Tag Archive 'Iran'

Pulling Strings in Foreign Relations

Seems to be an awful lot of “testing” going on.

Mutiny in Georgia!!!

Iran attacks Kurdish guerillas in Iraq with helicopters

Pakistan is melting down!!!

Chinese Ships Come Dangerously Close to American Vessel

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Rejecting Hamas

Here’s a bit of good news from earlier. As you may have seen, reports have been swirling about a plan by Obama to open direct talks with Hamas. Those reports are evidently groundless, as a statement from Brooke Anderson was quite strong:

“The President-elect has repeatedly stated that he believes that Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction, and that we should not deal with them until they recognize Israel, renounce violence, and abide by past agreements. The President elect’s repeated statements are accurate. This unsourced story is not.”

A question would then enter though. If it is so unacceptable to negotiate with Hamas absent these conditions, why is it forgivable to open diplomatic dialogue with its chief sponsor, Iran? It can’t escape notice that Iran similarly fails Obama’s preconditional test: it does not recognize Israel, nor does it renounce violence.

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Frank Miller’s Geostrategic Theory

Frank Lovece sat down with Frank Miller for Newsday to discuss his upcoming film The Spirit. Toward the end of it Lovece asked Miller about remarks he’d made in 2007 in support of the Iraq War, and offered him an opportunity to clarify/retract. Miller was unapologetic:

Miller: When the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor, we didn’t just declare war on Japan, we declared war on Germany. It was an international fascist effort. And so when I said that the attack on Iraq made sense, it was the same way we had to attack not just Afghanistan. Instead we had to attack the center of Islamofascism.


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Implications of the Pletka Purge

Roland picks up an interesting piece by Jacob Heilbrunn for the National Interest, describing an ongoing purge of neoconservative intellectuals from the American Enterprise Institute, allegedly instigated by Vice President Danielle Pletka. So far Michael Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht are gone, with Joshua Muravchik soon leaving. Others are said to be soon in following.

This could signal the reemergence of an old conflict over machtpolitik and just war doctrine, which used to exist in Republican security policy circles (ie, coercion-for-values vs. coercion-for-interests). If Pletka is indeed purging with intent, we may even expect AEI to shift its attitude toward the Middle East, Asia and Africa, given how much more amenable authoritarian regimes tend to be to interest pressure.

And the idealism of the AEI departed is considerable. Gerecht for instance wrote a fascinating but bizarre book I read in the late 1990s under the pen name Edward Shirley, in which he smuggled himself into Iran in the trunk of a car, essentially for the romance of it.


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On Bad Ideas

Seth Weinberger picks up Foreign Policy’s “10 Worst Policy Ideas” for Obama and McCain and adds some commentary. What’s immediately striking to me is how few objections FP offers to McCain’s foreign policy proposals. A peculiar thing, if you’re familiar with the doctrinal tilt of the pub. There’s really only one they single out against McCain (League o’ Democracies), the rest is purely domestic politics. By contrast Obama comes in for scorn on four (NAFTA, CAFTA, Pakistan, Iran).

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A Shattered Idol in the Black Garden

Baku skyline
(photo: Rahim Alizadeh)

In Verdi’s opera Nabucco –the namesake of the western gas pipeline to Europe that holds the promise of partial independence from Russian energy reliance– the Jewish patriots take the daughter of the Babylonian king hostage, in order to compel his charity for Jerusalem. Today, after the Georgian invasion, Azerbaijan is a victim of a not dissimilar hostage-taking by example, and it’s just as perilous.

So much a captive to the gambit is Azerbaijan, that it had to be seen embarrassingly consulting with the Russian president, while the American vice president was left to rant to reporters in their captial. Cheney wanted a Nabucco pipeline endorsement from Azerbaijan, although he didn’t get the rejection portrayed in the press, he didn’t get approval either. He got the thing Dick hates most: strategic ambiguity.

