Patterico's Pontifications

6/21/2009

Riddle Me This

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 12:29 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

The debate continues regarding whether Barack Obama should maintain a neutral position on the Iranian election and protests. Many liberals, including most liberal commenters here, support his neutral stance as nuanced leadership that will avoid injecting the U.S. into Iranian politics and inflaming Iranian opinion. Several Republicans agree, including Peggy Noonan, George Will, Henry Kissinger, Fred Thompson’s spokesperson Karen Hanretty, and others.

There are no easy answers in foreign policy but if U.S. neutrality was so important in the days following the election, why has Obama abandoned neutrality now that the turmoil in Iran has escalated?

— DRJ

155 Responses to “Riddle Me This”

  1. “Many liberals, including most liberal commenters here, support his neutral stance as nuanced leadership that will avoid injecting the U.S. into Iranian politics and inflaming Iranian opinion”

    This is not “neutral”:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Statement-from-the-President-on-Iran/

    “We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.”

    francis (23ad19)

  2. Because “Shut up”, that’s why.

    Techie (482700)

  3. It’s something called “nuance” – a concept that is apparently very, very difficult for conservatives to work with.

    Adam Stanhope (4a3eca)

  4. Because he, his staff, and his Secretary of State are callow, inept, and not all that bright amateurs. They hesitated because they did not know what to do. There is also a question of character — that of the professional politician unwilling to have a strong position on anything.

    nk who will call himself Nadine Groot for a while (cf618d)

  5. Adam – Was your false choice between eating ice cream and bombing Iran nuanced?

    Francis – Why did it take over a week to be deeply concerned?

    JD (da8b51)

  6. Mind you, I’m applauding this. Too bad it took days to manage.

    Techie (482700)

  7. Oh puh-leese. He is afraid of making a mistake. He is continuing to vote “Present” and then, when “Nuanced” leadership appears to be turning into cowardice, then he gets a little tougher.
    Carter, Clinton and Obama are the Moe, Larry and Curly of World Politics. After each Democratic Presidency we have had an increase in terrorism.
    I can’t wait to see what our Hero does when Kim Jong Il does his little trick.

    pitchforksntorches (4dd8c4)

  8. Nuance is in the eye of the beholder.

    Alta Bob (9f2c33)

  9. When people’s lives are quite literally on the line, where they are being beaten, brutalized, and murdered, playing the ‘nuance’ game in order try to appease those that already hate us, lie about us, and already see us as their enemy, seems pointless, weak, and unsure. By making a verbal stand in support of freedom fighters IS NOT the same as intervening in another country’s perhaps, civil war. It is humanitarianism and Americanism at it’s finest.

    Consider,

    Biting our tongues and looking the other way while captive populations are brutalized never gets us any of the benefits our highly nuanced foreign policy elite promise. It only earns us the scorn of struggling peoples, and makes us vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy. Obama’s pathetic attempts at self-justification to the contrary, no one in the Revolutionary Guard is going to take their fingers off a trigger because they suddenly remember Obama’s milquetoast Cairo speech, and decide they can’t be killers in a world where the American president vowed to defend the rights of Muslim women to wear the hijab.

    The president’s statement today said that “we are bearing witness” to the Iranian people’s belief in justice, “and we will continue to bear witness.” No. The task history has given to the American president is not “bearing witness” to the brutalization of innocent people, the way her neighbors “bore witness” to the murder of Kitty Genovese. Our task is to speak out, call evil by its true name, and let all the world know exactly where we stand. Our government should have done that days ago, weeks ago. Whether they win or lose, the survivors of the Iranian uprising will remember that dozens of their friends and family were dead by the time Obama got around to clucking his tongue at the regime that murdered them.

    Thomas Jefferson warned early Americans against “entangling alliances.” Now we have a president who tries to preserve his entangling alliances by hoping the rest of the world will forget he’s an American. We have a United Nations Security Council to handle sending out weak and ineffective letters of “grave concern” for us. Our duty is to speak with passion and clarity in the defense of freedom. We may be forced to deal diplomatically with torturers hiding behind chests full of “decorations” they awarded themselves, or gutter trash thugs robed as divine lawgivers, but they should never look into an American leader’s eyes and see anything except barely controlled distaste. No one on Earth should have cause to spend one instant wondering where America comes down in a battle between brutal dictators and those who courageously resist them. No American should have cause to spend one instant wondering where their President comes down, either.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  10. I would not mind political neutrality, but how does it show neutrality when you badmouth Mousavi, when you ignore bloody repression, when you call a staged election a debate?

    He should speak to values and take the side of freedom and liberty–unless he’s not so sure about those values, either, which is my guess.

    Patricia (2183bb)

  11. “Francis – Why did it take over a week to be deeply concerned?”

    This isn’t neutral either:

    “Having said all that, I am deeply troubled by the violence that I’ve been seeing on television. I think that the democratic process — free speech, the ability of people to peacefully dissent — all those are universal values and need to be respected.”

    And its from last week.

    francis (23ad19)

  12. If you never ever take a stand on anything, you are never wrong. It’s as simple as that. Barry does not like to be wrong.

    Gazzer (5646b7)

  13. Dana…
    +10
    … and thanks for those words.

    either orr (6c9faf)

  14. francis ain’t big on clicking the links; his first link is the same statement linked in the post.

    As for his statement last week, give me a break. Weak.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  15. Deeply troubled is more than he said about the American serviceman killed by a Muslim with ties to terrorism, francis. It is also less outrage than he expressed over an abortion doctor’s murder or the murder in the Holocaust museum, which were also far more timely.

    francis is quite the sycophant. Nuance.

    JD (da8b51)

  16. You know what we don’t need? Assurances from Obama and his flacks like Lugar who say they’ll be perfectly happy to have Obama shake the regime’s bloody hands once this is all over.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  17. “Having said all that, I am deeply troubled by the violence that I’ve been seeing on television.”

    francis – BFD. Obama is probably also deeply troubled when he steps in dog shit, if the White House groundskeepers ever leave any lying around. A rebuke or condemnation of the regime rather than a metrosexual recitation of his feelings would have been nice.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  18. “As for his statement last week, give me a break. Weak.”

