Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 4, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PRISONER SWAP?....Via Andrew Sullivan, Scott Horton recounts a question he asked yesterday during a conversation with a British diplomat:

What were the prospects for a resolution of the current dilemma through a prisoner exchange — namely the 15 British sailors and marines seized by Tehran for the six Iranians held by U.S. forces in Iraq? The question drew a broad smile and this comment: "If everything develops as I hope it will, then about a week from today people may very well be speculating that this is what has happened. They might very well think that. Of course, government representatives would be at pains to convince them that there is no relationship between the releases, because it is the position of each of the governments involved that there can be no quid pro quo when it comes to hostages." That's about as close as a wiley diplomat would come to saying "yes."

Now that's entirely likely — though I have to say that Horton's diplomat doesn't really sound all that wiley to me. In fact, a resolution like this sounds very Cuban Missile Crisis-ish: we get something we want in exchange for giving them something we were probably planning to give them anyway. After all, how long were we planning on keeping those Iranians we detained a couple of months ago? Probably not much longer.

Kevin Drum 6:59 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (67)

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Kevin Drum wrote: "After all, how long were we planning on keeping those Iranians we detained a couple of months ago?"

You mean the Iranian HOSTAGES who were taken HOSTAGE by the US military, thus precipitating the HOSTAGE CRISIS?

And who is this "we" that you speak of? Sounds like Stockholm Syndrome to me.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 4, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

This is the government of Guantanemo. Logically they should not have been seized at all. I have no confidence they were slated to be released any time soon.

Posted by: Mudge on April 4, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Exactly why do you think that we were planning to keep those Iranians not much longer? Tell that people in Guantanamo or who have been through extraordinary rendition.

Posted by: fred on April 4, 2007 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

After all, how long were we planning on keeping those Iranians we detained a couple of months ago?

Ask David Hicks.

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, I see that everyone is having the same reaction to Kevin's vapid query.

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Absolutely not. No way, no how. If it involves negotiating, particularly with Iran, then this government had absolutely nothing to do with it. Makes for a neat little story, though.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on April 4, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Secular: "we" means "America." Last I checked, I'm an American.

As for how long we were planning to keep the Iranians, who knows? It's possible we were planning to detain them forever, but it's unlikely they were really of that much use to us. Returning them to Iran probably isn't that big a deal.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on April 4, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

We now see the insideous affects of Nancy Pelosi's photo-op forays into the middle east.

Nancy Pelosi wore Muslim clothes and paraded about Damascus and made all nicey-nice with a bunch of cold-blooded killers cut from the same clothes as Osams B. What next, is she going to run around Teran in a burka?

Posted by: egbert on April 4, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Aiyeee! Hostage deals with eeee-vil mullahs!

What's next? Nancy Pelosi delivering the Bush twins into Arab slavery?!

We should bomb all Arab countries into glass parking lots!

Aiyeee!

Posted by: bleh on April 4, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: you defend your "we" usage, but I reject it to describe actions taken by the Bush administration, though I'm an American.

Posted by: Joe Buck on April 4, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK


Maybe egbert's onto something here.
Now he needs to tell us what's so f*cking insidious about 15 prisoners being freed. Can we stop biting at each others' ankles long enough to be glad for these young people, and their families?

Didn't think so.

Posted by: thersites on April 4, 2007 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK
As for how long we were planning to keep the Iranians, who knows? It's possible we were planning to detain them forever, but it's unlikely they were really of that much use to us.

Where is the evidence that use to "us" (meaning, presumably, "America") figures significantly into the Bush Administration's calculus of detention?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2007 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

oops -- paste missed somehow. I was referring to egbert's
We now see the insideous affects of Nancy Pe-loser's photo-op forays into the middle east.

It's called preview. I should try it.

Posted by: thersites on April 4, 2007 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan: Arms for hostages
Bush II Hostages for hostages

Posted by: Mike on April 4, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think I saw this last night on ABC.

You mean the show "Prisoner Swap" where the zanny prisoners show the new warden 'how it's done.' It comes on right after "Pimp my Wife." Right?

