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Tilting at Windmills

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March 30, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

IRAN UPDATE....Why did Iran's Revolutionary Guard decide to seize 15 British sailors and marines last week? David Ignatius hazards a guess:

European officials note that the provocative move comes as speculation grows about new discussions between the United States and Iran -- a dialogue the Revolutionary Guard may oppose.

....U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said several weeks ago that the United States was getting "pinged all over the world" by Iranian intermediaries who wanted a resumption of talks. Iran's chief negotiator, Ali Larijani, hinted at such a message in his recent contacts with the European Union's top diplomat, Javier Solana. But the prospect of nuclear talks may have been blown out of the water, as it were, until the British issue is resolved.

Maybe that was the goal of seizing the sailors and marines. The Revolutionary Guard, after all, can't be happy about curbing the nuclear program that would allow it to project power even more aggressively.

It's as good a theory as any.

Kevin Drum 2:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (145)

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On Wednesday one Iranian official said they would release the woman sailor. On Thursday, another official said they would not, and would release all of the captive sailors only when the British apologized for violating Iranian waters.

There's a pretty obvious split within the Iranian government. I'll leave it to others far better versed in Iranian than I (and speaking/reading Farsi would be important) to explain the dynamics in Tehran.

Needless to say, I have absolutely no confidence that Condi Rice, Stephen Hadley, Elliott Abrams, and George Bush will be able to navigate through these complexities.

Posted by: Mark Paul on March 30, 2007 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

But a leading Israeli daily, Yedioth Aharonoth, reported soon after Asgari's disappearance that Mossad had organized his defection. An Israeli defense source was quoted in the Sunday Times of London on March 11 as saying that Asgari "probably was working for Mossad but believed he was working for a European intelligence agency."

Quite an intelligence coup, if true. Don't know if I trust Yedioth Aharonoth, though.

Posted by: Old Hat on March 30, 2007 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

It sounds like there are significant splits in Iran's government, with some factions wanting conciliation with the US and others confrontation. This calls for subtle, intelligent diplomacy, to promote the interests of the conciliatory factions without undermining their credibility or influence, while keeping an eye on fundamental US objectives such as an end to the Iranian nuclear program and the strengthening of regional stability.

Wait a sec - subtle, intelligent diplomacy? Never mind.

Posted by: BC on March 30, 2007 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Dream on, BC.

Posted by: exconservative on March 30, 2007 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

It's as good a theory as any.

No it isn't.

Posted by: Jimm on March 30, 2007 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

Possible reasons (non-exclusionary, mix and match):

1. You kidnap my people, I'll kidnap yours;
2. Threaten to attack me, I'll take hostages beforehand from your potential allies;
3. Disrespect me diplomatically at the UN, while you're trying to get me to comply in a UN process, I'll show you diplomatic disrespect;
4. Mass troops on my border, and battleships off my coastline, I'll rally the homeland behind the leadership, and drive home the point of what this is all about, by taking my own provocative action.

That's good for starters, and the taking of hostages really makes you wonder if Iran isn't setting a trap, or at least think they're setting a trap, since we know how hawks ginned up that last aggression in Lebanon (through the taking of hostages, i.e. we dare you).

Posted by: Jimm on March 30, 2007 at 4:06 AM | PERMALINK

Smirk fucked up a chance to make peace with Iran after 9/11. The Iranians aren't gonna trust anything Smirk and his crew do now. It's gonna come down to a hostage swap. That is my guess.

Posted by: This Machine Kills Fascists on March 30, 2007 at 4:24 AM | PERMALINK

This smacks of a Clancy novel... sad.

Factions can be dangerous things, particularly when they vie for influence with a unitary focus of power - the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran's Council of Guardians.

Posted by: Everblue Stater on March 30, 2007 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK

Contrary to how the British and Americans treat their captives,these people look like they are being treated very well by Iran.if u observe and research carefully ,Americans treated their captives during the afghan and iraq wars in a very inhumane way inspite of the fact that 90 percent of the captives were innocent civillians who were not even guilty of the crimes they were alleged to have committed.

How can anyone forget the ghastly images of Abu Ghareb where American soldiers tortured men ,boys,women and in a few documented incidents underaged girls.Men were tortured and photographed ,women were made to show their breasts,and according to a report some unpublished pictures show the gang rape of iraqi women and girls.The pictures which were made available clearly showed extreme torture being used which would put even the nazi's to shame.

The British have a history of violence ,The sun published many reports of British soldiers torturing ,pissing and killing on detainees.In one incident an innocent waiter from basra was brutally murdered by british soldiers .The british were involved in the systematic gang rapes of captive masai women in kenya,the incident was reported to be in hundreds.

If one considers these atrocities by the british and american soldiers with their captives and detaines,then one can clearly see that iran has treated these prisoners with extreme dignity,on the one hand where american and british soldiers made their female detainess naked and gang raped them,In this clip the iranians have showed a lot of respect to the female british detainee by covering her and treating her with respect ,This clearly shows the difference in the way the American and British treat women ,and how the middle easten people treat their women.We should learn from them .

In the clip of this incident shown on the net the british soldiers were seen eating food ,sitting very calmly and confortably unlike the pictures and clips we have seen of the Americans and the British treating their prisoners,who were made to eat their own faeces rather than food,and were hooded ,naked and paraded.

As a neautral i feel that the iranians have treated these prisoners in the most humane ways as possible ,and after watching what the Americans and the British did in abu ghareb and basra respectively ,i have come to the conclusion that the iranian culture seems far superior than the American and British culture just because of the simple fact that the American and British culture promotes violence against women,torture against prisoners,rape of prisoners,humiliation of prisoners,while the iranian culture promotes the opposite which u can clearly see ,COVERING THE WOMAN AND TREATING THE WOMEN WITH RESPECT ,AND ALSO THE MEN GIVEN GOOD FOOD AND KEPT WITH DIGNITY,WAY TO GO .AS A NEAUTRAL I NOW FEEL IRAN IS A GOOD COUNTRY WITH GOOD PEOPLE LIVING IN IT .

Posted by: paul smith on March 30, 2007 at 6:02 AM | PERMALINK

Re: prosecutor-purgegate


http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/10349.html


What explains the failure of the mainstream media to cover the purge scandal for so long, and so many other scandals? Do you think somebody just set up newspaper editors to cheat on their wives, and threatened to tell if the editors wouldn’t play ball when they come back some day and ask for something?

It wouldn’t be that hard to do, when you think about it. People wouldn’t talk about it.
Re: the Iraq war in general

(also see this post)

Ever since the months prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there have been a few reports in the newspapers that the Central Intelligence Agency was casting aspersions on the intelligence the White House was relying on to justify the war. The CIA has never given a position on whether the war is needed or justified or said that Bush is wrong to go to war. But doesn't it seem much more likely that the CIA is an extremely right wing organization than a left wing one? After all, even if the people working for them and at least a lot of the leadership really wanted a war for their own reasons, there are a lot of reasons for them to not want to tie their credibility to what they know is faulty information. They and their personnel, present and former, could use other means of promoting the Iraq war, and still be motivated to make the statements in the media. If the CIA got behind faulty information, they would have to make a choice between whether they would be involved in scamming the American people and the world once the military had invaded Iraq and no weapons were found- so: 1) Imagine the incredible difficulties involved in pulling off a hoax that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Imagine all the people you would have to be able to show the weapons to- the inspectors from the UN / the international community, the American press, statesmen, etc. Then imagine the difficulties of substantiating that story to people who would examine it- the lack of witnesses to a production plant that made the weapons or to transportation operations or storage of the weapons during Hussein's regime of them. 2) If the story fell apart upon inspection or the CIA tried not to hoax it at all, imagine the loss of credibility they would suffer. The CIA, it is safe to bet, does not want to be known to the American people as a group that lies to them to send them to war. Even within the CIA there could be disagreement among people about how involved they should be in promoting the war or the neo-con agenda more broadly, so the CIA would have to worry about lying to and managing its own people after trying so hard to get them to trust their superiors in the agency, and perhaps there simply might be too many people in the agency who knew enough about what was going on in Iraq to know if someone was deceiving people to promote this war.

So there is a lot of reason to be cautious against being seen as endorsing what they knew was false intelligence even if they were very strong supporters of going to war.

Posted by: Swan on March 30, 2007 at 6:22 AM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't be so sure that these sailors weren't intentionally sent into Iranian waters, by the powers that be, to provoke an international crisis that would give Bush an opening to bomb Iran. Blair and Bush care nothing about the lives or well-being of ordinary soldiers or sailors, as four years of pointless occupation of Iraq have so aptly demonstrated.

Oh, by the way, the bombing of Iran begins on or about April 6th. Mark your calendars.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on March 30, 2007 at 6:43 AM | PERMALINK

In the clip of this incident shown on the net the british soldiers were seen eating food ,sitting very calmly and confortably unlike the pictures and clips we have seen of the Americans and the British treating their prisoners,who were made to eat their own faeces rather than food,and were hooded ,naked and paraded.

Posted by: paul smith on March 30, 2007 at 6:02 AM

Well of course the Iranians released video of the prisoners being "treated well". What propaganda value would their be in releasing video showing how they are really treated?

Posted by: Al on March 30, 2007 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

I find the way the Iranians made the woman sailor wear that stupid scarf on her head offensive.

