Friday, June 20, 2008

Strip Tease Redux

The recent kiss and make up betwixt Little Satan and the HAMAS Strip is just the latest in an elaborate strip tease of regional proportions

The world's very first freely elected suicide gov spins it like a win for innocent civilians trapped in a time traveling semi caliphate where death is precious, praised and preferred, stubborn resistence and a def smack down for those wicked wacky neocons and infidel Fatah leaders sucking up to Great Satan and Little Satan

"There is no doubt that the forces of peace and reason on all sides have
won against the forces of bellicosity, hatred and terror, especially in
Washington and Tel Aviv and some other regional capitals as well.

The people of Gaza, the victims of American-Israeli criminality, are
undoubtedly the biggest winners of this deal. At least, they can breathe again,
following 18 nightmarish months of unimagined brutality and ruthlessness

In addition to the gung-ho neocons in Washington and war-drummers in Tel
Aviv who wanted to exterminate Hamas, not a small amount of consternation is
also likely to be permeating now in Ramallah where a Zionized group within Fatah
had been hoping to see the Israeli army overrun Gaza, murder hundreds, and then
hand Gaza over to the Fatah leadership on a silver platter."

HAMAS also says a hudna v4.0 could be good for biz even if Little Satan is a serpentine zionist entity and undeserving of good faith, spokescat Khalid Amayreh realises that the state must hold the monopoly on violence and magically appearing civilian militia rocket artillery brigades in innocent civilian rich turf may not get the PLOld School wink and a smile.

"Hamas should make meticulous efforts to preserve the ceasefire since doing so is
first and foremost a supreme and paramount Palestinian interest.

Hamas should also make it abundantly clear to the military wings of other
Palestinian factions that the security and safety of the people of Gaza must not
be subject to the whims of this or that faction."

And a hudna is good for biz. Like collecting jizrah from foreigners.

"In fact, preserving the ceasefire would send a positive message to the
international community that Hamas is responsible organization with which
"business can be made."

Moreover, a careful abidance by the agreement on Hamas’s part would show
good- will toward Egypt whose support and backing is essential for the survival
of the Gaza Strip, at least at this juncture of the Palestinian struggle for
freedom and liberation from Zionism."

Total smokescreen too. Nary a word about returning abducted citizens.

Super fly smart guy Michael Oren (6 Days of War is worth the price of admission - Faith and Fantasy is nigh essential) disses the smoke and cuts right to it.

"It represents a historic accomplishment for the jihadist forces most
opposed to peace, and defeat for the Palestinians who might still have been
Israel's partners.

Since Little Satan split the Strip way back in '05 and hiked up 'the wall.' Hamas surged in a post electile dysfunction bliss that not only featured an armed coup de tat, the box set blings over an entire K - one thousand! - missiles, rockets and mortars fired at a sovereign democratic neighbor.

The resulting Hudna gave HAMAS breathing space to raid into Little Satan and capture citizens of a sovereign democratic neighbor which audaciously emboldened Hiz'B'Allah to act out in on the act.

"Hamas now felt sufficiently emboldened to overthrow Gaza's Fatah-led
government, and to declare itself regnant in the Strip. Subsequently, Hamas
launched thousands more rocket and mortar salvos against Israel, rendering parts
of the country nearly uninhabitable.

Israel never mounted the rolling, multi-month operation that the IDF had
. Traumatized by his abortive performance in the Lebanon War, hobbled
by financial scandals, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert balked at a military
engagement liable to result in incalculable casualties and United Nations
condemnations, but unlikely to halt Hamas aggression.

Like Hezbollah in 2006, Hamas won because it did not lose. Its leaders
still walked Gaza's streets freely while children in Sderot and other Israeli
border towns cowered in bomb shelters. Like Hezbollah, which recently wrested
unprecedented powers from the Lebanese parliament, Hamas parlayed its military
success into political capital.

The Egyptian-brokered cease-fire yields Hamas greater benefits than it
might have obtained in direct negotiations. In exchange for giving its word to
halt rocket attacks and weapons smuggling, Hamas receives the right to monitor
the main border crossings into Gaza and to enforce a truce in the West Bank,
where Fatah retains formal control.

If quiet is maintained, then Israel will be required to accept a cease-fire
in the West Bank as well. Hamas can regroup and rearm."

This is significant - and where Iran becomes the cat behind the green curtain. This is a great op for the mullahs and their IRGC fanboys to reinforce success (since it looks like Mahdi Army totally sucked at anything other than getting their militia annihilated, incarcerated or co opted).

Taking control of West Bank (Judea in Little Satan speak) will grant Iran frontline access to Little Satan.

Zooming out of Little Satan and her twin client states of the Strip and WB, Iran is deploying her regional assets in a Persian Chess move.

"As the primary sponsor of Hamas, Iran is the cease-fire's ultimate
beneficiary. Having already surrounded Israel on three of its borders -- Gaza,
Lebanon, Syria -- Iran is poised to penetrate the West Bank.

By activating these fronts, Tehran can divert attention from its nuclear program
and block any diplomatic effort.

The advocates of peace between Israelis and Palestinians should recognize that fact when applauding quiet at any price. The cost of this truce may well be war".

Several advocates tend to disregard any jazz about a Persian dominated crescent from Iran to the Med as make believe and way off base for Persian Grand Strategy.

Either way - is Iran buying time to finish WMD witchraft and psychicly determine who Great Satan's electile dysfunction climaxes for in Nov?

With Lebanon devoured, attacking Little Satan could very well be Persia's check move.

Til Iran gets all nukey.


Nikki said...

Iran will wait because if Obama wins then its lunch and a latte with the big man. They'll play b-ball and discuss how Iran needs to play nicer with the kids. Iran will laugh. Here comes the fun. :)N

Skunkfeathers said...

Iran simply waits for now, to see if Great Satan is truly fool enough to make Obama the closet Islamic Messiah, so Iran can make hay in the Middle East, and continue jihad against the Great Satan, while Obama sits on his (and Jimmy Carter's) hands, claiming that it was Dubya making Iran mad in the first place, and it's his fault that Obama can't get along with Iran now, despite all of his efforts at appeasing the 21st Century Hitler.

Neville Chamberlain, you have a shadow.

