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March 19, 2010

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Well, Reynolds specifically caveated that sentence with "If I were the Israelis," so, he's putting himself in their (supposed) position, such that bad things happening to the US and its troops is, in the hypothetical position, secondary.

Doesn't make the position any less insane, of course, but less treasonous one supposes.

Is it against the posting rules to note that Glenn Reynolds is a moron? Hell, I'll do it anyway. He's talking about a potential regional war (one that might expand even beyond that), and sounds like a baseball fan yelling at the pitcher to plunk someone. That's painting "I'm stupid" on your forehead in indelible ink.

The article is no more suspect than the comments about it. Loved this:
God has blessed our country for befriending His special people. ... Shame on anyone who thinks anything Obama does is good for our country.

Tea Party!

Also see Bruce Bartlett in Forbes

Reynolds' statement is almost unimaginably stupid, even for him.

Profoundly idiotic. The entire Muslim world already hates Israel and he thinks that Israel should go out of its way to deliberately tee-off the entire non-Muslim world. The only thing that could make his statement remotely comprehensible is if he were secretly a Hamas sympathizer and wished Israel's destruction.

Well, perhaps Reynolds is a secret anti-Semite and longs for Israel's destruction. That would at least make it understandable why he recommends an action by Israel which be enormously damaging to it.

Consider:
- Israel makes a major military strike on Iran.
- Iran (and everybody else) blame the US...in part, if not all in full.
- Massive economic actions against the US follow. Not to mention actions against any and all US troops, whether close by in Afghanistan and Iraq or farther away.
- The US, seriously irritated, not to mention having enough economic problems already, chops all aid to Israel. And maybe even imposes sanctions.
- The US also stops vetoing actions by others against Israel.
- Israel's economy tanks. Followed, not too long afterward, by Israel's military running short on various critical components.
- Those of the neighbors who wish Israel ill, with nothing to hold them back, achieve their vision of wiping Israel off the map.

It is possible that some of the more deluded members of Israel's current government are under the illusion that nothing that they do will cause the government of the US to act against them. Reynolds ought to know better.

He's completely out of his mind, but then, that is very nearly a requirement for being a good Republican lately. I mean you can make a case for an Israeli airstrike (not a very good one), but to say that it would be a good idea to do so in the way most likely to upset all of Israel's allies and neutral parties is almost the stupidest thing I've read today. (I also read comments on a conservative site about Hannity's "charity" that spends 95% of its take on overhead, so my stupid meter is pegged today.)

It is important to remember that Instaglenn has a significant financial incentive to say batshit crazy things like this.

A state employee with tenure who rails against unions and encourages foreign adventurism so long as someone else is doing the bleeding, he's exactly the sort of "libertarian" Republicans love.

And who can blame him? He got lucky with a niche that requires him to queue up a pile of "hehs" and "indeeds" in the morning.

So this entire long-winded blog posting was a windup to slap Reynolds, via a deliberate misinterpretation of a sarcastic comment.

Just pathetic.

Do you ever look at what 'the other guy' is reading ? Diego Garcia bunker-busters meant to threaten Iran http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=120910&sectionid=351020101
Happens I was posting - again on this topic - because TPM Cafe had a number of threads related to this on the go.
Easiest coverage is a little blgowhoring
http://opitslinkfest.blogspot.com/2010/03/punditry-at-tpm-cafe-iranisrael-and.html

So this entire long-winded blog posting was a windup to slap Reynolds, via a deliberate misinterpretation of a sarcastic comment.

Yeah, Glenn says all manner of aborrent things and then cowardly retreats to "just kidding." Well, bullsh*t.

And you read the long-winded post that was actually shorter than most on this site. Suckah.

I think this is the context for Reynolds' statement. I don't care to argue either way on this, but I think the background for the statement you linked to is the purported unhappiness Israel has with the US, in the article I linked to, which was earlier linked to by Reynolds.

Well yeah, Slarti. I know Israel is upset with the US (I'm actually quite upset with Israel, as is Petraeus and a few million other Americans).

That doesn't change the fact that Reynolds is endorsing that Israel act in a manner that causes us trouble. Or, rather, as much trouble as possible.

Which given the context - Israel attacking Iran - means retaliation by Iran.

I don't read that as an endorsement, Eric.

It wasn't all that many years ago that Democrats were outraged that they were seen as cheerleading for the terrorists, when all they were saying was something like: well, if someone invaded your home, you'd fight back, wouldn't you?

