Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 2:53 pm

Join me today at 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Central time for the Rick Moran Show on Blog Talk Radio.

Today my special guest will be Shaun Mullen of The Moderate Voice and Kiko’s House. Is there such a beast as a moderate in American politics today? We’ll ask Shaun about that as well as Iraq, the presidential race, and other interesting topics.

If you want to access the stream live, you can click on the button below (I think.) BTR has just had a huge and wonderful upgrade to its software so I hope you can get the broadcast by clicking on the button.

Here’s my new Host Page at BTR. I think you can access the show once it starts there as well (some features don’t show up until 2 minutes before air time.)

You can also access the player for the podcast which will be up almost immediately after the show.



The first 11:30 seconds or so is dead air (you can use the cursor to fast forward to when the dead air ends) thanks to the fact that I had no idea my feed was not going out over the air. Oh well, live and learn.

Anyway, it was an interesting discussion. You can stream it or download it by clicking the button above.


Filed under: The Long War — Rick Moran @ 8:40 am

Many of you may have heard or been following the so-called “Holy Land Foundation” trial in Texas where CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot to use Islamic charities in this country to fund Hamas in their war of genocide against Israel.

The Dallas Morning News has been doing a bang-up job of covering the trial and all the issues and personalities surrounding it. Here’s a piece that gives some good background on the charges and the issues.

In combing through the thousands of pages of documents seized by federal authorities, prosecutors have translated some documents that will have many blogs buzzing this morning.

The documents detail a Muslim plot to take over the United States.

First, it must be said that I have a better shot of being the closer for the Chicago Cubs than the Muslim Brotherhood has ever had of taking over the country. Reading excerpts from the plan is like taking a walk through a psyche ward for the criminally insane:

A 1991 strategy paper for the Brotherhood, often referred to as the Ikhwan in Arabic, found in the Virginia home of an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, describes the group’s U.S. goals, referred to as a “civilization-jihadist process.”

“The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions,” it states. This process requires a “mastery of the art of ‘coalitions,’ the art of ‘absorption’ and the principles of ‘cooperation.’ ”

Success in the U.S. “in establishing an observant Islamic base with power and effectiveness will be the best support and aid to the global movement,” it states.

A transcript of a Brotherhood orientation meeting recorded in the early 1980s includes discussions of the need for “securing the group” from infiltration by “Zionism, Masonry … the CIA, FBI, etc. so that we find out if they are monitoring us” and “how can we get rid of them.” Discussions later turn to “weapons training at the Ikhwan’s camps” in Oklahoma and Missouri.

Not only were these guys lunatics, they were paranoid as well. The Masons? Thank God they don’t know anything about Moose Lodges.

But as nutso as these fanatics are, a germ of truth emerges from their rantings and certain actions by Muslim groups in the west begin to make sense.

I have taken great pains over the years to differentiate between the extremely small, violent minority of Muslims who have taken up jihad against American and the west and the huge bulk of the followers of the Prophet who wouldn’t hurt a flea. You can no more judge Islam by pointing to Osama Bin Laden than you can judge Christianity by invoking the name of David Koresh or Judaism by using Rabbi Kahane as an example. Such thinking is shallow, ignorant, and flies in the face of the facts.

But it is perfectly proper to judge Muslims who have emigrated to the US and Europe by standards we here in the west set for ourselves - tolerance for other faiths being among the most important. That, and a recognition of living in a shared community while adopting similar values and respecting the rights and dignity of all is a fundamental necessity to the smooth functioning of our western societies.

This does not mean that western Muslims should be prevented from proselytizing their faith nor should the process of assimilation destroy their culture or subsume their traditions. Such assimilation has been going on for centuries and has succeeded in building a stable, vibrant western culture where all can share in the advantages freedom has brought us.

But Muslims have failed in Europe (not so much in the US) to assimilate the western values of tolerance and freedom of thought and resist joining the societies that they have chosen to live. Certainly a large part of the problem have been short sighted policies promulgated by the relatively homogeneous, Christian governments of Europe that segregate the newcomers and deny them many of the benefits of living in the west. But beyond the material, there is the very real and growing problem of Muslim resistance to the very idea that there are certain tenets of western society that all must believe in if it is to work.

The fanatics who wrote the plan to “take over” the US reveal tactics being used in Europe by Muslims to further isolate their communities, shielding them from the influence of western culture while seeking to impose their own beliefs on the majority. There is nothing subtle about this which makes it all the more incomprehensible that governments acquiesce to some of the demands of the “moderates.” If the goal is to avoid social unrest, all they are doing is putting off the inevitable. Eventually, the newcomers will demand more than any government will be able or willing to give. And at that point, the clash they could have avoided by resisting calls for codifying intolerance now will certainly come back to haunt them.

The tactics of “absorption, “cooperation, and using the “art of coalitions” in order to further isolate Muslims in Europe are familiar to anyone who has followed recent history in countries like Great Britain, France, Holland, and Denmark. Ironically, European Muslims build coalitions and garner cooperation not to assimilate but rather to further separate themselves from the societies where they live. They have little thought of “taking over” France or Great Britain (at the moment). But building a separate society, removed from the mainstream and governed by their own laws is almost certainly within their reach. And when the demographics favor them 50 years from now, it won’t be a matter of them “taking over” but instead simple “absorption” of the minority of original Europeans will be all that is necessary.

Such a scenario will not play out here in America. There would have to be a massive influx of Muslims for that to occur. The latest census shows around 3 million Muslims in the United States or about 1% of the population. Even with lax immigration, the idea that Muslims will be able to resist the pull of assimilation in any great numbers doesn’t make any sense. The US is too big, too diverse, for any one group to “grow” themselves to dominance.

Those Muslim Brotherhood nut cases should go back to the drawing board. The plan they’ve come up with doesn’t pass the loony test.



Filed under: Iran — Rick Moran @ 4:21 pm

I would like to be able to say that all the signs we’ve seen this last month about planning for war with Iran was just that - updating target lists, tweaking schedules and so forth. I’m sure the Pentagon does this all the time to many different plans to defend or attack. It’s why they’re in business and we shouldn’t expect anything less. But normally, such activity does not mean that we are about to carry out those plans.

But I don’t think the French Foreign Minister would say something like this unless the president has given ample warning to our EU allies that something was up:

The world should “prepare for war” with Iran, the French foreign minister has said, significantly escalating tensions over the country’s nuclear programme.

Bernard Kouchner said that while “we must negotiate right to the end” with Iran, if Teheran possessed an atomic weapon it would represent “a real danger for the whole world”.

