above aboard."

You seem to be confusing two separate programs. The 1994 agreement forced N Korea to halt its reactors that generate plutonium and lock up the existing plutonium, and they stuck to it. What N Korea then did was to create a second uranium enrichment program that was not covered in the language of the 1994 agreement. When the Bush administration pulled out of the 1994 agreement, N Korea restarted the plutonium program and made bombs from the plutonium they had on hand. They never made a bomb from their uranium program and it is not clear whether they have the technology to do so. Under the new agreement, they can keep their bombs and their plutonium, they just have to stop enriching uranium. So, after six years of nonsense from the Bush administration, N Korea has halted a program that was not yielding very good results, has at least six more nuclear weapons, and still has enough plutonium to make several more bombs. I'd hardly call that progress.

Posted by: fostert on February 25, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Well first of all, there will be no "war" with Iran for the forseeable future(hopefully limited to sanctions and inspections).

Based on what? Maybe the dodge you had in mind here was that there would be no invasion in the immediate future, which is easy to see because we're so overcommitted in Iraq we simply don't have the resources for an invasion.

But war with Iran? If Bush/Cheney are stupid enough to start one, then we'll certainly have one. The battleground may be partly or mostly in Iraq, because that's where they'd need to go to attack us in retaliation, but it would still be us at war with Iranian forces .. on top of trying to keep the lid on a civil war, resist the insurgents, fight al Qaeda, and suppress organized crime.

If you're assuming that even Bush/Cheney couldn't be stupid enough to risk such a thing, you're delusional.

Posted by: jobo on February 25, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

What N Korea then did was to create a second uranium enrichment program that was not covered in the language of the 1994 agreement.

Yes it did. Article IV(1) "The DPRK will remain a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and will allow implementation of its safeguards agreement under the Treaty."

Unless by "not covered in the language of the 1994 agreement" you mean it was covered only by reference to a previous agreement still in effect (from 1992, I think).

Under the new agreement, they can keep their bombs and their plutonium, they just have to stop enriching uranium.

They can keep their bombs and their plutonium, and they have to stop the reactor that is creating more plutonium (Yongbyon). They agreed to talk about the rest of their nuclear program, including the uranium enrichment program.

Posted by: jobo on February 25, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

McAristotle:

The Iranian leadership is just like George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas - executing innocent people. So what?

TCD

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 25, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Everything we learn about the Cheney administration indicates they have no respect for the American Constitution or with the law. For a generation now these same players have acted outside of the law whenever they get the chance- in the Nixon administration, with Iran-Contra and now with the war predicated on lies in Iraq and a broad covert war across the Middle East against the Shiites. They use public money and the American military to wage what is essentially a princely project-war without the consent of the nation. They employ every rationalization they can think of to cut off enquiry into their activities. We know all the rationalizations for doing this- the world is a dangerous place, we are in an emergency, the state depends upon it, democracy is too weak for the dangers we face. For anyone who has read history these are the antique excuses of kings and dictators for private power. This is exactly what parliaments and Constitutions are supposed to limit.

The reason they are so covert is because the nation is not broadly behind his small faction of ambitious and ideologically bound men. If they were to lay down their interests clearly and the risks and costs could be accounted there would be no one backing their destructive private projects.

They hope to drag the United States into a conflagration that will serve their ends. It is not just that they want to provoke Iran or some other enemy and therefore legitimize a long planned attack they want to corner the American nation into their Middle Eastern transformation project.

In his notes on the Constitutional Convention of 1787, James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates, wrote at the close of the Convention “A lady asked Dr. Franklin ‘Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy’. ‘A republic’, replied the Doctor, ‘if you can keep it.”

Posted by: bellumregio on February 25, 2007 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Seymour Hersh again? Has he ever been right about anything? Who cares what that dodering old blowhard has to say?

You think you have better information than the Bush administration, Kevin? I love all these liberal armchair quarterbacks, scrutinizing every move they make, pouncing on the slightest thing that doesn't go perfectly write.

I have news for you morons. War is messy. Democracy is messy. Capitalism is messy. But at the same time, their all beautiful. Look at where they've gotten us today. Highest standard of living in the world. Defeat of the Nazis and Communists (and sooner or later, the Islamofascists.) Stongest power in the world. Y'all can't stand it, and that's why I feel I've got to rub your filthy faces in it every chance I get.

Posted by: egbert on February 25, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Unless by "not covered in the language of the 1994 agreement" you mean it was covered only by reference to a previous agreement still in effect (from 1992, I think).

The only previous agreement N Korea had was to abide by the NPT. Under the NPT, countries have a right to enrich uranium, so long as it is not part of a weapons program. N Korea's uranium enrichment program was never used to create weapons, only the plutonium program was used for weapons. Where the uranium program runs afoul of the NPT is that it wasn't declared until several years after it was begun. This is a violation, but it is small change compared the production of nuclear weapons from plutonium that Bush allowed. They basically withdrew from the NPT for five years and got the same agreement they had before without any penalty. And they got some fancy new weapons as a consolation prize. N Korea won that game and Bush lost. Unfortunately, we lost too.

Posted by: fostert on February 25, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

" . . . pouncing on the slightest thing that doesn't go perfectly write."

Gotta love egbert. A self-parody with every post.

Posted by: Joel on February 25, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

The only previous agreement N Korea had was to abide by the NPT. Under the NPT, countries have a right to enrich uranium, so long as it is not part of a weapons program. N Korea's uranium enrichment program was never used to create weapons, only the plutonium program was used for weapons. Where the uranium program runs afoul of the NPT is that it wasn't declared until several years after it was begun. This is a violation, but it is small change compared the production of nuclear weapons from plutonium that Bush allowed. They basically withdrew from the NPT for five years and got the same agreement they had before without any penalty. And they got some fancy new weapons as a consolation prize. N Korea won that game and Bush lost. Unfortunately, we lost too.