Convenience is the mother of inconsistency, perhaps.

Slarti -

Not to pile on, but I'm going to pile on: I support Instaglenn's right to be argue against the best interests of the United States. Unlike him, I don't pull out the "traitor" card as soon as I disagree with him on a policy point.

At the same time, allowing him the cover of the "just kidding" defense is just willfully stupid. Here's the thing: dude has a megaphone. If he wishes to deny that he is calling for Irsael to do something that is obviously against the interests of the United States, and will lead to more U.S. blood and treasure at risk, he can do so.

This leaves the Instaglenn apologists with a few options:

- Ignore posts like this, because they also want Isael to do something that would be really, really bad for the U.S., and hope that people don't notice how disasterous it would be until it turns into a a disasterous clusterfuck,

- Continue to defend the "just kidding" defense, and be completely inconsistent by supporting Israel doing something really, really bad for the U.S.,

- Actually come out with an argument that would support the notion that Isael doing something really, really bad for the U.S. would actually be in the U.S.'s interests. But, you know, that's sort of hard to do.

It is also worth noting how hollow the "support the troops" argument is. Instaglenn supports the troups when he judges it in his side's interests, and then ignores them when it isn't.

I'll leave the pretty obvious analysis to others: that by costing the U.S. a few more $ billion, and getting more troops killed, and making unwinding these wars we already have that much harder, Israel can influence U.S. midterm elections to cause more pain to the Democrats. So Instaglenn supports it. Discuss.

At the same time, allowing him the cover of the "just kidding" defense is just willfully stupid.

I did that? He did that?

I said nothing about him "just kidding", and neither did he as far as I can tell.

That's always his defense. To be fair, no, he has not, as of now, to my knowledge, made this claim about this particular post. I also don't accept an alcoholic's claim that, just this time, they were just really stressed out, you know.

But, hey, we're talking on the internet. You can email him, and ask him if he thinks that Israel doing something extremely dangerous to U.S. interests is a good idea in his opinion, and he can post that he doesn't think that. Doesn't even cost a stamp.

I will happily retract my statements impinging his motives if he does so.

But he's not saying that Israel has a right to do arguing, and would be justified in doing it.

He's saying that if he were Israeli, he'd do it in the way that causes the most trouble for the US.

This makes sense, how? Coming from an American, it's reprehensible. But coming from a supposed supporter of Israel, it's little better. After all, how would it help Israel to cause serious damage to its strongest ally, especially if the means adopted seem like they were undertaken in an attempt to maximize negative impact on America.

As counseled.

Exactly, Eric, and that's the elephant in the room: Bibi's self-interest, Israel's self-interest, and the United State's self-interest have, apparently, all departed from each other sufficiently to cause a bit of a meltdown, and Republican operatives are, to all appearances, more interested in using that as a way back to power than to promote the interests of the United States.

Even if attacking Iran is bad for Israel's interests and it is bad for the United State's interests, it is good for the count of (r)s on the telly, and so it is something to be supported.

Really, this is no different than the standard Republican argument that government sucks at doing anything, and then demonstrates the notion by sucking at governing when given the chance. Which is a shame - I'm a natural constituent for the notion that government should get the hell out of people's lives. It would be great if there were a party advocating for that.

But, hey, we're talking on the internet.

No, actually you're calling me stupid on the Internet, while making claims about my statements and those of Reynolds that have, to date no evidence in fact.

And then not retracting. Which is the Internet, for you.

Feel free to email him, yourself. What he is or is not REALLY saying is not my claim. Don't make me support your argument for you.

He's saying that if he were Israeli, he'd do it in the way that causes the most trouble for the US.

This makes sense, how? Coming from an American, it's reprehensible

That's kind of ridiculous, Eric. You can't have him being an Israeli and an American at the same time, just as you can't have people who might see things from an Iraqi point of view being traitor Americans rooting for Iraqi terrorism.

Or maybe you can; I don't know. What should be really alarming is when Slartibartfast starts looking to be the voice of moderation.

Slart,

This is pretty simple. Let me lay out the possible situations.

(a) Instaglenn made an agrument that argued that Israel attacking Iran would force the U.S. into a a war effort that is not in its best interests, and seemed supportive of this notion.

(b) Instaglenn made an agrument that argued that Israel attacking Iran would force the U.S. into a a war effort that is not in its best interests, and was being sarcastic, or disingenuous, or something, about this notion.