The world should “prepare for the worst… which is war”, he said.

His comments came after Washington reminded Teheran that “all options were on the table” in confronting its nuclear policy, which many officials in the West believe has the ultimate aim of arming a nuclear warhead, despite Iran’s claim that it is for civilian purposes.

Jacques Chirac blew hot and cold on confronting Iran but ultimately came down exactly where Sarkozy’s government is now; no nukes for the mullahs. Whether that means that the French would support the kind of preemptive strike the Bush Administration appears to be planning, we cannot say.

Preemptive it would have to be. There is absolutely no way of us knowing when or if the Iranians will have overcome the immense technological problems in getting their centrifuge system to produce enriched uranium on an industrial scale. They may be months away as I write this if you believe Iranian President Ahmadinejad:

In a report submitted in late August 2007 to the to the IAEA Council of Governors, IAEA Director-General Muhammad El-Baredei stated that as of August 19, 2007, Iran had 1,968 centrifuges at the Natanz facility, into which UF6 gas had been injected. However, in early September, 2007, Ahmadinejad stated: “When we opened [the UCF] at Isfahan, they [i.e. the West, headed by the U.S.] threatened military action [against us]. But now, we are operating over 3,000 centrifuges, and every week [another] new [centrifuge] system is installed… They have not managed to do anything against [our] united and steadfast nation.”(6) He added, “They thought they could, via each of the sanctions resolutions that they issued, make the Iranian nation withdraw – but after each resolution, the Iranian nation showed additional progress [in its nuclear] program.”(7)

A “new centrifuge system” comprises 164 individual centrifuge machines. I believe Ahmadinejad is wildly exaggerating here when he boasts of having 3,000 machines up and running. And there is zero evidence that Iran has been able to use these centrifuges in a cascade - dumping the UH6 gas into succeeding centrifuges further enriching it. Even if they have partially succeeded in operating a cascade, the likelihood of them being able to use all their centrifuges to continuously enrich enough uranium to make a bomb is extremely slight.

According to experts I respect - arms control professionals who harbor no illusions about the world or our enemies - Iran is still 18-24 months from having a workable bomb. Allow me to commit a horrid blog faux pas and reprint an entire post from Dr. Jeffery Lewis’s Arms Control Wonk blog:

We know that Iran operated 8 cascades between 18 April- 19 August. That is seventeen weeks, 119 days or 2856 hours.

Eight cascades, fed 70 grams of hex per hour, should have consumed 1,600 kg of hex.

Assume the four additional cascades began operating on May 13 (about 14 weeks). The additional four cascades should have consumed another 650 kg, for a grand total of 2,250 kilograms.

Instead, Iran consumed 690 kilograms of hex during that period, for an operating efficiency of about 30 percent.

That’s very low.

What is very odd that is that 260 of those kilograms were consumed between 15 April-22 May.

As a result, all twelve cascades consumed only 430 kilograms in the not quite 13 weeks that followed. Twelve cascades, over the course of 89 days or 2136 hours, should consume almost 1800 kg of hex. That means Iran’s centrifuges operated close to one-quarter of their efficiency, a substantial decrease from the relatively continuous operation between 15 April – 22 May (about half their maximum feed).

Are the Iranians husbanding that Chinese hex?

Do the centrifuges with indigenously produced components not work right?

Is Iran holding back for political reasons?

Clearly, Iran is having problems with its nuclear program. It is a third world country without much in the way of educational, scientific, or technical infrastructure and have relied for years on other scientists and technicians - mostly from Pakistan - to make any progress at all on enriching uranium in any great quantities.

Now that the AQ Khan black market network has been smashed, Iran has been pretty much on its own these last few years. The progress they have made has been uneven at best. Every time Ahmadinejad brags about some new milestone in the Iranian program, it has proven to be unrealistic or an outright lie. The Iranian president is apparently not above using the nuclear program for domestic political purposes as evidenced by his remarks, translated here by MEMRI, before a Rev Guard gathering:

On several occasions, Ahmadinejad stressed that Iran would continue developing its nuclear program regardless of the sanctions. He noted that the sanctions were having no impact on progress in “the irreversible path of the nuclearization of the Iranian nation”(3) and denied Western reports of a slowdown in Iran’s nuclear enrichment. Ahmadinejad further promised to place Iran’s nuclear technology “at the service of those who are determined to confront the bullying powers and aggressors [i.e., the Western countries, headed by the U.S.]…”(4) In a recent conference of Revolutionary Guards commanders, he also stated that “some violent powers [i.e., the West, headed by the U.S.] are now officially declaring that they want to cooperate with the Iranian nation, and that they acknowledge Iran’s [status] as a regional power. However, they must know that Iran is a global power.”(5)

This, of course, is the monumental problem that Iraq poses. How much stock do we put into his boasts to “place Iran’s” nuclear technology in the hands of terrorists? Can we even afford to ignore a threat like that?

This is Dick Cheney’s “1% Doctrine” come calling in the flesh. If there is a 1% chance that such a boast would ever be realized, shouldn’t we act pre-emptively? It is a question we better start asking ourselves and debating. And if not a 1% chance, where do we draw the line? At what point does it become foolhardy not to take Iranian threats like this seriously?

And even though Ahmadinejad is still just the President and his views do not necessarily reflect those of his boss, Supreme Leader Khamenei, Iran has never seen a president with such a strong independent powerbase inside the country. Despite the fact that Bush may be more popular among the Iranian people than Ahmadinejad (just kidding), he has the unwavering support of some very powerful, very conservative elements in the clergy and especially in the IRG where he was a commander of the Qods force back in the day.