Thanks, now I understand where you're coming from on that. And certainly NK won, and we lost.

Posted by: jobo on February 25, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

The wingnuts were calling these groups "evildoers", "enemies of freedom", jihadis bent on dominating the world and establishing an Islamic Caliphate that would make us all dhimmis. Now they are perfectly fine with funding them.

Posted by: blog on February 25, 2007 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Stongest power in the world. Y'all can't stand it, and that's why I feel I've got to rub your filthy faces in it every chance I get.

Get help egbert, you’ve got a problem.

Posted by: antiphone on February 25, 2007 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

This is like expecting Tojo to help us fight Hitler.

Posted by: Reality Man on February 25, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq is the central front in the War on Terror against these extremist groups. That does not prevent the Bush administration from funding them. We are funding the groups that we are at war against. The contradictions of the Bush policy have become so insane, it is a wonder that the wingnuts heads don't explode.

Posted by: blog on February 25, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

And this after the shameless outing of the Walter Reed travesty. The left-wing MSM will stop at nothing to destroy Amorica.

I, for one, just bought another chinese-made magnetic sticker for my bumper.

Posted by: Frickin on February 25, 2007 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Gore just won the Oscar!!!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on February 25, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

bush teaming up with al qaeda ... even this gets defended by the 30% of dead enders?

shouldn't bush/cheney fellating bin laden and sunni extremists like this be a "dead girl, live boy" sorta moment?

Posted by: Nads on February 25, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

the President is absolutely correct in his methodical approach.

Double plus that Al, the supreme leader’s inscrutable mind is truly an embarrassment of riches.

Posted by: antiphone on February 25, 2007 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone is missing the central paradox here. Even as the Administration is proclaiming Iran and its cohorts public enemy number one, they are siding with the most pro-Iranian factions in Iraq and helping them win the civil war. Is that nuts or what?

Posted by: Enlightened Layperson on February 25, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

... although it does support the contention that conservatives really do share many core values with al qaeda, and thus are natural allies.

d'zouza and glenn beck simply confirm it. they are, objectively, pro al qaeda.

... and for the trools ... of COURSE we believe in free speech; you should, in fact, vocally support your natural allies, be they neo-nazi, KKK, al qaeda ... extremists of any sort.

Posted by: Nads on February 25, 2007 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

It's a little like Roosevelt funding the Nazis to take out Russia after the allies had already stormed the beaches at Normandy.

Posted by: blog on February 25, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Gore just won the Oscar!!!

Like that was a surprise. Probably had his speech ready six months ago.

Posted by: gentech on February 25, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

"...All this fits with the idea -- advanced by others in other forms and aspect -- that the core theory of the Cheneyites is that political and military chaos in Oil Country is a good thing for us..."
Posted by: bleh on February 25, 2007 at 8:59 PM

That's true because the assumption was that we can *manage* the ensuing chaos simply because we had the power to *choose* to be the triggering event of the chaos itself. Our attempts at Iraqi nation building have failed horribly-so now our stragegy appears to be focused on showcasing our nation-toppling skills to the remaining members of the "axis of evil". We can devastate an unfriendly government without the need to occupy and attempt any form of nation building. Perhaps this is the next big miscalculation. Could we take out Iran's nuclear facilities with airstrikes and naval protection of the oil shipping without invading Iran and expect the Iranian government to implode in our favor?

We are siding with the Saudis/Sunnis because they are the ones who have our ear with regard to oil production. We have the influence with them. The Shia are nothing but a wild card that likely will play with Iran given a few months. What should happen if we attack Iran and the Iraqi Shia side with Iran?


Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 25, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone is missing the central paradox here.

The main story here is everybody buying yet another Hersh load of manure as gospel truth.

Posted by: rnc on February 25, 2007 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: "The damage was done. NK had been working on their program since the mid to late 90's all the while telling, and convincing Clinton that everything was above aboard."

That is simply not true.

North Korean nuclear programs were subject to stringent IAEA inspections during this period. They did not re-start their weapons program until late 2002, in reponse to the mindless bellicosity directed toward them by the Bush administration.

You are certainly entitled to offer up for discussion on this forum your own opinions, ignorant as they sometimes are. You are not, however, entitled to present your own set of "facts". That is non-negotiable.

I defy you to show us any reputable sources -- the operative word here is "reputable" -- that have irrefutable evidence that North Korea was working on their nuclear weapons program during the period in question. Rush, Hannity, NewsMax, FOX News, etc., do not qualify. You can't, because the "facts" you've given us are nothing but unmitigated bullshit -- plain and simple.

People like you -- who literally pull these heaping helpings of bullshit out of their own asses and fling it on the wall, hoping that it somehow sticks -- truly deserve the ridicule you receive on this site. You bring absolutely nothing to the debate save your smug vitriole.

Perhaps it would far better that you take your delusions somewhere else, like FreeRepublic.com, where you might find a more receptive audience.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 25, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Even as the Administration is proclaiming Iran and its cohorts public enemy number one, they are siding with the most pro-Iranian factions in Iraq and helping them win the civil war. Is that nuts or what?

It depends on what they’re trying to accomplish doesn’t it? If they want to keep Iraq in a state of chaos they might aid any party that would further that aim. Perhaps they don’t want any faction to win. If relative calm broke out there would be less excuse for keeping the U.S. military there.

Posted by: antiphone on February 25, 2007 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

For those of you who don't read Juan Cole's blog.
Here's the surge I guess:

"Late Saturday, the US Air Force launched a series of bombing raids on southeast Baghdad. This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can't possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.

Posted by: nepeta on February 26, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Still plagued with rightwing nuts. Wow. Reality being a bitch and all I thought would elicit epiphany in Jay and others. Some people have to light a match to see if any gasoline remains. I hope Hersh is wrong. Cheney not resigning after many scandals and almost no support from the American people and allies is a dangerous thing. It seems to prove conspiracy stories and random fears about fascism. These people do seem intent on killing the planet and starting that rapture disappointment for themselves.