    The point is, the position isn’t ‘neutral’ and it hasn’t changed THAT much. He’s still not on the side of one political candidate — just on representative democracy and free speech and human rights.

    “francis is quite the sycophant. Nuance.”

    Sycophant? All I say is that it is not neutral. Me? Dave Surls has won me over with his fascinating comments.

    francis (23ad19)

  19. francis,

    You can’t have it both ways. Last week’s consensus was that Obama steered a neutral or measured course in dealing with Iran, with Administration officials saying they “remained convinced that the wiser U.S. course was caution over confrontation.” If a measured response was appropriate then, shouldn’t Obama exercise even more caution in his statements now that things are worse in Iran?

    And if Obama is correct in escalating his rhetoric this week, why wasn’t it the right thing to do last week?

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  20. “Assurances from Obama and his flacks like Lugar who say they’ll be perfectly happy to have Obama shake the regime’s bloody hands once this is all over.”

    We’ll still trade with china and give money to egypt. Our hands are plenty bloody.

    francis (23ad19)

  21. Mark Steyn addresses the whole issue of “neutrality” and “nuance” in his column today.

    JVW (2cd0a9)

  22. “The point is, the position isn’t ‘neutral’ and it hasn’t changed THAT much.”

    francis – Yup, it’s got that fierce urgency of jello that most of Obama’s speeches contain.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  23. Neutrality in the face of Iran’s oppressive fist to their citizens is, no virtue. Silence implies acceptance. Most Iranians only want to be released into the twenty-first century.

    Todd (0c8993)

  24. By the way, francis, you’re one of the few who thinks Obama’s rhetoric is unchanged from last week. As this AP/USA Today report put it:

    “President Obama on Saturday challenged Iran’s government to halt a “violent and unjust” crackdown on dissenters, using his bluntest language yet to condemn Tehran’s post-election response.

    Obama has sought a measured reaction to avoid being drawn in as a meddler in Iranian affairs. Yet his comments have grown more pointed as the clashes intensified, and his latest remarks took direct aim at Iranian leaders.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  25. All of this preening and posturing, yet no matter who ultimately wins, Iran will still pursue their nuclear program. But at least The One can still be friendly with them while they pursue nukes. Maybe he can talk them into only wating to wipe Israel off the map 6 days out of the week, or only stone homosexuals between JUL and NOV. The simple fact is that his neutrality will earn him nothing, and has cost him plenty.

    JD (da8b51)

  26. He’s still not on the side of one political candidate — just on representative democracy and free speech and human rights.

    Yep, he just won’t lift a finger to promote any of them. If the protests are brutally squashed, do you think Obama will on principle back away from his policy of engagement with Ahmadinejad?

    JVW (2cd0a9)

  27. JD – Give Obama a break. He’s still got Jimmuh over there as Ambassador at large to Hamas, prenegotiating, apologizing for America, and sucking up to Iran by proxy.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  28. Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

    Official Internet Data Office (16e618)

  29. A real President would return the favor to the Mullahs. Load up trucks in Iraq with grenades, guns and ammo, bombs and whatever else rebels need (Obama could ask his good friend Ayers what rebels need) back them up to the border and let the people of Iran know where to pick up party supplies.

    Zelsdorf Ragshaft III (8ece58)

  30. Dear DRJ:

    You wrote:

    “..You can’t have it both ways. ..”</i

    >

    And the Left is saying “Yes, we can!

    Still, I appreciate your trying to hold them accountable for their prior statements.

    Eric Blair (5a226d)

  31. Heh. That’s a great use of “Yes, we can.” And for an even better take on holding Obama supporters accountable, check out Patterico’s most recent Accepted Wisdom post.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  32. He said it was a civil rights issue, like slavery in America.
    He said the world is watching, but it is still Iranian bidness.

    The “mullahs” are not monolithic. Some of them are on the reformers side.
    Kinda like how most white southern xians opposed civil rights for blacks, yet real xians marched with blacks and worked for civil rights.
    In Iran, the socially conservative fundies are all about suppressing women’s rights, among other things.

    wheeler's cat (0cf7e1)

  33. “He said it was a civil rights issue, like slavery in America.”

    That was pretty funnee! Obama mangles historical analogies all the time – he is trulee teh stoopid that way.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  34. “Kinda like how most white southern xians opposed civil rights for blacks”

    Got links?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  35. I love it how the sycophants try to tie Islamic fundmentalists to Christian fundamentalists, and try to draw Left/Right parallels between Iranian politics and ours. In short, as we have seen, they want to try to tie Ahmendinnerjacket and his ilk to Bush and conservatives. It is as stupid as it is dishonest. Par for the course with nishi.

    JD (da8b51)

  36. Here’s the problem. What happens if your uprising succeeds and the new guy starts threatening to nuke Israel or the US? It becomes even more problematic to take decisive action.

    Here’s the other problem. If we determine election winners by the side who has the most agitators shouting in the streets, there would never be a Republican election victory ever again.

    There is no reason to honestly believe that the insane guy who looks like a chimp didn’t win the election. People get such warm fuzzies over the word “democracy” that they can’t accept that it has terrible potential ( Hitler was the product of democracy ) as well as the potential for good.

    jcurtis (f299a9)

  37. We’ll still trade with china and give money to egypt. Our hands are plenty bloody.

    Comment by francis

    Okay, I see where you are coming from.

    Trollsville.

    The Nation doesn’t agree with you.

    In particular, Obama needs to abandon the unsettling course of suggesting, as he did Tuesday in an interview with CNBC and the New York Times, that there is not a great deal of difference between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian president’s reform-minded foe, Mir Hussein Moussavi. “Either way,” Mr. Obama claims the United States, “is going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons.” Even if that is the case, it diminishes a distinction between between Ahmadinejad and Moussavi that Iranians–especially young Iranians–see as significant enough to merit risking, and in some cases, losing their lives.

