Neoconservative brinksmanship

Israel/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
on 30 Comments

So apparently, Obama and Holder are either too clever by half, or are just dhimmi dunces. They’re too busy playing cloak and dagger to really do something about Tehran: sanctions, MEK, Super Stuxnet and assassinations? Oh please! Where’s our Operation Opera? The Irano-Mexican terror cell run by the FBI proves we must do something, and fast! (And if the U.S. won’t, it seems increasingly possible that Israel’s top leadership, having created “Atomic Pressure” to spur action, may strike within the next two weeks).

The withdrawal from Iraq? That’s just a further sign of U.S. weakness in the eyes of many neocons (both Israeli and American), who, after all, were hoping to hold onto at least a few military bases in the country. But no, Obama and Holder dropped the ball by not fighting harder to give U.S. forces there legal impunity.

So, while many neocons (and 2012 presidential hopefuls) are now criticizing the withdrawal and rattling their sabers at Iran (Justin Raimondo has an interesting piece on how it might play out by 2012), there is at least one neoconservative who sees an opportunity – in a most roundabout way – in the Iraq withdrawal for the U.S. (and UK) to finally attack Iran.

Obama and Holder, one hopes, probably won’t see the grand opportunity that Lee Smith sees for the U.S.:

“U.S. policymakers cannot recognize the pending withdrawal from Iraq—or what is effectively the liberation of many thousands of American hostages—as an opportunity to go after Iran. Instead, Washington will continue to wage clandestine operations against Tehran—like killing Iranian nuclear scientists and sabotaging Iranian centrifuges with a computer worm. None of those operations will stop the Islamic Republic from getting the bomb—rather, that secret war, presumably conducted in tandem with Israel, is meant only to deter the Jewish state from attacking Iran in earnest.”

Of course, for Smith, there’s been enough discussion about this. The U.S. is the problem now because it’s holding the IDF back. That’s the problem: there is no “will” to act! It’s all talk, talk, talk! And Iran only understands action, for “Shiite Iran is responsible for far more American deaths and injuries in America’s two Middle East combat theaters than al-Qaida or other Sunni factions.”

For neocons, the fact that U.S. government has declined to release more evidence tying the presence of Iranian-made weapons in Iraq to the Iranian leadership just shows that Washington is lying and spineless . . . and not that Washington can’t determine the difference between unsanctioned Iranian smugglers and sanctioned Iranian commandos, or that a 2008 interdiction effort targeting Iranian-made weapons found very few of these weapons, even though they are apparently very easy for Iraqis to obtain through Iranian arms dealers.

(Smith’s assertion also ignores the facts that Afghanistan is not part of the Middle East, and that Pakistan is the main non-American foreign player in Afghanistan. But Pakistan is not on the regime change radar: Iran is.)

“The far-superior American military is capable of bringing Iran’s armed forces to heel,” Smith proclaims, and Americans should be embarrassed we haven’t struck back. His Weekly Standard colleague William Kristol agrees:

“The next speech we need to hear from the Obama administration should announce that, after 30 years, we have gone on the offensive against this murderous regime. And the speech after that can celebrate the fall of the regime, and offer American help to the democrats building a free and peaceful Iran.”

The focus is on all the lives that US inaction will cost – American, Israeli, and “Sunni Arab” (even though some neocons apparently believe that the Islamists who won a majority in the Tunisian elections are “more dangerous” than al Qaeda).

Clearly, the only way to protect these lives is to strike Iran hard. This will, in the end, “save” the Iranian people. Mitt Romney, the most likely Republican nominee for the 2012 presidential race, surrounds himself with unrepentant neocons and warns that “Iran’s suicidal fanatics could blackmail the world.” His fellow contenders are also opening their doors to neocons, who are trying to rebrand their failed “Project for a New American Century” as the more innocuous-sounding “Foreign Policy Initiative.”