Gore? an Oscar, a Nobel, and a draft for president during the second reconstruction. . .

Posted by: Sparko on February 26, 2007 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

And one more thing: Hersh says the covert side of this plan is being run by the vice president's office. Which means, of course, that it will be handled with the same finesse in international relationships and grounding in reality that Dick Cheney is famous for.

It sort of shoots to hell the latest media round of "Cheney's influence fading."

Posted by: Maeven on February 26, 2007 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

Hersh also reminds us that we have some of the same characters that were involved in Iran-Contra 2 decades ago: Elliott Abrams and Prince Bandar (Saudi Arabia).

We need one congressman to propose impeachment charges against Cheney, get a majority vote to back it, and move it into the Senate where a full trial can bring full attention on the antics of Cheney's shadow government.

Posted by: Jeffrey on February 26, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Egbert writes: "I have news for you morons. War is messy. Democracy is messy. Capitalism is messy. But at the same time, their all beautiful. Look at where they've gotten us today. Highest standard of living in the world."

When you say "their all beautiful.", apart from oddly seeming to claim War is beautiful (?) I believe the word you're after is "they're", being the correct contraction of "they" & "are". As with your "doesn't go perfectly write", cited above, it seriously impedes your zealous aim of rubbing other's "filthy faces" in the steaming ordure of your jingoism, when you can't even manage basic literacy.

Similarly, when calling others "morons", it's best to be sure not only of your syntax & spelling but, even more crucially, of your "facts". Contrary to your assertion, the US hasn't had the "highest standard of living in the world" for many years. On the basic Standard of Living 2006 international rankings (calculated on median income/poverty percentile/employment%/ life expectancy) the US is now ranked 16th in the world. On the more broadly based Human Development Index (life expectancy/literacy & education/standard of living) the US ranks 8th in the world. In the GDP (nominal) per Capita rankings the US is also ranked 8th in the world. Norway actually tops HDI, GDP(n)pc & comes 2nd on SoI, after Sweden.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on February 26, 2007 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

what are the reasons for the electorate's flight from reality?

i need some input. because i am freaking out.

i have known individuals who have had a good education. and are essentially irreligious. yet, they enlist in THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON SCIENCE, as chris mooney described it. WHY?

my background is an engineering one. i manufacture a product. i deal with issues of steel, nickel, copper, alumina oxide, glass, gold, palladium, and a variety of fabrication issues involving these materials.

furthermore, i have a long history in aviation. suffice it to say, i know things.

yet, i continue to encounter individuals who have no similar technical knowledge who support the bushit nonsense concerning the events of 11/09/01. and either dispute my knowledge or go to great lengths to ignore it.

why is that?

i have abandoned p.e.'s[republicans] that i have known who want to assert that a few minutes of exposure to jetA can melt structural steel.

these are the same p.e.'s that profess to know nothing about the demolition of WTC 7. and so many other aspects of that day. aspects that could never have been the result of anything other than a usg project.

the fascinating part of the scam is how certain bloggers of the purported left continue to bulwark the usg's notional story. i think of kevin drum, in particular.

still insinuating that sunni jihadists were responsible for the events of that day.

kevin drum is either a disinformation agent. or an idiot. probably both.

but what about our friends and family members? what causes them to go brain-dead?

i think of a friend's brother. he teaches school. at a fancy and expensive campus in marin. what causes him to become demented when it comes to analyzing the events of that day?

i think of my former best friend. who refuses to acknowledge reality. eric hufschmid, PAINFUL DECEPTIONS: AN ANALYSIS OF THE SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACK actually called him to ask him why he was spurning the evidence that no "sunni jihadists" were responsible for the events of that day. my old best friend terminated the phone call. why?

why is it that so many want it to be the bushit way?

and this is clearly not an issue of left or right. liberal or conservative.

significant "LEFTIES" advance the notion that some muslims attacked icons of amerika. just like the "RIGHTIES".

and this proposition is inaccurate. no muslims had anything to do with the events of that day.

still, i find it tough to advance that understanding. consider kevin drum, and others, continuing to insinuate that sunni jihadists were responsible for the events of that day.

kevin drum is either seriously brain-damaged. or is an intell asset.

there is no other explanation.

Posted by: albertchampion on February 26, 2007 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

I found a section at Global Research.ca that makes it look like Cheney has "won" because nobody could believe that people would be such vicious fools. Check out the section on Depleted Uranium. I could say we have a calamity, but that is such an understatement.

Posted by: opit on February 26, 2007 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't we already cover this in these threads a month or so ago? I'm glad this is getting discussed in the mainstream now though.

Posted by: Jimm on February 26, 2007 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Where's the fucking surprise?? Except for 9/11, Al Qaeda and the Taliban have been the darling of the right wing. No suprise that the relationship is being rekindled these days. Remember, for a neocon, a nuke dropped on a US city could be the best news eve.. assuming, of course that it's dropped on a liberal city. That will be part of the deal with AQ.
No, i'm not being sarcastic. These guys should fucking hang from trees, or be eaten alive by fire ants. Until this country punishes the Republicans with serious jail time and/or execution for treason, we will never move forward.

Posted by: AL on February 26, 2007 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

Considering his own difficulties with facts, Egbert's question regarding Seymour Hersh
("Has he ever been right about anything?")
is indeed ironic. It's also eerily echoed, fact-free by rnc:
"The main story here is everybody buying yet another Hersh load of manure as gospel truth."

