Friday, July 06, 2007

Our bi-polar attitude toward Iran 

The Democrats -- and no small number of Republicans -- just must hate it that Joe Lieberman will not shut his yap about Iran:

These latest revelations should be a painful wakeup call to the American people, and to the U.S. Congress. They also expand on a steady stream of public statements over the past six months by David Petraeus, the commanding general of our coalition in Iraq, as well as other senior American military and civilian officials about Iran's hostile and violent role in Iraq. In February, for instance, the U.S. military stated that forensic evidence has implicated Iran in the death of at least 170 U.S. soldiers....

No responsible leader in Washington desires conflict with Iran. But every leader has a responsibility to acknowledge the evidence that the U.S. military has now put before us: The Iranian government, by its actions, has all but declared war on us and our allies in the Middle East.

Read the whole thing.

Public discussion of American policy toward Iran has become bi-polar. On the one hand, virtually all of the political left (and the isolationist wing of the right) are desperate to avoid another war in the Muslim world or anything approximating it. There are many reasons for this desperation, ranging from the rough sledding in Iraq to an intense desire to refocus on domestic policy to the fear that even speaking directly about Iran's war against the U.S. will create "excess demand" for military action. Then there are rank political considerations: If we talk too much about Iran's proxy war against the United States, the American public might once again vote for a candidate that it perceives as strong on national defense. While Republicans are weaker than they were on that front, it still remains the case that the Democrats want to avoid discussion about foreign threats at least until they get past their own primary season next February and March. Why? Because their activist base is so far to the left of the American center that virtually anything substantive a Democratic candidate says in recognition of a foreign threat will hurt him or her with one of those two critical constituencies.

On the other hand, there are people such as Joe Lieberman and countless others who -- correctly -- understand that Iran is literally waging war against the United States on multiple fronts. Few in this crowd -- including me -- have any desire for overt military action against Iran, but we are terribly concerned that Iran is exploiting the political weakness and emotional exhaustion of the Bush administration and the internal dynamics of the American electoral cycle to do huge damage to our interests in a strategically vital part of the world. We are worried that the unwillingness of the political left and most of the mainstream media to discuss Iran seriously will make it impossible for the United States to threaten Iran with any credibility. Since such threats are the cornerstone of deterrance, the one means we have for avoiding war in the long run, the left's disinterest may be perversely increasing the chances of war down the road. Ironically, a future Democratic president may "own" a war with Iran because the Democrats are not listening to the likes of Joe Lieberman now.


By Blogger AmPowerBlog, at Fri Jul 06, 09:44:00 AM:

Nice post! This part is especially good:

"Because their activist base is so far to the left of the American center that virtually anything substantive a Democratic candidate says in recognition of a foreign threat will hurt him or her with one of those two critical constituencies."

I think think Bush should act preventively with airstrikes. But some of the commenters on my page have noted that if we're going to take out the Iranian threat, we can't pussyfoot around: Go in large and mean, hold back nothing, destroy all means of economic and military productive, leave smoking ruins and craters. In short, total war and complete devastation. If Iran, it waging war against us, we certainly won't be taking up the call to arms under a Democratic administration. Hopefully Lieberman's influence will grow stronger, and we'll actually do something about the menace coming out of Tehran.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 09:58:00 AM:

You do realize that if we weren't in Iraq no Americans would be near any influence that Iran can muster. Our illeagal war in Iraq will create other tension in the area. If we were to leave, then it would only be Iraqis dealing with Iranian and Saudi influence. Yes there is even more kibitzing from the Saudis than Iran, but you won't see big stories about that because we aren't trying to create a war there. You like being the straight guy to this dark comedian.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 10:12:00 AM:

Our goal should be defined as "bringing rapid political change to Tehran". It looks very much like Ahmadinejad wants war, and he must be thinking that'll unify the restive population and solidify his position. Maybe he's shrewd in thinking that way. Or, maybe he thinks war will bring the 12th Imam and judgment day. Maybe he's just nuts.

Either way, it seems to me that social and political upheaval in Iran is what we should be aiming to achieve. Fostering dissent is good. Forcing economic stress is good. Even assassinating nuclear scientists and possibly even obstreperous second level leaders might be a good idea. It doesn't seem any of these tactics have yet been tried (except, maybe, by the Israelis). Open warfare at this stage seems to be giving Ahmadinejad what he says he wants.

If we have no alternative, though, then lets hear that debate and get to it.


By Blogger Angevin13, at Fri Jul 06, 10:35:00 AM:

TigerHawk: As usual, a great post.