Such statements are par for the course for Smith and Kristol, and for neocons in general: Iran is an irrational rogue state with a martyr complex. It is the enemy of all Western civilization, a Persian “Mordor” threatening the “Free Peoples” of the Middle East. The new “Evil Empire,” if you will.

Of course, there’s J. R. R. Tolkein’s Mordor, and then there is the actual country of Iran.

No one should be fooled by the Iranian government’s attitude towards the “peace process” in the Middle East. Like any country participating the “peace process,” Iran’s involvement is largely an extension of its internal affairs. Iran today is run by one of the most repressive regimes in the world. The Iranian government rigs elections and literally beats down opposition leaders and protesters alike. Journalism is increasingly dictated to reporters from on high. The security establishment of paramilitaries, special forces units and secret police squabble for supremacy and suppress internal dissent through manufactured crimes and reprehensible public executions. The bombastic Ahmadinejad rails against Israel, hypocritically calling for fair elections and transparency in the Arab world while denying the Iranian electorate the same rights. Iran’s real leadership – Supreme Ayatollah Khameini and his clerical colleagues – finds his bombast useful as they struggle to maintain dictatorial control over a populist revolution that ran out of steam (and cash) years ago. And now he goes to the UN to speak “for” the Palestinian people – a gross insult to their struggle for self-determination.

So what about the rest of Iran’s citizens? Are they, as neocons and religious rightists in Israel and the U.S. suggest, working to instigating a “Madhist” apocalypse because of a Shia martyr complex? Does the Iranian Revolutionary Guard plan to prep its missile men with Quranic verses like we’ve prepped ours with the New Testament? Jesus loves nukes, apparently. Does the Madhi also love nukes?

This is a dangerous line of thinking. One must consider that Iran’s leaders (and people) see nuclear weapons (or the ambiguity surrounding them) in much the same way that the Soviets did: as a deterrent to maintain their own survival, rather than as precious instruments to help them make their appointed rounds at Armageddon. The U.S. has nukes. Israel “has” nukes. Iran does not (so far as we know). Hussein’s Iraq and Qadhafi’s Libya never succeeded in obtaining nukes: today, Hussein and Qadhafi are dead. Pakistan was, of course, censured for its secret nuclear program, but they got “the bomb” and today, stand (against all logic) as an “ally” of the U.S. Islamabad is hardly an international pariah despite their military’s human rights violations and active collusion with terrorists. Pakistan is a poor ally indeed that many U.S. officials do not trust at all, but it has nukes, complicating New Delhi’s, Washington’s and Kabul’s hope and dreams.

With a nuclear deterrent in place, regime change will be unthinkable for Iran (or, at least, that is what the leadership hopes). The ayatollahs, having participated in not one but two 20th century regime changes in Iran (1953 and 1979), are well aware of the worst case scenario for them if they lose their grip on power, so they are striving to survive. As a Foreign Affairs article puts it:

“To deter any possible military actions by the United States and its allies, Iran is improving its retaliatory capabilities by developing the means to pursue asymmetric, low-intensity warfare, both inside and outside the country; modernizing its weapons; building indigenous missile and antimissile systems; and developing a nuclear program while cultivating doubts about its exact capability. And to neutralize the United States’ attempts to contain it, the Iranian government is both undermining U.S. interests and increasing its own power in the vast region that stretches from the Levant and the Persian Gulf to the Caucasus and Central Asia. Although it is being careful to avoid a military confrontation with the United States, Tehran is maneuvering to prevent Washington from leading a united front against it and strategically using Iran’s oil and gas resources to reward its friends.”

What is missing from Netanyahu, among others, is an effort to discuss Iranian motives – both in public or behind closed doors, as Nahum Barnea suggests – in terms of anything other than Hitler and Churchill analogies. There are specific reasons behind these human rights abuses and Janus-faced political theater in Iran, just as there were in the USSR.