Ben Sutherland said...

Is there really evidence, Courtney, that Iran is planning some kind of invasion of Israel? I see lots of conjecture. But the evidence looks slim.

It's significant, because it is easy to ratchet up aggression by rationalizing fears as realities. It's how most 2-bit repressive cultures and nations operate. It's not worthy of Great Satan. We should expect something better.

If there's more substantial evidence, I'll listen. At this point, I don't buy it. Ahmadinejad definitely talks a big game, but, at best, he supports others to do the dirty work. This is no Hitler and his Imperial Wehrmacht. This is a petty little tyrant who can and likely will be removed from power by a thoroughly dysfunctional but still operative democracy, where even his own Ayatollah is dissatisfied with him.

There is no military solution out of the Israel and Palestinian conflict. We've tried. There's nothing but dead ends.

Dealing with Hamas is far from ideal. But they are the people to deal with, right now. It would not be so were it not for occupation, which has rallied Palestinians to the cause of Hamas. I have to sit and listen to Americans, for God's sakes, rationalize the murderous ways of Hamas because they so hate the occupation. I know, I know. It's a matter of Israeli security. I say that every time I have that conversation with a leftist friend. But they and most Gaza folks who support those assholes will cite that occupation every time for why they support Hamas.

Resolving that issue is the only way out. Everything else is an illusion. There is no climactic battle where Israel and America triumph over their Iranian, Palestinian, and every other enemy. It does exist. It coult not exist. It's a fantasy.

The only way out is a peace agreement. Ehud Barack got to eat shit on his effort with Camp David. And then I got to listen to all sorts of leftists about how Palestinians are really in good faith even though they won't ever sign a fuckin' deal. Mahmoud Abbas is the best faith Palestinian leader we've ever dealt with. I have substantially more confidence under Abbas than under Arafat that we can get a deal.

Hamas is the sticking point. The cease fire is a start. If they were democratically elected by Palestinians in the last election, this would all be much easier. I have serious doubts of their democratic intentions, today, which is a place to begin while dealing with their regime. They need to have democratic elections, at some point. The international community should be talking that up. Many Gaza citizens feel like they live in a prison, today, so that is a sign that perhaps they might elect another government. That would make a huge difference.

But the reality, right now, is that they support those assholes because of occupation. So if Israel could finally sign an agreeement with Abbas about withdrawing the occupation (and resolving other more serious issues, as well, of course, including security efforts to protect Israeli as well as Palestinian citizens over areas that Fatah has power; they need to have democratic elections sometime soon, too, by the way), then it might begin to whittle away support for Hamas and prompt either a new result in democratic elections (a process that Hamas will likely resist if they think they're going to lose; we should be prepared for that) or prompt Palestinians to wrestle control of Gaza from Hamas in other ways (a Fatah incursion would require much more overwhelming popular support for such a move by Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, for such a move to be ultimately successful and not some exercise if very dangerous and counterproductive futility, inspiring more support for Hamas and undermining support for Fatah).

Israel nor America could never in their wildest dreams do any of this, at all, I'm afraid, nevertheless on their own. Hamas is not as strong as they are because of their weaponry. Their weaponry sucks. They are as strong as they are because Palestinian hatred for Israel, the occupation, their brutal past, etc. is so strong and Hamas is engaged in an active fight with Israel for that cause. If you tried to take out Hamas leadership, at this point, they would easily be replaced because Palestinians support this cause so strongly. And their support would strengthen and does strengthen each time Israel engages militarily (that doesn't mean that we always avoid military exercises that are necessary; it means we discriminate better between what military exercises are necessary and helpful and which ones make things worse).

There is no real resolution to this issue outside of the peace table. Every other option is a tragic exercise in futility. More people die. And we're no closer to anything that finally brings some close to this foolish, tragic period in history. We fight. They fight. More people die. More people support fighting on each side. Kids are born. They are taught to fight and to support the fighting. They watch people die. Their support strengthens. They have more kids. They do the same. They have more kids. They do the same. Round and round and round and round and round and fucking round. It will not end without a peace deal.

We don't do the cause of security for Israeli citizens or Palestinians citizens or anyone service by poo-pooing every effort to get to an end-game on this one, or by making Iran look more powerful than they really are.

We do that cause service by keeping our eye on the ball and getting to an end-game with a peace deal, which is what Olmert is working on. It's encouraging, when I think about it, to see a Likud prime minister so committed to peace. Israel can reserve her right to enforce a peace while they are at it. She doesn't have to sign over her right to self-defense in the deal. They are not mutually exclusive. But a peace deal creates the framework for a more sustainable security that fighting will never resolve. We have almost 90 years of experience to correct his delusion for us.

Israel can try otherwise. In which case, I don't cry for Israeli citizens who die supporting that bullshit. They know better. You support a policy that gets more Israeli citizens killed, you deal with the fuckin' consequences. Same goes for Palestinians. I'm tired of listening to people whine about how wronged they are and how the only way out is more warfare and then watch their neighbors and family members die and then do the whole thing all over again for fuckin' 90 years and then tell me how this really is the only solution. It's insanity. But, more importantly, it's bullshit. Too fuckin' bad, at a certain point, if you can't get your head out of your ass and start supporting efforts that get us somewhere.

We got 6 months, unless we negotiate another agreement. We still got those soldiers in there to get out (I hope). We have indirect peace talks with Syria with the possibility of direct peace talks, which peels away Syria from Iran. Something has to be done in Lebanon. If they want to avoid more civil war and military confrontation, which they apparently want to do, then progress on Israel and Palestine will help since Hezbollah's excuse for its presence in Lebanon is resisting a possible Israeli occupation. But they should consider a military confrontation with the help of international forces, I think, since the Lebanese government does not have a monopoly on force and may likely be at a disadvantage. Creating political space for a group to operate is not the same thing as letting them murder and bully with impugnity. It is a political move meant to moderate and undermine popular support for terrorist activities, not a conference of legitimacy and obviously not a license to thug as one pleases. A political process and military and law enforcement collaborative efforts are not mutually exclusive. To the contrary, they very much reinforce one another. And the Lebanese government should consider such an effort in their home country, securing the help of outside forces to win an advantage of overwhelming military power. You make progress in Syria, Gaza, and, at some point, Lebanon, Iran ain't got shit. They got all kinds of bluster from some ridiculously incompetent holocaust denier who is losing support from even his most conservative and high-power buddies, largely because of his provocative posture towards America and the West, democratic elections that he will likely lose, an Ayatollah who seems to be losing his appetite for provocation towards the West, and the pursuit of a nuclear weapon that we would, at best, be able to postpone while simultaneously shoring up support for Ahmadinejad and hardliners with a military strike. We win a strategic battle, in that scenario, and lose the much more important political battle. It's short-sighted and goddamned foolish.