    By every measure, the US president’s response has been less than that of other world leaders, especially French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has branded the announced election “result” a fraud and bluntly decried the government’s clampdown on dissent “brutal,” “totally disproportionate” and “extremely alarming.”

    MIke K (90939b)

  38. Mike K – It is a sad day when France is out ahead of the US on something like this.

    JD (da8b51)

  39. People get such warm fuzzies over the word “democracy” that they can’t accept that it has terrible potential ( Hitler was the product of democracy ) as well as the potential for good.

    Comment by jcurtis

    jcurtis, Hitler never won a majority nor did he have a majority in the Reichstag. Some reading would be good for you.

    Although Adolf Hitler had the support of certain sections of the German population he never gained an elected majority. The best the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) could do in a election was 37.3 per cent of the vote they gained in July 1932. When Hitler became chancellor in January 1933, the Nazis only had a third of the seats in the Reichstag.

    We need a better class of trolls around here.

    Also, the theocracy would not survive a successful revolution in Iran. The people of Iran, if they could honestly express their opinion, are probably the most pro-American people in the middle east.

    I suspect that a new government, the result of a successful revolution, would still be interested in nuclear weapons but would be far more interested in economic growth, the end of sanctions and spending the Iranian people’s money on the Iranian people.

    Nuclear weapons, while they would be a symbol of national strength, would be a much lower priority.

    MIke K (90939b)

  40. There are no easy answers in foreign policy but if U.S. neutrality was so important in the days following the election, why has Obama abandoned neutrality now that the turmoil in Iran has escalated? I believe President Obama was waiting to hear what the ‘Supreme Leader’ had to say to the Iranian people before adjusting the sails on the ship of state. Even Boris and Natasha waited on words of ‘Fearless Leader.’

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  41. I thought the meme was “let ’em land”. Now we take our cues from the Supreme Leader?

    JD (da8b51)

  42. The trolls will always give Obama the benefit of any doubt, which of course they don’t have. At least the Nation guy had some guts even if I disagree with him on other things.

    MIke K (90939b)

  43. DCSCA,

    It’s clear you don’t consider Obama to be a proactive leader when it comes to foreign affairs, but instead as a leader who reacts to the actions and agendas of other nations and leaders. That’s fine, but it’s good to know.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  44. I would suggest that one who waits to gauge his response by the actions and agendas of other nations and leaders is not himself, leading; and perhaps even, is not a real leader in the true sense of the word.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  45. DRJ (4:07 pm) and Dana (4:09 pm), I would assume that this will just give the Obamaphiles a reason to quote Lincoln to the extent that “I confess that I have not controlled events but that events have controlled me.” As Mike K says, he always gets the benefit of the doubt in their book, quite the opposite of how they treated Dear Leader’s predecessor.

    JVW (2cd0a9)

  46. I personally think it’s great that the Castro boys, Hugo Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Putin, bin Laden, the North Korean Midget, and Dick Cheney can all get together and save some money on having the same Christmas card printed for Barcky this year:

    Best wishes for the holiday season to you and yours.

    How’s my ass taste?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  47. I said:

    People get such warm fuzzies over the word “democracy” that they can’t accept that it has terrible potential ( Hitler was the product of democracy ) as well as the potential for good.

    Mike K says:

    jcurtis, Hitler never won a majority nor did he have a majority in the Reichstag. Some reading would be good for you…

    We need a better class of trolls around here.

    How many Presidents have won a majority and how many haven’t? Hitler never would have got his foot in the door without the democratic process. That you would even feel the need to argue with me on that proves my point about people worshipping the word “democracy” like it’s some kind of God.

    A democracy in a nation that has a majority of lowlife assholes will result in a lowlife asshole leading the nation. Obama is all the proof you should need.

    jcurtis (417b62)

  48. Khamenei crossed the Rubicon Friday.

    He seemed to waver earlier in the week. By Friday, however, he had evidently calculated that he and his fellow hardliners in the clerical establishment had gained the upper hand over the anti-Ahmadinejad factions and could proceed with a strategy of repression. His speech at Tehran University Friday transmitted this factional triumph and unleashed the thugs in the streets.

    Before Friday, it wasn’t clear that the hardliners would prevail. The U.S. administration was right not to want to hand the hardliners a cudgel that they could use to beat their clerical opponents. I think the CNN analyst who compared Obama’s dilemma to that faced by George Bush (pere) in 1989 was right.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/06/19/zakaria.iran.elections/

    Now that the government in Tehran has unleashed the repression, there is less reason to be cautious. What we feared might happen, has happened, despite our restraint. This gives the president more freedom to speak out, with less concern that doing so will make things worse for the people in the streets of Tehran.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  49. As someone who voiced the “better to remain neutral” opinion, it’s nice that I can’t be accused of hypocrisy here. Then again, the context is different: for one, the regime’s claimed he said as much, so it’s become accepted that he has; for another, it’s a week later, the unrest shows no signs of abating, and the current government hasn’t been seen in over four days. Still, I think neutrality’s the way to go here.

    I would not mind political neutrality, but how does it show neutrality when you badmouth Mousavi, when you ignore bloody repression, when you call a staged election a debate?

    There are plenty of reasons to bad-mouth Mousavi. He’s not a reformist — or if he is, he’s one who oversaw the executions of 8,000 political opponents under his watch. One of the problems with supporting the protesters is legitimating Mousavi, which is why everyone who’s actively supporting the apparent reformist agenda’s likely to eat their words at some future point. Better, to my mind, to support the principles of democratic elections, peaceful demonstration, &c.

    SEK (072055)

  50. Eric – But that’s different 😉

    JD (da8b51)

  51. SEK,

    Let’s assume Obama agrees that neutrality is the way to go. Then how do you explain (or how does he justify) the change in tone from measured concern for democracy to blunt attacks on Iranian leaders?