Posted by: absent observer on April 4, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's possible we were planning to detain them forever, but it's unlikely they were really of that much use to us

Right. And how useful was David Hicks to "us" for five years? I bet he wasn't useful at all to America. On the other hand keeping him locked up without a trial was useful politically to President "I never do any wrong" Pissypants

Posted by: fred on April 4, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

If the President was Bill Clinton or a Democrat, I wonder what a 'moderate' conservative would have said under similar circumstances.

Kevin's moderation is extreme.

Posted by: gregor on April 4, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

So, Steak and Eggy, what's the precise, insidious effect of Re. Joe Pitts' (R, PA) and two other Republicans' current Syrian visit and Assad audience? (i.e., They're there right now.)

http://local.lancasteronline.com/4/202433

Inquiring minds....

Ah, Kevin.

We now see the insideous affects of Nancy Pe-loser's photo-op forays into the middle east.

Nancy Pelosi wore Muslim clothes and paraded about Damascus and made all nicey-nice with a bunch of cold-blooded killers cut from the same clothes as Osams B. What next, is she going to run around Teran in a burka?


Posted by: Trollhattan on April 4, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum wrote: "we" means "America." Last I checked, I'm an American.

I see. So, "we" equals "America" equals "the Bush administration" equals "George W. Bush".

You were referring to the actions of the US military acting on the orders of the Bush administration to take Iranian hostages in Iraq, and hold them in an undisclosed location, without charge or trial or any legal recourse, for an indefinite period ("Probably not much longer" you guess).

Those actions were not undertaken by any "we" that I am a part of. And since they seized power in the stolen election of 2000, the Bush administration has done nothing but work aggressively to undermine and destroy everything that I value as "America".

Stockholm Syndrome indeed.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 4, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

As for how long we were planning to keep the Iranians, who knows? It's possible we were planning to detain them forever, but it's unlikely they were really of that much use to us.

Again, to echo the posters above don't you mean "It's possible we were planning to hold them hostage forever, but it's unlikely that they were really of that much use to us as a bargaining chip to hold for ransom"?

Posted by: Stefan on April 4, 2007 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of trying to appear even-handed, what is with the fricking NYT?

In David Stout's article about Bush's recess appointments, he writes:

"The Bush administration withdrew Mr. Fox’s nomination for the ambassadorship on March 28, after it became clear that Democratic senators were lining up against him to settle a score."

"Settle a score"? WTF does the NYT keep incorporating wingnut talking pts into their so-called reporting?

(That's a rhet question, btw.)

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

you guys have jumped the shark...seriously.

since presumably these Iranians weren't talking (and I can guarantee you we weren't waterboarding them) and whatever intel we got from them was from the docs captured with them...it follows that we were holding them as bargaining chips for something like this.

simple. that's the way the game is played.

Posted by: Nathan on April 4, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

oh, and some of you are so hate filled that you're even creating ground for the Cheneyesque slur that liberals hate American and would rather side with her enemies. thankfully, people like secular animist and disputo do not represent most liberals...otherwise I would think Coulter is right.

Posted by: Nathan on April 4, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

This has the potential to get very ugly.

The UK has a long history of royally messing up nations that take military swipes at them.

I believe Tony Blair recently issues a little publicized letter to the Iranian embassy in London that read:

Dear Akmud Ajmadinajawhatever and Ayatolla Other Guy,

Please call and discuss your current situation with Argentina.

Regards,
Her Majesty's Royal Marines.

Posted by: Thomas on April 4, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Guantanemo

You can't be Captain Nemo all your life.

But you can be kept in Guantanamo all of your life.

I suffer guilt for being part of the 'we' that is W. Bush's America. I wish more people did.

Posted by: Brojo on April 4, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK
since presumably these Iranians weren't talking (and I can guarantee you we weren't waterboarding them) and whatever intel we got from them was from the docs captured with them...it follows that we were holding them as bargaining chips for something like this.

Um, if your argument here is correct, it supports the objections everyone is making against Kevin, that, indeed, the Bush administration was not likely absent the Iranian action to release the Iranian hostages, and was likely to retain them indefinitely absent some incident like this.

