Friday, September 21, 2007
Coming as it does from one of the most thoughtful lefty bloggers, I found this very troublesome:
Am I the only one embarrassed by the dingbat brouhaha over Iranian President Ahmadinejad's attempt to visit Ground Zero to lay a wreath?...
So what's the problem exactly? Presumably we can be frank enough to acknowledge that the real issue here is that while Ahmadinejad is not Arab to most of us he looks pretty Arab. And he is Muslim certainly -- and pretty up in arms about it at that. And we officially don't like him. And we classify the country he runs as a state sponsor of terrorism. So even though he has absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, when you put all these key facts together, he might as well have done it himself. And what business does anyone with the blood of the victims of 9/11 on his hands have going to Ground Zero?
That's basically it and don't tell me it's not. (italics in original, bold emphasis added)
Er, it's not.
Technically, of course, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not have anything to do with the attacks on 9/11. There is more than a little circumstantial evidence, though, that Iran did. So much so, in fact, that the 9/11 Commission specifically called out the possibility that Iran was an accessory, via Hezbollah, and wrote that it believed that "this topic requires further investigation by the U.S. government" (9/11 Commission Report, 241). Notwithstanding lefty claims that the Bush administration has been promoting war against Iran, there is no public record that it actually followed up on this recommendation. Of course, one rarely hears this criticism from Democrats who otherwise remind us that the Bushies "ignored" the advice of the 9/11 Commission.
The circumstantial evidence supporting Iranian involvement in 9/11 is only one small part of its extended alliance with al Qaeda. Righty bloggers and their readers are very familiar with this history, but it is virtually ignored on the left. We at TigerHawk, however, are blessed to have a loyal stable of lefty readers with open minds. If you are one of those and are interested in Iran's involvement with al Qaeda, start here.
So when Josh Marshall tells us to "grow up" and "act like a man," my retort might be "get a clue," or at least read the 9/11 Commission report before declaring that the president of Iran, who underwrites Hezbollah to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year, has "absolutely nothing to do with 9/11." It is in fact entirely possible that al Qaeda would not have been successful without Iranian aid, on September 11 or in other attacks on the West.
The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was the great upheaval that inspired Muslim crazies and convinced them that things like reestablishing the caliphate was possible.
All the blood that has been shed since can be laid at the feet of the Iranian regime.
Ahmadinejad is a spiritual brother-in-arms with those who committed the 911 attacks, and that is what Josh Marshall doesn't get.
We might have some obligation to let this scumbag come to NY to attend a meeting at the UN, but we don't have to let him have free roam around the city.
If he doesn't like it, he can go pound it.
Marshall conveniently overlooks the substantial evidence of the nuclear items in the current events as they pertain to Iran, and the findings of Iranian made rockets and 'stuff' in Iraq.
But he shouldn't let the facts interfere with things, 'cause that's when the fragile fantasy world people like he live in starts to collapse.
I wonder if, given some media cooperation, it might have been tactically prudent to let him lay the wreath. Let me explain: if he lays the wreath and shows contrition, then we could (assuming cooperative reporters, a big stretch I know) spin it as an admission of guilt or wrongdoing of some kind, and maybe gain ourselves some standing on the Arab "street." If he does something obnoxious, we can spin it as a big outrage and put pressure on Ahmadinejad that way, possibly convincing more people on the left of the need for a more confrontational course wrt militant Islam. Kind of an idle thought, though.
I read McCarthy's rant in the linked article, but even though he makes a good case that Iran (and militant Islam) is our implacable enemy, doesn't it miss the point that you can't kill an ideology? You have to discredit it. We've invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, but our victory won't be measured by how many militant Muslims we've killed (i.e. how many "martyrs we've sent to paradise," but whether we can turn those countries into something better than what they were before. If we can do that while containing Iran and letting them stew in their own juices for a while, why not?
The Iran/Syria/Hezbollah axis in league with Al Qaeda? Shi'a and Sunni united against us? Maybe implicated in 9/11? Cats and dogs sleeping together? Let's just reflect for a moment on what's in the public record about Iran's relationship with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Al Qaeda's sponsors for years:
Iran almost went to war with Taliban-led Afghanistan, supported the Northern Alliance before the U.S. did, and was helpful to the U.S. in post-war planning in Afghanistan (check out this report from RAND). Hamid Karzai said that Iran was helpful to him in Afghanistan.
As a bonus, Iran-aligned Syria regards Al Qaeda as a terrorist threat and offered intelligence on Al Qaeda to the U.S. after 9/11.
McCarthy's article has a lot of shadowy evidence in there, but I'd bet you could work up a more damning dossier against Saudi Arabia or Pakistan's involvement with Al Qaeda. And given the Sunni-Shi'a rift on violent display in Iraq (e.g., Al Qaeda in Iraq threatened a "brutal war" against Iran if it doesn't stop supporting the Shi'a there), this whole Iran-Al Qaeda linkage enterprise has a whole violation-of-Occam's Razor smell about it.
