The Spectacle Blog

Containing Iran

By on 8.14.06 | 1:20PM

Writing in the Atlantic Monthly (subscription required), Jonathan Rauch argues:

Here are some things we have seen before: a nuclear-armed country with a brittle and aggressive ideology, world-revolutionary aspirations, and a belief in the historic inevitability of its triumph against a decadent and ultimately hollow West. In that country, an unpopular and divided regime, with hard-liners and relative pragmatists squabbling for influence. A crumbling resource-dependent economy. A paranoid worldview in which America is an omnipresent military and ideological threat. A tactical predilection for supporting and manipulating insurgent proxies around the world, rather than engaging in direct confrontations. Above all, a belief that nuclear weapons are strategically essential to deter the United States and maintain national prestige. . . .

Ahmadinejad and Hitler

By on 8.14.06 | 12:29PM

Over at RealClearPolitics, John McIntyre points out some of the eerie similarities as well as differences between Ahmadinejad and Hitler, following the Wallace interview:

I found his answers to Wallace extremely cunning, crafty and dangerous. You can almost hear Hitler spouting out "grievances" of the Sudentland Germans and the Germans in Danzig/> when you hear Ahmadinejad take up for the Palestinians, Lebanese, and Iraqis. Granted, Hitler controlled one of the most powerful and advanced societies in the world by the late-1930's, and Ahmadinejad's Iran/>/> is far lower on the scale as a threat to project force. However, Ahmadinejad is making a play in many ways to speak for the world's one billion "aggrieved" Muslims, where Hitler only professed to speak on behalf of a mere 100 million Germans.

The Left on Terror: What, Me Worry?

By on 8.14.06 | 11:35AM

When conservatives accuse anti-war liberals of being unserious about the War on Terror, liberals respond that they take the terrorist threat very seriously and want to be tough on terrorism, but that they just oppose the Iraq War because it is a distraction. Two recent postings on DailyKos, the online headquarters of the Netroots Left that has taken over the party with the victory of Ned Lamont, provide contrary evidence. The first posting pokes fun at the U.S./>/> decision to ban liquids in response to the recent thwarted terrorist plot in which 10 airplanes were to be blown up. A taste:

 The Bush administration doesn't go far enough for me…

 Obviously, terrorists use airplanes.  So please ... just shut down the airlines already…

‘Nazi Kikes Out of Lebanon’

By on 8.14.06 | 11:11AM

So reads one sign at the "Stop the U.S.-Israeli War" rally held in San Francisco over the weekend. That and plenty more similar images captured by Zombie (including photos of people waving Hezbollah and Hamas flags and dressing up as terrorists).

What's most striking is that in the past, most anti-Israel protesters attempted to hide their anti-Semitism by framing it as merely being anti-Israel. But now, no such pretense exists.

Meanwhile, Little Green Footballs has similar images from DC and demonstrates how the mainstream media whitewashes the protests to only show images to make the rally seem family-friendly.

Same lesson as Mike Wallace's interview with Iran's Ahmadinejad: as long as you hate President Bush, you get a free pass for hating Jews as well.

Re: America, Land of the ‘So-Called’ Free

By on 8.14.06 | 12:05AM

Thanks, Philip, for the martyrdom operation of enduring that fawning and preposterous ritual which seems to have been Mike Wallace's interview with the Devil's version of Ringo Starr. One of the casualties of being without television is missing these segments for the ages. Iran is quite clearly a monster state in a way not even North Korea, in its fuddy-duddy condition of insularity, can accomplish. Pyongyang is but the mad laboratory in the world's basement.

And people are kidding themselves if they think that any of this would be acceptable or even more acceptable with Saddam Hussein carrying on. I suppose the same wicked Americans who supported Iraq against Iran while they duked it out in the eighties are nothing at all like modern critics who would look so well on a Sunni-Shia nuclear arms race rather than what we have now? Events threaten to outpace a levelheaded digestion of our memories of them. I take a dip here on the Iranian impact upon a judgment of failure in Iraq. We all need a plunge of disciplined remembrance.

The Outrage of the Week

By on 8.13.06 | 11:13PM

So, I'm hanging out with a lot of happy midwesterners at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Enjoying my Paul Bunyan breakfasts and waterparks galore. Everything is just lovely until I page through the funnies and run into this gem from Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller:

"Everyone here is granted one wish? That's so cool!"

"Well, not always. See that man over there? He was a strict constitution originalist on the Supreme Court and wished to see all the amendments removed."

"Clarence, be a good slave and fetch me some coffee."


"And who's that guy who owns him?"

"That's Antonin Scalia. He made the same wish."

Now, let me tell you something. There's ugly and there's stupid. And there's ugly and stupid. This comic by Wiley Miller hits on both cylinders.

America: Land of the ‘So-Called’ Free

By on 8.13.06 | 9:26PM

I just got finished watching Mike Wallace's interview with Iran's Ahmadinejad on "60 Minutes," and it was one of the most pathetic, most offensive, examples of American journalism I have ever seen. Wallace was so desperate to come out of retirement to interview the modern day Hitler that he was willing to become his propagandist.

He allowed Ahmadinejad to portray himself as a loving father of three who enjoys reading and exercise and supports human rights and an end to oppression. If only President Bush didn't spend so much money on war, we could all live in peace.

At no point did Wallace challenge Ahmadinejad on the severe human rights abuses within Iran (for instance, the recent beating and arrest of hundreds of women's right's activists by Iranian police).

Saved By Islam, Or Something

By on 8.11.06 | 7:15PM

There are so many left-footed and left-handed little outrages packed into the stock phrase now used to describe our blessed terror-plot tipster (Pakistani, I think) that one has to crack open a beer to properly take, well, stock.

Indeed we should all be heaping praise and benedictions upon the person who saw fit to save, as it happens, hundreds of innocent lives from rending immolation above the deep-water Atlantic Ocean this August 16th. But this person has been dubbed by a battery of major news outlets, in typical psittacine fashion, "a worried member of the Muslim community."