For all its ideological and militant millenarianism, Moscow was not run by crazed ideologues with “Red” martyr complexes. Like Iran’s leadership, they would very easily through their ideological allies under a bus just to preserve good ties. Even Ronald Reagan backed away from using that language – hell, he even repudiated his “Evil Empire” comments in Moscow itself.

Moscow, and its client states from East Berlin to Bucharest, were run by coteries of apparatchiks responding to real (and imagined) geopolitical challenges who were far more concerned about maintaining their grip on power at home than in achieving “world revolution” in their lifetimes. And if the Soviet people, who had little choice over who ruled them, really were so mendacious and millenarian as U.S. propaganda portrayed them, I would probably not be writing these words today. The same caveat goes for the American people, so vilified by Soviet propaganda as war junkies. People understood there were consequences to taking the action of starting a preemptive war. That understanding, as some Israeli commentators note, seems to be lacking in Israel today, as though Iran, 2011 is Iraq, 1981.

Iran’s leadership sees a double standard: the U.S. has played up Iran’s (very real) human rights violations while saying much less about those committed by Iran’s regional rivals, such as Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt; all of whom benefit from billions of dollars in U.S. arms sales and a “protective” nuclear umbrella. A “revoltuion” needs external enemies to rally against, and regional rivals (and their superpower backer) help the regime channel dissent away from their domestic policies. As George F. Kennan said of the USSR:

“The Soviet leaders, taking advantage of the contributions of modern techniques to the arts of despotism, have solved the question of obedience within the confines of their power. Few challenge their authority; and even those who do are unable to make that challenge valid as against the organs of suppression of the state.”

These words could just as easily be applied to Iran’s post-1979 leadership and its control mechanisms.

The U.S. is practicing containment of Iran, hoping to strangulate its leadership and effect regime change on the cheap. Some U.S. officials hope that economic sanctions and countering Iranian influence in the Middle East will, to borrow a phrase of George F. Kennan, “promote tendencies which must eventually find their outlet in either the break-up or the gradual mellowing of [Islamist] power.” Iran’s leadership, in turn, is practicing brinkmanship, which was something that some of the U.S. and the USSR’s most revered statesmen engaged in during the Cold War. Both sides are engaging in it: Iran announces it will not allow IAEA inspectors in, so the U.S. sends a fleet into the Persian Gulf; a new round of sanctions hit Iran, so Iran heaps praise and money on Hezbollah. This is, regrettably, how both sides practice their great game today (and how the U.S. and USSR played their hands during the Cold War in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America).

But as the specter of nuclear war became more dreadful, brinkmanship gave way to mutually-assured destruction (MAD). Both Israeli and U.S. politicians have thundered on about effecting regime change in Tehran coupled with preemptive strikes on nuclear installations (Iranium, anyone?). That is what Iran’s leadership wants: the deterence of MAD. And what will they do to achieve it? No one can predict that (again, something that should give Israel’s leaders pause, rather than a preference to rspeak of a “second Holocaust” while conducting military drills).

This makes Iran’s gambling understandable and not, as certain hawks would have it, an existential conflict demanding an existential response. None of this gives neocons an excuse to bay for war with Iran as though the only consequences will be “saving” lives. Whose lives are we saving? Certainly not Iranian lives, and certainly not those of the Israelis, Americans and Iraqis who will get caught up in any decision made behind closed doors in Washington or Tel Aviv to attack Iran without prior warning.

Ideally, all of these recent moves from Israel will just amount to grandstanding, aimed at distracting Israelis from the Occupation and renewed J14 protests as the winter Knesset session approaches. Actions speak louder than words. 

Existential conflicts, as every holy book illustrates, end with the whole world in flames. The leaders of the U.S., Israel and Iran, who often claim to be such devout men and women, must realize this and step back from the brink.

About Paul Mutter

Paul Mutter is a contributor to Mondoweiss, Foreign Policy in Focus and the Arabist.

