Obama administration responds with muted ferocity to Iranian actions on American soil

Yesterday, I asked what Valerie Jarrett would tell Obama to do now that the administration, in an effort to save Holder’s delicate derriere from the Fast & Furious fallout, has gone public with a nefarious Iranian plot, one that is tantamount to a declaration of war, that Obama already knew about in June.  (Wag the Dog, anyone?)

Today, we have the answer.  The Obama administration, in language that would befit an irate, but still proper, Victorian maiden, has announced loud and clear that it’s going to scold Iran.  There may be some finger shaking involved too, but I gather that the administration doesn’t want to escalate the matter too quickly.

I don’t like flying.  Truth to tell, I hate it, but I’m still a fairly placid passenger.  During a bumpy flight, the white knuckles and the occasional gasping breaths are the only sign that I’m agitated.  One memorable trip, though, when we hit turbulence over the Midwest, the women in the row behind me spent over an hour screaming “We’re gonna die!  We’re all gonna die!”  I’m not going to do imitate that woman as our airplane of State bounces around, but my knuckles are white as I type, and the occasional gasping breath echoes over my keyboard.

Snapshots of insanity

North Korea assumes presidency of U.N. arms control conference

http://dailycaller.com/2011/06/29/north-korea-assumes-presidency-of-u-n-arms-control-conference/#ixzz1Ql1gXN44

“Bare months after the U.N. finally suspended Libya’s Col. Muammar Qaddafi from its Human Rights Council, North Korea wins the propaganda coup of heading the world’s disarmament agency,” the executive director of UN Watch Hillel Neuer said in a statement protesting the move. “It’s asking the fox to guard the chickens, and damages the U.N.’s credibility.”

Damages the U.N.’s credibility? What credibility is there left to damage?

(h/t Weaselzippers.net)

Britain: Iran Testing missiles with nuclear capability

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=227120
Iran has been carrying out covert ballistic missile tests and rocket launches including testing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday.
He told parliament the tests were in clear contravention of UN resolution 1929.

Again, the credibility of the U.N.? But then, after the attack on Libya by (largely) the U.S. and Europe, it’s doubtful that any country would ever give up its nuclear weapons programs.

(h/t Weaselzippers.net)

To think that once it was once only lunatic fringe groups like the John Birchers who were claimed to be crazy for advocating that the U.S. get out of the U.N. Can anyone provide cogent reasons for the U.S. to keep subsidizing this vile organization’s budget today?

 

The nuclear cat is out of the bag and, unfortunately, it appears to be leading to its inevitable conclusion. It feels like mid-1930s deja-vu all over again, with the inevitability of world war looming and significant parts of the world either enables it or remain powerless to stop it.

 

 

Syria — random thoughts

I’ve been quiet about a lot of the revolutions in the Middle East.  The only one as to which I was really vocal was the attempted revolution in Iran — and that was because I thought the uprising could only benefit America.  That regime is so evil, that destabilizing it for awhile, even if would eventually be replaced by an equally bad regime, would still be good for us.  As long as Obama is in the White House, the bare minimum that would benefit America would be to buy time until a competent, pro-American (and, one hopes, pro-Israel) president is in the White House.  Obama, of course, was conspicuously absent during the attempted Iranian uprising, and I can’t fault him enough for that silence.

As for the other “revolutions” . . . .

Tunisia did not affect America one way or another.  It was short, sweet, and seemed to have a good outcome for the citizens, which is a blessing, and I’m pleased for them.

Egypt!?  Oy.  Mubarak was a slimeball but he was our slimeball.  He kept the peace with Israel and he did not threaten American interests.  Obama’s first response was to say nothing, then he said nothing useful, then he suddenly announced that Mubarak had to go, then he didn’t know what to do after having made that announcement, and then it became clear that he had no idea what to do in the vacuum following Mubarak’s departure.

Right now, Egypt is poised on the knife’s edge, as the Muslim Brotherhood, having waited for this moment for decades, slowly and carefully begins to consolidate power.  The MB is helped by the fact that this radical, nationalist, sharia oriented movement got the official Obama stamp of approval.  I’m not saying the Egyptian revolution could have been stopped or (since I lack a crystal ball) that it will be a bad thing in the long term.  I am saying, however, that Obama proved himself totally inept and incapable of shaping the situation to America’s advantage.  He was a reactor, not an actor.

In Libya, Obama again plays the helpless idiot.  He cedes leadership to France, which seizes it with gusto but that doesn’t mean that the seizure is to America’s benefit.  Libya’s oil supply is neither here nor there for us.  He’s now snuck is into a war that not only confers zero benefit on us, but that aids al Qaeda, which is currently trying to kill our troops in Afghanistan.  There is no good outcome here.

Three revolutions, three missteps by Obama.  Meanwhile, he and his State Department made all sorts of silly noises about President Assad being a reformer, despite the fact that his is one of the most evil, corrupt regimes in the world, not to mention the fact that it’s hand in hand with Iran.

So then, Syria blows up.  And what does the Obama administration do?  Nothing.  Burned twice, and trapped by its own recent word’s praising Assad’s presidency, it’s paralyzed.  The problem is that, Syria, like Iran, is a place where a revolution is not necessarily bad for America’s interests.  The Syrian people might go from the frying pan into the fire, which would be unfortunate for them, but we, at least would buy time.  A country in disarray is not usually a country that is capable of pursuing evil against nations outside its border.

The score for Obama is four revolutions and four leadership failures.  Sadly, given America’s staggering but still existent preeminence, that’s the exact same score for the Americans, the Israelis, the Egyptians, the Iranians and, so far, the Syrians.

Aside from trendiness, there’s something wrong here

I’m with Sadie, that there’s something deeply off-putting about Obama casually applying the ancient Passover story to the uprisings in the Middle East:

Passover recalls the bondage and suffering of Jews in Egypt and the miracle of the Exodus, but U.S. President Barack Obama says its message is reflected in Muslim uprisings.

In his annual message, prior to his third straight participation in the Passover Seder, President Obama stated, “The story of Passover…instructs each generation to remember its past, while appreciating the beauty of freedom and the responsibility it entails. This year that ancient instruction is reflected in the daily headlines as we see modern stories of social transformation and liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa.”

Aside from the superficiality of Obama’s message, it has two other problems.  First, typically for a Progressive, he fails to understand revolts that are keyed to a people’s freedom versus revolts that simply raise up a new oppressor.