(c) Instaglenn actualy supports the notion that Israel should attack Iran, because that would be good for Republicans, even though it would be really pretty shitty for both Israelis and U.S. Americans.

I suppose there has to be

(d) Instglenn is merely a disinterested bystander, who is observing political discussions, with no real impact on them, and merely discussing game theory as applied to current events.

That one, however, requires an argument that would support the notion that Teh Liberal Media have no impact, which poses a bit of a problem for the general media management strategy.

So, in the interests of promoting the Vast Leftwing Conspiracy, I have asked him.

Here is what I sent:

Subject: Do you believe that israel should attack Iran?

We're having a bit of debate about this.

A simple yes-or-no answer is fine.

Thank you,

Jamie

I will report back with what, if any, response is forthcoming.

That's kind of ridiculous, Eric. You can't have him being an Israeli and an American at the same time, just as you can't have people who might see things from an Iraqi point of view being traitor Americans rooting for Iraqi terrorism.

But still, coming from an Israeli it makes little sense as well. I mean, care to explain this from the Israeli perspective?

The amusing part is that, after arguing that Eric was making semantic arguments, Slarti starts making semantic arguments, making the completely obvious point that Instaglenn is not an Isreali citizen.

We know this. Anyone who partakes in bloggery, to any significant extent, is aware that he is a law professor at a state school in Tennessee. I have no idea why this is somthing that apparently is a refutation of anything, especially when I pointed that out up-thread.

What Slarti completely fails to do is address any of the real criticisms: namely, that Instaglenn is supporting military action which would hamper the U.S.'s already strained resources, and do so in support at least most of the same talking-heads who got us here in the first place.

I've already detailed most of Slarti's failure modes. Slarti fails to repond to any of them. As does Instaglenn - at least so far. To be fair, maybe he is teaching a class.)

So, here we go: Slartibartfast: do you believe that Israel should attack Iran?

A simple yes-or-no will do.

OK, Glenn responded to me.

I see a problematic question, I don't want to quote him when he didn't consent to being quoted. I see no problem in paraphrasing. And he asked, and I responded, where this conversation is happening, so he's welcome to join in.

As best I can make out, he's saying that Israeal attacking Iran out of spite is a reasonable response, in order to teach the U.S. a lesson. A lot of the reply relies on a game-theory argument, that it is simply analysis.

But he also explicity says that he's feeling vengeful, and that "Israelis seem to have more Christian forgiveness than I do".

I have no way of interpreting that other than "Israelies should punish Americans for electing Obama."

Additionally, I really, really welcome the he folks that want to bomb Iran to ague with me. Please. Killing this notion, in my opinion, is not only patriotic, but required.

So, bring it on. I stand by by belief that the United States can, and should be, a positive force in the world. Describe, in detail, why a proxy state should attack a country that we can't afford to "deal with" (not my words).

The argument from way back when was "you stand with the U.S., or you stand against it." I don't believe that's a realistic statement, but it it hard to dispute that asking the folks who made that argument, where are they now?

Slarti: you can't have people who might see things from an Iraqi point of view being traitor Americans rooting for Iraqi terrorism

No, but you can have an opinion about someone claiming to want to see something from another point of view who expresses views that are insane. So for instance if someone says that if they were an Iraqi they'd want to blow up as many Americans and civilians as possible, I'd say that they were crazy and kind of immoral, because no useful goal is served by that. And if someone says that if they were Israel they'd take action in such a way as to cause as much trouble as possible for the US and other allies and third parties, I can say that I think that is crazy too. I don't think anyone is unclear on the concept here.

if someone says that if they were Israel they'd take action in such a way as to cause as much trouble as possible for the US and other allies and third parties, I can say that I think that is crazy too.

Yes.

Reynolds was describing what he thought would be a good strategy for Israel to follow, from its own POV.

So it's not fair to criticize him if that happens not to be in the best interests of the US. It is fair, and accurate, to point out that his recommended strategy would be disastrously stupid from Israel's POV.

Given the caption "SMART DIPLOMACY" (and Reynolds, unlike newspaper writers, is responsible for his own headlines), it's clear what his point is: if the Israelis' react in this understandable and predictable way, it's be Obama's fault. That's stupid for any number of reasons:

1. Each nation is responsible for its own military decisions
2. Israel needs the US; we don't have to buy their loyalty, or fret about the dire consequences of saying "no" once in a while.
3. Netanyahu is going to make what he considers the best decision for his country; he doesn't have the luxury of doing something foolish and impulsive just to piss us off.
4. Pissing us off would have serious consequences. Israel known that. We know that they know that, and so on.