If the U.S. can endeavor to enlist Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in anti-al Qaeda efforts, why is Iran so beyond the pale? Whatever happened to some good old-fashioned divide and conquer? Shouldn't we be seeking to pry al Qaeda away from its potential allies rather than pushing them into each other's arms? Realpolitik seems like the cops around here: it's never there when you need it.
Honestpartisan more like "tehranpartisan" are you serious? You are basically laying out the argument that Iran is completely guilt-free of any involvment in state-sponsored terror? There is no gray in this question either, if they are and they continue to openly defy international law then they should be subject to whatever the international community has to bear in retaliation.
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DEC: And I am sure that's how he would have sold it to hardline Iranian critics, perhaps with a speech about the magnificent 19.
"If we can do that while containing Iran and letting them stew in their own juices for a while, why not?"
That would be great; a probably effective, low cost strategy. Unfortunately, it's long-term, and somewhere in the cosmos is a little clock ticking down to 0, 0 being the moment Iran develops its second working atomic weapon.
"If the U.S. can endeavor to enlist Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in anti-al Qaeda efforts, why is Iran so beyond the pale?"
#1, it's a hostile power. And given #1, #2, whatever their price is for cooperation, (whether hegemony in Iraq or Afghanistan, a free hand to pursue nuclear arms, or withdrawal from the region at large) I'm sure we won't pay it. #3, you can't court 2 rivals at the same time. I can guarantee that if the US starts unilaterally cutting deals with Iran, our relations all across the Arab world will go cold.
"Whatever happened to some good old-fashioned divide and conquer? Shouldn't we be seeking to pry al Qaeda away from its potential allies rather than pushing them into each other's arms?"
"Realpolitik seems like the cops around here: it's never there when you need it."
Realpolitik is exactly how we enlisted the aid of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the first place.
My first reaction was let him come and pay respects.
However, considering how many people are offended by the possibility, perhaps it's better not to allow him to come to this hallowed ground just like that. He offended many people by his rantings and actions against US and Israel. And nobody wants to see him at "Ground Zero" one day and hear his offensive rants again the next day. Perhaps if he really wants to come he better do something to improve his image first. Go on record saying something positive and concilliatory toward Israel and US, for example...
I don't really want to stick up for Marshall, so I won't.
And I'm a Ronald Reagan supporter.
But Iran or Hezbollah cooperating with Al Qaeda? They hate Al Qaeda more than they hate us.
Low-level contacts here and there, I can go with that. That happens between crime lords in this country who are at war with each other.
But high level cooperation? I've seen other articles like this that try to link Saddam Hussein to these same people. Does that mean Saddam Hussein indirectly cooperated with Ahmadinejad?
At least McCarthy admitted in this very same article that we spilled American blood to put Nouri Al Maliki, a leader of a shiite terrorist group closely allied with Iran that bombed the U.S. embassy in Kuwait, into power.
I never thought I'd see the day when the Republican party would spill American blood to "accomplish" something like that.
It's a matter of record in testimony before the 9/11 Commission that IRAN did not (under orders from Khameni) stamp the passports of the muscle hijackers who passed through Iran on their way to the US.
It's a matter of court judgments that Iran is responsible for Khobar Towers and that Iran's senior leadership personally approved of the terrorist operation. It's a matter of court judgments that Iran was responsible for the Beirut Barracks bombings. It's a matter of public record in sworn testimony before Congress by Petraeus and Crocker that Iran supplies men, material and money to blow up US troops in Iraq, and have had their IRGC men caught red handed doing so in Iraq.
If you can't stand up for your own country and countrymen what use are you at all? I don't question your patriotism because you have none.
Iran/Saddam/AQ all hated each other, but quite easily cooperated to kill Americans. This shouldn't surprise anyone. Nearly everyone in the ME is related and all know each other.
Nutjob wants to prance around, lay a wreath for the hijackers, and then boast to his people how weak we were to allow it, while blaming the US for 9/11 and telling us we deserved it.
Dems are betting it all on Iran. That's going to be a massively losing hand when Iran lights off a nuke. Don't forget that Ahmadnutjob leads off every session of Parliament with a rousing cheer of "Death to America" which is Iran's official slogan.
God knows Dems display all the manliness of Chris Crocker screaming "leave Iran alone !!111!!!"
And as long as we are on the topic, let's not forget all the members of the Saudi royal house that provided support for the 9/11 attacks, not to mention all the Saudi nationals who led them.
Sometimes it's hard to tell friend from foe in the Middle East.
Hasn't Iran declared war on us? Didn't they do that with the whole hostage thing, and they've never given up? Would Roosevelt have allowed Hitler in our country to lay a wreath at a memorial to our war dead?
On the other hand, it would be a neat experiment. What would he say while there? What would he say when he got back home? Would the MSM report anything negative?
And look at the bright side, he could get hit by a taxi, fall in a hole, etc.
Actions speak louder than words. Iran is supplying weapons, money and people to kill our troops in Iraq. Knowing where he will be standing and when, well, sounds like a really dumb thing to let your enemy know. And we are enemies. Why is it only some Americans don't understand that?
"But Iran or Hezbollah cooperating with Al Qaeda? They hate Al Qaeda more than they hate us."
