« Hawk 'N Dove | Main | In Defense of Beauchamp »

October 27, 2007


"It’s extremely easy for random gunfights -- sparks -- to rapidly escalate into something much bigger. Archduke Ferdinand: Yep."

Probably not that much bigger, though.

The ways in which the situation doesn't resemble that prior to WWI are far larger than that in which they do. It's not really an improved, in terms of accuracy and applicability, comparison over the Chamberlain/Munich analogy the right so loves.

That small point aside, I pretty much agree with your analysis, from the stuff about Rice and Burns, to the part about Hillary.

I'd like to harbor the fantasy that Bush, contrary to the cliche view, and probably contrary to Cheney's view, doesn't actually harbor, at this point, a desire to militarily attack Iran. I certainly don't have any confidence at all in that being the case, but I do think it's at least a possibility.

But I'm in no position to know, of course. And I'm certainly not going to stop worrying, or advocating steps be taken to, as best as possible, warn against the grave dangers of such an attack.

Publius - while I agree that this policy path is dangerous, I have a couple of qualms with the Hillary part. You're dismissing what she thinks, but assuming that you understand her motivations (wanting to avoid looking like a hippie, hedging her panders). This doesn't make sense to me.

Assuming good faith on her part (which I admit can be difficult when discussing politicians), there is a fairly simple explanation: Her vote on Kyl-Lieberman came from her belief that in some cases, the U.S. has to use official threats to deal with dangerous countries. Her vote on Webb came from her lack of faith in the Bush administration to pursue diplomatic solutions as far as possible before making use of the military.

In essence, she's voting the same way she voted on Iraq, except that this time she's not buying into the administration's assurances about using diplomacy. She didn't apologize for the Iraq vote, and assuming that her explanations for that vote were honest, she's merely acting consistently.

Nitpicking: "We’ve got 150,000 troops in a country that borders Iran and that understandably has lots of Iranian connections."

Looks like you are forgetting about Afghanistan, which is on the other border.

"She didn't apologize for the Iraq vote, and assuming that her explanations for that vote were honest, she's merely acting consistently."

And that is why I would prefer just about any of the Dem candidates over her.

And that is why I would prefer just about any of the Dem candidates over her.

Yep. Unfortunately, she looks pretty unstoppable right about now. On the bright side, an HRC presidency will tell us whether or not custom Rightosphere Caterwaul Amps really do go all the way to 'eleben.'

Or Twelbe.

You have to account for Durbin's yes vote, and Levin's, and Obama's non-vote, in weighing the import of this non-binding resolution. And also the removal of:

(3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and [stop] the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;

(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.

Given that its most likely that the administration will take military action against Iran next year - probably early next year when the outcomes of the primaries will be clearer - HRC is just being clever in preparing to outflank the only card the republicans have left to play. A military campaign is the only realistic chance they have of staving off electoral defeat, and why not, it's always worked for them in the past.

Additionally, the pressure on the president to take action before a 'liberal' takes over the White House will be immense; HRC seeming like she might actually be prepared to take military action against is Iran would be, ironically, the only thing that might stop this administration from doing it (although I don't think it will). If Obama wins the nomination, the bombs will fall, I'm convinced of that.

Finally, I forgive HRC's hawkiness. A woman candidate must err on the side of belligerence on security questions if she has any chance of being elected; if she voted against the war she would not even be in contention. Americans will always prefer someone who will err on the side of bombing distant darkies, particular if they are a woman in this most sexist of Western countries (bar Italy...)

Maybe I'm weird, but I think it'd be better to keep the Bush administration from starting Yet Another War, in an unstable region, with our military already overstretched, oh and attacking ANOTHER Muslim country, rather than be "clever" and take away the Republicans' ability to attack Hillary for being "dovish".

What is vital to the security of the United States is that Rudy Giuliani not become president of the United States.

The notion that Clinton, a mainstream Democrat, remotely approaches Giuliani in bellicosity is absurd. (One need look no further than her eloquent speech in opposition to the Military Commission Act.)

Clinton's skills as a politician are undoubted.