We allow Muslim women freedom here to wear or not to wear whatever. But the governments over there don't allow freedom even to non-Muslims.

Their "propaganda" is a flop right there. I am sure everyone notes it unconsciously, and is contemptuous of them as I am.

It's like Quebec. Back in the fifties, Quebec police sent US female tourists back to their hotels to put on dresses. Kinda different now. I look forward to Iran and other Muslim countries becoming secular and free.

Posted by: Bob M on March 30, 2007 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

Or some low level commander grabbed them of his own initiative. Then the folks in Tehran realized they couldn't just hand them back without getting reamed by hardliners at home.

It's foolish to ascribe unitary agency to states. At the height of the Cuban missile crisis , when we were trying to negotiate with the soviets, we tested nukes. Because some random person the DoE had scheduled the test months before and hadn't thought to cancel it.

Why read too many motivations into this? It's far too complex and we have far too little information. Our conclusions will say more about us than the Iranians.

Posted by: Adam on March 30, 2007 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

"Well of course the Iranians released video of the prisoners being "treated well". What propaganda value would their be in releasing video showing how they are really treated?"

Al, do actually know how they are really treated? Obviously, they weren't roughed up too much before the video. They don't even have the handcuff abrasions typical of a US citizen that has just been arrested. They look a lot better than Jose Padilla in his videos, and our government "lost" the tapes showing the real abuse.

Posted by: fostert on March 30, 2007 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

I hesitate to even comment on this thread. There is so little to say. To echo Jon Stewart last evening, do the Iranians know how hard most of us have been trying to keep President "Bombs a Lot" from bombing Iran. Frankly at this point I can see a lot of people just throwing up their hands in acceptance of the mindless Armageddon the fundamentalist leaders of both countries truly seem to embrace.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 30, 2007 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

"Project power aggressively"?????

We have almost a quarter million military personnel in two countries that border Iran and in the 2 carrier groups we maintain in the Gulf. What would we do if Iran (assuming it's military were that large) had invaded and occupied Mexico and Canada, and had two aircraft carrier groups off of New York? I mean, come on people - it's not brain surgery.

In Iran's position, ANY rational country acting in its own self-interest would follow Pakistan's example and get the damn bomb before the US invades you.

Posted by: chuck on March 30, 2007 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

We need to get out of Iraq, let the Sunnis and Shia get to killing each other unhindered by us, and with any luck Iran will get sucked into it, thereby doing irrevocalbe damage to their military same as Iraq has done to ours. Yes, millions will die, but sooner rather than later. No need to put off the inevitable.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

chuck
We have almost a quarter million military personnel in two countries that border Iran and in the 2 carrier groups we maintain in the Gulf. What would we do if Iran (assuming it's military were that large) had invaded and occupied Mexico and Canada, and had two aircraft carrier groups off of New York? I mean, come on people - it's not brain surgery.

We'd kidnap 15 Iranian sailors? That'd be a waste of time since Iran is perfectly happy sending children into combat armed only with explosives wrapped around their mid-sections.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

In Iran's position, ANY rational country acting in its own self-interest would follow Pakistan's example and get the damn bomb before the US invades you.
Posted by: chuck

Since it is pretty clear to me all that diplomacy stuff isn't going to work with Iran, I'm not sure what Plan B is. Either we let them get the bomb (might as well sell them the technology at that point and make some money off the deal) and cross our fingers that all their blathering about destroying Israel and the whole evil west is just posturing, or we act sooner rather than later and prevent them from getting the bomb.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

We'd kidnap 15 Iranian sailors? That'd be a waste of time since Iran is perfectly happy sending children into combat armed only with explosives wrapped around their mid-sections.

No, Iran pays other people to do that. Haven't you been paying attention?

And, no, we do not kidnap people, per se. I'm sure that we don't really do that, despite what people say.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 30, 2007 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

No, Iran pays other people to do that. Haven't you been paying attention?
Posted by: Norman Rogers

They're probably a little rusty, but they had an assembly line of tweeners heading for Iraq loaded with explosives during the Iran-Iraq War. Those were the good old days of our enemies killing each other for us.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

"aliblahblah"

Norman have you adopted an new personna?

Anyway, the readers of political animal are far too intelligent and humane to pay much attention to your crap. You might want to return to the Limbrain side of life.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 30, 2007 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Ron, I'm all for getting out of Iraq and cutting our losses short. Sooner rather than later. How about you?

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

There probably is a power struggle going on in Iran. The government is very unpopular with the people, most of whom are suppressed only with very harsh measures. There is also growing corruption with an end game similar to the Soviet Union going on as ideology fades and kleptocracy grows. There have been three major figures in the government who disappeared in the past two months, not counting the defector.

If any of you read Guests of the Ayatollah, you know how much that situation was manipulated by the power struggle in the Iranian revolution, eventually won by the radicals. Also, that book ends with the guards at the museum that is the former US embassy telling the author "Go, George Bush !" He has more fans in Iran than here, I suspect.

The disarray in the Iranian government can be seen in the original coordinates they released for the kidnapping. They put the British sailors in IRAQI WATERS ! The Iranians later altered the coordinates. Had the MoD of the Blair government not lost its nerve, the kidnapping would never have happened. The Cornwall should have fired on the Iranians. It wouldn't have to hit them. Warning shots probably would have been enough. Appeasement whets the appetite of tyrants, in 2007 just as in 1938.

Posted by: Mike K on March 30, 2007 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

And to be clear, I am on the Dems side in the spending bill showdown. Bring'em home but keep spending levels at a war time footing until the force is sufficiently fixed. I think the $100M they tacked on to the bill to provide security for the Dem and Rethug conventions was chicken @#%, though.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Um, maybe the British violated Iranian territory. I mean, if a boatload of Revolutionary Guards floated down the Thames, wouldn't the British have them in custody?

Posted by: mark on March 30, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Ali Blahblah,

I take it you don't have a dog in the Iraq fight.

Actually, I am not in favor of getting out of Iraq sooner than later. I do, however, want a firm series of benchmarks with real consequences for the Iraqis if they fail to meet them and rewards if they succeed. I want us to be work our way out as soon as possible.

Foreign policy is hard work. It requires real skill. It requires dealing with real live people not good and evil cartoon cutouts.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 30, 2007 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Norman have you adopted an new personna?

Sad sack Ron Byers sees me CORRECTING an erroneous post by some moron calling himself Ali Blabityblah and thinks that I have adopted a new persona?

The burning flash of stupid you give off always causes me to get oven mitts so I can continue typing.

Also, that book ends with the guards at the museum that is the former US embassy telling the author "Go, George Bush !" He has more fans in Iran than here, I suspect.

Of course he does, nitwit! Oppressed people all over the world are waiting for George W Bush to lead the conquering armies of freedom. This crusade against the Islamic jihadis was started by a President who knew there were millions living under the yoke of oppression. Liberals always fear the man who brings freedom to the world--they think he'll take away their number one issue, which is pointing out how much more successful oppressive regimes are than the United States.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 30, 2007 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

That's our Norman.

Norman, has the nice lady wearing the pretty white dress been around to give you your pills already.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 30, 2007 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Norman, has the nice lady wearing the pretty white dress been around to give you your pills already.

Yeah, your Mom is always good for a laugh.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 30, 2007 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

My mom was an RN, but she died two years ago. I am an orphan.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 30, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I am not in favor of getting out of Iraq sooner than later. I do, however, want a firm series of benchmarks with real consequences for the Iraqis if they fail to meet them and rewards if they succeed. I want us to be work our way out as soon as possible.

I'm all for that too, but realistically I don't think it will work. They had plenty of time to have their Rodney King "Why can't we all get along" moment, and that boat has left the pier. I still remember my optimism and...yes...general pride in human nature when I saw the Iraqis standing with purple fingers, having voted in a democratic government. It was like a blinding flash, the shot of freedom heard round the world. Extraordinarliy powerful image. After that I thought that there was a chance, however messy it might be.

That hope is gone, and my belief in human nature is that freedom and democracy are actually rare and fleeting (all the more reason to savor our own) and that there isn't a place for it in Iraq. Or anywhere in the Middle East. Other than Israel, I guess. I certainly don't expect to see a million man peace march in Baghdad anytime soon.

So at that point realpoitick sets in, and I stop worrying about their condition, and work to take care of my own people, who are dying to help the ungrateful.

Foreign policy is hard work. It requires real skill. It requires dealing with real live people not good and evil cartoon cutouts.

It also requires a certain degree of callousness, unfortunately.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

At least I take comfort in the fact that the Iranians are treating their prisoners with the same high standard of care and respect for human dignity with which we're treating our own Muslim priso...oh fuck.

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Except for incompetence, callousness seems to be the only quality this administration seems to have in abundance.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 30, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Let me try that again.

Except for incompetence, callousness is the only quality this administration has in abundance.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 30, 2007 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Iran doesn't want a fight with the US and England.
With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US/England/NATO can't engage in a tit-for-tat limited battle. They would go straight for "Fuck them up" battle plan, without the moral responsibility of rebuilding the country.

Posted by: Dervin on March 30, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

I found this interesting. Apparently Pelosi is more interested in subsidizing peanut farm in Georgia and trying to discredit the US administration rather than standing by our strongest ally.

Well done Nancy.


"Dear Madam Speaker:
Fifteen kidnapped British marines and sailors recently became the latest victims of a systematic Iranian campaign of terror and international defiance. The illegal seizure of the British forces is a signal that Iran views us as powerless to prevent it from realizing its aggressive ambitions.

