Sarah Palin On Iran: Speak Loudly And That’s About It

Sarah Palin waded into the foreign policy pool today with a piece about Iran, and it was about as empty as most of the other ideas on Iran that we've heard over the last six years or so from everyone else.

Sarah Palin’s latest foray into the world of substantive policy comes in the pages of USA Today where she talks about Iran, and that’s really about it:

Iran continues to defy the international community in its drive to acquire nuclear weapons. Arab leaders in the region rightly fear a nuclear-armed Iran. We suspected this before, but now we know for sure because of leaked diplomatic cables. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia “frequently exhorted the U. S. to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program,” according to these communications. Officials from Jordan said the Iranian nuclear program should be stopped by any means necessary. Officials from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt saw Iran as evil, an “existential threat” and a sponsor of terrorism. If Iran isn’t stopped from obtaining nuclear weapons, it could trigger a regional nuclear arms race in which these countries would seek their own nuclear weapons to protect themselves.

Alright that’s relatively non-controversial. We can all agree that the leaders of the Islamic Republic are bad guys, that they provide aid to bad guys, and that it probably wouldn’t be a good thing for anyone if they got nuclear weapons. That’s why most of Iran’s neighbors are more concerned with the Islamic Republic at this point than they are with Israel. It’s why someone, and we still don’t know who, has infiltrated the Iranian nuclear research facilities with a computer virus that has set the program back at least two years. Most importantly, it’s why stopping the Iranian nuclear weapons program has been a central part of American foreign policy in the Middle East for two Presidencies now, with very limited success.

So, yes, we can all agree that the Iranian Mullahs are bad, bad guys. The question is what to do about it, and in that area Palin’s first foray into this complex area of foreign policy falls as short as most of the other ideas we’ve heard over the past six years.

First, Palin proposes pretty much what we’re already doing, just more of it:

President Obama once said a nuclear-armed Iran would be “unacceptable.” Yet, Iran’s nuclear progress still continues unchecked. Russia continues to support Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors. It also continues to sell arms to Iran — despite the Obama administration’s much-touted “reset” policy with Russia. The administration trumpets the United Nations sanctions passed earlier this year, but those sanctions are not the ” crippling” ones we were promised. Much more can be done, such as banning insurance for shipments to Iran, banning all military sales to Iran, ending all trade credits, banning all financial dealings with Iranian banks, limiting Iran’s access to international capital markets and banking services, closing air space and waters to Iran’s national air and shipping lines, and, especially, ending Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum. These would be truly “crippling” sanctions. They would work if implemented.

Actually, they would only really work if the rest of the world went along with them. Unilateral sanctions against Iran, or any nation, aren’t going to accomplish much of anything unless we get the rest of the major world power to go along with them. One need only look 90 miles off the coast of Florida to see that; while the U.S. continues an embargo that began before our current President was even born, the rest of the world is trading with Cuba. Similarly, an economic embargo of Iran would be worthless if the rest of the world didn’t participate in it and, in that respect there’s one nation that’s going to be a problem getting on board:

Iran’s main trading partners have a number of economic incentives that have driven the international thinking on sanctions and security. While the United States, which has maintained an embargo on trade with Iran since the 1979-1981 hostage situation, remains relatively insulated from Iran economically (though globalized trade and multinational companies mean that this is only partially true), many major European and Asian nations are tightly intertwined.

Figures from January to May 2009 indicate that China, the remaining major adversary to sanctions, relies on Iran for more than a half a million barrels of oil per day – about 15 percent of their portfolio.

China has a diversified portfoliohttps://www.outsidethebeltway.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=73235&action=edit&message=10, with sources that range from central Asia, east and west Africa, and traditional OPEC sources in the Middle East. However, both volatile Iran and stable Saudi Arabia represent significant portions of the imports. With demand rapidly growing in China, Iran’s portion is 15 percent they cannot afford to lose.

In addition, Japan, India, and South Korea are all major purchasers of Iranian oil. Without them on board, these kind of economic sanctions are not going to work at all. Now perhaps Palin has some secret way to convince these nations to send their economies into the tank for an undetermined period of tie while we wait for the Iranian regime to collapse, hopefully in a peaceful manner, but she certainly hasn’t laid it out here.

Even if the rest of the world is on board, though, we shouldn’t kid ourselves — these sanctions would be an act of war. Which brings us to Palin’s next policy idea:

Some have said the Israelis should undertake military action on their own if they are convinced the Iranian program is approaching the point of no return. But Iran’s nuclear weapons program is not just Israel’s problem; it is the world’s problem. I agree with the former British prime minister Tony Blair, who said recently that the West must be willing to use force “if necessary” if that is the only alternative.

I’ve written about this scenario, which seems to be the one that pundits on the right favor the most with a “bomb first, and ask questions later” attitude here and here, and while the prospects of regional war aren’t quite what they were a few months ago given the Wikileaks revelations, the probability that an attack on Iran could unleash a wave of terrorists attacks against the U.S. and Israel, along with Hezbollah attacks against Israel from Southern Lebanon. In addition, there’s the added prospect that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would only serve to set the program back a few years at most, or that it would fail entirely if the facilities are so heavily shielded that bombing won’t really do sufficient damage. Military action should never be taken off the table, of course, but neither should it be the first resort as Palin seems to suggest, especially when there’s a a good possibility it might not work.

Palin’s final suggestion strikes me as little more than pointless symbolism:

We also need to encourage a positive vision for Iran. Iran is not condemned to live under the totalitarian inheritance of the Ayatollah Khomeini forever. There is an alternative — an Iran where human rights are respected, where women are not subjugated, where terrorist groups are not supported and neighbors are not threatened. A peaceful, democratic Iran should be everyone’s goal. There are many hopeful signs inside Iran that reveal the Iranian people’s desire for this peaceful, democratic future. We must encourage their voices.

When the brave people of Iran take to the streets in defiance of their unelected dictatorship, they must know that we in the free world stand with them. When the women of Iran rise up to demand their rights, they must know that we women of the free world who enjoy the rights won for us by our suffragist foremothers stand with our sisters there. When Iranians demand freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom to simply live their lives as they choose without persecution, we in the free world must stand with them.

We can start by supporting them with diplomacy and things such as radio broadcasting, just as we did with those who suffered under the former Soviet Empire. Most of all, we should support them with confidence in the rightness of the ideals of liberty and justice.

While this is ia nice idea, I’m not sure that it’s going to accomplish anything of substance because the truth of the matter is that we don’t “stand with the people.” At least not all the way. We’re not going to invade Iran to stop human rights abuses, or liberate the people, and on some level it strikes me as dishonest to let them think we might. Perhaps a Radio Free Tehran wouldn’t be a bad idea but it’s not going to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

So there we have Sarah Palin’s first foray into the fun world of Middle East foreign policy. It’s not exactly a sled dog race, Sarah, you’re gonna have to do better.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Politicians, Sarah Palin, US Politics, World Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ugh says:

    It’s nice of you to pretend that she actually wrote that all by herself why you tore it to pieces.

  2. anjin-san says:

    > So, yes, we can all agree that the Iranian Mullahs are bad, bad guys. The question is what to do about it

    There is the rub. Clearly, rulers of Arab states have no problem with the concept of American lives and treasure being lost to take out a regime they do not like. That does not necessarily mean that this course of action is a good idea. Palin seems to be pretty willing to let foreign leaders do her thinking for her.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    One of the reasons we don’t stand with the Iranian people is because on the subject of nuclear power it seems the Iranian people stand with the Mullahs.

    It’s this same kind of facile, magical thinking larded with unexamined assumptions that gets us into trouble again and again. The Iranian people are extremely unlikely to wave little American flags and sing America the Beautiful if we do decide to go in with the Israeli air force and blow the hell out of their nuclear facilities.

    Sarah needs to stick to shooting caribou. Or in her case shooting in the general vicinity of caribou.

  4. wr says:

    Well, somebody’s got to do it. It’s not like she’s going to start doing her own.