I'm one of Donald Douglas' readers who've commented on the need to go in big - if we are to go in at all. Those of us who are unsure of the Iranian threat need to understand: we either face Iran now, or we face a nuclear-armed Iran later. And even if we do go in now, or in the near future, "air strikes," unfortunately, will not be enough to do away with the nuclear program, and at best will only degrade (for the time being) the program. Few people, even on the right, would believe it's wise, or even possible right now that we could go into Iran, full-force, a full-scale invasion.

Separate from the nuke problem, but certainly inter-related, is Iran's meddling in Iraq, Palestine, etc. There I think we can have some credible deterrence effect. But I fear that nothing short of war is going to deal with the nuke program. And once they have a nuke, there's no way we're gonna be able to deal with the problem of Iranian proxy wars.

Commenter Andrew says, "social and political upheveal in Iran is what we should be aiming to achieve." Yes, but the regime has been around for 30 years. Look at the DPRK example - people are always going around saying "this is the year" the regime will collapse - and it hasn't. The longer we wait for "social and political upheaval" the closer the regime in Iran comes to getting a nuclear weapon.

It's why, in my humble opinion, the "Iran problem" is one of the most fascinating...  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Fri Jul 06, 12:15:00 PM:

"...Saudis than Iran, but you won't see big stories about that because we aren't trying to create a war there."

Saudi authorities have arrested 9,000 people during anti-terror operations over the past four years, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz said recently. He said 3,106 of those people are still in prison.

"The (Saudi) security forces have foiled 180 terrorist operations," Prince Naif said.

In the West, you don't read big stories about that, either.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 12:51:00 PM:

A recent CNN poll:
"If the U.S. government decides to take military action in Iran, would you favor or oppose it?"
Favor 33%
Oppose 63%
Unsure 4%

I'd guess that 63% is the Democrat's "activist base" plus the "American center". The 33% are the wingnuts and Lieberman.

Based on this polling, I don't see why any Democratic candidate would want to talk about attacking Iran.

And since I live in the reality-based community, I don't see why any sane person would advocate it, either.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Fri Jul 06, 01:01:00 PM:

You do realize that if we weren't in Iraq no Americans would be near any influence that Iran can muster.

You mean other than Afghanistan, Kuwait, Turkey, and the gulf right?

Since we'd still be "sitting on Saddam", Kuwait and the gulf would be crawling with US troops.

Do you always make preposterous statements like that, or is this a special case?  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Fri Jul 06, 01:04:00 PM:

I don't see why any sane person would advocate it, either.

I agree, allowing Iran to kill our troops with impunity and meddle in all things middle east is certainly the right way to go and will certainly convince the palis that "peace" is the way to go rather than terrorism.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 02:24:00 PM:

anyone frustrated with the state of things vis-a-vis Iran needs to direct their anger at the Neocon idiots who thought that it was a good idea to invade Iraq.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 02:44:00 PM:

All of you trolling around here today need and deserve a site of your very own!

You're welcome.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 03:02:00 PM:

"I agree, allowing Iran to kill our troops with impunity and meddle in all things middle east is certainly the right way to go"

AHHAHAH Who are we to tell Iran not to meddle in the Middle East? We have 150,000 troops next door to Iran, and you accuse *them* of meddling.

I have yet to see a credible source or any proof that Iran is directly or indirectly attacking our troops in Iraq. Iran denies it, and General Pace said there is no evidence that Iran is doing any such thing:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 03:31:00 PM:

This administration might actually salvage something for themselves if they could advance border control technologies.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri Jul 06, 04:29:00 PM:

"I have yet to see a credible source or any proof that Iran is directly or indirectly attacking our troops in Iraq."

Then you a) aren't paying attention.


b) are lying to yourself.


c) are stupid.

By the way. I visited your link. Imagine my surprise when I read this.

"“What it does say is that things made in Iran are being used in Iraq to kill coalition soldiers.”"

That certainly falls into the 'indirectly' category. And what Pace was saying, and he clarified very clearly, was that there was no evidence that the Iranian executive was involved; that's diplo-speak for "we know Iran is responsible, but we're just going to blame this on wayward underlings." Hardly strengthens your assertion.

Then there's this: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,124835,00.html

Let me repeat the headline: "Iranian Intel Officers Captured in Iraq." The date: Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Then there was that US raid conducted in Irbil that netted some Iranian agents, and the Iraqi false flag op in Baghdad, the truckloads of explosives that were recently seized... there's quite a list.


Here's some pictures.


And this is just stuff that has been released/leaked. You never hear about the flag-draped bodies of soldiers killed by Iranians, captured documents in Farsi, or seized Iranian currency.