If this weren’t enough of a worry, we also have to be concerned that this is not a rational person we would be dealing with. All Iranian leaders have been walled off from the rest of the world for so long, their worldviews skewed by the Koran and by a self-imposed isolation, that it becomes extraordinarily difficult not to look at statements like this and wonder if Ahmadinejad isn’t an unreasoning religious fanatic:

“[The day] of these aggressors… who are oppressing and controlling the nations, is now coming to an end. Those who [seek to] distract the people with a materialistic philosophy of one kind or another, and who pursue materialism, have brought humanity nothing but despair and deception… The time of the righteous rulers will come, and the most righteous [of rulers, [i.e., the Hidden Imam], will form a government and thereby instate the monotheism of Abraham [throughout the world]. That day is not far away…

“Our enemies naturally feel threatened by the call to [believe in] the Mahdi, for they do not want people to thinks about justice. But our reply to them is that the era of the aggressive [powers] has come to an end. We believe that it is time for the righteous to rule, and for humanity to be properly [re]born out of love, knowledge and spirituality.”(14)

His pronouncements regarding the Mahdi may also be for domestic political consumption. But in this, we have independent observers who have remarked about Ahmadinejad’s apparent seriousness when talking about the 12th Imam:

At the International Seminar on the Doctrine of Mahdism, held in Iran September 6-7, 2006 during the celebrations for the Mahdi’s birthday, and attended by representatives of various countries, Ahmadinejad emphasized the universal and active nature of Mahdism and called on the West to accept it: “Today mankind is proceeding towards the truth. Today the happiness of mankind depends on proceeding towards the truth. Today we invite everyone to proceed towards the truth, since [the truth] is the only way… This celebration [of the Mahdi’s birthday] is not only for Muslims but for the entire world. The Mahdi belongs to all of mankind…

“The Hidden Imam has no tangible presence among us, but he is always [here], and we must prepare the ground for his speedy appearance… Some claim that during his occultation, his [nobility] is suspended, but that is not true… On the contrary, we must rush towards him and hasten to prepare the ground for his appearance. [He will not appear] if we sit idly. Mankind must hurry towards the Hidden Imam in order to reach him. A person who [actively hastens the coming of the Imam] is different from one who does not… Today, mankind is proceeding rapidly towards perfection, truth, justice, love, peace and compassion, and this is possible only under the rule of the perfect man [i.e. the Hidden Imam]…” [17]

We have no clue whether this is all for show or whether he truly believes in these messianic principles. And if he believes that the appearance of the 12th Imam can be hastened by actively creating the conditions for his return that have been prophesied, what does that mean for policy makers here and elsewhere in the west? At the very least, this possible obsession with the 12th Imam could be coloring Ahmadinejad’s everyday decision making process:

Ahmadinejad went on to explain: “At some meetings, I told these friends that I was an engineer, and that I had analyzed the problems and presented proof, [and thus] I told them that the enemies do not have the courage to launch a war against us. Some doubted my words, but I presented them with two [pieces of] evidence. First, I told them, I am an engineer, I am deliberate, I make tables and write and examine hypotheses for hours. I present proof and put together plans based on it, and that is how I proceed. They [the U.S.] cannot pose a problem to Iran. They are stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they have problems there, and lack the ability [to act against Iran]. As further proof, I told them that I believe in the word of God. God said that those who act properly will triumph. Iran’s Leader [Ali Khamenei] and the Iranian nation are steadfast in, attentive to, and agree with the word of God…” (9)

For those who believe that Ahmadinejad would never attack the United States or the west because he knows the consequences, it might help to reread the above paragraph. This is classic miscalculation of an opponent - the same reason that Saddam continued to fire on our aircraft and boast about driving us from Iraqi soil. He never thought we’d go all the way and overthrow him. He was wrong.

But is Ahmadinejad serious about his belief that the west will do nothing regardless of what they do with their nuclear program? Apparently so. On such miscalculations are wars made certain.

To sum up, we have an Administration determined to deal with Iran, arrogantly believing that no matter who their successor is, they won’t have the guts to do what is necessary to safeguard the country. Given the uselessness of diplomatic moves to date, it is clear to me that there is a clock - probably on Dick Cheney’s desk - that is ticking down toward zero hour.

And in Tehran, we have a messianic leader who dismisses any threat from the west and wants to put those who advocate rapprochement with the democracies in jail:

On another occasion, Ahmadinejad harshly condemned senior Iranian officials who had in recent months called for compromise with the West: “With regard to obtaining nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, unreliable individuals have spoken of compromising… No one would believe it if I mentioned the names of these individuals, who in several meetings spoke of the need for compromise, enumerating the enemy’s strong points, and [raising the possibility that the West could launch] an all-out war… We have experienced days when we were pressured from a hundred different directions from within [Iran] to withdraw [and halt uranium enrichment]… But I said that I was willing to guarantee them that it was impossible for [the U.S.] to launch a war against us…”(8)

A man who believes in the imminent return of the messiah and who thinks it is “impossible for the US to launch a war” against Iran?

This, along with the tunnel vision among our own leaders is a recipe for disaster.

Can Condi or Gates stop it? I think the answer is a qualified yes if they can engage the rest of the world in applying serious sanctions that dig deep into the Iranian economy. The faltering economy could bring to the fore in Iran the slightly less radical and more practical leadership of the faction led by former President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who was recently elected head of the powerful Assembly of Experts and is probably dead set against war with the United States - for now. This is the faction that Ahmadinejad was talking about in the quote immediately above. They don’t want war with the US on very practical grounds. Unlike their engineer president, they have no illusions of what a couple of hundred B-51, B-2, and F-117 bombers can do to Iran not to mention another 300 or so carrier based aircraft in the Gulf. They are rightly terrified that their rickety economy could be destroyed if the US were to seriously go after Iranian infrastructure.

Can the “no war” factions in each government win the day? In order to avoid conflict, the Iranians are going to have to give substantially on their nuclear program - stringent inspections with strict international oversight on its facilities - while the United States will probably have to give some security assurances to the Iranians that we won’t agitate for regime change. You and I both know such assurances will not be forthcoming nor will the Iranians agree to such demands.

But there is still time to maneuver diplomatically. Not much time - perhaps less than a year - before Iran will probably be capable of slowly enriching uranium to weapons grade levels. Whether anything can be done to avoid war in the interim is anyone’s guess.


I should have included this profile of IAEA head Mohammed ElBaradei in today’s NY Times if only because reading it - and more importantly, reading this post from Allah - shows the problems with getting the UN to do its job and help avoid war between the west and Iran.

Read especially Allah’s links to his posts from earlier this year when ElBaradei was shamelessly shilling for the mullahs, kowtowing to their wishes to banish an inspector who was doing too good of a job among other things. ElBaradei is the gatekeeper at the UN and would probably be the difference between war and peace in the long run.

Given his historic reluctance for confrontation, it is likely we will get the former.


Filed under: Media — Rick Moran @ 7:39 am

Think Progress is one of those lefty sites that will skewer the right or Republicans at the drop of a hat:

“GOP activist drops hat; blacks and children suffer.”

That may have been a headline last week. It certainly isn’t any more outrageous than some other Think Progress headlines. How about this doozy:

“Bush Admin Tamps Down Right-Wing Desire For Mass Deportation Of Undocumented Immigrants”

If they only knew that those detention camps out west were built for liberals and not for illegal immigrants…

All of this aside, my eyes popped open today when I saw this headline at the site:

“Fox censors Sally Field’s anti-war speech at Emmy’s.”