  5. sam says:

    I read somewhere that someone asked her about Stuxnet, and she said that kind of fishing was illegal in Alaska.

  6. james says:

    Back Bencher:

    OTB: One’s point of view depends where they stand on the Mountain.

    I have seen the North, South, East and West sides.

    My out look “Point of View” some say, that Jefferson and Madison
    shared the same View.

    The players are unpredictable East or West, the Constitution
    is the touch stone to our American Culture.

  7. sam says:

    WTF does that mean?

  8. Smooth Jazz says:

    LMAO, You have got to be kidding me. Let’s not kid ourselves: ANYTHING she says would be a problem on this blog – With you being the ringleader. At least James, Steven and others here put Gov Palin down in a respectful way, and post about her without malice and scorn. You, alternatively, cannot hide your contempt for the Gov, and it shows in your posts. You are a Northeast Liberal Elitist, so I am not surprised you have a problem with her – or ANYTHING she does or says. So please don’t pretend that anything she wrote would have been acceptable to you.

  9. anjin-san says:

    > without malice and scorn

    You mean like the malice and scorn Palin routinely directs at those she perceives to be her enemies?

  10. Jay Tea says:

    Even if the rest of the world is on board, though, we shouldn’t kid ourselves — these sanctions would be an act of war.

    Big whoopty shit. Iran’s been committing acts of war against the US for literally decades. If they don’t care, why should we?

    And what are they going to do? Hate us more?

    They know, through experience, that they can push us around quite a bit. It’s been a very long time since we smacked them back. (I think it was under Reagan that we last overtly hit them.)

    We’ve captured Iranian military in Iraq, training and supplying insurgents. They seized a British boat and its crew in Iraqi waters. We’ve captured Iranian-made terrorist weapons in Iraq. They’ve also been fighting us in Afghanistan.

    Why not pull a modern Operation El Dorado Canyon (appropriately enough, considering how they call us “The Great Satan”) and see what shakes out?

    J.

  11. ALP says:

    Wow! Doug, It must be nice to have someone you can put down and vilify each time you don”t like their commentary or views. I don’t think Ms Palin has all the answers to foreign policies that will actually work with the leadership of nations like Iran. I really don’t believe that any American leader does . If you look at the history of the region, and the Muslim religion, you will find that they have been fighting each other and other countries for 1400 years. All over Power, and who Controls the peoples and the lands. Maybe not all Muslims world wide believe that it should come to pass that Muslims shall or should prevail over all other peoples of the world. I am not sure. Having lived in the Middle East for awhile I do know it is a basic tenant of the Qur’an.

    I do believe that trying “talk” or negotiate with any radical group basically gets you no where.

    As to keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of Radical governments, it is impossible.

    How do you do it? What do you threaten them with. I think that after a certain point, when a country like Iran achieves the capability, they will use nukes to get what they want. They really don’t think about humanity like we do.

    We cannot afford the cost in dollars or lives to go after them with conventional war fare. The rest of the Middle East, (tho they would like us to do so, to protect their interests) I believe would really come down on us. And in the end I don’t believe conventional war fare would work anyway. Just like, Korea, and Vietnam. I also don’t believe we are going to be successful in Afghanistan in the long term. The tribal areas have been fighting with each other for thousands of years. Do you really think we can unite them and give them a democratic government?

    So Doug, tell me what you think is a workable solution. I don’t have one.

    1. We can’t kill them all off.

    2. Talking and negotiating doesn’t seem to get anywhere.

    3. If they get Nuclear capability, they will pretty much get what they want, or they will start a conflict that no-one can control.

    Give some some workable solutions Doug, and your followers. If you can’t, then why are you so critical of someone who voices an opinion, even if the opinion may not be workable.

  12. anjin-san says:

    > If you look at the history of the region, and the Muslim religion, you will find that they have been fighting each other and other countries for 1400 years. All over Power, and who Controls the peoples and the lands.

    And if you look at the history of Christianity, you will see that “they” have been doing the exact same thing, they have just been doing it a lot longer. So you point is far from clear…

  13. tom p says:

    >”Big whoopty shit. Iran’s been committing acts of war against the US for literally decades. If they don’t care, why should we?

    And what are they going to do? Hate us more?”

    Reality check Jay… What are they going to do??? Uhhhh…. Shut down all shipping thru the Persian gulf???? Including (most especially) all the oil????

    Do you live in the same world as the rest of us, Jay??? I swear, your naivete beats all.

  14. G.A.Phillips says:

    Ya, every day hundreds of liberals in power say do and pass stupid harmful $hit. It should make for meaningful important articles. what do we get? Palin this O’donnell that, our party can’t survive without turncoat yellow belly rino twits……

    BORING>

  15. ponce says:

    “That’s why most of Iran’s neighbors are more concerned with the Islamic Republic at this point than they are with Israel.”

    Um, the Arab Sunnis hate the Shia Iranians because they are rival sects.

  16. anjin-san says:

    > Shut down all shipping thru the Persian gulf???? Including (most especially) all the oil????

    Yep. The resulting depression should be fun.

  17. anjin-san says:

    > And what are they going to do? Hate us more?”

    It is worth noting that America is actually pretty popular with a huge segment of the population of Iran. No doubt the hardliners do hate us…

  18. Jay Tea says:

    How long could Iran shut down the Straits of Hormuz? How long would it take us to sink all their subs, their minelayers, and blow up their Silkworm batteries?

    That’s a play they can make exactly once, for a relatively brief window.

    The alternative is to continually give them a pass for their countless aggressions and allow their threats to dominate their region and dictate what others can and can not do.

    But hell, it’s only American soldiers they’re killing. And it’s only Jews they’re likely to nuke. It’s not like it’s a real danger to anyone who matters…

    J.

  19. TG Chicago says:

    “So, yes, we can all agree that the Iranian Mullahs are bad, bad guys.”

    This is a bit oversimplistic, isn’t it? Yes, they’re guilty of bad acts (supporting Hezbollah, internal human rights issues), but who isn’t? The US has supported bad actors — The Taliban, Iraq, and of course Iran-Contra. Even today the US aligns ourselves with some questionable folks in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the US is also guilty of human rights abuses (Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram, etc.).

    If you want to put a black hat and a Snidely Whiplash mustache on these guys, you have to do better than that.

    Such things as meddling in Iraq and seeking nuclear weapons cannot be reasonably used as evidence that they are worse than the US. The US meddles in Iraq far more than Iran, and we not only have the world’s biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons, we are the only nation to have used them against another nation, killing thousands of civilians.

    Is it really a coherent position to say “we will bomb you if you try to make it harder for us to bomb you”? Well, perhaps it’s coherent, but in what sense is it legal or moral? It’s nothing more than “might makes right”.

    Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that things would be better for all — including most Iranians — if Iran was a western-style democracy. I’m not trying to put a white hat on the mullahs. I just think it’s silly to view any of the players here with such a simplistic label as “bad guys”. When you fall prey to that laziness, suddenly you find people saying stuff like: Let’s just bomb them — let’s kill civilians — and “see what shakes out”. We must avoid that.

  20. TG Chicago says:

    @ Jay Tea: “countless aggressions”?

    The US has invaded countries on either side of them. American officials regularly talk (and sing) about bombing Iran. How do you think they feel about *America’s* aggressions?

    What would you say if you were an Iranian? Let’s say you’re one of the mullahs in power. What do you think you would do, given that a hostile nation has you surrounded and is threatening to destroy you? Don’t you think you would want a nuclear insurance card to prevent that from happening?

  21. steve says:

    “But hell, it’s only American soldiers they’re killing. And it’s only Jews they’re likely to nuke. ”

    Nukes are really defensive weapons. I see no evidence that Iran is more likely to nuke Israel than Israel is to nuke Iran.

    Steve

  22. Jay Tea says:

    TG, take your moral relativism and shove it. Our moral superiority over the Iranian mullahs is indisputable.