But it's all just smoke and mirrors, part of the grand conspiracy to try to justify yet more conflict with poor Muslims.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 06:03:00 PM:

Dear Tigerhawk,

Bush has escalated. In the last few days a general in the theater has said that Iran is killing Americans. This is a loud and unmistakable message to the Iranians that our patience is wearing thin. Methinks that Bush, like AQI, has started the end-game. In for a dime in for a dollar. The old poker player has just raised the limit. Will Iran go all in?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 06:34:00 PM:


I'm sure I've read the same stories about Iran as you have, I just don't necessarily believe every word the Pentagon says. They shoveled a lot of BS about Iraq over the last 6 years, so why should I believe what they say about Iran?

From the Boston Globe link (2nd paragraph):
"The [US military officials], who refused to be identified at the press conference, said the Iranian-supplied munitions had killed more than 170 coalition troops and wounded more than 620 others."

If their evidence of Iranian wrongdoing is so strong why do they refuse to be identified? I'd take them a lot more seriously if they were willing stand behind their accusations.

The CNN Iran/Taliban article:
At least Burns is willing to accuse Iran on the record. He accuses the Iranian govt of violating Resolution 1747, but the article doesn't say what his "irrefutable evidence" is. Where's his proof?

re: General Pace
I disagree with your interpretation of Pace's comments. At the time of his remarks, he was directly contradicting the anonymous officials from the Boston Globe article you linked. They claimed the Iranian govt was involved -- Pace said there was no proof of that. There still isn't any proof of that, and the Iranian govt denies it.

I won't read the Fox News article, but you say the headline is "Iranian Intel Officers Captured in Iraq." So what? Of course Iran has people in Iraq! If Iran had 150,000 troops in Canada, don't you think we'd have intelligence officers up there to see what they're doing? They'd be crazy not to, and it's hardly grounds for attacking them.

Here's what I believe. I don't doubt that weapons made in Iran are making their way into Iraq. Certainly through the black market, possibly at the direction of Iranian security forces. If their govt is involved we will never be able to prove it (they'd be insane to allow us to find out.) And I simply do not believe the assertions of Pentagon or administration officials, as their credibility (low to begin with, imo) is now thoroughly shot.

If you think US policy should be to bomb this shit out of Iran, then just say it. If you believe killing tens of thousands of Iranians is an acceptable price (for them) to pay to destroy their govt, then say it. But please quit trying to justify it by claiming that Iran is killing our soldiers. I'll say it again: I have yet to see any credible proof that the Iran govt is attacking our troops.

(And I'm not the only one not buying it -- see the poll results I posted earlier.)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 07:51:00 PM:

Iran IS killing our soldiers. The spokesman for the MNF in Iraq said flat out that:

The Qods Force ran the operation, from start to finish, including the mockup detected by satellite of the US base, where seven soldiers were killed and five captured. Of those, one Pvt Joe Ansack, was tortured, mutilated, and killed.

The spokesman said FLAT OUT that Khameni knew about it, since Qods Force reports DIRECTLY to Khameni.

In addition, the NATO spokesman in Kabul said FLAT OUT that they'd captured Iranian agents in Afghanistan training the Taliban and Al Qaeda. To kill NATO forces (mostly American).

You can go to Bill Roggio's site HERE

"Brig Gen Bergner said three training camps for the "Special Groups" have been identified inside Iran. Last month, U.S. satellite reconnaissance identified a mockup of the Karbala PJCC inside Iran. This facility was used to train the Qazali network for the Karbala attack.

Brig Gen Bergner said senior Iranian leadership was aware of Qods Force's activities inside Iraq. “Our intelligence reveals that the senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity.” Brig Gen Bergner further explained it "would be hard to imagine" that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, would not be aware of Qods Force's role in the Iraq violence. Qods Force reports directly to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."


Believe the guys FIGHTING ON THE GROUND, or your own naive fantasies of the good intentions of "wipe Israel off the map" and "Imagine a World without America" Ahmadnutjob.

What is striking is that the Military in theatre, both NATO in Afghanistan and the MNF in Iraq, are simply ignoring the White House calls to downplay Iranian actions in killing our guys in both places. Bush is weak and useless and the people on the ground have decided to ignore what he says in favor of keeping faith with those serving underneath him.

Without seeing how CNN (biased in favor of Iran, see Amanpour's fawning portraits of Ahmadnutjob) constructed the polling questions it's impossible to say how accurate their poll is. But even assuming the poll is right it's meaningless.