In fact, in his long & prestigous career the Pullitzer Prize winning investigative journalist has not only managed to get an astonishing amount right, he's usually done so well before other journalists & up against some of the most secretive & vindictive individuals & agencies in the world. Things he's gotten right include: breaking the story of the My Lai Massacre (1969 won the Pullitzer for it): exposing the facts & CIA psyops involvement in the Soviet shootdown of Korean Air Flight 007 (CIA subsequently confirmed Hersh's version); exposed both the dark side of the Kennedy administration & possible war crimes of Henry Kissinger; revealed that President Clinton's failed attempt to strike back at bin Laden/al Qeda in Al Shifa, Sudan, actually destroyed a pharmaceutical factory; exposed Robert Maxwell's role in the Mossad kidnapping of nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vannunu; broke the story & exposed the detainee abuse & torture at Abu Ghraib; Broke the story & revealed the existence of secret CIA prisons worldwide & revealed the extensive use of "renditions" - all of which were eventually confirmed by the Bush Administration.

As far as investigative journalists go he's arguably got the best track record around. Reviled by politicians of most parties & many nations, & considered alongside the extraordinary, privileged access given to insider pet journalists like Woodward, Miller, Novak, Friedman, Russert etc., Hersh's ability to consistently uncover & break major stories is all the more remarkable.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on February 26, 2007 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, egbert.

Your stupidity just grows in every direction with each passing day. Soon, it will encompass all the intelligence in the known universe, overwhelm it, and those left standing will be reduced to the state of constant bloodshed that you so clearly relish.

Please turn yourself in now, before you do any more harm to our collective brain cells.

As to the rest of you under the bridge: Seymour Hersh has gone offtrack in some of his previous conjectures, but he remains extremely well connected in the intelligence community. Any of you jackboot sniffers prepared to weigh Dick Cheney's predictions against Hersh's?

It's okay. We can wait.

Posted by: Kenji on February 26, 2007 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, from the standpoint of probabilty, Cheney's ability to predict future events is far more impressive than Hersch's. True, he's been wrong on everything. But that is statistically amazing. Think of it from the perspective of a pro football pool. Have any of you ever guessed every game wrong? It's hard to do, and there are only 16 games per week. And if you could do it consistantly, you could make a fortune by just reversing all of your picks. Hersh is only usually right, he doesn't always get it right. So, you can tell a lot more about the future by listening to Cheney and assuming he will be wrong.

Posted by: fostert on February 26, 2007 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

The quickest and easiest path to a sane foriegn policy is to impeach Cheney.

Popular with the voters.

Popular with Washington insiders.

Possibly bi-partisian as:
Cheney's Republican support is limited. He has made too many enemies.
Helps Republicans innoculate themselves on Iraq in 2008.

Allows Congress to re-establish its authority over the excutive without bringing the whole system crashing down the way impeaching the president would. Every bureacrat in Washington will know when they talk to congress they are talking to people who put the most powerful man in America out of office.

Eliminates the most important source of the craziness that is destroying America's for.

Bush without Cheney will not have the wiliness or standing necessary to conduct a foriegn policy that Congress hates.

Posted by: still working it out on February 26, 2007 at 4:56 AM | PERMALINK

egbert clearly does not understand Christ's message, which is not "blessed are the warmakers". When someone strays so far from God, they end up like him. Everything they think is backwards and upside down - like Dick Cheney.

Posted by: The Grim Reaper on February 26, 2007 at 5:32 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney is in Pakistan at the moment. I would look at that to be the next hot spot for U.S. military intervention, mainly because whenever the most egregious evidence is held up that Iran is fueling the violence in Iraq some Democrats just put their fingers in their ears and yell: "La-la-la-la-la BUSH LIES!"

Iran will eventually get a couple nuke bombs. Pakistan already has them. Does anyone remember that the reason we got into Iraq was because in 2002 EVERYONE was afraid of the possibility that an extremist regime would get a genuine WMD?

That's why Hillary and so many other Dems voted for the war. But the intelligence proved to be inaccurate. What were the chances it could ever be "accurate" enough when Saddam's own generals didn't even know the truth?

Our intelligence today on the capabilities of Iran and North Korea (which already are extremist states) and Pakistan (which is only an assassination away from becoming one) may well be wrong in the other direction.

I would have thought, once, that the first terrorist nuke to actually go off somewhere would clear everybody's minds. I am starting to doubt that.

Muqtada al Sadr apparently has been good to his word to lay off killing Sunnis and Americans for awhile, to see if the bomb attacks against Shi'ites will wind down under the Surge. I hope he is more patient than most Democrats.

I happen to know a fair number of Iraqis and Iranians here in the Seattle area, because we are always an influx area for refugees. I posted some time ago that our immigration procedures are being changed to accomodate a big influx of all the Iraqis who voted for the elected government of 2005 if the extremists get their way in Iraq after all. People told me I was wrong. Uh, no, I'm not wrong. . .

Posted by: mike cook on February 26, 2007 at 5:55 AM | PERMALINK

Cook, could you stick to the topic at hand? Bush is funding the extremists you so righteously condemn. In fact, he is supporting a Shiite "extremist" government allied with
Iran and funding the Sunni extremists. Bush has you so flummoxed, you can not even tell you are being had.

Posted by: blog on February 26, 2007 at 6:14 AM | PERMALINK

I have a limited interest in both stories. Contingency plans are a dime a dozen, and breathless British press reports are about a dime a thousand. I hope the Times is right, but I'm not holding my breath.

The sensible liberal surfaces!

Posted by: klyde on February 26, 2007 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

"I have news for you morons. War is messy. Democracy is messy. Capitalism is messy. But at the same time, their all beautiful. Look at where they've gotten us today. Highest standard of living in the world."

There was a time when Rome had the highest standard of living in the world.

There was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire.

There was a time when France was the dominate power in the world.

Each of those nations could have claimed that their successes validated their policies, but look where they are now.

Nothing lasts forever.

Posted by: Stephen on February 26, 2007 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

The amazing thing about the Hersch article is how the mainstream media has just squished it. First they emphasized the "US planning to bomb Iran" portions of the article (very routine) and now they seem to have stopped talking about it at all. They don't want anybody to come close to the really explosive stuff. "Nothing to see here, move along."

