The Hydraulics on the Propaganda Catapult

In the past, it seemed that President Bush was much more careful about how he misled us into war than to tell blatant and easily debunked falsehoods:

US President George W. Bush charged Monday that Iran has openly declared that it seeks nuclear weapons — an inaccurate accusation at a time of sharp tensions between Washington and Tehran.

“It’s up to Iran to prove to the world that they’re a stabilizing force as opposed to a destabilizing force. After all, this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon,” he said during a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

But Iran has repeatedly said that its nuclear program, which is widely believed in the West to be cover for an effort to develop atomic weapons, is for civilian purposes.

Brian Beutler gives kudos to AFP for clearly calling bullshit on the President’s bullshit. In the previous go-around with the Bush Administration and their propaganda catapult in 2002 and 2003, this wasn’t happening. For example, take a look at this speech from October 7, 2002, which had 13 separate falsehoods (search for “October 7″ to see the list), hardly any of which were ever critically reported in the media, even though most of them were already known to be false at the time. In software testing parlance, this is a bug, not a feature when it comes to how the media should function. Even worse, many people in the media today recognize this, even lament it, but have decided that it’s a Won’t Fix.

For example, Robin Wright of the Washington Post responded to ThinkProgress today for their criticisms of her column about the neocon mindset towards Iran. Wright claims that it’s not her intent to pass judgement on them, just to make us aware of what their viewpoint is. It’s true that when you have a difference of opinion, someone like Wright shouldn’t inject her personal bias into the story, but that’s not what the complaint is about. Wright wrote:

Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute recently wrote that assuming that Iran wants stability in Iraq is “as naive as it is dangerous. . . . U.S. and Iranian interests in Iraq are diametrically opposed, and will continue to be until one side wins and the other loses.” He depicted diplomacy with Iran as “a mirage, a tactical tool to divert U.S. policy attention away from the Revolutionary Guards and intelligence officials charged with implementing the Iranian leadership’s objectives.”

Rubin’s claim that U.S. and Iranian interests in Iraq are “diametrically opposed” is not an opinion, it’s a falsehood. Many of our interests in Iraq are in line. That’s why we’ve been sitting down and talking to them about how to deal with the situation there. Wright’s inability to call this out is not a noble effort to be free from bias, it’s lazy journalism. There’s a very big difference between leaving your opinions at the door and failing to identify something that’s not true as being such. When high profile people who have great influence over our foreign policy are believing in fairy tales, that’s something you need to tell people.

Hamid Karzai’s visit to Washington this week revealed even further the stunning aversion to the truth among the Bush crowd when it comes to Iran. Karzai believes very strongly that Iran is a helpful ally. Bush was not convinced:

“They’re not a force for good,” Mr Bush said of Iran, with Mr Karzai at his side. “They’re a destabilising influence wherever they are. Now, the President will have to talk to you about Afghanistan. But I would be very cautious about whether or not the Iranian influence there in Afghanistan is a positive force.”

The source of Bush’s opinion in this matter comes from where his opinions always come from, his gut. Facts, logic, history, and the opinions of knowledgeable people are mere distractions from the greater “truth” that comes from simply believing whatever he wants to believe.

When it comes to Afghanistan, Iran does have an interest in stabilizing the country. The number of Afghan refugees living in Iran has been decreasing since the overthrow of the Taliban, but that trend has slowed as refugees who have returned home are starting to complain about the Taliban resurgence. In addition, the massive drug trade originating in Afghanistan flows through Iran on its way to Europe, creating a very serious problem with heroin addiction there. The Iranian government has a strong incentive to deal with both problems there (for much the same reason that the U.S. wants to deal with the problems of immigration and drugs at our southern border). Whether or not we like or dislike the things that Iran’s pandering goofball of a President says is not as important as what they do. When it comes to dealing with the both the Taliban and the drug traffickers, there’s little difference between what we want and what they want.

But that hasn’t stopped the onslaught of accusations from the Bush Administration that Iran is supporting the Taliban in order to fight a proxy war against us. With so little attention being paid to what’s happening in Afghanistan, the effort actually managed to gain some traction, even as some high-level officials were somewhat confused on the talking points at first. It was effective enough that TPM’s Spencer Ackerman thought that it would be surprising that the Afghan Ambassador didn’t agree.