Iran means to chase us out of AFGHANISTAN, the Gulf, and the ME entirely and run the place. It is also openly threatening us with nuking as well as America.

You want a giant "Nuke Me" sign on US cities? Let Iran drive us out of the ME. Or hit them now in preference of total nuclear war after we lose several cities.

THAT is the stakes were are playing for.

No one cares if you don't like war. Find it inconvenient. Morally distressing. You may not be interested in War but War is interested in YOU.

I now understand the deeply pacifist, feminized, and cowardly appeasing 1930's. Elites were so confident they could buy off aggressors that nation after nation was thrown to the crocs. Until there was nothing left.

We will probably run away in craven defeat by Iran aided by Dems/Libs/Media. And lose a couple of cities. Then nuke the hell out of the ME till they are all dead. Tragic. Because peace movements kill and pacifism is a horrible disease.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jul 06, 08:43:00 PM:

The bombing of Iran is necessary for bible prophecy.
The second coming of Jesus will come soon.
Ignore the 70% of Americans who appose this.
They are unamerican.
Bush is with Jesus and he knows the way.  

By Blogger Papa Ray, at Fri Jul 06, 10:27:00 PM:

There also is no proof that "Western" SOF is operating in Iran.

But I wouldn't bet against it.

Papa Ray
West Texas

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jul 07, 07:58:00 AM:

"And since I live in the reality-based community, I don't see why any sane person would advocate it, either.

By Anonymous"

I love the concept of someone claiming to be in "the reality-based community" using the most un-realty-based name of all, "Anonymous".

Very amusing.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sat Jul 07, 10:27:00 AM:

AHHAHAH Who are we to tell Iran not to meddle in the Middle East?

The day Iran's meddling includes supplying peace keepers rather than terrorists, is the day your question will be worth answering.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jul 07, 05:59:00 PM:

I have not bothered to read the previous comments so I may be redundant. I am in the minority on this, but I firmly believe that if you want to cut off a fairly significant source of terror in the world today it all begins with Tehran. If a patient had cancer a doctor would try to surgically remove the cancer if they could to save the body. In the case of Iran, I do believe they have to be hit hard and with a ferocity that would make Genghis Kahn (sp?) smile. Hit them so hard that any one who is left will not so much as look sideways. By the way, it may only be a matter of time before Israel does this anyway, because the number of her citizens that have been killed by Iranian backers is far greater then the U.S. and the West combined.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jul 08, 12:47:00 AM:

They why dont JOE LIARMAN go and be the new ambassador to iran becuase he is beging to irritate us to  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jul 08, 08:53:00 PM:

Boy the people here get mad if you present them with the truth. That must be why they are so anxious to start a war and kill more women and children. Saudi Arabia sent their people over on 9/11 to bring down the WTC and Bush's response was to kiss his buddy Saudis ass and escort them out of the country. Pakistan sold nuclear secrets to Iran and hid Al Queda members and Bush's response was to kiss their leaders ass and lessen their restrictions on their nuclear arsenal and sell them more advanced weapons. Now all you chickenhawks want war with Iran so you can feel manly again and prove to yourselves and your families that you were not wrong about Iraq. The truth is you are easily propagandized war mongers. You willingly bought the lies about Iraq and now you are showing that you are just as gullible and stupid about Iran. Well, all I can hope for is that you get the same treatment some day that you are cowardly wishing onto the Iranian people.  

By Blogger GreenmanTim, at Sun Jul 08, 11:24:00 PM:

Wait a minutye, Bird O'. It is hard to tell from the creative use you make of the language, but did I understand you to say you don't care for Joe? I thought I understood your politics to be fairly in accord with him on foreign policy. Please explain. Otherwise you and I may in fact have something in common politically after all. :-)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jul 10, 07:17:00 PM:

Just so you neocons know, you got linked from Salon.com today, so all the lefties like me are going to come out of the woodwork now to yell at you.

Look, Iran *is* killing our soldiers. Frankly, I'd be surprised if they didn't. I mean, we're a convenient target in Iraq, and we don't have the will or the force to do anything about it, because as the Iranians know, we've "shot our wad" in Iraq.

Even if we said to hell with world opinion (we did with Iraq) and attacked Iran anyways, we'd lose. Sorry, that's the "reality-based community" for you again.

Plus, since Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan all border each other, the whole region would become one big war.

The only way we could win over there is if we imposed the draft, and since the tighty righties like YOU would rather talk about war than actually fight in one, that is never ever going to happen.

So yes, I agree. Iran is using proxies to kill and wound our men. And there isn't shit we can do about it unless we reimpose the draft. Welcome to the real world, guys.


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