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 26, 2007 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported Monday that President Bush has decided to send a tough message to Musharraf, warning him that the Democrat-controlled Congress may cut off money to Pakistan unless it gets more aggressive in hunting down al Qaeda and Taliban operatives in its country.

So, it will be Congress that cuts off Pakistan funding, not the administration asking or demanding that Congress do so.

What balls!

What forcefulness!

Way to get tough, Cheney!

Shorter Dick(less) Cheney: George Bush and I would like to continue to fund you regardless, but that mean old Democratic Congress isn't going to let us unless you engage in some serious attempts to at least look like you are doing something about Al Qaeda.

Oooooooooooooooooo!

How scaaaaaaary.

Posted by: Google_This on February 26, 2007 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

During more than two hours of talks Monday, Musharraf told Cheney that Pakistan "has done the maximum in the fight against terrorism" and that "joint efforts were needed for achieving the desired objectives," his office said.

Let's see now.

Cheney says Pakistan has done the "maximum" which would mean there is no more that Pakistan can do, but then says Pakistan needs to do more to impress Congress (not Dickless himself, of course - he's already impressed to the maximum!).

Another example of Cheney's dissembling and lying to make it look like the adminstration is doing something about problems they don't really want to solve, because they see them as a benefit to furthering their goal of leading the world into widespread conflagration across the globe.

Posted by: Google_This on February 26, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

The Bushists have 18 months to complete their agenda of destruction. Rest assured that nothing is going to stop them sort of a widespread domestic revolt... or the Israelis getting cold feet and calling them off.

Posted by: Buford on February 26, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

The tighty-righty comments above are breathtaking in their malleability. For years rightwingers have been complaining about how Democrats have been aiding the terrorists.

Who knew that they were actually praising Democrats?

(conscienceless creeps)

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 26, 2007 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

This seems like an obviously bad idea and reflects how the many in Washington are incapable of looking at the region in a nuanced way: either the Sunnis are evil or the Shi'a are. As anyone who lives here (or even has a fleeting interest in Middle Eastern politics) knows, the region is much more complicated than that. And the childish idea of throwing one's weight fully behind radical Saudi-backed Sunni elements against a mutual foe (the Soviets at the time) has already been tried, to disastrous results, in Afghanistan.

So there is a decision to realign US policy in the region to fit even more tightly with Sunni interests, including in Iraq. It looks like the US is so blinded by the idea of getting at Iran that it's willing to target Iraqi Shi'a groups even when they (including al-Sadr's Jaish al-Mahdi) are aligned with the US-backed government of al-Maliki. (Cleverly enough, it looks like al-Sadr is going to let the US forces do his dirty work by cleansing his militia of elements that are not firmly under his control.)

Likewise, they're stepping up their support here in Lebanon to include arming salafi Sunni groups that are allied only temporarily with the government in Beirut but whose long-standing alliances are with groups like al-Qaida. So this means that the US is effectively funding some of the "foreign jihadis" who are leaving places like Tripoli in northern Lebanon kill Americans in Iraq.

Moreover, it looks like Washington might be flirting with the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria in hopes of overturning the Assad regime in Damascus -- the goal of at least part of the government in Beirut (Jumblatt and Geagea, and maybe Hariri too).

Now the Brotherhood is, in my mind, probably closer to Hamas and Hezbollah than it is to al-Qaida in terms of the possibility of it being reformed into a governing party as opposed to being just a terrorist group. But the fact remains that we've already followed the Saudis (who are now telling us that they can control these Sunni groups) when they took the lead with Pakistan in financing the Taliban, and look where that got us. At the end of the day, these radical Sunni groups hate the Shi'a and they hate Iran, but they hate us even more, and when they're done with what they consider the near enemy, they'll inevitably come looking for the far enemy: us.

Posted by: sean on February 26, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Secondly, it's not the culture, country or even the "majority" of people in Iran that is under attack, rather an ideology who's time has come to be battled. Wahabii Fundamentalists and Salafists have been treating this planet like it's personal picnic ground for over three decades, killing indiscrminately, and with malice people in several different countries.
What the first has to do with the second? Wahhabists and Salafists are both Sunni, Iran is Shia. Are you that ignorant?

Posted by: Nikolay on February 26, 2007 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

The United States is allied with al Qaeda. The United States has always been allied with al Qaeda....

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2007 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

So you've already declared defeat...

With Bush and Cheney in charge? Yeah, pretty much.

Posted by: ckelly on February 26, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

There is an old tool of empire that is scarcely palatable to a "democratic" state. The "cajuns" could tell you all about it ( those not stuck behind barbed wire in trailers ) : clearance. In Canada east of Quebec the British removed all the French settlers to secure their holdings in North America.
You remove the indigent people from the area you want to control. In Oklahoma that was done with the "Land Rush". In Iraq they're bombing Baghdad and people are scrambling to the border to get out of the country.
I posted a link to an analysis of how Iraqi groundwater supplies and water treatment were destroyed during sanctions. Infrastructure for public utilities in Iraq are toast. Leadership and college people have been driven out of the country ( do you believe in co-incidence ? ).
Now Global Research.ca has posted a section on how shelling with DU ordnance will make a country uninhabitable ( eventually the world ).
This is no war on terrorists. It is an attack by unwitting U.S. experts on sterilizing an area, with the shortcomings of Agent Orange sidetracked by going to an agent that cannot be cleaned up.
Damage to the U.S. agents doing this is inconsequential. Hide their bodies and suppress their tales of suffering.
You'd better hope this post is totally mad.

Posted by: opit on February 26, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

whenever the most egregious evidence is held up that Iran is fueling the violence in Iraq

Still waiting for the egregious evidence. Or any evidence at all for that matter. Silly powerpoint slides notwithstanding. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Or should we just trust this administration?