In America, because of the American Revolution, our template is that revolutions bring about greater freedom.  However, as France, Russia, China, Cuba, etc., show, our revolution was not typical.  As often as not, a “revolution” simply brings about an equal or greater tyranny.  It remains to be seen, for example, whether Egypt results in greater freedom for the people (since Mubarak was very oppressive) or lesser freedom (since there is nothing more repressive than an Islamic regime).  At least Mubarak was dormant when it came to waging war against Israel and America.

Libya sees exactly the same problem. Gaddafi is a monster but, vis a vis America, he has been a benign monster since 2003.  Now, though, we’re cheerfully spending millions of dollars a day (dollars we don’t have) to overthrow Gaddafi so that al Qaeda can take his place.  Al Qaeda, which is killing our troops in Afghanistan, will not improve the Libyan people’s lot (because radical Islam is always oppressive government), but it will put America at greater risk.

In Iran, I supported the Green Revolution because it was good for America:  anything that rocked the current Islamic government had to improve the status quo as far as Americans were concerned.  It was, frankly, questionable whether the Iranian people would simply be trading the frying pan for the fire.  While I applauded their courage, I had my doubts about their freedom quota.

Not all uprisings are created equal.  That’s problem number one with Obama’s facile little analysis.

Problem number two is that there’s something horrible about quoting one of the greatest stories in Jewish history, a story that has been retold annually in Jewish homes for thousands of years, to justify revolutions that will put into power people who have as their primary goal . . . killing Jews.  That’s just wrong.  Deeply, deeply, classlessly, tactlessly wrong.

Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East

Israel as the next Saudia Arabia?

 

According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, Israel’s unusually large and high-quality shale oil reserves may yield as much oil as all of Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703806304576242420737584278.html

 

These discoveries are in addition to of Israel’s recently diclosed gas reserves, also anticipated to be vaste.

 

There are few countries in the world as reality-based as Israel, because Israel has no other choice. It must be reality based in order to survive. This convinces me that Israel will waste  no time in developing these deposits, not only for self-sufficiency but also to gain leverage with the international community. Imagine the political consequences,, if you would, if Europe no longer had to depend upon the Middle East for its oil.

 

Oh, I wish I could say the same about our own country, rich beyond imagination in oil, gas and coal reserves. In our own country, a far-too-comfortable bourgeoisie entertains unicorn visions of Shangri La-like utopias, unspoiled by any energy development other than windmills and solar panels manufactured in China. The price of these idle visions is steep, as measured by lost jobs, investment capital, trade balances and tax revenues, not to mention military missions to fund our energy needs and keep world energy supplies safe. The self-satisfied American bourgeois elites sleep well, oblivious to the environmental, economic and social disasters inflicted upon our own country and others to satisfy our presumptions of environmental virtue. Not even a record recession (depression?) and all its accompanying miseries is enough to shake our self-satisfied masses from their ut-opium dreams.

 

The bottom-line is that most of the bad international news that we read about today, from Iraq to Libya, Iran, North Africa, Sudan, Nigeria and world jihadism in general, has to do with the quest for affordable energy. Take away oil as an issue by crashing its price on world markets through oversupply, and most of these issues cited above simply fade away, along with the revenues transfered to countries that use them to fund activities inimical to our prosperity and civilization. Crash the price of fuel, jihadism dies. Crash the price of fuel, the world’s poor and unemployed benefit. Israel gets it, we don’t.

 

North America enjoys the world’s largest deposits of oil, gas and coal. Europe has recently discovered immense gas deposits that should more-than meet its internal needs. It’s time for our civilization to wake up: we should be developing our own energy resources as a crack pace, if for nothing else than to avoid a world disaster. War and poverty also have environmental consequences.

 

It’s no fun being Cassandra….

Poor Cassandra was cursed by the Gods with the gift of making accurate prophecies that no one would believe.  The disasters she foresaw always came true, but she was helpless to stop people (and nations) from racing towards their doom.  The endings were always so terrible — and Cassandra was herself swept up in them — that she never even got the consolation of a good “I told you so.”

Ever since Obimbo appeared on the scene, we at Bookworm Room have been Cassandras.  We’ve vacillated between trying to decide whether Obama acts as he does through incompetence or malevolence, but we’ve always been clear in our own minds that his approach to the Presidency would be disastrous, both at home and abroad.  One of the things we (and by “we,” I mean my readers and I) predicted was that the Obamessiah, by creating a leadership vacuum in the space America used to fill, would release dangerous forces — just as the Soviet Union’s collapse unleashed long simmering, and quite deadly, regional rivalries in the Balkans.

The headlines now seem to bear out our worst predictions.  Just today, Danny Lemieux forwarded to me a Gateway Pundit post relaying the news that, because Saudi Arabia acted in Bahrain (yes, filling the American leadership vacuum), Iran is now rattling its sabers:

A senior Iranian legislator called on the foreign ministry to show firm reaction against deployment of Saudi military forces in Bahrain and take strong stances and measures in defense of the rights and independence of the Bahraini people.

“The foreign ministry should take a strong position against the dispatch of the Saudi forces to Bahrain” and defend the people’s move and rule over the country, Mostafa Kavakebian said in an open session of the parliament on Tuesday.

God forbid this comes to something, the regional line-up is going to be Israel and Saudi Arabia versus Iran.  What’s impossible for me to know — I simply don’t have the sechel (Yiddish:  smarts) about Middle Eastern allegiances and alliances — is where the other countries, aside from Syria and Lebanon, both already Iranian proxies, will fall when the whole thing blows.  They all hate Israel, but their degrees of loathing for Saudi Arabia and Iran are going to determine which colors they wear in this fight.

I could say “I told you so” but, Cassandra-like, I don’t have the heart to utter those words.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

UN Commission on the Status of Women

Everyone is commenting on the travesty that sees countries such as the Sudan and Iran on the UN Commission on the Status of Women.  It makes perfect sense to me.  If the commission had been named “Commission for the Protection of Women,” or “Commission for the Liberation of Women,” things might have been different, but but it’s obvious that the Sudan and Iran are perfectly clear about women’s “status”:  per Allah’s inviolable decree, they are at the bottom of the pecking order and need to remain there.  At long last, these nations sit on the perfect bureaucratic vehicle for pursuing their “feminist” agenda.

Israel, American Jews, American Christians and a whole bunch of other stuff too

I struggled for a few minutes to find a clever title for this post that would convey the volume of information I’m about to download from my brain, but realized I couldn’t.  A laundry list description will just have to do.

You see, last night, I had the pleasure of attending a Hanukkah party that the NorCal chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition hosted.  What wasn’t surprising was that conservative Jews attended the party.  What was surprising was that they came from all over the Bay Area. Apparently the opportunity to get together with fellow conservative Jews is a beguiling one, even if one has to travel a hundred miles or so to do it.