For the sake of our standing in the world, our allies and most importantly the 15 British personnel and their families, I urge you to bring H. Res. 267 to the floor today before we adjourn. The resolution calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the British marines and sailors. It would also call on the U.N. Security Council to not only condemn the seizure, but to explore harsher sanctions to counter the growing Iranian threat.


A Republican Congressional staffer writes:

It is simply staggering to me that Pelosi refuses to stand beside America's closest ally. I literally would not have thought this possible, until I saw it this week."

Posted by: Jay on March 30, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

"..the Iranians are treating their prisoners with the same high standard of care and respect for human dignity...." - Stefan


The Iranians are all about human dignity. I think that has been demonstrated time and time again. They really do lead the world in their humanitarian efforts and concern for human rights.

Thank God (can I say that) that there are so many compassionate Muslims, why I don't know where this world would be without the compassion and tolerance of Musli.......oh fuck

Posted by: Jay on March 30, 2007 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Read Craig Murray

http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2007/03/fake_maritime_b.html

March 28, 2007

Fake Maritime Boundaries


The British Government has published a map showing the coordinates of the incident, well within an Iran/Iraq maritime border. The mainstream media and even the blogosphere has bought this hook, line and sinker.

But there are two colossal problems.

A) The Iran/Iraq maritime boundary shown on the British government map does not exist. It has been drawn up by the British Government. Only Iraq and Iran can agree their bilateral boundary, and they never have done this in the Gulf, only inside the Shatt because there it is the land border too. This published boundary is a fake with no legal force.

B) Accepting the British coordinates for the position of both HMS Cornwall and the incident, both were closer to Iranian land than Iraqi land. Go on, print out the map and measure it. Which underlines the point that the British produced border is not a reliable one.

None of which changes the fact that the Iranians, having made their point, should have handed back the captives immediately. I pray they do so before this thing spirals out of control. But by producing a fake map of the Iran/Iraq boundary, notably unfavourable to Iran, we can only harden the Iranian position.
----

http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2007/03/british_marines_1.html

British Marines Captured By Iran

I explained that in international law the Iranian government were not out of order in detaining foreign military personnel in waters to which they have a legitimate claim. For the Royal Navy to be interdicting shipping within the twelve mile limit of territorial seas in a region they know full well is subject to maritime boundary dispute, is unneccessarily provocative. This is especially true as apparently they were not looking for weapons but for smuggled vehicles attempting to evade car duty. What has the evasion of Iranian or Iraqi taxes go to do with the Royal Navy? The ridiculous illogic of the Blair mess gets us further into trouble.

Incidentally, they would under international law have been allowed to enter Iranian territorial waters if in "Hot pursuit" of terrorists, slavers or pirates. But they weren't doing any of those things.

Having said all that, the Iranian authorities, their point made, should now hand the men back immediately. Plainly they were not engaged in piracy or in hostilities against Iran. The Iranians can feel content that they have demonstrated the ability to exercise effective sovereignty over the waters they claim.

Any further detention of the men would now be unlawful and bellicose. One of the great problems facing those of us striving hard to prevent a further disastrous war, this time on Iran, is that the Iranian government is indeed full of theocratic nutters.

Posted by: seth edenbaum on March 30, 2007 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

It is simply staggering to me that Pelosi refuses to stand beside America's closest ally. I literally would not have thought this possible, until I saw it this week."

You nitwit--liberals aren't in charge of making war in this country.

What Speaker Pelosi does is irrelevant, and it should stay that way--are you actually suggesting she has any bearing whatsoever in how we support our ally, Great Britain?

Of course not. George W Bush will support our ally and Speaker Pelosi can sit there with her gavel and her grandkids and send senile Committee Chairman hither and yon for all I care. If you start suggesting she has any bearing in how the US responds militarily or otherwise when it comes to the execution of foreign policy, you are handing the liberals more power and legitimacy than they deserve.

Sorry, Ron--that was your wife who gave me my pills and put her ankles behind her ears. My mistake.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 30, 2007 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Saudis on U.S. in Iraq: 'illegitimate foreign occupation'

Another wheel comes off.

Bush just can't buy a friend.

Even daddy's old friends are abandoning him.

Poor, poor, little man.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal stood by the king's remarks Thursday, implying at some points that Iraq's Shiite-led government doesn't have the legitimacy to approve the U.S. presence.

Ouch!

Another broadside from our "allies" in Saudi Arabia.

So glad Bush hitched our wagon to these true-blue friends!

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Bush's Iraq policy was stillborn and this proves it is still as dead as a door nail.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

At least I take comfort in the fact that the Iranians are treating their prisoners with the same high standard of care and respect for human dignity with which we're treating our own Muslim priso...oh fuck.
Posted by: Stefan

Apples and oranges. The muslim terrorists we imprison were operating outside of any international framework of war. These Brits were in uniform and operating under UN mandate. And besides, our muslim prisoners are getting "plenty of fluids" too. In fact, they've gained so much weight the only thing they'll be terrorizing is the all you can eat buffet at Hoss'.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Another broadside from our "allies" in Saudi Arabia.

So glad Bush hitched our wagon to these true-blue friends!

Amen. Screw the Iraqis, the Iranians, and the Saudis. Nuke power, wind, solar, biofuels, conservation, and leave them to eat their oil. Let China and India and Eurabia deal with them.

Posted by: anonymous

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Gates calls for Guantanamo closure

Booooom!

Yet another hit!

Bush is getting it from all sides and nobody deserves it more.

Oh where, oh where are those 60% approvals conservatives were predicting?

Oh where, oh where is that victory in Iraq conservatives were promising?

Desperate and on their last legs!

NOT!

Victory is just around the corner!

NOT!

The prognosis is improving!

NOT!

How can so many conservatives be so wrong so often and remain committed to continued error on Iraq?

It's easy: lie, upon lie, upon lie, followed by denial, denial, and denial.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Senate passes war spending bill with withdrawal deadline

Kapowwwww!

Conservatives: "You've sunk our president, uh, we mean battleship. Boo hooooooo!"

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

"How can so many conservatives be so wrong so often and remain committed to continued error on Iraq?" - anonymous

Why don't Democrats support (or even listen to)our troops?


"Sergeant Stephen Krueger writes from Iraq to Speaker Pelosi with a message that bears on our post "To our readers in Iraq." Sergeant Krueger writes:

How can you even think of pushing forward legislation to set a withdrawal date for US forces from Iraq? Do you know how much you embolden the insurgency here in Iraq? YOU ARE JEAPARDIZING THE LIVES OF US SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN WITH YOUR ACTIONS. You and your fellow Democrats are causing the Al Qaeda supported insurgency to use more catastrophic attacks against us and Iraqi forces. You will see more SVBIED's with chlorine gas, more VBIED's against civilians and security forces every time you and other Democrats open your mouths. You will have to live with yourself and try to sleep at night knowing all the defeatist propaganda you have spewed forth is nothing more than ammunition for Islamic extremist groups around the world and more US deaths. The unsuspecting people who support you know nothing of what goes on over here; you fill their heads with nonsense and talk of pullout to appease them. The only thing that will happen is the establishment of an extremist Islamic state where sharia law is the law of the land and no one is safe.

Sunni Moslems here are coming to our side and joining forces with the government to defeat Al Qaeda(AQI) here in Iraq,..."

Posted by: Jay on March 30, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

"Senate passes war spending bill with withdrawal deadline" - anonymous

"YOU ARE JEAPARDIZING THE LIVES OF US SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN WITH YOUR ACTIONS." - Sergeant Krueger

Democrats don't give a fuck about the troops, only their own narrow agenda. And anonymous thinks thats funny.

Posted by: Jay on March 30, 2007 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

You and your fellow Democrats are causing the Al Qaeda supported insurgency to use more catastrophic attacks against us and Iraqi forces. You will see more SVBIED's with chlorine gas, more VBIED's against civilians and security forces every time you and other Democrats open your mouths.

No, no. This is not helpful to the cause.

First of all, the good Sergeant is wrong--the attacks made by al Qaeda in Iraq constitute less than 5% of all attacks. We are actually fighting the agents of the Iranian Quds brigades and runaway militias commanded by the likes of Moktada al Sadr.

The only thing that will happen is the establishment of an extremist Islamic state where sharia law is the law of the land and no one is safe.

Sorry, that's wrong as well. Against the best advice we could have given them, Iraq already HAS established Sharia law.

Cutting off funding for our troops is wrong, but when nitwits start spouting off and getting the facts wrong, it plays into the hands of liberals.

Can't anyone play this game? Amateurs...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 30, 2007 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

You and your fellow Democrats are causing the Al Qaeda supported insurgency to use more catastrophic attacks against us and Iraqi forces. You will see more SVBIED's with chlorine gas, more VBIED's against civilians and security forces every time you and other Democrats open your mouths.

Even if these statements were true, it is too late. That horse has left the barn, the enemy has been emboldened, The Humpty Dumpty of American tolerance for this war has broken into pieces and will not be put back together again. It is the military's lot in life to be in this situation, and they are just going to have to suck it up and cut their losses short.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

"Cutting off funding for our troops is wrong, but when nitwits start spouting off and getting the facts wrong, it plays into the hands of liberals." - Normie


um....Normie, those "facts" emanate from a Sergeant on the ground in Iraq on his third tour. I think he may just know a little more than you do about the conditions on the ground. Sorry.