Posted by: ckelly on February 26, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

We are goning to war with Iran. Begin planning for it. Plan on how you are going to have enough to eat. Plan on how to supply enough energy for cooling or warming and transportation. Plan on how you will oppose the coming tyranny and the war effort.

Posted by: Brojo on February 26, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

You only have to look at a map to realize that the Muslim world is too big to be converted to democracy all at once. It must be done step by step, and the President is absolutely correct in his methodical approach.
Posted by: Al on February 25, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Which is why the President jumped into Iraq when Afhanistan was just starting to be 'converted'

Posted by: Nemesis on February 26, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK
Contingency plans are a dime a dozen, and breathless British press reports are about a dime a thousand.

Yeah, Rupert Murdoch's Times is known as a frequent purveyor of unsubstantiated left-wing gossip.

Kevin, surely can you see how ridiculous it is not to distinguishing between different outlets within the "British press".

Posted by: cmdicely on February 26, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

The righties have a 85% favorability with Al-Queda.They even make campaign messages for the right.Sweet Deal if you can get it.

Posted by: john john on February 26, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported Monday that President Bush has decided to send a tough message to Musharraf, warning him that the Democrat-controlled Congress may cut off money to Pakistan unless it gets more aggressive in hunting down al Qaeda and Taliban operatives in its country.

Echosing Google-This, that's not a "tough message" but it's exact opposite: it's Bush telling Musharraf "we can't cover for you anymore, and now that the Democrats are back in charge they're actually going to get serious about destroying al Qaeda." It's one conspirator tipping off another that they're now being watched and they'd better cover their tracks.

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

You remove the indigent people from the area you want to control.

This might work, too, but I believe that you are referring to removal of indigenous people, not indigent ones ;-)

Posted by: raj on February 26, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Secondly, it's not the culture, country or even the "majority" of people in Iran that is under attack, rather an ideology who's time has come to be battled. Wahabii Fundamentalists and Salafists have been treating this planet like it's personal picnic ground for over three decades, killing indiscrminately, and with malice people in several different countries.

Umm, the Wahabii fundamentalists are the Bush regimes' allies against Iran. Wahabism and Salafism are Sunni, not Shia, theologies -- in fact, Wahabism and Salafism seek the destruction of Shia Islam.

Though thanks for acknowledging that the Bush plan is to team up with an ideology of "killing indiscriminately."

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

In a high profile effort to bolster his credibility on national security, 2008 Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney last week called on New York to divest its pension fund of any holdings in firms doing with business with Iran. But as it turns out, it is Mitt Romney's former employer with the ties to Tehran. And as you'd expect, Dick Cheney's Halliburton is in deep Shiite as well.

For the details, see:
"Romney, Cheney in Deep Shiite over Iran Investments."

Posted by: AngryOne on February 26, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

And one more thing: Hersh says the covert side of this plan is being run by the vice president's office.

One more thing?!? Hell this is the big point, the rest of it is about just backing up how batshit crazy and power obsessed Cheney is.

Bush doesn't have the intellectual capacity to stand up to Cheney on this and Cheney knows it. Not that he ever would.

Posted by: Simp on February 26, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK


ah: International relations aren't for the squeamish.


that's why they came up with deferments

Posted by: mr. irony on February 26, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

So let's see: first, we ratchet up the level of Sunni-Shiite tensions in the Middle East via our invasion of Iraq and our gross mismanagement of same. Then, we take sides in the dispute, and ti ice the cake, we'll be inevitably siding against the folks who we effectively put in power in Iraq. Only Bush/Cheney could be so incompetent.

Posted by: Mark on February 26, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Google_This: The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported Monday that President Bush has decided to send a tough message to Musharraf, warning him that the Democrat-controlled Congress may cut off money to Pakistan unless it gets more aggressive in hunting down al Qaeda and Taliban operatives in its country.

me: Echoing Google-This, that's not a "tough message" but it's exact opposite: it's Bush telling Musharraf "we can't cover for you anymore, and now that the Democrats are back in charge they're actually going to get serious about destroying al Qaeda." It's one conspirator tipping off another that they're now being watched and they'd better cover their tracks.

The more I think about this, the more I find the use of "warning" in the first sentence above to be incredibly misleading by the Times. It was a warning, yes, but not a warning sent to Pakistan from Cheney to Pakistan but a warning sent by Cheney to Pakistan (or, really, from Cheney via Cheney).

The warning wasn't "if we don't get serious we, the Bush administration, are going to retaliate against Pakistan" it was "if you don't get serious they, the Democratic Congress, are going to relatiate against Pakistan, whereas we would have just let you slide." After all, if Bush had wanted to get tough he's had five years to do it -- but he hasn't until the Democrats forced him to actually do his job.

It's an acknowledgement, essentially, that the Democrats are going to step up the fight against bin Laden and al Qaeda, a fight that Bush has ignored for the past five years. An acknowledgement that the Democrats are serious about combatting terror while the Republicans arent't.

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

bah.

Two lines of bullshit at work on each other: they pretend they control the Salafists, we pretend to be harder on the Shia. Smile for the camera.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on February 26, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk: Is there anything that pleases the left?

The tanking poll numbers for conservatives.

Democrats up by 20 points on Iraq.

If we are still in Iraq at election time 2008, those kind of numbers will be a very, very big boost to the Democratic nominee.

Yep, liberals are all grins about the impact of conservative ineptitude on their electoral chances.

:-)

Too bad it has to come at the expense of our men and women in uniform, the Iraqi people, and the American economy.

If only the majority of Americans had listened to liberals in 2000 or 2004 and gotten rid of the conservative boobs sooner, those expenses would have been moderated greatly without any damage at all to American security, but instead an enhancement of our security.

Maybe they will listen in 2008 after the reality of Bush's lies and failed promises continues to keep giving their gifts of death, destruction, and economic slide.

Posted by: Google_This on February 26, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

raj You're right, of course. Between my error and your correction, however, I believe we have two true statements ( i.e., Iraqis have become - for the most part - indigent ).