What was even more surprising, and was also tremendously heartening, was the number of non-Jews who attended out of a feeling of solidarity with Israel.  It was a reminder in the flesh of the fact that America’s tiny percentage of Jews, standing alone, cannot account for America’s (not the administration’s, but America’s) long-standing support for Israel.  That strong support comes about because America’s Christian population respects and believes in that small, democratic Jewish state, a nation surrounded by hostile forces inimical, not only to Israel, but to America as well.

Another draw for the party was the speaker:  syndicated columnist Joel Mowbray.  I’ve enjoyed Joel’s writing for years, and hoped that he’d be as delightful a speaker as he is a writer (some writers, sadly, do not translate well to the spoken word).  Happily, he exceeded my expectations.  He’s a charming speaker, offering everything you’d hope for:  pleasant voice and cadence, good sense of humor, a well-informed mind, and an easy verbal lucidity.

Joel spoke about the situation in Israel today and he was surprisingly optimistic.  He says that Israel is enjoying an extremely prosperous time right now, with a growing economy and a significant lack of terrorist violence.  The targeted killings in the West Bank and Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, and the Hezbollah War all served, temporarily at least, to quiet the terrorists and give Israelis a respite. Further, the setbacks to Iran’s nuclear program, especially Stuxnet, have given the Israelis (not to mention the Arab nations around them) some breathing room.

Israelis fully understand, though, that this is merely a respite, rather than a lasting peace.  A nuclear Iran is an impossible-to-contemplate game-changer, not just in the Middle East, but throughout the world.  The Israelis are planning accordingly, both defensively and offensively.  In other words, they are being smart, rather than burying their heads in the sand.

Most of the questions in the room expressed concern about Iran and about President Obama’s manifest hostility to and disdain for Israel.  Joel believes (and I agree) that Obama will not go too far in undercutting Israel should the bombs start to fly.  He also believes (and I agree) that Americans will support Israel.  The other countries will huff and puff, in a very ugly way, but they too will be happy should Israel succeed in destroying Iran’s nuclear pretensions.  As Joel pointed out, the situation in North Korea is a useful illustration of the impossible Hobson’s choice that arises when you have a rogue nation armed with nuclear weapons.

I asked Joel about American Jewish voting trends in the 2012 elections.  He said that, except for those implacably wed to liberalism, signs are good for a shift away from the Democratic party.  (To which I’ll add that we can only hope that American Jews finally start living up to their reputation for intelligence.)  It occurred to me that the recent attacks against Glenn Beck, charging him with antisemitism because he is going after George Soros, may be a preemptive attempt to keep the Jews on the Progressive reservation.

After Joel’s speech, I got the opportunity to talk to some old friends and some new ones.  One of my old friends asked me an excellent question:  What is it with the self-loathing Jews?  My response to him is that they are desperately trying to deflect attention from themselves.  “You say you hate Jews?  Well, so do I.  Heck, I hate them even more than you do.  So if you ever feel like attacking Jews, you can just ignore me.”

From that, we talked about how supportive American Christians are of Jews and Israel.  My friend opined, correctly I think, that part of the reason American Christians identify strongly with Jews is because American Christians are versed in both the Old and the New Testaments.  He pointed out that, in Europe, the Old Testament is virtually ignored.  Not only does that mean they hear only that part of the Bible hostile to Jews, it also deprives them of the ability to understand and appreciate the Jews’ rich history and their deep ties to the Holy Land.

Barbara Tuchman, incidentally, makes a similar point in her wonderful book, Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour, about the philosemitism that characterized the Jewish upper classes in the years leading to the Balfour declaration.  Because they were steeped in the Old Testament, the Brits, while they wouldn’t dream of dining with a Jew, thought it was a fine thing to reestablish a Jewish nation in the ancient homeland.  Nowadays, between oil and Leftism, it’s hard to imagine a Britain that doesn’t waiver between vicious and virulent antisemitism, but that wasn’t always the case.

It was truly a revitalizing evening.  Not only was Mowbray’s cautious optimism comforting, it was a very real pleasure to be in a room full of Jews and non-Jews alike, all of whom share a deep commitment to liberty and individual freedom, whether exercised in America or abroad.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Fighting the Iranian monster, not fearing the Iranian monster

When Ronald Reagan took on the Soviet Union, which he did through the simple tactic of announcing that he was taking on the Soviet Union, conventional wisdom, on both sides of the aisle was horrified.  How could he? After almost 40 years of Cold War, we’d reached a tenuous balance predicated on mutually assured destruction.  If nobody moved, nobody would fall off the tightrope, right?

This cynical détente wasn’t painless.  Even as we, in America, were reacting with frozen fear to the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union kept a cruel, iron grip on its Eastern European satellites, and fomented bloody mischief all over the world.

What the American political class couldn’t understand, but what history has proven to be true, is that, by the 1980s, the whole Soviet empire was a giant Potemkin village.  Certainly the Soviets had guns and bombs, and they used the most extreme intimidation tactics to control their people, but their power was hollow, and was based more on stage-craft than reality.

Soviet policies were economically destructive and, even in the Communist world, someone needs to pay the bills.  Once Reagan finally started pushing, not only was there no “there there” to push back, but the dissidents who had struggled for so many decades under Soviet rule suddenly got a second wind and were able to upend the Soviets from within.

That was the lesson of my lifetime.  The lesson of my parents lifetime was that, if someone had stood up to Hitler in 1938, instead of simply being paralyzed by the fear of what Hitler might do, WWII could almost certainly have been prevented.

Human nature is such that, as long as the status quo isn’t too awful, it’s a nice place to be.  Until the situation becomes entirely untenable, we will always cling to the devil we know, rather than face the devil we don’t.  Twice in our history — in the 1930s and during the Cold War — we in the West thought we had the devil under control.  The 1940s showed we were fools to believe that; the 1980s, under Reagan, showed that it was better to fight the monster than simply to fear the monster.

What we in fairly free countries always forget is that, when a country rules its citizens through fear and intimidation, it has, at best a very fragile hold on them.  As long as the dictator’s gun is pointing directly at the citizens’ backs, they will fight for their own government, no matter how cruel it is.  However, if these same downtrodden, abused, fearful citizens have even the suspicion that a bigger gun is actually pointed at their dictator, that will give them the courage to refuse to fight.  And without enslaved manpower at its behest, a dictatorship is nothing.

I’m waffling on here because of the situation with Iran.  Right now, Iran does not yet have a nuclear bomb.  It has only the potential of being nuclearized.  It’s a monster, but it’s not as terrible a monster as it’s capable of being.