OOOOOH those evil Fox News censors! How dare they! Just when Sally is ready to speak truth to power, they pull the plug on her. Whatever happened to the good old days when you could get up at the Emmy and Oscar Award ceremonies and spout ludicrous political screeds, ranting against greedy corporations or evil conservatives to your heart’s content? If this isn’t evidence that the country is going to hell in a hand basket under Bushitler, I don’t know what is.

No matter. This is Fox News we’re talking about here. And not one single mention of the war - unless it’s accompanied with fireworks and patriotic music - will be allowed, right?

Field then continued, “If mothers ruled the world, there would be no –” But the Fox Emmycast cut off her sound and pointed the camera away from the stage, silencing the rest of her sentence: “god-damned wars in the first place.”

The “expletive” was “goddamned,” a no-no in the AP Style Book although the oath is heard quite frequently on cable TV shows. But Think Progress took the controversy one step further to infer that the reason Fox bleeped the sentence was because of its subject matter, not because an offensive word was uttered. After all, who else would “silence” an antiwar critic but Fox News?

If true, I hate to tell the denizens over at Think Progress, but most of the press is in on the conspiracy as well. It seems that the word “goddamned” is stricken from almost every newspaper account of the Emmy’s I could find. Here’s that closet Fox News sympathizing New York Times:

And while most of the celebratory acceptance speeches on the broadcast were uninspiring, remarks by Sally Field sent the Fox network’s censors to the mute button — not for her antiwar statements but for a vulgarity made when she remarked that her character on “Brothers & Sisters” was a mother with a son headed for combat in Iraq. If mothers ruled the world, she said in essence, there would be no wars.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch couldn’t make up its mind why poor Sally was muted:

Sally Field of ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters” used her win as lead actress in a drama to make an anti-war speech tied to her character’s story line, only to be muted for several seconds at the end. It was unclear whether her remarks were considered inappropriate or whether she was just being punished for running long.

For myself, I find nothing inappropriate about the use of the word “goddamned.” However, those who are religiously inclined - a fair slice of any TV audience - are almost certainly offended by the oath which is why few newspapers reporting the story quoted it and why it is still one of the few words you rarely hear on over the air TV.

Which is why AP, the inventor of the aforementioned style book - the gospel of journalists and columnists in the English speaking world - also realized the true reason the evildoers at Fox bleeped Field’s words:

“Surely this belongs to all the mothers of the world,” Field said in a rambling acceptance speech that wound up with a swear word that had to be bleeped by Fox censors.

Field’s speech recalled her much-parodied 1985 acceptance of the best-actress Oscar for “Places in the Heart,” in which she said the famous line: “I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you really like me.”

Perhaps she should pass on a little of that love to Fox News.

I have no doubt that Think Progress actually saw nothing wrong with uttering “goddamned” in front of a nationally televised audience. I don’t find much wrong with it myself. But in a case that was so clearly a matter of taste and network standards regarding language rather than anything having to do with content, you would believe that Think Progress would actually drop the juvenile finger pointing just once and not create a controversy out of whole cloth just to get their knuckle dragging commenters all in a lather over an incident that virtually the entire media sees in a different light.

This entire left wing obsession with Fox News (and Fox Broadcasting) and their supposed “bias” toward conservatives always makes me giggle. You can’t walk through a green room at Fox on any given day without tripping over a dozen liberals who are engaged by the network to give opposing views on every topic under the sun. I don’t see ABC, NBC, CBS, falling over themselves to do the same. Nor do MSNBC or CNN allow for the kind free wheeling discussions (or shoutfests) between the two sides that Fox does.

This is not to say that Fox is more watchable than any other news net. I find the same lazy reporting, the same ignorance of basic facts there as I do everywhere else. It’s just that liberal sites like Think Progress refuse to see the same thing at the other media outlets unless they feel a liberal ox is being gored - a myopia that makes any of their criticisms of Fox News ring hollow indeed.


The boobs at Crooks and Liars have picked up on the “war censor” meme:

At last night’s 59th Annual Emmy Awards, Sally Field, who won Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Nora Holden Walker in ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters,” was censored by FOX as she was about to make a point about the Iraq War.

Damn. And it was such a great “point” too - that it is a “goddamned war.”

Maybe Fox thought the notion that war is “goddamned” was just too original.


Methinks Think Progress thinks too much:

Field’s censored comments not technically ‘profane.’

If not “technically profane,” why do the overwhelming majority of national media outlets either not mention the exact word or employ the euphemism “expletive” or some other device to avoid printing the word? The reason is that it is offensive to millions of people.

Let me make it easier on you lefties; when you hear “goddamned” think “something Muslim.” That way, you’re sure to understand why some Christians would be upset at the use of the word in question.

Of course, Christians are not likely to come after you with a rusty knife and cut off your head for your transgression, which I guess emboldens many on the left to assert the “non-profanity” defense and try to make it appear as if Ms. Field’s anti-war message was the true target of evil Fox’s censorship. But if you imagine Fields insulting Allah or dissing the Prophet, you would have no problem understanding the bleep - anti-war nonsense about mothers running the world or not.

And speaking of mothers in charge of the planet, here’s Meryl Yourish in the comments at Hot Air on that subject:

So, is she counting the mothers like this one, who blew herself up and took four Israelis with her? Or these?

You know what? People who think that all the world’s problems would be solved if women ruled the world are full of crap.

And I say this as a woman and a feminist.

Amen, sister.



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:58 am

Nobody had to bail Glenn Greenwald out of jail yesterday. Or Markos. Or Jane Hamsher. Or Maha. Or any other lefty who has spent the last 4 years safely ensconced behind their computer monitors telling all of us how morally superior they are because they oppose the War in Iraq and how those who support the mission should either enlist or shut up.

Meanwhile, almost 200 of their compatriots in the anti-war movement - those who are serious about peace - could have used their help and their bodies yesterday. They deliberately provoked their own arrests in order to stop a war they don’t believe in.

A march by thousands of protesters demanding an end to the Iraq war turned chaotic yesterday afternoon near the Capitol, where hundreds sprawled on the ground in a symbolic “die-in.” Police arrested 189 people, including 10 who organizers said were veterans of the war.