So what is this piece? Just a glib, and on even a moment's reflection, moronic snipe at Obama. It would be disappointing if one had any reason to expect anything better.

Mike - I think I disagree with you on points 3 and 4.

What consequences, in reality, are likely, if Bibi continues on? And what are the triggers? More settlements, clearly are something to jawbone about, but what would behaviour would trigger, at the very least, a diplomatic response?

How far can Israel push the U.S. to support hard-liners in our nation to support hard-liners in thiers?

It is a strange dynamic, but it is real.

Just noting that there is nothing in response to an actual response from Instaglenn confirming what I wrote.

I think there is little short of Israel militarily attacking the US mainland that would kill support for Israel in RW circles (attacks on US military assets abroad demonstrably are insufficient). Maybe conversion to Islam and declaring unwavering allegiance to Osama bin Laden could do it.
---
I think Slarti errs in one point, i.e. that one cannot be at the same time an American and an Israeli:
Don't know about Reynolds but iirc there are people with dual Israeli/US citizenship. Isn't Holy Joe one of them?

Half the internet is consumed with pointing out the errors of others. You really can't launch a blog post every time somebody says something stupid; You'd never do anything else.

Reynolds runs a busy right-wing aggregation blog, useful if you want to see what's happening in the right half of the blogosphere.

Reynolds is pretty patriotic, so I think it's safe to assume the item was supposed to be satire, or snark, or just blowing off steam with a big brain fart. This is not a serious proposal.

Still, Reynolds at least deserves a pie in the face for it.

The loss of human life in a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear weapons program should be easy to minimize. The nuclear facilities and, in fact, the oil fields, are all located away from population centers.

The US could knock out the major nuclear facilities and seize most of the oil fields all with a relatively small number of troops; There is plenty of strategic air power available to defend whatever we seize.

Depriving Iran of oil revenue, while continuing to pump oil, provides infinite leverage. It's the ultimate sanction.

On the other hand, managing the cities, changing the regime, and installing a real democracy would all require a massive ground force that simply is not available.

I cannot imagine someone actually believing what you wrote about, fred. Especially after watching the events in Iraq & Afghanistan over the past ~8 years.

Just a simple matter of bombing their oilfields and nuclear facilities. Easy.

Of course, this presumes:

1) We know where their nuke facilities are - all of 'em.
2) We are unconcerned with their reaction to this sort of attack (either direct or via proxies); and
3) THAT WE HAVE ANY RIGHT AT ALL TO HAUL OFF AND BOMB THE SHIT OUT OF ANY COUNTRY WE PLEASE, BECAUSE THEY MIGHT GET NUCLEAR WEAPONS (meanwhile, we have enough to turn the earth into glass, and Israel "unofficially" has a significant stockpile of her own).

Re: #3, you see, I don't buy the argument that a nuclear Iran is the end of the friggin' world. The regime has shown that it is very interested in self-preservation. They're not gonna nuke anybody. Nor are they going to give Hezbollah or another one of their proxies that sort of power.

In short, I wouldn't want to sit down & have a beer with the leaders of Iran (set aside for a moment that they probably don't drink), but they are not insane.

So, how is it that we can just blithely discuss bombing their country? WTF?

Here's another bit of Insta-stupidity, and these time no can can hedge that he's only asking a question:


Possibly Obama just hates Israel and hates Jews. That’s plausible — certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really.

Obama's actions suggest that he's an anti-Semite. Really, Glenn?

Andrew Sullivan posted that quote from Glenn Reynolds. I sent Andrew the following response:

"Possibly Obama just hates Israel and hates Jews. That’s plausible — certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really,"

Possibly Reynolds just hates Buddhists. That's plausible -- certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really.

Possibly Reynolds is just planning to rob a bank and flee to Argentina. That's plausible -- certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really.

Possibly Reynolds is working secretly for a revival of slavery in America. That's plausible -- certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really.

This is fun. We should start a contest.

John Thullen, where are you?

Possibly John Thullen is unavailable because he's vacationing on the far side of the moon. That's plausible -- certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really.

Possibly Obama just hates Israel and hates Jews. That’s plausible — certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really.

*nods nods*

Only a President who hates Israel and hates Jews would be holding this kind of party at the White House, especially at this time of year.

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