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30 Responses

  1. Chaos4700
    November 5, 2011, 1:41 pm

    Compare and contrast, folks. Who’s making the case for war with Iran, again?

  2. MRW
    November 5, 2011, 2:08 pm

    The bottom line, Paul, is that Israel is the real threat to our interests.

  3. seafoid
    November 5, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Imagine if the War Party built its policy around returning to subprime financing . That is how insane the Iran conversation is.

    • Walid
      November 6, 2011, 9:12 am

      “That is how insane the Iran conversation is.”

      Insane is not taking into account the 50,000 missiles now aimed at TA from 72 miles away or the estimated tens of thousands of trained fighters itching to cross the border. The man promised that the next big battle will start in TA and Israelis know that he doesn’t lie.

      • seafoid
        November 6, 2011, 4:18 pm

        I presume a few are aimed at the Kirya.

  4. Potsherd2
    November 5, 2011, 2:37 pm

    This isn’t good.

    US and Israel are embarking on the largest joint exercise ever. More arms deals. More spending.

  5. HarryLaw
    November 5, 2011, 3:01 pm

    The bottom line on regime change in Iran is this, If the opposition was to take over somehow, they [ the opposition] consider, just as a large majority of the Iranian people do that Irans nuclear programme is legitimate and should continue. A war on Iran therefore would unite all strands of the Iranian people in other words another unwinnable war, even worse the economies of the west could implode with the enevitable energy costs going through the roof.Surely our representatives are not mad.

    • pabelmont
      November 6, 2011, 7:44 am

      You forget the scorpion story. Are the USA’s pols that mad? Sure, if need be. Didn’t the Congress run pell-mell into Iraq when there was no hurry, no believable justification? they did. And it was mad. Didn’t want to be called “wimps” I suppose.

      USA pols are big on voter “feelings” but low on analysis. Oh, oil prices might rise? Gee, never thought of that. But “evil” must be eradicated. and the USA as sole superpower must show the world we’re still the boss (even if we’re not). etc. Madness is the rule. don’t discount it.

    • Walid
      November 6, 2011, 8:50 am

      “Surely our representatives are not mad.”

      Aren’t they? In 2006, their twisted logic had Israel bomb the Christian villages of north of Lebanon that had never seen a Hizbullah member to get the Christians to side against Hizbullah but the very opposite happened and the pissed-off Christians getting bombed for absolutely no reason instead opened their homes to the million Shia refugees fleeing the south. The US and Israel achieved the opposite of what they had hoped for and succeeded in truly uniting Christians and Muslims for the first time in Lebanon’s history. So don’t think your representatives or their proxies are that smart. Killing any Iranians, as you suggested. would surely rally everyone agaisnt the US and Israel.

      • Robert Werdine
        November 6, 2011, 9:49 am

        I would rather see a non-theocratic democracy in Iran.

      • Chaos4700
        November 6, 2011, 10:07 am

        That’s funny, that’s exactly what we’d rather see in Israel too.

      • Walid
        November 6, 2011, 10:37 am

        RW, what do you care what type of democracy the Iranians have; do they try to impose what they like on the US? We saw what your democracy did to Iraq and a few other countries. You’re not very different from that other RW.

      • seafoid
        November 6, 2011, 4:20 pm

        Could be the same RW. Definitely the same hasbara.

  6. seafoid
    November 6, 2011, 7:50 am

    What is up with the site? I wouldn’t be surprised if Israel took it out eventually.

    • patm
      November 6, 2011, 8:40 am

      Are you referring to the mondo ‘outage’ I experienced last evening, seafoid?

      All this talk about computer worms had me wondering too.

      • Walid
        November 6, 2011, 9:14 am

        eee’s handlers at MFA decided to jump in and give him a hand.

      • Chaos4700
        November 6, 2011, 9:52 am

        LOL! Let’s not jump to conclusions though, guys, sometimes servers just need the electronic equivalent of a potty break and a nap after running 24/7 for months on end.