Posted by: opit on February 26, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers:

"The amazing thing about the Hersch article is how the mainstream media has just squished it. "

I assume your tongue is in your cheek when you say it's amazing. It's clearly par for the course at this point. Neither the press not the Democrats want to really look at the unfolding disaster because they can all sound sane and reasonable when they assert that we are not likely to attack Iran, especially not in the way we attacked Iraq.

What they don't want to look at is the much more likely scenario of Israel attacking Iran, which allows the Joint Chiefs and everyone else to keep saying that we have no intention of attacking Iran. When Israel takes out the nuclear sites, we won't appear to be starting an unprovoked aggression; we'll be supporting an ally, or pre-emptively protecting Israel and our troops in Iraq from Iranian retribution. "No one could have forseen this," they'll say again. Bush will look all righteous on TV announcing the air campaign, and the Congress will have its ears back and meekly agree that we have to defend our ally. And the result will be the same as if we'd just launched the attack unilaterally.

Posted by: bloglogger on February 26, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Wierd things have been blocking me from posting supportive comments about Seymour Hersh's allegations--three times I tried to post and various windows popped up, disrupting comprehensive posts I attempted to make on this board.
I think of it as bringing to light to what we all know as terribly unthinkable, as others on the internet say as well. And may I say a call for a congressional hearing on his allegations was just made on CNN.

Posted by: consider wisely always on February 26, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Lawrence Korb, former Reagan assistant defense secretary, now with the Center for American Progress, is now on Keith Olbermann, seeing similarities between Hersh's article and Iran-Contra from the 1980's... And indeed, Mr. Rockerfeller called for hearings on Mr. Hersh's latest allegations in the New Yorker... I feel vindicated.

Posted by: consider wisely always on February 26, 2007 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

I would be very circumspect about trying to bully Pakistan. They already have nuclear weapons. If we tip them over into a completely extremist regime we will probably regret it quite soon.

Without a doubt the Bush administration is concerned about the Taliban-hosting backwards tribes of Wajiristan. The best way to deal with them is tactically, picking off anybody who looks suspicious on the trails into Afghanistan. That will cause some bad press, as the terrorists will make damn sure that whole wedding parties with scores of children, don't you know, are trekking up those trails.

Actually, the whole Iraq and Iran thing seems to be headed for a Homerian type of climax this summer. In ancient battles of heroes it is not only that attributes and negatives that each combatant possesses in a material sense (including their wits)which matter, but also their character and whether they personally are in or out of favor with the gods.

In that light, I was for the invasion of Iraq, for staying the course, for the Surge, and I will be for whatever the Commander-in-Chief has to improvise if sudden and shocking events and realities thrust themselves upon our attention in coming months. It could even be that events are so extreme as to put Nancy Pelosi into whatever will be designated the new White House, in which case I will hold my nose and support the new C.In C. Since it will then be her neck on the new front line, I suspect a conversion in point of view more profound than Saul on the road to Damascus will ensue from the House Speaker.

Posted by: mike cook on February 26, 2007 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK
International relations aren't for the squeamish.... American Gawk at 7:33 PM
Rather, not for the incompetent and the ideologues
why take anonymous sources seriously? F K at 7:48 PM
Anonymous leaking is the Modus Operandi of the Bush regime
Well first of all, there will be no "war" with Iran for the forseeable future... Do you blame them? Jay on at 8:48 PM
Your assurances is a meaningless as were Bush's when he claimed there was no plan to attack Iraq before he launched his attack. Of course the American record of supporting Islamic groups like the mujahideen and al Qaida has never ever ever come back to bite us in the butt. As being afraid of abandonment, most Iraqis (61%) agree that attacks on Americans are good and most want the US out. To see Bush going from wanting to capture bin Laden Dead Or Alive to giving financial support to extremist groups and still having the full support of his little tough-on-terror rightwing heroes is funny as hell.
Our intelligence...may well be wrong in the other direction.... I happen to know a fair number of Iraqis ... I'm not wrong. . ..mike cook at 5:55 AM
The report is that the US intelligence on Iran is poor, but not as poor as the story that a nuke has gone off or that Muqtada al Sadr has killed more Americans than the Sunni insurgents. Since the US will be admitting the enormous total of 7,000 Iraqi refugees next year, I doubt you claim there will be a "big influx." Posted by: Mike on February 26, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

I will be for whatever the Commander-in-Chief has to improvise if sudden and shocking events and realities thrust themselves upon our attention in coming months.

You're the first person that made me glad I moved out of the country. Congratulations!

Posted by: Pennypacker on February 27, 2007 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

The U.S. will be admitting 7,000 Iraqis if things don't totally go to hell. It is unimaginable that the U.S. would not accept a far greater number in the event of circumstances such as the refugee boat people fleeing Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos after 1975, or even the Muriel boat exodus from Cuba.

Pennypacker, where did you move to that you feel so immune from any effects of terrorists (by admittedly ambiguous definition) having WMD's?
Do you now live on the moon? Do you never travel by air? Do angels surround you at night in your slumbers, guarding against any menace?

But my greater point is that the White House is on the front line even against relatively weak enemies. The real lesson of 9/11 is that no fixed address really can be guarded. Any enemy with enough cleverness, fanaticism, and resources, will find a way to strike. Mushareff in Pakistan is alive today only because he has a really good angel, so far. So is al Maliki in the Green Zone. Being a Lebanese politician can cut your life expectancy down to months. Being the top politico in Israel and Egypt can get you blasted away.

These are not children's games we are involved in, for no stakes. Those Democrats whose main announced strategy for dealing with the world consists of wailing: "Wah, wah, wah, Bush lied!"
will eventually be cornered by reality into proposing real alternative policies which will have real consequences that can be evaluated and compared in detail with history's clinical precision to what the Bush administration has done. Time does reveal a lot about who was really slinging the bullshit.