And make no mistake, if it does get the bomb, Iran will not be like the Soviet Union, held in check by the knowledge of its own weaknesses, and by the self-serving pragmatism of its leadership class.  Instead, like the Nazis, Iran is an apocalyptic regime that’s wedded to its destiny of controlling or destroying the world.  There is no such thing in Iran as mutually assured destruction.  If you’re a fanatic Shia, win or lose, you’ve still won.  Either you have world domination, or you’ve brought about the apocalypse that is the predicate to the coming of that missing 12th Imam.   It’s a win/win.

The only way to deal with Iran is to weaken the government irrevocably before it gets a nuclear weapon.  Unfortunately, as in the 1930s and during the Cold War, the political class is paralyzed by the potential downsides of doing so.  The U.S. under an Iranian-sympathetic Obama is so paralyzed it does nothing at all.  Israel, too, is afraid.  It knows that America is no longer an ally, so anything it does is unilateral and, many believe, existentially dangerous to Israel and America.  The fears of Israel’s acting are all well-spelled out amongst the political classes at home and abroad:

Such an attack would, they say, do great damage to the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Tehran would counterattack, punishing “the Great Satan” (America) for the sins of “the Little Satan” (Israel). An Israeli strike could lead to the closing of the world’s oil passageway, the Strait of Hormuz; prompt Muslims throughout the world to rise up in outrage; and spark a Middle Eastern war that might drag in the United States. Barack Obama’s “New Beginning” with Muslims, such as it is, would be over the moment Israeli bunker-busting bombs hit.

An Israeli “preventive” attack, we are further told, couldn’t possibly stop the Islamic Republic from developing a nuke, and would actually make it more likely that the virulently anti-Zionist supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, would strike Israel with a nuclear weapon. It would also provoke Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps to deploy its terrorist assets against Israel and the United States. Hezbollah, the Islamic Revolution’s one true Arab child, would unleash all the missiles it has imported from Tehran and Damascus since 2006, the last time the Party of God and the Jewish state collided.

An Israeli preemptive strike unauthorized by Washington (and President Barack Obama is unlikely to authorize one) could also severely damage Israel’s standing with the American public, as well as America’s relations with Europe, since the “diplomacy first, diplomacy only” Europeans would go ballistic, demanding a more severe punishment of Israel than Washington could countenance. The Jewish state’s relations with the European Union—Israel’s major trading partner—could collapse. And, last but not least, an Israeli strike could fatally compromise the pro-democracy Green Movement in Iran, which is the only hope the West has for an end to the nuclear menace by means of regime change. This concern was expressed halfheartedly before the tumultuous Iranian elections of June 12, 2009, but it is now voiced with urgency by those who truly care about the Green Movement spawned by those elections and don’t want any American or Israeli action to harm it.

Reuel Marc Gerecht, who wrote the above words, also believes these fears are just as exaggerated as were the various worries that stopped the West from de-fanging Hitler before it was too late, or that prevented America from acting against the Soviet Union until millions of people had already died. None of the scenarios resulting from action are as extreme as the political class fears. Iran, like the Soviet Union, is a fundamentally weak country, one that controls a discontented citizenry through the worst kind of violent oppression. If Israel were to launch a targeted attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities, it’s more likely that the government will fall than that the apocalypse will come about.

My point of view is a bit more simplistic even than that. I believe that, if the world does nothing and Iran gets nuclear weapons, the apocalypse is a certainty. Iran will drop a nuclear bomb on Israel, and may spare some weaponry for other countries it hates, including Saudi Arabia. It will also exercise total control over a completely cowed Europe, which will be within the orbit of a nuclear Iran.

In other words, if the West continues on its current path of doing nothing, nuclear destruction is a certainty. However, if the West — and given Obama’s foreign policy, “the West” right now actually means Israel — does something, there’s a substantial likelihood (and Gerecht spells out the details of this likelihood), that Iran’s government will be destroyed. And yes, there’s still the possibility of Iran “going nuclear,” not by dropping a bomb, but by engaging in an all front war against Israel and America. That’s not necessarily a war Iran can win, however, and it’s still a better scenario than Iran with a nuclear bomb.

History has shown over and over and over again that the only thing that happens when you pretend you can get along with a monster is that the monster gets more monstrous.  At some point, one has to fight that monster, and it’s always easiest to see so early on in the game.

Women in Iran

If you have a strong stomach, read this horrific report about two women in Iran who were convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.  This is entirely in keeping with the point I made in my article at AT that totalitarian states view sex, not as a private matter, but as a matter of state control — hence the fact that Iran makes it a capital crime to violate rules about adultery and homosexuality.

Should I also mention here that Iran, with the Obama administration’s full approval, now serves on the U.N. Commission for Women’s Rights.  Apparently this means the theoretical right, if your lawyer begs enough, to be hanged, rather than stoned, for allegedly having had sex with a man other than ones husband.

When the policeman goes away — or what happens when a big nation retreats

In 1989, when it became clear that the former Soviet Union could no longer stop the spread of Democracy in the Eastern Bloc countries, many of us naively assumed that a new dawn of peace and harmony was about to arrive.  We envisioned lions and lambs frolicking together, all bedecked in dewy flowers.  What actually happened, of course, was that Central Europe exploded.  It turned out that one of the benefits of Soviet dominance was that the Soviets squashed traditional tribal rivalries that used to send those nations into periodic convulsions.  Without the strong arm of the Soviets, ethnic and religious warfare broke out with nice historic ferocity.

Although we didn’t like the former Soviet Union, which was a brutal totalitarian dictatorship, its fall did remind us that a superpower is often times useful to keep the peace.   You and I learned that lesson.  The Ivory Tower Obamites clearly did not.

Obama’s first act upon moving in to the White House was to retreat.  He retreated everywhere he could.  In the former Eastern Bloc, when he abandoned allies; in the Middle East, when he abandoned allies; and in Latin America, when he abandoned allies.  As if the years 1989 through 1994 had never happened, he blithely assumed that, with the withdrawal of a bullying superpower (because that, quite obviously, is how Obama views the nation he leads), the lion and lamb would frolic together, bedecked in dewy flowers.

What’s happening, of course, is precisely what happened when the Soviet Union retreated:  long simmering discords, held in check only by a super power’s presence, are coming to the fore.  Putin is bullying and killing left and right, both within his borders and in countries that were formerly part of the Russian republic, while Chavez is bullying and killing left and right within his own borders, and is working hard to destabilize democratic regimes within Latin America and to ally himself with Islamists and Communists outside of Latin America.

