Kneeling Foreign Policy

Wednesday, January 20, AD 2016

The Obama administration, so desperate to preserve the Administration’s surrender deal on Iranian nukes, ignored Iranian mistreatment of American sailors who got lost and wandered into Iranian territorial waters last week.  Jerry Hendrix, a retired USN Captain, explains what this means at National Review Online:
Two thousand years ago, a Roman could wander the known world confident that he would be unmolested by local unruly elements, protected only by the statement “Civis romanus sum,” I am a Roman citizen. His confidence stemmed from a demonstrated assurance that any group that dared attack a Roman would trigger a response in the form of a Roman legion, which would deal swift and brutal justice. Juxtapose this image of a previous world-spanning hegemon with the image of ten American Sailors kneeling on the deck of their own vessel with their hands clasped together over their heads. It is an image of indignity and failure that is accompanied by the smell of rotting power.

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President Obama entered office riding a wave that rejected American exceptionalism and aggressive military operations. After eight years in Afghanistan and Iraq, many on the left felt that it was the United States itself, with its aggressive, us-versus-them foreign policies, that presented the strongest threat to world peace, and the Obama foreign policy, from its earliest bows to foreign leaders to its “reset” with Russia and opening of Iran and Cuba, has been all about presenting a more modest America. The seriously flawed negotiations with Iran to cease the development of nuclear weapons is just the latest and perhaps most egregious example of the effort to “normalize” the United States’ role in the world.
This is where we find ourselves today, kneeling on the world’s stage, with our hands clasped over our heads, all the while trying to convince ourselves that this new position demonstrates our strength and earns respect. Civis americanus sum, I am an American citizen. Let the molesting begin.

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18 Responses to Kneeling Foreign Policy

  • I would suggest that “giving” billions to our self-acknowledged executioner (Iran/radical Islam) is merely another form of paying “Tribute Money”. There are many ways to kneel in compliance with the wishes of your conqueror.

  • Is that what happened? “Got lost and wandered”?

  • President Nina-Burleigh’s-Knee-Pads. Truth be told, Obama’s attitudes are bog standard among metropolitan bourgeois in verbalizing occupations. The problem is that people in such occupations influence policy and the broad mass of Democratic voters put up with them in cud chewing indifference.

    got lost and wandered into Iranian territorial waters last week.

    Non ci credo. Self-identified Navy veterans who have appeared in fora I participate in insist that the portfolio of technologies and Navy practice make that claim unbelievable. I would not put it past this Administration to concoct a cover story to avoid having to respond to a kidnapping of our sailors by the Iranian military. The whole fan dance with Iran is treason in a functional sense (if not according to the legal term-of-art). The sheer accumulation of malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance engaged in by this Administration has been so severe that it would be perfectly appropriate to make Obama’s retirement as uncomfortable as possible in justified retaliation.

  • It is possible that they got lost while the Iranians were jamming their GPS and other tech. However, I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Iranians plucked them out of international waters, a clear act of war. If we had a media worth anything they would find out what happened from the released sailors.

  • “War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery.” Orwell
    .

    Unbelievable as this is: the cover-up is worse than the Navy fiasco and the massive slap to the US’s prestige. This is why the tangos don’t think twice about massacring Americans.
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    This is world-class dishonesty and stupidity. The narcissistic nihilists ruining America show their utter contempt for we the people and the nation with their asinine lies. To them, we serfs have no right to know what happened; or what they are doing to us and to our country
    .

  • Trust is a horrible trait to lose, for it then causes one to see conspiracy and deceit in all things untrustworthy. I wouldn’t put it past the Obama’s and Kerry’s to have helped manufacture all this.

  • If we had a media worth anything they would find out what happened from the released sailors.

    Oh, I’m sure the entire incident has been classified and that they’re under orders not to disclose anything.

  • It does seem incredibly unlikely that they “got lost.”
    The secret-not-secret suggestion that they were spying is also improbable– unless they were “spying” on someone Iran isn’t supposed to be helping, but was.
    Russia has been doing a lot of pissing contest stuff; guess Iran decided to join.

  • If we had a media worth anything they would find out what happened from the released sailors.

    Some of them could just ask the administration officials to which they are married. The rest of them are devoting their time to whatever is this year’s equivalent of Sarah Palin’s e-mails and Mitt Romney’s long-haired high-school classmates.

  • ‘Cud chewing indifference’ is the stock in trade for headline and news casters due to upper on to upper mgmt., each with its own flyswatter. This week’s pick is that today is going to feel ‘more colder’, the ongoing channel changer is the use ‘if’ in place of ‘whether’.

    Life and death? – vehicle pile-ups and house fires with video.

  • Patricia.

    Agreed on the non essential news networks.

    Jan. 22nd blurb; “and today a handful of bigots marched in Washington to harass and discourage the right to women’s health.”

    That’s IF they even mention the 42nd Right To Life March…
    The evil will be overcome.
    As the media prepares its slants and spins, I’m reminded of the hymn of old. The one that fits perfectly for the souls braving the cold……”Oh when the Saints…come marching in….oh when the Saints come marching in …”

  • Can you imagine another 4 years of this nightmare under Sanders or Hillary?

  • The Why and How of the Navy-Iran incident probably is classified.
    My conspiracy theory: A manufactured situation for propaganda purposes which gave Kerry a chance to shine because of his “personal relationship” with Zarif and superb negotiating skills. It also proved that good things are happening because of the Nuclear Deal with Iran. Something for the Obama legacy and for Kerry to look presidential in case Hilary tanks in the polls or goes to jail.
    In my mind there is nothing those two could do to rehabilitate themselves.

  • Yes. Quite easily.

  • “Can you imagine…..”

    The rise of a loudmouth billionaire is due to the fact that MANY can’t imagine another four years of larceny on a grand scale.

    Remember ACORN! “I’ve voted five times fur dat black president.”

    ENOUGH!

  • Not with a bang but a whimper.

  • Actually, I was considering the parallels in executive response between the Ben-Ghazi affair and with the (aptly-named) Farsi Island capture; if the latter is not actually a complicated, set-up (hat-tip to CAM) to make Obama, Kerry, and the new-found relationship with the Iranians look good, then:

    1. In both situations, a robust anti-US military operation catches the Great Leader and his Secretary of State flat-footed.
    2. In both situations, The Great Leader avoids any involvement, and lets the Secretary of State skillfully manage the matter.
    3. In both situations, American lives are exposed to imminent and serious threat of capture or far worse. Our enemies are allowed to do as they please with our personnel.
    4. Both in Ben-Ghazi and Farsi Island, there is absolutely no US military response, but complete abandonment of our personnel to foreign powers, and we look like a paper-tiger.
    5. In both, the respective Secretaries of State pretend to pretensious management of matters but in fact look like total baboons.
    6. After each incident, utterly unbelievable stories are floated about how others are to blame for heated rhetoric, but the Great Leader’s administration handled matters with self-acclaimed aplomb.
    7. And, again, in both, the Great Leader emerges without a scratch.

    In fact, where was the Great Leader, in both situations? Sleeping again, in prep for his next fund-raiser?

  • Steve Phoenix.

    Exceptional synopsis.

Dishonor and War

Wednesday, July 15, AD 2015

obamaneville

 

Austin Bay at Strategy Page explains why the Iranian Arms Deal increases the likelihood of nuclear war in the Middle East:

 

 

An Iranian nuclear arms deal?

Arms controllers hailed the post-World War 1 Washington Naval Arms Treaty as the diplomatic instrument to prevent another peace-destroying naval arms race. Yet it came to pass that war erupted, with the warships of signatories Britain, France and the U.S. battling treaty partners Italy and Japan.

Counting battleships is several quanta easier than verifying Iranian compliance with the Obama administration’s dreadful deal. Russia’s Vladimir Putin claims he helped write it. Given its murk and iffiness, I believe him. Vlad’s Crimea and Ukraine crimes demonstrate how little respect he has for deals that seek to curb the desires of authoritarian killers.

Here’s the Real Deal Part 1: It begins with a broken promise. Once upon a time, President Barack Obama vowed to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons quest. Promise made, promise broken. Well, he promised Americans, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

Obama warned Syria’s dictator that using chemical weapons was a “red line” — employing deadly gas incurs punitive strikes. Yet Syria killed 1,500 civilians with nerve gas, and nothing happened. Iran noticed Obama’s failure to enforce. Syria is Tehran’s client. Iran supports it financially. Iran’s Lebanese Hezbollah proxies reinforce it militarily.

Real Deal Part 2: Iran will cheat. It always does. The ayatollahs will build nuclear bombs and deploy ballistic missiles capable of targeting London. The ayatollahs need, oh, two-dozen nukes, initially. A dozen will destroy Israel and selected targets on the Arabian Peninsula side of the Persian Gulf. The other warheads will top missiles aimed at London and Paris.

Real Deal Part 3: The deal will ignite a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race. Saudi Arabia will seek nukes to deter Iran. U.S.-delivered NATO nukes ostensibly defend Turkey from Iranian attack, but in the Age of Obama Red Lines, what constitutes an ironclad promise? Obama’s words are perishable products; Ankara may acquire its own deterrent.

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11 Responses to Dishonor and War

  • What gets you is that these odious creatures will be able to run the clock out on most of their crimes.

    If we have someone of sense in the White House, this mess will be repudiated in 18 months. A sensible occupant of the White House would have been gaming the best way to destroy their facilities, not manufacturing idiot ‘agreements’ for public relations purposes.

    Get even. The moment he leaves, a law should go into effect which denies him Secret Service protection, denies him any honors like a ‘presidential library’, denies him any publicly funded office staff, and denies him any unfunded pension. Another law should go into effect providing for profound financial penalties for philanthropic corporations (including all higher education institutions) for extending appearance fees to out of state residents which exceed the result of a formula which has as it’s arguments the number of f/t employees of the institution in question and compensation per worker in the economy.

  • Here’s the real “man made global warming” threat.

  • You are being uncharitable and deeply insulting Neville Chamberlain. This is a historic mistake which will have a globally tragic price.

  • God used Israel’s enemy Assyria to chastise Israel for its sexual immorality and murder.
    .
    God used Judah’s enemy Babylon to chastise Judah for its sexual immoralty and murder.
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    Why wouldn’t God who never changes use Iran to chastise America for its sexual immorality and murder?
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    Why wouldn’t God have an ultimate sense of irony and allow America’s own machinations to be its punishment?

  • Likely, Chamberlain was an honorable man and loved his country. He hugely was wrong about Hitler. You cannot conclude the same about Obama or any of his imbecilic worshippers.

  • And the bishops’ conference grants its “imprimatur” so to speak to ever more “dishonor and war.” You can’t make this up.

    http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-109.cfm

    July 14, 2015

    WASHINGTON—The “momentous agreement” reached between the United States and its partners with Iran over Iran’s nuclear program is a “significant achievement” that Congress should support, said the bishop who chairs the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In a July 14 letter to Congress, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, wrote: “It is no small achievement that the United States, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, China, Germany and France have reached this agreement with Iran.”

    The deal aims to curb Iran’s development of nuclear weapons while allowing the country to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

    “The United States and its international partners have taken a remarkable step with Iran in reaching this agreement,” wrote Bishop Cantú on behalf of the committee. “We encourage Congress to support these efforts to build bridges that foster peace and greater understanding. In the words of Pope Francis, may the negotiated framework ‘be a definitive step toward a more security and fraternal world,’ a goal we all share.”

  • In the words of Pope Francis, may the negotiated framework ‘be a definitive step toward a more security and fraternal world,’ a goal we all share.”

    Well, I think we all know what “Pop” Gustafson would have thought about that, now.

  • Donald,

    As an aside, I wanted to get your opinion on this article, which seems peevish to me:

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/07/16/3-reasons-to-stop-thanking-me-for-my-military-service/

  • Jonathan, after having read that piece I heartily agree with Mr. Coerr that some veterans are jerks.

  • I tend to agree as well, Donald.

  • Folks,
    .
    A rap video from an Iranian supporting “peaceful nuclear energy.” English subtitles are provided. Enjoy (if you can).
    .
    https://youtu.be/VywTiTVMHts

Munich 2015

Wednesday, April 8, AD 2015

 

 

Austin Bay at Strategy Page gives us the details of the ludicrous Iran-Obama deal:

At the moment, it isn’t certain that Iran has agreed to comply with anything other than conducting more talks later this year. Yet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, quote, “This is the best deal we could get.”

Yes, he said that, even though this “best deal” quickly lifts the stiff economic sanctions imposed on Iran. Kerry’s best deal looks like payoff.

To blunt criticism from Democrats as well as Republicans, Obama has claimed that “this deal is not based on trust; it’s based on unprecedented verification.”

Really? So, Mr. President, what is the coercive mechanism to enforce nuclear research and weapons development verification? The answer, so far: crickets. The “understanding” definitely fails to address Iranian missiles (nuclear weapon delivery systems).

 

Obama’s “historic understanding” has the sad woof and warp of so many of his administration’s domestic and international policy efforts: glowing, inspirational, dramatic rhetoric disguising episodic, hodge-podge, ill-considered, poorly planned and often hastily organized operations. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” is a domestic example. When Obamacare arrived, many Americans learned they could not keep their preferred doctor. Obama said Americans would eventually love the health care law. A substantial majority despises the legislative monstrosity. Now a foreign policy example: Obama’s promise to “reset” U.S.-Russia relations. For Vladimir Putin, Obama’s reset was a setup. Putin’s Russia is now a neo-Fascist expansionary nuclear power slowing carving and digesting Ukraine. Obama’s “red line” threat to punish Syria’s Assad regime if it used chemical weapons against civilians, and his failure to do so when the Syrians used nerve gas, is another example.

Obama has an enormous trust problem; the man does not keep his word. But his obedient, word-mongering national media corps consistently fails to call him on this grand malfeasance.

So what can be verified regarding Iran? Here is a verifiable fact: Iran already possesses long-range ballistic missiles.

Here is another verifiable fact: more talks, sometime, somewhere in the future, has been Tehran’s modus operandi for two decades. Kerry’s “best deal” is an ayatollah three-fer. It gives them money. It gives them more time to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. It also gives them diplomatic political cover to continue dithering, courtesy of Barack Obama and John Kerry.

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5 Responses to Munich 2015

  • Obama’s historic understanding continued; Increasing national debt 1 Trillion dollars a year while in office is NOT making “America financially stronger.” He belittles G.W. Bush yet compared to George, Obama is the delinquent degenerate. btw…When Iran was in their streets trying to fight for democracy where was numbn#¢¡? He sided with the mullah’s…in other words his heart is in the WRONG place almost ALL of the time. This faux American President is not stupid. He is a serpent.
    He will destroy as best as he can, these once United States and our relationships abroad with long time allies. Israel as an example. Let the fumigation begin, starting in the White House. Then let’s make damn sure not to ruin the work by installing another cockroach!