Posted by: Jay on March 30, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

um....Normie, those "facts" emanate from a Sergeant on the ground in Iraq on his third tour. I think he may just know a little more than you do about the conditions on the ground. Sorry.

Sorry, nitwit. The "facts" he is trying to make his points with are demonstrably wrong. The linkage of al Qaeda to Iraq is a mistake made early on--we lose if we keep trying to cite them because they are such a small part of the actual fighting that we are doing. Liberals take that and make the salient point that because the US has released intelligence showing the al Qaeda attacks make up less than 5% of ALL attacks, there cannot really be linkage of any substance to "fighting al Qaeda in Iraq." We are actually doing that throughout the world, in Afghanistan and East Africa and we are beating the hell out of them. Conflating the two plays into the hands of liberals--and the real issue here is to start getting the facts straight and to start winning the arguments. Duh.

And Iraq already has Sharia law, thanks to the fact that we cozied up to the WRONG side. We should have been on the side of the Sunnis AGAINST the Shia and most emphatically FOR the natural ally of the Sunni, which are the Kurds.

When you can actually debate said "facts" please bring something we can actually use to the table. Right now, you're making a stone jackass out of yourself and you're hurting the cause, sir.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 30, 2007 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

"When you can actually debate said "facts" please bring something we can actually use to the table. Right now, you're making a stone jackass out of yourself and you're hurting the cause, sir." - Normie


Your just another arm chair quarterback in the vain of Biden, Shumer, Reid and Pelosi.........


I will go with Krueger on his "facts" and how it supports the cause instead of yours, OK?

I will bet discerning the facts from 3000 miles away and behind your computer is difficult at best huh?

Posted by: Jay on March 30, 2007 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: Why don't Democrats support (or even listen to)our troops?

You mean the same troops who have been told if they criticize the war or the president that they will be subjected to harsh discipline and reprisals, while those who promote the war and the president will be given special access to the press and rewarded?

You are a despicable liar, Jay, but we knew that already.

Do you know how much you embolden the insurgency here in Iraq?

Not one whit.

They are already emboldened by knowing the CIC of their enemy is an incompetent boob who was unwilling from the start to commit the necessary resources to the war, even assuming there were sufficient resources to accomplish the stated objectives, and that his generals are fawning, kiss-ass puppets willing to go along with plans they know are doomed to failure.

I am so F--ing tired of negativity and the loser mentality.

If you really were, you'd be for getting rid of Bush just as fast as possible so we'd quit going to war on lies, so we'd quit refusing to give our troops the necessary body and vehicle armor to protect them, so we'd quit refusing to give our troops the hazard pay they deserve, so we'd quit sending our troops into no-win situations just to save face for the president and the GOP.

So, no, you aren't tired of a loser mentality at all or you'd be tired of the biggest loser mentality of all, Bush.

Democrats don't give a fuck about the troops, only their own narrow agenda.

I guess that's why Bush kept them from getting the proper armor and then had is SecDef lie about it.

I guess that's why Bush was advised that 300,000 troops or more would be needed and only sent half that amount.

I guess that's why Bush was advised that 100,000 extra troops at minimum would be needed to stop the insurgency and sent only 21,000.

I guess that's why Bush sent bill collectors after soldiers who returned maimed from war because they didn't serve long enough to "earn" their bonus to enlist.

I guess that's why Bush allowed the medical services for our wounded and maimed soldiers to reach rock bottom, while funneling billions of dollars to Halliburton.

Because he "cared" so much about our soldiers.

And I guess Jay's support of Bush who did all of the above shows just how much he cares: not one whit, but only about Bush and Bush's political success.

You are a despicable liar, Jay, and a hypocrite, and a supporter of an evil man who has never, ever given any consideration to our troops as anything other than props and hostages to his partisan agenda.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: I will go with Krueger on his "facts" and how it supports the cause instead of yours, OK?

You'll go with any "facts" that support your pre-ordained conclusions and the lies you love to tell.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: Democrats don't give a fuck about the troops, only their own narrow agenda. And anonymous thinks thats funny.

The troops will come home alive and unmained under the Democrats, saved from a mission doomed by incompetence, dishonesty, and immoral leadership.

The troops will come home in body bags under Bush, without accomplishing their mission.

Who doesn't give a f*ck about the troops?

You and Bush.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I will go with Krueger on his "facts" and how it supports the cause instead of yours, OK?

Nitwit! The facts are wrong and they hurt the conservative cause more than they help it! Can't you see that? When you cite information that can easily be disproven, you bring nothing to the table.

I will bet discerning the facts from 3000 miles away and behind your computer is difficult at best huh?

Pretty much anyone can look up the fact that al Qaeda constitutes less than 5% of the attacks in Iraq and that the Constitution and the government of Iraq has institutionalize Sharia law already. Distance doesn't change those facts, nor does the fact that you're quoting an enlisted man. Hello, enlisted men aren't exactly the ones I would be citing if I was going to be quoting anyone. Perhaps the Generals in charge who can tell us the surge is working are a little bit more informed than the fellow who has gotten his facts wrong?

Mr. Jay, you are here to hurt the conservative cause, aren't you? You're one of those 'concern trolls' who masquerades behind a false identity in order to confuse the facts and make the real conservative commenters look bad, aren't you?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 30, 2007 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: "YOU ARE JEAPARDIZING THE LIVES OF US SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN WITH YOUR ACTIONS." - Sergeant Krueger

Hey, Jay, why don't you provide a link to that letter?

Is that because you made it up?

BTW, it is "jeopardizing" not "jeapardizing."

Better consult a dictionary next time before you forge letters from our service men and women.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

anonymous,

You are a repetitive, boring twit. Stop triple posting--the fact that your fingers outrun your brain should not cause all of us the pain of having to skip over the drivel you type.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 30, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Gee. What a thoughtful and balanced post from "Paul Smith." It's not propaganda at all. Nope. After all -- it's signed by good old "Paul Smith." He's clearly "neautral."

Posted by: Pat on March 30, 2007 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Seth Edenbaum (quoting Craig Murray) is perfectly correct in pointing out that no internationally or even mutually agreed maritime border exists in that area between Iran & Iraq. The territorial claims in which the incident occured are, to say the least, contentious. Furthermore, several Iraqi fishermen, the closest thing we have in this incident to disinterested witnesses, have been quoted as saying the British sailors were in what they regard as Iranian waters.

Add to that some understandable Iranian unease: They have a hostile US/British armed presence on their eastern border in Afghanistan, an even larger Anglo/American armed presence on their western Iraqi border, US aircraft carriers & the British Navy in their southern waters, sanctions against them for a nuclear program that's miniscule compared to nearby Israel & Pakistan, bellicose anti-diplomatic language from the US/Britain which eerily echoes the lead up to the Iraqi invasion....I can see why the Iranians might be a little touchy about armed members of the UK Navy throwing their weight around, boarding ships, in what may well have been Iran's territorial waters.

Maybe it was all just an innocent mistake. Maybe the British were somewhat incautious, maybe the Iranians were over-sensitive. Probably the truth is somewhere between. Nonetheless it is incumbent upon the British, if they are acting in good faith, to understand Iran's very legitimate reasons to feel under siege (3 borders bristling with hostile forces for godsakes!) & as the invader/occupiers in the region, to behave accordingly.

The British haven't. Even worse, instead of accepting the very real possibility their sailors had crossed a disputed border, they have adopted a position of bellicose, self-righteous, diplomatic intransigence. Tony Blair, in the feeble twilight of his discredited PM-ship is clearly trying to appear testicular & to appease the jingoist bleatings of tabloid Fleet Street. Meanwhile, the Iranians, beseiged, paranoid & desperate for respect, are being backed into an insoluble diplomatic corner. When the same thing happened in 2004, the British wisely, diplomatically, apologised for any unintended Iranian border crossing & had their sailors returned within 4 days. It's now been 7 days & the British are cutting off their diplomatic ties to spite their sailors.

Tony, give the mullahs some respect, it's free, you douchebag. It's their neighbourhood, which you've fucked up royally, apologise for the accidental violation of their territorial integrity, allow them to save some face & get your sailors back. To do anything less is to escalate a problem in a region that, frankly, is teetering on the edge of wholesale conflagration.


Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on March 30, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

DanJoaquinOz
The British haven't. Even worse, instead of accepting the very real possibility their sailors had crossed a disputed border, they have adopted a position of bellicose, self-righteous, diplomatic intransigence.

The Brits knew exactly where their guys were, I bet you. And you can squabble about where the boundary "actually" lies, but the I doubt extremely that the Brits created a new boundary that day and it was their first foray up to it. They've been prowling the boundary for 4 years now. they have every right to be bellicose, intransigent, and self-righteous. Iran is completely in the wrong in this, the Rev guard in particular.

I agree with the folks who argue it is the Rev Guard who are stirring up trouble, and it is more about internal Iranian machinations than it is about exteernal. Stop carrying their weight for them, or at least come out and admit to being an open supporter. Grow a spine.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Here is one theory of why Iran thought it was time to humiliate us. General Pelosi again. One very funny call to a talk show yesterday suggested that, if the Democrats block all funding indefinitely, Bush and Cheney should resign and let President Pelosi figure out what to do next. It would serve her right but the country doesn't deserve that kind of threat.