As frustrating as it was to watch our national media completely fall flat on its face in 2002 and 2003, it’s even more frustrating to see how much it’s still happening today. The idea that Iran is the destabilizing force causing both Afghanistan and Iraq to turn into such a mess is nothing more than wishful thinking on the part of those who can’t face up to the realities of their own miscalculations and blundering. The regime in Tehran may in fact have designs on nuclear weapons. It really wouldn’t surprise me. And much of the populace is certainly highly mistrustful of our intentions to the point of paranoia – even as they also take to western culture. But the most dangerous approach to Iran right now is to once again create our own fantasy world in order to justify our desire to disarm them. It would be nice if the people who get paid to keep us informed could let us know when that’s happening.

Comments

  1. 1

    spews:

    Lee,

    What is the world coming too when you and I, the lapsed Jew and the atheist Jew, agree? Sad.

    Adding heat to the fires, have you seen the Chris Matthews panegyric for Bush?

    You and I disagree some on Iran, seriously in one issue (their nuclear plans) but NOTHING good can coe out of this sort of stupid demonization. The Iranian government is, by our standards, wierd. But that is true for other governents we have worked with for ever.

    My other big peeve is the image of Chavez. What in hell do we gain from putting horns on this guy?

    Remember Reagan’s memory of his landing in France at D-day? Have you heard his speech about John Wayne, the great American hero? The line betweeen virtual and real is disappearing. How far are we from the Matrix Arrives?

    486443 85646 636366 886125 5858583 636488 6868863
    56784333 854646 636366 342127 886125 5858444583 6868863
    636488 56578 42126846 636323444366 344442127 884444461
    123 45 6 789 667 88 55 2 3 1 0 1 0 0

  2. 2

    delbert spews:

    Yeah, those EFP’s are manufacturing themselves. No help from the Iranians whatsoever. (EFP = explosively formed penetrators aka shaped charges)

    And it isn’t in the Persians best interest to put a bee in the Great Satan’s bonnet, nope, not at all.

    Grow up. Just because George Bush says the sky is blue, you don’t have to claim it’s really a nice shade of green. Your outright hatred of GWB doesn’t mean he’s wrong. It would be nice for once if y’all took the Americans side in a debate.

  3. 3

    Right Stuff spews:

    Yeah, Iran wants nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes…..right……..
    That’s why they are advancing an enrichment program…..

    Oh, and let’s not forget that they are sitting on top of a “sea of oil”. They are clearly lacking in energy resources.

  4. 4

    delbert spews:

    And yes, I’m questioning your patriotism.

    And your intelligence.

    And your sanity.

    Jimmy Carter should have pounded the Iranians flat about 3 days after the embassy was taken in 1979. Casus belli.

  5. 5

    PuffyButtPretendingToBeBlackSays spews:

    Let me see – how many times do we need to mess with foreign countries – trying to install the regimes we THINK we want before we learn that all we do is create an ememy. Remember that we built Bush pal Saddam up. Then there was the Shah of Iran. I get confused – how many times is it we liked Iran and oh yes, then we stopped liking Saddam. Now we killed Saddam and we want to kill Iran too. Makes sense to me.

  6. 6

    spews:

    @2 and @4
    Yeah, those EFP’s are manufacturing themselves. No help from the Iranians whatsoever. (EFP = explosively formed penetrators aka shaped charges)

    The overwhelming majority of American casualties are coming from Sunni insurgents aided by Saudi financiers.

    And it isn’t in the Persians best interest to put a bee in the Great Satan’s bonnet, nope, not at all.

    Generally, countries don’t undermine their major interests in order to put bees in bonnets.

    Grow up. Just because George Bush says the sky is blue, you don’t have to claim it’s really a nice shade of green.

    In this case, George Bush is claiming that the sky is orange with purple polka dots and you’re terrified to look up.

    Your outright hatred of GWB doesn’t mean he’s wrong. It would be nice for once if y’all took the Americans side in a debate.

    I’ve been on the Americans’ side in this debate the entire time. What side are you on?

    And yes, I’m questioning your patriotism.

    Good luck with that.

    And your intelligence.

    I’m not too worried.

    And your sanity.

    Now you’re just projecting.

    Jimmy Carter should have pounded the Iranians flat about 3 days after the embassy was taken in 1979. Casus belli.

    Nice!! Keep bringing it. I could always use the material for Effin Unsound. I’m serious. Challenge me. I’ll make you look so silly, you’ll be afraid to look in a mirror for a month. My next reply will have links, will yours?