  • Philip,

    Truth. Obama and 52% of the electorate are the most dangerous threats to our freedom, peace and prosperity. Dick Cheney has it 100% correct. Obama is taking down America. No worries, though. We know that we live in the Vale of Tears. Our true home is with Jesus Christ in Heaven.

  • Dick, that’s like saying the sky is blue.
    Then again, it was you that your GOP elites enlisted to do the hit on Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz so playing the good guy doesn’t quite work with you.

  • Quoting Dick Cheney doesn’t mean one endorses all about him.

    The next President will have a mess of unprecedented size on his hands. Short of war with Iran, I think the only way to stop them is to take out the real power there – the mullahs who actually run the government.

  • T. Shaw.
    Your right on all accounts!
    True home!! It’s worth all the struggle and disappointments in this land to be welcomed home by the King of Kings.
    Bad kings no more..no more!

We Are Being Sold Out

Tuesday, March 3, AD 2015

“You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.”

Winston Churchill

 

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells Congress today that President Obama is selling us out in regard to the proposed treaty with Iran which will inevitably lead to a nuclear armed Iran.

Robert Zubrin at National Review Online gives us the details:

 

Iranian centrifuges now have a capacity of 5 SWU per year each. The regime is working on upgrading this to 24 SWU each, a figure that would match American centrifuge performance. Even if we assume that they will remain unable to reach that goal, the 6,500 centrifuges permitted by the treaty will still give Iran a capacity of 32,500 SWU per year. Examining the table above, we see that while producing 17 bombs from 0.7-percent-enriched natural uranium would require a total of about 75,000 SWU, if the first step of enrichment to 4 percent has already been accomplished, then only 17,000 SWU would be required. Thus, after allowing creation of a large stockpile of 4 percent U235, the 32,500-SWU-per-year enrichment capability that the Obama treaty will grant Iran would allow it to transform that stockpile into first-class nuclear bombs at a rate of 32 per year. We should note that the current cost of natural uranium is about $100 per kilogram, while the cost of one SWU is about $140. Therefore, if all Iran wanted was 4-percent-enriched reactor fuel, it could buy the 100,000 kilograms of natural uranium for $10 million, and have France or Russia enrich it for them at a cost of another $8 million, for a total price that is insignificant compared with the cost that current international sanctions are imposing on the country. It should therefore be clear that there is only one reason Iran needs the enrichment capability it is insisting on: so it can quickly turn reactor-grade material into a powerful nuclear arsenal.
In morally saner times, Obama would be currently facing impeachment and trial, with his own party leading the charge.
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38 Responses to We Are Being Sold Out

  • Americans may not care for the Iranian regime, but unlike other nations in the region, Israel included, they are a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which they have internationally recognized rights regarding the development and use of nuclear power. Why would any nation sign such a treaty in the future, if its rights under it are not recognized? As a signatory to the treaty they cannot develop a nuclear weapon. So far, there is no credible intelligence that they are building a weapon. The treaty allows them to enrich uranium, even to fairly high levels.

    The US can deter Iran from any threat they may pose to our own national security. Israel will see to their own defense; we should do likewise with respect to our own. Our interests are not identical though on occasion they do overlap.

  • “As a signatory to the treaty they cannot develop a nuclear weapon.”

    Rubbish on stilts. Anyone who thinks that will deter the Iranian regime from gaining nuclear weapons has a charming faith in paper which is completely unwarranted by the history of the Iranian regime and the ambitions of the despots who rule it. Not to mention the fact that they have already violated that treaty:

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2011-11-08/Iran-nuclear-weapons-treaty/51125744/1

  • Chris C passes forth the same kind of propaganda that I see on a certain liberal progressive web site that happens (ironically enough) to be pro-nuclear power. The Koran permits – even exhorts – its Muslim adherents to lie to non-Muslims, so why should we believe anything that a radical Shiite Muslim regime says, especially a regime which kidnapped and held hostage hundreds of our own citizens back under liberal progressive Jimmy Carter.
    .
    I would also like to know why nothing is being said about Iran’s IR-40 heavy water reactor design to convert fertile U-238 into fissile Pu-239. Do we place the same belief in Iran’s claims that it won’t breed weapons grade Pu-239 as we place in Iran’s claims that it won’t enrich weapons grade U-235? Really? Exactly how gullible does this godless man of sin and iniquity in the White House assume we are?
    .
    All I have to say is this: Benjamin Netenyahu is a real man and a real leader, and Barack Hussein Obama is a despicable, contemptible traitor, but no one will do anything about it because he is the first black president. How racist is that! Oh for a Colonel Allen West in charge!
    .
    God save America because we cannot.

  • Is there anything we can do to stop this? I know of nothing if Osama (misspelled on purpose) chooses to complete the negotiations on his own. He has said repeatedly that he will act without congressional approval–and has done so many times. The only real solution I see to this matter is for Israel to take on Iran militarily.

  • No coincidence, of course, that Bibi received a bust of Churchill as a gift from the members of Congress who listened to his speech.

    I suspect Netanyahu’s address could be one of the most historically significant speeches by a head of state since Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech. The circumstances are roughly similar: Churchill warned of rising Soviet power, Bibi of rising radical Muslim power.

  • Paul, does the “certain liberal progressive website” have anything by Pat Buchanan on it? If not you’ll have to look elsewhere for the sources of my “propaganda”. Yes the Koran says what you said it does. So why is the US neck deep in a relationship; business, political, military with the Saudis? They read the Koran there don’t they? Maybe it’s time we stopped being played for suckers by other nations who would be happy to drag us into war for their own benefit, and certainly not ours. I supported the Iraq War in 2003. It hasn’t worked out well and we went in with bad intelligence. I don’t want to see a repeat.

    And Don, Iran should be watched carefully and not trusted, but the best means to do so short of war, is a regime of regular inspections and consultation, imperfect though it might be. For that the NPT is the only game in town. Unless you want to go to war now? In which case I don’t expect Russia to sit it out. What in the name of US National Security and Just War principles would justify such an engagement at this point in time?

    And on a side note, the day when the US, and the West for that matter, had any moral credibility to “police the world” is long gone, assuming it there ever was one. A nation advocating as a matter of liberty and justice, for abortion, contraception, and “gay marriage”, and pressuring other nations to go along or else, has no moral standing to set the world right.

  • “Paul, does the “certain liberal progressive website” have anything by Pat Buchanan on it?”

    When it comes to the Israel and Iran, Buchanan is always on the side of Iran.

    , “imperfect though it might be.”

    You can translate imperfect to useless when it comes to the Iranian nuke program.

    “had any moral credibility to “police the world” ”

    Similar arguments were made by those who believed that isolationism was the perfect response to the Third Reich. Actually Buchanan, your go to guy on Iran, still makes that argument:

    http://www.amazon.com/Churchill-Hitler-The-Unnecessary-War/dp/0307405168

    Without a world policeman the wolves of world feed on the defenseless, which is precisely what the Iranian regime intends, and our worthless administration is saying, “Bon apetite!”

  • I don’t think Buchanan would deny being anti-Israel.
    What is it that Iran says about destroying Israel and the US that Chris doesn’t understand?
    Terrorist with a nuclear device supplied by Iran will visit Tel Aviv, New York, Washington, Paris, London…….all on the same day. Let’s noyt get stuck on stupid people.

  • Yes the Koran says what you said it does. So why is the US neck deep in a relationship; business, political, military with the Saudis?

    Because the House of Saud is a status-quo regional power which has not undertaken a mobilization against any other power since 1924, who have no ambitions to cadge territory or erect client states, and whose foreign policy is governed by bland material self-interest (bar a pronounced antagonism to Communism). It’s just business with them in their dealings with just about everyone. C’mon Chris C., this isn’t that difficult.

  • I can’t speak for Mr. Buchanan, but I would guess he’s about as “anti-Israel” as the Vatican, which has on occasion criticized Israeli policies, in particular its treatment of those under continued military occupation. What Iran says is not what ultimately must determine what the US, acting primarily in its own interests and not that of foreign nations who can well defend themselves, should actually do. The US faced down far graver threats from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, without going to war. Yet we’re beating the war drums now? And Shawn if you’re mortified by what Iran says, and presumably think that warrants war preparations, what do you propose we do about North Korea whose bellicosity makes the Iranians look tame by comparison? The US has ample means of deterrence, and as long as it is mindful first and foremost of its own national interest and national security, it has little to fear unless it panics its way into a war it cannot win. Or do you think a bombing campaign with or without ground troops would have the slightest chance of bringing a lasting peace to the region? Have we learned nothing from our last righteous endeavor? War has taken a horrific toll on the Christians of the Middle-East. Should we add to their already grave burdens? Their plight is never taken into account. It should be front and center, not an afterthought.

  • Maybe it’s time we stopped being played for suckers by other nations who would be happy to drag us into war for their own benefit, and certainly not ours.

    Why not take Philip Giraldi’s poisonous claptrap somewhere else?

  • The US faced down far graver threats from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, without going to war. Yet we’re beating the war drums now?
    ==
    Because the Soviet regime was governed by a different sort of calculus and could be readily deterred.

    Nuclear weapons draw heat, which is why the vast majority of foreign countries are uninterested in acquiring them. The possession of them does nothing toward the achievement of their political goals. Pakistan was motivated to build a nuclear weapon because they’ve had a series of cage matches with India (also a nuclear power) which ended badly for them. What’s Iran’s object (not shared by any other Near Eastern state)?

  • Or do you think a bombing campaign with or without ground troops would have the slightest chance of bringing a lasting peace to the region?

    The object is to destroy production facilities. Quit playing games.

  • The US faced down far graver threats from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, without going to war.

    In that instance, it helped our cause that the secular humanists ideologues we confronted had a purely this-worldly, material understanding of the immanenton which they sought to eschatize.

    Unlike the Mullahs, whom view Mutually Assured Destruction as a win-win.

  • “Unlike the Mullah’s whom view Mutually Assured Destruction as a win-win.” -Ernst Schreiber

    A real and frightening truth Mr. Schreiber.

    Wasn’t long ago, 2008 I believe, that the old leader was welcoming all chaos as to open the way of the Mahdi.

  • Saudi Arabia is a very reliable ally against Iran.
    Iran, whose own oil reserves are dwindling, would dearly like to get her hands on the oil-rich Shiite areas of Saudi Arabia, along with those of the Caspian. Don’t forget, a quarter of Iranians are ethnic Azeris.
    What makes Iran particularly dangerous is her rapidly declining birth rate. The government knows that, if it is ever to have a chance of creating a new Persian empire, it must act now, whilst it still has enough men of military age to do so.

  • No doubt Israel has reasons to be very concerned. The whole middle-East is in a ferment at a time of global uncertainties.
    What then is the solution?
    http://www.popeleo13.com/pope/2015/03/02/category-archive-message-board-270-the-time-for-the-jewish-nation-1/

  • After years of Obama regime unilateral, strategic disarmament Israel is better prepared to defend itself than is the United States.

    You know Net hit them where it hurts. The MSM liars (always presenting lies as news) and late-night hyenas (turning lies into farce) were out of control.

  • Saudi Arabia is a very reliable ally against Iran in the exact same sense that Soviet Russia was a very reliable ally against Nazi Germany.

  • “Salvation is from the Jews”. Bibi said, we are “Mishpocha”, and if we neglect our first “family” we do so at our peril.

  • I always get a chuckle out of T Shaw’s descriptions: “late night hyenas.” How aptly does that describe the talking heads on late night TV. I would of course include in their company jackals, baboons, warthogs, and broods of vipers (a phrase John the Baptist and Jesus both used), all different varieties of the same loathsome creature which we know as the liberal progressive Democrat journalist.

  • Saudi Arabia is a very reliable ally against Iran in the exact same sense that Soviet Russia was a very reliable ally against Nazi Germany.

    Rubbish. The House of Saud routed its Hashemite rivals in 1924 and assumed control of the Hijaz as well as Nejd. It’s boundaries have been fixed since. then. The only neighboring state it has injured in the last 90 years has been the ghastly Ba’athist menace in Iraq, and in that circumstance, they were a crucial but secondary participant. The disagreeable features of the regime are organic l products of the local society and culture. The regime’s imperialist and revanchist disposition is nil. They’re nothing like Soviet Russia. They do have no permanent friends, just permanent interests.

  • Shiites, Wahabbists, whatever strand of Sunni Islam ISIS practices, it’s like watching the redshirts, blackshirts and brownshirts street brawl over whose strand of socialism is authentic as far as I’m concerned.

    And the Saudis use mosques much the same way that the Soviets used the Comintern.

  • No state has done more to spread Islamic radicalism worldwide than Saudi Arabia. They haven’t invaded their neighbors but so what? The Iranians haven’t either. The Saudis, by aiding in the establishment of radical Mosques have done more to threaten the US than Iran by far.
    And Art, you failed to address my first comment about the Saudis and the Koran, though you responded as if you did. Paul had pointed out that the Iranians can’t be trusted since the Koran permits them to mislead the infidel.(that’s us). The Saudis can play us for fools as well, and justify it by the same passages in the Koran, such as when they pretend to be an ally while supporting radical Islam. And I agree Art, the object of bombing is to destroy production facilities. So what? It’s an act of war. Feel free to walk us through how that will further the only legitimate and proper object of war; that of securing a lasting and just peace, and enhancing US security in the process.

  • [T]he object of bombing is to destroy production facilities. So what? It’s an act of war. Feel free to walk us through how that will further the only legitimate and proper object of war; that of securing a lasting and just peace, and enhancing US security in the process.

    Curtis LeMay might have some worthwhile opinions on how to best go about it. But yeah, I’m sure you’re right. Blowing up production facilities, while necessary, won’t be sufficient.

  • The Saudis, by aiding in the establishment of radical Mosques have done more to threaten the US than Iran by far

    Rubbish. The only threat generator there would be through the conduit of youths who leave the occident to join paramilitaries abroad, and only that portion thereof which could be attributed to Saudi promotion of the Wahhabi school of interpretation. The Saudi government is not financing foreign paramilitaries beyond the forces arrayed against Soviet Russia and the protection money they paid the PLO.
    ==
    And Art, you failed to address my first comment about the Saudis and the Koran, though you responded as if you did. Paul had pointed out that the Iranians can’t be trusted since the Koran permits them to mislead the infidel
    ==
    I’m not responsible for what Mr. Primavera says. Take your complaints to him. I’m observing the behavior and history of the two governments in question. One’s a self-interested minor irritant with which we’ve done business for nearly nine decades, one’s a lunatic asylum.

  • So what? It’s an act of war. Feel free to walk us through how that will further the only legitimate and proper object of war; that of securing a lasting and just peace, and enhancing US security in the process.

    There is no such thing as ‘a lasting and just peace’. There is merely the equilibrium of the times. Some equilibria are more stable than others. Some more just than others. The point of destroying the production facilities is to take away their capacity to harm others in five and six figure job lots. Quit playing dumb.

