Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cindy Sheehan gives away the game 

For those of you who still think that it is useful for leading Democrats to associate themselves with Cindy Sheehan, read this interview. The rest of you, don't waste your time.

There is one bit worth pointing out, though. Glenn Reynolds linked to this via Alarming News yesterday on the basis of this particular gem from Sheehan:
And about Bill Clinton . . . . You know, I really think he should have been impeached, but not for a blow job. His policies are responsible for killing more Iraqis that [sic] George Bush. I don't understand why to rise to the level of being president of my country one has to be a monster. I used to say that George Bush was defiling the Oval Office, but it's been held by a long line of monsters. We don't have to support our administrations to love our country. True patriots of my country dissent when our country's doing something so wrong.

Since Sheehan almost magically attracts the interest of the press, may I suggest that the next honest American reporter with the opportunity should ask her who, precisely, she thinks was our last non-monster president. If she says "Jimmy Carter," then get back to me and I will remind you that he encouraged the Shah of Iran to take any and all steps necessary to put down Khomeini's revolution (which the dying Shah, concerned perhaps for his future in another place, did not do).

The bold language, though, is particularly interesting. Sheehan here alludes to the left's claims about the effects of the post-Gulf War sanctions regime that contained Saddam's Iraq. Those policies included the Northern and Southern Watch no-fly zones, and the economic embargo that morphed in to the "oil for food" program under pressure from naive humanitarians and European businessmen. Iraq, which constantly struggled against those sanctions, argued that hundreds of thousands of people were dying as the result of them. This was never plausibly true, but it caught hold among the anti-American crowd and was the main source of the political pressure to lift all containment of Saddam.

Sheehan, therefore, has done us the useful service of reminding the world that the left can't keep its story straight. Before the war, leftists in fact did argue that the sanctions were immoral (a basis to impeach Bill Clinton, apparently). Since Sheehan's taste for radical politics is quite recent, she must have learned this at the knee of one of her new friends.

Since the war, post mass graves and all, the left has decided that the best argument is not that sanctions should have been lifted -- that, after all, would not stand up to scrutiny even at CNN -- but that we did not need to invade Iran Iraq
because Saddam was "contained" by, er, sanctions! Whoever taught Sheehan failed to explain the nuance that the story has changed with the post-war publicity of the full depth of Saddam's crimes.

The cynicism of those who believe the best course was to have left Saddam Hussein in power is astonishing. That they should claim that this is American "patriotism" is absurd.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers. If you liked this post, you will also probably like this exquisite case of "separated at birth."


By Blogger sirius_sir, at Thu Jan 26, 10:01:00 AM:

On your advice I didn't read the interview, so forgive me if the answer is contained therein. The question: Does Sheehan's finely-tuned moral sensibility recognize that Saddam should also qualify as a "monster", or are her evaluations confined to those who "rise to the level of being president of [her] country"?  

By Blogger Jeff, at Thu Jan 26, 10:21:00 AM:

The far Left is vulnerable on this point. Try to pin them down on what their guiding principles are, and you'll just get a lot of hemming and hawing. Of course, it quickly becomes apparent they are more concerned with bashing anyone with conservative principles than they are with constructing a coherent moral framework.  

By Blogger dee, at Thu Jan 26, 12:15:00 PM:

Last time I saw this pasty faced drone, she was planting crosses in Bush's back yard and holding forth on CNN re the deficits of U.S. foreign policy on the Palestinian front.

What is she going to be pontificating about next one wonders ... the nature of God? Quantum physics?

She talks like a trained parrot, and obviously only vaguely understands the meaning of what she is saying. A bit like Ted Kennedy on rye.

I hear that Move On org have a brain washing team that have even had success with a rare breed of Tanzanian monkey.  

By Blogger Republicanpundit, at Thu Jan 26, 09:10:00 PM:

I hope we are seeing and hearing the last inane comments from this idiot. Sheesh, what a moroon she is!!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 26, 09:17:00 PM:

I am a proud Democrat and I must say your slander of Ms. Sheehan is horrible! She is one of the crowning intellects of my party and always tells it like it is. If you can't stand the truth then go join Republicans, who don't know what it is.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 26, 09:35:00 PM:

Please link to your source for the rather fantastic claim that Carter encouraged the Shah to put down Khomeini and his filthy mob of mullahs?