  7. 7

    spews:

    @3
    Yeah, Iran wants nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes…..right……..
    That’s why they are advancing an enrichment program…..

    Hey idiot, did you read through my entire post? I believe that there’s an internal debate in Iran over whether to use their uranium enrichment secretly for defense, and I don’t think we truly know yet who’s winning that argument. But what’s clearly not true is that the Iranians have said publicly that they’re building weapons.

  8. 8

    spews:

    @1
    What is the world coming too when you and I, the lapsed Jew and the atheist Jew, agree? Sad.

    Wait a second, which one am I? I thought you were an atheist Jew? :)

  9. 9

    spews:

    Heh!

    Lee says:

    @1
    What is the world coming too when you and I, the lapsed Jew and the atheist Jew, agree? Sad.

    Wait a second, which one am I? I thought you were an atheist Jew? :)

    In the immortal words of Pee-Wee Herman … I know you are, but what am I?

    :-)

  10. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 You like to post childish nonsense and then tell others to grow up … let’s play an adult game here and see if you’re any good at it:

    Show me your evidence that Iran is supplying Iraqi guerillas with EFPs.

  11. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 “And yes, I’m questioning your patriotism. And your intelligence. And your sanity.”

    So what? I’m questioning yours. On all 3 counts. That’s make us even. Neener neener.

  12. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 “Jimmy Carter should have pounded the Iranians flat about 3 days after the embassy was taken in 1979. Casus belli.”

    The idea was to get the hostages back alive, dumbass.

  13. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Of all the flickering candles in the wingnut firmament, delbert isn’t one of the brighter ones.

  14. 15

    spews:

    re 1: Reagan also, to the horror and embarrassment of an audience of holocaust survivors, declared himself to be the individual who personally freed the Jews at Auschwitz. It was reported — but not very prominently.

  15. 16

    OneMan spews:

    First time poster but I can take it…

    Bush & the neocons get a hard-on every time they think of Iran. They would love to demonize them and wangle an invasion, no doubt about it. It isn’t possible given our current military capacity, even THEY can see that, but they can’t help talking tough. It’s like diplomatic Tourette’s.

    And I certainly agree that once again the media are transcribing the talking points rather than actually finding out the facts. Sigh. I seriously think the popular media has failed. The information is out there but most people are too lazy to dig for it.

    I have one beef with your POV though. Iran and Iraq had been struggling for years for regional supremacy; in light of the collapse of the Iraqi regime the Iranians have certainly moved aggressively to consolidate power in the region. Witness their actions in Lebanon and Syria, their support of terrorists in the Palestinian “state”, their pursuit of nuclear capability (and yeah, they’re going for weapons ultimately).

    Are they fucking with the US? You bet they are. They are doing whatever they can to in pursuit of their own interests. That includes actively working against US interests in the region. I believe you give them too much credit for benign intent. Just because the administration tells lies about them doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem there.

    …Just OneMan’s opinion

  16. 17

    Nindid spews:

    Lee handled most of the nonsense posted above but let me tackle another issue with the idea that EFP’s in Iraq must be coming from Iran.

    EFP’s are simply a type of shaped charge, a technology that has been understood since the nineteenth century. They were used extensively since World War II in every military on the planet and are the logical weapon of choice for anyone who wants to defeat armored vehicles. The specific type of shaped charge used there (EFP’s) has been used by rebel groups and terrorists since the 1980’s. They are well understood and not that terribly complicated to understand or to make.

    So why do people insist on saying – and others on believing – that the fact that these weapons are being used against us must mean they are coming from outside the country? I’ll assume that those saying this crap know what they are doing and are simply trying to gin up enough propaganda against Iran to start their war.

    As for those who believe it, I have to think this gets at a decent amount of inherent racism. Clearly the stupid and primitive Arabs could not design and build weapons that defeat our $4.3 million dollar (a piece!) tanks. Iraq simply can not have any engineers or armaments capabilities… and besides, they love us so much they would never think to do this if they could.

  17. 18

    The Guy With No Car spews:

    6

    As a matter of fact, the real rulers of Iran — the Supreme Council, the gathering of ayatollahs — has publicly states that nuclear weapons are un-Islamic, and since they consider themselves True Defenders of the Faith I am for the moment taking them at their word.