And it treats this 2-bit, petty tyrant as the important big-man that he wants to be treated as. He doesn't deserve it. And he doesn't warrant it. So I have no clue why we'd want to give him the attention and drama that he seeks. Unless it, somehow, would facilitate his end. Which it does not and has clearly failed to do and proven counterproductive in doing in the past. The more we threaten him, the more Iranians who would otherwise vote him out of office support him. And the more ambitiously they pursue nukes.

Israel could pursue that path if she wants. But it does seem to me that what should separate grown-ups from the likes of Hezbollah is that we actually admit when we fail, we don't pretend that things are okie-dokie while we're suckin' it up.

And absent an active peace effort in this situation, we have been seriously eating shit. And there is no good reason to pretend otherwise because it makes it makes our mamas feel better.

The Israelis are doing the right thing. They're trying to get this thing turned around. They got 6 months to work with, for now. Let's hope they use it wisely.

Right Truth said...

"And a hudna is good for biz. Like collecting jizrah from foreigners."

True words Courtney. They promise to be good little terrorists, call off the dogs, get paid .... Then return to their natural state.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Findalis said...

The so-called truce is Hamas' way of rearming and resupplying itself. Israel waits and watches, trains its forces and knows that just one rocket or other attack and the dogs of war will be unleashed.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Hi Ben. Consider - Syria, and now Lebanon - thanks to HBA (itself a mullah made militia way back in the last millenium) pretty much mean Little Satan's north 40 is lined with enemies - who cannot even say Little Satan's real name out loud.

Now - add in the recent fact that HAMAS has made it thru the funding game thanks to Iran - that rockets made in Iran magically appear in Gaza, Hiz'B'Allah cadre appears in Gaza and a very real case is made that Iran is flexing her regional semi and non state actors to act out.

So - if internat'l pressure gets too hot about nukey stuff - then Persia can unleash the actors to act out - diverting attention away. Just like HBA did in that retarded rocket way of July August 06.

Actually - a case could be made that there is a military solution to Palestine and it happened in 1967 and was bona fided again in 1973..

Palestinian refugees? YAWN. History is not so kind to nations that repeatedly attack their neighbors and repeatedly lose.

Deutschland is a great example. Look at a map of Deutschland in like 1908. Then czech it with one today. What the heck happened? Why Deutschland shrunk by like 25%!

Ever hear of Deutschers detonating themselves protesting Polish rule over Danzig? Or Greeks attacking schools in Smyrna for a right of return? Nope. Why cause?

Because. Europa absorbed those refugees - nigh unto 8 million! Seems only fair that 22 Arab states with nearly with a pop of almost 350 million sharing the same language, culture and customs can certainly absorb less than 8 million folks

Except that Palestiniand have the highest literacy rate among all Arab nations! Plus - they have a history of voting in real elections. Obviously, their pitiful Arab neighboring depotries do NOT want an influx of democratically saavy smart ppl moving in.

Besides - a far better case could be made that all this on again off again roadmaps, Sharm Al Sheiks, Oslo's, Madrid etc - make the prob worse - not better.

Essentially the only thing that hasn't been tried is out right annexation - a case for 'Greater Israel"

Iran tends to use the Palestinian issue to gain support for all those rocket rich rejectionist groups that tend to sprout up in Arab lands and eventually usurp their own Govs. Threatened neighbors tend to point to Little Satan and the 'Peace Process' as a way out.

An Iranian invasion? Not per se. But an attack by Little Satan's neighbors beholden to Persian masters featuring tons of militias, movements and 'refugees'?

Yeah - it's an option for the mullahs - no doubt.

Ben Sutherland said...

"Actually - a case could be made that there is a military solution to Palestine and it happened in 1967 and was bona fided again in 1973."

Where's the solution, Courtney? By ignoring all the history that came after those wars? Hardly convincing. And that's what you'd have to do to make that case. Because there is zero solution to be found in that aftermath. If there was, you and I wouldn't be debating/discussing it today. It'd just be done.

No offense, Courtney, but if you really think that you will be able to annex Palestine, you are woefully naive about international politics. Not only would America, Europe, and the great majority of the world powers fight such an effort, but Arab nations would as well. Noone would sit by and watch that happen. But it's not even a real option for Israelis who know better, so it's really just academic debate.

You need to study, more, what Israelis have already done to Palestinians who occupied those lands. Hardly a yawn. Murder and plunder is more like it. You can rationalize that all you want. But you hardly become better than the Hitler you so despise when you do. You need to think about about what you argued, here, Courtney, when peoples' lives are at stake. That kind of callousness is what has already got us into this mess. We need far less of it, not more of it.

Luckily, this is why we have a more responsible political process that makes sure that such recklessness is made less likely.

You can't aspire to do work in this area, Courtney, and talk so lightly about peoples' lives. Many of those Palestinians are innocent folks who are lost in this war, as well. Too many people have been murdered, here, to yawn at their fates.

Thankfully, there is no Israeli government, conservative or liberal who would act so recklessly. For all of its faults, democratic politics does offer us that little bit of sanity. Israeli conservatives can talk recklessly and foolishly all they want to. It won't translate into policy because cooler heads make the decisions, thankfully.

Iran supporting proxies is just not even in the same league as Nazis running over Europe. It's an analogy. It's a poor one. The threat that radical Islam offers is a very serious one. Serious enough that we need to make more careful and thoughtful distinctions. And that analogy just doesn't fit. A cold war analogy would be stronger, with proxy wars fought by stronger powers, but with a power that is far less powerful than our Soviet adversary, and with far more opportuities for power to change hands, in Iran, Lebanon, and Gaza. It's a far weaker, totalitarian threat with a democratic process that offers regular elections to change leadership. It's still, largely, a diplomatic challenge. James Baker and Brent Scowcroft would tell you the same thing, and they would be right. And they have nothing to defend in the poor handling of this issue by either Israeli leaders or the current Administration.