And then there’s Iran.  It got the green light from Obama to savage its own citizens and to build a bomb that it manifestly intends to use for two reasons:  (a) to destroy Israel; and (b) to become the Super Power in the Middle East.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are aware of what Iran’s goals are in the absence of the U.S.’s strong hand.  And as I long ago predicted, they are joining forces, according to the old dictum that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  They may hate and fear each other, but they hate and fear Iran more.  It remains to be seen whether Israel really is setting up a functional military base in Saudi Arabia, capable of strikes against Iran, or if this is just an elaborate feint, intended to scare Iran into retreat.  Either way, it’s interesting to see how nations are struggling to fill the vacuum America behind left when Obama unilaterally retreated.

Bookworm’s crystal ball reading about Saudi cooperation with Israel proves accurate

On May 7, 2009, when Obama’s anti-Israel animus was first making itself very apparent, I wrote about Saudi cooperation with Israel:

It will be interesting to see if Israel can withstand Obama’s pressure.  I’m reasonably optimistic that, with Netanyahu at the helm, Israel understands what Obama is doing and understands what will happen if he gets away with it, and will resist this threat.  I also think that, under the rubric of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” allegiances are going to start shifting in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, etc., may hate Israel, but they fear a nuclear Iran even more than they hate Israel.  My long-held suspicion since Obama’s election (which instantly meant Israel lost her only friend) is that Saudi Arabia, somehow or other, is going to give Israel cover for an attack against Iran.

On July 5, 2009, I made again read the tea leaves (some of them pretty explicit) regarding Saudi cooperation with Israel:

I’ve predicted in this blog that, if America continues to coddle Iran, Saudi Arabia will give Israel access to its air space, although it may well lie about that fact later.  Iran’s bluster was fine with the Arab Muslim nations as long as they thought the U.S. would ultimately slap down any Iranian pretensions to regional hegemony.  With that clearly not the case any more, the game is changing and the players are taking new (and, if I do say so myself, predictable) positions on the board:

The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Today’s news, from the London Times:

Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.

In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.

To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.

(Read the rest here.)

Barack Obama has made nice with the Iranians, he has watered down sanctions for the Iranians, and he has brow-breaten the Jews on the Iranians’ behalf.  Barack Obama cannot understand why, despite all the hugs and bows, on the one hand, and the standing behind the playground bully on the other hand, the Iranians persist in building nasty little nuclear bombs.  Obama probably also doesn’t understand that, by making this news public, the Saudis have probably struck the biggest blow yet to Iranian dreams of regional hegemony.

And (here I’m patting myself on the back), I saw this coming.  Obama didn’t.  I’m a suburban mom and part-time lawyer.  Obama is president of the United States.  Something is wrong with this picture.

The new Iranian world player — and the president who denies there’s a game afoot

From James Lewis’ must-read article today about the effect of Iran’s ICBM’s (which it has spread throughout the Middle East) and its future nuclear arsenal:

Mahmoud Ahmadijenad is the aggressive chess player behind all these missiles surrounding Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Iranian strategy has been to move its missile assets closer and closer to its enemies, including Israel, the American military in the Gulf and Iraq, and the Sunni Arab Gulf states. By 2015, Iran is predicted to have ICBMs that can reach Europe and the United States in less than a half-hour. On automatic standby, those missiles reduce the warning period to such short durations that no human being can make a rational decision. Automatic missiles require automatic defenses, but that also raises the danger of automatic escalation.

Israel is only the most obvious domino. The Tehran regime has had its eyes on Saudi oil and the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina for thirty years. There is no limit to their ambitions for conquest. That’s what they say in so many words.

The Europeans are getting really scared, as they should be. Sunni Arab nations have been anxious about Iranian imperialism for years. The Russians are playing it both ways, but they just put down a massive Islamist revolt in Chechnya with extreme violence, they recently suffered a major terror attack in Moscow, and they have fought Muslim invaders for more than five hundred years. The Russian Orthodox Church (of which Putin is supposed to be member), has been shaped by 1,300 years of struggle with Islam, ever since the Byzantine Empire. Moscow was historically the successor capital to Byzantium after the latter was destroyed by Muslim invaders. Russians have the fear of Muslim jihad in their genes.

Only Obama’s America isn’t worried. In fact, Obama has mentally flipped the source of danger, as Leftists always do, by blaming the victim. Israel has been told, in effect, that the United States will not help defend it unless it surrenders its defensive buffer area on the West Bank and the Golan Heights. That means that Israel’s civilian population will be within reach, not only of IRBMs and cruise missiles, but of more primitive rockets and mortars. Hamas and Hezb’allah, not to mention Iran and Syria, have never left any doubt of their intentions once they have the Israelis at their mercy.

Israel is only the first in line. As you can see, Iran is poised against everything and everybody. But because Israel is first in line, the Left controlling each of Iran’s targets (other than Saudi Arabia), is pretending that Israel is the only target.  This joke perfectly describes the Obama/Europe/Russia view:

Two men, while out hiking, are surprised by a very angry bear.  As they instinctively take off running, one man says, “Hey, we can’t outrun a bear!”  To which the other man replies, “I don’t need to outrun the bear.  I just need to outrun you.”

Outrunning the other victim is a sound strategy, I guess, if you know you won’t be seeing that bear anymore.  It’s a fool’s game, however, when the bear isn’t going to go away, and it’s starting to look awfully hungry again.

The difference between the Soviet Union and Iran

In his excellent post about the myriad flaws in the administration’s probable (and inchoate) containment plan for Iran, Max Boot makes a very important point, one I’ve somehow missed when reading others on the same subject.  He argues that Leftist nostalgic for the realpolitik of the Cold War, which saw us learning to live uneasily alongside a nuclear Soviet Union, can be replicated here:

Those policies worked against the Soviet Union, but no one should have any illusions that they provide a painless fix to the threat posed by Iran. In the first place, even with the Soviets, there were a few moments when nuclear war was a serious possibility. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? There is no guarantee that a replay with Iran — say a Lebanese Missile Crisis — would be resolved so peaceably. Moreover, even if we avoided World War III, containing the Soviets was hardly bloodless — it cost the lives of nearly a 100,000 American soldiers in Korea and Vietnam.

Well, there is that, but there’s also a more abstract problem, and that is the nature of the nuclear opponent.  The Soviet Union was made up of political ideologues who dearly wanted power in this world.  Power, after all, is a thing of the real world.  This meant that a certain pragmatism infused all of the Soviet efforts.  They were willing to play nuclear chicken with us, but the Soviets were not personally inclined to be the ones driving off the cliff.