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  52. Tim,

    So it’s okay to escalate the rhetoric and thereby unleash any anti-American attackers now that Iran has crossed this invisible line? I’m interested in how you define that tipping point. Are you saying it’s okay to kill 7 protesters but not 17, or 50, or 150?

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  53. DRJ – Maybe you can have better luck getting him to answer the tipping point question, as I was utterly unsuccessful at doing so early in the week. At this point, the tipping point seems to be based on when Teh One decides to bee deeply troubled.

    JD (da8b51)

  54. I don’t think it’s okay to kill any protestors. Your question is bizarre.

    I think there was clearly a period last week when Khamenei hesitated to choose repression over accommodation, compromise, co-optation or any of the other alternatives open to him. I think our policy was to avoid actions or statements that would give him a pretext or cause him to choose a repressive course.

    Unfortunately, that’s the choice he signaled Friday and the die now seems cast.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  55. clearly a period last week when Khamenei hesitated to choose repression over accommodation, compromise, co-optation or any of the other alternatives open to him.

    Tim, do you seriously believe that Khamenei hesitated? Why do you think he hesitated? It seems unbelievable that he would remotely care about world opinion, U.S. opinion and/or even the populous of his country or any consequences. It gives him a reasonableness that I don’t believe he deserves, nor has ever evidenced.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  56. Tim,

    Here is a timeline of the Iranian election. Government police stormed the headquarters of the reform party on Saturday 6/13/2009, the day after the election. A government militia fired on a crowd of protesters on Monday 6/15/2009 and 7 Iranians were killed in clashes throughout the city. By Wednesday 6/17/2009, the Iranian government was blaming the U.S. for its “intolerable interference.”

    So please explain to me why you’ve chosen Friday 6/19/2009 as your (and Obama’s) tipping point.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  57. The answer is that nobody knows what will happen. I think it is 50-50 that the regime will be overthrown. If not, they will be crippled for years and may (I repeat may) feel the need to address the people’s complaints about unemployment and economic collapse so they may be less willing to send billions to Hezbollah and Hamas and to spend more billions on nuclear weapons.

    We will see and anyone who says he knows what will happen is a fool. Obama has been far too cautious in protecting his options with the discredited regime and will get no thanks for this from a new government, nor from the dictatorship if they win. He has chosen in Churchill’s words, dishonor and he will get (to paraphrase) hatred anyway.

    Mike K (90939b)

  58. “So please explain to me why you’ve chosen Friday 6/19/2009 as your (and Obama’s) tipping point.”

    DRJ – That is so not fair. You know Tim does not like to be pinned down, especially when confronted with information which does not conform to his talking points.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  59. The irony, daley, is that Tim introduced the idea of the tipping point to this whole discussion early in the week. He would not answer it then, and will not now.

    JD (d467d3)

  60. Because Tim is trying to hang credit on Obama. Despite the fact that Obama has done nothing but sit on his hands.

    But stealing credit for nothing is what Obama is all about.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  61. JD – What a surprise! I go out of town for a week and try to catch up when I come back, but some behavior is just predictable.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  62. Obama supporters have to realize that his ability to bring people together to his cause was more or less exclusive to the United States, where the masses were utterly disillusioned with Bush. He’s generally popular around the globe, but his trademark eloquence hasn’t fundamentally changed anything. China and Russia won’t buy into his anti global warming agendas, nor will they scale back their missile programs. It’s business as usual in North Korea.

    lee (86706b)

  63. #56

    DRJ, I agree that violence occurred throughout the week. A big spike in the number of people killed appeared yesterday, following Khamenei’s demand in his sermon Friday that the demonstrations be ended. The security presence evidently became much larger Saturday and the methods of the security forces changed — instead of passively watching the demonstration with truncheons down (see below), they employed tear gas and motorcycle charges and aggressive charges and beatings in an active attempt to suppress and disperse the crowds.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/15/world/main5089633.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_5089633

    Nearly all the news coverage I’ve seen has treated Khamenei’s sermon Friday as a point of departure and the start of a new and more severe phase in the government’s response.

    #55

    Dana, Khamenei did seem to hesitate earlier this week when he announced that the Council of Guardians would examine certain allegations relating to the election. I can’t pretend to know his motives, but agree with you that concern for what the world thinks does not seem to be what motivates him. Perhaps he was taken aback by the sheer size of the demonstrations and by the signs of resistance to Ahmadinejad emanating from the ranks of clerics and “heroes of the Revolution.” Judging from his Friday sermon, he seems to have swallowed his fears and decided that he holds the decisive advantage in the clerical power struggle.

    Sadly, I do not think he will shrink from killing a very large number of his countrymen, if that’s what it will take to keep him and his hardline faction in power.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  64. #43- DCSCA,It’s clear you don’t consider Obama to be a proactive leader when it comes to foreign affairs, but instead as a leader who reacts to the actions and agendas of other nations and leaders. That’s fine, but it’s good to know.

    A bit disingenuous — and inaccurate. Clearly President Obama is ‘proactive’, most recently in his Cairo speech and generally speaking, his globe trotting over the past five months. And, of course, Secretary of State Clinton speaks for the President and the United States as well. Which is as it should be. President Obama also posesses a more curious intellect then his predecessor, who displayed minimal interest in the world outside of Texas before he entered office, even though he was granted ample opportunity in his life to show otherwise.

    In chess, each game has its own signature requiring a specialized set of strategies and moves. In this particular foreign policy chess match with Iran, President Obama’s silence may infuriate conservatives but it has so far shown to be a wisely proactive position to speak volumes by saying nothing overt to draw the U.S. into direct ‘meddling.’ Any claim otherwise from Iranian rulers is transparent and smacks of desperation. The President allowed the Supreme Leader to make his move and show the path he has decided to take Iran last Friday. The Supreme Leader decided the fate of Iran last Friday, not the United States. As it should be.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  65. Tim,

    I assume the video you describe/linked is the one entitled “Iran Election Protests.” It shows protesters demonstrating with little organized response from the police or government. The date of the video is Saturday 6/13/2009, the day after the election. A lot happened between that Saturday and the following Friday you describe as significant:

    Nearly all the news coverage I’ve seen has treated Khamenei’s sermon Friday as a point of departure and the start of a new and more severe phase in the government’s response.

