January 26, 2007
Congressional Resolutions vs. Presidential Resolution
In contrast to the vapid congressional resolutions of irresolution floating around the Dome today -- which can only hurt the war effort -- this sort of talk can only help:
George W. Bush on Friday sought to deny widespread rumours his administration was preparing some kind of military action against Iran. Mr Bush confirmed a report in Friday’s Washington Post that he had authorised US troops to shoot and kill Iranian operatives in Iraq, but denied this was a prelude to stronger action.
“We believe we can solve our problems with Iran diplomatically,” said the US president. “It makes sense that if somebody is trying to harm our troops, or stop us from achieving our goal, or killing innocent citizens in Iraq, that we will stop them.”
But the US president’s relatively emollient comments are unlikely to quell speculation about the reasons behind the recent escalation of White House rhetoric towards Iran.
I love this meme for several reasons:
- Note the "non-denial denial" from the Big Boss: he believes that we can resolve our problems diplomatically; but he pointedly refused to promise that we will not attack Iran.
- The Commander in Chief's actions -- setting up a sufficient force in the Persian Gulf to execute the Herman Option -- are orthogonal to his words; the mullahs have got to be sweating beneath their turbins.
Already there is some nervousness in the fundamentalist Iranian ranks. From a recent post on MEMRI (and I deep tip of the hat to Friend Lee):
In a January 9, 2007 editorial, the conservative daily Jomhouri-ye Eslami, which is close to the religious seminaries in Qom, attacked Ahmadinejad's handling of the nuclear dossier, and called upon him to let the professionals handle the dossier and to cut back to a minimum his incendiary statements on the issue. The daily also criticized his incorrect assessment of the impact of the sanctions, and called upon him to use greater prudence and not to hide their true effects from the people....~
Referring to the increasing U.S. pressure on Iran, and noting that because of it there was a need for a sane and measured policy so as not to play into the hands of the U.S., Mohsen Rezai, secretary of Iran's Expediency Council, said: "America is trying to provoke Iran so that Iran will respond forcefully. But [now], unlike in the past, we are not adventure-seekers. This time, we must act reasonably and at the same time prevent America from accomplishing its goals - one of which is to block our progress..."  On another occasion, Rezai said: "We must not make concessions to the enemy for no reason, but [at the same time] we must not underestimate the enemy's [strength]... Statesmanship in Iran requires reason, wisdom and steadfastness..." [elipses in original]
Further, in a January 17, 2007 editorial titled "[Hassan] Rouhani [chief nuclear negotiator under former Iranian president Khatami] or Ahmadinejad - Who Is to Blame?" the Baztab website, which is affiliated with Mohsen Rezai, analyzed the nuclear crisis. The editorial pointed out that it was deviation from the policy of wise steadfastness, dictated by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the failure to maintain any diplomatic process with the West, that had led Iran to the direst strategic situation it had ever known....~
In an interview for the conservative news agency Aftab, Expediency Council Member Mohammed Hashemi of the reformist Kargozaran party said that since he assumed power, Ahmadinejad had been unable to thwart U.S. plans regarding Iran....
"In the past year, during which the current government has taken charge [of the nuclear dossier], we saw the [sanctions] resolution passed [by the Security Council]. I believe that with its next steps, America will realize all its aspirations [with respect to Iran]. Therefore, we need skilled, experienced and moderate individuals to save our country from crisis..." [elipses in original]
Note that the Expediency Council serves as sort of a supreme court in Iran, mediating conflicts between the Council of Guardians -- the religious body that elects the Supreme Leader (currently Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) -- and the Majlis, the Iranian parliament. It's a very powerful body controlled by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has no love for current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the man who beat him in the election of June 24th, 2005. Each member is directly appointed by the Supreme Leader himself.
I take the expression "moderate individuals" above to mean non-Twelvers, Iranians who do not believe in the imminent appearance of the Twelfth (Hidden) Imam -- in other words, not somebody like Ahmadinejad and his "Self-Sacrificers."
Twelvers in Iran are millenarians who believe the End of Days is nigh, and that the best way to wake up the Mahdi, the Hidden Imam, is to precipitate the final war of Dar el-Islam (the realm of peace, Moslemland) and Dar el-Harb (the realm of strife, the rest of the world outside Moslemland).
Ahmadinejad seems to believe this will happen within the next year or two; and I think a number of "conservative" commentators -- the word here means fundamentalist Shiism of the Qom school in Iran, the pro-mullah faction, as opposed to the "reformers" -- are growing increasingly uncomfortable with President Ahmadinejad's combative and truculent tone... and increasingly worried about the "Western" (read: American) response.
(The Qom school of Shiism believes that the religious authorities trump the secular authorities and should rule, as with the mullahs in Iran. By contrast, the Najaf (or sometimes Quietist) school -- exemplified by Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani -- believes that religious leaders should not wield secular power. Najaf has a much longer tradition of Shiite leadership than Qom, but Qom has the force of Iran behind it now.)