    It has been pointed out to me that interpretations of God’s Holy Word are subjective, and all it would take is a rereading of a key piece of scripture to suddenly discover that hey, nuclear weapons are OK to use against infidels. That’s a danger you face with religious extremists, ours or theirs. At the moment, though, I think the only reason we’re facing danger from Iran is because the Bushistas insist on thwacking the beehive over there. I’m not alone in this assessment; this morning Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks posted a very pessimistic article about the situation. Shorter Uygur: We are > < this close to war with Iran because Dick Cheney, George Bush’s Svengali, is insisting on war with Iran, and the only two people in a position to stop him are Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates. The title of his essay: “We Have No Hope.”

  18. 19

    spews:

    @16
    OneMan, thanks for the comment. I don’t totally disagree with that, but what you’re missing is the fact that the newly elected Iraqi government does give Tehran an opening for regional supremacy. Both Al-Maliki and Talabani have good relations with the folks in Tehran. Because of that, the Iranian desire to have that government succeed is just as strong as ours, especially when the alternative is for the Baathists to regain power. Our overall national interests will never be perfectly in line with Iran (or any other country for that matter), but it’s simply a lie to say that our interests are diametrically opposed.

  19. 20

    delbert spews:

    @10 & 17

    “The devices, known as explosively formed penetrators, were used to carry out 99 attacks last month and accounted for a third of the combat deaths suffered by the American-led forces, according to American military officials.

    “July was an all-time high,” Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the No. 2 commander in Iraq, said in an interview, referring to strikes with such devices.

    Such bombs, which fire a semi-molten copper slug that can penetrate the armor on a Humvee and are among the deadliest weapons used against American forces, are used almost exclusively by Shiite militants. American intelligence officials have presented evidence that the weapons come from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran, although Tehran has repeatedly denied providing lethal assistance to Iraqi groups.”

  20. 22

    The Guy With No Car spews:

    Anybody buy me remember the weapons (I forget whether they were IEDs or what) the Administration trotted out not too long ago that had the words MADE IN IRAN prominently displayed on them?

    . . . in English rather than Persian???

  21. 23

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    @ 16: They would love to demonize them and wangle an invasion, no doubt about it. It isn’t possible given our current military capacity, even THEY can see that, but they can’t help talking tough. It’s like diplomatic Tourette’s.

    Indeed. When you seriously want to talk to someone with whom you disagree about something, you start from common ground. Lee has outlined several issues where the US and Iran have similar interests. If the MisAdministration were serious about engaging Iran, they would start with these points and use them to start building a working relationship. Instead, they talk bellicose smack, just like little bully boys in the schoolyard. Great job, Bushie!

  22. 24

    Nindid spews:

    Delbert @20,

    Nice try, but apparently someone forgot to tell you that they found a factory producing EFP’s in Diwaniya, IRAQ.

    “Iraqi army soldiers swept into the city of Diwaniya early this morning to disrupt militia activity and return security and stability of the volatile city back to the government of Iraq,” the US military said in a statement. Bleichwehl said troops, facing scattered resistance, discovered a factory that produced “explosively formed penetrators” (EFPs), a particularly deadly type of explosive that can destroy a main battle tank and several weapons caches. Residents said a curfew had been imposed as troops blocked streets and conducted house-to-house searches.”

    Maybe Fox News is not the best source for good information. And besides, its not as if we have been lied to before to start a war.

  23. 25

    palamedes spews:

    Let me ask a really hard question – at least it will be one for the non-deluded folks around here.

    For me, there is only one reason to push for impeachment up the chain – Gonzo, Cheney, Bush – and that is because the White House is bound and determined to not leave their time in office with Iran’s nuclear program intact.

    Even Karl Rove, by now, has to see that the Democrats are on the verge of new gains in 2008, with a better than even likelihood of taking the White House as well.

    What do we do in, say, March or September of 2008 when Cheney gets his wish and we bomb Iran, most likely on the basis of a highly questionable motive, at best, or a staged incident, at worst?

    Seriously…what do we do? What can we do that will have any appreciable effect to an administration that doesn’t have the word “shame” in its dictionary?

    And to what extent are we willing to risk our possessions, reputations, perhaps even our lives to accomplish it?

  24. 26

    spews:

    @20
    Delbert,
    I’m sure you saw the recent news report of how our own military has managed to lose track of massive amounts of weapons in Iraq. Does that mean that we intentionally allowed for those weapons to fall into the hands of bad guys? Of course not, so then why are we the only country that can lose track of weapons like that?