If Clinton judges she has a large enough lead over her Democratic rivals to risk (and in the nomination contest it is obviously risky) casting this vote and that it will aid her in the fall against Giuliani, she's likely correct.

"I think it'd be better to keep the Bush administration from starting Yet Another War"

This will happen or not independent of any support from Democrats. I'm certain it won't happen, but even so the outcome isn't relevant to the discussion.

Does anyone have a link to the rumor that the military has told the admin they will fight tooth and nail against a conflict with Iran?

The Cheney/Podhoretz camp is pushing for -- how else to say it -- insane military action of the most extreme nature. No luck so far, but they certainly have shifted the center of gravity.

A key point to recognize in connection with your prior Hawks/Doves post. American militarism is not so much the product of a broad based militarism in the populace, but the success of fanatic warmongers like Cheney et al. in influencing policy. This group is the end product of the "military/industrial complex" that was the point of Ike's warning -- persons who foster greater militarism and believe American military might should be used to get what we want. It is a feedback loop of policy -- greater defense spending breeds the forces that advocate for greater action to make use of it.

In this context, Clinton becomes someone who will enable this because she seems to view it as more expedient to not fight it directly. One can only hope that it is a political calculation she makes now, and will reveal a greater devotion to peace once she gets the brass ring. I would prefer someone who has the guts to strike out against the warmongering -- which is an evil force in America.

I wish I understood what would motivate Bush not to start war with Iran. What is it that is keeping us out of war with Iran? My speculation is that it is purely about Bush's vanity -- that Bush is aware that Iraq is viewed as a dicey thing despite his own grandiosity in believing that time will prove him right. He is reluctant to risk more with a second war which no one can assure him will be successful. Whatever is the reason, Cheney probably knows better than anyone the source of Bush's motivation, and is steadily eroding away Bush's hesitation to plunge into more war. As remarked above, it is pathetic if peace depends on Rice as a counter-force to Cheney, but I suspect that the greater counter-weight is the military itself. They cannot argue the policy question, but they can sure weigh in on how lunatic the idea is as a military question, and put the scare into Bush that this second war runs a much greater risk of making him look like a fool than his Iraq adventure. Cheney probably has his allies in the Pentagon, but they have yet to put together a plan for military action that convincingly avoids the predictable chaos of war with Iran.

Of course the title of this post suggests nothing but despair.

Meet the new boss.
Same as the old boss.

Woodstock was the Stalingrad of the 1960s hippie culture; the last shots of the "war" were fired at Altamont, the My Lai of the counterculture.

They were four months apart. At the time, they seemed years apart.

By 1969, the year of Woodstock, both the Beatles (especially George Harrison) and Bob Dylan wanted nothing to do with the so-called hippie scene, which had its sweet spot a couple of years before that, beginning on a Friday afternoon and lasting until the following Tuesday.

They were both invited to Woodstock and declined, with Dylan expressing his disgust at the bedraggled creatures hanging out near his homes(s).

After 1969, it was a bunch of faux wannabes sitting around in tie-dye clothing purchased by their by-then hip mothers at the boutique section of Macy's. Some bong hits, a bad trip or two, Jim Morrison whipping it out in public, and Mama Cass trying to eat a ham sandwich while lying down, and then it was off to law school and the suburbs with a riding lawnmower and an occasional visit to the disco to check out the new moves.

Then Punk, (then New Wave, as opposed to the Permanent Wave) which made Joe Cocker look like Buffy St. Marie, though Pete Townshend can be proud of his offspring.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton was no more a hippie (or a "hippy", though she has become a little roomy in the hips) than Dick Cheney was Colonel Kurtz waxing moody, upriver in _Apocalypse Now_.

The closest Cheney got to the Sixties was hallucinating that he might get laid and throwing up and passing out on too much 3.2 beer at the frat house.

It cracks me up that 40 years later, so much is made of the hippie movement by the hairless Republicans (watch our for scary hippies!) who wouldn't know a hippie if one sat down on a bus next to them and barfed his or her brownies all over their laps.