It therefore rebuts what it appears offered to support, namely your contention that "you guys have jumped the shark...seriously." Unless, of course, that comment offered to the room at large without any clear aim was supposed to be directed at something other than the many criticisms of Kevin's claim offered here that you are reinforcing with your post, in which case, you might do well to actually make it clear what you are trying to criticize next time.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

(and I can guarantee you we weren't waterboarding them)

What is the basis for this guarantee?

it follows that we were holding them as bargaining chips for something like this.

So you're conceding that we were illegally holding them hostage.

that's the way the game is played.

It is indeed -- by gangsters.

Posted by: Stefan on April 4, 2007 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK
oh, and some of you are so hate filled that you're even creating ground for the Cheneyesque slur that liberals hate American and would rather side with her enemies.

Again, are you talking about people making the criticism that your earlier post supports in substance or some other people? From now on, please try to be more specific in what it is you are responding to rather than throwing vague insults across the room with no clear target.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 4, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

From now on, please try to be more specific in what it is you are responding to rather than throwing vague insults across the room with no clear target.

Why should he change now?

Posted by: Stefan on April 4, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

thankfully, people like secular animist and disputo do not represent most liberals...otherwise I would think Coulter is right.

Oh, I beg to differ. The spewage I've seen from these individuals represents the new direction of the Democratic Party. They are loud and boisterous and have the ability to shout down any reasoned or moderating voice. They will bully and intimidate any liberal who does not conform to their fascist views. And make no mistake about it--they're they ones who want to tell people what to say, what to think, what to eat, where to live, how to live, how much gas their car can burn, how many trees a homeowner has to have on his property, what color eyes a man's dog can be, and so on and so forth. If that's not the readily apparent fascism of the unhinged Left, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 4, 2007 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Egbert.

You said our Speaker "... made all nicey-nice with a bunch of cold-blooded killers."

You're losing your historical frame of reference.

Did you mean "all nicey-nice" like the Reagan administration,
selling weapons to those same Iranians, in violation of federal law, leading to multiple guilty pleas and verdicts?

Did you mean "all nicey-nice" like Donald Rumsfeld, posing for pictures hand-in-hand with Sadaam Hussein?

Did you mean "all nicey-nice" like (again) the Reagan administration, having live weapons-grade anthrax transferred from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, to (again) Sadaam Hussein?

You've got to keep it all in perspective, mon frere. Is this really the most objectionable instance of "nicey-nice" you can think of?

Posted by: Aminiature Cawk on April 4, 2007 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Settle a score"? WTF does the NYT keep incorporating wingnut talking pts into their so-called reporting?

This score:

Democrats had denounced Fox for his donation to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential campaign. The group's TV ads, which claimed that Sen. John Kerry exaggerated his military record in Vietnam, were viewed as a major factor in the Massachusetts Democrat's election loss. Recognizing Fox did not have the votes to obtain Senate confirmation in the Foreign Relations Committee, Bush withdrew the nomination last week. On Wednesday, with the Senate on a one-week break, the president used his power to make recess appointments to put Fox in the job without Senate confirmation. Bush also used his recess appointment authority to make Andrew Biggs deputy director of Social Security. The president's earlier nomination of Biggs, an outspoken advocate of partially privatizing the government's retirement program, was rejected by Senate Democrats in February.


Posted by: Qwerty on April 4, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin asks how long we were planning to keep the Iranians we detained a couple of months ago. Various people ding him for assuming we were planning to release them soon anyway.

But here's the thing: why on earth does anyone believe there is any strategy or plan driving Bush's drunken conduct of this occupation, anyway? I bet there was no plan. There never was a plan to do anything coherent!

And as to those who object to Kevin's "we", well, I'd love to repudiate the past six years entirely. I never voted for the shrub, but I'm well aware I cannot just shrug off the past six years of war crimes and other crimes so easily.

All of us will bear this burden of shame for years to come.

Posted by: Amit Joshi on April 4, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

"wily".

Posted by: a on April 4, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

The spewage I've seen from these individuals represents the new direction of the Democratic Party. They are loud and boisterous and have the ability to shout down any reasoned or moderating voice. They will bully and intimidate any liberal who does not conform to their fascist views. And make no mistake about it--they're they ones who want to tell people what to say, what to think, what to eat, where to live, how to live, how much gas their car can burn, how many trees a homeowner has to have on his property, what color eyes a man's dog can be, and so on and so forth. If that's not the readily apparent fascism of the unhinged Left, I don't know what is.