    If you’re not following my point, what I’m saying is that the presence of Iranian made weapons in the hands of Shiite radicals is very far from proof that the Iranian government wanted them to have those weapons.

  25. 27

    delbert spews:

    @12

    “Give them back now. You have 3 days.”

    Failure to act was perceived as weakness. Weakness is mocked in the Middle East, Arab and Persian alike. And the thinking goes “They didn’t do anything the last time we did X, we can do X again.”

    @13

    From a poster pretending to be a rabbit, that’s some tough words. Personal attacks, however, do not make your arguments any better.

    Back on topic:

    In general, you have a Shia Iran wanting to rule the neighborhood. Sunni Saudi Arabia and the gulf states won’t stand for that. If the U.S. pulled out, the situation would drop into the crapper. The Sunni/Shia split would be between multiple nations, not just confined to a single country.

    It all impacts the flow of oil, which is what the world economy runs on. America and Europe might be able to afford fuel at $15/gallon, but the rest of the planet would be screwed. And the resulting global recession would worsen the problem.

  26. 28

    Mark spews:

    One this is irrefutably clear. Iran can NEVER be allowed UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES to possess a nuclear weapon. That scenario is 100% intolerable. I don’t know what the right answer is at the moment as to how to deal with Iran, but the Iranian Mullah regime and the Hitler of our time – Ahmadinijad can NEVER be allowed to possess nukes. Nukes in the hands of an apocalyptic regime would be a disaster. I hope to God either us or the Israelis have commando units inside Iran to either conduct sabotage or gather intelligence or both.

  27. 29

    delbert spews:

    @26

    No, the government of Iran has no motive whatsoever to provide weapons to Shia militias to kill Americans and strengthen the hand of the Shia portion of Iraq.

  28. 30

    spews:

    @28
    In general, you have a Shia Iran wanting to rule the neighborhood.

    And what I pointed out is that our efforts in Iraq so far have helped Iran in this respect since we’ve removed a government that was hostile to them and replaced it with one that was elected by the Shiite majority and desired better relations with Tehran.

    Sunni Saudi Arabia and the gulf states won’t stand for that.

    Wasn’t this known in 2002? Isn’t this why the Saudis and other Gulf leaders flat-out told us that invading Iraq was a mistake back then?

    If the U.S. pulled out, the situation would drop into the crapper.

    God forbid things could start getting bad over there!

    The Sunni/Shia split would be between multiple nations, not just confined to a single country.

    It’s already that way. In fact, it’s been that way for centuries.

    It all impacts the flow of oil, which is what the world economy runs on.

    Really? We didn’t know that.

    America and Europe might be able to afford fuel at $15/gallon, but the rest of the planet would be screwed. And the resulting global recession would worsen the problem.

    All of that is much more likely to happen if we stay in Iraq and then start bombing Iran.

  29. 31

    delbert spews:

    @24

    The article you quoted was from the Gulf times in Qatar from an original Reuters feed. And then picked up on by Juan Cole, et al, and spouted as truth from on high. I can make an EFP in my garage, it might not work, but it will look enough like an EFP to fool most everybody. Especially those willing to be fooled.

  30. 32

    spews:

    @29
    No, the government of Iran has no motive whatsoever to provide weapons to Shia militias to kill Americans and strengthen the hand of the Shia portion of Iraq.

    How freaking dumb are you? The Shia portion of Iraq already holds the majority of the seats in the government. The Americans are trying to protect that government from insurgents and Sunni al-Qaeda elements who don’t believe it’s a legitimate government. Do I need to draw you a map or something?

  31. 33

    spews:

    @31
    The article you quoted was from the Gulf times in Qatar from an original Reuters feed. And then picked up on by Juan Cole, et al, and spouted as truth from on high.

    Do you have proof that there are any problems with the original Reuters report?

    I can make an EFP in my garage, it might not work, but it will look enough like an EFP to fool most everybody. Especially those willing to be fooled.

    I’m not even sure you could make a grill cheese sandwich in your kitchen.

  32. 34

    Mark spews:

    Lee says:

    @20
    Delbert,
    I’m sure you saw the recent news report of how our own military has managed to lose track of massive amounts of weapons in Iraq. Does that mean that we intentionally allowed for those weapons to fall into the hands of bad guys? Of course not, so then why are we the only country that can lose track of weapons like that?

    If you’re not following my point, what I’m saying is that the presence of Iranian made weapons in the hands of Shiite radicals is very far from proof that the Iranian government wanted them to have those weapons.