Can we please get some new stereotypes. (That's addressed to the world at large) It may be that Hillary Clinton, the mature, hardened woman, will be just as ready to lob bombs as a guy who spent his 1960s in a tiger cage outside of Hanoi.

john t - i agree with all that. i just think HRC and other elected Dems have internalized the hippy criticism, valid or no.

by the way - i recently read a very good book on post-punk/new wave -- rip it up and start again.

I wasn't even close to being born yet in 1969, so I don't know what the actual hippie culture was like. However, there has been so much pop-culture focus in my lifetime on the last few years of the Vietnam conflict, and especially the hippies, that the stereotypes are ingrained in the 'younger than the boomers' generations.

Right off the top of my head, I can think of Karen from The Wonder Years, Jenny from Forest Gump, and that movie The 60's, which re-runs at least once a year on VH1.

John - if the way you describe the hippies is indeed closer to the truth, I'm afraid that history has been successfully re-written. There's a picture out there of Hillary and Bill when they were in college(maybe someone can find it) in which Hillary is wearing bell-bottom pants and Bill's hair is long. That's all my generation (currently in their 20's), and quite possibly the generation before mine, needs to see to put her in the "she used to be a hippie" category.

My knee-jerk reaction to that is to like her for it. It makes me think that, at least at some point in time, she wasn't a war-mongering corporatist hawk.

But in reality, it's very possible that she just shopped at the boutique section of Macy's.

But no one should underestimate the fact that her "hippie" image very well might be giving her some peace points that, based on her voting record, she doesn't deserve.

It cracks me up that 40 years later, so much is made of the hippie movement by the hairless Republicans (watch our for scary hippies!) who wouldn't know a hippie if one sat down on a bus next to them and barfed his or her brownies all over their laps.

The funny thing is that all the hippies I know are profoundly conservative, in any meaningful sense of the word.

Most of them married fairly young, and had kids right away. Most of them either worked for themselves or started small businesses, many of which are quite successful.

Lots moved to small towns, where they could be more involved with their families and communities. Many actively practice and preserve traditional artisanal crafts, either for a living or for their own sake.

None of them lived on the dole.

It's common to think of "hippy" as being more or less equivalent to "college student", but there were people who took the challenge of inventing and/or recovering an alternative to American consumer culture seriously, and who carried that effort forward into later life.

The great unwritten story of the hippy movement is how profoundly conservative it was, and how responsible hippies were for preserving so many aspects of traditional American folk life, for lack of a better term. They are the embodiment of Jefferson's yeoman citizen.

Think for yourself, do it yourself. Take responsibility for your self, your family, your community, and your world. There aren't too many of them left, but that's how most of the hippies I know live.

The problem, though, is that their baselines have been warped by fighting with the Cheney camp on Iran.

I know it's kind of quaint to bring it up, but does anyone remember Osama Bin Laden?

Thanks -



Your version: A sustained sweet spot.

My version: What American consumer culture and the media did to the sweet spot once they got their clammy mitts and packaging all over it.

I don't expect Hillary to be excessively hawkish. There's every reason to expect her to be like her husband, who only got into military adventures (Haiti, Kosovo) when he should have and actually sat out one he should have been in (Rwanda). It has been her MO throughout her Senate career to sound rightwingish but vote center-left and this fits exactly in with that strategy - voting for an aggressive-sounding but in reality irrelevant bill. Very similar to her flag-burning vote, where she supported a bill opposing flag-burning - but only when it was part of something otherwise a federal crime, and without any amendments to the Constitution.

John - if the way you describe the hippies is indeed closer to the truth, I'm afraid that history has been successfully re-written.

Yup. This must always be kept in mind. As Duncan Black likes to remind us, we're not talking about the actual Haight-Ashbury hippies grooving to the Mamas and the Papas, we're talking about a group of imaginary DFH's living in Joe Klein's head.

Yo JT --

My version: What American consumer culture and the media did to the sweet spot once they got their clammy mitts and packaging all over it.

Sad but true.

Can we please get some new stereotypes.

Dick Cheney = alien death zombie works for me.

"When there's no more room in hell, the dead shall walk the earth."

Thanks -

get em while they're hot

get em while they're hot

cleek - someone hacked Amazon.com?

and is the book description altered also? please god tell me it's a spoof.