I hope you'll one day introduce me to your Iranian contacts. I'd love to meet them and talk about our mutual hatreds and establishing an objective 'hatred scale' so that we can collectively decide who our joint enemies should be.
"Low-level contacts here and there, I can go with that. That happens between crime lords in this country who are at war with each other.
But high level cooperation? I've seen other articles like this that try to link Saddam Hussein to these same people. Does that mean Saddam Hussein indirectly cooperated with Ahmadinejad?
Ahmadinejad became president of Iran in 2005, genius. A year and a half after Saddam was captured and whisked off to an undisclosed location. So, uh, no.
And while I'm sure that you're 100% correct in that there is no possible way for people unfriendly to one another to cooperate for a greater good (say, signing a non-aggression treaty with secret provisions for dividing up Poland)... there is.
"At least McCarthy admitted in this very same article that we spilled American blood to put Nouri Al Maliki, a leader of a shiite terrorist group closely allied with Iran that bombed the U.S. embassy in Kuwait, into power."
Typical mid-east politics. Several ministers of Israel (including Premier Begin) were former anti-British terrorists. President Sadat of Egypt, the first Arab leader to sign a peace treaty with Israel, (with the afore-mentiond Begin) was a spy for the Nazis in World War II. If these kinds of associations bother you, you'd best just stay out of the Middle East.
Phrizz11, if I thought we could play the PR battle that way, I would agree with your rope-a-dope tactic with Iran. Unfortunately, we are constrained by honesty and he isn't, which is a significant disadvantage in the Middle-East, where many folks would believe him anyway.
Those psy-ops things play out at level upon level, however, and if you want to speculate on the many permutations of who will be affected in what manner world wide, perhaps you will discover something the rest of us have missed. It was a good initial idea on your part. Maybe there is a subterranean benefit here.
I realize no comparison can be perfect. And nothing is impossible in the Middle East. But to bring up the non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviets as support for a notion that two groups of people who despise each other and consider each other heretics would cooperate at high levels to attack another country?
I’m not going to bother with that nonsense.
This is just another version of the same neocon drivel that people who call themselves Republicans have been spewing out more and more during the past 6 years.
Every time the neocons want to invade or bomb somebody, a bunch of silly articles hit the Internet trying to link those entities to Al Qaeda.
They howled for the invasion of Iraq. So link Saddam Hussein to Al Aqaeda. They want to bomb Iran. Link Iran to Al Qaeda.
I don’t view getting our kids killed and spending millions of dollars to set up another Shiite theocracy allied with Iran a good use of our military.
Nor do I accept the neocon false choice between doing nothing about Saddam Hussein versus a full-scale invasion.
And the fact that Nouri Al Maliki was in a terrorist group financed by Iran that bombed a U.S. embassy is just typical mideast politics? I realize that dealing with such people may be necessary. But spilling American blood to put one of them in power is a different kettle of fish.
And some of these neocons act like he’s going to be the next Thomas Jefferson.
I don’t trust Amadinajad or Nouri Al Maliki. They are both threats.
But spilling American blood to put one of them in power?
No true Conservative would support such an idea.
"But to bring up the non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviets as support for a notion that two groups of people who despise each other and consider each other heretics would cooperate at high levels to attack another country?
I’m not going to bother with that nonsense."
That doesn't mean that it isn't a valid counter-example. I also could have brought up Israelis and Sunni militias cooperating against the Syrians during the Lebanese Civil War, but I figured the Soviet-Nazi pact was more well-known.
And you ignored my link to the Khobar Towers bombing. Where Al Qaeda attacked a US military location. With help from Hezb Allah. An Iranian proxy.
I guess those two additional examples are more nonsense.
"But spilling American blood to put one of them in power?"
Maliki is a *Prime Minister,* *selected* for his office by a coalition of *democratically elected* Iraqi political parties. He was not "put in power" by American anything.
"No true Conservative would support such an idea."
Perhaps you could guide us to the Orthodox Book of Conservatism so people can change their heretical ways before the Inquisition catches up with us. I'd hate to be boycotted by the Southern Baptist Convention or something...
That some choice the electorate had.
Chavez got elected in Venezuela. I wouldn't support the spilling of American blood to create that process either.
I thought that Conservatives, of all people, realized that our Constitutional Democracy began with the development of private property rights and free markets. And that these institutions led to elections within a Constitutional framework.
All of the founders understood this, hence the quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin:
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb."
Elections have NEVER caused or started the process of liberty. And the lambs in this case are the Sunnis and the Kurds.
In the 40 or 50 countries that have held elections without long-standing traditions of property rights, notions of equality and free markets, the elections have led to unfavorable results in every case -- even if those countries brandish a piece of paper called a constitution.
But then it dawned on me. The Republican party is not currently being run by true Conservatives -- hence this debacle.
So if liberty is founded on free markets and property rights, and liberty cannot be spawned by elections, and elections without free markets and property rights always lead to 'unfavorable results...'
How in the hell do you get a democracy with free markets and property rights?
Addendum: I didn't think that quotation made a lot of sense, so I looked it up. It's somewhat clearer this way.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote."
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