    I don’t particularly care to walk a mile in their shoes. I care about what they do, what they have done, and what they threaten to do. And that is more than enough to merit honoring their threats as serious declarations of aggression, and meeting their attacks with force of our own.

    You wanna whine about how hard it is, and wrap it in some kind of moral superiority by showing how much more compassionate and sensitive and reasonable you are in saying “we’re just as bad as they are” (meaning, of course, NOT YOU, but us the barbarians), be my guest. Cowards always have tons of rationalizations for their cowardice, and wrap their cravenness in lofty declarations of principle.

    J.

  23. Jay Tea says:

    Nukes are really defensive weapons.

    I believe the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would beg to differ.

    I see no evidence that Iran is more likely to nuke Israel than Israel is to nuke Iran.

    Israel has, in all likelihood, had nuclear weapons for decades, and has yet to use one. Iran has said, on numerous occasions, that it fully intends to nuke Israel. I would suggest that your vision is seriously impaired — probably from being too far up your ass.

    J.

  24. ponce says:

    “Our moral superiority over the Iranian mullahs is indisputable.”

    Yes, I remember thinking just that when our heroic United Navy shot down that Iranian airliner full of women and children while they were supporting Saddam Husein’s invasion of Iran.

    Watching those little burned and bloated bodies being recovered from the Persian Gulf I remember thinking, “this is what moral superiority looks like.”

  25. anjin-san says:

    > Iran has said, on numerous occasions, that it fully intends to nuke Israel.

    I guess the study of history is too much to expect from the Palinista.

    Politicians say all sorts of things. Kruschev said “we will bury you”, and he had plenty of nukes on hand. Yet we are still above ground…

  26. Jay Tea says:

    Ponce, one minor distinction you might want to consider: the one time the US brought down an airliner, it was an accident. It was not intentional. Unlike, say, what happened to another airliner 22 years ago today.

    J.

  27. anjin-san says:

    On the other hand, the “shock and awe” bombings of Iraq were very intentional. How many children and little old ladies died? We will never know. Our grandfathers worked pretty hard for that moral high ground, and the neocons high fived each other even as we surrendered it…

  28. Jay Tea says:

    True enough, anjin. We should have followed our grandfathers’ methodology and just Dresdened or Tokyoed large portions of Iraq. Would’ve made things a LOT easier and cleaner…

    J.

  29. Jay Tea says:

    Or, perhaps, you meant we should have put Iraqi Americans in internment camps?

    J.

  30. anjin-san says:

    > We should have followed our grandfathers’ methodology and just Dresdened or Tokyoed large portions of Iraq.

    A wingnut wishing our armed forces would go kill a lot of brown people so he can feel like a badass. There is something you don’t see every day…

  31. Jay Tea says:

    “Sarcasm,” anjin. look it up sometime.

    Or find someone to read you the definition… and then paraphrase it in short words.

    J.

  32. TG Chicago says:

    “I care about what they do, what they have done, and what they threaten to do.”

    And you don’t care at all about what the US does, what they have done, and what they threaten to do.

    If the world was filled with people like you, it would have been destroyed long ago.

  33. Jay Tea says:

    TG, feel free to bite me. The US has made greater contributions to freedom, quality of life, human rights, and general goodness around the world than any other nation. I’d even be tempted to say than every other nation.

    No, we’re not perfect. Yes, we’ve made mistakes and done wrong things. Yes, we can do better and should always try to do better. But dips like you who insist that America is responsible for most of the ills of the world need a healthy shot of reality upside your heads.

    J.

  34. An Interested Party says:

    “(I think it was under Reagan that we last overtly hit them.)”

    Oh yeah, that arms for hostages thing really showed them that we meant business…

    “Our moral superiority over the Iranian mullahs is indisputable.”

    Indeed…that would be the same moral superiority that caused us to stage a coup in Iran in ’53 to overturn the democratically-elected government to put the Shah in power…

    “Cowards always have tons of rationalizations for their cowardice, and wrap their cravenness in lofty declarations of principle.”

    And chickenhawks always have tons of bravery and bravado for their wars, as long as somebody else does the fighting for them…

  35. ponce says:

    “the one time the US brought down an airliner, it was an accident.”

    Jay,

    When the heroes of the U.S. Navy shot down the Iranian civilian airliner it was because of cowardice, the sailors were stupid and scared so they pulled the trigger.

    When the C.I.A. toppled the democratically elected government of Iran and installed a ruthless monarchy…was that an accident too?

  36. Jay Tea says:

    Uninteresting, in 1988 the Iranians mined the Persian Gulf. After the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) was nearly sunk by one of those mines, Reagan ordered a rather hefty strike against Iran. We wrecked two of their oil platforms, sank one frigate, one gunboat, and three Boghammers. A second frigate was also seriously worked over.

    That’s what we did when Iran mined the Persian Gulf. Think they’ve forgotten about that?

    On the other hand, it’s pretty damned clear that Obama is no Ronald Reagan.

    J.

  37. Jay Tea says:

    I’m feeling generous. (Also tired.) Anyone else care to correct ponce’s BS, or should I tackle it in the morning, after some sleep?

    J.

  38. ponce says:

    “Think they’ve forgotten about that?”

    The Iranians seem to be far more forgiving than the Republicans, Jay.

    Imagine if one of their ships had sailed into our waters and gunned down a civilian airliner full of women and children.

    It’s a real pity you and your cowardly ilk couldn’t convince your boy Bush to start a war with Iran.

    Now it will never happen…

  39. mannning says:

    Stuxnet are damn hard to catch and even harder to boat. They really try to foul your lines and wrap your propellers, and before you know it you can’t make any headway. The more you struggle the more entrapped you get. No wonder sam says that, according to Palin, Stuxnet are banned in Alaska.! We don’t want those things here!

  40. george says:

    “Nukes are really defensive weapons.

    I believe the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would beg to differ.”

    Tend to agree – categorising nukes as defensive weapons takes a bit of doing.

    But I’m wondering where the US is going to get the resources to shut down Iran? Iraq and Afghanistan are much smaller, and look at how long and expensive that was – and the US is still in both. Saying ‘shut’ them down is easy, doing it is going to be much harder, especially since its not clear they wouldn’t have support from China. Going in assuming its going to be a walk in the park is not a good idea.

  41. anjin-san says:

    > “Sarcasm,” anjin. look it up sometime.

    Sarcasm is like anything else, if used poorly, it falls flat. And you are the guy with the soufflé in the oven.

    Really J, don’t try to be clever. You are like the guy showing up at a knife fight armed with a pair of horn rimmed glasses.

  42. An Interested Party says:

    “Think they’ve forgotten about that?”

    Maybe, maybe not…they certainly haven’t forgotten 1953…nor arms for hostages, I would imagine…

    “On the other hand, it’s pretty damned clear that Obama is no Ronald Reagan.”

    And yet, Obama is president…meanwhile, your heroine certainly isn’t Ronald Reagan…and she’ll never be president…

  43. TG Chicago says:

    “But dips like you who insist that America is responsible for most of the ills of the world need a healthy shot of reality upside your heads.”

    I insisted no such thing. I spoke positively of western-style democracies, of which America is obviously the most prominent example. Saying that America is responsible for *some* ills of the world (which you apparently agree is true) is different than saying America is responsible for *most* ills of the world. Please keep this distinction in mind.

    If you want to be so simplistic as to call Iran the “bad guys” and America the “good guys”, you have to make a much better case than anyone has in this thread (or the original post).

    You decry my comments as “moral relativism”, but when you call one side “good guys” and another side “bad guys”, you are putting the two sides in morally relative terms to each other. Thus, it’s only appropriate to see how different they actually are.

    When you do so, it’s clear that the difference between Iran and the US isn’t as striking in moral terms as it is in terms of power. The US is far more powerful than Iran. Some people (particularlly Americans, particularly from the right) seem to think that being more powerful is equivalent to being more morally pure. It is not.

  44. MM says:

    Surely she will date Jay Tea now, after his valiant ride to her rescue.