Ahmedinejad and his handlers understand the Qur’an and are intent on fulfilling their duties to God. He drives an old station wagon and will not be influenced by glittering prizes and endless compromises. He has made it clear that nobody is going to stop him. He has stated that he will wipe Israel off the map and is willing to sacrifice his civilian populations to that end. He will soon have the bomb if nobody intervenes.

If Israel is hit, it will retaliate. The Israelis know the verses of Zechariah 13-14 (read it) and the survivors will feel divine authorization to go nuclear per verse 14:12:

And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

Would Russia stand by and allow Iran to be melted? Maybe they see the conflict as a way to finally get that warm-water port and more oil (I think the Russians wouldn’t be too worried about appearing as ‘conquerors’ instead of ‘liberators’). Maybe Russia would retaliate against Israel. Russia has big boy bombs. Iran is trying to get a 15-kiloton weapon. Russia was exploding 60,000-kiloton weapons back in the 1960s. Would the US allow Israel to be vaporized?

If the goal is minimizing human suffering, a strong argument can be made that the least-worst path forward is massive conventional air-strikes, repeated as necessary to prevent the Iranians from getting the bomb. Recognizing full well that there would be counter-strikes Stateside.

If somebody else has a better idea, I’m all ears.

"glittering prizes and endless compromises"

Is this a Rush quote or is there an earlier source?

"He has stated that he will wipe Israel off the map and is willing to sacrifice his civilian populations to that end."

No, he's stated that Israel should be wiped off the map -- not that he'll do it. And I'm unaware of any statement that he "is willing to sacrifice his civilian populations to that end." Cite?

"He will soon have the bomb if nobody intervenes."

Unlikely, since he doesn't control either the armed forces of Iran or the foreign policy of Iran, or the domestic policy of Iran.

When his predecessor, Khatami, was "President" (an office that is not the head of state, nor in command of much of the government, and which is also independent of the legislature and judiciary) and pressing reforms, many people pointed out correctly that the "President" of Iran had very little power, and absolutely none not granted and agreed to by the actual power in Iran, the Supreme Leader.

Yet by sleight of rhetoric, this fact has disappeared now that a loudmouth with creepy rhetoric is holding this post which, I repeat, has no power over the Iranian military and no power over Iranian foriegn policy.

Neither is there any reason to think that Iranians are any more suicidal than Russians or Chinese or Americans, no matter how lunatic the ideology of any of them at a given time.

"If somebody else has a better idea, I’m all ears."

Containment. The exact same claims were made about how Stalin was mad, and wanted to take down the West for the sake of communist triumph and survival, and the same exact claims were made in the U.S. about his successors, right through the Committee On The Present Danger -- the same crowd in power today, and their successors, loosely speaking -- into and through the Reagan and G. H. W. Bush era.

How quickly we forget how these same people claimed in Reagan's era that Gorbachev was a fake, it was all a KGB deception. Same M. O., decade in, decade out.

And the same crowd in the Sixties called for pre-emptive nuclear strikes on Red China, because Mao was mad, as everyone knew, and would nuke the US and the USSR for the sake of the triumph of Maoism.

As a sideline, post-1979, we also heard about how Egypt's and Jordan's peace treaties with Israel were all tricks to conceal an attack that would come soon enough!

We're still waiting on that one, too.

Now, it's some guy with less power than the assistant deputy White House chief of staff's assistant that we know -- somehow -- is suicidal, can't be contained, etc.

Maybe sooner or later this stopped clock will be right.

But I'm inclined to take the risk of waiting for a bit of actual evidence, rather than go for the surety of the disasterous effects, and utterly unclear benefits, of an attack on Iran, until they are an actual clear immediate danger.

And I have plenty of relatives, friends, friends of relatives, and relatives of friends, in Israel, so I'm not exactly without concern for Israel.

Meanwhile, containment and deterrence have kept a nuclear weapon from being used in anger, so far even between parties such as Pakistan and India, for 62 years. It's uncomfortable, but it's been proven to work.

You can go back to being only part ears now.