Sympathy for the Azeri position here is mandatory. Their heart is with the United States, but their survival instinct forces them to withdraw into balance. An overt endorsement of a pipeline under American pressure would have potentially been against every instinct for a country that has been playing the game of pacifying powerful neighbors for far longer than the Americans have even been aware of the region. Any pipeline threaded through Turkey to Central Europe –which Iran has been refused access to, and is designed specifically in order to bypass Russia– has long promised the Azeris hostility from her two invidious and lethally powerful neighbors. (more…)

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Forceful on Iran

Obama’s concession on the surge will probably dominate discussion of the O’Reilly interview, but his increasingly hardline stane against the Iranian theocracy’s regional activities and nuclear program is what should be in line for praise.

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Another Iranian Rocket Test, Another Failure?

It’s certainly not unheard of, so was the recent Iranian rocket test really a success? The ever sourced “senior U.S. official” says the rocket wasn’t successful.

“The Iranians did not successfully launch the rocket,” a senior U.S. defense official told CNN Monday.

The two-stage rocket could have been capable of launching a satellite into space, but the U.S. intelligence assessment shows that the second stage “was erratic and out of control,” said the official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the intelligence.

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Iraqi Army Upgrades

Iraq is buying 140 M1A1 Abrams tanks, along with wide range of other conventional hardware, as it prepares to shift its focus from internal security to defending the borders in a very hostile neighborhood. Iran, in case you’re wondering, can field approximately 1600 tanks, but mostly of the Soviet iron heap variety that the M1 annihilated in the Gulf War.

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Blameless are the Bellicose?

(photo: Pavel Trebukov | blog)

From the gang who brought you the “because Georgia has invaded its own country we had to attack” rationale for the South Ossetian War, Poland has now apparently “made itself a target” for Russian nuclear strike, by agreeing to base an entirely defensive missile system which could not possibly repel even a small Russian ballistic missile salvo.

Alas, this preposterous Russian claim like so many others, can find plenty of eager advocates in the West, who believe it is “aggressive” to create a defensive system against an Iranian missile threat, because Russia (!) says her “right” to target a country with ICBMs could be infringed…only to then confess the lie of that, by targeting the country with missiles. It’s an utterly immoral and entirely ludicrous formula on its face; indefensible from every direction.

And such a painfully helpless claim for erasing or even obscuring the fact that it was Russia alone which invaded Georgia, and it is Russia alone which is targeting Poland — and most sadly of all, it is Russia alone which is destroying Yeltsin’s great security achievement of an international framework for peaceful borders between friendly republics. A squandered and priceless inheritance, traded cheaply, in favor of an engineered frontier war for the vanity of militarism.

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Russian Strategic Objectives Changing?

Wu Wei believes Russia is now targeting the Nabucco gas pipeline in Georgia…while the Russian NATO envoy argues that strategic objectives are restricted to a South Ossetia protection and warns NATO to stay out. And now Iran gets into the ceasefire call game.

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The Khyber Pass: A History of Empire & Invasion, by Paddy Docherty

This book was written entirely in the passive voice. The passive voice was used to avoid assigning causation or personhood to various events. As a result, we learn that places were invaded, people were slaughtered, armies were founded, but no one can say by whom.

Good grief, that is exhausting. How is it a book almost exclusively in the passive voice got past the legion of editors and publishers to become a hardcover history? Seriously, how does that happen? It’s not that Docherty didn’t do his homework, nor is that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—the history here is stunning, and eye opening even for me (and I’ve read a lot of histories of the area). The subject is a good one; the research excellent. But the writing? Nearly unbearable!


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Her Tenure Was a Monumental Failure

Isn’t it great when our Chief Diplomat doesn’t really see the need for diplomacy?

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Fallon and Petraeus sitting in a tree…

I was catching up a bit on my reading, and thanks to McQ found this interview with Admiral Fallon. As McQ points out, the conversation did not go the way Kyra Phillips was trying to steer it.

Given our own commentary on Fallon here, here, and here, I think several key points that fly in the face of claims about the President and Fallon’s views should be noted:

I don’t believe for a second president bush wants a war with Iran.

Somebody tell the Sock Puppet and Mona. For two straight Autumns I have been told the tanks would roll by November.