How different are the Iranians.  They are not ideologues, they are zealots.  They’re orientation isn’t this world, it’s the next.  They are aiming for Armageddon.  Their particular world view demands a man-made conflagration as a prerequisite for the coming of the 12th Iman.  As far as they’re concerned, the game of chicken is won if everyone drives off the cliff.

This profound ideological difference between the Soviets and the Iranians is why containment is foolish at best and suicidal at worst.  The mutual deterrence strategy that characterized the Cold War worked because each side, ultimately, wanted to live.  The Soviets may not have cared about the bodies strewn in their paths, but they cared a great deal about their own power and about having a base over which to lord it.  Personal nuclear immolation didn’t factor into their plans.

How different are the Mullahs, who see their job on this earth as destructive — of others and of themselves.  So what if they start a nuclear war?  When everything is dead and gone, the truth faith will still hover over the dust.

Obama drops another bomb in his war against Israel

A lot of you read the same things I do, so maybe one of you knows where I can find an excellent opinion piece I read the other day urging the Obama administration to stop providing nuclear educations for Iranian engineers.  Iran, after all, has committed itself to our imminent destruction.

Joshapundit has now published the companion piece to that editorial, and it should make your hair stand on end.  The Obama administration is barring a significant group of Israel’s nuclear technicians from entering the U.S.:

NRG/Maariv (Hebrew link only, sorry) reported today that the Israeli government was stunned when every nuclear technician at Israel’s Dimona reactor who had submitted visa requests to visit the United States for ongoing university education in Physics, Chemistry and Nuclear Engineering had their visa applications summarily rejected, specifically because of their association with the Dimona reactor.

Please read the rest here and then ask yourself:  In the United States of Obama, who’s the enemy?

UPDATE:  Thanks to Gracchus for the link I was looking for.

Pharaoh, the Ten Plagues, and Iran

An antisemitic Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as the celebration of freedom (the world’s first and for a long time only successful slave revolt), and of justice and morality (the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the genocide of the Egyptian people.  What troubles him so much is the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague, culminating in the death of the first born.

I know that some people have tried to explain away this part of the story by saying that it is simply dramatic license, meant to increase the tension and danger of the Jew’s escape from Egypt.  After all, if it had been easy, it wouldn’t have been much of a story.  You know, Moses asks, “Hey, Pharaoh, can we go?” and Pharaoh answers “Sure.”  That’s not a narrative with much punch or heroism, and God’s involvement is minimal or, at least, unexciting.  It’s much more exciting to have an escalating series of plagues, with the audience on tenterhooks as to whether those pesky Jewish slaves will actually be able to make a break for it.

This reasoning is silly.  There’s a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, despite an increase in the burdens placed upon his people.  A blood filled Nile River may, at first, have seemed appalling, but the red receded and life went on.  Pharaoh still held together his government.  The same held true for each subsequent plague, whether lice or boils or wild animals or frogs, or whatever:  As long as Pharaoh could maintain his power base, he was okay with the incremental decimation visited upon those he ruled.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might worry about a populace starving and frightened, but that was irrelevant as long as that same populace continued to fear and worship him.  The people’s suffering, ultimately, was irrelevant to his goals.  It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years.  Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII.  For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over.  Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him.  Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed.  Only when the death toll became too high, and it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, did the war on the continent finally end.

The same held true for the Japanese.  Truman did not decide to drop the bomb just for the hell of it.  Even the fact that it would impress the Soviets was an insufficient reason for doing so.  What swayed Truman was the fact that his advisers told him (credibly as it turned out) that the Japanese Bushido culture would not allow Japan to surrender even when surrender had become the only reasonable option.  Instead, the military warned Truman that, although the Americans would inevitably win the war, if Truman didn’t take drastic action, victory would take another year, and cost up to 100,000 American lives and at least that many Japanese lives (including Japanese civilians).

Truman therefore had two choices:  another year of war, with the lost of 100,000 Americans and many more than 100,000 Japanese; or an immediate stop to the war, with no more American casualties and at least 100,000 Japanese casualties.  Put that way, the choice was a no-brainer.  The outcome would be the same for the Japanese, but Truman would save the lives of more than 100,000 Americans, British, Australians and Dutch.  (One of those Dutch, incidentally, was my Mom, who was on the verge of starving to death in a Japanese concentration camp.)  The Japanese high command was Pharaoh.  No amount of smaller plagues could stop the command from its chosen path.  Only a large plague would swiftly lead to the inevitable conclusion.

But what about the innocent lives lost as a result of Pharaoh’s, the Nazi’s, and the Japanese high command’s intransigence?  As the Japanese tale shows only too well, the innocents were always going to die, with the only question being whether they would die quickly or slowly.  The same holds true for the Germans, whom the Nazis had long ago designated as cannon fodder to support their intensely evil regime.  That’s the problem with an evil regime.  If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, whether or not you support it, you’re going to be cannon fodder.  Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned — as long as they can retain their power.

Iran is no different.  Although the people bleed and cry under the brutish regime, no plague, including rioting in the streets, has come along that is bad enough to break the back of that tyranny.  The people continue to die by inches, and the regime threatens everyone within bombing distance.

Liberals believe that it is immoral to impose serious consequences against the Iranian regime because there are innocents who will suffer from those consequences.  What these liberals fail to understand is that, when power doesn’t reside in the people, but resides, instead, in a single group that is insulated from all but the most terrible strikes, imposing small plagues against the country (freezing a few bank accounts, public reprimands, vague threats) is utterly useless.  These small plagues, no matter how much they affect the ordinary citizen, do not affect the decision-making process in which a tyrant engages.  The only thing that will move the tyrant is to destroy his power base.  Everything else is theater.

With that, I’d like to wish all of you a Happy Passover.  Whether Jewish or not, I hope that the Pesach celebration serves as an occasion for all of us to remember that, though the price may sometimes be high, both for slave and master, our ultimate goal as just and moral human beings must be freedom. So please join with me in saying, as all Jews do at this time of year, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

The common bonds between Iraniah Mullahs and the Democrats *UPDATED*

Several years ago, when Bush Derangement Syndrome was at its peak, I tackled the “he’s got his finger on the button and he’s going to blow up the world” meme that anti-war activists were so shrilly screaming.  I pointed out that there was no evidence whatsoever to indicate that George Bush was an apocalyptic person.  Indeed, every indication was that he was someone who fought reluctantly and defensively only — that is, he wanted to protect America from destruction at the hands of another.  That his information was wrong, that the threat from Iraq was something of a Potemkin threat, with Hussein blustering about his capabilities to elevate his profile, doesn’t take away from the fact that Bush engaged with Iraq, not to destroy Iraq, but because he believed America was at imminent risk from Iraq’s destructive capabilities.  (Incidentally, I believe that much of Iraq’s arsenal, whether it rose to the level of WMDs or not, is currently sitting comfortably in Syria, except for the bit that Israel destroyed in 2007.)

