Thursday, April 05, 2007

Moving right along ...

Two brief reactions to Mark's thoughts on the release of the British sailors. The first being that he appears arrogant enough in his view of his own security to believe that there is no real threat from Iran (or at least not one that would ever require military action to defeat) and that therefore the only battle that matters is the war against the (potential for) war against Iran. He clearly views the domestic political fight as the greater battle, which is why his primary concerns throughout the whole ordeal appeared to be exploiting it as fodder in his discussion of torture (badly so, as he either completely misunderstands the Geneva Conventions, views it as more of an abstract concept than an actual treaty, or sees no real legal distinction between British soldiers and al-Qaeda fighters) and arguing against using it as a pretext for military action against Iran. To the extent that Iran's actions were to condemned, it was only within the context that nothing need ever be done that would actually go about stopping them.

One further point that needs to be made is that he has tendency to conflate what is on NRO with the views of the conservative movement as a whole. While NRO is certainly representative, it isn't exactly Pravda and I don't think that the website is anywhere near as influential as the magazine is, with neither being quite the institutions that they used to be.

Also, I see he is pushing this particular view again:
I like that idea since I think it would go a long way toward destroying the present system whereby a few rich men inform the rest of us who the candidates are for us to choose between.

This remains, as I have stated previously, well into black helicopter territory and is essentially arguing (rather like a Marxist, IMO) that democracy is a lie foisted on the masses by the rich. I would be very interested in him giving some specific examples of where he thinks that this has occurred. His examples to date are the 1996 and 2000 Republican primaries, where his evidence, as Victor noted, wasn't terribly persuasive.

Well, looking on the bright side Good Friday is almost upon us and thus far there are no signs of the massive military offensive against Tehran that he and his Russian friends were so certain to be coming. Thank goodness he informed us of that dire plot before it was too late.


Victor said...

What ... are you saying that Vladimir Putin's intelligence is not more reliable that Bushitleretardespotheocrat and Vice Glorious Leader Cheney?!?!?!

Well then ... obviously, the leaking of the Few Rich Men's war plans frustrated their evil "End to Evil" plans.

Pauli said...

But the rich money corporate petro guys did raise gasoline prices for the Easter holiday to shake down the Catholics! Damn them!

Phillip said...

Now the statement by the British marines from which comes this:

"Lieutenant Carman said: “On arrival at a small naval base, we were blindfolded, stripped of all our kit and led to a room where I declared myself as the officer in charge and was introduced to a local commander.

“Two hours later we were moved to a second location and throughout the night were subjected to random interrogations. The questions were aggressive and the handling rough, but it was no worse than that.

“The following morning we were flown to Tehran and transported to a prison where the atmosphere changed completely.

“We were blindfolded, our hands were bound and we were forced up against a wall. Throughout our ordeal we faced constant psychological pressure.

“Later we were stripped and then dressed in pyjamas. The next few nights were spent in stone cells, approximately 8ft by 6ft, sleeping on piles of blankets.

“All of us were kept in isolation.

“We were interrogated most nights, and presented with two options. If we admitted we had strayed, we would be on a plane back to the UK soon.

“If we didn’t, we faced up to seven years in prison. We all at one time or another made a conscious decision to make a controlled release of non-operational information."

Now it seems Mark must admit, per his criteria, that the Brits were tortured. Blindfolds, aggressive questioning, being forced against walls, stripped and sleep deprivation, it goes on and on. At least the dreaded panties-on-the-head did not occur. As a result the Iranians are still morally superior.

Anonymous said...


I suggest you all read the following report from Kenneth Timmeran concerning the sailors' release.

In brief, it attribues the release to the mullahs' fears that the U.S. would launch an invasion in May (the USS Nimitz was steaming toward the Persian Gulf as the crisis festered), and they wanted to reduce tensions in the region to save themselves.

Anonymous said...


Link doesn't work, so here's the relevant part:

The order to capture the British sailors and marines was given by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself, NewsMax sources believe.

Khamenei's top advisers argued that by striking out against a U.S. ally in Iraq, they would be sending a message to other European nations to step back from supporting the U.S. strategy of increasing pressure on Iran over its nuclear program. They saw the move as a clear test of Western resolve.

But as Britain refused to apologize for the behavior of its boarding party, continuing to insist that they were operating in Iraqi waters – not inside Iran's territorial waters, as Tehran alleged – some of Khamenei's advisers began to have second thoughts.

Adding to those doubts were reports that the USS Nimitz was steaming toward the Persian Gulf – making it the third Carrier Strike Group in the area.

The Nimitz is expected to join the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS John C. Stennis, both currently in the Persian Gulf, in the coming weeks.

On Friday, March 30, Khamenei's top advisers met in an emergency session of the Supreme Council on National Security, chaired by Ali Larijani. Larijani is the regime's top nuclear negotiator, and is a confidant of the Supreme Leader, while maintaining close ties to President Ahmadinejad.

At that meeting, Revolutionary Guards commander Maj. Gen. Rahim Safavi reported that the deployment of the Nimitz suggested that a U.S. military invasion of Iran was being prepared for early May. He urged the Council to order the release of the British hostages as a gesture to defuse the tension in the region.

The next day, however, the head of the Political and Cultural bureau of the Revolutionary Guards, Dr. Yadollah Javani, called Safavi a "traitor" for proposing the release of the hostages.

While this internal dispute raged, Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers in charge of guarding the hostages continued intense debriefings, aimed at eliciting "confessions" from the British captives that were aired on Iranian television.

The intention was to build a legal "case" against the captives and haul them before a Revolutionary court. During the trial, the regime intended to use forced "confessions" from some of the hostages who alleged they had personal knowledge of British government support for Iranian separatist groups operating in Arab-dominated Khuzestan along the Iraqi border and in Sistan-Balouchestan province, next to Pakistan.

The first inkling that the faction urging release of the hostages was winning appeared on Tuesday evening, when the influential Baztab Web site, run by former Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Mohsen Rezai, reported that the British captives would soon be released.

"It can now be said that the politicians who are for continuing relations with London have got the upper hand," Baztab reported. Fars News Agency also reported on Tuesday that a prominent cleric, Hojatt-ol eslam Ghorbanali Najafabadi, was urging the public prosecutor not to pursue a legal case against the British sailors, but to solve the hostage crisis "through international diplomatic channels."

For now, Tehran's leaders have biacked down. Why? My bets are on the Nimitz.

Unless Iran already has nuclear warheads, a direct military confrontation with the United States would most likely provoke a popular uprising against the regime. And retaining power is the one thing that Ayatollah Khamenei and his clerical cohorts actually care about.