  45. TG Chicago says:

    “categorising nukes as defensive weapons takes a bit of doing.”

    It doesn’t take much doing at all. Name a country that is known to have nuclear weapons that has been invaded by another country.

    China and India went to war in 1962. China got the bomb in 1964. Suddenly China and India can get along.

    Israel was attacked by several states in 1967, but subsequently got the bomb. Since then, they have only been attacked by non-state actors.

    India and Pakistan had wars in the 60s and early 70s, but after India got the bomb in 1974? They’re far from friendly, but they keep things in check.

    There were all sorts of wars between major powers prior to the discovery of nuclear weapons. After the discovery, there are far fewer — most wars these days involve either a) a non-state terrorist organization or b) an imperial occupying power invading a far less powerful nation far from home (or both of these things).

    That’s why nuclear bombs are defensive weapons. And that’s why Iran wants them.

  46. anjin-san says:

    > And that’s why Iran wants them.

    Yes, when we deposed a government we did not like by force right next door to them, I imagine that added some urgency for them.

  47. anjin-san says:

    > But dips like you who insist that America is responsible for most of the ills of the world need a healthy shot of reality upside your heads.”

    Right wing boilerplate for people that don’t have the imagination to do better…

  48. ponce says:

    “Right wing boilerplate for people that don’t have the imagination to do better…”

    Indeed.

    I’d like to know why our failed trillion dollar hunt for the Sunni al Qaeda terrorists should suddenly turn into a witch hunt against the Shiites who never did anything tot America.

  49. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, ponce. (Well-chosen name, BTW.) The Iran Air shootdown took place less than three months AFTER Operation Praying Mantis. In fact, many believe that there was a connection — the USS Vincennes was understandably on high alert at the time, as it was still relatively soon after the above-mentioned incident and during a battle with Iranian Navy forces. And you might have missed it, but the US and Iran settled over the shootdown almost 15 years ago.

    I’d like to know why our failed trillion dollar hunt for the Sunni al Qaeda terrorists should suddenly turn into a witch hunt against the Shiites who never did anything tot America.

    I don’t have the patience to re-educate you on something you’ve undoubtedly been told over and over again but just can’t seem to grasp, but look up “Authorization For Use Of Military Force In Iraq,” see all the justifications that somehow manage to NOT involve Al Qaeda, and marvel at all the Democrats who voted for it — it’s somewhere around 100, and involved names such as Kerry, Biden, and Clinton (H.). Also Dodd, Edwards, Feinstein, Harkin, Reid, and Rockefeller — and that’s just from the Senate list.

    J.

  50. ponce says:

    Jay,

    I’d say that AUMF has about run its course.

    In a couple years we’ll be out of Iraq and Afghanistan…and America will never invade another Asian country.

    Why waste our last few hegemonic years giving Iran, our one natural ally in the Middle East, a hard time?

  51. Jay Tea says:

    “Iran, our one natural ally in the Middle East?” Good god, someone get this guy his meds.

    Our one natural ally in the Middle East is a thriving democracy, a true multicultural state with protections for minorities, that is more progressive and liberal in its social policies than even us in many ways — and the would-be target for Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It’s already the target for Iran’s ongoing support for terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and other groups.

    How the HELL could anyone consider Iran our “one natural ally?” Because they’re not Arab? Because nothing says “how ya doin’, buddy!” like seizing our embassy, taking our people hostage, attacking our ships, and supplying terrorists around the world?

    Such amazing stupidity, by someone who makes a point of saying how stupid Sarah Palin is. God save us from such “enlightened” geniuses as this.

    J.

  52. ponce says:

    Jay,

    Israel isn’t an American ally.

    Allies help you fight wars.

    Israel is an American dependent.

  53. Jay Tea says:

    Ponce, stop showing off your stupidity. There are laws against indecent exposure.

    Israel has been very, very helpful in fighting terrorism. Just because they don’t have troops deployed alongside ours doesn’t mean they haven’t been helping us. They’ve given us invaluable intelligence, taught us techniques for dealing with terrorists, and given us valuable insights into what it is like to be the target of screaming fanatic radical Muslims. They’ve made great strides in treating the victims of terrorist attacks, and developed defenses against the kinds of tactics we’re facing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Meanwhile, Iran has been supplying our enemies with training, materiel, intelligence, and personnel for some time. But that’s OK, because they’re our “natural ally?”

    Good lord.

    J.

  54. sam says:

    ““Iran, our one natural ally in the Middle East?” Good god, someone get this guy his meds.”

    He might have a point, not that I think Iran is our one natural ally, etc., but one can make a case that Iran has all the makings of an ally of the United States. It has a growing young population that is more and more disaffected from the regime and quite appreciative of western culture. And not only the young, but large swaths of the Iranian people seem to be fed up with the lowjinks of the ruling party. Someone I don’t usually agree with has been beating this drum for some time, see, Cracks in the Iranian Monolith

    The Iranian regime loves to boast of its military strength, international clout and hold on domestic power. Much of this is accepted by outside experts, but in fact the regime is in trouble. Iran’s leaders have lost legitimacy in the eyes of the people, are unable to manage the country’s many problems, face a growing opposition, and are openly fighting with one another….

    [T]he country celebrated the funeral of Iran’s most cherished performer, the singer Mohammed Nouri. Nouri was no dissident and was often praised by clerics as a “pious” man. But Mr. Khamenei chose the moment to issue a broad fatwa against music. “It’s better that our dear youth spend their valuable time in learning science and essential and useful skills and fill their time with sport and healthy recreations instead of music,” he declared.

    Only “Western music” had previously been banned by Mr. Khamenei, and Iranian youth reacted with predictable hostility. In the days that followed, a Canadian-made remix of the 1979 Pink Floyd song “Another Brick in the Wall” went viral on the Internet with the new chorus, “Hey Ayatollah, leave those kids alone.”

    In some support of Ledeen’s thesis, today’s NYTimes, has this story, Energy Policy in Iran Leaves Many Gasping that details how the regime’s gasoline policies are pissing off a lot of folks in Tehran. It appears that one of the sanctions Palin called for in her piece is already in place and taking hold:

    With pollution warnings this year lasting for weeks on end, the possibility that the Ahmadinejad administration may have achieved a partial victory over international sanctions [with the incountry refining of gasoline] at the cost of public health has alarmed industry experts and Tehran residents alike.

    “If independence comes at the cost of people’s health, it’s not worth it at all,” [one Tehran citizen] said. “Instead of that, they should give up on some of their stupid demands on the international scene.”

    See also, Iran Lets Gas Prices Soar, but Drivers Seem Unfazed — Contrary to the headline, there does appear to be quite a bit of fazing going on. Then there was the wide-spread pissed-offedness concerning the anti-democratic shenanigans of the regime in the last elections. In short, there is evidence that the Iranian people, or at least a large part of them, are none too happy with the current regime. Does any of this translate into Iran being a natural ally of the United States? One cannot be completely sure, of course, but it looks to me that the contours of that growing disaffection have a western shape.

    But the public picture that is usually presented to us of Iran is that of the moron clown-in-chief of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It’d be a grave mistake on our part to take to public posturings of that person as truly reflective of the attitudes of the Iranian people.

  55. jwest says:

    Obviously Doug is still formulating his reply as to how he would have stayed on as governor of Alaska had he been in the same circumstances as Palin.

    We are also waiting for the article detailing his thoughts on Palin’s resignation from the AOGCC, although we’re not holding our breath.

    Perhaps his links to Media Matters and Kos are down, preventing the necessary research.

  56. sam says:

    Eww, sorry about this link: Energy Policy in Iran Leaves Many Gasping, try this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/world/middleeast/22tehran.html

  57. Jay Tea says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else remember talk about how Iraq was a natural US ally? Educated, secular state, and all that? How’d that work out, anyway?

    There’s a bit of rebellion in Iran, with Bandar Abbas being a current flashpoint, but there’s over 30 years of “America is The Great Satan” to overcome — and that kind of indoctrination is hard to overcome.