  • I have no complaint to make to Paul, and I already addressed the matter with him, but you chose to quote my comment to him but ignored the context, which was if Iran can’t be trusted because the Koran allows them to lie why do we cozy up to the Saudis whose Koran allows them the same privilege? And Art,do you think Augustine et al who developed the Just War theory were playing dumb as well? Maybe they know a bit more than you and I do about how to bring a Christian perspective to issues of war and peace. Back to the Saudis you have heard that 18 of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi( not Iranian) didn’t you? And are you really unconcerned about Saudi influence in the propagation of radical Islam, including here in the US? This might help you get a handle on it a bit better.http://dttj.blogspot.com/2010/08/saudi-arabias-funding-of-american.html

  • chris c wrote, “Maybe they know a bit more than you and I do about how to bring a Christian perspective to issues of war and peace…”
    I would put more faith in Cardinal Richelieu and Père Joseph. They had both practical experience and pressing responsibility to mould their views.

  • Question, chirs: Were the 9/11 guys working for the Saudi government as part of a larger Saudi foreign policy scheme, do you know?

  • And are you really unconcerned about Saudi influence in the propagation of radical Islam, including here in the US? This might help you get a handle on it a bit better

    Chris, you propagate something, someone has to be listening and receptive. We’ve had since the 2d World War several bureau of the United States government whose work it was to promote an American viewpoint abroad. They operate radio services, run libraries, run exchange programs, have a speakers’ bureau etc. Currently, I think its all subsumed under the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the public diplomacy apparat of the State department. How’s that been working out for us? During the late Cold War, it was astonishing the degree to which the idle public diplomacy of 3d world countries followed a variant of the Soviet line. You want to attribute that to the effect of Radio Moscow? The Soviets may have been the megahertz champion of the world, but their radio programming was comparatively crude and their listenership a small fraction of that of the BBC World Service. These sorts of things may have a good effect (or a bad effect), but they’re a weak vector in influencing the evolution of culture.

    I would refer you to Alastair Horne’s A Savage War of Peace on the Algerian insurrection (1954-62). The association of ulema in Algeria is mentioned once in passing. The Arab world was awash in revanchist political action in 1954, a great deal of it violent. Some of it was praetorianist, some fascist, some variant communist. All of it was evil. What’s happened since is that the revanchism has remained but the idiom has changed. The Wahhabi school of interpretation has had political hegemony in the Nejd since the early 19th century and the House of Saud has been a force of interest since the advent of the Arabian oil industry more than 70 years ago. Violent political Islam dates only from 1978, and the source was not the Wahhabi sect, but the Shi’ite clergy in Iran, who had seized control of the government. This should suggest to you that there’s a limit to the power of ideas per se to motivate action or to breach the compartments people maintain in cogitating about one part of life and another.
    ==
    Back to the Saudis you have heard that 18 of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi( not Iranian) didn’t you? –

    Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudis and four were Egyptian. They were also bachelors, had long histories of genteel unemployment, and derived from the educated bourgeois minority.

  • I cannot forecast to you the action of the Obama Administration. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. Is Valery Jarrett that key? Now I only know what I read “in the papers” and that isn’t much but to me she seems the dog that didn’t bark. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the sound of her voice at all. And now we hear of the former Secretary of State using a private server for all of her official business. Did the President know of this? Taken together with the Prime Minister of Israel taking the desperate expedient of going around the President to directly address Congress, these curious affairs should arouse the attention of all citizens. Be gentle as doves but wise as serpents.

  • Art, you are certainly correct; the number was 15 NOT 18. Thanks for the info on the book. Regarding violent political Islam dating only from 1978, the Armenian genocide under the Ottomans might well qualify.

    As to WK, I think the involvement of the Saudi leadership in 9/11 is a matter of some dispute. I have read there are claims that they were involved to some degree, but I’m not sure where the truth lies on that point.

  • chris c wrote, “Regarding violent political Islam dating only from 1978, the Armenian genocide under the Ottomans might well qualify.”
    No, the Armenian genocide was the result of Turkish nationalism, not radical Islam (which the Young Turks detested)

  • Michael though generally the genocide dates from 1915 it was preceded by massacres in 1894-1895, on the order of 100-300,000, and in 1909 by Ottoman forces as part of a purge against the Young Turks. Many Armenians include these events as occurring as part of the genocide, In any event it was directly against Armenian Christians as Christians by a movement that was not indifferent to Islam, although they wanted to bring it into modern times. Turkish nationalism was a movement within Islam, not apart or outside of it, and it saw Christians as expendable. Maybe it’s not equatable with todays Jihadist movement, but I think it still qualifies broadly speaking as an Islamic political movement that had grave repercussion for those in the way because of their Armenian nationality and Christian faith.

  • chris c

    Turkish nationalism was a rejection of Islam, as traditionally understood.

    It rejected the ummah and the caliphate in favour of national independence. It rejected Arab influence (the adoption of the roman alphabet and Roman law, replacing sharia with the Swiss Civil Code, the German Commercial code and the Italian Penal Code, the ban on wearing the fez and the burkah)

    It was no more (and no less) an Islamic movement, than the French Revolution and the Civil Constitution of the Clergy was a Catholic movement.

  • “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.” ―Mehmed Talat
    “The Turkish elements here referred to were shortsighted, fanatical, and yet sincere in their belief. The public encouraged them, and they had the general approval behind them. They were numerous and strong.” ―Mehmed Talat

    While it is true that the wartime events occurred under the aegis of the Young Turks whose motivations were primarily nationalistic, it cannot be said that radical Islamic sentiments were not essential to the implementation of the genocide.

    Under the “Bloody Sultan” Abdul Hamid II, Christians were cut down to the cry of “Allahu Akbar”. At mid-day, the butchers knelt down and said their prayers and jumped up to resume their bloody work.
    There had been previous murderous assaults against the Armenian people, who had lived two thousand years in their ancient homeland before the Seljuk Turks conquered it. Sultan Abdul Hamid II was responsible for the massacre of about 200,000 Armenians between 1894 and 1896. Behind the opaque veil of mere statistics there transpired vicious scene after vicious scene of unspeakable horror: “soldiers” falling upon them to “outrage” many to death and slaughtering others with sword and bayonet; children set in line to see how many could be killed with a single shot.
    Throughout these years, sadistic brutality raged against the Christian Armenian population of Turkey. Rarely, a fleeting opportunity of survival was offered when the troopers would crash into an occupied church and demand the congregation to deny Christ, and embrace Mohammed. When no one answered, the troops fell upon them, and the butchery commenced until martyr’s blood flowed from beneath the doors of the church.
    In 1909, another paroxysm of persecution occurred in Adana. Over four-thousand dwellings were torched, and thirty-thousand Armenians slain. These nightmares were but practice for the carefully planned genocide the Turkish government carried out behind the obscuring fog of the “Great War”.
    The government decided that the existence of a Christian minority impeded and threatened the destiny and integrity of an expanding Turkish Empire. On November 14, 1914, to marshal the Musselmen for the task ahead, the sheikh-al-Islam, leader of all the Sunnis, proclaimed a jihad against “infidels and enemies of the faith”.
    The annihilation of one and a half million Armenians commenced on April 24, 1914. On that day, throughout the Armenian villages of Turkey, there appeared a town crier, accompanied by a boy beating a drum, announcing that in so many days they must be prepared to relocate, as part of the war effort, and to assemble at the town square.
    Once assembled, the men were marched out of town, and shot. The defenseless women and children were marched out to a worse fate. As they stretched out upon the roads away from their ancient homes, there lay in wait newly uniformed legions of released-for-the-purpose criminals eager to fall upon them with license to kill.
    One sympathetic witness, Armin T. Wegner, described the doomed deportees arrayed along the road as “like a weeping hedge that begs and screams, and from which rise a thousand pleading hands; we go by, our hearts full of shame.” Most were tortured to death. The thousands drowned by the boatload in the Black Sea suffered less.
    My comments are largely drawn from Peter Balakian’s “Burning Tigris” which has been criticized, although not credibly in my view, for being overly lurid.
    The leaders French Revolution do not appear to have used Catholicism as a motivator of say the Sans Culottes or other elements to obtain their goals. The Church was indeed actively persecuted and Catholics massacred in the Vendee and generally throughout France. Christianity is not easily bent to achieve evil ends. Her concept is of God being Love, not merely power and will. Accordingly, I find Obama’s attempt to compare Jihad and Crusade lame, uninformed or worse.

  • PS: “Who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?” – Adolph Hitler, eight days before Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

Syria and Iraq

Sunday, June 15, AD 2014

 

 

More from Strategy Page on the situation in Iraq and how it relates to the winding down of the revolt in Syria:

 

Currently ISIL is trying to gain complete control over eastern Syria and western Iraq. That is proving difficult because of continued resistance in Syria by government forces and Kurds as well as some rival Islamic terrorist groups (mainly al Nusra). In Iraq the Shia controlled government sent so many of their best units to Anbar that the security forces in Mosul collapsed and handed ISIL an unexpected victory. That appears to be backfiring because now the Shia government of Iraq has given in to years of Kurd demands that the autonomous Kurds of northern Iraq be allowed to take control of Mosul and Kirkuk and nearby oil fields. At this point the Iraqi government doesn’t have much choice. The Kurds will have to fight hard for Mosul and Kirkuk, but the Kurdish army (the Peshmerga) have been defeating Sunni Islamic terrorists for a long time. In this fight, the ISIL is the underdog. ISIL can afford to give up Mosul and Kirkuk because these are not historically Bedouin lands but rather Kurdish. The Kurds will be fighting harder for them. Ultimately ISIL wants to control their own homeland to the south. Once that is done ISIL believes their Holy Warriors can gain control of all of Syria and Iraq and then the world. This has never worked, in large part because of the extreme brutality these Holy Warriors use against their opponents. ISIL has been deliberately murdering Shia, Christian and Kurdish civilians in an effort to terrorize their groups into surrender. That is not working and rarely has in the last few centuries. All these groups have powerful foreign allies who work hard to help their kinsmen fight back.   

Despite these problems ISIL is real and dangerous. There’s a reason for that. Islamic terrorists have long been depicted in Arab culture as noble and pure warriors fighting to protect Islam. This is partly religion and partly culture but the reality is no Islamic radicals have ever managed to do any permanent good for the Moslem world. This truth gets realized and accepted eventually and then forgotten again. For example after the 2008 defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, and the 90 percent decline in al Qaeda attacks there it was believed that Islamic terrorism was on the ropes once more and many Arabs were visibly relieved. But the Arab Spring changed all that. Terrorist attacks worldwide, most of them by Moslem religious radicals, more than doubled from 7,200 in 2009 to 18,500 in 2013.    

There have been many outbreaks of Islamic terrorism in the past but his time around the chief cause was state sponsored Islamic terrorism by Pakistan and a recent boost by the Arab Spring uprisings and continued financial support by wealthy Arabs in the Persian Gulf and fanatic young men throughout Arabia. The Pakistani policy of covertly supporting and encouraging Islamic terrorist groups began in the late 1970s and after September 11, 2001 there Islamic terrorists were increasingly out of Pakistani control. Thus Pakistan found itself in the position of continuing to support Islamic terrorists who attacked India and Afghanistan while fighting a growing number of disaffected terrorist groups at home that had declared war on Pakistan. The result was a huge spike in Islamic terrorist violence. For the Arab Spring countries it meant prolonged unrest and more Islamic terrorist deaths. Worse, it isn’t over, especially in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Algeria. Over 200,000 have died so far in the Arab Spring countries, and millions more wounded, imprisoned or driven from their homes.

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23 Responses to Syria and Iraq

  • Iran has deep-seated problems of its own. Because of its collapsing birth-rate (from a TFR of 7 in the 1980s to 1.6 today), by 2050 about one-third of its population will consist of the dependent elderly, as compared to about one-twelfth today, while its oil exports, which currently account for about one-fifth of per capita GDP will have virtually dried up by 2020. Indeed, Iran is already a net importer of refined products.

    Moreover, there are unresolved disputes over Caspian oil with both Russia and Azerbaijan (and a large part of the population of Northern Iran is Azeri.)

    It would not be surprising, if Iran sought a solution to this impending disaster by trying to gain control of the oil-fields in the majority Shia areas of Iraq and Western Arabia. Any Iranian government will, in any event, be obliged to present itself as the champions of Shia Islam. Iran is a confessional state, with religion the bond of unity between the different races that compose it. Persians make up only 60-65% of the population.

    If that is the plan, they had better do so before their dwindling financial resources and the decline in the number of men of military age renders it impossible.

  • Why is the Iranian birthrate in such decline? Is that not unusual for an Islamic country?

  • All Islamic countries have experienced a birth rate decline, but Iran has fallen off a cliff in regard to birth rate:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/10554866/Iran-attempts-to-reverse-falling-birth-rate.html

  • Throughout the Muslim world, the lowest rates of adult literacy correspond to the highest population growth rate.
    Even allowing for other factors, like urbanization, altered patterns of living, of housing, of the human relation with space and land, of marketing, employment, and consumption, and the very structure of family and social hierarchy, UN figures for the 34 largest Muslim countries suggest literacy alone accounts for 58% of the variation in birth-rates.
    What happened over three generations in the Maghreb has taken place over a single generation in Iran.
    In the Middle East, Israel presents a curious contrast with its neighbours. Although it has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, its Jewish population has one of the highest fertility rates (2.8%) and one of the lowest suicide rates (5-6 per 100,000) of any industrialised country. Amongst Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish settlers, mostly from Muslim countries, the birth-rate is even higher.

  • Thank you, Donald. So the Iranian govt encouraged birth control and look what happened!

  • The liberal main stream media rarely reports the real story–on anything–they are too busy pushing their agenda and manipulating public opinion to complete any real investigative, accurate reporting.

    A lot of the “Christian” media follow suit in the same manner–as has been discussed regularly on this blog. I was sickened to hear a fluffy, feel good, give each other big hugs & smiles to make the world a better place, kumbaya report on K-Love radio this past week re: Iran. Apparently some poor Iranian government approved artist has painted several government approved murals in government approved spots. K-Love radio hosts just thought that was the sweetest thing & commented that the artist was making the world a more beautiful place. I could have vomited while listening to the report. Mean while, as these murals are being painted, Iranian citizens are being imprisoned, raped, tortured, murdered, & denied every basic God given freedom known to man. At least we may take comfort that there is a pretty mural for Iranians to view on their way to being decapitated. *sarcasm*

    If it were not for alternative media & the internet, I would never know what was really going on in the world.

  • I would dearly love to help the Kurds in anyway possible. I know at one point Samaritan’s purse was assisting Kurdish widows & orphans.

    I have no doubt that the Kurds will fight harder for their home land than any intruders. I know I would fight with every ounce of strength in me for my family and homeland.

    Does anyone know if America still keeps a no fly zone over the Kurdish region of Iraq as we did in order to save their lives after Sadam Hussein gassed an entire town of Kurds to death. I will never forget the raw video I saw of the aftermath of that ethnic cleansing episode.