Posted by: Mike K on March 30, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Alternate hypothesis: Iran has lots of oil; pointless provocation of the US/Britain drives up the price of oil by increasing the "risk premium"; Iran gets richer.

It's a dangerous game to be playing, but as long as they don't actually provoke a war, Iran comes out ahead.

Paranoid speculation: the Bush/Cheney administration may be playing the same game to enrich their buddies in Exxon-Mobil.

Posted by: Brock on March 30, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Norman "Bates" Rogers: You are a repetitive, boring twit.

Indeed.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

"...they have every right to be bellicose, intransigent, and self-righteous..."

Sure... good explanation of why they hate us.

We are 2000 miles from the borders of our own nation, have invaded this oilpatch for the 3rd time and are busy jerking the chains of the local wogs in an effort to secure the last glimmer of glory for the empire.

Oh yeah, BTW... God hisself gave our queen the right to do this.

Posted by: Buford on March 30, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K: There is also growing corruption with an end game similar to the Soviet Union going on as ideology fades and kleptocracy grows./em>

Best description of the Bush administration yet, Mike K.

Kudos!

Mike K: Here is one theory of why Iran thought it was time to humiliate us. General Pelosi again. One very funny call to a talk show yesterday suggested that, if the Democrats block all funding indefinitely, Bush and Cheney should resign and let President Pelosi figure out what to do next. It would serve her right but the country doesn't deserve that kind of threat.

Yeah, a country that illegally invades another country, falsely imprisons and tortures innocent citizens of that country, promises what it can't deliver, and lies about the justifications for invading doesn't deserve to be threatened.

IOW, it's okay for the US to have a Monroe Doctrine and forbid foreign interference in the Americas, but it's wrong for middle eastern nations to have their own Monroe Doctrine forbidding interference by foreign powers in their affairs.

We are simply amused to no end by your double standards, Mike K, so keep 'em coming.

BTW, Pelosi's already figured out what to do and has done it.

Too bad you and Bush still can't figure it out.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

It's as good a theory as any.

Not really. The Ignatius scenario assumes that Iran's Revolutionary Guard was out of bounds and had no justification to seize the Brits. But we really don't know whose waters the Brits were in, and the neither the Brits nor Iranians have the credibility for the rest of the world to say "OK, we believe you" absent more evidence.

Posted by: JJF on March 30, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK
. What propaganda value would their be in releasing video showing how they are really treated?Al at 7:37 AM
To this day, the Bush regime is refusing to allow other Abu Ghraib pictures and videos to be released.
We allow Muslim women freedom here to wear or not to wear whatever…. Bob M at 7:54 AM
Not in France, and the issue is under 'discussion' in Britain.
Since it is pretty clear to me all that diplomacy stuff isn't going to work with Iran… Ali Blahblah at 9:00 AM
Why not? It's worked before.
… no, we do not kidnap people, per se…Norman Rogers at 9:00 AM
Ask the Italians, the Canadians, the Egyptians, the prisoners in Bush's Gulags, fool.
…they put the British sailors in IRAQI WATERS… Mike K 9:21 AM
Appease the Brits or Bush, those pitiful helpless giants? There is great dispute, were the boundaries are.
…refuses to stand beside America's closest ally…Jay at 9:40 AM
Don't choke on all your straw men, doofus.
…without the compassion and tolerance of Musli.. Jay 9:45 AM
Don't you find it disturbing that your idol, George W. Bush, is worse?
…your wife … Norman Rogers at 9:47 AM
This asshole commenter is really offensive.
…Democrats don't give a fuck about the troops…Jay at 10:06 AM
Bush is sending them to die for nothing. Bush is cutting VA budgets. Bush sends them to war without sufficient protection, fool.
…your brain should not cause all of us the pain of having to skip over the drivel you type.Norman Rogers at 10:48 AM
Is that self-referential, because it applies far more to you, chum. Posted by: Mike on March 30, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

"...they have every right to be bellicose, intransigent, and self-righteous..."

Sure... good explanation of why they hate us.

We are 2000 miles from the borders of our own nation, have invaded this oilpatch for the 3rd time and are busy jerking the chains of the local wogs in an effort to secure the last glimmer of glory for the empire.

Posted by: Buford

Iran wants it both ways. They want to sell us their oil so they can fund their program of Islamic Fundamentalism, while asking us to politely leave them alone while the execute their plan. Uh-uh. Can't have it both ways. Want our money? We come with it. TS, Mullahs. Deal with it. Their wackiness forces the West's hand in ensuring reliable access to oil.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK
…Bush and Cheney should resign and let President Pelosi figure out what to do next…Mike K at 11:42 AM
Best idea you've ever had. I second it 111%. Posted by: Mike on March 30, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

To this day, the Bush regime is refusing to allow other Abu Ghraib pictures and videos to be released.

It is acutally against the law to use pictures of prisoners like you want them to, and like the Iranians are doing to the Brits.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Ali Blahblah: And you can squabble about where the boundary "actually" lies,...

As others upthread have pointed out, the notion that the "actual" maritime boundary is not an important part of the dispute is simply not true. Someone upthread mentioned Craig Murray, who has some knowledge on these matters; Murray wrote on his blog yesterday:

"No maritime border has been agreed upon by the two countries," Lockwood said.'

That is Royal Australian Navy Commodore Peter Lockwood. He is the Commander of the Combined Task Force in the Northern Persian Gulf.

Posted by: JM on March 30, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

As others upthread have pointed out, the notion that the "actual" maritime boundary is not an important part of the dispute is simply not true.
Posted by: JM

My point is that whatever boundary Britain thinks it is is most likely one that they've been thinking it is for at least 4 years now, and have most likely been bumping up against it on a regular daily/weekly basis. I also doubt it has been a secret to Iran what Britain thinks it is. So in short, the boundary position argument is just cover for Iran's BS actions. I don't think you are doing our Allies any favors by providing cover for Iran.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

It is acutally against the law to use pictures of prisoners like you want them to, and like the Iranians are doing to the Brits.

Actually, it's against the law to use pictures of prisoners-of-war, not prisoners per se.

Plus, it's not like we have a leg to stand on anymore when we try to cite international law and the Geneva Conventions.

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

mhr: Four years later, as a direct result of Reagan's "failed" foreign policy, which liberals
had attacked, the Soviet Union, one of the greatest tyrannies in world history,rolled over and died.So much for the the opinions of unaccountable pundits.

Reagan's policies had nothing to do with destroying the Soviet system, but as a direct result of Reagan's foreign policy which empowered Saddam and assisted him with obtaining WMDs, we are now mired in Iraq and on the verge of battling an Iran that Reagan negotiated with in return for hostage release thus encouraging more hostage taking by middle eastern countries.

Great plan.

But I wouldn't call it successful, unless you are a radical Muslim.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Plus, it's not like we have a leg to stand on anymore when we try to cite international law and the Geneva Conventions.

Posted by: Stefan

I agree we should generally treat the bad guys by the GCs just for good form, and Abu Ghraib was just a plain $%-ing horror show, but we fixed it in the open as an open society does, implemented our "catch and release" policy in Iraq so insurgents could get back to their killing as soon as possible after arrest, and besides I don't see where any of the Gitmo guys or similar come under the GCs.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ignatius's theory may reflect some of the thinking among the Revolutionary Guard leadership, and this affair may reflect a premeditated strategy on its part.

But it may also reflect after-the-fact reaction to an opportunity that arose for other reasons. We know the British undertake regular anti-smuggling operations in the Gulf, and we know that smuggling goes on there (actually, it went on there for many years before the 2003 invasion of Iraq). It is logical to wonder if Iranian Revolutionary Guard units in the area are complicit in smuggling.

What we don't know is what was on the ship the British sailors boarded before they were seized.

Posted by: Zathras on March 30, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

"no .... mutually agreed maritime border exists"

No mutually agreed anything exists in the Middle East, except maybe wifebeating is cool.

Posted by: Bob M on March 30, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK
What propaganda value would their be in releasing video showing how they are really treated? Posted by: Al on March 30, 2007 at 7:37 AM

How would you know how they are being "really treated"?

Unless your in cahoots with the Iranian government!

I knew it! Al is actually an Iranian spy!

BURN HIM! BURN HIM!

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 30, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone else see parallels here with the kidnapings by Huzbullah that provoked the Israeli invasion of Lebanon? Presuming that the provocation for the kidnapings originated with Iran, not Britain, Iran may be trying to provoke a military response so as to garner the same level of support for the regime as did Huzbullah following the Israeli invasion.

It's a sensible thing for a regime to do, especially if the regime is looking for a way to prepare the civilian population for international sanctions while it continues to seek an internationally illicit nuclear weapons program.

Posted by: the dude on March 30, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Want our money? We come with it.

Umm, why? In most business deals you exchange goods for money and that's it. The buyer doesn't then claim a right to interfere in the internal workings of the company he bought the goods from. That's like me telling ConEdison "you want to sell me electricity? I come with it."

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

and Abu Ghraib was just a plain $%-ing horror show, but we fixed it in the open as an open society does,

Oh bullshit we fixed it. A few low-level soldiers were punished, their superiors got off scot-free, and we're back to kidnapping and torturing as we were before. Go peddle that to someone who'll actually believe you.

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

No doubt the answer to this and so many other burning questions of national security will be explicated on "24".

Fer Gawd's sake, don't miss a single episode, Kevin!