Capitol Police used chemical spray against a small number of the protesters and pushed back others who tried to jump a barrier in a self-described effort to be arrested. The “die-in,” on a walkway in front of the Capitol, was generally peaceful, but scores of arrests came when protesters tried to climb over metal fences and a low stone wall…

After being processed and released last night, one of those arrested said he had come by train from the Boston area. The protester, who identified himself as Walter Ducharme, 78, of Cambridge, Mass., said he had been arrested at an earlier demonstration and “figured I had to do it again.”

The fact is, those who are truly dedicated to peace and prove it by their actions make pretenders like Greenwald et al look like the cowardly wretches they truly are. The pretenders have no moral standing whatsoever to criticize those who support the mission in Iraq. They are burdened with their own cravenness when it comes to standing up for what they believe in, putting their hides and their freedom on the line in order to stop a war and an Administration they constantly tell us are evil.

If this is how they fight evil, does anyone doubt that evil is laughing in their faces, certain of its triumph?

In fact, their hysteria over the last few years about Bush “tearing up the Constitution” and “taking away our freedoms” calls into question not only their courage but their sanity. Are they trying to tell us that all they can do to save America from a dictator like Bush is write snotty little essays, vying with each other to see who can call the President the most mean-spirited names in the fewest number of words? What about “resistance?” What about “confrontation?”

Let’s take as an example of what ordinary people can do to affect change, the Solidarity Movement in Poland that overthrew a real dictatorship. Not only did they write snotty little essays about the Soviets and their own government, they also protested in the streets and on the docks; cities, towns, villages, and anywhere they could make their voices heard. Hundreds of thousands, millions of people eventually who risked their lives for freedom from real tyranny not the ginned up, politically motivated, exaggerated, fake frenzy over imagined despotism that the left in this country has accused the Bushies of over the last six years.

Those people had the kind of moral courage to which the left can only pretend. Arrested, beaten, even murdered for their beliefs by a pitiless, all powerful government, the example set by the freedom loving protesters in Poland makes the keyboard peace warriors who hunch over their venom soaked little treatises and blather on about the “threat” the Bushies pose to liberty look like dilettantes and mountebanks.

And the same kind of cowardly, “save my own hide” attitude extends to the antiwar effort as well. The demonstration yesterday was planned for months. It was advertised and promoted on every lefty website worth its salt. It was sponsored by one of the largest liberal “grass roots” organizations in the country.

And all they could muster is a measly 10,000 people - many of whom were there representing causes as diverse as anti-globalization and promoting the vegan lifestyle? And only 200 of the protesters exhibiting the commitment and conscience to get themselves arrested?

Why didn’t Greenwald prove how dedicated he is to peace by at least showing up? Probably because they wouldn’t pay his expenses from Brazil. Ditto for the thousands of other lefty bloggers who write smugly of war supporters not putting their money where their mouth is and enlisting to fight in Iraq all the while showing a yellow streak a mile wide about standing up for their own convictions and filling the jails of this country in order to stop a war they say they oppose.

It’s easy to write those overly dramatic, keening laments about how hard it is to move the country and Congress to end the war. One can just imagine these guys at Point du Hoc. “It’s too high a cliff. Let’s try down the beach a bit.” Or can you imagine Hamsher, Greenwald, etc. at Omaha Beach? “The fire is too intense. Let’s go back to the ship and have some lunch.”

The left will no more fight for peace than they will fight for anything else important. Their “fighting” consists solely of lecturing the rest of us on how we should obey their petulant demands because of their moral superiority. Why no one calls them out on this idiocy is beyond me. The brave souls who marched in Selma proved their moral superiority by peacefully facing down those who would do violence to them. They endured billy clubs, fire hoses, beatings, jail, and even death to affect change.

The modern incarnation of the peace warrior has legs of jelly and serious problems with bladder control when confronted with the choice of claiming the moral high ground rather than actually earning it by putting their bodies and their freedom at risk. There should have been 10,000 people arrested yesterday instead of 200. A few protests like that, with thousands of activists hauled off to jail, and I guarantee this war will be over a lot quicker than if Glenn Greenwald or one of his ilk writes another long winded, impossibly boring essay on the evils of Bush or the chickenhawks of the right and their cowardice in not joining the military to fight.

The left will choose the coward’s way out every time and call it “activism.” Come and see me after you’ve spent just one night in jail or gotten a whiff of tear gas. Then I’ll give your “chickenhawk” argument all the consideration it deserves. If you want to argue that someone overage or with a physical disability or even those who don’t want to make a career in an all volunteer army must keep their mouths shut in the debate over the war, then go ahead and make that argument. But not to recognize that the opposite is true - that those who advocate withdrawal based on some kind of moral superiority (on which the entire “chickenhawk” meme rests) while refusing to go to any legal lengths to personally take responsibility for doing what is necessary to end the conflict - prove their unworthiness to not only declaim against war supporters but also agitate for peace.

In short, put up or shut up. You can hardly call hawks “chickens” while hiding behind your computers trying to prove that you are everyone’s moral betters when you won’t do anything more strenuous than cleaning the spittle off your monitors after one of your unhinged diatribes against your political foes.



Filed under: Decision '08, Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:37 am

The week did not start well for Rudy Giuliani. Several polls were released showing the entrance of Fred Thompson into the race for GOP nominee had tightened up the contest considerably as the former Tennessee Senator cut into Giuliani’s lead significantly in several states.

Suddenly, Giuliani looked very vulnerable - especially among the conservative base who seemed to be warming to Thompson’s down home charm and classic conservative positions on many issues.

But thankfully from Rudy’s point of view, an opportunity presented itself for him to rally the base to his candidacy and show himself capable of standing up to those who would smear the military while taking on the leading Democratic candidate for appearing to agree with the slimers.

Salvation came in the form of the dumbest, the most spectacularly ignorant political maneuver in modern history. Radical anti-war group and huge Democratic party asset Moveon.Org published a full page ad in the New York Times (at an apparent discount) referring to General David Petraeus as General “Betray-Us.”

There is very little disagreement that Moveon’s smear job against General Petraeus actually turned the tide and put the anti-war Democrats on the defensive while rallying and energizing the GOP base to support the General’s plan for Iraq. And Giuliani, seeing the opportunity to exploit that stupidity, emerged by week’s end as the General’s most visible champion by buying his own ad in the Times savaging both Moveon and Hillary Clinton, whose statement that in order to believe the General you would have to “suspend belief” seemed to dovetail with the anti-war group’s message.

Giuliani, calling MoveOn.org’s controversial “General Betray Us” ad “abominable,” said his campaign is asking the paper for a comparable rate for an ad to run following President Bush’s speech on Iraq.