    It seems for decades that whatever we do in the Middle East, it just makes the extremists hate us more. And everything proposed, same thing. Hell, we could nuke Israel for them, and they’d be mad we messed up The Dome Of The Rock (built on top of the single holiest site in Judaism, but that isn’t mentioned much) and the rest of the Palestinian homeland. So why the hell should we even factor in that inevitable reaction into our decision process?

    J.

  58. G.A.Phillips says:

    J, you must remember that the libs here believe that we did 9/11 to ourselves and that Islam is a peaceful religion.

    Islam is a threat to us because of our technology and their religion, and because of our reluctance to stomp a mud hole in those who attack us.

    They root for the terrorist because they are just another victim of the Great Satan or great God depending and which one you read.

    They hate Palin because she is a Christian who believes in the family and is pro life.

    HATE!!!!!!! HER GUTS!!!!!

  59. John425 says:

    Mataconis- an unknown, solo practice lawyer in a nowhere town, giving his ponderous opinion on what a former Governor of the largest state in the union should say about foreign affairs. ROFLMAO!

  60. wr says:

    Jay Tea — I not only remember all the talk about Iraq as an ally, I remember the billions of dollars we spent propping up Saddam Hussein. I remember the US selling him the chemical weapons we later used as an excuse for toppling him.

    Maybe one reason “the extremists” in the Middle East keep hating us no matter what we do is that we keep installing and supporting dictators who torture and murder the citizens while offering benefits to oil companies.

    You’re still mad at Iran because 30 years ago a group of students seized the US embassy and held our people hostage. Imagine, then, how an Iranian must feel about the USA for overthrowing their democratically elected president and installing one of the worst torture regimes in the world. Even those who don’t like the theocratic rule of the mullahs would think twice about bringing back the Shah…

  61. Jay Tea says:

    I remember the US selling him the chemical weapons we later used as an excuse for toppling him.

    Go check your memory, wr. The stuff we sold him was not capable of being weaponized — it was only good for medical research.

    You really should expand your “historical research” beyond Kos and DU. Some seriously bad acid there, dude.

    J.

  62. steve says:

    “I believe the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would beg to differ.”

    Twice in Japan and never again. Having established that they work, they become primarily a defensive weapon as no one has been willing to use them on a first strike.

    “Israel has, in all likelihood, had nuclear weapons for decades, and has yet to use one. Iran has said, on numerous occasions, that it fully intends to nuke Israel.”

    Where? I read a lot of foreign policy stuff and have yet to see that.

    Steve

  63. ponce says:

    “ust because they don’t have troops deployed alongside ours doesn’t mean they haven’t been helping us.”

    Haha Jay,

    That’s certainly a unique definition of the word “ally.”

    If Israel had to commit troops alongside ours itt might be a bit more hesitant about causing trouble for America in the Middle east.

    No, Israel is no ally to us.

    At best it’s an ungrateful American dependent…a spoiled brat, if you will.

  64. wr says:

    Jay Tea — Without religitgating the arms sales to Saddam, I find it interesting that you completely ignored the rest of my post. It sure is easy to yell “Yay, America, everyone who hates us is eeeevil and despises freedom” when you simply ingore any bad we have done to them…

  65. Jay Tea says:

    wr, I’m still waiting for dips on a previous thread to spell out just what alternative Palin should have taken instead of resigning as governor. I’m taking it as an admission that they have no clue.

    In your case, though, I got to the first part of your statement and found I’d exceeded my Recommended Daily Allowance of stupid, so I had to stop reading.

    Yeah, I’m still mad over the hostage crisis. But guess what? I get over things — when the offending party shows that they’re at least not interested in continuing the fight. The hostage crisis was just the beginning of over 30 years of bashing, threats, covert actions, and overt actions against us. They’ve shown they have little to no interest in making nice with us, so I’m not that interested in making nice with them.

    Oh, and back to Saddam… we were hardly the biggest arms suppliers to Saddam. In fact, in total weapons bought by Iraq from 1973 to 2002, we were tied with Libya for 10th, at 0.46%. Ahead of us were the USSR (at 57.26%), France, China, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Brazil, Egypt, Romania, and Denmark.

    OK, just had an inoculation — just re-read some old Den Beste stuff — so I can read that earlier piece of yours.

    You might not have noticed, but there are very few nations in the Middle East that are NOT dictatorships. I can think of four nations in that general region that are not dictatorships or puppet states of dictators — Turkey, Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan. So it’s kinda hard to NOT “support a dictator” and still remain involved with them.

    ponce — I got nothing else to say to you. I dunno if you prefer to be called an anti-Zionist, anti-Semite, or Jew-hater, but I got better things to do than try to drag you into reality.

    Steve — you obviously only read what tells you what you wanna hear. Kindly find an alternative way to interpret “we want to wipe them off the map” from a nation that is openly seeking nuclear weapons.

    J.

  66. Taiko Drum says:

    “Go check your memory, wr. The stuff we sold him was not capable of being weaponized — it was only good for medical research.

    You really should expand your “historical research” beyond Kos and DU. Some seriously bad acid there, dude.”

    That is simply untrue. According to a US senate report after the first Gulf War, that “stuff” we sold him could be used for dual use. These included the micro-organisms which cause anthrax and botulism. Other items in the report included ‘chemical warfare-agent precursors, chemical warfare-agent production facility plans and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment, biological warfare-related materials, missile fabrication equipment and missile system guidance equipment’.

    “What do you threaten them with. I think that after a certain point, when a country like Iran achieves the capability, they will use nukes to get what they want. They really don’t think about humanity like we do.”

    The very fact that Iran uses proxies instead of directly facing us in any conflict is an indication of rationality which undermines the position that they are crazy and will gladly suffer the inevitable counterstrike should they launch their nukes. Although there are probably a few true believers amongst their ranks, their leadership seems to me to be just another corrupt govt that wants to loot their country and hold on to their power. Just under the guise of an Islamist Revolution. Furthermore, Iran has had chemical and biological weapons capability for several decades. If they are so intent on getting nukes to use because they are just crazy like that, why haven’t they utilized these WMD’s against either us or Israel? I think it could be credibly argued that these types of wepaons would be much easier to smuggle. Sure, the images of mushroom clouds makes for great theater and is something to fear, but imagine the fear and chaos that would result from Iranians contaminating portions of our food and/or water supply with these agents.

  67. Jay Tea says:

    Drum, thank you for the correction. I just did a bit more digging — the stuff Saddam bought was not SUPPOSED to be able to be weaponized, but could have been. And it wasn’t sold to him by the US government, but a private medical research agency — the American Type Cultural Collection — that was hoping to further development of treatments, and sold under those presumptions. The US government didn’t sell the stuff, they just didn’t realize the potential dangers of ATCC’s samples. (Apparently, ATCC didn’t, either.)

    Iran is our enemy. Iran LIKES being our enemy. Iran LIKES engineering terrorist attacks in Lebanon, Israel, and Iraq. Iran has no interest in making nice with the West. They’ve taken every opportunity to reject such notions.

    Fine with me. They wanna be our enemy? Let’s treat them like that.

    J.

  68. anjin-san says:

    > Fine with me. They wanna be our enemy? Let’s treat them like that.

    J.

    When are you enlisting, stud?

  69. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    WR, I noticed during all of the conflicts Iraq has been involved in, including the Iran/Iraq war. The Iraqis seem to be using things like Migs, AK-47s, RPGs and much other Soviet era arms. My question for you WR is why would we not sell our equipment rather than RUSSIAN? I guess the letters WR are short for wrong.
    Anjin, you are no Blackthorn. That character displayed wisdom, honor and integrity. None of which you possess.