I believe the best course is to retain the high confidence we have in General Petraeus and his team out there. Dave has done a magnificent job in leading our people in that country.

Huh? I kept hearing he was disdainful of Petraeus.

The idea we would walk away from Iraq strikes me as not appropriate. We all want to bring our troops home. We want to have the majority of our people back and we want the war ended. Given where we are today, the progress that they’ve made particularly in the last couple months, I think it’s very, very heartening to see what’s really happened here. The right course of action is to continue to work with the Iraqis and let them take over the majority of the tasks for ensuring security for the country and have our people come out on a timetable that’s appropriate with conditions on the ground.

My emphasis. Has anyone here made that same argument? Why, I think it was me, along with Michael, Keith, McQ and a host of others, and Fallon was claimed to be arguing against us in the past. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t, but it sure is nice to hear that he agrees now. Note also his endorsement of the idea that there has been real progress, and it isn’t all just a misreading of what is “really going on.”

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Adventures In Stupidity

The leftosphere is up in arms over John McCain “lying” about Barack Obama’s stated intentions vis-a-vis Iran. The latest source of righteous outrage comes courtesy of a Joel Klein interview with McCain:

At a press conference here, I just asked John McCain about why he keeps talking about Obama’s alleged willingness to talk to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has no power over Iranian foreign policy, rather than Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who does. He said that Ahmadinejad is the guy who represents Iran in international forums like the United Nations, which is a fair point. When I followed with the observation that the Supreme Leader is, uh, the Supreme Leader, McCain responded that the “average American” thinks Ahmadinejad is the boss. Didn’t get a chance to follow up to that, but I would have asked, “But isn’t it your job to correct those sorts of mistaken impressions on the part of the American public?” Oh well.

That prompted such scintillating analysis as this from Matthew Yglesias:

It’s increasingly clear that John McCain intends to use his special relationship with the press to run a campaign based on relentlessly lying about his opponent

And this from “BJ” at Newshoggers:

The Iranian power structure is a byzantine beast at best, but the tthe guy at the top is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, rather than the eminently (mis)quotable Ahmadinejad. Given how “serious” a threat McCain and his supporters all tell us Iran is, you would think such a fact might be an important one to learn.

The rest of the lefty commentary basically play off of these two themes of (a) Obama never said “Ahmadinejad” and (b) McCain’s so stupid he doesn’t know who really runs Iran.

Starting with theme (b) first, why does it matter which leader McCain names when the charge is that Obama wants to negotiate without precondition with Iran? Whether he talks to Ahmadinejad or Khamenei is pretty irrelevant to that charge, and focusing one’s attack on something so ridiculously semantic and capillary simply underscores how much the Obama campaign really does not want to deal with this issue. And that’s not even to mention that meeting with Khamenei without precondition does not make Obama out to be a foreign policy genius either (he’s “slightly less anti-semitic”? Seriously? That’s a defense?).

Secondly, those accusing McCain are piling up the crow to eat:

September 24, 2007, 2:05 PM

Obama: I Would Still Meet With Ahmadinejad
Posted by Brian Montopoli

Despite the controversy that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York City has triggered, Senator Barack Obama still vows to meet with rogue leaders if he is elected, reports CBS News’ Maria Gavrilovic.

“Nothing has changed with respect to my belief that strong countries and strong presidents talk to their enemies and talk to their adversaries,” Obama told reporters at a press conference ….

Obama said he would not have invited Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia University, but he believes in academic freedom. “They have the right to invite people to speak. As I said, it’s not a choice that I would have made but we don’t need to be fearful of the rantings of somebody like Ahmadinejad.” Obama says the United Nations provides an adequate forum for Ahmadinejad to speak.

Obama was asked if his statements about Ahmadinejad were contradictory – why would he meet with the Iranian leader as U.S. president but not invite to speak if he were the Columbia University president? “There are two different functions, as president of the United States, my job is to look out for the national security interests of this country,” Obama said.