The former mayor said his ad “will obviously take the opposite view” from MoveOn.org, which argued in its ad that Gen. David Petraeus is “cooking the books” on Iraq and cherry-picking facts that support his recommendation to keep a large number of troops in Iraq for some time.

Giuliani continued to include Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in his criticisms for her comments that it would take “a willing suspension of disbelief” to accept at face value Petraeus’s report on the situation in Iraq. Giuliani interpreted Clinton’s remarks at a hearing earlier this week as questioning the general’s integrity.

The ad, which Giuliani ended up getting the same rate as Moveon, turned out to be something of a campaign ad for Rudy rather than a defense of Petraeus. Allah and some others were not amused but the ad served its purpose of placing Giuliani front and center in the debate.

Rudy followed up the print ad with a devastating attack ad he released on the web:

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani launched his first Internet ad on Friday, an attack on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Called “She Changed,” it links Sen. Clinton of New York with a controversial newspaper ad by the left-leaning group MoveOn.org.

It also accuses her of changing positions on the Iraq war between 2002 and today.

It includes footage of her at the recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Army Gen. David Petraeus, whom MoveOn labelled “General Betray Us” in an ad on Monday that drew heated criticism from Republicans.

Again, Allah disses Rudy for “shamelessly exploiting” the Moveon ad and making the point that having the General appear in GOP ads does him no favors, identifying him with Republicans which only buttresses the critics who say he’s “carrying water” for the party.

These are valid points but I think they miss the big picture. The Moveon ad altered the political landscape, the controversy drowning out any criticism directed at the General and anyone who supports him. I believe Rudy’s moves to exploit the controversy - shamelessly or not - will play very well with conservatives who are tired of anti-war Democrats smearing those who support the mission.

Whether any of Rudy’s moves translates into additional conservative support remains to be seen. But I don’t doubt that many are grateful to him for coming to the defense of Petraeus and taking on Hillary and the anti-war left so directly.



Filed under: Ethics, Media — Rick Moran @ 4:41 pm

Laura Rozen is doing some great work ferreting out the Debat story for Mother Jones. Today, she has some shocking revelations that were originally reported in the French magazine Rue89:

Riché also reported that Debat claimed to have a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne that he did not in fact complete, and that he had exaggerated his CV in other respects—claiming to be an advisor to the French Ministry of Defense on transatlantic issues, for instance, when in fact he had been a lowly desk clerk in the bowels of the ministry for less than a year; claiming to be a visiting professor at Middlebury College, when in fact he had been a visiting instructor for a short winter term at Middlebury, and other such exaggerations. Mother Jones has obtained an annotated CV the French Embassy prepared about Debat—whose claims to be a former government official have apparently long irritated the government in Paris—outlining these and other discrepancies. (ABC believed the annotated CV was prepared by the French embassy, but sources now say it may have been annotated by a Washington-based French academic.)

Didn’t anybody check this guy out before hiring him?

Evidently, Debat had a big booster at the network. Chief Investigative Reporter Brian Ross passed along some of Debat’s juicier scoops apparently without vetting the information properly. The result was an embarrassing retraction on a story involving the Pakistani military willing to turn the other way regarding the location of Osama Bin Laden as long as he didn’t cause any trouble. And another story involving the claim that “the U.S. government was advising and encouraging an Iranian Baluchi separatist group Jundullah which was carrying out attacks against the Iranian regime” was greeted the following day by a “sharp denunciation” from the Pakistani government.

Who was this guy?

Overall, the picture of Debat that emerges from these interviews is of a smart, ambitious and cunning operator who would claim to be getting text messages from Middle Eastern intelligence operatives while at meetings with Ross and others at ABC, with tips that seemed too good to be true (which some colleagues believe were bogus), yet were used as “exclusives.”

Debat seems to have had a Walter Mitty complex. (Text messages from spies in the middle of production meetings? And that didn’t set off any alarm bells?). But was there something more sinister at work here? Was this part of a Neo-Con plot to take over the news media?

Attywood thinks so:

In the meantime, little attention had been paid to the French journal Politique Internationale — which published Debat’s bogus “interviews” with Barack Obama, as well as Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

But the French magazine deserves closer scrutiny. In continuing to connect the dots between Debat and the push for a neoconservative agenda that includes ratcheting up war tensions with Iran, it turns out that a prominent member of the neocon movement has served as editor of Politique Internationale for much of this decade.

Iranian-borm Amir Taheri (pictured at top) — who edited a leading Iranian newspaper prior to the 1979 overthrow of the Shah and has since written for a number of western publications, including several owned by conservative press lord Rupert Murdoch — has been a leading voice in Politique Internationale. It’s not clear what his current role is, but in numerous press reports from 2001 through 2006 he was listed as its editor.

To put it mildly, Attywood is barking up the wrong tree.

Taheri may or may not be a “neo-con” - and the way that Attywood and others on the left toss that appellation around makes me think they don’t have a clue regarding who or what a neo-con is - but the idea that Politique Internationale is some French offshoot of The Weekly Standard is loony. This is a French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website describing Politique Internationale:

Over the past 27 years, Politique internationale has become the most influential French-language publication devoted to international politics. It is read by leading decision-makers in the fields of politics, diplomacy, economics, industry and finance on all five continents. Its contributors include heads of state and governments, leaders of political parties and many others who either make the news or decipher it.

Sounds pretty harmless to me. But what about that fellow Taheri? After all, he wrote for Rupert Murdoch owned publications (think Fox News, not tens of thousands of dollars donated to Hillary).

Taheri has also written for Arthur Sulzberger but no one I know has ever accused the former Iranian editor of being a liberal. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and other perfectly legitimate mainstream news organizations as well. After all, he is trying to make a living as a writer and Taheri is not someone in huge demand as far as being sought after by major dailies for op-eds. He must hustle up his own business as any writer would. The fact that his views track closer to the New York Post than the New York Times - even though he has had op-eds appear in both publications - should not be considered sinister or even unusual.

Unless you’re trying to connect non-existent dots to posit a neo-con conspiracy theory.

Taheri is, for better or worse, one of the leading voices in the debate over what to do about Iran. He has made no secret of the fact that he wishes to see regime change in his native country. The left has tried to turn Taheri into something like a “Chalabi II” or another “curveball” without much success.

Attywood points out several stories Taheri has advanced that proved less than accurate, most recently a piece in Canada’s National Post that had conservatives all atwitter about a report from Iran detailing how non-Muslims were forced to wear color coded patches to identify them. The Iranian government denied it. Other Iranian experts expressed grave doubts about it. Taheri stood by the story. The Post issued a retraction.