    The support of the Shiite militias is managed by the al Quds force – the paramilitary special forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. This is the entity that specializes in things like kidnappings, assassinations, acts of terrorism, and the like. It is the wing of the Iranian military that is the direct link between Iran and the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, and between Iran and shiite militias in Iraq. We have already captured several of them in Iraq (although Iran refers to them as “Diplomats”) and caught them red handed in several instances of weapons trafficking. Now if you want to try and make the case that the Iranian Mullahs have no control over the Quds force, then go ahead…..its quite a stretch.

  33. 35

    Nindid spews:

    And even if Iran is doing all of this (providing arms for their allies, laying the groundwork for developing a nuclear weapon, etc. – which we have no proof at all that they are doing so mind you – it hardly means that we should go off and start yet another stupid war.

    The vast majority of attacks on Americans have come from native Sunni groups who are not too fond of our occupying their country nor that we have propped up a Shiite government that is making every effort to marginalize them. Massive amounts of money from Saudi Arabia, etc are coming in to fund the Sunni rebels. Even if some factions in Iran were providing weapons to their allies in Iraq, how is this different from what every other regional player is doing?

    We destroyed the government in Iraq and proceeded to systematically remove all the elements that kept the society from ripping itself to pieces. Now we are in the middle of a civil war and it is going to continue to be really ugly, really violent and lots of people are going to die, whether we are there or not.

    Does it really make sense to continue to trash our military capabilities and drain our treasury? And for what? Grow up, admit it was a mistake and go on. Or be stubborn and degrade our country for your ego. Your call….

  34. 36

    delbert spews:

    @30

    “All of that is much more likely to happen if we stay in Iraq and then start bombing Iran.”

    It might happen if we stay. IT will happen if we leave.

    You might have heard the surge is showing positive results. Anbar province is calm, Diyalah is calm. Civilian death are down. AQI is on the run. Read Michael Yon’s blog to get an idea of what’s really happening on the ground. He’s been imbedded in Iraq for the long term, out in the field with the troops.

  35. 38

    spews:

    @34
    Again, are you then also saying that the U.S. government intentionally wanted all those weapons that they lost to be in the hands of dangerous militants? Because that’s exactly what you’re accusing Iran of. It’s the same thing. There are corrupt and incompetent people in the Quds force just as there are corrupt and incompetent people in our Pentagon who lost the weapons that were just in the news recently.

  36. 39

    spews:

    It might happen if we stay. IT will happen if we leave.

    Incorrect. It’s no more likely to happen if we leave than if we stay.

    You might have heard the surge is showing positive results.

    Yes, but I’m not stupid enough to believe what Bill Kristol and Fred Kagan say.

    Anbar province is calm, Diyalah is calm.

    Wrong.

    http://www.iraqslogger.com/ind.....frontation

    http://www.iraqslogger.com/ind.....ala_Police

    Civilian death are down.

    Wrong

    http://www.africasia.com/servi.....oq5sx8.php

    And no, I’m not reading Michael Yon’s blog. I prefer to read blogs of people who live in reality.

  37. 40

    Mark spews:

    Lee says:

    @34
    Again, are you then also saying that the U.S. government intentionally wanted all those weapons that they lost to be in the hands of dangerous militants? Because that’s exactly what you’re accusing Iran of. It’s the same thing. There are corrupt and incompetent people in the Quds force just as there are corrupt and incompetent people in our Pentagon who lost the weapons that were just in the news recently.

    I suppose its theoretically possible that Iranian weaspons are falling into milita hands because of corruption or other lack of controls, but it just doesn’t pass the smell test IMO. Iran is of course always going to deny everything, they are professional liars. You pretty much are safe to conclude the opposite of whatever they say. The perplexing thing is that much of the far left in America is inclined to take the word of a state sponsor of terrorism over a US Administration in spite of whatever you may think of it.

  38. 41

    spews:

    @40
    That’s pathetic. I don’t believe anything just because the Iranian government says so. But I understand how corruption happens, and when you’re dealing with illegal arms, you have to understand the role that corruption plays or you’re being naive. You believe the weapons are coming to Iraq with the blessing of the Iranian government because you want to believe that. Meanwhile, the Iranian government has very little incentive to destabilize the country as they work to stabilize it under the existing government at the same time.

  39. 42

    OneMan spews:

    @21: Thanks. I think.