Posted by: Mooser on March 30, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm forced to dispute Zathras' contention that Ignatius's column represents thinking.

Posted by: Gregory on March 30, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
Umm, why? In most business deals you exchange goods for money and that's it. The buyer doesn't then claim a right to interfere in the internal workings of the company he bought the goods from.

Depends. For example, in a supply chain the buyer quite often demands standards from the suppliers, such as meeting ISO 9000, which are inspectable. think also of the Nike/shoe/slave labor kerfluffle some years back.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Umm, why? In most business deals you exchange goods for money and that's it. The buyer doesn't then claim a right to interfere in the internal workings of the company he bought the goods from. That's like me telling ConEdison "you want to sell me electricity? I come with it."

Yes, but if I become the majority stockholder in a business, say The Indianapolis Colts I am damned sure not going to let you trade Peyton Manning for Brad Johnson and a third round draft pick, sir.

And for those of you who think I am offensive--suck eggs, liberals. I am in control.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 30, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

we're back to kidnapping and torturing as we were before.
Posted by: Stefan

What makes you think that?

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

It's as good a theory as any.

Kevin,

Might I suggest that you refrain from using "theory" in the vernacular, and instead use "hypothesis", or "guess", or "speculation"?

This casual use of the word "theory" contributes to the wingnut "Evolution is just a theory" meme.

Posted by: Brock on March 30, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Suppose the Iranians want war and Blair and Bush don't want war all Blair needs to do is say, oops, was a mistake and we are sorry and apologize, now please send our soldiers back.

But if we want an excuse to go to war, that will not happen. If anything we will bait some more. Maybe some missiles will accidentally fall inside the Iranian boarder, has happened before.

Posted by: Renate on March 30, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I see the trolls are out in full force today.End of the month quota is coming soon I guess.

And Norman seems to not be so offended by all the dirty talk when it comes from his own posts.

Posted by: vbrans on March 30, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Ali Blahblah: I don't think you are doing our Allies any favors by providing cover for Iran.

I don't think we would be doing ourselves or our allies any favors by allowing the current dispute to escalate into a shooting war.

Posted by: JM on March 30, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ali Blahblah-

No problems that I know of with my spine. I'd ask you however to keep suggestions like "Grow a spine" to yourself. They tend to indicate a paucity of polemic. They're also inappropriate, boring & irrelevant. Notice how I didn't say YOU were inappropriate, boring or irrelevant? If you want to address me, address my arguments. I'll do the same. Deal?

Now, "prowling the boundary" is an interesting phrase. I think we can both agree that the British were on, very near or over that boundary, As all available literature indicates the precise border is not agreed upon by Iran & Iraq, it's also quite possible that according to the 3 different viewpoints -Iranian, Iraqi & British - of where that border is, that all 3 parties could be, at least in their own minds correct. I tend to believe the Iraqi fishermen, who have no dog in this fight, that the British had strayed into Iranian territory.

Even if they hadn't & they had no ulterior motive for being there, the British are nonetheless the heavily armed strangers in waters far from their own. They also occupy countries on either side of Iran. I am not, remotely, a supporter of the Iranian regime. Nor am I a particular supporter of the British. On a purely historical basis I'd have to say the British have a vastly worse record of worldwide bellicosity. Large, armed Iranian contingents have never been anywhere close to the UK. The British have been colonising, exploiting, invading & occupying countries in Iran's neighbourhood for over a century. Iran, though often attacked & invaded, has never invaded another country.

Now, I find the repressive theocracy in Iran abhorrent. I hate how they treat women, young people, gays, non-Muslims & dissent. However, my antipathy towards their style of government, my preference & cultural affinity with the British, does not blind me to the fact that in international terms Iran has been more sinned against than sinning & Britain, for all its' good points, has consistently been the reverse.

I think in this dispute probably both sides have a very good reason to honestly believe they are right. (Disputed border, maritime territory, regional tensions etc.,) The result I believe both sides want is a return of the British sailors. The only way that will happen is if neither side has to lose too much face. Both the Iranian & the British population are deeply nationalistic & the pressure on both sides is to not give an inch. That unfortunately means the British sailors will stay in Iran, even though neither side wants them there. As the outsider to the Gulf neighbourhood, as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council,NATO & the EU, as a nuclear power, as an ally of the US, Britain can afford to be gracious. Iran is under siege, facing sanctions, armies to the east, west & south. They are a proud, ancient civilisation, being backed into a corner, A bit of diplomatic bargaining wouldn't cost either side anything. The British can admit that they may have strayed, accidentally into Iranian waters, the Iranians can admit they might have over-reacted. That's what needs to happen. Anything else equals escalation & that's a no-win situation for everyone.

Regards


Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on March 30, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Iran, though often attacked & invaded, has never invaded another country. - DJO

Ummmm...recently perhaps. As the Persian Empire they compiled quite a record in this regard.

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 30, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

What makes you think that?

The fact that I'm not a credulous child living in a delusional fantasy world.

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Depends. For example, in a supply chain the buyer quite often demands standards from the suppliers, such as meeting ISO 9000, which are inspectable. think also of the Nike/shoe/slave labor kerfluffle some years back.

Yes, but that's merely demanding quality standards from the product to make sure it performs to spec, not interfering in the internal management of the supplier. As long as we're happy with the quality of the oil that we've purchased, which we seem to be, what other business do we have?

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think we would be doing ourselves or our allies any favors by allowing the current dispute to escalate into a shooting war.
Posted by: JM

I agree...and I don't think reasonable minds in Iran want to either. But I also don't think the Rev Guard falls into the category. They may be rational actors, but their rationale differs significantly from ours in opposite directions.

Hostage taking is such big business in Iraq because it pays well. Could be the same in the Gulf.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile in other related news:

Exxon agrees biggest China deal
Exxon Mobil has announced its biggest single investment in China, a joint venture to run 750 petrol stations and a petrochemical refinery.

It will take a 22.5% stake in the service station scheme, alongside China's top refiner Sinopec, with 55%, and Saudi Aramco, with 22.5%.

The three firms are also working together on the refinery project due to begin in 2009 in Fujian province.

The foreign investment is worth about $5bn (£2.6bn), the firms said.

This compares to the £3.6bn Exxon and Saudi Aramco had set out in 2005.

All winners

The three firms said that the two join ventures were "the first fully integrated refining, petrochemicals and fuels marketing project with foreign participation in China".

They said the partnership wanted to tap into China's surging demand for petrol products and petrochemicals, and also included a long-term crude supply deal with Saudi Aramco.

Analysts said that the deal gave Exxon Mobil a foothold in the refinery and marketing sectors of China's oil industry.

Saudi Aramco, already the top supplier of crude to China, will have a guaranteed source of demand for its growing output.

Meanwhile, Sinopec benefits by securing supplies of petrol and petrochemicals.

"Everyone gets what they want," said oil analyst Qie Xiaofeng of Everbright Securities.

The refinery project, in which Exxon and Saudi Aramco will each take a 25% stake, will triple the capacity of the current Fujian oil refinery to 240,000 barrels per day.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/
business/6510445.stm

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 30, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
"What makes you think that?"

The fact that I'm not a credulous child living in a delusional fantasy world.
Posted by: Stefan
So in other words, nothing but your unsubstantiated beliefs which fly in the face of current evidence. Thanks.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

and besides I don't see where any of the Gitmo guys or similar come under the GCs.

I do. The treatment of captured combatants during an international armed conflict is governed by either:

(i) the Third Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, which defines prisoners of war (POWs) and enumerates the protections of POW status; or (ii) the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which governs persons not entitled to POW status, including so-called "unlawful combatants", guerillas, spies, and accused saboteurs.

All prisoners during an armed conflict fall somewhere within the protections of the two Conventions. As the authoritative Commentary to the Geneva Conventions of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) notes "nobody in enemy hands can fall outside the law."

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

No problems that I know of with my spine. I'd ask you however to keep suggestions like "Grow a spine" to yourself. They tend to indicate a paucity of polemic.

OK. There's a hatred of Bush and his policies, but that does not imply love of any sort of Iran. I always give ourselves and our Allies the benefit of the doubt in dealing with the Mullahs. Again, I think this is all about internal Iran politics.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"I always give ourselves and our Allies the benefit of the doubt in dealing with the Mullahs".

Why?

"Again, I think this is all about internal Iran politics"

Which you seem to know little about.

Posted by: seth edenbaum on March 30, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

All prisoners during an armed conflict fall somewhere within the protections of the two Conventions. As the authoritative Commentary to the Geneva Conventions of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) notes "nobody in enemy hands can fall outside the law."
Posted by: Stefan

OK, I won't argue, since I'm for treating them by the GCs anyway. I'm pretty sure the ones caught don't fall into the POW camp, since they don't wear fixed insignia, carry arms openly, etc.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

"I always give ourselves and our Allies the benefit of the doubt in dealing with the Mullahs".

Why?

Really? That's like asking why I would trust the US over Tokyo Rose in WWII.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure the ones caught don't fall into the POW camp, since they don't wear fixed insignia, carry arms openly, etc.

Which is why they'd be held under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Or, alternatively, if suspected of being terrorists they can be charged with a crime and held under the criminal justice system.

But those are the two choices -- either they're prisoners in an armed conflict, in which case they have to be held under Geneva, or they're criminals, in which case they have the rights afforded to criminal defendants. The Bush regime, by contrast, has tried to create a shadowy underworld in which it kidnaps people and holds them under neither standard, seeking a world outside the law.