    But the violence continued all week, not just on Friday 6/19/2009, and there were several deaths before that date. (That’s why I asked “Are you saying it’s okay to kill 7 protesters but not 17, or 50, or 150?”) I’m still confused why you think the sermon matters but the violence and deaths that preceded it don’t.

    Of course, there was one change that occurred last Friday. On the following day, Saturday 6/20/2009, Barack Obama issued a statement that was more critical of the Iranian government. Is that why you focused on last Friday as the day everything changed?

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  66. “And if Obama is correct in escalating his rhetoric this week, why wasn’t it the right thing to do last week?”

    The situation has escalated, the statements along with it. All of it looks to be on the same track. And definitely not “neutral.” Not in the sense of important things, like human rights and free expression. But yes, it is neutral in the sense of who should win the elections — mousavi or amadinejad.

    francis (23ad19)

  67. DCSCA,

    Bush isn’t President anymore.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  68. “If the protests are brutally squashed, do you think Obama will on principle back away from his policy of engagement with Ahmadinejad?”

    What would that get us? I’m in favor of engagement with iran if its good for us. Like with china.

    francis (23ad19)

  69. Thanks for the response, Tim. It’s sort of a disconnect because while I don’t think he cares about world opinion and I do agree that he will not shrink from killing his countrymen, I believe the full force of his wrath will come after communication to the outside world is cut off. No one to bear witness. Cell phone cameras, computers, Twitter, anything that allows us to see and hear and read first hand accounts will need to be controlled if not eliminated, and then his push back will come with the full dreaded force of their military and Basij.

    Dana (8d88ef)

  70. francis,

    You say Obama isn’t picking leaders but he stood up for democracy and human rights. If that’s all he’s done, why didn’t he stand up for those principles as strongly last week as he did this week?

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  71. “So please explain to me why you’ve chosen Friday 6/19/2009 as your (and Obama’s) tipping point.”

    People have been placing a lot of stock on khameini’s speech on friday. That was a signal from the leadership we didn’t have earlier. You didn’t think that saturday was significant?

    francis (23ad19)

  72. No, I don’t see why Saturday is significant. (And FWIW, Tim McGarry says the significant day was Friday.) I think the massive demonstrations and violence that occurred during the preceding week were the turning points.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  73. “No, I don’t see why Saturday is significant.”

    I saw the significance in that it followed khameini showing his hand at the friday speech, and a lot of the protests being prohibited. I’ve seen the situation escalate along with the rhetoric. If you’re not seeing hte situation escalate, then, well, I’m not going to be the one convincing you. Its not so much about turning points, but escalations.

    francis (23ad19)

  74. #65

    DRJ, you seem not to have read my answer. I sense you’re not really interested anyway.

    Good night.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  75. Then how do you explain (or how does he justify) the change in tone from measured concern for democracy to blunt attacks on Iranian leaders?

    Which Obama statement represents a “blunt attack” on Iranian leaders?

    Long-range economic imperatives should never be too unseemly to discuss:

    Iran spent nearly twice as much on U.S. imports during Obama’s first months in office as it did during the same period in 2008, despite trade penalties and tense relations.

    China’s bloody crackdown to crush Tibet self-rule protests left 140 people dead. The U.S. could easily have joined leaders of Poland, Czech Republic, Germany and others in a boycott of the Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremony last year.

    Condi Rice phoned her Chinese counterpart to urge restraint, but President Bush himself remained silent. His administration issued a statement that called for an end to violence. It’s not a struggle to make a case that the Chinese own too much U.S. debt to annoy.

    steve (77edf9)

  76. steve,

    The AP/USA Today article I linked here characterized Obama’s statement as “using his bluntest language yet to condemn Tehran’s post-election response” and also said that “his latest remarks took direct aim at Iranian leaders.

    So are you saying the Iranians have too much oil or influence in the region for the US to comment on these protests?

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  77. #67- Thank God. When there’s a disaster at sea and a ship sinks, a lot of wreckage is left floating to be cleaned up.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  78. And the first ship on the scene is often a scavenger.

    Now will you drop the corny metaphors and try to discuss the topic?

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  79. I rather enjoy watching Tim continue to not be willing to address the metric he introduced to the discussion last week. It was quite humorous to see DCSCA made up things like how giving speeches is a proactive foreign policy, and inaction is action babble. What foreign policy wins does Teh One have to show for all of his speech reading? francis wants to talk about China. What was most interesting was the fact that Tim and ASPCA both called DRJ disingenuous after she asked them perfectly reasonable questions based on the positions they had taken.

    JD (d2a915)

  80. The singlemindedness of the left to defend every tiny nuance of Obama’s policies and speeches, or lack of same, remind me of the days of Stalin and the obsequiousness of his supporters.

    MIke K (90939b)

  81. What was most interesting was the fact that Tim and ASPCA both called DRJ disingenuous after she asked them perfectly reasonable questions based on the positions they had taken.

    DCSCA’s trolldom and Zelig fabulism are well known and don’t require additional comment.

    As for Tim McGarry, he has a history of provoking conflict with those he disagrees with. Tim then assumes the “poor, persecuted me” pose of injured innocence. The other person is always the aggressor, and Tim is always the victim. He is often successful in convincing others of this distorted view.

    This time, Tim went too far in insulting DRJ, inviting us to balance her reputation against his.

    Tim, you lose.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  82. Amen, Brother Bradley C.O.R.

    JD (355e34)

  83. I appreciate your kind words. I try to be as fair as I can because I care about my reputation, and it’s gratifying to know people I respect feel the same way about me. However, when it comes to online comments, I believe it doesn’t generally matter who says the words. What matters is whether the thoughts make sense and are convincing.

    Having said that, I would like Tim to know that I was very surprised by his comment that “I sense you’re not really interested anyway.” It seems funny now but when I first read that statement my jaw literally dropped open.