Norm, can I use this quote on the jacket of my forthcoming book?

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, thanks for quoting what I already had read in the link I provided....

"Settling a score" is the wingnut frame intended to delegitimize the Dems blocking the nomination of yet another party hack.

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan wrote: "thankfully, people like secular animist and disputo do not represent most liberals"

I am not a "liberal" and I don't "represent" anyone but myself.

Norman Rogers wrote: "The spewage I've seen from these individuals represents the new direction of the Democratic Party."

The only difference between you and the other weak-minded, ignorant, Bush-bootlicking dupes who slavishly recite the scripted right-wing extremist talking points that are spoon-fed to them by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News is that you are a pretentious phony.

And as it happens I am a registered Green, not a Democrat, and I don't "represent" anything about the Democratic Party.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 4, 2007 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Norm, can I use this quote on the jacket of my forthcoming book?

I really don't want my finer bits associated with a book on how you made a friend and then ate that friend in a cannibalistic orgy of horror and drugs.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 4, 2007 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

otherwise I would think Coulter is right.

About what?

That Edwards is a "faggot"? That the 9/11 widows are happy that their husbands are dead? That terrorists should blow up the NYTimes? That US troops should kill journalists?

Coulter has said so many things. Which one of her many gems are you aligning yourself with?

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't want my finer bits associated with a book on how you made a friend and then ate that friend in a cannibalistic orgy of horror and drugs.

How did you get ahold of the manuscript?

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

The only difference between you and the other weak-minded, ignorant, Bush-bootlicking dupes who slavishly recite the scripted right-wing extremist talking points that are spoon-fed to them by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News is that you are a pretentious phony.

Isn't that the same paragraph you write over and over and over again?

SA - 2004 -

Al Gore is the legitimately elected President of the United States, a patriot, a statesman, a scholar and a gentleman. His speeches over the last year have been brilliant, incisive, inspiring and moving. They have, indeed, *provoked* a meltdown -- on the part of folks like yourself: ignorant, doltish, brainwashed boot-licking sycophants of the liar, fraud and criminal George W. Bush.

SA - 2005 -

All of which -- enriching politically-connected corporate fatcats, promoting global war, and cynically pretending to address real, urgent issues while in reality doing nothing about them but exploiting for political gain -- is exactly what the Bush-bootlicking neo-brownshirts love about the Bush administration.

SA - 2006 -

It's obvious that you are scientifically illiterate and that your brain-dead notions about global warming come straight from the right-wing Bush-bootlicking script that Exxon/Mobil has been paying frauds to spout for years: e.g. that the overwhelming evidence that anthropogenic global warming is real, and is already causing enormous, rapid, accelerating and extremely dangerous changes in the earth's biosphere, is a "cynical" plot to destroy capitalism by imposing "an economic speeding ticket for the US economy".

You're like a violin that plays one note, over and over again.

[PS--all you have to do is use the google and switch the terms around--hilarity ensues.]

Bwah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 4, 2007 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Keith Olbermann...be still my heart...
I am excited to see his take on the news.
Has the white house been harboring any doubt about Mr. Bush throwing out the first pitch at any ballpark in the country--fears confirmed:
Karl Rove, divisive figure, got beaned as protestors blocked his car and threw whatever, screaming at him at American University-- in D.C., no less.
Bush, engaging in his usual selfishly comfortable, yet insincere and manipulative photo opportunity with captive audiences of soldiers-- this time at Fort Irwin--where troops will Not get to train since they'll be quickly deployed in Bush's war--he uses them for support for his preferred role as commander in chief--as opposed to role of governing, which he does not do-- and oh my god, he actually reverts to the old 'oceans cannot protect people from harm...I saw a threat...Sadamm...9/11..." BUSHISMS ABOUND.
He has driven us into a ditch, says guest Paul Rieckhoff, leader of Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans, who aptly points out Bush's hypocrisy--and points as well to McCain's ridiculous "parade through Baghdad."
Paul says troops are NOT a prop for the administration to use to make their political points.
Bush, the absolute KING of taking LONG vacations (recall summer of 2005--Cindy Sheehan,ignored by Bush, devastating hurricanes, ignored by Bush-- during his month of vacationing--who could forget that?) has the nerve to criticize Congress for its ONE week vacation, as he leaves FOR HIS OWN to Crawford.
Why is irony lost on him?