  • 2 of my very best friends in college were young Syrian Christians from their Capitol city. They lived under the dictatorship of Assad. They could only discuss their faith inside the walls of their church, their mail came to them opened (all of it,) they were followed by a government agent every where they went in public, told stories of people simply disappearing to never be seen again after an accusation of that individual criticizing the Syrian government, even in college in a foreign land my friends, women, were in fear of the government and still shuddered when thinking about having to wear Muslim head garb in their schools. Their father was working in a refrigeration plant in Saudi Arabia at the time I was in college with them. The women showed me pictures of the Christians worshipping in secret in Saudi Arabia. They said if the Saudis ever found out that their father was a Christian that he would be given 3 days to leave the country or be decapitated. Being young and niave in the ways of dictatorships at the time, I did not fully believe that the Saudis would kill another nation’s citizens for being a Christian. Then not long after hearing the threat against their father, I saw pictures of 3 Christian men who were indeed found out by the Saudis & were decapitated. The information re: those martyrdoms was received through an organization that reports on the underground/persecuted church world wide. Apparently the men who were martyred were either unable to get out of Saudi Arabia in the allotted time or simply were never given the chance.

  • Donald & MPS: To my knowledge, Islam strictly teaches against abortion as such. I have had something explained to me about Islam requiring a type of respect for unborn children. Do you know if Iran has instituted use of any form of abortion since they have introduced birth control?

  • Ms Barbara were your Syrian friends followed because they were Christians or because they were going to college and thus likely to get some new-fangled ideas about freedom? One has to distinguish between the two. At the end of the day, it is for the people there to make their adjustments. There is no need to spell out, in light of what is happening to the Iraqi Shiites right now, what the fate of the Syrian Christians would be, had the same ‘freedom fighters’ overcome the Syrian Army. No thanks surely to the US and other heralds of freedom.

  • Ivan,

    As I understand it, at that time which was in the mid to late 1980s, it was strictly because my friends were of a Christian faith thatctheyvreceived such intimidation & harrassment at the hands of the Syrian dictatorship. My friends were members of an evangelical Alliance church in the capitol of Syria. All of their church members & famiky mrmbers were followed by Syrian government agents everywhere they went in public in Syria, all mail going to households in which church members lived was opened & read by government agents, their homes & cars were bugged, they were only able to practice and/or discuss their faith inside of the walls of the physical Alliance Church, & they were not even allowed to invite someone to their church while in Syria. My understanding is that the Syrian dictator allowed the Christians to have a public presence only as a political tool to keep the majority Muslim faith from over throwing his government. The dictator was a member of a minority Muslim group & needed the Christisns to help him maintain power. Otherwise the Alliance Churches would not have been allowed to exist within Syria at the given time. My understanding was that Assad was doing all he could to keep both the majority Muslims & the minority Christians in his country under his thumb for the purposes of maintaining control & the power of his dictatorship. These young women attended a Christian college with me in Arkansas for 2 years after leaving Syria & making a treck through Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to see their family and then coming to the East coast of the US for a few months of training in the English language. Only then did they start college–far away from the dictator’s goons & his influence.

  • Barbara Gordon asked, “Do you know if Iran has instituted use of any form of abortion since they have introduced birth control? “

    No. The Shia jurists are unanimous that abortion is haram (forbidden). If a child is aborted, the diya (blood money) is payable to the heir, those heirs who connived at the abortion being excluded, which is the ordinary rule for homicide. Similarly, if a pregnant woman is injured and suffers a miscarriage, diya is payable to the child’s heirs, including the mother.

    An exception is permitted to preserve the life of the mother, relying on Surah Baqarah, 2:233: “A mother should not be made to suffer because of her child.”

  • Paul W Primavera wrote, “So the Iranian govt encouraged birth control and look what happened!”

    Of course the government policies had some impact, but comparative figures from 34 other Muslim majority countries suggest that, at most, they exacerbated a trend. As I noted above, increased literacy rates alone appear to account for 58% of the decline in the birth-rate.

    It is noticeable that, when women from Muslim countries move to a country with a vigorously pro-natalist policy, like France, their total fertility rate rises, in comparison to that in their home countries, but, in most cases, only marginally.

    Turkey 3.21 against 2.16 an increase of 1.05
    Algeria 2.57 against 1.78 an increase of 0.79
    Tunisia 2.90 against 2.73 an increase of 0.17
    Morocco 2.97 against 3.28 a decrease of 0.31

    This suggests the impact of government policies is limited, one way or the other

  • Ms Barbara, it is possible that it met with the approval of the other Christians. There was little love lost between the Evangelicals who are largely perceived to be beneficiaries of American largesse and even their agents, and the other Christians. When I was in India the Roman Catholic Church went so far as to deny Evangelical converts extreme unction and burial on church grounds, which makes sense, but was lost on the dying who needed the comfort.

  • President Taliban got in two rounds of golf (if you call what he does “golf”) this weekend. PS: Hasn’t the US and et al aided and abetted Syrian anti-government terrorists? Now the guys (we aided) are undoing the mission for which over 4,000 US GI’s died?

    Killing prisoners stiffens the enemy who quickly learns that surrender is not an option.

    That being said, What is not to like? Muslims killing muslims; and fewer spawns of filthy pagans – sounds like a win-win situation.

    In conclusion, all this proves that Washington, DC is not the only place on the planet with one, collective lump of $#!+ for brains.

  • T Shaw

    Unfortunately, about 10% of the population of Syria is Christian and the only power likely to protect them from the Jihadists is the Assad régime. They include several high-ranking officials.

    As in Iraq, the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party has always been a secular party and, unlike many countries in the region, under President Assad and his father, Hafez al-Assad, the government has allowed Christians to allows churches to preach, teach, evangelize, publish religious materials, and build churches and Christians have enjoyed access to education and employment.

  • So, that is the reason Obama backs the terrorists fighting to overthrow Assad.

  • T Shaw

    I fancy Obama’s real reason is that there has long been a strategic alliance between Syria under the Assads, father and son and Iran.

    Ideologically, they are poles apart; a secular Arab nationalist regime on the one hand and a pan-Islamic, Persian Islamic republic on the other. No one in the upper échelons of either government cares twopence about that. They share a common hatred for Israel and Syria has always allowed Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, to operate freely in its territory and given it a measure of logistical and intelligence support.

    By the by, they also shared a common hatred for Saddam Hussein, despite his being a secular Arab nationalist and, like the Assads, a Ba’athist. In line with his secularist beliefs, Saddam, too, favoured the Christian minority in Iraq and his Foreign Minister and deputy Premier, Tariq Aziz was an Assyrian Chaldean (Catholic) Christian.

    Syria destabilised poses no existential threat to Israel and weakens Hezbollah in the process.

  • Ivan,

    Let me point out that I entered the Catholic Church 2 Easters ago.

    I, having spent time in Central American countries as a missionary for Protestant churches in the 1990s, am very aware of the type of conflicts you describe between Catholics and Evangelicals taking place around the world although I was not aware that there was any presence of the Catholic Church within the borders of Syria at the time I was in college with my dear Syrian friends. There may have been a public Catholic presence or underground Catholic presence in Syria in the ’90s, I just basically was a foreigner to the Catholic Church in the ’90s and was told by my Syrian friends that the Alliance Church of which they were members was the only church allowed to exist at that time. My Syrian friends may have meant that the Alliance Church was the only Protestant Church–I simply am not sure on that point. As my friends could not discuss Christianity outside of their church building, they would not have been able to talk with other Christian faiths unless someone of that separate Christian faith attended an Alliance church service with my friends local congregation.

    There obviously is a Catholic presence in Syria now as I have read in alternative media re: the persecution taking place against Catholics in Syria.

    I, personally as a Protestant Evangelical, visited a very isolated mountain village near the Southern border of Mexico in the late 1990s under the explicit threat of physical harm from local Catholics who did not want a Protestant presence in their village. We literally risked our lives to drive to the mountain village and back.

    I, my sister, & her husband visited an isolated Honduran mountain village with Protestant Evangelical ministers to take needed medical supplies and carry the first ever medical doctor to the Catholics & few Protestants in the villages. Protestant missionaries did not care what the religious faith of those needing medical care might be. All were treated until we ran out of supplies. Again, the trips themselves were a real risk of our lives. It was common knowledge that our vehicle breaking down on one of such trips, apart from a miracle of God, meant we would never be seen alive again–if our body was found at all. My sister, her husband who is a Protestant minister, another male Protestant missionary, & an American medical doctor had to lock themselves into a sealed building in one such village over night with a rifle for protection. Without taking such extreme steps for saftey, they were not certain that they would be alive to see the morning sun rise due to threats from local Catholics–even after having provided free medical care to an entire Catholic Mountain village.

    A Protestant Evangelical medical doctor with whom I worked in Sula, Honduras had bullets, rocks, & other items s.a. Rotten food shot/thrown through the windows of the church building while he was preaching to some locals. After a few years ministry to these Catholics through a hospital the doctor built in this area, this same Protestant Evangelical doctor/preacher had delivered so many Catholic babies, sewn up so many machete fight wounds, & performed so many surgeries on the local population that when the doctor himself became seriously ill–the Catholic Church in the area said a mass for this Protestant Evangelical doctor/preacher to get well. Lol

    The Catholic powers that existed at that time in Mexico had become so concerned about the influence of the Protestant Evangelical schools that attempts were being made to outlaw their very existence.

    I look back on such risks of our lives now and know that it must have seemed crazy and foolish for us to risk our lives in such manners to some. My only explanation is that I & the others were willing to do what we felt God was calling us to do at the time to meet the needs of those to whom we felt He had sent us and trust Him for the outcome. I, literally, almost died three times during a simple 4 month visit to Honduras. I have permanent physical repercussions from my time spent in Central America. And I would do it all over again should God ask it of me. I & my sister were taught growing up that the safest place to be is in God’s will–hence our willingness to go to other continents & take such risks.

    I saw many literal, physical miracles take place during my time in Central America.

    The governing bodies of most Protestant Evangelical individual churches & entire denominations are built and operate entirely on the same Democratic Republican form of government that our founders created for us here in the US–so where ever most Protestant Evangelicals are–the American philosophy of one man/one vote, God given human rights, limited government, and self government are being taught. There are also often American federally funded feeding/health programs being administered through ministries of such churches. In more than one sense, most Evangelical Protestants can be viewed as “American agents.”

  • Barbara Gordon

    The largest Christian church in Syria is the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, followed by the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

    Then there is the Assyrian Church of the East, which separated from the rest of Christendom in protest at the Council of Ephesus in 431. They are sometimes referred to as Nestorians, but the Common Christological Declaration of 1994, subscribed by the Pope and Catholicos-Patriarch suggests this may have been more about formulae than actual belief. There is also the Chaldean Catholic Church, a branch of the Assyrians in union with Rome.

    There is also the Oriental Syriac Orthodox Church, which separated from the rest of Christendom in protest at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 and who are traditionally considered Monophysites (the opposite heresy to the Nestorians). Again, this may have been more a question of words, than of belief and the Pope and the Oriental Patriarch signed common declarations in 1984. They are in communion with the Armenians and the Copts.

    All these churches and their Patriarchs enjoyed good relation with the Ba’athist Arab Socialist Party, both in Syria, under the Assads and under Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

    They all view Protestantism, in any form, as an alien and Western thing, but especially those not ruled by a hierarch, who takes responsibility for his subordinates’ actions.

  • MPS: Great info about the Catholic Church in Syria. Until about 1.5 yrs ago during RICA classes & reading a book, Catholicism For Dummies (LOL,) I did not understand the connection between the Greek Orthodox churches & the Catholic Church. I know I still don’t understand the connections fully!

    I sure had no idea about such connections as a college sophomore at a Fundamentalist Baptist College where the focus was on learning our own history/theology/philosophy, etc. My Protestant Syrian friends whom I referenced had not the least interest in Catholicism or closely related faiths to my knowledge.

    In one of your posts you referenced the ability of Protestants under Assad having the ability to proselytize. In the mid to late 1980s, my Protestant Syrian friends had no such freedoms in Damascus. It was strictly forbidden to discuss their faith outside of the walls of their church–they could not even invite someone to their church nor sing Christian songs outside the walls of their church. Once they were inside of their church, they could speak freely about their faith to those present I still remember the overwhelming joy the youngest sister expressed in my presence when she figured out that she could sing songs about her faith at full volume anywhere she wished here in Arkansas. She literally experienced some type of spiritual revival in her life, and against all denominational rules/regs one of our Baptist pastors re-baptized her–at her request. I was wondering what you meant exactly when you said that Syrian Protestants could proselytize freely and if you were referencing a given period of time?

    It is a misrepresentation of Protestant churches/denominations to think that there does not exist a hierarchy among them where people, in the church hiearchy, are seen as not having responsibility for those beneath them in a hierarchy. For instance, the Assembly of God has a presbytery that has local pastors, state, regional, & then national levels. When a Southern Baptist Convention pastor resigns, his entire staff of ministers including the ministers of music & education resign as well with the local church making the determination which staff ministers who resigned will stay if any wish to do so. There are independent (meaning not associated with a given formal association, cooperative, or denominational religious hierarchy) churches called “Bible” churches which are lead completely by “elders” who function as minsters and a ministerial board for the church with full responsibility for every facet of church life.

    I wish some of the hierarchy in the Catholic Church took their leadership capacity more seriously and practically dealt with things like pro-abortion politicians here in America.

    Also, I am wondering what you mean when you say that these Greek Orthodox and other Catholicly affiliated/connected churches have a good relationship with the ruling dictatorial powers in Syria. Do such faiths have the freedoms we have here in America regarding their faith & practice? Are such churches licensed/approved by the dictatorial government?

  • MPS: Also, I can see from a Syrian Catholic frame of reference WHY they would view Protestant churches as a weird Western thing. To them it IS a weird Western thing that occur from its beginning completely outside their frame of reference, geographical region, experience, or ability to influence.

  • Barbara Gordon

    There is a very long tradition, going back at least to Ottoman times, to regard religious communities as semi-autonomous and to let them follow their own laws in such things as marriage, inheritance, settling disputes between their own members. The Patriarch of Constantinople was the Rum Millet Bashi or Ethnarch, the civil, as well as the religious head of the Greek Orthodox throughout the Empire. Thus, when the Greek War of Independence broke out in 1821, the Patriarch was taken from his church – it was Easter Sunday – and hanged from the archway of his Phanar palace.

    The fact that religion and ethnicity tend to go together in the Middle East helped to reinforce this attitude. Syrians who speak Syriac, rather than Arabic, also tend to be Christians and whole villages tend to be of one faith. Even in towns, they gather in their own quarters Protestants do not fit this pattern.

    Now, in theory, Syria is a secular state: the government neither recognises, salaries or subsidises any religion – in theory. In practice, religious leaders are important channels of information, communicating the desires and grievances of their communities to government and communicating government policies back to their communities; they are, in effect, an informal but important part of the administration of a country that is a complex network of communal and tribal groups. Hafez al-Assad was brilliant at this, his son, not so much.

