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March 02, 2005


Actually, Condi cancelled her trip to Canada, to much fanfare, after it declined to participate in BMD and this is the facesaving rescheduling.

a) I had thought that this administration had determined that arms-control and proliferation agreements were unverifiable. I am not sure I disagree. (I can hunt for a link, but I am sure there was a post on the subject here)

b) Without criticism intended, I would find it helpful if you included some sense of why this administration does not wish to directly negotiate

c) I am confused as to the shifting use of "Charles" "Charles Bird" and "Birddog". Are any and all acceptable? Are there multiple personalities or clones? It is a frightening thought.

No bob, there's only one.......
Same dude.
Same comments.
Same problems with arguments. *Sigh*
Whether that is reassuring or frightening is up to you.
Me, I'm off to Tacitus to comment.
PS: CB: great post. Props.

"If we're truly serious about stemming nuclear weapons proliferation, why not go directly to the source and negotiate?"

The obvious answer is: no reason. So if the US does not negotiate, then the US is not serious about stemming nuclear weapons proliferation.

I am confused as to the shifting use of "Charles" "Charles Bird" and "Birddog". Are any and all acceptable?

All are acceptable. For some reason, my office computer remembers me as Bird Dog in the comments section and I can't seem to change it.

delete your cookies and start again, Bird Charles.

"...delete your cookies and start again, Bird Charles."

It's probably a pretty bad idea to delete all of his cookies, since this would require him to sign in again at every single site he's signed in for. I'd suggest simply deleting the ones for ObWings as far more on-target.

I also suggest always keeping track of one's cookies, as part of sound and secure browsing. (Tangentially, I really hope no one here is still using the dangerous Internet Explorer unless forced to by work or a similar requirement; uh, oh, browser wars trigger; uh, and who's better, Kirk or Spock?; who wins, Hulk, Thor, or Superman?; I betcha Firefox can beat them all up.)

[Jay realizes he is trivializing the debate and apologizes]

Edward, are you really telling Charles that you have read his post, and he should go toss his cookies ?????

[/Jay realizes he is trivializing the debate and apologizes]

"I really hope no one here is still using the dangerous Internet Explorer"

I changed out my motherboard last Friday, and the existing OS would not recognize it. Switched that HD to slave and retrieved the data, but bad experiences with "Ghost" and such forced to a new OS (W2kSP4) install on a new HD.

Since then I have been utterly hosed, with constant IE crashes and random spontaneous reboots. I have spybot and SISoft Sandra and Hijack This and everything else, including Firefox, which crashed as well.

Edward, are you really telling Charles that you have read his post, and he should go toss his cookies ?????

Toss his cookies...toss his teddy...toss his hat into the ring...toss caution to the wind...whatever floats his boat. But if he wants to keep "Charles Bird" as his name on ObWi, he needs to delete the cookie ObWi placed on his computer when he checked "Remember personal info?"

Pedantic question: unlike Charles, I'm not an admirer, but, if we're going to be all formal, isn't she *Dr* Rice? And if not, why not?

See my comment on Tacitus.

(This crossposting between blogs suck. Can't we agree on a place to talk? Me, I'd like ObWi on Scoop. Unthreaded discussion simply suck.)

Unthreaded discussion simply suck.

Threaded discussion & Scoop is why I haven't commented on Tacitus in years. And to be perfectly fair, ObWi comments are threaded... by post only.

isn't she *Dr* Rice? And if not, why not?

You're right. It slipped my mind. I haven't written much at all on Dr. Rice.

Isn't Secretary the honorific that is preferred to Doctor?

As for Iran, I'm not certain that we're in a position to get Iran to talk with us. It's not hard for them to make the argument internally that it is very important to get a nuclear weapon before the US attacks. This isn't a wise course of action, but nothing that the US can say at this point is likely to change Iran's course of action. We have long since lost our ability to persuade Iranians.

As to Iran...

Maybe it's because there has been a calculation that the state-sponsored terrorism of Iran is more liveable than the more dispersed versions of the Wahabist-inspired sorts. A Shiite resurgence may perhaps be seen as a counterweight to the Sunni-controlled oil.

If Iraq is succesful (and that is still a very big if), one outcome will be an even larger voice for Shiites in the Middle East generally. Something like that may already be happening. Today's NYT reports on the political emergence of Shiites in Saudi Arabia, inspired as they are by the Iraq experiment.

We may be tolerating Iran for the perceived strategic utility of powerful Iran vs. the oil kingdoms. The United States stands in the way, protects them from the Iranians; and thus we are become a necessity in the region. Add to that the mischief that Iran could pose in Iraq and the US actions may not be as odd as they first appear.

"the US actions may not be as odd as they first appear."