Posted by: consider wisely on April 4, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

How did you get [a] hold of the manuscript?

How did you get out of prison?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 4, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin. We now see the insideous affects of Nancy Pelosi's photo-op forays into the middle east. ... What next, is she going to run around Teran in a burka?

First of all, I just want to register my complaint that it is unspeakably unfair that the semi-literate eggplant get to post these days, and Hawk, whose only crime is sacrificing his dignity and integrity to provide us with amusement, does not.

But anyway, I just wanted to point out that this is a point in Rudy's favor. If Pelosi wearing a scarf on her head, just as Condi and Bush's other wife have done in similar contexts, defused this situation without starting a war like the chickenhawks would have preferred, then I wonder if we can't get Rudy the cross-dresser to wear a Burqa every now and then for the sake of world peace.

Posted by: bobb on April 4, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

How did you get out of prison?

Why the file in the apple tart you sent, of course.

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

WILY, not WILEY.

Posted by: passerby on April 4, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Why did the US have Iranian hostages in the first place? You really have top learn that you live in a world where there are consequences for your actions, and those consequences are not necessarily the ones you want. Sheesh!

Posted by: Expat on April 4, 2007 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

The British appear to have lost this confrontation decisively. They can regain their manhood by running more patrols, much more heavily armed, in the same area (Iraqi waters) for the next few months. Will they ? I don't know.

Kevin, is there some reason why you prefer the version of every story provided by our enemies? Iran has been at war with us since 1979. Both this incident, a deliberate ploy, and the embassy hostage crisis, were acts of war. Reagan made a mistake by trying to ransom hostages held by the Iranians in Lebanon. The chief concern was Bill Buckley, the CIA station chief who was tortured to death by the Iranian intelligence services. I don't see why you would expect us to repeat that mistake.

As far as Rumsfeld in the 1980s with Saddam, we gave him some support to help him fight a country that was at war with us. That's all. The anthrax cultures that you misrepresent were available to any microbiology lab. A little better treatment of facts would be appreciated. I know it is your commenters, and not you, that misrepresent facts but it should be mentioned.

Posted by: Mike K on April 4, 2007 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

Why did the US have Iranian hostages in the first place?

An associated question that deserves a full answer is: Why is the US funding terrorists operating in Iran?

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Trust Kevin to get it right again...or at a minimum provide some interesting speculative thought, though I do acutally think there has been a quid pro quo here.

Be that as it may...more distressingly, the world can compare the treatment of the British Soliders with...Camp X Ray and Renditions and all the bad stuff we've been doing.

It wasn't necessary, it was counter productive, that was always my strong objection to the Woo and Gonzalez Torture Memo.

Who looks better now? Ourselves or Iran?

Simple really...

Thanks Kevin.

Best Wishes,

Traveller

Posted by: Traveller on April 4, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Why the file in the apple tart you sent, of course.

You know, when I was in minimum security prison, a friend of mine with a "sense of humour" mailed me a package that somehow was never intercepted and opened by the prison authorities there in the city of Rochester, Minnesota. I was at the prison there when another fellow named Jim Bakker was there--more on that some other day. This package had a few books, some copies of Forbes magazine, a couple of packages of Fig Newtons and a fully loaded Glock pistol, complete with hollow point rounds and two spare clips.

I traded it for a VCR and a cellphone. No idea what happened after that.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 4, 2007 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

You know, when I was in minimum security prison...

Funny.
Send the guy to prison for sodomy and all he learns to do is lick the asses of male republican politicians.

Recidivism of the most bestial kind...

Posted by: troll hunter with an elephant gun on April 4, 2007 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Send the guy to prison for sodomy and all he learns to do is lick the asses of male republican politicians.

No, but thanks for telling us what YOU'RE obsessed with.