"He has stated that he will wipe Israel off the map and is willing to sacrifice his civilian populations to that end."

No, he's stated that Israel should be wiped off the map -- not that he'll do it.

I thought he stated that Israel would be a footnote in the history of the world and that he proposed to achieve that with weapons of mass democracy.

I don't think keeping the average citizen of Iran from communicating with Skype, or paying with paypal or any of the other 'containment' measures will do much good, except to keep them less informed and more dependent on the government.


Here’s an Al-Jazeera Link:

"The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land," he said.

"As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," said Ahmadinejad, referring to Iran's revolutionary leader Ayat Allah Khomeini.


The ‘sacrifice half of Iran’ comment was not an Ahmedinejad quote, but the assessment of Giora Eiland, Israel's former national security adviser. Possible bias yes, but when you think about how to ‘wipe off the map’ a religious nation possessing several hundred warheads with yields in the hundreds of kilotons, and clear religious authorization to release them, I agree with Eiland’s assessment. ‘Never Again’.

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
-Zechariah 13:9


You are right, Ahmedinejad does not control the military. The military is run by the Mullahs. See the Al-Jazeera link above.

How do you propose to contain Iran when they have good trading relations with Russia and China and $90 oil?

It’s a terrible situation and publis is correct that things can escalate quickly. In World War One, the point of no return was steam-powered railroads. In 2007, the point of no return is rockets, and the driving force is religious texts. ‘Containment’ may have a different meaning today than it did twenty years ago.

I don't think keeping the average citizen of Iran from communicating with Skype, or paying with paypal or any of the other 'containment' measures will do much good,

But you do need to impose pointless sanctions in order to turn around and claim 6 months later that "the sanctions aren't working, it's time for more direct measures".

Bill, since the supreme cleric of Iran has said that nuclear weapons were anathemas and would never be made in Iran, I assume that you agree there really is no need to worry, as Iran will not have the ability to wipe anybody off the map.

Of course, if you don't accept that premise, than what you quoted above is equally trivial.

Iran is no threat to the US, probably no threat to Isreal, is allied to only two other ME countries, one of which is Iraq (thanks Bush) and is opposed by all the other ME countries.

There isn't even a threat to be contained, much less attacked.

I think we all know that if Bush - or, more accurately, Cheney - wants to go to war with Iran, he'll do it. Regardless of what Congress says or does.

That being stipulated, Congressional votes on this or that resolution are meaningless in a policy sense. So perhaps they serve some political purposes.

Although most Americans want us out of Iraq, there's no national consensus on when or how, nor on whether to leave any forces behind, nor on what such forces should do if they are left there.

There's even less national consensus on whether radical Islam poses any threat to the US or to US interests. It's possible to oppose the war in Iraq and still think that the region bears watching. It's possible to want out of Iraq and still realize we'd be leaving one hell of a mess, and that we can't predict the consequences.

It's not unreasonable at all to believe that Bush-Cheney will leave any number of traps for the next President; nor that the GOP will be eager to blame a Democratic President for being caught in those traps. I think all of the serious candidates are aware of that, and are doing their best to position themselves accordingly. I think the resolutions Congress is passing, and that Clinton is voting for, are part of that positioning.

It also occurs to me that if Giuliani is the GOP nominee, and if Clinton had voted against Kyl-Lieberman, he would have used that as 'proof' that she isn't capable of making the 'hard choices' needed to protect the US. The MSM and the punditariat would echo his charges, over and over again, until they became conventional wisdom.

Since Clinton is very smart, I'm sure this possibility has also crossed her mind. Again, her vote has less to do with reining in Bush-Cheney (impossible anyway) and more to do with campaign strategy.

It's Machiavellian as hell, but I think that's what's going on.

Neoconservatism is bad for the Jews. And I'm not even talking about it in the sense or long-term moral or political repurcussions.

Even for hard-right Israeli Jews who want to keep as much territory as they can.

So far, the Iraq war has just strengthened the position of the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah alliance. It's massively increased the portion of the US that is war-skeptical now compared to early 2003.