Michael Goldfarb dug up the video and adds:

I can’t say I’m surprised that Time magazine and the Obama campaign managed to miss this clip which completely undermines their shared narrative. But now we have a new narrative: Obama intends to meet with Ali Khamenei, the man with the real power in Tehran, because even though Obama pledged to meet with Ahmadinejad, and said it was a “disgrace” that Bush had not, he never had any intention of meeting with Ahmadinejad, and McCain is a liar for saying different.

See also here for more confirmation that Obama did in fact say he would meet with Ahmadinejad.

As for the new Obama meme, that he’ll meet with Khamenei (but not that nutjob Ahmadinejad!), Goldfarb provides the relevant transcript of advisor Susan Rice speaking to Wolf Blitzer:

BLITZER: “How does Senator Obama defend that decision to meet without preconditions with a leader like Ahmadinejad?”

RICE: “Well, first of all, he said he’d meet with the appropriate Iranian leaders. He hasn’t named who that leader will be. It may, in fact be that by the middle of next of year, Ahmadinejad is long gone.”

BLITZER: “Let’s be precise because when they criticize Barack Obama, not only John McCain but others, for suggesting that he would meet without preconditions with Ahmadinejad, who only last week on Israel’s 60th anniversary called Israel a ‘stinking corpse.’ The question that they ask is what is Barack Obama going to talk with him about?”

RICE: “Well, first of all as I said, it would be the appropriate Iranian leadership at the appropriate time – not necessarily Ahmadinejad.”

As his nomination becomes more likely, Obama’s supporters have twisted themselves into rhetorical knots attempted to explain away their candidate’s everchanging positions. In this case they have chose the stupidest of all tacts in declaring that it is McCain who is lying and doesn’t know what he’s talking about when, in fact, Obama has clearly stated what McCain said he did, and the attempted defense actually indelibly implants the fact that OBAMA WILL MEET WITH IRAN WITHOUT PRECONDITION! in the minds of the voters.

Quite possibly this could be one of the dumbest political moves ever made, and certainly some of the dumbest retorts I’ve ever seen. And yet, somehow Obama will still end up being president.

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More Like This Please

I was pleasantly surprised, and mildly irritated, to see that Condi Rice basically called Muqtada al-Sadr a coward while she was in Baghdad recently (via: Instapundit):

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocked anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as a coward on Sunday, hours after the radical leader threatened to declare war unless U.S. and Iraqi forces end a military crackdown on his followers.

Rice, in the Iraqi capital to tout security gains and what she calls an emerging political consensus, said al-Sadr is content to issue threats and edicts from the safety of Iran, where he is studying. Al-Sadr heads an unruly militia that was the main target of an Iraqi government assault in the oil-rich city of Basra last month, and his future role as a spoiler is an open question.

“I know he’s sitting in Iran,” Rice said dismissively, when asked about al-Sadr’s latest threat to lift a self-imposed cease-fire with government and U.S. forces. “I guess it’s all-out war for anybody but him,” Rice said. “I guess that’s the message; his followers can go too their deaths and he’s in Iran.”

Both my surprise and irritation are because our government has been notably reticent to openly ridicule people like Sadr and bin Laden, or to state the obvious with respect to the civilian-targeting terrorists who blow themselves (they hope) to high heaven. None of them are brave enough to face off against their enemies. Instead they snipe from the sidelines, issue crude and fantastic proclamations about their superiority, and in the end they prey upon the weakest and least protected members of the enemy herd. There is a word for these types of people: cowards.

When one considers the fact that we are knee-deep in an information war (as opposed to a conventional, battlefield, territory-taking war), it’s difficult to understand why we haven’t resorted to deriding the enemy much earlier. The war-supporting blogosphere does so on occasion, but our leaders certainly don’t.

By “deriding the enemy” I don’t mean producing propaganda. Instead, call them out regularly and forcefully as the cowards and charlatans that they are. Employ the poison pen and wipe that arrogant smile off of their collective faces. In other words, take them on in the battle space they’ve chosen. We can defeat them there just as easily as we’ve done in actual combat.