These psychos in Hamas and Hezbollah won't go away with democratic elections, and, as much as reasonably possible, they need to be brought to justice, and killed only when necessary. The politics is about finding smarter ways to do that, rather than going for the easier but dumber options, including sympathizing with them or thinking that you can wipe them and all of their supporters off the map. Neither are workable options and both create more problems than they solve, in addition to killing innocent people or letting innocent people die.

Going psycho on these folks does not remove the threat. The threat comes from political support for their activities.

And what you just described is THE most popular source of support for these assholes.

You can't play warfare without better understanding the politics. Or, rather, you can, and then you get to deal with all of the ugly consequences. Smart generals understand that. Everyone else gets to answer to more reasonable civilian leadership.

But there really isn't anyone in the political leaderships, here, who would act so recklessly.

Democratic politics, for all of its faults, does tend to work out in the end. It just takes it an awful goddamn long time to get there.

This situation is no different.

You've got a lot of different groups, here, with a common enemy. Israel has a lot of responsibility to take on much of this, sadly, for all of the bullshit that she has been through. She did take a lot of land. She did kill and dislocate a lot of people. Arabs have fought wars of aggression with her. Palestinians have rationalized the killing of her innocent civilians to get better land deals.

But that leaves us with today. And today, we have to get a peace agreement that provides for a workable security. The plan you just offerred would be roundly rejected and fought militarily by almost every major world power. And for good reason. Israel has done quite enough damage in that region to allow it to engage in more and lead to a much longer history of renewed fighting with her neighbors, which is exactly what that plan would realisitically unleash (it is very tempting to think that overwhelming military force means that your enemies stop fighting you; if there is any situation that would more openly challenge that notion, this should be the one to any reasonable observer).

Israel is not an innocent in this fight. She is in better faith. But she is not innocent. She has much blood and ugliness on her hands, that her apologists can dissemble about and rationalize, all they want, and it still doesn't make it go away.

Arab and Palestinian aggression and muderous ways have been worse, I think. And I take Israel's better faith seriously.

What we need, now, is for these sullied actors to sit down and work out an agreement that offers more genuine security for all parties involved. Reconciliation will happen much later over a much, much longer period of time. Today, we need a peace agreement that finally puts this ugly legacy of trying, fruitlessly, to resolve this matter militarily and with the death of far too many innocents, on all parties' parts, behind us.

A two state solution with and end to the occupation and security measures to assure innocent civilians are no longer murdered and terrorists are brought to justice, as much as possible, is a good start. The right of return, the fate of Jerusalem and various holy sites, the fate of the Golan Heights, and other issues will need to be resolved, at some point. But those core issues of a two-state solution, an end to occupation, and security for Israel and Palestine are the most significant.

This is the direction we'll be taking, Courtney. Because it is the only direction that will take us anywhere. Guaranteed. I'll bet you a quarter. And then I'll buy you ice cream:).

It is fascinating to explore the alternatives openly, though, I think, Courtney. Except for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost (a conservative estimate, without a doubt), it would seem a cleaner route out of this mess. I sure would like a clean way out of this mess. There just isn't a workable option, is the truth.

That is one of the many very serious issues with assymetrical warfare. The difference between Israel and Palestine, today, and Germany and Japan, post-WWII, is that those folks would accept defeat. These assholes just won't ever accept defeat. They're beat, in the big picture. They just won't accept it. And if there were a workable way to force them to accept defeat, I'd be in favor of it. There just is no real workable option in that direction.

It would make geopolitics so much easier and less complicated, is the truth.

But, then, again, that is why people always turn to it. And why it always fails. Because the truth is that politics, democratic or otherwise, just is more complicated than all of that. And the use of military force very frequently only makes that more so, not less so. That's why we have to be so careful about how we engage it and use that option. Iraq is plenty illustration of that point. The question is do we learn the lesson or not, not whether the lesson is clearly there for us to learn.

What I'm learning, Courtney, is that though we don't learn these lessons enough to my satisfaction, most of the time, we learn it enough that we move a little bit forward with each effort and with each generation.

This conflict will be no different.

By the way, I have several times that if Palestinians were to forever balk at peace efforts, that I would personally work to wipe them the fuck off the map, if they can't learn to live with their neighbor. When push comes to shove, if this were really a caged match and only one fighter comes out alive, Israel is my fighter and I would risk my life for her cause. So I have much sympathy to that impulse. When you see just how hateful some Palestinians can be toward Israel, America, and the West, and the psychotic nature of radical Islam, generally, and watch how far more generous Israelis are, generally, with their murdering, terrorist counterparts, it's hard not to want to wipe a fuck load of people right off the fuckin' map, I think.

It just isn't workable, as policy. And, luckily, it's not necessary. Because they will strike a peace deal, probably sooner rather than later, I would imagine, Courtney. Either Ehud Barak and Mahmoud Abbas (the more likely duo to accomplish this, I think), or Tzipi Livni will get her chance with Abbas. It might take another election cycle or two, but there is much reason to believe that Ehud Barak (or perhaps another Labor leader) and Mahmoud Abbas could get in place a workable agreement by the end of a Barack tenure, if he were to run and win the prime ministership in the next election. Ehud Olmert has laid a lot of very important groudwork and should and will be recognized for doing so. Livni could be the one who seals a deal. I, personally, don't care who does it as long as it comes sooner rather than later. Both those leaders would understand the security challenges well enough, I would hope, to be able to work out a deal that looks out for Israel's most serious interests: the lives of her citizens.

Here's my suggestion.

You bet me a quarter. And then winner buys the loser ice cream or the treat of his/her choice (notice that I put his, first, since I'm more than willing to be wrong on any and every question of serious policy, or just anything, since I'm a damned fool on most questions in my life:)

And then we'll talk about how Israel and Lebanon can work out a collaborative security agreement where they, together, under the auspices of the U.N. and international forces, undermine and coopt Hezbollah and her forces once and for all. Or other ideas you might have.