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
The Bush regime, by contrast, has tried to create a shadowy underworld in which it kidnaps people and holds them under neither standard, seeking a world outside the law.

I hope we follow Gates and shut down Guantanamo.

One good thing, after Bush if the Dems take the White House they'll look positively Angelic by any reasonable measure. Good cop/bad cop and all that.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK
…t is acutally against the law to use pictures of prisoners…. Ali Blahblah at 12:04 PM
Since the refusal to show the graphic evidence of crimes is an obstruction of justice and a coverup, your sudden concern is disingenuous.
… boundary Britain thinks it is is most likely one that they've been thinking it is for at least 4 years now… Ali Blahblah at 12:11 PM
In 2004, Iran captured 8

…In 2004, Iran detained eight British servicemen for three days after they allegedly strayed over the maritime border….
Normally, once bitten etc, but not Tony. It's looking more and more like a search for a causi belli. There is talk that Bush is looking to an April attack.

…I am in control. Norman Rogers at 12:58 PM

It's too bad your brain isn't in control.

Posted by: Mike on March 30, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK
That's like asking why I would trust the US over Tokyo Rose in WWII. Ali Blahblah at 2:22 PM
Bush and Blair are proven liars. There's no reason to believe either automatically. Posted by: Mike on March 30, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Since the refusal to show the graphic evidence of crimes is an obstruction of justice and a coverup, your sudden concern is disingenuous.

I don't give a crap whether more pictures are shown or not, personally. I don't care to llok at them, I don't get my jollies from having down so. And enough out is there for the world to have judged. Hard to top the Xmas Tree shot. Any more is just satisfying your freakish desire to gawk at prisoners in humiliating situations.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Bush and Blair are proven liars. There's no reason to believe either automatically.

Oh, and the Mullahs aren't? At least Bush and Blair have our interests at heart.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Really? That's like asking why I would trust the US over Tokyo Rose in WWII.

No, it's not. That's like asking why I'd trust one liar over the other. The Bush regime has an extensive and well-documented history of lies, falsehood, deceit and deception during the course of the Iraq War, to the extent that their credibility at this point is zero.

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

President Bush carried a promise of better treatment for neglected war veterans on a tour of Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Friday, but critics questioned the timing of the visit six weeks after shoddy conditions were exposed there.

If Bush loves our soldiers so much, why did he let it get into this mess in the first place?

And why did he deny our soldiers body and vehicle armor, and then have his SecDef lie about why, thus overburdening the system with maimed soldiers who should never have been there?

Shoddy conditions are the result of a shoddy president.

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

No, it's not. That's like asking why I'd trust one liar over the other. The Bush regime has an extensive and well-documented history of lies, falsehood, deceit and deception during the course of the Iraq War, to the extent that their credibility at this point is zero.

Posted by: Stefan

Those were Brits taken hostage, not Merkins. And if it's all "he said/she said" unprovable (not too many footprints left in the water), I'm for supporting the agent acting on my Ally's behalf, else I'd be supporting Iran.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

On the case: Pentagon hires PR agency to help with Walter Reed scandal.

-- Josh Marshall

Another case of "we didn't do anything wrong, it's just bad PR on our part and the result of liberal and the MSM exaggerations."

Posted by: anonymous on March 30, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

The 15 Brit hostages are in for a long stay, I'm afraid. By the time they are released they all will have signed statements saying that they personally witnessed Tony Blair and George W. Bush soiling a Koran before burning it.
Posted by: mike cook

Agreed. I don't see how it is in Iran's interest to let them go, unless of course they can get Britain to abjectly humiliate itself. In which case they can jsut grab 15 more later.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK
…At least Bush and Blair have our interests at heart. Ali Blahblah at 2:42 PM
On what planet? When has there ever been evidence of that? Those two lied about Iraq, lied for the invasion, and are constantly lying about the course of the war.
…else I'd be supporting Iran. Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 2:49 PM
That is a false choice and a foolish one at that unless you are actively seeking war. Posted by: Mike on March 30, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Mike
Those two lied about Iraq, lied for the invasion, and are constantly lying about the course of the war.

There is a difference between acting in our best interests and having our best interests at heart. You think they have failed at the first one (I do too) but that does not imply the second one. I am positive they have our best interests at heart, just as I am positive the Mullah's best interests are opposed to ours.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

At least Bush and Blair have our interests at heart.
Posted by: Ali Blahblah

Whose interests? Beyond Exxon's I mean. Exxon and Aramco...

'We are on the brink of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire. Once a nation starts down that path, the dynamics that apply to all empires come into play -- isolation, overstretch, the uniting of local and global forces opposed to imperialism, and in the end bankruptcy.' - Chalmers Johnson

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 30, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

At least Bush and Blair have our interests at heart.
Posted by: Ali Blahblah

Whose interests? Beyond Exxon's I mean. Exxon and Aramco...

Out of curiousity, am I the only person here that owns stock? To put it plainly, when Exxon makes money, I make money. Same for Walmart. Not to mention my index fund, which is spread over a whole slew of companies. Duh. I get the impression that helping a publicly held business that anyone can own stock in is viewed as evil here.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on March 30, 2007 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

mark wrote:

"Um, maybe the British violated Iranian territory. I mean, if a boatload of Revolutionary Guards floated down the Thames, wouldn't the British have them in custody?"
________________________

Word is that the Brits were scooped up as they were disembarking from an Iraqi ship they had just searched for contraband. Their boats were on the far side of the ship, out of sight from any other British vessel. That probably makes this a planned event, rather than an Iranian reaction to a bit of faulty navigation.

Now that it's done, the British have no leverage to get their people back. They daren't use military force and the extent of soft power available was just reached in the watered-down UN Security Council resolution. They'll simply have to wait until Tehran decides they've finished with their prisoners. May God protect them.

Posted by: Trashhauler on March 30, 2007 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

'Put simply, the Bush Family and their allies and cronies represent the confluence of three long-established power factions in the American elite: oil, arms and investments. These groups equate their own interests, their own wealth and privilege, with the interests of the nation -- indeed, the world -- as a whole. And they pursue these interests with every weapon at their command, including war, torture, deceit and corruption.' - Chris Floyd - http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/46602/

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 30, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Suppose the Iranians want war and Blair and Bush don't want war all Blair needs to do is say, oops, was a mistake and we are sorry and apologize, now please send our soldiers back."
____________________

Get in the habit of apologizing for things you didn't do and soon your enemies are going to see just how far they can push you.

The Iranians probably don't want war. Their leadership, however, might want a few incidents like this to bolster Iranian nationalism, the better to divert the attention of their restive, unhappy population.

Posted by: Trashhauler on March 30, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Like Rosie O'dufus, the general liberal mindset here seems to assume that Iran would not lie or violate their prisoners.

Amazing how the left alwasy begins with the idea that America and the UK are the bad guys. The Iranians are experts at taking hostages - how soon we forget.

And all Tony Blair can do is express his dissapproval.

The left wing of this country has damaged a vast majority of their common sense through the Bush HateSyndrome.

Posted by: Orwell on March 30, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

The whole scenario resembles the Barbary pirate crisis in 1805. We had lost the protection of the British Empire and its Navy. The Jefferson administration had wanted to impose isolationism and had no desire to defend the Federalist New England merchants. They had to finally decide to act. Now the British navy is unable to protect even its own sailors and the British government has to decide if it will be a major power or hide behind the US skirts.

I'm sure President Pelosi has a plan for this too. Ironies abound.

Posted by: Mike K on March 30, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Now the British navy is unable to protect even its own sailors and the British government has to decide if it will be a major power or hide behind the US skirts.

Maybe the British should do what brave manly George Bush did when the Chinese held the crew of our spy plane in 2001 -- that is, cravenly apologize with cap in hand.

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

It was rather unfortunate that our EP-3 had to land on Chinese territory, after being bumped by a Chinese fighter. It kind of gave the game away.

Posted by: Trashhauler on March 30, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK
….I'm sure President Pelosi has a plan for this too…Mike K
I'm sure she would do better than Blair or his pal Bush, who he asked to stay out of it.
the idea that America and the UK are the bad guys. Orwell at 4:21 PM
You are mistaking a reasoned reluctance to take either Bush or Blair at their word, a reluctance born of much experience, for an endorsement of Iran. Hostages? How about those taken in by Bush?
…Their leadership…might want a few incidents…to bolster Iranian nationalism…Trashhauler at 4:12 PM
That rationale also applies to the Blair government who is in deep disrepute with the British public.
Word is that the Brits were scooped up as they were disembarking from an Iraqi ship they had just searched …Trashhauler at 3:57 PM
Again, the empirical evidence is lacking and the credibility of the British and the Americans is so bad that their claims are subject to reasonable skepticism.
I the only person here that owns stock?… Ali Blahblah at 3:49 PM
Your remark is no responsive to the discussion at hand. Who cares that your stocks profit? Are you claiming that invading and occupying Iraq is good for your purse and what is good for your purse is the summum bonum? Get a perspective, chum. War for profits isn't going to cut it.