How different are the Mullahs.  Western pragmatists (including Leftists in deep denial about the nature of Apocalyptic Shia Islam) believe that Iran is merely bloviating for effect when it constantly insists that Israel will be reduced to ashes.  They believe that Iran is merely trying to gain regional stature by creating functional nuclear weapons.  After all, they say, Iran knows that, if it launches a nuclear bomb at Israel, two things will happen:  First, Israel’s last act before its own destruction will be to destroy Iran (assuming Israel has that long-range nuclear capability itself).  Second, Iran will become a pariah among nations for committing this genocidal act, which will lead to the downfall of the Mullahs and the end of their dreams.  As for this last, considering the rampant antisemitism on the rise around the world, considering the region in which Iran is located, and, right now, considering the man in the White House, I don’t believe that for a minute.  Iran will get her hand politely slapped at the UN, and the world will continue as usual, minus a few million Jews.

The last argument in the pragmatists’ quiver is that, even if Israel can’t destroy Iran, and even if Iran doesn’t become a pariah nation, Iran will not drop the bomb because, if she does, as many Muslims will die as will Jews.  After all, not only does Israel have a huge Arab population, it is surrounded by Muslims — in the West Bank, in Gaza, in Egypt, in Jordan, in Lebanon.  Nuclear bombs have fallout, and many millions of Muslims will die along with the hated Jews.

And that’s where the pragmatists show themselves to be ignoramuses.  They actually believe that the Mullahs care whether Muslims, Iranian or otherwise, die.  The Mullahs don’t.  Their Shia religion is an apocalyptic one, and one that doesn’t care whether man or God ignites the maelstrom that brings about the returning of the missing imam and the end of days.  In that, their apocalyptic fervor is quite different from the Christian belief in an apocalypse.  As I understand it, the latter predicts the Apocalypse’s ultimate arrival, but does not believe that man is the instrument that will bring it about.  God will, when he wills.

For the Mullahs, then, there’s a distinct virtue in simultaneously wiping God’s enemies (Jews and the hated State of Israel) off the earth and in simultaneously bringing about the end of days.  That the latter might involve the deaths of millions, including Iran’s own citizens, is completely irrelevant.  The goal matters, and the collateral damage just has to be accepted as part of that greater good.

I promised in the title of this post that I would compare Mullahs and Democrats.  I will or, rather, Andy McCarthy will explain that the Democrats, too, do not care about self-immolation if it will lead to their own apocalyptic vision, which is the destruction of America’s evil capitalist, individualist system, and the emergence, like a phoenix from the ashes, of a socialist promised land.  Any pragmatist Republican fantasies that Democrats will retreat in the face of failing poll numbers are just that — fantasies:

I think our side is analyzing this all wrong: Today’s Democrats are controlled by the radical Left, and it is more important to them to execute the permanent transformation of American society than it is to win the upcoming election cycles. They have already factored in losing in November — even losing big. For them, winning big now outweighs that. I think they’re right.

I hear Republicans getting giddy over the fact that “reconciliation,” if it comes to that, is a huge political loser. That’s the wrong way to look at it. The Democratic leadership has already internalized the inevitablility of taking its political lumps. That makes reconciliation truly scary. Since the Dems know they will have to ram this monstrosity through, they figure it might as well be as monstrous as they can get wavering Democrats to go along with. Clipping the leadership’s statist ambitions in order to peel off a few Republicans is not going to work. I’m glad Republicans have held firm, but let’s not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.

Nor is there any consolation to be had in a Republican sweep in November.  Even if the Republicans grab the majority in both houses, they will not be able to pass veto-proof bills undoing the reconciliation damage heading down the political path.  Obama, after all, is every bit as interested in transformation as the rest of the current crop of Democrats and will willingly sacrifice himself by vetoing bills aimed at undoing a government takeover of 1/6 of the American economy.

Democrats are political martyrs, willing to die for the cause.  This willingness explains Obama’s silly double-talk, where he urges compromise on the one hand and, on the other hand, says his way or the reconciliation highway.

And really, when you think about it, the martyrdom here is minimal.  No actual crucifixion, no arrows, no flayings, no nuclear annihilation.  Instead, you pack your bags, board a plane, and head off into the sunset of six figure speaking gigs, corporate jobs, and endless media adulation.  That is, until the whole system implodes and the true anarchy begins.

Cross-p0sted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  From Andy McCarthy’s savvy predictions to Nancy Pelosi’s small brain and loud mouth:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to back a major overhaul of U.S. health care even if it threatens their political careers, a call to arms that underscores the issue’s massive role in this election year.

Lawmakers sometimes must enact policies that, even if unpopular at the moment, will help the public, Pelosi said in an interview being broadcast Sunday the ABC News program “This Week.”
“We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress,” she said. “We’re here to do the job for the American people.”

[snip]

Her comments to ABC, in the interview released Sunday, seemed to acknowledge the widely held view that Democrats will lose House seats this fall — maybe a lot. They now control the chamber 255 to 178, with two vacancies. Pelosi stopped well short of suggesting Democrats could lose their majority, but she called on members of her party to make a bold move on health care with no prospects of GOP help.

“Time is up,” she said. “We really have to go forth.”

Her comments somewhat echoed those of President Obama, who said at the end of last week’s bipartisan health care summit that Congress should act on the issue and let voters render their verdicts. “That’s what elections are for,” he said.

The new deal in the Middle East

I have predicted several times that, in a choice between Iran and Israel, Middle Eastern nations will back Israel, not because they have developed any fondness for her, but because they recognize that, while Israel makes a great rhetorical scapegoat, Iran is the real threat.  I’ve also said that America’s weakness regarding Iran will hasten this process.  So far, my predictions are proving accurate.  I feel smug.

This is what oppression looks like

Through the Bush years, those in the grips of BDS likened him to Hitler based upon their contention that he was running the most oppressive administration ever in American history.  They made this claim despite the fact that, insofar as I know, no protestor was ever imprisoned merely for having protested.  (This is separate from protesters who might have been charged with vandalism, assault, etc.)