  70. wr says:

    Jay Tea — I’m not wasting time with your Palin “question” because it involves assumptions which I believe are ludicrous. “In fact of desperate attacks by evil people bent on destroying everything good in the world and with only her resignation to stop them from eating her children, what should she have done?” Nonsense. But here’s what I think she should have done — stuck with the job she campaigned for. Or, if that was too hard, quit and left politics because it was too hard. It’s the quitting and then pretending she’s a winner for doing it that’s so annoying. Do the job or shut up about it, end of story.

    And yes, the MIddle East is full of dictators. And a lot of the people there might not hate us as much if we didn’t have a history of installing ones we thought would be friendly, even if that meant overthrowing democratically elected governments who might have tried to charge the oil companies for taking the oil from their lands.

    The Shah was our guy, put in by the CIA against the will of the people of Iran. So yeah, they don’t like us much. Amazing how actions have consequences.

  71. matt says:

    J the delusional teapartier : Hello as someone that indirectly has family in Iran I cannot help but fall over laughing at your absurd and completely delusional characterizations of Iran. Iran already has quite a lot of chemical and biological weapons. Like WR stated earlier if Iran was anything remotely like you claim them to be they would already be hitting the USA’s food supply and such. The reality is the Iranian government has a few hardliners but most of them are just interested in getting all the power and money they can much like pretty much every other government in existence..

  72. steve says:

    “Steve — you obviously only read what tells you what you wanna hear. Kindly find an alternative way to interpret “we want to wipe them off the map” from a nation that is openly seeking nuclear weapons.”

    Well, I have been deployed to the Middle East. If you talk with Saudi officers, they want Israel to become Palestine. That would wipe Israel off of the map, but would not involve bombing it. A first strike by Iran on Israel would result in the total destruction of Iran. They have not demonstrated that kind of stupidity. They play the proxy war game fairly well. You offer no evidence that Iran is singularly stupid or crazy. You cannot cite a credible Iranian source saying they will launch a first strike against Israel. I dont believe you actually follow this much as a topic. There are lots of good sources to read. You might start with Joyner’s New Atlanticist.

    Steve

  73. Jay Tea says:

    We’re talking about the same Iran, right? The same Iran that has sponsored Hamas, which has committed numerous acts of war (and, naturally, war crimes) against Israel, and Hezbollah, which has essentially subverted and taken over the Lebanese government and used its territory to launch wars against Israel? And both have killed more than their fair share of Americans over the years?

    Iran, that repeatedly mined the Straits of Hormuz and attacked third-party tankers?

    Iran, that even their Muslim neighbors and brethren say “they’re bugshit crazy, and we’d really appreciate it if someone — even Israel — took down their offensive capabilities a bit?”

    Iran, that openly stones rape victims and executes gays?

    Iran, that shoots student protesters?

    Or is there some other Iran I’m not aware of?

    J.

  74. anjin-san says:

    When reading J, you have to keep in mind that Palin has made it clear that she thinks America’s middle eastern policy should more or less be directed from Tel Aviv. It’s really no mystery where Polly’s crackers are coming from.

  75. Jay Tea says:

    And when reading anjin, you have to keep in mind that he seems to think that most of the world’s problems would go away if the Jews would just go away. And once the Jews go away, the radical Muslims will suddenly stop hating us and be much more rational.

    Two can play that game, Anjin. And I find it that, once again, there’s very little interest in addressing the facts I bring up.

    J.

  76. steve says:

    “We’re talking about the same Iran, right? The same Iran that has sponsored Hamas, which has committed numerous acts of war (and, naturally, war crimes) against Israel, and Hezbollah, which has essentially subverted and taken over the Lebanese government and used its territory to launch wars against Israel? And both have killed more than their fair share of Americans over the years?”

    Never said they were good guys. They are engaging in proxy wars, same as all powers have been doing.

    Best man at my first wedding made his living as an interpreter, mostly Persian language documents. His wife came from a family that had fled Iran under the Shah. He was our chosen dictator. Did the same stuff.

    So we are left with no evidence that they will launch nukes first, just a dislike of Iran. Also a gross misunderstanding of the importance of nukes and what they mean in military/policy planning.

    By killing Americans (Hamas/Hezbollah) are you referring to the Marine barracks? The Brits warned us about that. I would suggest a little more research.

    Steve

  77. ponce says:

    “but I got better things to do than try to drag you into reality. ”

    Sorry about your lack of rational defenses for Israel’s poor behavior, Jay.

  78. anjin-san says:

    > Iran, that openly stones rape victims and executes gays?

    Saudi Arabia commits atrocities against rape victims. In 2002, three gay men were beheaded in Saudi Arabia for… being gay.

    But that did not stop Bush from getting in a lip lock with their ruler.

    You hate Iran because the right wing noise machine has told you to. Egypt is guilty of just as bad. Do you advocate attacking them? You should really seek some information beyond Fox News and The American Thinker.

    My thought is that people in America get all worked up over atrocities overseas simply because it is easier than looking in the mirror. I live in a beautiful house in California, right next door to a country club. Quiet. Great views. Nice neighbors. I can get in my car, drive for 30 minutes, and show you places where children were shot dead in the streets in the last few weeks. Where a young girl was gang raped, while a crowd of onlookers took pictures with their cell phones. Where a young kid was shot dead by a cop while face down in handcuffs, for not much of anything.

    But lets keep talking about those horrible, awful barbarians in other countries, by all means.

  79. anjin-san says:

    > And when reading anjin, you have to keep in mind that he seems to think that most of the world’s problems would go away if the Jews would just go away

    Oh, and by the way J, fvck you. False clams of anti-semitism are the refuge of someone who lacks the intelligence, education and reasoning ability to create compelling arguments. I know it hurts you that you are a bottom feeder who is just a notch up from Zels, but desperate crap like that will not change the facts of who you are.

    You are a punk-assed bitch J. For real.

  80. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, anjin, did I hurt your widdle feewings when I flipped your own line back in your face? Poor baby.

    Live by the ad hominem, die by the ad hominem. Or, to quote a classic movie, “lick it up, bitch.”

    I don’t “hate” Iran. But no one had to tell me to distrust and resent and worry about them — they did it all on their lonesome.

    Having them spend 3/4 of my life yelling “Death To America” and doing what they can to carry that out — as well as “death to” a lot of other pepople — achieved what they wanted, thank you very much.

    J.

  81. Frank says:

    Seriously jay, your ignorance is striking. You’re so loud and irrational that I really have a hard time believing your not a clever piece of satire.

  82. Jay Tea says:

    Seriously, Frank: got anything to say about the topic? Or just feel like talking about me so you can pretend you have something relevant to say?

    Thought so.

    Oh, and anjin: sorry if I conflated your statements with ponce’s. I overlooked your forceful repudiation of his anti-Semitism.

    J.

  83. anjin-san says:

    > Oh, anjin, did I hurt your widdle feewings when I flipped your own line back in your face?

    I guess you are too stupid to realize that that is not what you did. You are constantly calling for war with Iran, and doing it is sort of a veins bulging out, red in the face, drool running down your chin manner. I on the other hand, simply pointed out that Palin seems to be willing to outsource US middle east policy making to Tel Aviv, which is true.

    Actually, I feel that the people who run Iran are very dangerous, evil characters. But they by no means have a monopoly on those qualaties, and I am by no means ready to take pre-emptive action against them which would probably result in the death of tens of thousands or Iranians who DO NOT hate us. At least not yet. We saw just how poorly the rights military adventure in Iraq worked out, rational people are in no hurry to repeat it.

    At any rate, I should not get too worked up about this. As we have seen in this thread, you clearly ignorant about the situation in the middle east, you were not aware of the true nature of the chemical and biological agents that were furnished to Saddam, and the fact that a number of our allies there engage in the same actions that you condemn Iran for seems to escape you. Perhaps when you are a little older and wiser you will gain some perspective.

    I guess coming in here and ranting gets you some attention, and that might be something you don’t get a lot of in the outside world. My thought is that the time you spend repeating right wing talking points over (and over, and over) might be better spent cracking some history books and getting informed. Then people will start taking you seriously.