    @19: I completely agree that the situation in Iraq makes Iran’s dominance inevitable. I also agree that there is common ground upon which to build a relationship with Iran. However, it’s pretty optimistic to believe that Iran will behave “rationally” from our perspective. They will pursue their own ends, working with us when it suits them and against us when that benefits them. And their hand is VERY strong.

    What is called for is, dare I say…realism.

  40. 43

    spews:

    However, it’s pretty optimistic to believe that Iran will behave “rationally” from our perspective. They will pursue their own ends, working with us when it suits them and against us when that benefits them. And their hand is VERY strong.

    I don’t think I ever said that they would act rationally from our perspective, just theirs. And I’ll never be completely convinced that they will always act rationally from their own perspective. But from what we’ve seen (especially in their outreach to us over Iraq, and with Karzai’s very clear belief that the Iranians have been helpful to him), they are mostly acting rationally from their own perspective when it comes to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    As for Ahmadinejad, I certainly don’t agree that he’s the most rational of actors, but he’s also very limited in the amount of actual power he has. The mullahs still run the show there.

  41. 44

    spews:

    @42
    And again, thanks for the thoughtful comments. I don’t really like the fact that these threads are so ugly, but I can’t resist smacking down the people who come in here and start insulting me right away (see comments #2 and #4). Disagreement is good, but delusional cranks with grudges can spoil the fun for all of us.

  42. 45

    Nindid spews:

    One would hope that the results of applying comic-book logic into the real world would be disastrous enough that we would not need to keep having these arguments.

    Of course Iran will work for their own interests. I would be stunned if every single regional player were not trying to give support to their allies in Iraq. Undoubtedly, Turkey is giving support and/or weapons to factions that oppose the PKK in the Kurdish areas of Iraq. Iran is certainly supporting the Shiite dominated ‘government’, and the Saudis, along with the rest of the Sunni world are giving money and weapons to the Sunni groups in Iraq.

    It is a civil war that we set off but have no real hope of ever controlling. We can not afford to stay there for the next 10+ years with the forces it will take to get any kind of favorable result out of this. The sad part is this was always going to be the case – the conservatives make-believe world of the Iraqis throwing flowers at our feet not withstanding.

    Lets leave make-believe behind, grow-up, and start fixing the mistakes made by the ‘conservatives’.

  43. 46

    OneMan spews:

    @44:

    And again, thanks for the thoughtful comments. I don’t really like the fact that these threads are so ugly…

    It’s background noise, just like in the larger environment. I personally try to take the points for what they are and skip the rhetoric but I know that isn’t always possible. There is room for intelligent discussion in here too.

    -OneMan

  44. 47

    OneMan spews:

    @45:

    It is a civil war that we set off but have no real hope of ever controlling. We can not afford to stay there for the next 10+ years with the forces it will take to get any kind of favorable result out of this.

    That’s the thing I’m hung up on. We really did break it and I don’t know that we can fix it by ourselves either. That said, wouldn’t you agree we have some kind of responsibility to try to make things right?

    I doubt this administration has any hope of building a diplomatic coalition to get all the regional players to the table but that’s what I think is required: convincing the neighbors that the crackhouse in their midst is going to be a problem unless they work together to sort it out. Maybe President Clinton II can put something together.

    Not holding my breath…

    -OneMan

  45. 48

    Nindid spews:

    That’s the thing I’m hung up on. We really did break it and I don’t know that we can fix it by ourselves either. That said, wouldn’t you agree we have some kind of responsibility to try to make things right?

    What else have we been doing for the past four years of occupying Iraq? We accomplished all of our stated objectives within six months of invading. Saddam is gone and if there ever were WMD’s they are as well. We have run up incredible debts to China to pay for our war and have gone a good long ways to destroying our military in the process. If that is not a good-faith effort to try and make things right I don’t know what is.

    If that is honestly what is keeping us there, we can say we really, really tried to put it back together but it just didn’t go as we thought/hoped/prayed it would. It was a stupid decision, and we are sorry that we didn’t all realize Bush, the Neocons, and the evangelicals hoping to bring off the apocalypse were such idiots sooner, but there you are.

  46. 49

    spews:

    That’s the thing I’m hung up on. We really did break it and I don’t know that we can fix it by ourselves either. That said, wouldn’t you agree we have some kind of responsibility to try to make things right?