Two stories in today’s paper serve to remind us exactly what it looks like when you have a truly oppressive government.  In Uganda, a movement is afoot to make some homosexuality and homosexual acts a capital crime, with family and friends risking imprisonment if they don’t turn their loved one over to the government:

Proposed legislation would impose the death penalty for some gay Ugandans, and their family and friends could face up to seven years in jail if they fail to report them to authorities. Even landlords could be imprisoned for renting to homosexuals.

[snip]

The Ugandan legislation in its current form would mandate a death sentence for active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. “Serial offenders” also could face capital punishment, but the legislation does not define the term. Anyone convicted of a homosexual act faces life imprisonment.

Anyone who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage of acts of homosexuality” faces seven years in prison if convicted. Landlords who rent rooms or homes to homosexuals also could get seven years and anyone with “religious, political, economic or social authority” who fails to report anyone violating the act faces three years.

(Incidentally, if you read the whole AP story, you’ll see that it’s all the fault of American Christians that this legislation is on the table.)

And in Iran, of course, we see exactly what happens in a place that actually has a repressive administration, as opposed to a gentleman-like administration that people can safely attack:

Iran will “show no mercy” toward opposition protesters seen as threatening national security, a judiciary official said on Tuesday, a day after thousands of students staged anti-government rallies.

[snip]

“From now on, we will show no mercy toward anyone who acts against national security. They will be confronted firmly,” said prosecutor Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, according to the official IRNA news agency.

“Confronted firmly.” Translated, I assume that means beatings, electrical shocks to the genitals, starvation, and other forms of torture a bit more extreme than waterboarding, all of which is followed by either a kangaroo trial or just a swift gunshot to the back of the head.  That last, of course, assumes that you’re lucky enough to make it alive off the streets:

Iran trying to use Canada as a conduit for nuclear materials

I’m not sure why Canada, except for maybe the large Muslim population, the porous border, and the country’s politically correct inertia:

Iran is attempting to acquire clandestine shipments via Canada for its nuclear program, a senior customs official said Thursday.

Canadian customs officers have seized everything from centrifuge parts to programmable logic controllers being shipped to Iran through third countries, George Webb, head of the Canada Border Services Agency’s Counter Proliferation Section, told the National Post.

The increasing number of cases involves entrepreneurs and state-sponsored cells, Webb told the daily, in comments that were confirmed to AFP by a spokeswoman for CBSA.

Microchips identified as possible “navigational chips” from the United States, Denmark and Japan were marked as headed for the United Arab Emirates, but officials suspect the end destination was Iran, said the Canadian daily.

“With all of the UN sanctions, of course, now no one declares that the goods are going to Iran. They actually declare UAE, Dubai,” he said.

The last seizure occurred just last week.

In April, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police charged a Toronto man with attempting to export pressure transducers, which can be used in nuclear power plants but are also required to produce nuclear weapons, to Iran.

Read the rest here.

Hat tip:  Sadie

Only the guns and the cultural insanity make me take this seriously

Yes, they have guns, and yes, they come from an apocalyptic culture that believes it would be a good thing to see the world enveloped in flames.  But otherwise, these Iranian soldiers look pretty damn silly:

article-0-068A2F75000005DC-543_634x376

Of course, it’s probably good camo if you’re trying to infiltrate this:

sheep_herd_looking_at_camer

Otherwise, it’s hard to see the disguise’s utility.

For more info about the parade in Iran, go here.

The mullahs unleashed

I got this email from Steve Schippert:

It’s graphic. There is no nuance. And it’s why I am done debating otherwise intelligent friends on the aptness, nay brilliance, of our president’s near silence in condemnation of the Iranian regime which today executed its own Tienanmen Square in central Tehran.

http://threatswatch.org/rapidrecon/2009/06/unimaginable-horror-in-tehran/ [Be warned:  graphic photo at link.]

Bludgeoning women to death, who represent the greatest true threat to the regime. Herding bus loads of Iranians into the square and then unleashing hundreds of Basij upon them from their concealed staging area – a street-side mosque. With axes, rifles, hand guns, clubs and gas, they commenced the killing spree; throwing people off of pedestrian bridges, gang beating defenseless women, shooting into the crowd and wading into them with axes.

[snip]

Today, I am done entertaining excuses for moral cowardice. Done.

My tears earlier today have given way to rage. Rage at a regime so brutally murdering the unarmed and peaceful. Rage at those who make eloquent excuses for a man who hesitates “because we don’t know how this is going to turn out.”

Yes we do. Count them. Quietly. To yourself.

Even though Mousavi is as bad as Ahmadinejad, the fight in the streets still matters

Rob Miller, who blogs at JoshuaPundit, thought that, because I support the protesters in the Iranian streets, I would disagree with his American Thinker article pointing out that much of what’s going on in Iran at the higher echelons is a sham:

Are Mousavi and his followers in Iran an actual reform movement and a positive democratic change in Iran? The pictures of student demonstrators in Tehran being brutalized by the basij and Iranian security forces present a heart-rending spectacle. But there is very little evidence that the label of “democratic reform,” attached to Mousavi and many of his followers, is anything but a masquerade.

Mousavi is not some democracy-minded reformer. All candidates for elective office in Iran are handpicked and only allowed to run for office by the express permission of the Supreme Council of Guardians and its leader Ayatollah Khamenei. All candidates agree to follow orders. On issues that matter to the West — Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, threats of genocide aimed at Israel, interference in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for Islamist terrorism and any reasonable compromises with the West on these issues — the two candidates were virtually the same.

The contrary is true.  I think Rob is absolutely right.  But I still support the rioting citizens in Tehran.

While it’s true (as even Obama figured out, and was crude enough to state) that, at the upper echelons, this was all a charade from the first minute, that still doesn’t discount the genuine anti-totalitarian impulse aline in the streets.

What I think happened is that the people who for 30 years have been played for fools with the mullahs’ pretense of democracy suddenly had it.  Or, at least the people in the sophisticated urban areas had it.  They were willing to go through with phony elections, but they were not willing to have the phony elections than set aside.  That was adding insult to injury.

So while Mousavi is as bad as, if not worse than Ahmadinejad, I believe that the uprising on the streets is real, as is the tremendously brutal repression now being used to end that uprising.  Rob is also right that, even if the uprising ends badly for those citizens in the streets (as it seems likely to do), there’s still an upside:

Still, if Iran’s genuinely fascist, clerical regime isn’t overthrown from within, the whole sorry mess has had some value: the regime’s true character has been shown to the world. The election debacle might just give the Obama Administration second thoughts about acquiescing so readily to idea of a nuclear-armed Iran.

You should read Rob’s whole article. I agree with him on every point but one: I think the citizen uprising matters and deserves our support.