As I recall, Carter did exactly the opposite and discouraged a crackdown on the islamists. That is, in fact, the act for which he will always be hated by all Persians.

Had Carter actually encouraged the elimination of the islamists, he would still be the worst Presidant ever, but a little less of a monster.  

By Blogger sonia, at Thu Jan 26, 09:39:00 PM:

At first, I thought Cindy was just a sad woman driven insane by grief. Now after her visits with Chavez and attacks on Clinton (of all people), I think she is a certifiable Grade A nut, who fully deserves this. And anyone who has read this article will find her recent antics in Venezuela both despicable and phony.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Thu Jan 26, 09:55:00 PM:

On the question of the Carter administration's support for the Shah in the teeth of Khomeini's revolution (which revolution produced demonstrations that at their peak involved 9,000,000 people, believed to be the largest protest event in history), see Kenneth Pollack's book on Iran, The Persian Puzzle, particularly pp. 132-135. On November 3, 1978, Carter had Zbiggy Brzezinski call the "shah directly to stiffen his spine. Brzezinski had told the shah while the United States preferred a peaceful, political resolution to the crisis, Washington was prepared to stand by him no matter what course of action became necessary." (emphasis added)...
"Brzezinski too believes that at the end of their phone call, the shah was not in any doubt as to where the United States stood."

Now, the shah, dying of cancer and softening in his old age, did not want to order a bloodbath without the explicit say-so of the United States. A report of an encounter between American Ambassador William Sullivan and the Shah: "The Shah asked then whether he was being advised to use the iron fist even if it meant widespread bloodshed and even if it might fail to restore law and order. Sullivan reported that he responded by saying that if the Shah was trying to get the United States to take the responsibility for his actions, he doubted that he would ever get such instructions from Washington. He was the Shah and he had to take the decision as well as the responsibility."

Basically, Carter wrote the Shah a blank check of support and assumed that the Shah would start gunning people down, but would not order the Shah to do a damned thing.

Now, you might say that this was an unusual moment of toughness for Jimmy Carter. Remember, though, that Carter had entirely painted himself into a corner with the Shah. Only ten months before, Carter had visited Tehran and toasted the Shah, declaring Iran "an island of stability in a turbulent corner of the world." Well, he was half right.  

By Anonymous joyce, at Thu Jan 26, 10:06:00 PM:

She's a nutball who is left over with a Communist ideology. Much like Kennedy. I really enjoyed this piece on Kennedy...(scroll down to "the New Silent Majority"


By Blogger Callimachus, at Thu Jan 26, 10:23:00 PM:

Yep. My neighbor's gas-guzzling old beater of a pick-up truck had it's "Visualize Iraqi Children" bumper sticker proudly displayed right up to the start of the 2003 war. Then, I think, he covered it with a "No Attack Against Iraq" bumper sticker -- which arrived just in time to be not true.  

By Anonymous Rusty, at Thu Jan 26, 10:23:00 PM:

Anonymous "She is one of the crowning intellects of my party and always tells it like it is."

I think I discovered your problem .  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 26, 10:31:00 PM:

I always keep a Defeat Jihad bumpersticker from www.jihadwatch.com in my backpack for such bumperstickers. Talk about pissing people off.  

By Blogger Fenrisulven, at Thu Jan 26, 11:05:00 PM:

I am a proud Democrat and I must say your slander of Ms. Sheehan is horrible! She is one of the crowning intellects of my party and always tells it like it is.

Is that satire? Or just another moonbat? So hard to tell these days...  

By Blogger TexasFred, at Thu Jan 26, 11:31:00 PM:

Anonymous said:
I am a proud Democrat and I must say your slander of Ms. Sheehan is horrible! She is one of the crowning intellects of my party and always tells it like it is. If you can't stand the truth then go join Republicans, who don't know what it is.
You guys are dumber than I thought...

