The Spectacle Blog

Re: Changing The Regime

By on 12.5.05 | 5:16PM

First off, Jed, I think you misunderstood my question. I know that a strike on nuclear facilities won't result in regime change; I'm worried that it would retard regime change, and I'm wondering if Israel doing the deed would limit anti-American backlash.

And second, I'm a little perplexed by this sentence: "It matters not who rules Iran if they are no threat to us." The current Iranian regime is by its nature a threat to us -- a terror master, to use Michael Ledeen's phrase. I take it you get this, since you call for covert action to destabilize the regime. What I'm concerned about is the tension between, on the one hand, keeping nukes out of the Mullahs' hands, and on the other hand toppling the Mullahs entirely.

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Delayed Justice

By on 12.5.05 | 4:32PM

Despite what the mainstream media and Democrats are saying now on TV, there is no glass-half-empty message in the decision by a Texas judge to toss the conspiracy charges against Republican leader Tom DeLay, and keep the moneylaundering charge in place. Sure, it would have great if the second charge had been tossed, but in the end, it's one less charge to worry about. This is a win for DeLay without a doubt. He's half-way home. According to one Democratic Hill source, their House leadership acknowledged that this was good news for DeLay on a conference call, "Then they mapped out how they would spin the media on how this was really a huge defeat for him," says the source. "When someone pointed out that this might be tough given that it was one of two charges, the response was, 'The media already hates him, we aren't going to have to sell bad news very hard at all.'"

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Efficiency

By on 12.5.05 | 4:20PM

First Christmas card of the season arrived in today's mail. Who gets this year's prize for the fastest-after-Thanksgiving card? George and Laura Bush. Just a tad faster, if memory serves, than his Dad and Mom's cards from the same address. I have no Christmas card efficiency data on 43's immediate predecessor. I was on their other list.

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Proud Moments

By on 12.5.05 | 4:06PM

As a Connecticut native, I was darn proud of Senator Lieberman last week. Bucking his party on Iraq was the most courageous act by a Connecticut Senator since the 1950s, when a Republican criticized Joe McCarthy, a member of his own party. That senator was Prescott Bush -- grandfather of the President. I haven't seen the current Edward R. Morrow movie, but I'm guessing that Senator Bush's heroism is not referenced there.

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Re: Iranian Nukes

By on 12.5.05 | 2:54PM

John: several points. Yes, Iran is waging a proxy war against us. But it needs nukes to do three things. First, to deter us from taking effective action against them and stopping the proxy war. Second, to threaten Israel and Europe with nuclear-armed missiles. And third, to eventually use them -- through their proxies -- against us to finish their war.

The issue isn't whether we or Israel strike the Iranian nuke facilities. Regime change is not likely to result from either, as there is a substantial portion of the Iranian population that supports the nuke program. The issue is entirely defensive for us or the Israelis. It matters not who rules Iran if they are no threat to us. They are now a threat through their proxies. And that threat will be magnified a hundredfold if they possess deployable nuclear weapons.

What we need to do is -- as I've written several times -- both overtly (as in air strikes to prevent them from achieving nuclear weapons) and covertly (to prevent delivery of Russian SAMs and to destabilize the regime). A thorough plan for action against Iran has to include both. And it had better be put in motion pronto.

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Vietnamizing Iraq (Chapter 2,197)

By on 12.5.05 | 2:30PM

Now we have it officially from Howlin' Howie Dean: the U.S. will not win in Iraq. Here are the money quotes from a radio hit he did earlier today with a Texas station:

"I've seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, 'just another year, just stay the course, we'll have a victory.' Well, we didn't have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening."

"I think we need a strategic redeployment over a period of two years...Bring the 80,000 National Guard and Reserve troops home immediately. They don't belong in a conflict like this anyway. We ought to have a redeployment to Afghanistan of 20,000 troops, we don't have enough troops to do the job there and its a place where we are welcome. And we need a force in the Middle East, not in Iraq but in a friendly neighboring country to fight (terrorist leader Musab) Zarkawi, who came to Iraq after this invasion. We've got to get the target off the backs of American troops."

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Iranian Nukes

By on 12.5.05 | 2:04PM

Iran is waging a proxy war against us in Iraq, and they don't need nukes to do it. Regime change is the thing. I wrote in August that if the NIE is correct, we have time to seriously pursue regime change before a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities (a strike that could seriously complicate the relationship between the US and Iran's dissident population). But El Baradei's statement that he agrees with the dire assessment of Israeli intel is the latest in a long line of data points that suggest ample reason to fear that the NIE is way off.

So, Jed: What are the relative prospects for regime change after an American strike vs. after an Israeli strike? Do the military obstacles to an Israeli strike outweigh its relative geopolitical utility?

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Re: In the Real World…

By on 12.5.05 | 1:13PM

Bill Richardson has been dining out on his draft story for decades. When the Albuquerque Journal contacted people who had described Richardson as a drafted baseball star in written material and asked them why they had done that (the lie found its way into at least one book via Richardson's yarn-spinning to a sports writer), their response was to say that Richardson had told them that and they believed him. So when Richardson says that he got the impression that he was drafted from "a program" produced by the Cape Cod summer league team he played for he is blowing more smoke: Who supplied the bogus information that found its way into the program? Richardson did, or Tufts university baseball officials he had misled. Not wanting the facts to get in the way of a good story, Richardson couldn't bring himself to tell people a more scaled-down version of being almost drafted.

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Leatherman?

By on 12.5.05 | 12:08PM

Dave: the problem with relying on the Israelis for this is that their airpower is severely limited by lack of tanker aircraft. I'm sure they'd like to do the required job on Iran, but the Iranian nuke facilities are dispersed, hardened, and not susceptible of short-range aircraft attack. And once the Russian double-digit SAMs are in place Israel will be out of options. They can't spell B-2 over there. Stealth is the answer. Now, what was the question?

On the other hand, remember the Brit SBS motto: if not by strength, then guile.

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Re: In the Real World…

By on 12.5.05 | 11:25AM

Dave: It's even better than lying. What could Richardson possibly be saying when he claims, "I had been told by various scouts that I would be drafted if I signed." What in heck is that supposed to mean? If you sign with a team, that precludes your being drafted. The normal (sane) procedure is that you're drafted and then sign. The other way around is an impossibility. A Clinton lawyer might claim that what Richardson meant is that the scounts were telling him he'd be drafted if he signed with them. But scouts aren't agents. Maybe Richardson learned to talk that way during his trips to North Korea.

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