    Compared to my usual participation in the comments, I spent a lot of time reading this thread, thinking about the ideas advanced by Tim and others, and finding links for and writing my comments in response. I was interested in Tim’s position and ended up responding as much or more to him than anyone else, so it really surprised me when he said I didn’t seem interested in this discussion.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  84. Well, I would invite anyone concerned by Bradley’s claim that I have “insulted” Dana to read our exchange and make his or her own judgment on the matter.

    By the way, quite a few news accounts are treating Khamenei’s Friday sermon as a turning point, as I did in my answers in this thread. The account in this morning’s WSJ is fairly typical in that regard. I recommend it.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  85. DRJ,
    Tim McGarry picks fights, then blames those he insults. Those of us on Cathy’s World saw that behavior, so it’s old news to us. Tim has a huge chip on his shoulder about conservatives, including that “extreme partisan” Patterico. That’s Tim’s true motivation for being here.

    His comment to you is classic Tim McGarry-style projection. Tim knew he was not making his case well, so he lost interest in the discussion. Tim then blamed you for his own pique and frustration.

    What a gentleman!

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (4ec7f1)

  86. Well, I would invite anyone concerned by Bradley’s claim that I have “insulted” Dana DRJ to read our exchange and make his or her own judgment on the matter.

    FIFY, Tim.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (4ec7f1)

  87. Tim,

    This is the only article I could find about the Iranian election on the WSJ’s online front page. I read it, fully prepared to acknowledge your claim that “quite a few news accounts are treating Khamenei’s Friday sermon as a turning point.” However, this is the only time Khamenei or Friday is mentioned in that article:

    The country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday that the margin of victory in the race won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was so big that the ultimate result of the polls wasn’t in question. That has convinced opposition supporters that a meaningful recount was unlikely.

    That is an important moment in the Iranian election drama, but in my view it does not compare to the preceding week of violence:

    After a week of violent unrest across the country, casualty numbers weren’t certain. The government put the official death toll so far at 17, with hundreds more injured.

    And, in fact, Obama’s Saturday statement focused on a concern about “all violent and unjust actions against its own people.” Perhaps “unjust actions” was Obama’s way of highlighting there could be no meaningful recount, but there’s no doubt about his reference to violence. And as of Saturday when Obama made that statement, the violence had been going on for almost a week.

    If it was right to object to the violence on Saturday, it was also right to object on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  88. Bradley, I thought he was insulting them two at a time. With Tim, the self righteousness quotient tops out pretty much every interaction.

    Mike K (90939b)

  89. Remember, DRJ, that the yardstick you are doing is Dali-flexible, depending on the “D” or “R” involved.

    You continue to show great class and patience.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  90. Okay, I’m sure that “using” is better than “doing” when it comes to yardsticks. Only had a moment to post. Apologies.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  91. DRJ, I will suggest that the Friday sermon was important in that it indicated no intent to compromise with the protestors, such as another election. To that extent, it was a turning point but the far more important points in the crisis have been Moussavi’s statement that he was prepared to die and the willingness of the protestors to persist and work to organize a national general strike. If that happens, it will bring down the government.

    Mike K (90939b)

  92. Bradley, I thought he was insulting them two at a time.

    I’m sorry for overlooking the slight to Dana; the snark at DRJ really caught my eye. That alone put him into DCSCA territory. Insulting them both says volumes about Tim, none of it good.

    Tim McGarry mistakenly let the mask slip and revealed his trolldom. Unless he swiftly apologies, that’s going to cost him most of what credibility he had on this blog.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (4ec7f1)

  93. #78- Scavengers? Usually it’s a rescue ship and metaphors enhance discussion, at least for me. And I have discussed the topic in my responses. We simply disagree. However, when Peggy Noonan, George Will and even Dr. ‘peeze iz dat hand’ Kissinger agree with President Obama’s handling of this, it suggests the administration is on the right track, even for a lefty.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  94. What is refreshing– and encouraging– is seeing tempered criticism of the more bellicose conservatives within the Republican ranks by more moderate voices in the party. The Lindsay Grahams of the GOP surely realize their comments will be used by clerics in Iran against the U.S. But then, this only reinforces how ‘shakey’ the government in Iran is at the foundation. Americans are so use to immediacy in their lives. The change in Iran may take months, even a few more years, but it is clearly coming. And Iranians will bring it to themselves.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  95. Mike K,

    That’s a reasonable point and I assume it is similar to Tim McGarry’s point. I’m sure there are many important moments or turning points in this drama, but I can’t reconcile why Khamenei’s Friday speech matters more than the violence that preceded it.

    As I understand Obama’s initial Iranian policy, he and his supporters believe America should not meddle in Iranian politics to avoid giving the government leverage or inflaming the populace. This remained the Administration’s policy even when violence occurred during the week. Thus, Obama’s no-meddling policy was never based on whether there was violence, so why would it matter that the chances for a peaceful resolution were dimmed? In other words, why would Obama feel free to inject himself into Iranian politics on Saturday but not the preceding Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?

    I think we both know the reason why. As the violence escalated, the desire to stop it intensified and Obama wanted to speak up. I understand that decision, but he should have done so when the violence started.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  96. DSCSA and Tim would admire Teh One if he said today is Monday. The Leftists always have to find some inside-the-beltway conservatives to validate their opinion, as though Peggy Noonan’s opinion means anything.

    JD (f4934f)

  97. Of course, we know that George Will, Henry Kissinger, and Peggy Noonan are all infallible;
    so therefore, we must all be nuts.
    Oh BTW, didn’t they all endorse The One for LiC last Fall?
    Nothing to see here, just move on.

    AD - RtR/OS! (7cda43)

  98. Evidently, DRJ, there is some number of dead protesters that Obama was OK with before then as well.

    SPQR (72771e)

  99. DCSCA,

    You like metaphors, I gave you a metaphor. I agree metaphors can be instructive (I also like parables) but they aren’t a substitute for facts, principles and debate. So do you wish to continue with the metaphors or would you like to talk about the topic?