And about what to do about North Korea. The nuke situation we're getting under control, I think. The bigger question is how to open up that regime and free up her people. As with China, I think this will involve constructive engagement.

But that doesn't mean that we act like we really like those Communist thugs, like Dr. Fukuyama. That thug-hugger can fuck off until he can take some responsibility for rationalizing that totalitarian regime and all it's bullshit.

But, if you win, you better buy me really good fuckin' ice cream, and plenty of sprinkles, because I'm a sore loser, Courtney, and I'll need something to take my mind off my wounded ego:).

Have you seen FITNA, yet, Courtney? Geert Wilders' film about the Koran? It's very good. Many shared clips between FITNA and Obsession, which leads me to believe that perhaps Obsession was bring a slightly more thoughtful and responsible message to a broader audience. But FITNA is definitely worth view, I think (you can get it or part of it on Google video, but I bet on Youtube, as well). There's a beheading scene that they do not show in toto in FITNA that I saw in toto on Liveleak and is the most revolting thing I have ever seen in my life (it is one of the rare footages of violence that I think I would just as well not see ever again, it turned my stomach so).

It's a good reminder of what murderous, psychotic fucknuts we are dealing with.

I got to figure out how I might work military service into my life. One of a million things to decide on this summer.

Hope you're doing well, Courtney.

Talk later.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

OK Ben, Let's see here:

Nothing naive or callous Just saying history doesn't tend to play around with battlefield victories.

Also this 'mess' has been addressed almost nonstop since 1973 - and note that Egypt and Jordan didn't follow a roadmap or summit - they needed peace.

Seems like all the on again off again Peace talks are fueling radicals - not disarming them.

Battlefields determine negotiations. Except of course for Palestine. Like their magical one of a kind nonbinding UN reso that they are indeed totally and completely diff from any refugees in history - with their very own exclusive Refugee agency at the UN no less.

The case for Greater Israel may be tinged by beyond repair by ancient events like 6 Day War and Yom Kippor War.

But a current event like a war against Little Satan - like the one HAMAS just hudna'd could re open that case.

In fact - consider briefly the 2 state deal. By def that would mean sovereign airspace, military forces like Air defense batteries, naval forces standing armies and in the strip - all under control of HAMAS. Doesn't sound so good.

Prob mean war and prob mean another occupation. And this time Little Satan may not be so jazzed about handing it over to anyone else.

Annexation would be a very real and a very historically correct move.

Since Egypt was totally helpless when a guestimated 750K Strippers made it into Pyramidland to snag ciggy puffs, snazzy new moto bikes and try to trek to Cairo to meet hot girls when they busted out in January - seems like Pres Hosni could help evacuate innocents from combat areas

That would have a bit of support here in the Great Satan (after all not much effective outcry about forcably removing settlers from Gaza back in 05) - might take a return to the old school defensible borders and some killer PR - but a great case could be made -- like this poll from Palestine in January about 62% of Palestinians would prefer to live in Little Satan than ANY future Palestinian state.

Fact is til HAMAS is ran out of office and Palestinians have a real choice - and this is where the internat'l cats can play big time - setting up, funding and feeding tolerant, egalitarian style poli parties (and include an armed wing - seems all the reage) for defending the party and it's members from the HAMAS.

This would include multiple media outlets all designed to marginalize HAMAS and constantly point out that intolerance is getting the Strip nothing but heartache.

Mix in a few special ops and a real chance could happen. Might take time - but to be fair the Palestinians have been granted a magical refugee status that is hardly realistic and that outlook needs to be changed.

A Palestine Peace deal though is all academic, true.

Rather than attempting to read Palestinian tea leaves, anyone who cares about the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace should be looking to European capitals, to the US election in November and perhaps also to the leadership crisis in Israel.

If the current too-little-too-late approach toward Iran continues, everyone knows that Iran will get the bomb, radical forces in the region will automatically be strengthened, and current peace efforts will fail - among many other negative consequences for the region and the world.

Fortunately, there is also no doubt that the situation can be changed given a modicum of willingness in the West to act upon its values and interests. While less than 1 percent of Europe's trade is with Iran, 40 percent of Iran's trade is with Europe.

The Iranian regime is unpopular and vulnerable to determined economic and diplomatic isolation and, as a last resort, its nuclear program is vulnerable to military measures.

Dealing with Iran may seem like a round-about way to address an Little Satan-Palestinian impasse, but the refusal to see the Iranian angle actually reveals other blinders. Granting radical mohammedism a nuclear umbrella would not just end any prospects for Arab-Israeli peace but would launch a regional nuclear arms race, jack up the price of oil, spell doom for moderate Lebanese, Iraqis and Palestinians, presage attempts to destabilize Arab regimes and invite a new rash of terrorism in Western countries.

No amount of putting out fires will stop a pyromaniac. While dealing with the pyromaniac may be daunting, there is no choice, and it also presents the opportunity, if successful, of advancing many situations at once. If the Iranian regime falls or is forced into a Libyan-style capitulation, the prospects for regional and global peace, freedom and security will be dramatically enhanced.

It is not just the future of Israelis and Palestinians that hangs in the balance

Hope you make a good decision about military stuff. Service to something larger than self is very American and commendable. Any partic branch?

The Air Force has been after me and looks like the Navy may start up soon.

An ice cream bet? Too smooth Ben! Too smooth! Sometimes cussing may seem legit but it can be a real turn off in debates or casual conversation.

Yeah I saw bits of Gert's vid - but too be honest - mohammedism - pro or con has little appeal.

Tons of sites out there that take it on daily - GsGf is somewhat secular and leaves the religious stuff out.

Holler back!

Ben Sutherland said...

Courtney. It's not going to happen. It would challenged by the entire world. Hitler thought he could manipulate history, too, Courtney. He was wrong. You are too. Israel would lose such an effort. Which is why there is not a shred of likelihood that they would try.

I'm calling the bluff, Courtney. Little Satan loses. Then she's goes back to the negotiation table. Which is where all sensible people spend their time.

"Battlefields determine negotiations."