A sophisticated form of insider trading involving the use of acquisition strategies that are more common in Asia than in the U.S. during a time of zealous overprosecution, thanks to the fallout from the Savings and Loan scandals of the late 1980s.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 4, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Iran has been at war with us since 1979

Since Iran has, according to you, been at war with us since 1979, then didn't Reagan and his co-conspirators North, Poindexter, Abrams etc. commit open treason against the United States by selling Iran weapons and thereby providing America's enemy aid and comfort?

And if we've been at war with Iran since 1979, then wasn't Dick Cheney committing treason when he was CEO of Halliburton in the 1990s and was lobbying the Clinton Administration to remove sanctions against Iran so he could line his own pockets with Iran's blood money?

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney (search), who has called Iran "the world's leading exporter of terror," pushed to lift U.S. trade sanctions against Tehran while chairman of Halliburton (search) Co. in the 1990s. And his company's offshore subsidiaries also expanded business in Iran....

President Clinton cut off all U.S. trade with Iran in 1995 because of Tehran's support for terrorism. Cheney argued then that sanctions did not work and punished American companies. The former defense secretary complained in a 1998 speech that U.S. companies were "cut out of the action" in Iran because of the sanctions. At an energy industry conference in 1996, Cheney said sanctions were the greatest threat to Halliburton and other American oil-related companies trying to expand overseas.

"We seem to be sanction-happy as a government," Cheney said. "The problem is that the good Lord didn't see fit to always put oil and gas resources where there are democratic governments."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,134836,00.html

Posted by: Stefan on April 4, 2007 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Iran.

Surrounded by powerful American forces on either side.

Iraq: 150+ American troops, plus Iraqi forces, plus 100k special Blackwater contractor forces

Afghan: 20+ American

Three destroyers (American) in the Gulf.

Iran buckles and releases hostages.

Bush policy vidnicated.

Posted by: egbert (means business) on April 4, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Bush policy vidnicated.

Very well put.

Posted by: Disputo on April 4, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K, a stalwart troll indeed, indomitably sez:
"As far as Rumsfeld in the 1980s with Saddam, we gave him some support [SUPPORT IN THE FORM OF BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, THAT IS] to help him fight a country that was at war with us. That's all. The anthrax cultures that you misrepresent were available to any microbiology lab. A little better treatment of facts would be appreciated.

So it's a MISREPRESENTATION that Reagan gave weapon-ready anthrax spores (and other biological agents) to Saddam, huh, Mike?

"On 25 May 1994, The U.S. Senate Banking Committee released a report in which it was stated that "pathogenic" (meaning disease producing), "toxigenic" (meaning poisonous) and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq, pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It added: "These exported biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction."[14]

The report then detailed 70 shipments (including anthrax bacillus) from the United States to Iraqi government agencies over three years, concluding "It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the UN inspectors found and recovered from the Iraqi biological warfare program." [15]
Link: http://www.gulfwarvets.com/arison/banking.htm
# ^ See lists:

Link: http://cns.miis.edu/research/wmdme/flow/iraq/seed.htm
Link: http://groups.msn.com/exposureofthetruth/biologicalssoldtoiraq.msnw

See also: "The U.S. Centers for Disease Control sent Iraq 14 agents "with biological warfare significance," including West Nile virus, according to Riegle's investigators [17] And The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust, also released a list of U.S. companies and their exports to Iraq." [18]
# ^ Report by St. Petersburg Times: http://www.sptimes.com/2003/03/16/Perspective/How_Iraq_built_its_we.shtml
# ^ See page 11 of this report: http://www.sfbg.com/News/32/21/images/b11.gif

Posted by: Aminiature Cawk on April 4, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, Egbert --
You overlook one vital fact: The U.S. forces you cite in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf...

WERE ALL PRESENT IN APPROXIMATELY THE SAME NUMBERS AND LOCATIONS WHEN THE BRITISH WERE TAKEN INTO CUSTODY IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Perhaps they weren't as strong a deterrent as you suggest, huh?

Posted by: Aminiature Cawk on April 4, 2007 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

One reaches closrue through vidnication.

Posted by: skeg on April 5, 2007 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

(to Expand on my previous commnent)

The Quid Pro Quo Was Done Yesterday...