    As for Noonan, Kissinger, et al., they are pragmatists. I am sometimes a foreign policy pragmatist so I don’t have a problem with their support for Obama in this instance. But just because they all agree doesn’t make them right this time.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  100. Tim McGarry and DSCSA

    This much is a fact, and has proven itself to be so many times over. If you cannot have a reasoned rational discussion with DRJ, and have to resort to crying disingenuous when questioned about your positions, it is best to look inward.

    JD (f4934f)

  101. #92

    Thanks, Bradley, but I think my credibility will be fine, certainly with anyone who is fair-minded. I’ll never be popular with the echo chamber crowd, but I’m very comfortable with that.

    #87

    DRJ, the story is here:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124557832127834827.html

    Headline and sub-head:

    Heavy Security Reins In Iranian Protests

    After Saturday’s Peak in Violence, a Wave of Arrests and Continued Conflict Suggest Ever-Wider Rifts Among Elite

    The story notes that Mousavi and his supporters “have openly defied the orders of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called during Friday prayer sermons for the protests to end…”

    The story subsequently describes Saturday’s events in terms that make it clear that violence had reached an unprecedented level:

    On Saturday, protesters battled security forces in scenes that often looked like an uprising, according to eyewitnesses. State media reported a bomb blast Saturday at the mausoleum of the founder of Iran’s revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, killing the bomber and injuring three.

    Street protesters shouted “Death to dictator,” and threw rocks and bricks at security forces. Authorities hit back with water cannons and tear gas and beat people violently with batons, according to videos online and eyewitness reports.

    Some shopkeepers and residents sheltered fleeing protesters. On one street, the plain-clothes Basij forces stormed in with knives and batons, witnesses said. Security forces broke doors down to drag protesters out of buildings.

    Vehicles had to dash around bonfires and through stones, sticks and bullets. Witnesses reported seeing dead bodies and badly injured victims lying on the roads. Some Iranian news Web sites reported that security forces were arresting protesters in hospital beds.

    DRJ, I have acknowledged that there was violence prior to Saturday. Though not of the same magnitude as the violence on Saturday (if news accounts have it right, that is — one report on CNN had deaths totaling 150 on Saturday, far more than any previous day), I would certainly not characterize the violence directed against the Iranian people earlier in the week as any less objectionable morally or from the point of view of human rights and I’m at a loss to understand how you would read me that way.

    However, what I have argued on this thread is that Obama’s cautious approach grew out of a desire to avoid making statements that the authorities in Tehran could use as a pretext for a crackdown. When Khamenei foretold a crackdown Friday and events early Saturday bore him out, the need for caution diminished.

    Shouldn’t humane leaders in the West consider the effect of their words on events in Iran? And shouldn’t they be prepared to change strategies, as events and conditions change?

    This is the argument I made in response to your question. Instead of responding to my argument, you asked me how many protesters I think it’s “okay to kill,” then later suggested that I think that deaths that preceded Friday’s sermon don’t matter.

    And finally you offer this:

    Of course, there was one change that occurred last Friday. On the following day, Saturday 6/20/2009, Barack Obama issued a statement that was more critical of the Iranian government. Is that why you focused on last Friday as the day everything changed?

    I suppose I should be grateful that you didn’t liken me to an apologist for Stalin, as Mike K. did. Frankly, reading your “question” as indicative of a lack of real interest in any reply was a far politer course than many alternatives I could have chosen.

    At least I said “Good night.”

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  102. #92

    Thanks, Bradley, but I think my credibility will be fine, certainly with anyone who is fair-minded. I’ll never be popular with the echo chamber crowd, but I’m very comfortable with that.

    #87

    DRJ, the story is here:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124557832127834827.html

    Headline and sub-head:

    Heavy Security Reins In Iranian Protests

    After Saturday’s Peak in Violence, a Wave of Arrests and Continued Conflict Suggest Ever-Wider Rifts Among Elite

    The story notes that Mousavi and his supporters “have openly defied the orders of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called during Friday prayer sermons for the protests to end…”

    The story subsequently describes Saturday’s events in terms that make it clear that violence had reached an unprecedented level:

    On Saturday, protesters battled security forces in scenes that often looked like an uprising, according to eyewitnesses. State media reported a bomb blast Saturday at the mausoleum of the founder of Iran’s revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, killing the bomber and injuring three.

    Street protesters shouted “Death to dictator,” and threw rocks and bricks at security forces. Authorities hit back with water cannons and tear gas and beat people violently with batons, according to videos online and eyewitness reports.

    Some shopkeepers and residents sheltered fleeing protesters. On one street, the plain-clothes Basij forces stormed in with knives and batons, witnesses said. Security forces broke doors down to drag protesters out of buildings.

    Vehicles had to dash around bonfires and through stones, sticks and bullets. Witnesses reported seeing dead bodies and badly injured victims lying on the roads. Some Iranian news Web sites reported that security forces were arresting protesters in hospital beds.

    DRJ, I have acknowledged that there was violence prior to Saturday. Though not of the same magnitude as the violence on Saturday (if news accounts have it right, that is — one report on CNN had deaths totaling 150 on Saturday, far more than any previous day), I would certainly not characterize the violence directed against the Iranian people earlier in the week as any less objectionable morally or from the point of view of human rights and I’m at a loss to understand how you would read me that way.

    However, what I have argued on this thread is that Obama’s cautious approach grew out of a desire to avoid making statements that the authorities in Tehran could use as a pretext for a crackdown. When Khamenei foretold a crackdown Friday and events early Saturday bore him out, the need for caution diminished.

    Shouldn’t humane leaders in the West consider the effect of their words on events in Iran? And shouldn’t they be prepared to change strategies, as events and conditions change?

    This is the argument I made in response to your question. Instead of responding to my argument, you asked me how many protesters I think it’s “okay to kill,” then later suggested that I think that deaths that preceded Friday’s sermon don’t matter.