It appears to me that the story should never have been run, that it wasn’t solid enough. But in Attywood’s own comments on the linked post, someone quite familiar with Iranian persecution of religious minorities speaks out:

Having handled the asylum cases of several Iranians who belong to the Baha’i faith, I have learned a great deal about the persecution religious minorities suffer in that country. So I was extremely interested in this part of your post, and I went to the article you linked.

If you read the article closely, most of the individuals who are debunking the idea of having people identify themselves as non-Muslim are either spokespersons for the Iranian government (e.g. an attache for the embassy in Ottawa) or individuals still living in Iran. Thus, there denials are somewhat suspect.

However, even if the forced wearing of colored badges and other identifying materials is an incorrect allegation, all you have to do is to read the most recent International Report for Religious Freedom for Iran, linked below

It describes just how desperate the situation is for non-Muslims in Iran, particularly those who converted from Islam to another religion and are thus considered ‘apostates.’ It used to be that apostacy was a capital offense in Iran.

So while this may have only been a small point in your piece, there are very, very real concerns for the safety of non-Muslims in Iran.

My clients were granted asylum on the basis of their religion alone, so I think that’s pretty conclusive that whether non-Muslims are forced to wear colored badges or not, they are in grave jeopardy in that country.

Taheri will continue to agitate for the US to overturn the rule of the mullahs. But besides the fact that he was editor of Politique Internationale and Debat contributed to that publication (on an infrequent basis over the years), I don’t get the “neo-con connection” the dots are supposed to link.

That’s because Debat was no neo-con - not by a long shot. As director of the terrorism and national security program at the Nixon Center, it would be a stretch to identify him as anything except a moderately conservative realist on foreign policy. From Sourcewatch:

While genuinely non-partisan, as reflected in the composition of its Board of Directors and Advisory Council, the Center has a philosophy of an enlightened pursuit of national interest. The specific goal of the Center is to explore ways of enhancing American security and prosperity while taking into account the legitimate perspectives of other nations.

The Board of Directors and Advisory Council is very heavy with Kissinger Realpolitik staffers as well as former Reaganauts and Bush #41 refugees. The left’s favorite, Brent Scowcroft, is on the Advisory Council as well as Lee Hamilton, Robert McFarlane, and other critics of the Iraq War (perhaps Julie Eisenhower is a neo-con spy).

The point is simple. There is little or no evidence that Debat is a neo-con so there are no dots to connect him to Taheri. The story raises enough questions about press standards and procedures without Attywood going off on conspiracy tangents.

For those, let’s go back to Rozen who sums up one of the ethical dilemmas for ABC:

One ethical issue raised by ABC’s handling of Debat concerns the investigative unit’s use of paid sources/consultants, who are often put on monthly retainer. But in ABC’s use of Debat as a paid “consultant” who also had for the past year and a half an appointment at the Nixon Center, ABC also frequently had him reporting on its blog, the Blotter, and appearing as a “source” inside others’ stories, blurring the line between source (and a paid one at that, with outside — also paid — affiliations) and a journalist, not clearly identified in the report. ABC also sent Debat frequently abroad, to gather information which he would put on the air and on the investigative unit’s website.

There is some question whether ABC is handling their internal investigation correctly by using the Ross investigative unit to look into their own potential failures. I see the potential for problems but who else could do it? These are people familiar with the stories as well as the sources and methods of how those stories were developed. It would seem that they would be the best qualified to discover anything untoward advanced by Debat in his sourcing of stories or in his reporting.

In the end, despite warning signs that Debat was a poseur of fantastic proportions, several respected media outlets (and probably the Nixon Center as well) were taken in by this fellow hook, line, and sinker. But to posit the notion that Debat was some kind of neo-con who was feeding false information to ABC and others in order to advance some kind of agenda is a big stretch. More likely, Debat is exactly who he says he isn’t; a fakir who suckered people who should have known better.


Filed under: Decision '08, Politics, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 7:46 am

The New York Times didn’t like it. The Washington Post was lukewarm. The netroots dismissed it. The right embraced it.

I could make this the shortest post in the history of The House and just leave it at that but then, what fun would that be?

After more than 4 years of war, several different failed strategies for success, three commanding generals, two elections, 70,000 dead Iraqis, 26,000 wounded Americans, and 3700 dead patriots, the single most telling aspect of the debate over the war is how little it has changed. The same arguments, the same criticisms of each side, and we all end up in the same place; irreconcilably divided.

George Bush may think there are some Americans who want to bring the troops home now that would jump at the chance to embrace his token withdrawal of American forces. But on Capitol Hill and other places where it counts - the newsrooms and control rooms of the American media - he has zero chance of finding additional support for his policies.

Whatever small bump in political support the President received this past week was due solely to the calm, unhurried, and forthright testimony of General David Petraeus. Nothing Bush said last night altered the debate. There is nothing he can say about Iraq that will deflect the long term trend toward withdrawal. Both parties are in favor of it, albeit with different objectives. The Iraq Tar Baby has well and truly captured the Republican party and only the stupidity of the Democrats will save the GOP from total disaster in 2008. And perhaps not even then.

The Democrats have cynically tried to exploit the unpopularity of the war while trying to undermine the efforts of Petraeus and Co. who may have hit upon a strategy that will allow us to leave behind something less than roses and buttermilk but also something considerably less than total disaster. In fact, the Dems have failed to acknowledge any change in strategy at all and when they have, they switch tactics and go after General Petraeus by attacking him personally - a dubious strategy that has already backfired spectacularly (see above, “…stupidity of Democrats…”).

What we have seen this past week with the Petraeus testimony and the Bush speech is that facts don’t matter as much as political calculation with regards to the war. No one has been swayed by anything anyone has said about what is happening in Iraq. And no one is likely to be affected in the future by any arguments or even facts on the ground coming out of that country. Everyone’s mind appears to be made up except for a handful of GOP Senators and Congressmen who know what they believe about the war but have not quite taken the step of abandoning the President yet. That may change by January when the funding issue is revisited. Until then, Petreaus gets to continue his good work, hoping to build upon his small successes while Bush can try to push a reluctant Iraqi government toward at least the appearance of reconciliation.

We have been at this point in the Iraq debate for close to two years and nothing has changed. I suppose that there is some benefit of reiterating the same positions over and over, if only to remind us of how very far apart we are on this and other issues. Perhaps that reminder will spur us to greater efforts to bridge the gap between the two sides so that we can find an honorable way out of Iraq without leaving behind a Middle East blood bath but I’m doubting it.