Did Joe Sleep Through the War With Iran?

Thursday, October 18, AD 2012

In the above video our beloved National Clown lauded our veterans who served in Iraq and Iran.  What do you think?

1.  Bone headed Biden being bone headed Biden.

2.  Give Joe a break, they both begin with I!

3.  Joe let the cat out of bag in regard to the October Surprise!

4.  Sure there was a war with Iran.  That is where “Blood and Guts” Biden got his brain injury!

5.  Biden was unable to plagiarize in his Geography course in college.

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7 Responses to Did Joe Sleep Through the War With Iran?

Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy: Golden Rule or Relativism?

Wednesday, January 18, AD 2012

If you move about those regions of the internets in which righteous display their moral superiority by posting sixty second video clips showing just how bad their opponents are, you have probably seen headlines lately along the lines of “Christians Boo Jesus” or “Republicans Mock Golden Rule”. Of course, one hardly needs to watch the clip, because in the dualism that is politicization, everyone already knows that they’re right and their opponents are wrong. But after the fifth or sixth iteration, I had to go ahead watch Ron Paul (who else) present his Golden-Rule based foreign policy to boos. Here’s the clip in question:

Or if, like me, you tend not to watch posted videos, here’s the money quote:

“My point is, that if another country does to us what we do to others, we aren’t going to like it very much. So I would say maybe we ought to consider a golden rule in foreign policy. We endlessly bomb these other countries and then we wonder why they get upset with us?”

Now, this sounds superficially high minded, and some people who really are high minded seem lured by it. Kyle, who has an genuine and expansive desire to understand “the other” has his dander up and says:

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27 Responses to Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy: Golden Rule or Relativism?

  • Ron Paul may have avoided 9/11/2001 if congress would have listened in 1999. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XguvMUUtTtI
    Now look at the normal political trashing of our freedoms. Watch the video from a year ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmdpXNIwunc
    No other military in the world can take away our freedoms. We should not let our government either.

  • If Ron Paul’s foreign policy and spending priorities were enacted (which is, perhaps appropriately given his other policy stands, a pipe dream) it would pretty quickly not be the case that no other military in the world could take away our freedoms — much less other people’s freedoms. We too easily forget the advantages that come to us and others as a result of living in a unipolar world.

    That doesn’t mean that we should be quick to dismiss our freedoms at home, but it does underline the basic insanity of Ron Paul’s non-interventionalism and isolationism.

  • Excellent post, DC.

  • WFB, Jr. on the problem I have with Paul’s thinking:

    “… to say that the CIA and the KGB engage in similar practices is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around.”

    ~ William F. Buckley

  • Darwin, a major kudos to you for ending with C.S. Lewis’s extraordinary statement:

    I imagine somebody will say, `Well, if one is allowed to condemn the enemy’s acts, and punish him, and kill him, what difference is left between Christian morality and the ordinary view?’ All the difference in the world. Remember, we Christians think man lives for ever.

    The dualism that inhabits Lewis’ theology is nowhere more stark than here. The interior life and the exterior life have been entirely divided. Our interior beliefs (“man lives forever”) do not modify our external acts: “one is allowed to condemn the enemy’s acts, and punish him, and kill him.” This kind of disconnect between belief and act poses a major threat to the Gospel: it turns grace into a program for pagan virtue training.

    If we believe that man lives forever, if we truly believe this, then everything changes. If we believe that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, then everything changes. If we believe that mercy triumphs over sin, then everything — everything inside us and outside us, from every thought to every act — changes.

    Even national policies related to security changes.

    While I thank Ron Paul for bringing scripture into the national debate, the heart of the Gospel is not the Golden Rule, but rather the cross and the resurrection. The cross and resurrection, presents us with an entirely new way of facing evil in this world. A national security policy based upon an invincible trust in Christ’s death, life, and love is what the Gospel calls for.

  • Nate,

    I don’t think that Lewis is being particularly dualistic here. Rather, he’s seeing how the human person, as an integrated person, is not confined by the exigencies of the world in which he finds himself — exigencies which may place him at odds with his fellow men, whether through his fault or his unknowing. To quote that second bit at greater length:

    I imagine somebody will say, `Well, if one is allowed to condemn the enemy’s acts, and punish him, and kill him, what difference is left between Christian morality and the ordinary view?’ All the difference in the world. Remember, we Christians think man lives for ever. Therefore, what really matters is those little marks or twists on the central, inside part of the soul which are going to turn it, in the long run, into a heavenly or a hellish creature. We may kill if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating. We may punish if necessary, but we must not enjoy it. In other words, something inside us, the feeling of resentment, the feeling that wants to get one’s own back, must be simply killed. I do not mean that anyone can decide this moment that he will never feel it any more. That is not how things happen. I mean that every time it bobs its head up, day after day, year after year, all our lives long, we must hit it on the head. It is hard work, but the attempt is not impossible. Even while we kill and punish we must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves – to wish that he were not bead, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, not feeling fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not.

    I admit that this means loving people who have nothing loveable about them. But then, has oneself anything loveable about it?

    Now, I suppose one can take our immortality one of two ways. One can either say that because we are immortal, and God will judge each one of us in his infinite knowledge and mercy, that when we are forced to kill in order to protect the innocent and the common good, we do not thus condemn the person killed to non-existence or to perdition. Or one can say that because we are immortal, it isn’t worth using violence in order to protect the innocent or the common good since, after all, there are worse things than being killed or having all your possessions destroyed.

    It seems to me that Lewis is saying the former, while you are implicitly arguing the latter. The Church has had members who have gone both ways, but if one actually looks at the doctrines of the Church, it pretty much comes down on the former side. While the Church recognizes the heroic nature of self-sacrificing non-violence, it also states that it is the duty of those in authority to preserve the common good and protect the innocent, and it acknowledges that this sometimes requires the use of force. Indeed, the catechism states that defending one’s country in the armed forces (as Lewis references having done in WW1) is at times an obligation.

  • Ron Paul’s foreign policy mindset is informed entirely by notions of moral equivalence. Nothing else can explain his analogizing of Osama bin Laden to a Chinese dissident here in the U.S.

    I’m starting to have flashbacks to the arguments of the anti-anti-communists of the 1980s. The only difference is that these days, they call themselves libertarians instead of liberals.

  • Agree, Dale — hence the quote I offered above.

  • Bravo Darwin! More thoughts this evening after I wade through 20 return calls to clients, dictation, and a meeting with clients. Spending most of the day in court wreaks havoc on a lawyer’s schedule!

  • Mike–that’s a good quote. I kinda blipped over it, I sheepishly admit.

  • Hold on, Mike, I could swear that one of the doyens of the Catholic blogsphere established that pushing old ladies is intrinsically evil, in which case saying that it’s or wrong right depending on whether you’re pushing them in front of the bus or away from the bus is just so much consequentialism.

  • Darwin, double kudos for further quoting Lewis. I’d forgotten that he’d double-downed (it’s been years since I read Mere Christianity).

    We may kill if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating.

    If this isn’t dualism — dividing the body from the soul, the thought from the act — I don’t know what is. He might have well as said, “We may murder millions of babies if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating.” The passionless extermination of the unborn may not be accompanied by passionate feelings of hate, but it is no less an act of hate and a sign of a hateful heart.

    Hate isn’t a disembodied emotion with no connection to our external acts. Neither is faith, hope, or love. Mother Theresa spent the last forty years of her life without any emotional conviction in God’s existence or love. Nevertheless, her life demonstrated a heart of immense faith.

    Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth
    — 1 Jn 3:18

    If faith and love are demonstrated by our acts, then so too hatred.

  • To be a little more academic, the whole doctrine of double-effect has immense applicability to the idea of killing without hatred. It is possible to kill without hatred only if our intention is not to kill.

  • Nate,

    No, you’re weirdly twisting Lewis’ argument and inserting assumptions of your own which neither he nor the Church shares with you.

    First off, you’re inserting the assumption that the act of killing necessarily involves hate, and thus that if one acts in a way one knows will cause death (to go with Lewis’ example: firing a rifle at a soldier charging at you across the no man’s land) that one is performing an act that necessarily is connected with hate. However, the Church has clearly taught that the use of lethal force in order to protect oneself, the innocent and the common good is, at time, not only morally acceptable but a duty.

    Next, you take the argument as if Lewis is saying that the only reason killing is every wrong is if you hate:

    He might have well as said, “We may murder millions of babies if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating.” The passionless extermination of the unborn may not be accompanied by passionate feelings of hate, but it is no less an act of hate and a sign of a hateful heart.

    If Lewis had said that, he would clearly be wrong. But what Lewis is objecting to is the error (which you seem to be making) that killing is necessarily and always an evil, that it is never just. Abortion is always an evil, not matter what emotions one is feeling (and surely you realize that Lewis is not talking about the emotion of hate but rather hate in the theological sense: that act of the will of wishing another person ill) because abortion is the killing of an innocent person. Killing in self defense or in defense of another, etc. is not in and of itself an unjust act. The Church recognizes and teaches this, even if you disagree with the Church in that regard.

    Finally, you misunderstand the concept of double effect:

    To be a little more academic, the whole doctrine of double-effect has immense applicability to the idea of killing without hatred. It is possible to kill without hatred only if our intention is not to kill.

    You need to be more careful in your use of the world “intention” here. In double effect as regards to killing, your “object” cannot be to kill. So, for instance, if Lewis is standing on the firing step and a German soldier is charging towards him, Lewis may shoot at the soldier in order to stop the soldier from attacking him. If the soldier suddenly drops his rifle and puts his hands up, Lewis may not shoot him, because the object to stopping the attack has already been achieved. However, that doesn’t mean that when Lewis fires his rifle at the oncoming soldier he needs to be thinking, “Well, gee, I’m shooting a rifle at him, but really, I have no idea if this will kill him.” Not having killing as your object is not the same as ignorance of the likely effects of one’s action. The phrase is “forseen but not intended”, as in, you know it will happen but it is not your object in performing the action.

    But since you’re enjoying the Lewis quotes so much, here’s one from slightly before (this is all from Chapter 17: Forgiveness) that should blow the modern mind:

    For a long time I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life – namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things. Consequently, Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery. We ought to hate them. Not one word of what we have said about them needs to be unsaid. But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is anyway possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere he can be cured and made human again.

    The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad ass it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, `Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything – God and our friends and ourselves included – as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

    Now a step further. Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment – even to death. If you had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy. I always have thought so, ever since I became a Christian, and long before the war, and I’ still think so now that we are at peace. It is no good quoting ‘Thou shaft not kill.’ There are two Greek words: the ordinary word to kill and the word to murder. And when Christ quotes that commandment He uses the murder one in all three accounts, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And I am told there is the same distinction in Hebrew. All killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery. When soldiers came to St John the Baptist asking what to do, he never remotely suggested that they ought to leave the army: nor did Christ when He met a Roman sergeant-major- what they called a centurion. The idea of the knight – the Christian in arms for the defence of a good cause is one of the great Christian ideas. War is a dreadful thing, and I can respect an honest pacifist, though I think he is entirely mistaken, What I cannot understand is this sort of semi-pacifism you get nowadays which gives people the idea that though you have to fight, you ought to do it with a long face and as if you were ashamed of it. It is that feeling that robs lots of magnificent young Christians in the Services of something they have a right to, something which is the natural accompaniment of courage – a kind of gaiety and whole-heartedness.

  • “The sad thing is, our foreign policy WILL change eventually, as Rome’s did, when all budgetary and monetary tricks to fund it are exhausted.”

    The idea that the Roman Empire fell because it was a hugely expansionist power is completely falacious. The Empire stopped expanding under the first emperor Augustus just before the time of Christ. The only large scale exceptions to this were the conquest of Britain under the Emperor Claudius in the first century, and of Dacia in modern day Rumania in the second century, which was abandoned by the Romans in the third century. Rome under the Republic was ruthlessly expansionist; under the Empire it was almost always in a defensive mode.

    Rome fell in the West for a multitude of reasons, but one of the primary ones was the hiring of barbarian mercenaries, and an ever lessening willingness by citizens of the Empire to enlist in the Roman military. The barbarian mercenaries eventually held all the real power in the empire in the West and often made common cause with the tribes which made successful invasions in the fifth century. Frequent Roman civil wars also weakened the Empire, but the main reason for the fall of the Empire in the West is that the Empire ceded military supremacy to their adversaries.

  • Darwin, a lot of these words are slippery, including both ‘intention’ and ‘object’. By intention, I mean ‘object of the will’ rather than motive. I’m grateful for your impersonal use of logic with these questions, and always have been. I think, however, that you’ve misunderstood double-effect theory.

    The phrase ‘object of the will’ does not refer to the motive for an act, although the simple word ‘object’ might. I think that’s where you’ve made a mistake.

    For example, someone might say, “the object of going to school is to become educated”. One could never say that about the ‘object of the will’. The object of the will of going to school is much more discrete, much more direct. It is getting in the car. It is driving. It is getting out of the car. It is sitting. It is listening to the teacher. It is reading the book. Those are all ‘objects of the will’ — deliberate acts. These are all ‘objects’ chosen by the will.

    Lewis may shoot at the soldier in order to stop the soldier from attacking him. If the soldier suddenly drops his rifle and puts his hands up, Lewis may not shoot him, because the object to stopping the attack has already been achieved. (my emphasis)

    I think this quote shows that you are using ‘object’ in terms of motive rather than deliberate choice. Think of ‘object’ less in terms of subjective reasoning, and more in terms of objective outcome. The object of the will of Lewis shooting the Nazi is, well, aiming the gun, squeezing the trigger, putting a bullet in the Nazi’s chest, twice preferably. The precise ‘object’ is a bullet-wounded Nazi.

    If we can agree on these points, I’d love to press forward with the discussion.

  • I should clarify even further (since we’re getting all philosophical), that “object of the will” should really be the “immediate object of the will”.

  • Nate,

    I similarly appreciate your calm and reasonable discussion. 🙂

    I agree that the terms being used are slippery, and probably doubly so as different philosophical and theological schools use the same terms differently. Additionally, I should confess right up front that as an interested amateur who’s training is in classics rather than either theology or philosophy, I am probably additionally muddying the waters in that my experience in reading Aquinas, Aristotle and Plato is in “getting the sense” of the original Latin or Greek, and so I’m probably doubly imprecise in the “somewhere between the various definitions in the dictionary” kind of way that language folks tend to be.