      • Bumblebye
        November 6, 2011, 9:30 am

        Was it a little local difficulty or ‘outside interference’?
        I gave up on the blank pages at snore o’ clock in the morning, and waited til this afternoon to revisit. So glad it’s back!

  7. kalithea
    November 6, 2011, 11:06 am

    Are you a “Liberal” Zionist? You certainly write like a Zionist! Why do you have to go into all the evils of the Iranian regime, in every little detail? Why do you have to indulge those war-mongers you pretend are insane by singling out the freedoms and human rights issues in Iran when Iran is no different than China? Why can China exist with its human rights abuses, control over freedom of expression, and nuclear weapons, but somehow Iran should be held to a higher standard?

    I’m not saying that I agree with the system in Iran; I don’t agree with the Chinese system either, it’s THEIR system, and the change will come or not come in spite of you! Such systems exist precisely to balance our own corrupt capitalist, colonialist system that has “absolute power”, subjugation of the poor by the 1% and hegemony at its core.

    And your article is so wishy-washy, it’s hard to tell sometimes whether you’re really for a strike on Iran and regime change machinations or whether you’re for treating Iran as we do China? From your article you certainly appear like you’re not for the later, whether you understate the fact that you are! Sometimes you write like you’re channelling a Neocon, and whether you do it sarcastically or not; it’s TOTALLY MISPLACED in the context of the madness that is driving imminent disaster. Your writing is extremely manipulative.

    Thank God for you we couldn’t log in yesterday for some odd reason because I was so angry when I read your piece, I might have expressed myself in a less diplomatic manner. YOU ARE AN ENABLER OF THE NEOCON PROJECT AND PNAC. Again, this piece sounds like it was written by a Bradley Burston, who can’t make up his mind where he stands in respect to the Zionist agenda and the digression on the evils of the Iranian regime sounds like it came straight out of “A Clean Break” or PNAC.

  8. kalithea
    November 6, 2011, 11:38 am

    Here’s how you begin the diatribe on the evils of the Iranian regime:

    “No one should be fooled by the Iranian government’s attitude towards the “peace process” in the Middle East.”

    This is pure Zionist talk!

    And this really pissed me off: “The bombastic Ahmadinejad rails against Israel, hypocritically calling for fair elections and transparency in the Arab world while denying the Iranian electorate the same rights. ”

    OHHHHH, so you actually have proof that the majority of Iranians voted against Ahmadinejad??? WHERE IS IT???

    And one more thing: Don’t compare what is happening to Palestinians under Zionism to the situation with Iranians, because you do Palestinians a grave injustice! Hundreds of thousands of acres of Palestinian land have been devoured by Israel, millions of refugees live in stateless poverty in camps, and Palestinians are held in a sort of prison dependent on Israel for services and commerce and punished repeatedly in their struggle to be free of this SCOURGE called Zionism. THERE IS NO COMPARISON, and Zionists give Ahmedinejad a VALID talking point! And for you to even dare to compare the two situations and knock Ahmedinejad for the speck in his eye is hypocritical on YOUR part, disingenuous and again, manipulative.

    Again, this whole paragraph was undiluted Zionist talk and together with what I discerned about your piece in my other post; I totally reject whatever “noble” intention to avert war is buried under this landslide of Zionist propaganda, because the bulk of your article does more harm than good!

  9. Robert Werdine
    November 6, 2011, 1:47 pm

    Paul Mutter,

    An interesting, thought provoking article. Though I by no means agree with everything here, it is reassuring to know at least someone here is not blind to the mullah’s sabotage of the peace process, their cavorting with terror, and their political gangsterism.

    On Iran, I am not in favor of war, and, like you, think it would be a catastrophe, and I am hopeful that it can be avoided. But the behavior of the Islamic Republic is making that more and more unlikely.