- Britain has few options in Iran standoff
BAGHDAD — An Iranian diplomat seized in Iraq two months ago has been freed, the Iraqi government said Tuesday. The envoy, Jalal Sharafi, was welcomed by senior Iranian officials at the airport in Tehran, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

(snip)

The release of the Iranian diplomat came as President Bush emphasized that there should be "no quid pro quos" to end the standoff between Iran and Britain.

"The seizure of the sailors is indefensible by the Iranians," Bush told reporters in Washington. "I support the Blair government's attempts to solve this issue peacefully, so we're in close consultation with the British government.

"I also strongly support the prime minister's declaration that there should be no quid pro quos when it comes to the hostages," Bush said.

Sharafi, the Iranian diplomat, was seized Feb. 4 in the central Baghdad neighborhood of Karada. Armed men in Iraqi uniforms intercepted his vehicle, forced him into a car and sped away.

Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Labeed Abbawi said Sharafi had been freed Monday but gave no other details.

*****

At least part of this is a done deal.

I would image as part of good faith gesture that other details would fall into place also...but the quid pro quo was already done...Yesterday.

More to the point:

Iran, meanwhile, released new photos of the 15 Britons. The images show the service members in civilian clothing, looking relaxed and smiling while eating and playing a game of chess.

The headline accompanying the photos on Fars news agency said, "British marines enjoying so-called captivity."

It said the troops were "having fruit and coffee, speaking to each other, playing chess and on the whole spending their desirable leisure time in Iran, instead of serving missions in the cumbersome conditions of the Persian Gulf."


Be that as it may...more distressingly, the world can compare the treatment of the British Soliders with...Gitmo and Renditions and all the bad stuff we've been doing.

It wasn't necessary, it was counter productive, that was always my strong objection to the Woo and Gonzalez Torture Memo.

Who looks better now? Ourselves or Iran?

Images of laughing British Soldiers or Abu Ghraib?

Simple really...think about it.

What the World sees about us matters.

Best Wishes,

Traveller

Posted by: Traveller on April 5, 2007 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

"a wiley diplomat"
"doesn't really sound all that wiley to me"

I know it's suposed to be bad netiquette to slag off anyone's spelling on blogs, but c'mon now.
There is no such word as "wiley" (except certain coyotes, and IIRC, even he spells it "Wile E."). The word both writers are attempting to use is "wily."
Can't we leave the malapropisms to the reichwing? We're sposed to be the smart ones.

And, speaking of netiquette, it's late and I wanted to post before beddy-bye, so if someone else already pointed this out upthread, I apologize.

Posted by: smartalek on April 5, 2007 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone mentioned the Iranian general who "disappeared" in Istanbul several weeks ago? The story was that he (a) defected (b) was kidnapped by CIA, or (c) was kidnapped by Mossad. The Iranians raised hell about it, and the story disappeared.

Was he part of the prisoner swap?

Posted by: Bob Martin on April 5, 2007 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

Please call and discuss your current situation with Argentina.

Regards,
Her Majesty's Royal Marines.
Posted by: Thomas

That particular little show depended on extensive support from the US Navy. Otherwise the Royal Marines would have been twiddling their thumbs in Portsmouth sucking down Budweisers.

Posted by: MsNThrope on April 5, 2007 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

The US is losing a P.R. war to IRAN. Think about that.

These are the guys that invented chess, while we're still sitting here with a president who looks like he can't play tic-tac-toe.

Posted by: grumpy realist on April 5, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

These are the guys that invented chess, while we're still sitting here with a president who looks like he can't play tic-tac-toe.
Posted by: grumpy realist

Not without one of those suspicious 'lumps' and an ear-piece anyway.

"This is one of the most intellectually gifted presidents we've had."
-- Karl Rove, senior adviser to President Bush, on MSNBC.

Posted by: MsNThrope on April 5, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

This isn't the deal Kevin Drum is making it out to be. We would never have released the detained Iranians, because we don't release detainees and we've likely tortured them to all hell by now. I'm failry certain that the entire point of this was to compel the release of the Iranians, and that they Iranians had already exhausted all diplomatic options with no chance of ever seeing their citizens again.

Posted by: soullite on April 5, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

The British diplomat was probably desperate to be quoted as saying "You Might Say That, I Couldn't Possibly Comment" but it's significance would have been lost on Americans.

Posted by: blowback on April 5, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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