Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Lying liars again

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  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    what the fuck are the Democrats doing to prove theiy're competent to be a loyal opposition, let alone take over the executive?

    It's true that if the Dems make it into the Whiteouse they might not do such a great job - but then again, they might. Craigs argument that the Republican Party should be left running the show on the off-chance that the Dems drop the ball is a little like arguing that the Fire Brigade should just let your house keep burning because the water from their hoses might damage your carpet.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Support for the various insurgent groups in Iraq (Sunni, Bathists, Shia & Al Qaida) has been coming from Iran and Syria since at least the beginning of 2004. Saudi Arabia has been involved as well (the Saudis have been playing both sides for a long time and their influence in Washington is a real problem)

    It seems very, very hard to believe that the governments in these types of countries do not know about, if not be actively involved in this insurgent support activity. Such activity would be entirely consistent with these countries' self interest.

    Like much of the lethargic and minimalist US effort in Iraq, that the US has been so slow to act to stop these activities is beyond comprehension.

    Whether the US has the evidence that Iran's govt is actively involved in Iraq (I bet they do, Al Quds is effectively a branch of the Iranian govt), or not, raising the subject and messing with the Iranian's heads is a good thing to do, like sending 2 or 3 carrier groups to the Persian Gulf.

    Keep the bastards guessing, and keep squeezing them with sanctions and cutting them off from the financial world with financial sanctions and pressure on any banks or companies that might think about doing business with Iran.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    As far as trying to spread democracy around the world is concerned, as Winston Churchill said, ".. democracy is the least worst form of government". Any effort by anyone or any country to advance democracy around the world is hardly a bad thing.

    The same goes for free markets and international trade etc. Far from perfect, but a hell of a lot better than anything else that has been tried, from time to time.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Don't feed the trolls, don't feed the trolls...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    james, can you please explain why iran is the 'bad guy'?

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    A quick dose of common sense for all those America haters out there (like drenching a sheep to try to kill its worms).

    America, far from perfect, but try thinking of the alternatives. Imperil Japan, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union or Tiannmen Square China.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Why is Iran the bad guy? Gee, tough question.

    For starters, don't you think it would be nice if Iran didn't deny the Holocaust and threaten to wipe Israel off the map?

    And then we get into stoning people to death, the gigs Hezbollah did in Argentina 10 years ago, and then to Hezbollah trying to overthrow the govt in Lebanon and generally trying to advance a backward, primitive version of Islam that doesn’t include nice things like human rights or freedom of speech (ask Salmon Rushdie). It’s not hard to figure out, it really isn’t.

    Merc, so anyone who disagrees with you is a troll? So you like an echo chamber, do you? Strikes me as a rather boring place to inhabit. Never mind, it takes all sorts, I guess.

    That is all from me, got to go home and continue cleaning up. House got hit by a tornado a couple of nights ago. Not a good way to wake up at 3:30AM.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    It seems very, very hard to believe that the governments in these types of countries do not know about, if not be actively involved in this insurgent support activity. Such activity would be entirely consistent with these countries' self interest.

    In the case of Iran, at least, this is simply wrong. The US adventure in Iraq has been about empowering Iraqs Shia and standing by while the Shia ethnically cleanse Baghdad of Sunni. The US has done Iran an enormous favor - it's hard to understand why they would be supplying Sunni members of the former Baath party - Irans sworn enemies - with weapons so they could attack the new Shia government - Irans allies - and US troops - Irans unwitting lackeys.

    To translate this to a WWII analogy (see - I speak your language!) it would be like Germany complaining that the Italians were supporting the French Resistance and helping them carry out 'terrorist attacks' against German troops occupying France. The claim is utterly nonsensical.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Sonic,

    "the alternatives. Imperil Japan, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union or Tiannmen Square China"

    Thats all you have, America or those guys,

    I know you have a weak case mate but that is laughable!

    "You may hate having you legs chopped off, but the only alternative is getting your head chopped off"

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Aw James, I didn't offend you did I? I didn't say I disagreed with you either. It's just well, when someone keeps telling me it's raining while they're pissing on my back, I get kinda peevish, you know. And BTW, Winston is not such a great guy to quote to some down here, but you wouldn't know that.
    And no I don't like echo chambers, that's why I suggested not to feed you, because you're bleeting vapidity only confirms my suspicion, I don't hate America, I just can't stand your kind.
    But, as you say. it takes all sorts, mmmmmkayyyy.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Thats all you have, America or those guys

    exactly... the "love america or you'll get hitler" argument is the most stupid of all neo-con arguments.

    that said, lets tone down the anti-troll rhetoric, or RB will get grumpy. this isn't kiwiblog.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    The US is clearly pissed about Iranian weapons being used to kill their troops but it seems to me to be a bit of a side issue. The main reason the US is in a confrontation with Iran over Iraq is because of Iran's support for Shiite militias.

    No doubt those militias would be carrying out ethnic cleansing even if the Iranians weren't involved but getting them to stop will be a lot harder if Iran really does want to see an ongoing Shia/Sunni war. That seems to be the real heart of the issue and at present no one appears to know what the Iranian game plan is. With Ahmadinejad just talking in riddles it's unlikely we'll know anytime soon.

    But I think the US is right to put Iran on the spot over this.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    "the alternatives. Imperil Japan, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union or Tiannmen Square China"

    Thats all you have, America or those guys,

    I'm trying to think of some less loaded examples of functional non-democracies: Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Shanghai China, ?
    Or less loaded not-so-functional non-democracies: Nth Korea, Tonga, Nepal,...