Harris, I like it, and have been thinking and saying something similar for a long time. Course, Sistani could never admit to enjoying the platform America is providing him....but a couple of his fatwas may not be completely to our liking, but really will be repugnant to clerics in SA.

"Iran has proven ties to al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations"

I thought the Bird person had (tacitly?) agreed to source some of his assertions. I suppose Hezbollah is the main one of the other terrorist organizations, as in a Lebanese organization opposed to Israeli occupation of its country. But I can't see what this (true or not) has to do with the putative subject, i.e. the US talking with Iran. If such talks did develop or take place what could the US respond to the very real fears among Iranians about Israeli nuclear capabilities, coupled with US support and studied neglect of those capabilities and of their effects on the stability of the region? In other words, in most of the Middle East, the gross lack of balance of power which Isreal's military might and beligerent use of same and the US role in that imbalance is a motivating factor toward utilizing any means for self-preservation. Bluntly, the Israelis are seen as unstable and unreliable, apt to take mad actions that their neighbors feel great justification in fearing. I can't imagine any talks being viable that do not address those fears.

freelunch- I agree that diplomatic talks with Iran are probably a waste of time, though there is no harm in trying. I disagree that it is unwise for them to want nuclear weapons.

Frankly I think they'd have to be crazy or stupid to let anyone talk them out of getting nukes.

They might manage even in the face of major bombing raids, which they know they will probably get regardless.

I thought the Bird person had (tacitly?) agreed to source some of his assertions.

Only the ones that really need it. But if you insists. Iran gives about $100 million a year to Hezbollah. I suggest Richard Russell as a credible source. It's lengthy but worth the read. If Iran didn't export terrorism to Israel, then they would have no reasonable basis to see Israel as a threat.

"After the Riyadh bombing, the Iranians, under pressure from the Saudis, detained the al Qaeda group. One European source said the Iranians had "freeze-dried" the group. Also, Saudi Arabia launched a major crackdown domestically."

Quote from WaPO article Russell cites; other parts of the article indicate that Iran has al-Qaeda operatives in custody, hardly what one would think of as "proven links to al-Qaeda." Beyond that, there is in the WaPo article speculation by un-named sources that Iran has hidden links to al-Qaeda. It is clearly speculative in context, so perhaps one might better say that Iran has putative links to al-Qaeda. The Russell article, brief as it is, is a good synopsis of western views of Iran, militarily etc. Thanks for the link.

"Working with Canadians in ballistic missiles"? This is in our backyard, Charles, and you only need to watch CBC news to see how Canadians don't see it the same way.

I think the Canadians not seeing it the same way ought to be a base assumption.

I'm not sure what the big deal is, here. If firing a missile over Canadian airspace will save the lives of, for example, many tens of thousands of Americans, we're going to do it with or without permission, and apologize later. And depending on intercept altitude and trajectory, airspace might not be violated at all. This, out of complete ignorance of what the upper limit of airspace is, as defined by any international agreement, but it's got to be said that if jurisdictional airspace projects much above, say, 20 miles, something is seriously amiss. Fifty or sixty miles is basically vacuum, but there's nothing in commercial or private air transportation that will (at present) get much above nine miles of altitude.

Better discussion of Iran over at Tacitus. I am actually real interested, more news today about the WH allowing some meaningless concessions, which is described as a reversal of policy. Would be nice to know if we were going to war this summer. Just a hint will do.

Is it: 1) That Bush has changed and now believes the international community can do the job and get Iran to peacefully and verifiably disarm? Right.

2) We are doing the stall to get the pieces in place and a little, very little, legitimacy before attacking anyway?

3)"Taxcuts uber alles" We can't afford another war, and Bush is willing to let a terrorist-supporting rogue nation become a nuclear power before he will sacrifice any of his domestic agenda.

4) Bush is an Iranian mole.

The suspense is killing me.

This is in our backyard, Charles, and you only need to watch CBC news to see how Canadians don't see it the same way.

Whichever Canadian thought up this stupidity should be fined and fired. It's a phony issue. If a missile is fired at us and it's coming via Canadian airspace, we're going defend ourselves first without or with Canadian permission.

"If a missile is fired at us and it's coming via Canadian airspace"

What happens to an incoming MIRV after it is hit by super-dooper smart defense missile? I know that there isn't much plutonium, but it doesn't take much. And it probably won't land on the US.

Sorry, Canadians, if Georgie looks into Putin's soul and sees the anti-Christ, you too, get to "Bring it On"

Well, from a practical standpoint Canadian "participation" or non-"participation" is irrelevant (particularly since there's already cooperation through NORAD) -- this is about political cover, and a general unwillingness to publicly approve of the US' dumping of the ABM treaty. There's a good op-ed on the topic in today's Winnipeg Free Press, but it's unfortunately not available online.

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