  84. anjin-san says:

    > Iran, that even their Muslim neighbors and brethren say “they’re bugshit crazy

    Again, history books come in handy. Iran is (for the most part) a Shia nation. The Arab states, on the other hand are Sunni, and this fact complicates things to the extent that “brethren” is simply not accurate.

    Then there is the fact that Iran is Persian, and Persians have historically dominated the middle east. Do some reading on Parthia, Seleucid Kings and so on.

    If you look at the current dynamic in the middle east without understanding the history of the region, you end up with… right wing talking points. You also need to do some reading on the Ottoman Empire, the British settlement after WW1 and western interfereance in Iranian affairs in the early 50’s.

  85. matt says:

    Jay : Did you know Hamas was democratically elected to govern Palestine? Hezbollah is basically the only group actually providing effective humanitarian aid in a lot of Lebanon which is why they are popular. Meanwhile the Lebanese government is horribly corrupt and uninterested in helping the majority of their citizens. We as a nation sold chemical/biological weapons to Iran’s enemy(iraq) who then used said weapons on Iran. WE disposed of Iran’s democratically elected government and installed a puppet shah who tortured and terrorized the Iranian populace. As of late we’ve been funding terrorist organizations in Iran in order to destabilize the current regime. So I guess long story short is the USA has been poking Iran with sticks for the last +90 years so Iran is now poking us back by supporting quasi terrorist groups that happen to be the functional government for Palestine and unofficial government in large swaths of Lebanon..

    “Iran, that repeatedly mined the Straits of Hormuz and attacked third-party tankers?”

    USA the country that shot down innocent airliners?

    “Iran, that even their Muslim neighbors and brethren say “they’re bugshit crazy, and we’d really appreciate it if someone — even Israel — took down their offensive capabilities a bit?””

    You obviously do not understand middle eastern politics or religion. Iran is a Persian country which is predominantly Shi’a as a result. Saudi Arabia is the biggest regional player and it’s Sunni based. I suggest you spend a little time to acquaint yourself with those two religions and the Kurdish people. The Shi’a and Sunni branches formed over a disagreement on who should be the leader after the Prophet Muhammad’s death. They’ve been killing each other over this family rivalry for nearly 1400 years. SO there’s litterly over a thousand years of bad blood between the Shi’a and Sunni followers. So of course Saudi Arabia a Sunni country would love nothing more then to see the “heretical” Shi’a destroyed. Iran is the largest Shi’a country in the area. Another area of conflict is the fact that Iran is 65% Persian and only 2% Arab which also puts them culturally at odds with the predominantly Arab states in the area..

    “Iran, that openly stones rape victims and executes gays?”

    Lets be frank here. In the USA we still kill people for just being gay or black or whatever. Occasionally you’ll hear about a gay dude being dragged to death behind a truck or a black dude lynched. The cities of Iran tend to be more civilized then that but yes stonings happen. BTW Saudi Arabia which provides a good chunk of the oil you burn engages in the same activities and so does quite a few of our allies (including some christian countries at our urging). SO yeah all of that is stupid and inexcusable but that’s life 🙁

    “Iran, that shoots student protesters?”

    Oh come on dude the USA has shot thousands of it’s own students over the years. The police regularly rough up protesters and non protesters just because they can….

    I commend you on effective side stepping of the inconvenient truths of how Iran could easily and effectively attack us and terrorize us as a nation as outlined by WR and me..

  86. […] I can save both you and I a fair bit of time by urging you to read and fully explore the links in this response from Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. While I don’t come anywhere near doing it full […]

  87. […] Sarah Palin On Iran: Speak Loudly And That’s About It (outsidethebeltway.com) […]

  88. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, I don’t think you quite realize what you did on the anthrax issue.

    wr said A.

    I said no, that’s not true. It was B.

    Then I double-checked and found out I was not quite correct (but closer than wr) with B, and explained it was C.

    You’re mocking me for saying B, when your sole source for the correction is me, and giving wr a pass for being totally wrong — and refusing to admit it.

    I don’t blame you for not bothering with wr — “you can’t fix stupid.”

    I guess the old saying is true — if it wasn’t for double standards, you’d have no standards at all.

    J.

  89. Jay Tea says:

    matt:

    This is pretty much a dead thread, but I’m going to answer you anyway.

    Did you know Hamas was democratically elected to govern Palestine?

    Yup, under the old “one man, one vote, one time” principle. And as such, they should be held to the same standard as any other government — including being held accountable for acts of war.

    And that they were elected does NOT suddenly make them not terrorists. It makes them terrorists who’ve managed to legally take over a government.

    Hezbollah is basically the only group actually providing effective humanitarian aid in a lot of Lebanon which is why they are popular.

    Because they kill anyone who tries to interfere with them, using weapons and other resources provided by Syria and Iraq. You’re such an expert — tell me what the name “Hariri” means to you.

    Meanwhile the Lebanese government is horribly corrupt and uninterested in helping the majority of their citizens.

    Because if they get too powerful, Hezbollah — that’s “Party Of Allah,” in case you didn’t know — kills them. In full violation of UNSCR 1701. Which was supposed to disarm Hezbollah and return southern Lebanon to Lebanese control. Which nobody gives a shit about.

    We as a nation sold chemical/biological weapons to Iran’s enemy(iraq) who then used said weapons on Iran.

    Bullshit. See above. A medical research firm sold what they believed was anthrax samples that were incapable of being weaponized. And most of the weapons used by Iraq on Iran were Soviet/Russian.

    WE disposed of Iran’s democratically elected government and installed a puppet shah who tortured and terrorized the Iranian populace.

    Which they undid. With Jimmy Carter’s help. And promptly started committing atrocities right back. At what point do they think they’re “even?” I’ll think about apologizing (for something that happened over a decade before I was born) when they stop killing Americans over it.

    As of late we’ve been funding terrorist organizations in Iran in order to destabilize the current regime.

    Kind of like how they’re funding terrorist organizations — as well as supplying training, materiel, and actual personnel — killing Americans in Iraq.

    And I haven’t seen ANY proof that we’re supporting “terrorist organizations.” For the most part, we’ve been largely hands-off, as any support we provide will hurt the anti-government forces more than it would help.

    USA the country that shot down innocent airliners?

    Bullshit. Major bullshit. One time. One airliner. For which we’ve paid compensation.

    Lets be frank here. In the USA we still kill people for just being gay or black or whatever. Occasionally you’ll hear about a gay dude being dragged to death behind a truck or a black dude lynched.

    NOT AS OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT POLICY, YOU FSCKWIT. When that does happen, the government doesn’t condone it or even turn a blind eye. Matthew Shepard? His killers got two consecutive life sentences each. James Byrd? Two of his killers are on death row, the third cut a deal, testified against the other two, and got life.

    “Iran, that shoots student protesters?”

    Oh come on dude the USA has shot thousands of it’s own students over the years.

    Oh, even more unbelievable bullshit. Cite your sources. Find a source where the government has killed four figures worth of students in acts of political oppression. Kent State — the epitome of such things — barely reaches double digits if you count dead and wounded.

    “Thousands.” That’s your own word. That’s a minimum of 2,000. That’s about half the student body of the college I attended.

    How the hell can you possibly consider yourself any kind of intelligent human being if you can not only embrace such flagrant bullshit, but parrot it as absolute fact without ever once even thinking “man, that’s a lot of people! That’s 2/3 of 9/11, that’s about a dozen Oklahoma City bombings, that’s about the total killed at Pearl Harbor. Maybe I ought to double-check that one.”

    Oh, I think I know how it got past you. You’ve conditioned yourself to accept whatever bad things anyone says about America, to mindlessly agree with any criticism of the US because we deserve it. That’s the only explanation I can imagine for how you could possibly repeat such obviously bullshit lies like “the US has shot thousands of its own students” and “the US has shot down multiple airliners.”

    anjin, I think I did a pretty thorough job of dosing his comment with reality, but you seem to be a self-designated fact-checker. I respectfully invite you to comment on matt’s high-grade bullshit — unless you think that I didn’t leave much for you to work with.