Posted by: Mike on March 30, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK
…. I am positive they have our best interests at heart… Ali Blahblah at 3:05 PM
Bush has never done anything to warrant that assumption, from the tobacco settlement, to the corruption of the EPA, FDA, FCC, DoJ, GSA, and every other federal agency. Bush has never acted in the best interest of all Americans and in no way has American's 'best interest' at heart. All his actions have been to satisfy and appease narrow interest groups like the investment class, evangelicals and a few others. Keep the faith, baby; cuz if you haven't learned by now, you are unteachable. Posted by: Mike on March 30, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Most of the comments above are off mark primarily because the ignore the fact that this is primarily Britain's problem, not ours. We are the UK's ally, and ought to do whatever we can to help, but if they want to roll over and wave their legs in the air and beg for mercy, well, there's not a lot we can do about it.

That said, it's pretty obvious to me what the UK ought to do. It should capture an Iranian naval vessel and take the sailors on it captive as POWs. If the Iranians resist, sink the vessel and take the sailors captive as POWs. That would set up an exchange of POWs and demonstrate to the Iranians, just like you have to show unruly children, that there are limits to their bad behavior. The US's role would be to provide any necessary military support (air cover, etc.)

The only problem is that the the UK doesn't have much of a navy left. Blair has apparently dissolved most of it - what's left is the size of Belgium's navy. So it's unclear that the UK has the naval force necessary to enter Iranian waters and capture and/or sink an Iranian warship.

I guess disarmament isn't such a good idea.

Posted by: DBL on March 30, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Out of curiousity, am I the only person here that owns stock?

No.

To put it plainly, when Exxon makes money, I make money. Same for Walmart. Not to mention my index fund, which is spread over a whole slew of companies. Duh.

Actually, to put it plainly, when Exxon makes a lot of money you make a teeny-tiny bit of money off the side unless you happen to be a large institutional investor. Duh.

I get the impression that helping a publicly held business that anyone can own stock in is viewed as evil here.

No, your impression is wrong. I, for example, work in the financial markets, so let's just say that I have more than a healthy interest in making money and in a robust market. However, as an American citizen I also recognize that my interests as a shareholder may sometimes conflict with my country's interests, and in that case I put my country first. If Exxon makes money, fine -- but if in so doing it harms US interests, then not so fine.

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

To put it plainly, when Exxon makes money, I make money. Same for Walmart. Not to mention my index fund, which is spread over a whole slew of companies. Duh.

Also, to put it plainly, when Exxon makes money some other company or industry sectors you own stock in may make less money, and overall you may end up worse off. The market has a vast and incalculable number of moving parts, and it's foolish to attempt to boil it down to the simplistic "if Exxon makes money, I make money." If that's the way you think, you may want to reconsider managing your own investments and instead let a professional take over for you.

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Also, to put it plainly, when Exxon makes money some other company or industry sectors you own stock in may make less money, and overall you may end up worse off. The market has a vast and incalculable number of moving parts, and it's foolish to attempt to boil it down to the simplistic "if Exxon makes money, I make money."

What did you want, a scotian-ist treatise on the economics of the stock market? You want simplistic, here's a simplistic view of it from a simplistic mind...

Whose interests? Beyond Exxon's I mean. Exxon and Aramco...
Posted by: MsNThrope

Posted by: Ali BlabBlah on March 30, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

'I look forward to Iran and other Muslim countries becoming secular and free.'
--Bob M.

Do you plan to live 10,000 years, Bob?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on March 30, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Why did they grab them?

1. They were in their territorial waters [enforcing Iraqi government import tax laws by they way. What are British troops doing enforcing that crap?] After the US government pinched 50 of their citizens in Iraq AND Iran in the past few months, Iran decided to reciprocate.

Iran claims to have proof the Brits were in their water. And of course the next day, when they promised to provide that proof comes and goes, and the next day, and the next day. Either the GPS locators that were seized at the time are encrypted, or they prove the Brits were not in Iranian waters.

2. The Brits were not in Iranian water. The British government announced they had proof that their military personnel were not in Iranian water, and would produce it the next day. Now unless that proof was satellite video with GPS location, or a real-time transmission of the British position was transmitted at the time of the capture, I do not see how they had proof. Since we are still waiting days later, I can only conclude either the Brits are lying, their proof does upon examination demonstrate their people were in Iranian water, or the proof would expose sensitive technology the US does not want the Iranians to know was being used to monitor the British personnel.

Can anyone say WMD's?

3. Get ready to pay between $8 and $20 a gallon for gasoline, cause either way Iran has delivered Bush the casus belli he needs to launch air strikes on Iran. And he is dumb enough to do it at the behest of the Zionist loving neo-cons. I only hope our troops in Iraq do not get wiped off the face of the earth as a result.

Posted by: Fascist Nation on March 30, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

3. Get ready to pay between $8 and $20 a gallon for gasoline, cause either way Iran has delivered Bush the casus belli he needs to launch air strikes on Iran. And he is dumb enough to do it at the behest of the Zionist loving neo-cons.

So explain to me just how this plays into the Mullah's hands? They could just let them go and all would be OK. Instead, according to you, they've just sent Bush an invitation visit Tehran with his B-2s. What's the narrative that makes this rational for them?

Posted by: Ali BlabBlah on March 30, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

I believe commenter Jimm has it right. People forget we've been taking Iranian military personnel into custody. Tit for tat. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Posted by: Urban Sombrero on March 30, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

"People forget we've been taking Iranian military personnel into custody. Tit for tat. What's good for the goose is good for the gander."
_________________

Wait a second. We catch Iranian agents in Iraq actively aiding insurgents, so it's okay for Iran to grab some Brits in Iraqi waters, who weren't doing anything to harm Iran? That might make sense to some, but to any military person that's just crazy.

Posted by: Trashhauler on March 31, 2007 at 5:08 AM | PERMALINK

Irony alert. Guy who says that if Exxon makes him money it follows that everything Exxon does is in the best interests of the people of this country, and by extension, I guess, the world, is calling me 'simplistic'.

ROFLMAO.

Here's my favorite single line from that news release I posted:

'Saudi Aramco, already the top supplier of crude to China, will have a guaranteed source of demand for its growing output.'

So sources of demand is the problem here? And here I thought that one of most pressing issues was excess global demand meeting uncertain global supply. I'd have to guess they are falling back on the classic economic test for 'demand' which includes the 'means of satisfying (paying for) that demand and that, ergo, the Saudis are assuming the US will not continue to have the means (sound currency) to support a 'guaranteed source of demand'.

There's another tiny issue about 'growing output' since that's pretty seriously untrue. They mean the crude they'll no longer be supplying to us in the foreseeable future will free up some of their flatlining output to sell to China.

'Simplistic' enough even for a cultist of The Invisible Hand to grasp?

Paul Craig Roberts: 'It is unclear how much longer the world will trade Americans real goods for pieces of paper that the US economy cannot redeem with tradable goods and services.'

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 31, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

MsNThrope
Irony alert. Guy who says that if Exxon makes him money it follows that everything Exxon does is in the best interests of the people of this country...

Strawman alert. BZZZZT! Didn't say it. Thanks for playing, better luck next time with your reading comprehension.

Posted by: Ali BlabBlah on March 31, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Another pathetic cultist of Gordon Gecko.

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 31, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Wait a second. We catch Iranian agents in Iraq actively aiding insurgents, so it's okay for Iran to grab some Brits in Iraqi waters, who weren't doing anything to harm Iran? That might make sense to some, but to any military person that's just crazy.

No, the Iranian agents we catch in Iraq aren't aiding insurgents, because those insurgents are Sunnis and are Iran's enemies. The Iranians we catch are aiding the very same Iraqi Shiite government that's supposed to be our ally and that we ourselves are supporting. That's what's crazy.

Posted by: Stefan on March 31, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

So explain to me just how this plays into the Mullah's hands? They could just let them go and all would be OK. Instead, according to you, they've just sent Bush an invitation visit Tehran with his B-2s. What's the narrative that makes this rational for them?

Who said war is rational?

As I said, the US has been kidnapping their citizens out of both Iraq and Iran, and this is tit for tat.

The US has also been training, equipping and funding terrorist groups to set off bombs in Iran, and this is a good way to demonstrate where the Rubicon lies.

Where is the sense in goading the Iranians into war? Yet these are just the actions being undertaken by the US both in foreign policy and militarily. [And as another poster has noted, the further insanity of Bush policy of assisting pro-Iranian forces in Iraq against anti-Iranian forces there.]

Lastly tripling to quintupling the cost of oil is a direct boost in oil income providing supply demand stays at its current level (unlikely).

Posted by: Fascist Nation on April 1, 2007 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Fascist Nation
Who said war is rational?

Well, most people think the Iranians are acting rationally. Not sure of their value system...

Where is the sense in goading the Iranians into war? Yet these are just the actions being undertaken by the US both in foreign policy and militarily. [And as another poster has noted, the further insanity of Bush policy of assisting pro-Iranian forces in Iraq against anti-Iranian forces there.]

What is the sense in goading the US into war, by the Iranians? As someone else noted, they are throwing a casus belli into our laps. Actually, into the Brit laps. I don't think they'd have grabbed 15 of our guys.

Lastly tripling to quintupling the cost of oil is a direct boost in oil income providing supply demand stays at its current level (unlikely).

That makes better sense.

Posted by: Ali Blahblah on April 1, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

[... - www.washingtonmonthly.com is one nice source of information on this subject,[... -

Posted by: Free international call >> Why waste money on international calls when ... on November 25, 2009 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK
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