Posted by: mike cook on February 27, 2007 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

vell, herr doktor, ve haff a rather leeberal interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine, now don't vee?

or the meaning of 'hemisphere' has changed.

and all those methodical islamic dominoes falling with the democratic side up??? with fundementalist andover, yale and harvard graduates leading the conversion as "volunteers for democracy"!!! oooh wet dream of the hamiltonians and of the carpetbaggers. an dey let mitten rommney and the mormons scoop up a few converts too. leesten, my freends...i believe so much in president boosh and rikki "total war" perle that for me, anything poosh duhs is right.

vell, ve chust roun'up dem mooslmes, i mean islamofascists and put 'em on da rez, i mean in gitmo.

now here's da plan.
tie up hezbollah with al qaeda-in-lebanon. tie up al-sadr's militia with the surge. get israel to bomb iran into submission (we help israel if iran resists too much) so they can neither retaliate in iraq nor help their proxies. when they're as abject and without infrastructure as japan at the end of WW2, we send in the andover graduates and mormons in a massive conversion campaign. and poof !!!! boosh has a douglas macarthur up his sleeve and iran is on the road to democracy. then we turn around and cut the throats of Al qaeda in Lebanon and look to see if the insurgency has subsided in Iraq. and the oil in iran and iraq is flowing uphill to halliburton again. now all this works if russia and china don't get involved.

to parody the tom lehrer song: the white folks hate the black folks and the black folks hate the white folks and the brown folks hate the yellow folks and everyone hates the shia. that's the song rikki perle has our children singing.

a shiite-led democracy under Maliki in iraq? but when did the republicans ever side with an underdog ...really?

Posted by: strangelove on February 27, 2007 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, the whole Iraq and Iran thing seems to be headed for a Homerian type of climax this summer. In ancient battles of heroes it is not only that attributes and negatives that each combatant possesses in a material sense (including their wits)which matter, but also their character and whether they personally are in or out of favor with the gods.
Posted by: mike cook

at the risk of indulging this ... tripe ... I would argue that events have demonstrated that bush is being royally ass-raped by zeus, or some equivalent, as we speak.

you picked the losing side, mike. good luck with that ... and don't drop the soap.

Posted by: Nads on February 27, 2007 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Pennypacker, where did you move to that you feel so immune from any effects of terrorists (by admittedly ambiguous definition) having WMD's?

I don't feel immune from terrorists. I didn't feel immune from them in the '80s, either, when Lockerby happened, nor did I feel immune during other international terrorist attacks since then (and I travelled widely in the '90s and early 2000s, too).

However, I now live among people who were aware of the world before 9/11, who see terrorism in the context of American foreign policy, who can realistically gauge the likelihood of being killed in a terrorist attack, and who aren't willing to blindly follow the fear-mongers who want to exploit terrorism for control and manipulation. Your blind obedience to Bush shows just how shallow your understanding of the world truly is.

Posted by: Pennypacker on February 27, 2007 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

Time does reveal a lot about who was really slinging the bullshit.

Indeed. And your judgement, mike cook, is about as bad as it gets.

Your faith in Bush's tactics is the equivalent of a climber "shaking off the rock." Your paranoid sense of panic leads you to a belligerence which sets the world afire.

Psychotherapy might do you a world of good.

Posted by: obscure on February 27, 2007 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

mike cook: But my greater point is that the White House is on the front line even against relatively weak enemies.

No, it's on the front line against anyone but actual enemies of the United States.

And even on the front line they've chosen, they've conducted themselves cravenly and incompetently, denying our soldiers the support they deserve, giving only lip service instead, not body and vehicle armor and not decent medical care after they've had their arms and legs blown off and not proper training and not sufficient manpower and the worst foreign policy possible, while at the same time arming and protecting the very people who are shooting at our troops or aiding and abetting the same.

Posted by: Google_This on February 27, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

To American Hawk [http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2007_02/010809.php#1052943]:
I don't pretend to speak for "the left," whatever that is (actual left-wing politics is virtually dead in the US since the 1970s, unless you think Noam Chomsky has a big following)... but I can say that your comment seems to be a knee-jerk support for the Dear Leader, right or wrong. How can it make sense to "the Right" that, four years on, the administration has waged a war with no coherent strategy or purpose, while FAILING miserably in the effort to locate and defeat the enemies who actually attacked us in 2001? How can you feel at ease with plausible reports that they now, in apparent desperation, plan to cozy up with these very enemies (who to all appearances have been at least aided by the Saudis all along)?

There is no logic to what Hawk says. Iraq was not sold to the American people or authorized by Congress to bring Democracy to Arabs. It was sold as protecting US national interests. When it turned out there weren't any such interests at stake, the administration changed its justification a posteriori, because, like all bullies, they can't admit a mistake.

Now, after installing a pro-Iranian Shiite government in Iraq, they've suddenly decided Iran is the real enemy. Cheney and his lunatic compatriots have apparently gone completely insane. It's little wonder that there is serious dissension among the top brass.

Is there anything that pleases "the left," Hawk asks. For myself, I will be pleased if and when the administration develops a real plan to counter the Taliban and Quaeda in Afghanistan and the border regions with Pakistan. This situation is a terrible mess, and a real threat to our security, made much worse by the administration's utter failure to prosecute this conflict in 2001-2002, and misreading of the situation even now. I hope, without great confidence, that Cheney has sucessfully convinced Musharraf that he must cooperate in this struggle, because this is the real enemy. I hope, without much confidence, that the administration may finally, FINALLY, be waking up to this fact. The hell with a surge in Iraq. We need a surge in Afghanistan.

On Mr. Hawk's Korea cheap shot: The administration, under cooler and saner hands, has recently managed to get us about 75% of the way back to where we were before they petulantly threw the negotiation regime the Clinton administration overboard. We could have had this years ago, and better. But, for that progress, I give those who accomplished it credit.

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