    In Iran we have a militant, inwardly decaying, totalitarian theocracy whose main export, other than petroleum and a few other delectables, is terror and support for terror. The Mullahs, luckily, lack Saddam Hussein’s unstable and dysfunctional gangsterism. They are less provocative, operate more in the shadows, and usually leave it to others to wield the knife or the bomb. Saddam was reckless and brazen; the Mullahs are more like hotel burglars: if they find a room uninhabited, they’ll pick it clean, if not, they’ll withdraw. Yet like all totalitarian regimes past, they tolerate no opinion but their own, rule by force and fraud, feed on hatred, and must keep seeking new targets, new victims, new scapegoats, and new objects of hatred to divert from the misery and failure of their tyranny. The regime is thus a tangle of both dangerous strengths and vulnerable weaknesses, and the Supreme Leader views America with a combination of fear, contempt, and hatred.

    You cannot avoid war with such a regime simply by signaling to the regime that you are eager to avoid war; it just doesn’t work. You avoid it by deterring it, by vigilant containment, and by making clear that there consequences for bad behavior. Iran, from 1979 onwards has been kidnapping and murdering Americans with impunity. And they have drawn the correct and proper lesson from the violence they have wreaked on us: that we will scold and protest, but no more. This will not mellow either their nuclear ambitions or their future behavior.

    The truth of the matter is that the Mullahs’ hostility toward us is beyond cure or remedy. Every Administration since Carter has sought to diplomatically engage this regime to no avail. President George W. Bush both directly and through third parties, made extensive efforts to engage the regime, again to no success.

    President Obama’s courtship of the Mullahs has followed a similar trajectory. The problems with Iran, he was sure, stemmed from America’s hawkish and aggressive posturing, from which Iran’s rulers, seeking only comity and peaceful co-existence, had naturally and understandably recoiled. All that was needed here was an open hand offering friendship and a soft word, and the mullahs, being rational, reasonable folks just like us, would overcome their distrust and hostility, see the errors of their ways, and get with the program. Engagement was the key.

    Obama’s Iran engagement has gone to pot, and in return for the open hand of friendship he extended to the Mullahs he got a clenched fist and a thumb in his eye. The Mullahs spat contempt on his friendly gestures, brutally suppressed a pro-democracy protest to a rigged election, and continued ahead unabashedly with their nuclear program.

    The President ignored the mullahs’ rebuffs, snored through the brutal crackdown of the pro-democracy Green Movement, and continued dreaming his no-more-nuclear-weapons dreams all the way to his fall-2009 UN speech even after an Iranian nuclear enrichment facility had been discovered at Qom, which he deemed too impolitic to mention, lest it derail his “engagement” fantasies with the mullahs.

    This then has been the Obama policy. In light of this policy, whether war is actually on the horizon with Iran is doubtful; Obama’s reaction to Iranian terror and provocation has been almost wholly rhetorical, and is unlikely to change. The Mullahs have taken his measure and know they have nothing to fear from him. That, however, is the real danger.

    • DICKERSON3870
      November 6, 2011, 5:35 pm

      RE: “President George W. Bush both directly and through third parties, made extensive efforts to engage the [Iranian] regime, again to no success.” ~ Robert Werdine

      MY COMMENT: What planet are you on? Planet Commentary, I’m guessing. They create their own reality.
      “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but facts will never sway us.” ~ Neocon Creed

      SEE: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Iran: Secrets of the Troika ~ by Michael Teitelman, Counterpunch, 11/03/11