    Anyone?

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    yeah, i dunno about that one neil. if the allegations are true, then all iraq's neighbours seem to be funding fighters, but the coalition is the only one putting them in regular uniforms.

    surely what the US actually sees is a credible threat to its multi-billion dollar investment? don't you think it's more a case of them saying "if we can't have them no-one can?"

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    James, Its a shame to see the misquote re: wiping Israel off the map raising its head again, surely that has been analysed, re-analysed and so on enough so we non Farsi speakers know with reasonable certainty that he did not say that. Neither the quote about the holocaust...

    here
    here
    and here although there are many more

    I'm not disputing much of the rest of your litany of Iran's wrongs, but the USA is not one to lecture anyone when it comes to human rights abuses in recent decades, so the question remains, why is Iraq the bad guy?

    That forces in the Iraqi government are talking to and interacting with their next door neighbour is not a surprise, and indeed, that non-Governmental organisations are doing so, often with the acquiesce of the Iraqi government (to deny that is do deny the screamingly obvious) is neither. Iran is the natural ally of the Shi'a government elected in the much touted democracy. You can't have it both ways.

    The real and obvious fly in the ointment in Iraq is the presence of some 160,000 foreign troops that neither the Sunni or The Shi'a seem to want there. And that those troops are being killed because of that is not such a surprise either. They are occupying troops in an alien land. The United States can attempt to foist the blame for such attacks on Iran (as a part of a much wider scheme to demonise Iran) but the simple fact remains that it is Iraqis that are willingly planting the bombs and pulling the triggers that are taking American lives (and with widespread domestic support it would seem too)

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    sorry: "acquiescence"

    and, whilst on the treadmill at the gym I realised I'd typed Seymour Hersh's name yesterday as, Hershey. I must've been having guilt pangs about the Dairy Milk and Cashews bar I'd had for breakfast (hence the treadmill)

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Neil:

    Much as I loath the extreme right wing site antiwar.com, it's the only place where there is any indication of a first-hand account and their claim is that the briefing specifically denied that there was concrete evidence of high level involvement:

    The story you quote says there was no evidence of high level IRAQI government involvement.

    What it did say was:

    In the end, the administration presentation suggested that there could be no other explanation for the presence of Iranian-made weapons than official government sponsorship of smuggling them into Iraq.

    and from The Independent:

    "We assess that these activities are coming from senior levels of the Iranian government," said an official in Baghdad, charging that the explosive devices come from the al-Quds Brigade and noting that it answers to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader

    It's hard to avoid the conclusion that what Pace said twice was not a calculated moment of dissent from the official line. A minor line in the sand if you will

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    And here I go again :

    It's hard to avoid the conclusion that what Pace said twice was a calculated moment of dissent from the official line.

    edit function....some of us click post rather too quickly...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    "Do you believe it's a civil war, sir?" Raddatz pressed.

    "It's hard for me, you know, living in this beautiful White House, to give you a firsthand assessment," he punted.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/14/AR2007021401593.html

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Possibly, but the antiwar guy reports that no such claim was made - I presume that includes verbally. But then he doen't say if he attended the briefing. So again a bit frustrating.

    The Washington Post isn't in any doubt:

    Asked about the "highest levels" charge, Burns replied: "The president . . . did not claim that today. We are not claiming that today."

    That was precisely what the military asserted in its Baghdad briefing for reporters Sunday, a secretive session in which no cameras or tape recorders were allowed and no names were given for the speakers.

    The charge was that Tehran's operatives were supplying explosive devices to Iraqi Shiites who are killing U.S. troops. Proof was laid out on a table: Iranian-made weapons and copies of false identity cards found on captured agents said to be members of the Quds Force of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.

    "The Quds Force," a senior defense analyst then explained, "on paper reports to the IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In reality, they really report directly to the supreme leader," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. "So the activities that the IRGC Quds Force are conducting in Iraq, we assess, are coming from the highest levels of the Iranian government."

    Then this:

    Controversy grew Monday over reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, had told reporters in Australia that while he knew the weapons were Iranian-made, "I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit."

    Frantic telephone calls from Washington to Pace's traveling party ensued. Snow and his counterpart at the State Department, Sean McCormack, were pummeled in daily briefings and directed questions to the Pentagon.

    On Tuesday, even as Snow told reporters in Washington he had spoken with Pace and they were on the same page, the general reiterated his view. The discovery of the explosives, Pace said during a news conference in Jakarta, "could not translate to the Iranian government per se is directly involved in doing this."

    Again Neil, your determination to extend the benefit of the doubt is touching, but 'cmon ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    that said, lets tone down the anti-troll rhetoric, or RB will get grumpy. this isn't kiwiblog.

    Indeed.

    But let's not be calling James a troll. I disagree with pretty much everything he says, but he turns up and makes a case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    My apologies, perhaps troll was too harsh. In my defence I read the comments on the link James provided and I just get tired of the same old rhetoric..."you are a US hater!, if it wasn't for us, you'd be Japanese! Iran is so bad you don't even need an excuse to invade!
    I am now staring to see Kiwiblogger types in the street, in cars, in shops, I see them everywhere....I need help.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Damn, should read "starting" but in keeping with Freud, maybe I'm subconsciously looking for them, shudder.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Sonic,

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I am now staring to see Kiwiblogger types in the street, in cars, in shops, I see them everywhere....I need help.

    Click that link in my comment above (thanks to Che for drawing my attention to it) - it's somehow tragic and somehow hilarious. The lefty trolls who did the provoking should know better, but what happened next is ... bizarre.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

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