That's the premise Hamas works under, too, Courtney. Same with Hezbollah. Same with every terrorist organization worth its salt. What do you think the underlying premises of terrorism are, Courtney? To ask nicely for better political outcomes? Why do you think they kill all those innocent civilians? Pass time? You're smarter than that. And all that huffing and puffing just motivates Hamas and Hezbollah to kill more civilians to up the ante. Congratulations on fueling that shit, by the way.

Every homocidal dumbass rationalizes that getting a better land deal is more important than protecting innocent lives, Courtney. That's a not a terribly novel or interesting angle, frankly. Hamas would be proud.

But smarter people would call the bluff. And there really isn't even anything real, here, to bluff with.

Hitler thought the same thing, Courtney. So did Stalin.

They lost, Courtney. Every asshole who works under that premise loses.

It's just a fact, jack. Has been a fact since the beginning of time. Will be a fact until the end of time. That's what all that fancy political science is meant to deduce.

You don't want Israel to advocate being Hitler, Courtney. Hitler's a loser. Literally. I mean, he lost.

You don't want to advocate that for Little Satan.

And winning, in this case, is not based on what kind of land deal you secure for Israel. Winning is based on how many innocent lives you save, when we're not bullshitting ourselves on this question.

You need to get your head back into this game, Courtney. Because where you are ain't it.

And, worst of all, it's all this bullshit gameplaying that fuels all that fear and hate that gets Israelis, Americans, and others killed.

Tell you what, Courtney. I'll do a unilateral bet. You bet nothing. I'll pay you a quarter if this thing doesn't end up with a peace deal. And I'll buy you ice cream.

Do I sound lacking in confidence in this position, Courtney?

It's because I know how this thing is going down, one way or another. Because it's the only way out.

You need to think, some more, Courtney, about the real price of military force at all costs. Hamas and Hezbollah play that game. It makes them objective losers at every point, to those looking squarely at the situation. It also allows them to rationalize murder. You're not a murderer. So you don't want to keep talking like one. Because what you are suggesting very clearly would involve the murder of many, many civilians. Terrorists reason like that, Courtney. Not serious foreign policy thinkers.

You aspire to be the latter. Not the former.

Think about that ice cream.

Ben Sutherland said...

Ditto for an Iran invasion. That's why I don't share liberals' hysteria about that situation. Because it won't happen. Strikes on any nuclear capabilities might be possible, if foolish. We'll deal the consequences of that move if we still haven't learned the lesson by then. But an invasion or regime change, in contrast, is not only a remarkably foolish move, it is not even remotely in the cards.

I got an ice cream on that.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Challenged by the entire world? Let me get this straight. Incorrect. where was the outcry when Little Satan took Siani, Golan, WB and Gaza? The worlds out cry was about the same as when Red Army took Eastern Europa. None.

Advocating murder? Incorrect. Hitlerian? Also incorrect.

The cats you note Hitler for one - STARTED a war of agression and lost. Stalin RESPONDED to a war of aggression and won.

So, if HAMAS or HBA or Syria or all of them STARTED a war of agression against a democratic member of the UN - and lost turf because of it - that is a very difficult case to make for returning turf to cats who - having ultimately lost nothing - could be emboldened to fire up another war down the line.

In fact Ben, what you seem to be advocating is a never ending constant refueling of 'shame' and 'peace talks' that tend to make the prob worse - not better.

Totally tea leaves til Iran is addressed.

Actually Ben, a regime killing regime change is prob the least risky. Ken Pollack in 'Persian Puzzle' and Yossi Bodansky in "Secret History of the Iraq War" point out that the one thing that totally trips the mullahs out every day when they get up in the AM is that"Yowza! We are still here! The Americans didn't get us!"

Invade Iran? Nope.

"Iran Threat" by Alireza Jafarzadeh, "Iran Le Choix des Armes" by Francois Heisbourg, Ken Timmerman's "Countdown to Crisis", "Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran" by Yossi Melman and Meir Javedanfar all point out that a massive blitz using cruise millise, old school special ops, aircraft, insurgent cells inside Iran, co opting the regimes communications could kill or capture the top 20% of Iran's ruling regime, incapacitate their IRGC fanboys and make regime change a fait accompli - over a long weekend - no less.
while Iran is somewhat redundant in Cand C HQ's they are actually quite few in number as are the few calling the shots.

Wes Clarke's "Winning Modern Wars" says "...and there is nothing they can do about it..."

And there is some speculation that that is what Sudan's sha ria law loving preachers paradise faced when Great Britain pointed out that HMS Ark Royal was 3 hours away from attack aircraft/cruise missile range, 2.5K para's were a 4 hour plane ride from Basra and that the world would prob not be too concerned if Sudan's entire regime was totally taken out because of a risible retarded 'thirst' to skin a foreign lady humanitarian (who was only there to help) alive.

All this jazz about attacking nuke facilities is a smokescreen. Sure, Little Satan sorteed over 100 aircraft on a make believe run on Natanz. YAWN. Little Satan only has about 25 F15 Strike Eagles which is the only aircraft in her arsenal that could do the job. Each toting several Bunker busters would take weeks to hit all the nukey places.Her F16's would spend more time refueling than targeting stuff.

But fixing and killing the regime - well, Little Satan could do that and prob have a bit of help from Great Satan - or even Saudiland which actually has quite a boit of attack aircraft.

The flip side of course is are those 225 Great Satan F15's that were magically cashiered from service. Are they truly out of date? Or do they have new homes in Little Satan?

Here are several essay's chock full of cite links about a regime killing regime change.

Ben Sutherland said...

"Little Satan took Siani, Golan, WB and Gaza? The worlds out cry was about the same as when Red Army took Eastern Europa."

In wars of aggression against her, Courtney, not in a war of aggression of her own initiative.

You can rationalize wars of aggression all you want, Courtney. You'll be on your own on that one. America wouldn't even stand for that. Which Likud full well knows. Which is why they won't consider it. Ignoring the criticism of wars of aggression and the criticism of the rationalizations of war for whatever purpose you choose is not the same thing as honest use of force, and anyone who likes to test that fact and the political consequences for ignoring it - Saddam Hussein reasoned exactly as you are reasoning when invading Kuwait - find out, generally, first hand, what that political reality looks like.