    All that said, maybe it’s best if we take a look at where Aquinas lays out the principle of double effect in Summa Theologica Q64, Art. 7:

    I answer that, Nothing hinders one act from having two effects, only one of which is intended, while the other is beside the intention. Now moral acts take their species according to what is intended, and not according to what is beside the intention, since this is accidental as explained above (43, 3; I-II, 12, 1). Accordingly the act of self-defense may have two effects, one is the saving of one’s life, the other is the slaying of the aggressor. Therefore this act, since one’s intention is to save one’s own life, is not unlawful, seeing that it is natural to everything to keep itself in “being,” as far as possible. And yet, though proceeding from a good intention, an act may be rendered unlawful, if it be out of proportion to the end. Wherefore if a man, in self-defense, uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repel force with moderation his defense will be lawful, because according to the jurists [Cap. Significasti, De Homicid. volunt. vel casual.], “it is lawful to repel force by force, provided one does not exceed the limits of a blameless defense.” Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense in order to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s. But as it is unlawful to take a man’s life, except for the public authority acting for the common good, as stated above (Article 3), it is not lawful for a man to intend killing a man in self-defense, except for such as have public authority, who while intending to kill a man in self-defense, refer this to the public good, as in the case of a soldier fighting against the foe, and in the minister of the judge struggling with robbers, although even these sin if they be moved by private animosity.

    From this I’d take a couple things:

    1) Aquinas does not think that one actually needs to appeal to double effect in order to justify a soldier killing another soldier in combat, he sees that as springing from the right of authority (the state’s) to protect the common good.

    2) That aside, in the case of someone using lethal force in self defense, Aquinas seems to be talking about one’s “intention” as being what I’d call the “end of one’s actions”, as in, that for which purpose one acts. This is not the same as “motive”, exactly, but it is more a matter of purpose, I think, than the examples you give. I’d say that in our example Aquinas is saying you can “shoot to stop” in self defense, which in practical terms is often the same as “shoot to kill”, but you may not in fact “shoot to kill”. The big difference, from a practical point of view would be when you stop. If you’re shooting to stop, you stop shooting when your assailant stops attacking. If you’re shooting to kill, you keep on till you know he’s dead. (Again, the practical difference here in many situations may be nill.)

    Anyway. Hopefully that’s enough to move the discussion forward a step. As I dig into this, I find myself thinking about writing a post specifically on double effect, which is a model that I’ve had mixed feelings over in the past — though I’d have to think if I’d still address the topic in the same way I did then.

    (Also, just as a historical side note: Lewis never shot at a Nazi. He fought as an infantry officer in World War One, in the trenches of the Somme, but was too old to be called to serve in WW2.)

  • Thanks for the thoughtful response, Darwin!

    1) You’re absolute right. It is one of the most interesting loopholes in Catholic doctrine that I have ever found. While Aquinas and others give plenty of justification for double-effect defense when it comes to civilians, there is a real lack of justification when it comes to soldiers and police. What is stranger is that the modern Catechism doesn’t address the issue at all, and in fact seems to apply double-effect reasoning to soldiers. There’s a pretty good scholarly article about this that I read years ago, about how if double-effect reasoning is applied to soldiers (as the Church’s teachings seem to be headed), then war would have to be fought on very different terms. Unfortunately, I can’t find this article.

    2) It’s my understanding that Aquinas uses the word ‘intention’ with a wide variety of meanings, but I agree that Aquinas doesn’t seem to be using it in the sense that double-effect doctrine currently does. But because I’m not that familiar with Aquinas’ vocabulary, or with Latin, I’m not going to try to get much deeper into his thought.

    Lewis makes an interesting point:

    There are two Greek words: the ordinary word to kill and the word to murder.

    The funny thing is that if you try to define what murder is, you end up with “unjust killing”, and if you try to define what is unjust, you end up with . . . something pretty close to what the Catechism says: “The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful.”

    And unfortunately, there’s where that slippery word comes in again: ‘intention’. Intention could mean, on one very far end of the spectrum, motive, and on the other very far end of the spectrum, the immediate object of the will. But in double-effect reasoning, what counts is both: both the immediate object of the will and the motive must be good or neutral.

    Veritatis Splendor makes this point:

    78. The morality of the human act depends primarily and fundamentally on the “object” rationally chosen by the deliberate will, as is borne out by the insightful analysis, still valid today, made by Saint Thomas. In order to be able to grasp the object of an act which specifies that act morally, it is therefore necessary to place oneself in the perspective of the acting person. The object of the act of willing is in fact a freely chosen kind of behaviour. To the extent that it is in conformity with the order of reason, it is the cause of the goodness of the will; it perfects us morally, and disposes us to recognize our ultimate end in the perfect good, primordial love. By the object of a given moral act, then, one cannot mean a process or an event of the merely physical order, to be assessed on the basis of its ability to bring about a given state of affairs in the outside world. Rather, that object is the proximate end of a deliberate decision which determines the act of willing on the part of the acting person. Consequently, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “there are certain specific kinds of behaviour that are always wrong to choose, because choosing them involves a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil”

  • Darwin,
    I was threatened by a criminal a year ago with gun retaliation after I defeated him in a fight after he fled my secondary inherited home in an edgy neighborhood…(a house I’m working on to sell)… which he had broken into (I arrived home to hear him slam the side door). My instincts were correct in chasing him to ambush him after hearing the door slam because he had stolen inter alia….a weapon….which I retrieved. In the NY harbor area, that weapon would have been sold by him and killed someone someday. I pray for his salvation and keep a tactical shotgun ready to kill him if he carries out his threat. Why don’t I plan to wound him? One’s goal is to stop the trigger finger and you do that by death only unless you can shoot a man’s hand off which is a
    delusional goal where there is movement….if you wound him, he can still kill you or paralyze you.
    Aquinas passage seems to imply that only soldiers can self defend. But the modern states depute civilians through gun licenses to protect themselves in their homes in my area….outside the home in many states.
    The gospel is fascinating in that repeatedly, disciples of Christ are found to be carrying machaira…war swords….both prior to Gethsemane and Peter at Gethsemane. Christ rebukes Peter for “living by the sword” in his Gethsemane choice to assault a temple soldier….but Christ nowhere stops any of them from what Pennsylvanians call….open carry. Christ’s good Samaritan parable is about a mugging and if you let muggers damage your body pre modern surgery, you may well be lame and unable to work for life. Hence it strikes me that Chrst therefore let them carry machaira….for opposing muggers….but not for attacking authorities as Peter did at Gethsemane.

  • I know less than nothing about philosophy and theology.

    Here’s what I see. Jesus advised, “Sell your coat and buy a sword.” He taught the man who sliced the temple guard’s ear if he lived by the sword he would perish by the sword. OTOH, Jesus taught if you call your brother “fool”, you will be subject to judgment and fiery gehenna. See the difference?

    St. Bernard de Calairvaux’s endorsement of the Templars contains concepts (evil may be violently confronted) that have been largely discarded by humanists and liberals.

    St. John the Baptist taught repentance, charity and justice, not pacifism or tax evasion, he did not tell the soldier to desert or the tax collector to quit.

  • Don,

    The more I think about it, there’s probably some really interesting historical analysis to be done over this whole myth that “first the Republic was replaced the by Empire, then it got too big and it got degenerate under Caligula and Nero, and next thing you know the whole thing fell apart and Rome fell.” It gets caught up in popular culture where you see things like Marcus Aurelius being made out as a secret republican in Gladiator.

    My instinct would be that it crept in in the English speaking world via the Whig political philosophers who took Polybius as guide on how to set up a balanced republic that would last. From there it’s easy to root for the Republic and to see its fall as the “beginning of the end”.

    Is this something that springs from Gibbon? (Whom I confess I’ve never read, though I know you have.)

  • It is fascinating Darwin how this myth of imperial overstretch has been imprinted on the public mind. For generations movies have shown Roman decadent early emperors as you point out, and I agree that people believe that this demonstrates how rotten Rome was, and that it was doomed to fall. Yeah, four centuries later! Most people, including quite a few people with intellectual pretensions, know very little about Roman history, which is a complicated and vast topic that stretches over a thousand years of history. Roman history is usually used as a handy vehicle when axes are ground in contemporary political conflicts, and it is normally a safe vehicle because so many people are simply bone ignorant on the subject.

    Gibbon is not responsible for this. He considered the fall of the Empire to be caused by the triumph of Christianity and Barbarism. He was nonsensical as to the first ground, but on stronger footing as to the second. Roman elites in the fourth and fifth centuries began aping barbarian fashions and contrasting the “honest barbarians” with their increasingly decadent world. The Empire in the West suffered a crisis of confidence among their elites and in that limited sense Gibbon was on to something.

    My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson has summed up that line of argument well:

    “The difference over six centuries, the dissimilarity that led to the end, was a result not of imperial overstretch on the outside but something happening within that was not unlike what we ourselves are now witnessing. Earlier Romans knew what it was to be Roman, why it was at least better than the alternative, and why their culture had to be defended. Later in ignorance they forgot what they knew, in pride mocked who they were, and in consequence disappeared.”

  • Nate,

    I feel like part of the issue here is that Aquinas and I (and, I would argue, the weight of Church history and doctrine) are reasoning from the assumption that killing in just war and self defense are murder (not unjust killing) and working back from there to figure out why, while you’re working from the assumption that all killing is unjust and looking to see if there are any exceptions.

    Thus, you say:

    The funny thing is that if you try to define what murder is, you end up with “unjust killing”, and if you try to define what is unjust, you end up with . . . something pretty close to what the Catechism says: “The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful.”

    And my immediate response would be, “Yes, but the catechism immediately goes on to explain that using lethal force in a just war, in self defense and even at times in capital punishment is not unjust killing.” I see the short bit you quote as necessarily incomplete because it hasn’t yet got into the boundaries to the basic principle that is being stated, while you seem to be assuming that this is a moment of clarity in which the full truth is stated before rationalizations set in.

    On 1) I think the “loophole” actually comes from the Church historically taking the importance of the “common good” as being so great that it outweighs the needs (including the life) of the individual. In our more individualistic age, people often go the opposite direction and hold that person defense is perhaps permissible, but that the polis or civitas is not worth taking life to defend or enforce. (Puts a whole new spin on that emphasis on “common good” which the Catholic left is usually so comfortable with.) This seems exemplified by the Augustine quotes that Aquinas uses:

    Objection 1. It would seem that nobody may lawfully kill a man in self-defense. For Augustine says to Publicola (Ep. xlvii): “I do not agree with the opinion that one may kill a man lest one be killed by him; unless one be a soldier, exercise a public office, so that one does it not for oneself but for others, having the power to do so, provided it be in keeping with one’s person.” Now he who kills a man in self-defense, kills him lest he be killed by him. Therefore this would seem to be unlawful.

    Objection 2. Further, he says (De Lib. Arb. i, 5): “How are they free from sin in sight of Divine providence, who are guilty of taking a man’s life for the sake of these contemptible things?” Now among contemptible things he reckons “those which men may forfeit unwillingly,” as appears from the context (De Lib. Arb. i, 5): and the chief of these is the life of the body. Therefore it is unlawful for any man to take another’s life for the sake of the life of his own body.

    On 2) I guess now I’m trying to understand how you’re using “intention” or “object of the will” in relation to double effect. In the more modern summaries that I’d read, it seemed to me that the idea was that you have an “intention” or “end” and an action that you’re going to perform to achieve that end. The action has two effects, one intended, the other foreseen but not intended. So in one example I’ve read before: Your end is to blow up an enemy missile installation via an action: a missile precision strike. You foresee that because the installation was put in an ordinary neighborhood, you may well accidentally kill innocent civilians nearby, but this is not your intention, it’s a foreseen effect of acheiving the effect you intent: to blow up the missile site. The remaining question is one of proportion: Are you using no more force than is necessary to achieve your end, and is the end itself sufficiently worthy to justify the unintended effects. The thing you can’t do (and this is where people often slip up) is to provide a “motive” such as “I want to end the war quicker” and to achieve that pick a means “kill ten million civilians via a biologically engineered plague” which you think will achieve that motive, because in that case there are not two effects, there’s just one: kill ten million people. (explained with my typical lack of precision vocabulary)

  • Bill,

    I’m rapidly running out of time for my morning’s blogging, but just to be clear: Aquinas actually is supporting the idea that the individual person has the right (and at times duty) to use lethal force in self defense or for the common good. He’s arguing against another interpretation which was apparently around that the time that only those acting directly on behalf of the state could use lethal force.

    One’s goal is to stop the trigger finger and you do that by death only unless you can shoot a man’s hand off which is a delusional goal where there is movement….if you wound him, he can still kill you or paralyze you.

    I guess the thing I’d point out is that while you shouldn’t shoot at anyone you’re not willing to kill (otherwise, why are you shooting a gun at them?) most shootings aren’t fatal. I think people are always kidding themselves when the imagine every police officer, soldier or citizen should be some kind of Annie Oakley shooting guns out of hands or shooting people in the knee, etc. At the same time, most gun wounds aren’t fatal. The moral (if unprecise) point would be: Once the person is no longer a threat to you, you can’t shoot him.

  • Darwin
    I agree with your final idea….when he is no longer a threat, you can’t shoot him. Shotshells to the chest at close range in a house would have lethality rates far above 9mm fights on the street though. In the dark or half dark of flashlights, one can not easily determine an enemy’s being no longer a threat….ergo one may well keep shooting if one has not seen that man’s gun drop from his hand. Scripture thus in the ancient Jewish context allowed killing a night intruder and forbade killing a daytime intruder if he could be subdued (intruders then didn’t have glocks).

    Exd.22:1 “If a thief is found breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him;
    Exd 22:2 but if the sun has risen upon him, there shall be bloodguilt for him.”

  • The moral object of an act is a slippery critter. One can begin with the thought of Martin Rhonheimer particularly in regards to Summa Theologica II q. 64, a. 7. As we see, Aquinas allows for self-defense even if the result is the death of the aggressor. Here he notes that an act can have two effects. One can kill a person who is attacking in order to defend oneself. But what is the effect of the act that determines the moral quality – the killing or the defense? Again Rhonheimer states that it is what is intended by the actor. It is that which is intended and not which is besides the intention (praeter intentionem). Acts, as noted, are not merely a physical process but rather they “…take their moral species according to what is intended and not according to what is besides the intention.” But self-defense is not an exception to the prohibition of killing as Aquinas notes that excessive force should not be used. The death of the aggressor cannot be intended and if it is then the act is immoral. Thus there is no weighing of the good of one’s life versus that of the attacker in this analysis. For Aquinas, the act solely consists in what is intended, which is the defense of one’s own life. What is “indirect” is the physical effect of killing. But this is non-intended and as such is purely a physical effect from a moral perspective. There are not two moral acts of killing and defense but only a physical act with a specific moral intent – defense. The killing is praeter intentionem even if it occurs as the “…immediate effect of the action.” Thus the physical event is no longer the object of the action but an accidental event. There is thus no “direct” or “indirect” as in PDE but only intended and what is praeter intentionem. Human acts thus should not be judged on the basis of the physical causality of the act but on what the person acting wills as the immediate end of the act.