Imagine how much weaker the Iranians and their allies would be, and the funders of Sunni jihadism would be,if a Gore administration had been in power and started moving towards more energy independence, or at least more accounting for the true costs of our dependence on carbon energy.

Any administration that spends 8 years not doing anything to move away from dependence on oil ipso facto cannot and should not be regarded as being helpful to the cause of maintaining Israel's advantages over its opponents.

Given Israel's safe conventional forces lead, the things it has to worry about are guerrilla warfare and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Having oil revenues helps fund those activities or fund the infrastructure behind it.

A "dovish" administration that took serious action to reduce energy dependence, even if it were very timid towards Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya in military terms, would have done more to improve Israel's relative standing in the Middle East balance of power that necons have done.

Nice to hear that the nazis suppported abortion (I thought until now that they beheaded Aryan abortionists at least occasionally) and I love the part about racial quotas at universities. Given the description I can't get how anybody would not like to live under a Nazi government (except as a meat eater of course, vegetarianism is not everyone's cup o'ox tail soup) [/sarcasm]
At least only 1 star (other insane pamphlets yield far more)
I hope I am not the usual suspect for Clinton bashing but we should not forget that "extraordinary rendition" was introduced under Bill (iirc). Not as default option that's for sure but setting a precedent. If there is a legal reckoning for Bush on that (alas! very unlikely), it should include his predecessor or it would open the way to reasonable claims of double standards (unreasonable ones are unavoidable anyway).
Bash Guiliani with his "it depends on who's doing it, whether waterboarding is torture" quote on every possible occasion, especially when "liberal moral relativism" is used by the other side.
I do not know, whether the Iranians are actively working on building a nuclear weapon (though I believe that they want to have the know-how and I can't blame them for it) but I think bombing them is more likely to end with them having it because I think it likely that then they will acquire it from elsewhere (Pakistan, North Korea, maybe Russia [not necessarily with Putin's consent]). In that case they will also be more willing to actually use it because they have not much to lose anyway.
If the Iranian leadership is so anti-semitic and apocalyptically minded that it would choose suicide by attacking Israel, why are there so many Jews in Iran that feel less threatened there than in about any other Arab/Muslim country?*
Does anybody know, whether the biblical book of Esther has been used to paint modern Iran as "traditionally" anti-semitic?**

*Yes, I know that Iran is not ethnically Arab.
**I mean recently. The Nazis went so far as to ban the name Esther for German girls because she stopped Haman's Holocaust.

American militarism is not so much the product of a broad based militarism in the populace, but the success of fanatic warmongers like Cheney et al. in influencing policy.

All the indicators I've looked at suggest that there has indeed been broad based militarism in the US populace after 9/11. It becomes especially clear, if you make a comparison with 95% of the other countries on this planet.

@hartmut: can you make clearer what are quotes and what is your text? Use italics, or [

], or add names?

between the [] was a blockquote tag, I thought it would be shown as text if I used the brackets - but I was wrong ;)

dutch, was that a general request or on something specific?
The post directly above yours contains only the (paraphrased) Guliani quote*, the rest is not directly quoting anybody but only referring to general themes that came up in the comments.
Or do you mean the first part that refers to the "Liberal fascism" book review on amazon.com that cleek linked to at 4:22pm**(also no direct quotes)?

*which I thought got enough coverage to make a link unnecessary and the name sufficient.
**which I maybe should have referred to explicitly because the thread had wandered away from that in the meantime.

No, I couldn't place the Giuliani quotes. I don't follow the candidates very closely, so I wouldn't recognize quotes. I though there were quotes and your comments and footnotes on both quotes and comments, so I couldn't make head or tail out of it.

I thought that maybe you had come up with a new layout for quotes (Some people do and it almost always confuses me) and comments, so I thought I'd comment before it became a habit ;)

There was a post on Greenwald's about Giuliani's stance on torture (but I saw it discussed in several other places as well) and I thought it had been mentioned here too (didn't check).
I admit it can be a bit confusing whether "...blablabla..." signifies a quote, a paraphrase (i.e. content attributable but not with that exact wording) or irony (the "liberal" media).

The comments to this entry are closed.