    J.

  90. wr says:

    Jay Tea — Thanks for the kind words. To be called stupid by you is a high compliment indeed. After all, you seem to worship the idea of stupidity, judging not only by your complete lack of understanding of, well, anything, but your slavish devotion to the high priestess of idiocy, La Palin. I no longer need a Christmas present.

    But you might actually want to meet a couple of us Jewish people before you start calling anyone “anti-semites.” Believe it or not, that doesn’t mean anyone who disagrees with the present government of Israel on some of their policies. But again, since you have probably never seen a Jew down in Hog Wallow, I guess you get a pass for now.

  91. frank says:

    Jay

    “Seriously, Frank: got anything to say about the topic? Or just feel like talking about me so you can pretend you have something relevant to say?”

    i understand that statements like that get you some cred on the school yard, but not in any serious discussion.

    obviously, i said EXACTLY what i had to say: you’re a loud ignorant child.

    you’re not sure what my specific thoughts are on iran. all you know is that i find that you act like a child.

    but instead you would like to try to power struggle, assuming that i have nothing to say about iran, instead of considering that maybe i find your ignorance and loudness so counterproductive that i will only address THAT and not the nonsense you spout about foreign policy or history.

    seriously, are you a parody of a moron or just a moron?

  92. Jay Tea says:

    Seen Jews, wr? I’ve seen quite a few, thank you. Attended a couple of Seders (even got to hide the afikomen once), and several services. (Including on Rosh Hashanah — and I can say “L’Shanah Tovah” that’s actually understandable. And had it spelled out to me that “Shofar, sho good” is NOT an acceptable response to “how do you like the services?”) Almost married a Jewish woman. Learned early on that most Jewish holidays boil down to nine words — “they tried to kill us, they failed, let’s eat.” Thought about converting, but didn’t cotton to sharp implements near sensitive parts. I tried to tell ’em it was already taken care of, but was told there had to be a “ritual shedding of blood” and said “no thanks.”

    I’m as proud and solid a Zionist as you’ll find among WASP-raised agnostics, and make no apologies for it.

    So thanks for your concern, wr, but I think I’m solid there.

    And wr, I didn’t CALL you stupid. I NOTED you were stupid. Witness your “we sold chemical weapons to Saddam” BS. Witness your inability to maintain a cogent, coherent argument.

    Pity you can’t accept that reality, but res ipsa loquitur.

    J.

  93. anjin-san says:

    > anjin, I think I did a pretty thorough job of dosing his comment with reality

    Well, you completely ducked the very valid points that I and others made about your lack of understanding of the history of the region, so perhaps you should spend a bit more time in study and a bit less time on nonsense like:

    > You’ve conditioned yourself to accept whatever bad things anyone says about America, to mindlessly agree with any criticism of the US because we deserve it.

    right wing boilerplate. not impressive.

  94. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, show me someone here who has answered EVERY SINGLE SIDE TOPIC brought up by others. Hell, I gave up on getting an answer to “what was a reasonable alternative for Sarah Palin besides resigning?”

    Yes, the history is significant. But I put a higher priority in getting the killing stopped — or at least slowed down. I also get tired of the endless games of “he started it” when it starts going back more than a couple of generations, because it gets pretty damned meaningless pretty damned fast. Where do you wanna start?

    That was rhetorical, by the way. Where anyone wants to start is pretty much defined by their biases.

    And I’m flattered that you’ve chosen to devote yourself to fact-checking me exclusively. I’m assuming that it’s because you think it’s because I’m worth fixing, and idiots like wr are beyond redemption.

    J.

  95. wr says:

    Wow, even a moron beyond redemption can somehow figure out how to use Google to prove you’re an idiot with no idea what you’re talking about:

    “The newspaper says a review of a large tranche of government documents reveals that the administrations of President Reagan and the first President Bush both authorized providing Iraq with intelligence and logistical support, and okayed the sale of dual use items — those with military and civilian applications — that included chemicals and germs, even anthrax and bubonic plague.”

    Read the whole thing: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/12/31/world/main534798.shtml

    Merry Christmas.

  96. matt says:

    Okay my comments keep getting blocked by the spam filter…

  97. Jay Tea says:

    I did read the whole thing, wr. Did you?

    I lived through those days, when it wasn’t simply a matter of choosing good guys vs. bad guys. It was deciding which bad guy was worse, and how to keep any one bad guy from getting too far ahead. And above it all, an overarching enemy that had just about as many nukes as we did, and was playing the same game with the bad guys — with far fewer scruples.

    In that context, that article is a pretty good representation of how things were — without the full context, and the benefit of hindsight. Looking back, could we have done some things better? Absolutely. And could we have done a LOT of things worse? Absolutely.

    Note that the element of imminent nuclear armageddon has been ended. (You might have missed it — it still freaks me out every now and then when I realize it’s no longer a constant threat.) That means that the concerns that were subsumed in that context are a bit higher of a priority.

    Go and look up “Soviet Union,” wr. I suspect you’re too young to fully remember them. But in the timeframe discussed in that article, they were a major factor in not only things like that, but in pretty much everything the US did.

    J.

  98. Jay Tea says:

    Matt, I had one comment hung up by an f-bomb. Apparently that’s on the naughty list. Fix any profanity and try again.

    J.

  99. matt says:

    Yes the first thing I did was to remove anything resembling profane.. I bet it’ll let me post ass in this comment though…

  100. wr says:

    Jay Tea — I’ve been alive for half a century, and somehow in that time I’ve managed to figure out that “ooh, there’s a scary bad guy out there” is neither an excuse for committing acts of evil, nor a defense against the blowback such acts bring about.

    Now go have a merry Christmas and have fun being wrong about everything with the ones who love you!

  101. anjin-san says:

    > what was a reasonable alternative for Sarah Palin besides resigning

    That’s easy. Not quitting when the going go tough (and she saw there were millions of dollars waiting for her as a private citizen if she did quit)

    > “ooh, there’s a scary bad guy out there” is neither an excuse for committing acts of evil, nor a defense against the blowback such acts bring about.

    Yep. Supporting Bin Laden against the Soviets seemed like a good idea at the time…

  102. anjin-san says:

    > when it starts going back more than a couple of generations, because it gets pretty damned meaningless pretty damned fast

    Ummmmm. No.

  103. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, the side we backed in Afghanistan was what became the Northern Alliance — which even the UN recognized as the legitimate government of Afghanistatn. Bin Laden’s faction became the Taliban — which only a few nations recognized as the legitimate government. They were the de facto government, but never the de jure.

    Tell me, do you hold yourself to the same high standard of accuracy as you try to do to me, or do you hold yourself to the same low (if not non-existent) standard you apply to matt the idiot?

    J.

  104. anjin-san says:

    > anjin, the side we backed in Afghanistan was what became the Northern Alliance — which even the UN recognized as the legitimate government of Afghanistatn. Bin Laden’s faction became the Taliban — which only a few nations recognized as the legitimate government. They were the de facto government, but never the de jur

    Certainly that is the government’s story. I did not realize that you simply accepted what the government tells you at face value.

  105. Jay Tea says:

    When it makes sense, anjin, yeah, I do. We had enough problems keeping straight which Afghans were not only anti-Soviet, but not also overly anti-US. To back a Saudi interloper, especially one who was wealthy enough to not need our financial aid and already confirmed anti-Western in general, would have been way, way too risky.

    Bin Laden had resources, but little support among Afghans — which meant he simply wasn’t the kind of guy we would have been interested in backing. We wanted anti-Soviets who could be friendly to us, and popular among the Afghan people. Bin Laden simply didn’t fit the bill.

    J.

  106. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, and anjin? We’ve killed and captured active-duty members of Iran’s military in both Afghanistan and Iraq, where they are fighting us while not in their nation’s uniform. Iran’s waging war against us in those two places, killing American service members. How does that affect your recommendations on how to best deal with Iran?

    J.