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CENTCOM Commander Admiral Fallon Resigns (UPDATED)

Apparently rumors have been swirling around for awhile that Fallon was on his way out. Well, today he resigned and the speculation is that it was over a recent interview he did in Esquire, written by Thomas P.M. Barnett (regarding which Josh noted Fallon’s strange reaction last week). However, you can rest assured that a different meme will be floated as to why Fallon is gone:

Adm. William J. Fallon, the top American commander in the Middle East whose views on Iran and other issues have seemed to put him at odds with the Bush administration, is retiring early, the Pentagon said Tuesday afternoon.

The retirement of Admiral Fallon, 63, who only a year ago became the first Navy man to be named the commander of the United States Central Command, was announced by his civilian boss, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who said that he accepted the admiral’s request to retire “with reluctance and regret.”

Despite the warm words, there was no question that the admiral’s premature departure stemmed from policy differences with the administration, and with Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American commander in Iraq.

The bone of contention between Fallon and the Bush Administration, according to this meme (and sometimes, Adm. Fallon himself), is that Fallon refuses to go to war with Iran. From the Barnett profile in Esquire (HT: Allahpundit):

Just as Fallon took over Centcom last spring, the White House was putting itself on a war footing with Iran. Almost instantly, Fallon began to calmly push back against what he saw as an ill-advised action. Over the course of 2007, Fallon’s statements in the press grew increasingly dismissive of the possibility of war, creating serious friction with the White House.

Last December, when the National Intelligence Estimate downgraded the immediate nuclear threat from Iran, it seemed as if Fallon’s caution was justified. But still, well-placed observers now say that it will come as no surprise if Fallon is relieved of his command before his time is up next spring, maybe as early as this summer, in favor of a commander the White House considers to be more pliable. If that were to happen, it may well mean that the president and vice-president intend to take military action against Iran before the end of this year and don’t want a commander standing in their way.

And so Fallon, the good cop, may soon be unemployed because he’s doing what a generation of young officers in the U. S. military are now openly complaining that their leaders didn’t do on their behalf in the run-up to the war in Iraq: He’s standing up to the commander in chief, whom he thinks is contemplating a strategically unsound war.

The only problem with the meme is that Administration officials who want to go to war with Iran are somewhat hard to come by:

The current issue of Esquire Magazine portrays Fallon as the one person in the military or Pentagon standing between the White House and war with Iran. The article credits Fallon with “brazenly challenging his commander in chief” over a possible war with Iran, which Fallon called an “ill-advised action,” and implies Fallon would resign rather than go to war against Iran.


Still, the gruff, outspoken CENTCOM commander has his detractors. “How many times can [Fallon] get away with these kinds of remarks,” before he’s forced out the door, asked one senior Pentagon official. The reason may be that on Iran, Gates and many senior military officials happen to agree with Fallon.

Most military leaders against military strike on Iran
Gates has said publicly and privately that under current conditions he’s opposed to war with Iran. Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen is also against it. In fact, almost every senior military officer we’ve talked to is against launching military strikes against Iran, because as one senior official told us, “then what do you do?”


In addition, military officials dispute the premise of the story that the White House is pressuring the military to go to war with Iran. “Not true,” said a senior military official, despite the anti-Iran drumbeat from Vice President Dick Cheney.

In fact, during a conference in Bahrain last December, Gates had to convince Gulf state Arab allies that the United States was not going soft on Iran, because from their vantage point it appeared the Bush administration was backing away from its tough stand against Iran.

In other words, Fallon seems to have erected a strawman against which to battle, and the Administration was not pleased with the argument being made, nor the way in which Fallon was portraying the CiC.

Admiral Fallon had rankled senior officials of the Bush administration with outspoken comments on such issues as dealing with Iran and on setting the pace of troop reductions from Iraq — even though his comments were well within the range of views expressed by Mr. Gates.

Officials said the last straw, however, came in an article in Esquire magazine by Thomas P. M. Barnett, a respected military analyst, that profiled Admiral Fallon under the headline, “The Man Between War and Peace.” The article highlighted comments Admiral Fallon made to the Arab television station Al Jazeera last fall, in which he said that a “constant drumbeat of conflict” from Washington that was directed at Iran and Iraq was “not helpful and not useful. I expect that there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working for. We ought to try to do our utmost to create different conditions.”