    This is not to argue that resolving vital conflicts for Rhonheimer is a matter of self-defense. Rather, he uses this thought of Aquinas as the basis for his understanding of the moral object of the act that holds for his subsequent analysis in vital conflicts. That is, any moral analysis must be directed towards “…what is actually willed, on the level of means and end, in a concrete action.” The analysis for Rhonheimer thus becomes not whether something was done physically “directly” or “indirectly.” In self-defense, the defense comes directly from the physical killing of the aggressor. The good comes from the killing. But this is only in physical terms – an indirect willingness. This physical act is of the genus naturae. What is intended is the act of stopping the aggressor. In other terms, a direct killing is not merely a physical end of an act. Rather, directness is what is chosen as a means to an end. It is not the physical act itself that determines the moral object, but the intention of the actor. The object of the action is always conceived of as the object of the will informed by the judgment of practical reason. As a result, what occurs as a physical consequence of what is directly willed is not formative of the morality of the act. Thus, in an analogous fashion, one can consider that reason determines the species of an act as the form determines the species of natural objects. That is, reason is to the moral object as form is to matter. It is reason that determines the species of the moral object. This is of the genus moris.

    This is all of course only true if Rhonheimer’s understanding of the autonomy of practical intellect from the speculative intellect holds. If not, then we have to consider that the physical act has some bearing on the moral object.

    Obtuse enough?

Orwell Would Have Loved This

Sunday, July 11, AD 2010

The head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights speaks out on stoning:

The hard-line chief of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, the longtime political operator and insider Mohammad-Javad Larijani, says the sentence of stoning against an impoverished mother of two accused of adultery stands, even though it is under a required review. 
In other words, 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani could still be buried up to her neck and pelted with small rocks until she dies because she was convicted of having sex outside of marriage.

Larijani, a well-connected regime loyalist, blamed the Western media for making a big deal out of nothing.

“Our judicial system cannot change its course because of Western attack and media pressure,” he told the official Islamic Republic News Agency in a report published late Friday (in Persian). “The Western media’s attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran comes under a pretext every time, and in recent years it is the instructions of the Islamic religious law that have been the target of their attacks.”
No one’s quite sure what’s next for Ashtiani. Larijani said Ashtiani’s sentence of death by stoning had not been rescinded, contradicting a statement issued Thursday by the Islamic Republic’s embassy in London.

“Regarding this criminal, I must point out that first of all the punishment of death by stoning exists in our constitution but the esteemed judges issue this verdict on very rare occasions,” said Larijani, whose brothers include the head of the judiciary branch and the speaker of parliament. “This case has passed its long procedure, and the defendant was first sentenced to 90 lashes and then, in another court, to death by stoning. The review of this sentence in currently underway.”

Her lawyer said even if they halt the stoning, he’s worried they’ll put her to death by some other means. “We do not know which penalty will be substituted for stoning,” her lawyer told Babylon & Beyond.

He said he’s asked for her pardon four times, especially since no private individual is seeking her prosecution — just the government. “For the sake of the Islamic system and its reputation in the world, nobody should be stoned to death anymore,” said Ashtiani’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafai. “If the judiciary branch is attaching importance to the prestige of the system in the world, then the stoning should be stopped.”

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4 Responses to Orwell Would Have Loved This

  • I hate to say this, but smaller stones will actually make it a longer and more painful thing. Better just to drop a great stone on her from a great height and have it done in one quick moment from a humanitarian view. Horrible either way. Marginally more horrible with pebbles.

  • What is happening to the man who is supposed to have been the instrument in her alleged adultery?

    Because he is male, he’s okay, but she’s an adulteress. He didn’t commit adultery, he just had sex with a woman who was not his wife.

    So he committed adultery too, but for him it is no crime.

    So the media and western -particularly leftist -governments bend the knee and kowtow to the religion of Peace – actually, Submission – and that’s what they’r doing – submitting.
    Gutless bastards!

  • Here are more details on the case Don.

    http://www.tonic.com/article/sakineh-mohammadi-ashtiani-avoids-death-by-stoning/

    Supposedly the two men involved received a whipping also, but if they received any other punishment I can find no record of it. Reading between the lines, it appears to me she was sentenced to die for adultery because evidence could not be found to convict her of complicity in her husband’s death. However, apparently in Iran no evidence is no problem if a judge really wants to get someone. “Under a rule called “judge’s knowledge,” which empowers Iranian judges to convict and sentence without evidence, Ashtiani was sentenced to death in late 2006.”

  • Terrorist sympathizers, America-is-evil saints, Obama-worshipping liberals, e.g. Jimmeh Carter, love it.

    Orwell hated barbarism and tyranny.

Protests Turn Violent in Iran

Monday, December 28, AD 2009

(Updates at the bottom of this posting below)

Peaceful protests turned violent as Iranian authorities have authorized deadly force.  Thus far there are fifteen (15) reportedly killed in Tehran and four (4) in Tabriz. 

More details have filtered in that some Iranian policemen have refused to fire on the protesters.  The hated Basiji Militia headquarters is up in flames and more reports of unconfirmed deaths from all over the country of Iran are pouring in view various media outlets.

Among those killed is the nephew of Mir Hossein Moussavi, the leader of the burgeoning opposition as well as the leading vote getter in the last election which was hijacked by the clerical ruling class.  Ali Habibi Moussavi, the nephew, was shot in the chest and died at the hospital.  Details are still sketchy.

The Islamic Iranian regime has barred all journalists, but pictures and footage have confirmed large demonstrations nationwide that have not been intimidated by the use of violent force.

Some showed huge crowds chanting slogans attacking President Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

President Obama has failed to respond to the growing violence in Iran outside of a standard White House response from Washington of a bland condemnation of “violence”.  His hesitancy has betrayed many in the Iranian opposition to the point that if there is a regime change the opportunity to build again good relations with Iran diminishes each day as our president dawdles away in his luxurious resort home in Hawaii.

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4 Responses to Protests Turn Violent in Iran

Military Mutiny Brewing in Iran?

Monday, December 14, AD 2009

When the Shah fell from power in 1979 it was after a year of strikes and demonstrations.  Revolutions in Iran tend to proceed at a stately pace.  After a stolen Presidential election in Iran in the late Spring, the Iranian regime found itself faced with an active and growing opposition.  The regime has been unable to crush it.  On December 7, huge demonstrations erupted throughout Iran on college campuses. Now cracks may be beginning to appear in an institution that is key for the survival of any dictatorship:  the military.  The below story was reported in Pajamas Media by Iranian exile Afshin Ellian, who fled Iran in 1983 and who is a law professor at the University of Leiden.  He is the sole source I can find for this report, so take it with a grain of salt.

On December 10, a statement signed by a number of officers and commanders of the Iranian army was released. The regular army of Iran had not been involved in the suppression of the population. The statement was signed by:

•Pilots and personnel of the aviation division of the regular army (Havanirooz)
•Commanders and personnel of the 31th artillery division of Isfahan of the regular army
•Pilots and airmen of the regular army
•Teachers of the Shaid Satari University of the regular air force
•Officers and staff of the logistics training unit the regular army
•Professors and lecturers of the Imam Ali University for officers of the regular army
•Officers, staff, and commanders of the chief of staff of the regular army

In summary, they wrote:

Together we fought in the war with our brothers in the Revolutionary Guards in order to defend the country, the people, and the honor of the nation. They also emphasize that “the value of the land means the value of the Iranian nation.” This is very interesting. ??Value of the nation.

Not abstract concepts such as Iran or Islam, but the value of the nation determines the value of the land. Therefore, the weapons of the army and RG are to be used to protect the nation: “When we fought together, we could never suspect that parts of the RG would ever use its weapons against the people.”

The last section of this brief but powerful statement will surely immortalize these brave officers: “The army is a haven for the nation and will never want to suppress the people at the request of politicians. We shall remain true to our promise not to intervene in politics. But we cannot remain silent when our fellow citizens are oppressed by tyranny.”

They go on: “Therefore, we warn the Guards who have betrayed the martyrs (from the war between Iran and Iraq) and who decided to attack the lives, the property and the honor of the citizens. We seriously warn them that if they do not leave their chosen path, they will be confronted with our tough response. The military is a haven for the nation. And we will defend the peace-loving Iranian nation against any aggression.”

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France Tells Obama To Cowboy Up

Friday, October 2, AD 2009

Obama Sarkozy

Never in a million years would I have expected a Frenchman, any Frenchman living today, to chide an American president to be a man.  Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan are rolling over in their graves as French President Nicolas Sarkozy reminds President Obama, our president,that “we live in a real world, not a virtual world“.

This episode between Sarkozy and Obama occurred prior to President Obama’s I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons disarmament speech as chair of the United Nations Security Council meeting on September 24.  An American holding the chair of the U.N. Security Council was a first, so the foreign media was out in force attracting global attention.  Unbeknownst to the world at the time President Obama, as well as Sarkozy, had intelligence that Iran had an illegal uranium enrichment facility.

So instead of using the bully pulpit as the leader of the free world and his superior oratory skills to admonish Iran at the United Nations Security Council, Obama chose to give his I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons disarmament speech. The New York Times reported “White House officials,” did not want to “dilute” his disarmament resolution “by diverting to Iran.”

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27 Responses to France Tells Obama To Cowboy Up

  • The emperor has no clothes. The European leaders recognized this including Mr Putin, etal His constant campaigning for his own edification and ego instead of strong deliberate leadership is obvious to most people. His approach is to go to his constituents when he needs help and to have a deaf ear to those who have experience and do not want to repeat history.

  • This sucks becuase that wuss is our president. I know that Rush said he wanted him to fail and I agree to a point. Nationalize health care, kill more babies, rasie taxes – yes, I want him to fail at that.

    As Commander in Chief and Head of State, no, I DO NOT WANT him to fail, I want him to be a huge success.

    Sadly, as expected, he’s failing.

    The parallels with Carter are striking and Iran knows that BHO is more concerned with how he looks than what he does. They are going to use that to their advantage and our detrmient and he might let them.

    I think BHO just launched his campaign for beloved leader of the world with no nukes, no mean talk show hosts and everyone gets a pony. Awww, how sweet.

    Gimme a break. I want my president with big brass ones.

    “I just signed legislation outlawing Russia (China, Iran, N. Korea), bombing begins in ten minutes”

  • Hmm…I would prefer a President with spine when he needs it…and the brains to know how and when to use it. “Big brass ones” often lead to trouble.

  • *Tosses red meat* http://www.amconmag.com/larison/2009/10/01/our-infamous-iran-policy/

    I’d like to build on what c matt says and question whether “putting Iran in her place” is really in the best interest on either America or Iran. What would such a confrontational approach really accomplish? All this would do is provoke Iran into hardening its position and making things much more difficult for the fledgling opposition movement there.

    Words are important, but supposing that strong words are a substitute for prudent action is ridiculous.

  • NauticalMongoose and C Matt,

    Excellent analysis, but isn’t their position already hardenned? What part of “remove Israel from the map” can Iran do more on?

    I’m not advocating a massive shock and awe campaign, just some tough sanctions, inspections, and timetables.

    There are levels of degrees that are attributed to “confrontation”.

    Not to mention funding the Iranian people to overthrow their Mullah overlords with money, intelligence, and possibly weapons (more so if we are already doing this).

    We can also put the squeeze on them by massing troops both from Afghanistan and Iraq with Pakistan following with their troop deployments. In addition we can arm both the Iraqi’s and Afghans to the teeth (more so the Iraqi’s) and really pressure Iran to give it up.

    Just some thought.

  • Tito,

    You are assuming that the Iranian leadership is rational. I don’t think they are technically insane but I think they are looking for a fight and winning it, as far as they are concerned, is simply causing massive damage and chaos. If they are wiped out in the process, then they are martyrs, whoopi. Their goal is the benfit of Dar al Islam, not Iran.

    You cannot reason with a mentality like that. Sadam was actually a megalomaniac but he could be reasoned with, or bought. We picked the wrong target in 2003 and now the right target is in our sites, yet, we aren’t handling it well. This is where regime change makes sense.

    If Iraq was designed as a flanking manuever to Iran then that is fine, although we could have accomplised with much less loss of life (both our soldiers and Iraqi civilians) and much less cost. Any way, would-ah, could-ah, should-ah. We’re here. Iran needs massive pressure and a regime change – not like 1979.

    Boy don’t you miss the Shah. Friendly, checking Russia, selling us oil – we removed him and look what we got. Who was it that did that? Uhm, ah, o yeah Obama’s big daddy Carter. Here we go again.

    Now were’a my 8-track?

  • Today’s Iran is another disaster that the Peanut Farmer, Carter, was actually responsible for.

    It would be all too easy to blame it on a supposed senility on his part; more likely, it was due to his alarmingly incredible incompetence.

  • The more Jimmah’ speaks, the more Billy Carter looks like a genius.

    Anyone has any Billy Beer to spare?

  • AK,

    The Iranian middle class is rational.

    It’s the Islamic extremists, unfortunately who are in power, that are irrational.

    Malaise in America?

  • The middle-class is always rational, which is why we are always the targets of every ISM ideology.

    All ISMs eventually lead to a master oligarchy (minority) and compliant and fearful slaves (majority) — no middle class.

    Tito we could also say, “The American middle class is rational. It’s the leftist extremeists, unfortunately who are in power, that are irrational.

    Who’s in the White House? Barrack Carter-LBJ-Wilson???

    I don’t know about malaise but you could put on a sweater and lower the thermostat, what with all the global cooling, er, no, global warming, er, no, climate change, yeah, that’s the ticket, climate change going on, huh?

    He was right about one thing, we are a bad country, worse than in the 70s, and it is becuase of people just like him.

  • Looks like a case of ” Big hat, no cattle.”

  • Alright, I’ll show my lack of knowledge here, what’s an “ISM”?

    I’m sure it’ll come to me as soon as I press “Submit Comment”.

  • Tito, think of political ideologies: Liberalism, Conservatism, etc.

  • Thanks Donald, I think waaay too much about some things.

  • Exaclty Donald.

    SocialISM, CommunISM, FascISM, CollectivISM, ObjectivISM, CorpratISM, ObamunISM. . .

    Didn’t you ever see Ferris Bueler’s Day Off?

  • Why Abe Froman, aren’t you the sausage king of Chicago?

  • I was, but then we lost the 2016 Olympics becuase of some incompetent named Barracks, or something like that.

  • Here is instance in which Obama failed to show any backbone.

    http://news.antiwar.com/2009/10/02/obama-reaffirms-he-will-keep-israels-nukes-secret/

    The Uninted States and other Westen nations show such hypocracy and we wonder why Iran and other Islamic nations tell us to go to hell.

  • Awakaman you’d have a point if Israel was threatening moslems with nuclear annihilation as Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened Israel. Since they haven’t your comment is as pointless as those in the 30s who pointed to French military spending as justification for German rearmament. Iran is the problem, not Israel.

  • Don,

    Why should Israel bother to threaten? They know when push comes to shove, the U.S. will either take actions themselves or support Israeli action. Hasn’t Israel flirted with the idea of bombing facilities? If they did that, wouldn’t THEY then be the real aggressors?