For that to happen, someone would have to make the first move. And as it stands now, both sides are too proud, too rigid to make that happen.



Filed under: Government — Rick Moran @ 9:50 pm

President George Bush gave his 6th prime time speech since his presidency began in the same cocoon that he has comfortably ensconced himself since the Iraq War began.

The fact that he’s given so few speeches talking to the American people about a cause he himself has identified as vital to the War on Terror, failing spectacularly to explain as honestly and forthrightly as possible where we are, where we need to be, and where we are going in Iraq, guarantees that the American people have stopped listening to him.

In short, his credibility when talking about the war is as low as it could possibly go. It is his own fault. He can command attention whenever he desires it and the news nets must cover what he says. But over the years, his start and stop, herky jerky efforts to rally the American people to his policies has fallen far short of what was needed and necessary. Instead, he allowed his political opponents to define the war, the mission, even the president’s own motives in going to war while substituting a narrative that savaged him and people who supported him.

It would help if the President would give us the castor oil with the honey when he talks about Iraq. He never has. The Iraq he talked about in his speech does not exist. It is not a place of “freedom” or “democracy.” A legitimate argument can be made that it doesn’t even have a government. Holding elections does not define a nation as a democracy. There is no freedom without citizens being secure in their property and lives. The government in Iraq cannot guarantee either and in fact, elements of that government are consciously engaged in activities to dispossess Sunni Muslims of both.

For all the security gains in some of the Sunni provinces and all the good work being done with the tribes in enlisting them to help fight al-Qaeda, there are other areas of the country where the situation on the ground has not gotten any better and is demonstrably worse. As the Brits abandon the south, the militias are taking over and will eventually fight for control, the government in Baghdad be damned. Iran is salivating at the opportunities offered by this “civil war within a civil war” and will only gain in influence whoever comes out on top.

Our friends the Kurds, patiently waiting for the day when they can make a clean break from Iraq and declare their independence (along with fellow Kurds across the border in Iran and Turkey who are carrying out terrorist attacks against civilian targets in those countries) are experiencing hit and run attacks by Shias who seek control of the vital oil center of Kirkuk. Car bombs, suicide bombs, assassinations, and even the occasional firefight has broken out in recent months as both sides gauge the possibilities of an America that is about to pull out.

And Baghdad? No one controls Baghdad. Not the government. Not the militias. Not the criminal gangs that continue to terrorize residents almost as much as the sectarian gangs that are driving people out of their homes and the death squads who still manage a tidy body count every day despite the increased presence of American and Iraqi troops.

The Iraq I have just partially described (don’t get me started on the police, the army, the Council of Representatives, the Interior Ministry, the corruption, or that empty suit of a sectarian gangster Maliki) is Iraq as it is - a morass of security, social, political, economic, and psychic problems that no army on the planet can fix. It is also an Iraq that George Bush didn’t come close to acknowledging as existing in his speech tonight.

We are all big boys and girls. George Bush treats us like children, afraid that telling us the truth of what is going on in Iraq or at least being realistic about describing the situation will scare us or cause us to want to hide under the bed. It is depressing. The disconnect between the Iraq Bush describes and the real thing is not lost on the American people who I believe would respond much more positively to Bush if he didn’t try and sugarcoat the situation.

Even the gains in Anbar and elsewhere have been exaggerated now and war supporters have latched on to them like a dying man grasping a leaky life preserver. Contrast Petraeus’s calmly rational assessment of those gains with many on the right who believe the “Anbar Awakening” is going to sweep across the country and bring “victory.” I may be mistaken but even George Bush has stopped talking about “victory” in Iraq and has substituted the word “success.” Even that term is a stretch. When we depart, I hardly think we will be able to claim the Iraq we leave behind will be a success. It will be a mess. But I think the best we can hope for at this point is that it won’t be an unmitigated disaster. That result is worth fighting for because it is necessary to our national security that Iraq not be a failed state and Iran not be rewarded for its meddling.

I always expect too much from Bush which is why I’m always disappointed. Perhaps because in these perilous times, I think we should expect more from our presidents than the rhetoric of the stump. Bush is not a bad man nor is he stupid. He is simply inadequate.

That may be the most damning thing you can say about any president.


For reaction, I always check Allah first since he’s only half as cynical as I am and half again more brilliant:

Four minutes of highlights for you including the surprise announcement of the night — plans for an “enduring relationship” with Iraq, presumably on the model of South Korea, that will involve a “security engagement that extends beyond my presidency.” That’s an odd thing to announce now, when he’s trying to reap the political benefits of a (very limited) withdrawal, but there you go. It also flies in the face not only of Sadr’s nationalist rhetoric but poll after poll of Iraqi citizens who say they want the United States out (eventually). Bush wants U.S. troops there to keep Tehran on its toes, though, and also to act as a “tripwire” (again, a la South Korea) in case Iranian forces try to assert themselves inside the country. The more menacing Iran is, the more you can expect Iraqis to grudgingly accept the idea, so long as the “security” part of the enduring relationship involves a small number of troops and, in all likelihood, bases in Kurdistan.

The other scoop is that he’s asked Petraeus to give another progress report in March. The Republicans up for re-election next year will have their life vests on and will have already been seated in the lifeboats by then, so unless that report’s as rosy as the desert sun, it’s game over.

I wasn’t as surprised about the “enduring relationship” theme as I was, like Allah, disconcerted by the timing.

And I agree about the Iraqi people’s attitude toward the Iranians. Many on the left have a heart attack every time Maliki and Ahmadinejad meet, breathlessly telling us of the coming Shia convergence between the Iraqis and Iranians.

Both peoples may be Shias. But there was the little matter of the Iran-Iraq War not to mention the historical enmity between Arabs and Persians. The Iraqis don’t trust the Iranians, period.

My own pessimism about the political will necessary to sustain any kind of serious effort in Iraq matches Allah’s own. By March, there will be general agreement to draw down faster than the 5 combat brigades Petraeus has called for. By election day 2008, we’ll have less than half the troops in Iraq that we do now.


Filed under: WATCHER'S COUNCIL — Rick Moran @ 7:02 pm

The votes are in from this week’s Watchers Council and the winner in the Council category is “Contemptible” by Done With Mirrors. Finishing second was yours truly for “The War to Remember 9/11.”

Finishing first in the Non Council category was “Anatomy of a Tribal Revolt” by Small Wars Journal.”

If you would like to participate in the weekly Watchers vote, go here and follow instructions.

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