It seems that Fallon saw the writing on the wall, however, leading to his strange “poison pen” comments:

Sources in the Pentagon said Fallon was worried the White House would perceive the magazine piece as a challenge to the president’s authority, and insisted that couldn’t be further from the truth. At the same time the sources said Fallon “doesn’t sound like someone considering resignation.”

In his own defense, Fallon told the Washington Post that the Esquire article was “poison pen stuff…disrespectful and ugly.”

While any policy differences, real or perceived, between top U.S. military commanders and the civilian leadership are not necessarily unusual, it’s rare when those commanders take the debate so public.

Finally, also via AP, Blackfive claims that Fallon’s resignation has been in the works for awhile, and suggests that Petraeus may be headed for the CENTCOM position:

…Wolf’s sources, for months now, have said that this was coming, not for disagreements with the administration about a looming war with Iran, but for some other internal “issues” that have nothing to do with policy or the administration. His replacement has been considered for some time now.

The media is speculating that this is another case of Shinseki-izing – the Bush administration getting rid of another dissenter. They are wrong.

Well, they were wrong about Shinseki too, so that shouldn’t be any surprise.

UPDATE: According to Think Progress (@ UpdateIV), Harry Reid is ready to get the meme rolling:

I am concerned that the resignation of Admiral William J. Fallon, commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and a military leader with more than three decades of command experience, is yet another example that independence and the frank, open airing of experts’ views are not welcomed in this Administration.

And Spencer Ackerman jumps on board:

Admiral William Fallon, the bulwark between Bush and a war with Iran, is resigning as head of U.S. Central Command. According to the tidbit I just saw on CNN, apparently Secretary Bob Gates said that Fallon quit for the most postmodern of reasons: Fallon thought a recent, highly-controversial Esquire article portrayed him as in opposition to Bush’s bellicosity over Iran … Gates said in a press conference just now that no one should think the move reflects any substantive change in policy. That sure won’t be how Teheran sees it. The Iranians will consider Fallon’s resignation to indicate that the bombing begins in the next five minutes.

Although, to be fair, Ackerman does offer another explanation:

This sounds like a resignation on principle. Either that or Fallon got caught with “Kristen.”


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Iran’s War Against Dogs

dogs in Iran

on the Iranian theocracy’s deranged crackdown on pet dog ownership. Since walking a dog in public is apparently illegal, pet owners are resorting to walking their dogs late at night to avoid detection from the police. According to Iranian theocrats, pet dogs are a “corrupting influence of decadent Western culture.”

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Saddam “wanted to pursue all of WMD … to reconstitute his entire WMD program”

I’m not sure that’s “news” to those who have been paying attention the last few years, but now we have another source reported by CNN on Sunday. What makes this source newsworthy and interesting is that it’s FBI agent George Piro, who interviewed Saddam almost daily after his capture. He was on 60 minutes last Sunday, and it’s a very interesting interview with someone who had personal contact with the former Iraqi dictator.

It’s especially interesting for the psychological way Piro gained trust and control over Saddam. He became the conduit for anything Saddam wanted.

Mr. George controlled the baby wipes that Saddam was fond of. Saddam was a clean freak and he used the wipes to clean his cell and wipe off fresh fruit. Saddam wrote poetry every day, but Mr. George controlled the pen and paper. And in a cell with no windows, Mr. George had the power over day and night.

“We had the guards remove their watches. And the only person that was wearing a watch was me. And it was very evident to him, ’cause I was wearing the largest wristwatch you could imagine. And it was just the act of him asking for the time — was critical in our plan,” Piro says.

It’s an amazing glimpse into the mind of the dictator of Iraq, RTWT.

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Reflections on Fred

Fred Thompson

This was a post better suited for yesterday and Fred’s withdrawal, but I suppose I let myself get distracted without posting it. It should go without saying that while I was unsurprised by the event, it was nevertheless disappointing. But not so much because we are now bereft of any reasonable alternative in the Republican field, but because it seems to confirm that registered Republicans by a large margin, are using unwelcome criteria to evaluate candidates. In fairness, that impression has been with me throughout Fred’s campaign, since I’d found myself to be fond of Thompson because of the reasons he failed to appeal to almost everyone else.