Hitler rationalized in exactly the same ways you are describing, Courtney. Stalin did, too, in his wars of aggression (defending against German invasion may have been in response to aggression, but carving up and invading Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and then partition and control of Eastern Europe after the war, in East Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria were hardly military exercises of self-defense).

Every imperialist dictator of every stripe has rationalized in exactly the ways you are rationalizing, Courtney. It's hardly new news. It's the oldest trick in the book, really. Hamas and Hezbollah think they're super clever supervillians with their equivalent rationalizations.

But they're not clever, Courtney. They're just murderers.

And if you ravage a population in a war of agression to annex land that is not yours' and over which you already have an occupation over a people who has not and would not elect you and most international observers agree deserves rights of self-determination, you would be a murderer, too.

And no country would stand for it, not even the United States, Israel's strongest ally.

Arab countries would wait for American and/or European intervention. If that failed, they'd attack. America, Europe, and the U.N. would try to work through diplomacy. But they would send in troops, if necessary. And, this time, Israel would not be some innocent victim being defended. They would be an aggressor being expelled. There would be universal condemnation. And the international community would confront Israel as long as it would take to remove her from Gaza.

Israel, worst of all, would be subjected to relentless attacks by both existing and newly forming terrorist organizations, but without the the benefit of support from the international community.

We'd be at square one, except with thousands more Palestinians and Israelis now dead. Sympathy for Israel's cause would be seriously weakened. Muslim and Arab hatred for Israel would be at an all-time high, now seriously complicating efforts to work out an aggreement that would end attacks on Israeli civilians. Israel would be weakened militarily. And every reasonable effort would be substantially set back.

But hey, Courtney, it's worth the risk, huh? I mean, it's not your family members who are dying, right?

Iran, last time I checked, is a democracy. It's a fucked up democracy, that's for goddamned sure. But it's still a democracy. Meaning it has elections, the next ones Ahmadinejad could very well lose, if we'd stop rallying Iranian support behind Ahmadinejad and conservative hardliners.

Of course, we'd be ignoring every democratic principle that we would presumably be working under to undemocratically remove a democratically elected leader in a very public war and have to be a little nutty to think there would not be any serious consequences, both in America and in the international community.

First of all, I would think that someone who has lived through the Iraq War would have a tiny bit more humility about confident projections of quick victories or likelihood or not of domestic resistance. Not only would such a option be a far more serious and prolonged than you are predicting, but domestic resistance would be extremely strong. The Iranian people, nevertheless the Revolutionary Guard and Iranian leadership would likely repel such an invasion, or at least bog us down, substantially, that we would never win a clear victory, and support for a prolonged effort would be zero, domestically, so Israel and America would have to withdraw, giving the Iranian leadership a serious victory over the American and Israel "imperialists" (which is exactly what they really start becoming once you start invading democratic countries to oust their leadership).

And here's the toy at the bottom of the cereal box, Courtney:

Iranians still get to elect their own leadership. And, guess what? Those dumbasses will elect an awful lot of the same people. Except now, they and the rest of the Iranian people hate Israel and America tons more and support for their proxies in Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and the rest gets far more popular support, as well as governmental largesse and support.

Domestically, you'd lose power, of course. Perhaps Republicans do need to lose a Presidential election to learn that lesson, Courtney. You do make a convincing case for a President Obama, I must say. And you think neoconservatism is taking a hit, today. Imagine when a million smart folks are running around telling people, "And it was a fuckin' democracy, so we not only didn't have to invade it, doing so is a clear violation of the most fundamental democratic principles that we would presumable invade for." Yeah, in terms of domestic power, neo-conservativism is well on its way to the shit-heap of history along with passivism, but not quite the John Birch Society or Radical Marxists (I hope a lot of people recognize the good intentions of neo-conservativism, despite its dismal results). But you could definitely push it in that direction, if you want. Passivists, like neo-conservatives, are naive. They're not quite in the same leage of bad faith with John Birchers, yet. Unless they decide to go in that direction.

Internationally, America and Israel would face a shitstorm like they have not seen, up until this point. First of all, President Obama wins for sure and does a serious about-face for a now shameful American leadership. And the worst part is: he'd be right. It is shameful for a democracy or any country to use military force to overturn the outcome of a democratic election, no matter how fucked up that process is. I don't care how much neo-conservatives would fantasize otherwise, the media and the professional political class, as well as the majority of Americans, would publicly criticize and snag power from a Bush or McCain Administration in a heartbeat. Actually, McCain is highly unlikely to make any kind of move against Iran, I think. He might consider a strike on their nuclear facilities, but he is less likely to do so than the Bush Administration and Bush is only likely to seriously consider a nuclear strike, despite the foolishness of such a move. It would likely accelerate Iranian nuclear ambitions, long-term, win public support in Iran solidly on the side of heightened nuclear ambitions, undermine American relationships with Europe for any other kind of action against Iran, undermine support in Europe and the West most military options, including worthy ones, and, worst of all, it's all for naught. Everyone dies in vain because a democratic process is the only reasonable outcome of any such invasion and such a procees, which would, potentially, look only marginally different than the current process, would undoubtedly elect serious hardliners who oppose and seek to avenge an American and Israeli invasion. Oh, and nuclear capabilities are sought in a hurry and no amount of U.N. pressure would ever persuade the Iranians to abandon such efforts, who would have, at that point, been invaded and have ample warrant for pursuing nuclear weapons as a clear line of self-defense.

The brilliant and unarguably positive outcomes are staggering aren't they, Courtney?

And I'll bet you 2 quarters on that one, Courtney, and hot fudge.

Every two-bit military dictator, terrorist, their mamas have rationalized in such ways, Courtney. It's not really a new line of reasoning.

And the worst downside for this line of thought?

It always loses, longterm. Always. Without exception. Folks like Hamas and Hezbollah, and military dictators like Robert Mugabe are on their way out, with time, effort, military force, when appropriate, and some reasonable measure of thoughtfulness. China, Cuba, and North Korea and the many various authoritarian regimes of assorted stripes will be more difficult. But constructive democratic engagement, free markets, and additional courage from the domestic populations will topple those regimes soon enough. Have you noticed how many protests the Chinese people, in addition to Tibetan, Taiwanese and others under Chinese rule are engaging in, these days, Courtney? It's pretty remarkable. And encouraging.