- It's always better, in my opinion, to leave your enemies in a state of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) than to let them know what is actually going to happen... even if what is going to happen is an attack. Uncertainty whether you will be attacked is actually more stressful than certain knowledge you will be attacked.
Bush's mebbie-we-will, mebbie-we-won't has got to be nerve-wracking to the mullahs, most of whom are emminently practical about their delusions: they prefer to systematically go about seizing all power in the Middle East (as a stepping stone to, you know, ruling the world; and no, I'm not joking).
Ahmadinejad, by contrast, literally believes that Allah will send the Twelfth Imam and the heavenly host to fight on the side of Iran against America... thus, the greater the foe, the greater the glory! He really does want a war with the United States; I suspect he is "enraptured" by the idea -- and I choose my words with clarity and precision.
The "conservatives" seem unamused by his monkey-like caperings (Ahmadinejad's nickname in Iran is, in fact, "the Monkey"): Either he's mad as a March hatter, in which case Iran would be destroyed to no purpose; or else the supernatural hand of Allah really will reach down from Paradise, in which case we're on the wrong end of the point-spread anyway, and Ahmadinejad's brazen tauntings won't be necessary.
Either way, it's a very, very good play to keep the Iranians off-balance about what we're going to do. Let them stew and suffer.
So bravo to Bush; his cageyness on the quesion of attacking Iran will have far more of an impact on our most dangerous enemies than will the buffoonery of Congress. Which is good, because as foolish as the antics of the Cowards Corps are, that's how brilliant the president's game is.
I was going to say "I sure wouldn't want to play poker against George W. Bush;" but then I realized that the chance to meet him is certainly worth the price of my bankroll!
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 26, 2007, at the time of 7:26 PM
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Most folks see the rioting throughout Iran as a revolution brewing, as if 1979 met 1776. But I'm very skeptical... mainly because in my opinion, and despite the take of most commentators, the two major players are not actually current... [Read More]
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The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist
Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. Why attack one instead of attacking *ALL* three at the same time? Sure, Russia and China might have joined in to save them, but i doubt it.
Over 5 years later...the world and most of 'us' blame us/U.S./America.
The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist at January 26, 2007 8:37 PM
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
I don't think our own government would let him do that.
The above hissed in response by: Terrye at January 27, 2007 2:48 AM
The following hissed in response by: charlotte
Good analysis, Dafydd. I especially like the part about how the oligarch Mullahs aren't so very pleased by the current Iranian presidency acting like a bully pulpit for Bush’s aims to rein in or take down their regime. Ahmadinejad’s cockiness, genocidal threats and religious craziness have pretty much made Bush’s case for him. Doesn't seem to be much protesting from around the world as we move our carrier groups into place and continue the squeeze on the Persian economy and terror agents. Given Mahmoud's big mouth and all the back-channel deals and assurances the administration must be making, there's not a whole lot of sound and fury to be heard over the coming face-down with Iran (that is, except from our own dissenter Dems who insist that they’re only being patriotic-- to some country, we can suppose.)
The following hissed in response by: hunter
Now if we could only get dhimmiecrats more involved with underminig Iran than the US, we might actaully be able to prevent a war and get the Iranians to implode in a civil war.
But why should the DNC change what they do best?
The following hissed in response by: SallyVee
Another extremely enlightening post. Slowly but surely, you are teaching me how to think "above the noise" and "around the petty promoters of pessimism and doom." And I must stress, in my little world "the noise" is coming from the so-called Right Wing. I do not have time or composure enough to monitor the Left Wingnuts, and my expectations in that hemisphere are below zero and sinking. Increasingly, I do not have time or patience for the Right Wingnuts who've seized the airwaves and a sizeable chunk of the blogosphere.
Example, one day last week driving to/from grocery store, I caught 15 min. or so of Grating American, Sean Hannity. Not one mention of the war, or the pending cong. resolutions. He did mention in response to a caller, our incompetence & failure (in his view) to deal with the Iranian threat. Then it was right back to Dakota's fanny, some chalkboard drawings of penises, and a *big* announcement about his upcoming trip to Vegas wherein the Grating One plans to ambush male consumers of sex at the Chicken Ranch!
The following hissed in response by: hunter
I am not much of a fan of Hannity at all, but I find what you are saying odd.
I am certain that you listened to a very atypical segment where he did not talk about the war.
And Dakota being sold into pedohilia by her family is an interesting new milestone for our culture, I am sure most would agree. Although I don't like spending much time on sad and disgusting stories, myself.
But we can agree on your central point very easily: this site ahs some of the most interesting analysis and thought on the internet. Your other point, that left wingnuts are less than 0 is whole heartedly agreed to as well, by the way.
The following hissed in response by: LarryD
The Left will never get on board, they hate America precisely because we stand for Liberty and they're Tyrants at heart. And they're too delusional to realize the Radical Islamists will turn on them as soon as they stop being useful.
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