    This reminded me of something a blogger told me a while back when I asked him how we could “win” in Iraq. His response was that we just needed some “well placed bombs”. Part of trying to fix this mess is understanding that there really aren’t military solutions at this point, just political ones.

    I totally agree that we have some responsibility to try to make things right, but my pessimistic side thinks that even a Democratic administration in 2009 and 2010 won’t have the political courage to do it. They’ll just be content to remove our forces from the region with or without a concrete agreement in place and let whatever happens happen.

  47. 50

    Nindid spews:

    *sigh* I wish Goldy had an edit button. I never catch typos till after I hit submit comment.

  48. 53

    spews:

    Fixed. :)

    I didn’t even notice it, even after I read through a second time. After reading so many of SeattleJew’s comment’s, I don’t even notice typos any more…

  49. 54

    OneMan spews:

    @48:

    What else have we been doing for the past four years of occupying Iraq? We accomplished all of our stated objectives within six months of invading.

    Well, what we haven’t been doing is “nation building”, nor proper coalition building, nor proper diplomacy to get the local players involved (above the table) in sorting out the mess.

    If you ask me, what we HAVE been doing the last four years is write the text on how not to occupy a foreign country and suppress an insurgency. Don’t even get me started on how we helped get the insurgency going in the first place.

    Argh. Preaching to the choir, I know.

    -OneMan

  50. 55

    SeattleJew spews:

    Lee et al ..

    I agree with Lee that the demonization of Iran is dumbassed. Ahminejad may be a fool, a demagogue, a pervert, etc but Hitler was insane. Equating all kinds of evil and levels of opposition is dangerous.

    On the other hand, I think Lee is naive. Leaving all the ugliness aside, all we need to do is put ourselves in Iran’s shoes. I assume we would want atomic weapons and would want to engineer an outcome in Iraq amicable to our interests. So even if Ahminejad is no worse than GWB and assuming the governing establishment there is better than our own, I find it hard to imagine they would NOT want to achieve these ends that we need to oppose.

    Interestingly and almost covertly, the Bushists have made some steps to restrain Iran that do make sense … esp our encouragement of India to assume a nuclear role in the Indian Ocean. Surely we can agree that India does not want a nuclear armed sub cruising from Iran to Mombai?

  51. 56

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Well, since BushCo has been threatening to bomb Iran all a long, wouldn’t it be a bit irrational of Iran not to pursue a nuclear weapon at this point? I think the case of North Korea is very instructive, here.

  52. 57

    spews:

    @55
    On the other hand, I think Lee is naive. Leaving all the ugliness aside, all we need to do is put ourselves in Iran’s shoes. I assume we would want atomic weapons and would want to engineer an outcome in Iraq amicable to our interests. So even if Ahminejad is no worse than GWB and assuming the governing establishment there is better than our own, I find it hard to imagine they would NOT want to achieve these ends that we need to oppose.

    Um, will you please go back to the original post and re-read it? I’ll copy and paste for you, so you don’t have to:

    The regime in Tehran may in fact have designs on nuclear weapons. It really wouldn’t surprise me.

    I’ve gone over this before with you, Steve. I’m very tired of you lying about what I’ve said in order to call me naive. Are you going to apologize? Because I absolutely have the power to delete your comments here, just as I was forced to do at Reload when you wouldn’t stop doing that.

  53. 58

    spews:

    @57
    Interestingly and almost covertly, the Bushists have made some steps to restrain Iran that do make sense … esp our encouragement of India to assume a nuclear role in the Indian Ocean. Surely we can agree that India does not want a nuclear armed sub cruising from Iran to Mombai?

    I think they’re arguably more worried about one from Karachi to Mumbai, which is why I think our focus on Iran can be bad for us.

  54. 59

    Nindid spews:

    Interestingly and almost covertly, the Bushists have made some steps to restrain Iran that do make sense … esp our encouragement of India to assume a nuclear role in the Indian Ocean.

    This makes sense to you? If your goal is to discourage Iran from developing and/or obtaining nuclear weapons, you think that encouraging their powerful neighbors to field nuclear weapons is the way to do it? You are kidding right?

    Let’s see… we have helped create a situation where every single regional power in the area has nuclear weapons, except Iran. Russia, China, Israel, Pakistan, and India are all nuclear powers. Add to all this the fact that we have been threatening to invade since the early days of the Cheney administration and you have a recipe that all but ensures they will go nuclear. If we don’t listen to ‘conservatives’ on foreign policy for a hundred years it will be too soon.