Sheehan and intellect?? UhHuh... When a buffalo does brain surgery...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 26, 11:53:00 PM:


Thanks for the citation. I've only read a few pages on Amazon, but would caution that, perhaps, a book relying on the memoirs of Carter Administration appointees is not the best source for accurate information on this subject. It seems to paint the fall of secular Iran as a popular revolution, this is simply and demonstrably not the case. The 9M figure, which apparently comes from p. 134, is bogus even as the cumulative nationwide, two day (Dec. 11 and 12 '78) total which the book claims. Sorry to say that Charles Kurzman's opinion of the relative size of the protests doesn't do it for me either. I and hundreds of people I know where there, didn't happen that way.

Understanding what actually happened during the fall of secular Iran is, in my opinion, crucial to understanding how to deal with the problems in the Middle East. It can also be added to the lessons of history regarding the dangers of totalitarian elements using the ignorant/dissaffected/stupid to magnify themselves (see WWP.)  

By Blogger Kevin L. Connors, at Thu Jan 26, 11:59:00 PM:

The issue of Carter and the Iranian Revolution isn't totally settled, Tigerhawk. This from PBS' The American Experience:

Did the Carter administration "lose" Iran, as some have suggested? Gaddis Smith might have put it best: "President Carter inherited an impossible situation -- and he and his advisers made the worst of it." Carter seemed to have a hard time deciding whether to heed the advice of his aggressive national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who wanted to encourage the Shah to brutally suppress the revolution, or that of his more cautious State Department, which suggested Carter reach out to opposition elements in order to smooth the transition to a new government. In the end he did neither, and suffered the consequences.

Kevin L. Connors, Editor
The Daily Brief

BTW: I think you mean "Iraq" here: "...did not need to invade Iran because Saddam..."  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 27, 02:32:00 AM:

Let her talk! Please, let her talk a lot more! Yes! She's enlightened and knows THE TRUTH. For instance, she knows very well THAT CLINTON MURDERED MORE IRAQUIES THAN BUSH. She's grand! She's just A OK! Let her talk a lot more, I say.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Fri Jan 27, 06:46:00 AM:

Kevin Connors -

I didn't mean to imply that Carter "lost" Iran -- I agree that he inherited an impossible situation (and while his handling of it was not flawless, it was not obviously worse than other administrations of the era). My point was that he was willing to countenance brutal behavior when he had any actual responsibility.

Anonymous Iran expert guy, I admit that my command of Iran's history and politics is amateurish. If you think the various accounts are wrong, I'm not in a position to argue. However, on the matter of Carter administration memoirs, the passage cited does not reflect well on them, especially given Carter's post-presidency ambitions. So it may be more credible than other parts of the memoir. Indeed, they may have been even more supportive of violence than the memoir indicated.  

By Anonymous Pluto's Dad, at Fri Jan 27, 08:00:00 AM:

This is nothing new. The Left has been defending foreign monsters, and villifying american policy (no matter what it was) for over 50 years now.

Even when the Black Book of Communism came out, which showed - in Lenin's own words - call for torture and terrorism, they still don't believe it.

They will continue to turn a blind eye no matter how many millions are starved or slaughtered, unless some American bomb gets civilians killed.

That's part of why I stopped voting Democrat, and stopped being a pacifist.  

By Anonymous Don Williams, at Fri Jan 27, 09:40:00 AM:

The large number of Iraqi children deaths --from the Clintonian sanctions is not a leftist myth --it was reported by the Red Cross. US bombing during the Gulf War destroyed water treatment facilities, sanctions prevented import of needed materials and the need to drink polluted water caused many deaths from water-borne diseases (cholera,etc.)

See the Red Cross report at

a short excerpt:
"It is the weakest and most vulnerable who suffer from sanctions -- young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases.
According to a UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) survey published in August 1999 (Reference number CF/DOC/PR/1999/29),infant mortality in most of Iraq has more than doubled in the nine years since UN sanctions were imposed. In central and southern Iraq, home to 85 percent of the population, the death rate for children under five rose from 56 per 1,000 live births in the period 1984-9 to 131 per 1,000 in 1994-9.