It is a fucked up fact of life that domestic populations often favor their dictators and autocratic leaders, of various stripes. It's definitely not in their interests. But it is unfortunately true, much of the time. If domestic populations want our help to remove dictators and have made that clear and we have serious, thoughtful, and credible plans with them to engage with them to do remove oppressive political or military leadership, I'd be in favor, given strong enough plans.

But, absent that, you have a recipe for military and political disaster. And, post-Iraq, most poeople are not going stand for it, anymore. Itt's not even a real possibility, even among the most militarily-minded democratic regimes like the U.S. and Israel.

And some careful attention to more fundamental liberal democratic principles make it pretty clear why.

I'll pay you two quarters and buy you ice cream with fudge and nuts if I'm wrong on that, Courtney. And you don't even have to put up an ante.

Many, many, many military dictatorships have had to learn this lesson the hard way, Courtney. You have the benefit of school and studying the politics as well as the military strategy.
I would say you could learn it the hard way, if you wanted to, except I really don't think there is a realistic possibility of what you're suggesting, even given the very heated political realities in Israel and the U.S. There is noone in leadership in either country who would or could reasonably engage in such an effort, politically. They just don't have the willingness or the power, even if they were willing. it's just not a real possibility.

In the meantime, there is still a lot of history on that conflict in Palestine that I would advise reading up on. I am solidly pro-Israeli and make no bones about my willingness to blow Hamas and Islamic Jihad and various sordid characters off the map, if I thought it would do any good. But it won't, which is abundantly clear once you spend even a modicum of time with the underlying political support that makes their terrorist activities possible. No matter what you do, they will regroup and engage more brutally the next time, until you address those political realities.
In the meantime, the Israeli government is not innocents in this conflict, historically. They were enormously brutal with Palestinians as they confiscated lands. And that history and the occupation have created an enormous political and humanitarian mess for the Israelis and Palestinians that will only be resolved with a reasonable peace process.

Everything else - other than the possibility of strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, which would be foolish, I think, since it would accelerate her ambitions further, I'm pretty clear, long-term, but is a real possibility - is bluff and bluster.

Have you read John Keegan before, Courtney? I'd highly recommend him. He's one of the strongest conservative military historian I think I've read. I think you'd like him. Keegan would probably be more sympathetic to your arguments about military realities on the ground determining political outcomes (which they can and do, short term, but fail miserably, long term), though I imagine he would be less open to suggestions about regime-change in Iran. VDH would be more open to those plans (he may have already made the arguments for such, for all I know), but he's also not as strong a military historian as Keegan. Frederick Kagan has been my favorite military historian of this period - his coverage of the Iraq war in the pages of the Weekly Standard have been, consistently and solidly, the best coverage of the war from any source I have consulted, period - looks open to that discussion, but disposed against it.

His brother, Robert Kagan, also looks open to the idea, in fact he argues that it is the only logical alternative to successful political efforts,

but he clearly seems disposed to non-military political efforts.

I would be open to it if I thought a military solution would get us somewhere. But I'm pretty clear that that endgame is chaotic, counterproductive, and unnecessary. Robert is right. We need to support liberal democratic efforts and let that dysfunctional, far from ideal democratic process bump Iran's hardliners from office, engage them diplomatically, and engage in any effort that will likely yield results. I don't have confidence that military, political, or economic pressure has, does, or will produce results, but I say have at it until someone persuades me differently. Just be willing to man up if it doesn't produce results. I think there is a more fundamental issue of self-determined defense policy that American and European policymakers have been ignoring up to this point which is likely to trump efforts to pressure them otherwise. I'm open to being wrong on this. But I'm pretty sure I'm not. And I'm pretty sure it will frustrate our efforts until we get clear that the democratic principles we advocate actually mean something more than on paper. We'd do the same in the same situation, is the truth.

And, in the meantime, all of this depletes our influence, it doesn't strengthen it. This is exactly the sort of suggestion which highlights why people distrust American power, for good reason, I think. We cannot just go around deposing regimes we don't like, particularly when there is some level of democratic governance. We can fight for self-defense. We can fight for clear and imminent matters of collective security (though we cannot argue, honestly, that every situation we are frustrated with is such a situation). And if a population wants our help to depose a dictator, we can do that, with a strong enough plan and active support from a population.

But ignoring the principle of self-determination that is that heart of democratic self-governance has its consequences. It is and will have consequences for this regime, which clearly violates that principle, as well. But that does not exempt us from its consequences, also.

If anyone were foolish enough to try it, it would most certainly be their last attempt, I'm pretty clear, given the current post-Iraq political climate. And that goes even if, hopefully, we get security in Iraq under control for a successful democratic transition. Iraqi and international regard for Americans after that war are mixed, at best, with real gratitude by some for deposing Saddam, and embittered for a long time to come, at worst, by even those that support us for the way this thing was engaged.

That scenario gets much, much gloomier with an Iran invasion, where Iranians can depose the President and members of parliament in the next election. Deposing the Mullahs will take more courage. But it's not an undertaking that I am, at all, clear that Iranians actually desire. And the backlash, if they do not desire it, would easily wipe clean and then some any advantages advocates of regime change might imagine for Iran, Israel, and the U.S.

The U.S. or Israel could be so careless, if they so chose. But they will undoubtedly deal with the consequences. They might try to whine their way out of those consequences, as this Administration has incessantly with this war - can I just say that grown men and women whining their way out of their own foolish, high-stakes decisions is really kind of weak? Hardly the image of strength that I would want to promote domestically or internationally - but whining doesn't make the consequences go away. Neither does winning, contrary to popular belief. Only honestly squaring up faces those consequences, adequately. And if folks don't like facing up, there will be plenty of people who will make sure that they hear nothing else for as long as it takes until they do, I'm quite sure.

Hope life is treating you well, Courtney.

And make sure I pay up if you win that bet. I don't like to welch:) And there's plenty of ice cream and quarters where that came from:).

You should definitely check out Obsession, Courtney. You'd really like it. You also might like David Fromkin's Peace to End All Peace, the post-WWI Middle East history, I'm reading, off and on, right now. Fascinating stuff.

I'll give you a break, for now, Courtney. Talk with you later.


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acherusctus said...

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