      (excerpts)…In 2003, the Iranian government made a formal diplomatic proposal for direct, comprehensive negotiations about all major issues, grievances, and conflicts that fueled the hostility in their dealings with each other. This was a critical juncture in Iranian-American relations. It offered the possibility of exiting the impasse that began with the overthrow of the Shah and the occupation of the American embassy in 1979.
      Bush did not respond to the Iranian offer. Not for the first time in his dealings with the Middle East, he eschewed diplomacy. His decision went unannounced and unexplained. Eight years later, it is still a non-event. Instead, he chose to intensify the long standing policy U.S. policy of vilification, distrust, isolation, sanction, and threat of military attack…
      …Amazingly, there was apparently no serious deliberation in the U.S. government about how to respond to Iran. Colin Powell was reportedly dumbfounded by Bush‘s decision to ignore the proposal. His deputy, Lawrence Wilkerson, thought that a positive response was a “no brainer”. In the 2005 Senate confirmation hearing on her appointment as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice testified that she had never seen the memorandum—an astounding admission by the National Security Advisor that she had been shut out by the war troika…
      …There is one rationale that the troika could not express publicly, then or now. It is easy conjecture that they punted because they knew that talking directly with Iran, irrespective of the outcome of negotiations, would undermine pursuit of their superpower fantasies of pre-emptive attack and regime change. An American attack while negotiating with Iran would have been as perfidious as Japan’s sending negotiators to Washington in December, 1941.
      So now the U.S. is beleaguered throughout the Middle East and stuck in a tense, fruitless standoff with Iran. In both America and Iran, internal political conflicts, as well Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, are impediments to opening up broad negotiations. Obama and Hilary Clinton are trapped by their tunnel vision to fretting about Iran’s building a nuclear weapon and meddling in Iraqi politics. And they press on with their program of strong arming other countries into economic warfare against Iran, industrial sabotage and assassination…

      SOURCE –

      • DICKERSON3870
        November 6, 2011, 6:02 pm

        P.S. “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” – from the Introduction of Darwin’s 1871 book, The Descent Of Man

    • kalithea
      November 6, 2011, 8:06 pm

      Of course you had to splatter this LOAD OF CRAP here to counter my two posts. You aren’t really too concerned about the hairline difference between your opionion on Iran and Mutter’s. Your goal is to ensure the Zionist propaganda brainwash formula prevails in the minds of readers at the end of the day and ensure that my departure from the from the norm (which is to treat Iran like we do China) is eclipsed. Got HASBARA much??? Of course you do. It oozes from every noun and verb of your script that belongs on ATLASSHRUGS.

      I know you’re one of those die-hard Zionist types but THE SAD PART is that you and Mutter use the same language even if he stops short of the bomb Iran solution and you don’t. What he does is rally the troops that end up marching to your drumbeat. Good thing you’re both THAT transparent.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    November 6, 2011, 4:47 pm

    RE: “This makes Iran’s gambling understandable and not, as certain hawks would have it, an existential conflict demanding an existential response.” ~ Paul Mutter


    “When I see Ahmadinejad, I see Hitler. They speak the same language. His motivation is also clear: the return of the Mahdi is a supreme goal. And for a religious person of deep self-persuasion, that supreme goal is worth the liquidation of five and a half million Jews. We cannot allow ourselves that. Nuclear weapons in the hands of a religious leadership that is convinced that the annihilation of Israel will bring about the emergence of a new Muslim caliphate? Israel cannot allow that. This is no game. It’s truly an existential danger.”

    SOURCE –

    P.S. West Bank rabbi: Jews can kill Gentiles who threaten Israel ~ Haaretz Service*, 11/09/09
    Book by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro of Yitzhar permits even the murder of babies and children who pose threat.
    LINK –
    * P.P.S. I certainly don’t blame Haaretz for attributing the article to “Haaretz Service” rather than an individual!
    2009 Tel Aviv gay centre shooting —