The survey, which was prepared with the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization, did not specifically blame trade sanctions for the crisis which has seen some 500,000 Iraqi children die since the Gulf war. As for the autonomous Kurdish territory of northern Iraq, the survey found that deaths among children under five had dropped from 80 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1984-9 to 72 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1994 and 1999 (after having risen to 90 per 1,000 in 1990-4)(The UNICEF executive director who wrote the report attributed this discrepany to the large amount of international aid pumped into northern Iraq at the end of the war; in contrast humanitarian assistance began to reach central and southern Iraq only after April 1996, when Iraq agreed to the terms of the UN oil-for-food programme.).

For the first time in decades, diarrhoea has reappeared as the major killer of children. The highly specialized Iraqi doctors are now faced with third-world health problems -- malnutrition, diphtheria, cholera -- which they were not trained to handle.

According to UNICEF statistics from November 1997, a third of all children under five are chronically malnourished (UNICEF statistics (Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) carried out by Iraq's Central Statistical Organization) from November 1997 showed that 32% of Iraqi children under the age of five were chronically malnourished.). "

In his 1998 interviews with US TV networks, Osama Bin Laden cited this as one of the three reasons for Jihad against the USA. See
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/interview.html and http://www.ict.org.il/articles/fatwah.htm and http://www.southernct.edu/~seymour/cases/terror/binspks.htm  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Fri Jan 27, 09:51:00 AM:

I'm tied up this morning. Anybody else care to respond (civilly, please) to Mr. Williams?  

By Anonymous rap, at Fri Jan 27, 10:58:00 AM:

I will try to respond civilly, but I suspect I will fail. I agree with Mr. Williams that large numbers of Iraqi children died needless deaths. However, I believe Saddam (primarily) and people like Mr. Williams (secondarily) are to blame.

The vast majority of Iraq's hard currency income (96%?) derived from oil exports. Sanctions were placed on Iraq to leave this cash flow almost entirely intact, but place restrictions on the purchases of military hardware. Saddam would be prohibited from buying T-72 tanks and MIG 29 fighters, and would therefore have much more money for humanitarian spending within his borders.

The material necessary to rebuild water treatment plants was not blocked by sanctions. Nor were the antibiotics necessary to treat the readily preventable childhood diseases. Saddam chose to let these children die to further his own political ends and he spent the money rebuilding his "palaces".

Had he paid a large political price for this tactic of killing children, then there is at least a small chance that he would have changed his behavior. However, I then witnessed an astounding phenomenon. People like Mr. Williams and many people in western Europe actually blamed the sanctions for these deaths. To some degree, these accusations actually got some traction. Instead of paying a political price, Saddam actually was deriving a political gain from killing children. I saw protests on numerous college campuses for the sanctions to be removed.

The sanctions had absolutely nothing to do with the deaths of these children. Lifting these sanctions would only have allowed Saddam to more easily rebuild his military and would have done nothing to help these children.

The only way that I could see to save the children was to remove Saddam. UNICEF says the existing conditions were killing 40,000 - 50,000 children/year. Accordingly, in a few more months Bush and the neocons will be directly responsible for saving 120,000 - 150,000 Iraqi children.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 27, 11:12:00 AM:

I have no doubt that many children died in Iraq from easily preventable causes during the sanctions program. However, sanctions did not prevent Saddam from building numerous opulent palaces during the period, nor did they (even before the Oil for Food program) prevent Saddam from purchasing food, medicine, or even water treatment facilities for Iraqis.

It was Saddam's conscious decision to purchase gold toilets (and in fact, sell Iraq-grown food and Iraq-purified water to do so) rather than care for his people that resulted in those deaths. The sanctions only prevented Saddam from developing WMDs; lifting them would have resulted in far more deaths in other nations, possibly including the US, had Osama (whose concern for the sanctions belies the claim that he and Saddam were mortal enemies) received more sarin bombs to use on 9/11 like he used in the 1993 WTC attack.