    In all seriousness…what does ‘cowboy’ing up on Iran exactly look like?

    Iran may indeed be led by people who are a bit unhinged, or have bizarre political positions… but that doesn’t necessarily translate to insanely using nuclear weapons.

    Iran is a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty. They have a right to nuclear power. Have they not also alerted the IAEA of their intent to bring a power plant online months prior? We’ve known they’ve been on that track for awhile now.

    Iran is also surrounded by nations that DO indeed nuclear weapons, and not all of them are models of sanity either. Pakistan. India. And Israel herself, who both refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty and to acknowledge her possession of weapons.

    Of what interest would it be for Iran to actually USE a nuclear weapon? Nuking Israel wouldn’t just kill Jews, it would kill many Muslims as well in Palestine… supposedly the very Muslims they sympathize with. How would it benefit Iran, who are Persian, do wind up killing Arabs? Iran would be isolated from their own neighbors for such an action!

    This is to say nothing of the international response. The world would attack them and their allies would abandon them. Their would be a great temptation to respond with nukes as well… likely those ‘secret’ Israeli ones.

    Does Iran really want to join the United States as only the second nation in history to use nukes against people?

    And how exactly would sanctions help? IIRC, Iran does not even refine its own fuel. The idea that we’d cut off their gas is only going to hurt their middle class… the people most likely sympathetic to the west’s position. It will easily worsen the conflict.

    Obama put himself in this position because it was HE who talked tough on Iran (and Pakistan/Afghanistan) during the election. My guess is he only did that so that he couldn’t be accused of being a weakling.

    It seems to me that Iran’s biggest detractors here in the states will only accept one course of action: the military kind. Its not enough that Iran is surrounded either by either US troops or nuclear powers. The sense I get is diplomacy is as about meaningful to the hawks here as it was in the run up to Gulf War II.

    If I were Iran I’d put my hands up in the air and let all the inspectors they want into my country. Not because I’d feel compelled to prove I was telling the truth, but because Washington DC has proven to be as insane as any other foreign government. Unfortunately my biggest fear is that, like Iraq’s leader appearing weak in front of their people and the Middle East, letting the west have it’s way is not a pill they can swallow— and the world will end up with yet another tragic mess in the region costing unnecessary blood and treasure.

  • Anthony anyone who doesn’t think the Iranian regime is seeking nuclear weapons to use them just has not been paying attention. Ahmadinejad has made his intentions clear:

    1. “Israel must be wiped off the map … The establishment of a Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world . . . The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of the war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land.”
    October 26, 2005
    (In an address to 4,000 students at a program titled, ‘The World Without Zionism’)

    NB The translation of this quote is debated and has also been read as “Israel must disappear from the page of history”

    2. “The Zionist regime is an injustice and by its very nature a permanent threat. Whether you like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm.”
    April 14, 2006
    (In a speech at the opening of the “Support for the Palestinian Intifada” conference on April 14-16 hosted in Tehran)

    3. “Today, they [Europeans] have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets … This is our proposal: give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to them [Jews] so that the Jews can establish their country.”
    December 14, 2005
    (Speaking to thousands of people in the Iranian city of Zahedan)

    4. “The Zionist regime is the flag bearer of violation and occupation and this regime is the flag of Satan. …It is not unlikely that this regime be on the path to dissolution and deterioration when the philosophy behind its creation and survival is invalid.”
    August 18, 2007
    (Address to an international religious conference in Tehran)

    5. “A new Middle East will prevail without the existence of Israel.”
    August 4, 2006
    (as quoted by Malaysian news agency Bernama website)

    6. “In parallel to the official political war there is a hidden war going on and the Islamic states should benefit from their economic potential to cut off the hands of the enemies.”

    7. “Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces…. Although we don’t accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: Is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem? If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe — like in Germany, Austria or other countries — to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe.”
    December 8, 2005
    (While speaking to journalists at an Islamic summit in Mecca)

    8. “The Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan . . . Many Western governments that claim to be pioneers of democracy and standard bearers of human rights close their eyes over crimes committed by the Zionists and by remaining silent support the Zionists due to their hedonistic and materialistic tendencies.”
    February 28, 2007
    (to a meeting of Sudanese Islamic scholars in Khartoum)

    9. “Thanks to people’s wishes and God’s will the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is downwards and this is what God has promised and what all nations want…Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out”
    December 12, 2006
    (Comments to Iran’s Holocaust Conference)

    10. “Though the enemy had made preparations for not allowing Iran (president) to make his voice heard, but, they could not succeed and thanks to grace of God the world people heard our voice.”
    September 30, 2007

    11. “Zionists are people without any religion. They are lying about being Jewish because religion means brotherhood, friendship and respecting other divine religions…
    They are an organized minority who have infiltrated the world. They are not even a 10,000-strong organization.”
    August 28, 2007
    (At a news conference in Tehran)

    12. “With God’s help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon and Palestine . . . By God’s will, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future.”
    June 3, 2007
    (Speech, as quoted by the Fars News Agency)

    13. “Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented.”
    August 2, 2006
    (as quoted by Iranian TV)

    14. “[N]o Muslim nation would put up with this entity [i.e. Israel] in Islamic lands, not for one moment … If it’s true that the [Europeans] committed a big crime in World War II, then they must take responsibility for it themselves, and not ask the Palestinian people to pay the price … Those countries that support this regime [Israel] were terrified at the suggestion that [Israel] should be relocated to their neighborhood. So why should the Palestinians and the countries in our region accept this entity?”
    (In a speech before an audience in the Iranian city of Qom, aired on television)

    15. “They [the United States] think they are the absolute rulers of the world.”
    October 29, 2005
    (Marching in a demonstration alongside a crowd of students in Tehran)

    16. “It is not just for a few states to sit and veto global approvals. Should such a privilege continue to exist, the Muslim world with a population of nearly 1.5 billion should be extended the same privilege.”
    June 19, 2005
    (In an interview with state television shortly before his election)

    17. “Iran’s enemies know your courage, faith and commitment to Islam and the land of Iran has created a powerful army that can powerfully defend the political borders and the integrity of the Iranian nation and cut off the hand of any aggressor and place the sign of disgrace on their forehead.”

    18. “Soon Islam will become the dominating force in the world, occupying first place in the number of followers amongst all other religions.”

    19.”What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow.”
    [President Ahmadinejad’s comments on an aircraft crash in Tehran that killed 108 people in December 2005].

    20. “Is there a craft more beautiful, more sublime, more divine, than the craft of giving yourself to martyrdom and becoming holy? Do not doubt, Allah will prevail, and Islam will conquer mountain tops of the entire world.”

    21. “Our revolution’s main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi.”

    22. “The wave of the Islamist revolution will soon reach the entire world.”

    23. “We don’t shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world.”
    January 21 2006

    24. “Our enemies should know that they are unable to even slightly hurt our nation and they cannot create the tiniest obstacle on its glorious and progressive way.”
    April 28 2006

    25. “By the grace of Allah, we (will be) a nuclear power.”

    26. “If you have burned the Jews, why don’t you give a piece of Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to Israel. Our question is, if you have committed this huge crime, why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?”
    April 19, 2006

    27. “The UN structure is one-sided, stacked against the world of Islam.”
    June 8, 2005
    (In an interview on state television)

    28. “Are they human beings?… They (Zionists) are a group of blood-thirsty savages putting all other criminals to shame.”
    (as quoted by Iranian TV)

    29. “The Zionists and their protectors are the most detested people in all of humanity, and the hatred is increasing every day.”
    July 13, 2006
    (as quoted by Iranian state television)

    30. ”We say that this fake regime (Israel) cannot logically continue to live. Open the doors (of Europe) and let the Jews go back to their own countries.”
    April 24, 2006
    (In a news conference held on April 24, 2006)

  • Additionally Anthony do you seriously believe that a regime which butchers its own people would have any qualms about using a nuke on Tel Aviv as the final solution of their Jewish problem?

  • Don,

    I’m certainly not defending the Iranian regime, its attitude towards Jews or Israel or how they treat their own people. What I am trying to do is get a sense of what the political reality is before the Hitler comparisons start flying. Quickly scanning through your litany of quotes, I only see a reference once to ‘nuclear power’ and no references specifically to using nuclear weapons.

    Yes, every couple of months Ahmadinejad says something ridiculous and racists about Jews and it is plastered on every news service… but how are we to know this is not grand standing for his own people? How can we really understand the context his saying these things, a part from our own biases? He mentions that the Soviet Union was wiped off the map…. indeed it was, without a single shot or nuclear weapon for that matter. So like all things politicians say… their meaning can be rather open ended.

    Would the Iranians use a nuke against Tel Aviv? Perhaps. But like I said, the consequences for them would be incalculable. And I’d be willing to bet that the more the rhetoric or sanctions escalate in the U.S., the more likely the Iranians will indeed lash out with a demonstration of WMD capability. Our policy could end up cornering them into doing the very thing we are trying to prevent!

    Don, there has to be some sobriety on these topics before— once again— we march to the tune of pre-emptive war. Iraq was a bungling of an large and ongoing magnitude, and the U.S. really can’t afford the same deal with Iran.

    There has to be a genuinely moral way we can create a path to peaceful relations that do not involve more slaughter. We should be trying to understand the Iranian’s situation and work towards making their goals and our goals the same— namely a self-sustainable Iran that is peaceful.

    I don’t believe that the only way to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons is by making war. We aren’t there yet. It deeply bothers me to see such a push in that direction.

  • American Night: Everyone gets a pony?

    Geez, I’d flatten a pony! Obama can’t even get THAT right. We don’t even get a grownup-sized horse!

    **France** is laughing at us.

    I just… wow. That’s so wrong in so many ways. I think I’ll start calling myself a Canadian.

  • Don:

    This guy had nukes – a lot more than Iran and we survived.

    Quit your worrying Chicken Little.

  • Hardly reassuring Awakaman since the world came within inches of a nuclear war in October 1962. Additionally Khrushchev was a rational leader. Ahmadinejad is many things, but I supect that rational is not among his attributes, and, in any case, he and other Iranian leaders have given every indication that they will use nuclear weapons once they have them.

  • I agree that Ahmadinejad having nukes is not as bad as Bin Laden having them, (it is generally acknowledged that nation states are not as irresponsible as terrorist groups) but the risk is certainly greater than Khrushchev, and that was pretty bad. Most experts believe that the use of nukes by a bad actor is only a matter of time, unfortunately.

Iran: Two Former Presidents Speak Out

Tuesday, July 21, AD 2009

Iran July 17, 2009

Many recent developments in Iran, all of them bad for the Iranian regime of Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader, with apologies to Fearless Leader of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Khamenei.  Huge demonstrations rocked Iran on Friday with crowd estimates ranging from 100,000 to over a million in Tehran.    Repression, brutal as it has been, is simply not stopping the Resistance from taking to the streets once a week.

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Iran: The Revolutionary Guards In Charge

Tuesday, July 7, AD 2009

Free IranHattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. No doubt in part a response to the declaration on Saturday of the prestigious Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum that the election was illegitimate, spokesmen of the Revolutionary Guards, formally known as the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, announced on Sunday that the Guards had taken charge of all security in Iran and that no further debate over the Presidential election would be tolerated.

The Shia revolution of 1979 was based on the idea that a government controlled by the mullahs, motivated by pure Islam, would provide the best form of government in Iran.  Now each day brings more news of mullahs speaking out against the current regime in control of Iran.

“Over the weekend, Grand Ayatollah Assadolah Bayat Zanjani launched a broadside against the mass arrest of reformist activists and protesters.”

“Every healthy mind casts doubt on the way the election was held,” said the high-ranking cleric in a statement distributed online. “More regrettable are post-election large-scale arrests, newspaper censorship and website filtering, and above all the martyrdom of our countrymen whom they describe as rioters.”

The walls are closing in on Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guards member, and his puppet masters.  Mullahs speaking out have destroyed any remaining illusion that this regime is blessed by God.  The Revolutionary Guards is the last remaining support that this government has, and, if the Guards falter,  Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Khamenei and their cronies better have their bags packed and a plane warming up.  This could all happen quite swiftly.  The Resistance has called for mass rallies on Thursday.  If the dissident mullahs join them, the Iranians could witness mullahs being beaten by Revolutionary Guards.  Once that happens, I think armed revolt will not be far off.

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4 Responses to Iran: The Revolutionary Guards In Charge

  • Thank you for posting on this. I get nearly all my news on Iran from this site.

    Do you have an estimate on what are the odds that the Iranian government falls? Each day I fear that the revolution will be snuffed, but it only seems to get stronger. God bless the Iranian people.

  • Steve, with the mullahs speaking out my guess is that there is at least an 80% chance of the regime falling. Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader, reminds me of “Fearless Leader” in the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons!, have managed the amazing feat of unifying, temporarily, in opposition, both those sick of the rule of the mullahs and many of those same mullahs! Doubtless many members of the Revolutionary Guards are beginning to think about the day, perhaps not far off, when they wake up to learn that the Supreme Leader and Ahmadinejad have fled Iran and they are left holding the bag and subject to the revenge of angry mobs. Watch for fissures developing in the ranks of the Guards if mass rallies on Thursday develop into mass riots.

  • 80% is a pretty high chance, but I pray that it is even higher.

    If, and it’s a big IF still, if the regime falls, I still see the mullahs (the rebel mullahs) in charge, but with Khamenei and Admanejhad fleeing the country or under house arrest.

Major Development in Iran

Sunday, July 5, AD 2009

Free Iran

Yesterday the most important group of clerics in Iran, the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum, called the Presidential election in Iran illegitimate.  It is now impossible for the Iranian regime to claim the Iranian Resistance is restricted to a handful of malcontents or foreign agents.  This is the grimmest news yet since the election for the Iranian regime, and the best news that the Resistance has received.  Good analysis here at Hot Air by Ed Morrissey.  Now the Iranian regime has to decide if they are going to arrest and hang these clerics who have been the mainstay of the regime as they have been hanging protesters.  The clerics speaking out indicates clearing that there is a strong division among the ruling elites in Iran as to whether Ahmadinejad and his puppet masters can stay in power.  This coming week could be decisive in Iran.

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5 Responses to Major Development in Iran

One Response to Iran: The Resistance Lives

Banned in Iran

Friday, June 26, AD 2009

A bit repetitious of Darwin Catholic’s earlier post on this subject, but I think this is a movie very much worth seeing.  Topical doesn’t begin to describe the film The Stoning of Soraya M. that is opening this weekend.  Starring Shohreh Aghdashloo and James Caviezel, and based on the novel of the same name, the film describes in harrowing detail the story of the stoning of a young bride in Iran.  I would like to be able to say that such things do not really occur under mullah-ruled Iran.  Alas, such stonings are very much a grim reality.  Worthy of a Monty Python skit, stonings have been defended by the head of the Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Committee.

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