    • DICKERSON3870
      November 6, 2011, 4:57 pm


      Haim Saban (Hebrew: חיים סבן‎) (born 15 October 1944) is an Egyptian born Israeli-American television and media proprietor. [2] With an estimated current net worth of $3.5 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 104th richest person in America.[1]…
      …Saban has been a generous and consistent donor to the United States Democratic Party according to his mandatory Federal Election Commission filings. Mother Jones, in an analysis of the major donors to the campaigns of 1998 election cycle, ranked Saban 155th among individual donors.[18] Amy Paris noted that Saban’s Clinton-era “generosity did not go unrewarded. During the Clinton administration, the entertainment executive served on the President’s Export Council, advising the White House on trade issues.”[18] The New York Times reported that Haim and his wife “slept in the White House several times during President Clinton’s two terms.” Saban remains close friends to the former President. Clinton described Saban as a “very good friend and supporter.”[4] Saban contributed between $5 million to $10 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation.[19]
      During the 2000 presidential election, Saban increased his rank to 5th among individual donors with a combined contribution of $1,250,500.[18] Matthew Yglesias wrote that “Saban was the largest overall contributor to the Democratic National Committee during the 2001–2002 cycle.” [20] Saban’s donations during that 2001–2002 period exceeded $10 million, the largest donation the DNC has received from a single source up to that time…
      …In March 2008, Saban was among a group of major Jewish donors to sign a letter to Democratic Party house leader Nancy Pelosi warning her to “keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries.”[22] The donors, who “were strong supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign”, “were incensed by a March 16 interview in which Pelosi said that party ‘superdelegates’ should heed the will of the majority in selecting a candidate.”[22] The letter to Pelosi stated the donors “have been strong supporters of the DCCC” and implied, according to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency,[22] that Pelosi could lose their financial support in important upcoming congressional elections.
      On May 19, 2008, it was reported that Haim Saban had “offered $1 million to the Young Democrats of America during a phone conversation in which he also pressed for the organization’s two uncommitted superdelegates to endorse the New York Democrat.”[23]
      Saban has also made donations to members of the Republican Party including a 2003 contribution to George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. [4]…

      SOURCE –

  11. Remax
    November 6, 2011, 8:08 pm

    The strong menace the weak, there is no reason in it. It is, as Pabelmont, says above, the Scorpion story. Now here is a contradictory view:

    When the US confrontationists talk of changing the Iranian regime, their heads are in a dark place where they cannot see that there could well be a regime ‘worse’ than the tentative authority of Ahmadinejad, a man extensively circumscribed by the Ayatollah, and it would be more sensible to support him in his efforts to detach the Iranian legal system from the weight of Sharia law and boost elected rather than religious authority.

    As for Israel, there is a blind mercilessness about their actions, a side to them that is truly terrible, almost pathological, like an inner turmoil of the soul that renders them deaf to reason. While I abhor the ad hominem arguments so many Zionists employ here, one does have to admit that the leaders of our world are a pretty unsavoury bunch and maybe that is just the way it is.

    The misfortune for the rest of us is the symbiotic association between these two otherwise unrelated purposes.


  12. DICKERSON3870
    November 6, 2011, 9:39 pm

    RE: “Of course, for [Lee] Smith, there’s been enough discussion about this. The U.S. is the problem now because it’s holding the IDF back. That’s the problem: there is no ‘will’ to act! It’s all talk, talk, talk! And Iran only understands action” ~ Paul Mutter

    FROM TED RALL, 07/22/10: …Umberto Eco’s 1995 essay Eternal Fascism describes the cult of action for its own sake under fascist regimes and movements: “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”
    SOURCE –

    P.S. Triumph of the Will

    • DICKERSON3870
      November 6, 2011, 9:55 pm

      P.P.S. Lee Smith has always seemed like an über-authoritarian (proto-fascist) to me.

      • DICKERSON3870
        November 7, 2011, 4:36 am


        You can shine your shoes and wear a suit.
        You can comb your hair and look quite cute
        You can hide your face behind a smile
        One thing you can’t hide
        Is when you’re crippled inside
        ~~ John Lennon, “Crippled Inside”

        John Lennon: “Crippled Inside” (VIDEO, 03:56) –

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