Instapundit notices an increasingly popular Democratic talking point: Lieberman as Secretary of Defense. Of course, there's a slight problem with that rumor. The job's taken, for now. Reynolds links to Kos on this, who acknowledges that such a move would mean Lieberman was switching sides and Gov. Jodi Rell could turn his Senate seat into a Republican incumbency. Still, Kos would be only too happy to "finally get rid of Lieberman."
The Spectacle Blog
John: Perplex away. As I said in my earlier posting, there is substantial popular support for the Iranian nuclear weapons program. No matter who knocks it off, there will be a substantial backlash that -- by covert action -- we can help redirect against the mullahs.
And there is nothing about the existence of any regime that threatens the USA. It is not existence or even policy but only intent and capabilities that turn a loud noise into a threat. Iran's intent is to restore, by violence, their idealized Muslim caliphate. Its capabilities -- by the oil it sells to fund terrorism -- is one kind of threat. It is another entirely if it achieves its nuclear weapons ambitions.
There would be no lessening of anti-American feeling in Iran or anywhere else in the Muslim world if Israel were to make an attack. In fact, it might actually be worse if the Israelis did it than if we did. They are regarded as our proxy in the Middle East. At least when they are not merely labeled the Zionist enemy by the arabs and others.
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.
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.'"
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.
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.
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.
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."
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?