In short, if the rest of the world has any responsibility for the deaths under the Iraqi sanctions, it's because we let Saddam hold his entire country hostage for WMDs rather than rolling into Baghdad during the first Gulf War.  

By Blogger Kevin L. Connors, at Fri Jan 27, 12:12:00 PM:

The entire history of Iran is complex and Byzantine. And every account I read of this, or any other event, gives me a different perspective. Pollack's account makes it sound as though Brzezinski was being faithful to Carter's expressed wishes. I tend to think he was acting more on his own accord.

In any event, there is little debate that Carter was out of his depth and out of control.

Kevin L. Connors, Editor
The Daily Brief  

By Blogger Cosmo, at Fri Jan 27, 12:19:00 PM:

"Anybody else care to respond (civilly, please) to Mr. Williams?"

Not really, Tigerhawk. Not when we now know that oil revenue (before and during the sanctions) which would have alleviated much of the misery and suffering cited by Mr. Williams was squandered or stolen by an incompetent and unaccountable regime.

And not when we now know that the attempt to remedy what was being inflicted on Iraqis by their own rulers (OFF) fueled perhaps the largest financial scandal in history, purchased a good chunk of the 'principled opposition' to the invasion of Iraq and funded the construction of a string of gargantuan, tasteless dictatorial theme parks.

More to the point, no one is denying the hardship of Iraqis under sanctions, but let's be clear about how they became so deadly.  

By Anonymous larry, at Fri Jan 27, 12:34:00 PM:

Statistics provided by those ever-reliable sources: Iraq, UNICEF and the International Red Cross.

Wonder if anyone has calculated how many billions (with a B) went into those (twenty or thirty) palaces? Heck, some of 'em probably cost more than Babs and James' or Tim and Sue's digs. How much medicine, water, food, etc. those billions would have bought?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 27, 05:12:00 PM:

I have always opposed sanctions in almost all cases. Sanctions are much crueler then a quick directed devastating overwhelming military victory.

Sherman's March through Georgia compared to the Siege of Vicksburg.

Never should have allowed the sanctions of Iraq to happen. Shouldn't have allowed it to go that far. Second time Saddam violated any agreement swift overwhelming force should have been used to take him out.

Sanctions hurt more people then short violent War.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 27, 08:45:00 PM:

If possible, I would appreciate it if people could provide references to sources for their statements -- as Kevin did with his link to the State Department report.

Because the information I have contradicts the statements made above.

For example, In a 1996 interview with Madeleine Albright, Leslie Stahl asked Ms Albright the following question:
"We have heard that half a million children have died [as a result of sanctions]. I mean, that is more
children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?"

To which Madeleine Albright replied "I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price
is worth it."
(Ref: Pages 174-175 of Madeleine Albright's book "Madam Secretary". )

The Oil for Food Program was not set up until 1996. Plus saying that import of food and medicine was allowed --as Madeleine states -- is misleading. The problem was with polluted water and with transport of water in a desert area.

A rather scathing Harpers article on how the Clinton White House mismanaged the sanctions -- and needlessly caused many Iraqi deaths -- is
here: http://harpers.org/CoolWar.html

Of course, Madeleine Albright says that Hussein was at fault for those deaths --because he could have prevented them by throwing in the towel. But that sounds a lot like Osama Bin Laden saying US deaths on Sept 11 were the US Government's fault -- because the government sold F16s to Israel.

Does anyone know if Albright still thinks those Iraqi deaths were worth it -- given that no WMDs have been found in Iraq? Given that those Iraqi deaths were given as one of the 3 main reasons for the 3000 US deaths on Sept 11?  

By Anonymous Don Williams, at Fri Jan 27, 08:47:00 PM:

Sorry. The post directly above was mine --I forget to type in my name.  

By Anonymous beautifulatrocities, at Sat Jan 28, 06:06:00 PM:

She's wonderful. Galloway got his butt kicked outta Celebrity Big Brother, but we still have Cindy! Her Senate run against Feinstein - you know she can't resist! - will be priceless!  

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