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Iranian President’s Public Spanking

FoxNews, fair and balanced. Well, one can add snarky to that tag line for the headline above. Not that I disagree with it, or think we shouldn’t treat some people to a certain amount of disrespect.

Just another straw on the camels back. With the camel in this case being the public.


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was publicly humiliated Monday when Iran’s supreme leader smacked down the president’s decision not to implement a law supplying natural gas to remote villages.

The move by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei came amid rising dissatisfaction with the president’s performance. Ahmadinejad’s popularity has plummeted amid rising food prices and deaths due to gas cuts during a particularly harsh winter.

In response to a request by the conservative-dominated parliament, Khamenei ordered the president to implement a law spending $1 billion from the Currency Reserve Fund to supply gas to villages after he balked for budgetary reasons.

“All legal legislation that has gone through (the required) procedures stipulated in the constitution is binding for all branches of power,” Parliamentary Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel quoted the supreme leader as saying in a statement.

Haddad Adel called Ahmadinejad’s refusal to implement the law “surprising” and said his appeal to Khamenei was aimed at “defending the dignity of the legislature.” His comments, which were broadcast live on state-run radio, prompted chants of “well done” from the chamber.

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Toward a New Italian Left

Here’s a fascinating little article on Walter Veltroni, the mayor of Rome and the new leading light of the Italian Left. Vetroni has worked to create a more moderate and flexible social democratic political culture in Italy. Modeling his new party in name and substance expressly on the US Democratic Party, he’s sought to create a very American kind of Left in a country so often fractured by the rancor of political extremism. His fierce criticism of Iran and his rejection of ossified socialist economic theory represent substantial breaks from the ideological status quo. While many of his positions and views aren’t entirely welcome, perhaps a Blairite “third way” is finally coming to the Italian Republic.

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The Glenn Greenwald Carnival of Fisking has some new entries

First, let us all go and see Eric Scheie delve into the sock drawer and how the moth eaten brain now, amongst all the other charges, believes Glenn Reynolds is a racist! The puppy blending, mass murder and nuclear holocaust desiring, homophobic racist known as Instapundit has an able defender in Eric, but let us please note Tom Maguire and Jon Henke stirring themselves as well.

Not that we should limit ourselves to the bizarre smears scraped from the lint screen of the netroot mind after a lengthy cycle, no, Greenwald is at his best (sic) in documenting the unending bloodlust of the present administration and any and all who deviate from his own deranged view of the world. The normally affable Kevin Sullivan (who seems to see our leading sock puppet as reliable domestically, uh, well I am stunned, but let us move on) notes the holes in Greenwalds argument about the recent incident in the straits of Hormuz with this bit of understatement:

This is, in sum, insane.

I am of the opinion much of what the man writes is insane, but unfortunately many people are gulled by the man when they don’t have the background to realize the smelly piece of footwear is as mendacious or deluded on every subject. They assume the issues they note are isolated rather than a pattern which suffuses everything that comes from the the man’s keyboard. In this instance Kevin you know what he is doing, please read back and realize he does this with everything. As we have long noted, and Eric does above, his evidence rarely exists. His links don’t support his argument. He twists, he turns, he debases. Kevin, please visit the incomparable archives of our Glenn Greenwald Carnival of Fisking for the sad details of a man who considers Glenn Reynolds a racist homophobe. Instapundit puts it nicely:

“GALL AND GULLIBILITY:” The combination is sort of a trademark, really. But — at the risk of sounding like Brit Hume to Ron Paul last night — it’s funny to me that folks on the left want so badly to create a Gulf of Tonkin out of an incident in which the U.S. Navy did nothing. Sixties nostalgia runs rampant.

UPDATE: Related item here.

Do follow the related link, but I also highly suggest McQ’s examination of the events that day and why it is important.

Can we lose this piece of laundry in the dryer? I have no match for him.

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European tax collections funding Hamas?

At Harry’s place we see further reason to despise Brussel’s bureaucrats.

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