    And finally you offer this:

    Of course, there was one change that occurred last Friday. On the following day, Saturday 6/20/2009, Barack Obama issued a statement that was more critical of the Iranian government. Is that why you focused on last Friday as the day everything changed?

    I suppose I should be grateful that you didn’t liken me to an apologist for Stalin, as Mike K. did. Frankly, reading your “question” as indicative of a lack of real interest in any reply was a far politer course than many alternatives I could have chosen.

    At least I said “Good night.”

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  103. #92

    Thanks, Bradley, but I think my credibility will be fine, certainly with anyone who is fair-minded. I’ll never be popular with the echo chamber crowd, but I’m very comfortable with that.

    #87

    DRJ, the story is here:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124557832127834827.html

    Headline and sub-head:

    Heavy Security Reins In Iranian Protests

    After Saturday’s Peak in Violence, a Wave of Arrests and Continued Conflict Suggest Ever-Wider Rifts Among Elite

    The story notes that Mousavi and his supporters “have openly defied the orders of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called during Friday prayer sermons for the protests to end…”

    The story subsequently describes Saturday’s events in terms that make it clear that violence had reached an unprecedented level:

    On Saturday, protesters battled security forces in scenes that often looked like an uprising, according to eyewitnesses. State media reported a bomb blast Saturday at the mausoleum of the founder of Iran’s revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, killing the bomber and injuring three.

    Street protesters shouted “Death to dictator,” and threw rocks and bricks at security forces. Authorities hit back with water cannons and tear gas and beat people violently with batons, according to videos online and eyewitness reports.

    Some shopkeepers and residents sheltered fleeing protesters. On one street, the plain-clothes Basij forces stormed in with knives and batons, witnesses said. Security forces broke doors down to drag protesters out of buildings.

    Vehicles had to dash around bonfires and through stones, sticks and bullets. Witnesses reported seeing dead bodies and badly injured victims lying on the roads. Some Iranian news Web sites reported that security forces were arresting protesters in hospital beds.

    DRJ, I have acknowledged that there was violence prior to Saturday. Though not of the same magnitude as the violence on Saturday (if news accounts have it right, that is — one report on CNN had deaths totaling 150 on Saturday, far more than any previous day), I would certainly not characterize the violence directed against the Iranian people earlier in the week as any less objectionable morally or from the point of view of human rights and I’m at a loss to understand how you would read me that way.

    However, what I have argued on this thread is that Obama’s cautious approach grew out of a desire to avoid making statements that the authorities in Tehran could use as a pretext for a crackdown. When Khamenei foretold a crackdown Friday and events early Saturday bore him out, the need for caution diminished.

    Shouldn’t humane leaders in the West consider the effect of their words on events in Iran? And shouldn’t they be prepared to change strategies, as events and conditions change?

    This is the argument I made in response to your question. Instead of responding to my argument, you asked me how many protesters I think it’s “okay to kill,” then later suggested that I think that deaths that preceded Friday’s sermon don’t matter.

    And finally you offer this:

    Of course, there was one change that occurred last Friday. On the following day, Saturday 6/20/2009, Barack Obama issued a statement that was more critical of the Iranian government. Is that why you focused on last Friday as the day everything changed?

    I suppose I should be grateful that you didn’t liken me to an apologist for Stalin, as Mike K. did. Frankly, reading your “question” as indicative of a lack of real interest in any reply was a far politer course than many alternatives I could have chosen.

    At least I said “Good night.”

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  104. LOL!

    I didn’t mean to post in triplicate. Sorry.

    Clean up on Aisle Two…

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  105. “…Frankly, reading your “question” as indicative of a lack of real interest in any reply was a far politer course than many alternatives I could have chosen….”

    Yup. That sure helped the concept of presenting yourself as open and fair minded. There is always room for misunderstanding. But Tim, you often seem just this side of anger. There are some people who are rude to you. Being rude back to them makes sense.

    DRJ hasn’t been rude to you (not that she needs my defense). But you just seem unable to rein in the defensive and “tit for tat” attitude. I can promise you, from my own experience, that DRJ is respectful and thoughtful about ideas and world views different from her own.

    But I guess I am part of the “echo chamber.” Ironic how you feel that your viewpoints are marginalized and disrespected, and you respond by….?

    It’s not important. But this is a pattern that you follow with a number of people, not just the ones who snark at you. And being snide to DRJ is…well…not helpful.

    You could have left off your last paragraph and looked a bit better on this topic. Unless you just want to battle people. There are plenty of posters who are into that. I didn’t think you were one of them.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  106. So are you saying the Iranians have too much oil or influence in the region for the US to comment on these protests?

    Merely one place where reality impinges and interests intersect. As with the host of reasons we passively watched Pervez Musharraf nullify the Pakistan constitution, the Saudis behead reformers, and China attack monasteries.

    What isn’t YouTubed is no less blogworthy.

    There is no feel-good policy option. Drawing the U.S. into a language battle, inviting Mousavi to the rose garden or planting a wet kiss on reform leaders entail consequences that outlast the sensory, symbolic rush. The British Foreign Secretary is not wide of the mark saying, “Protesters in Iran are not manipulated or motivated by foreign countries.” European leaders have been more outspoken than Obama but still relatively restrained.

    Obama has not thus far made a “blunt attack on Iranian leaders.”

    steve (64955d)

  107. Steve – Others have argued that Teh One did the opposite, denouncing Iranian leaders in his bluntest criticism yet. Can you Leftists pick a meme and stick with it?

    JD (f4934f)

  108. I suppose I should be grateful that you didn’t liken me to an apologist for Stalin, as Mike K. did.

    This is so typical, I don’t have to look to see who posted it. Note the whine, then the outrageous statement that has no basis in fact. Show me the comment where I said that Timmy.

    Mike K (90939b)

  109. The Leftists shouldn’t worry too much.

    The Hot Dogs Are Still On For Iran

    WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.

    President Barack Obama’s administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

    “There’s no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

    Wow, at least some Iranian pencil-pushers will get the chance to have their cole slaw and potato salad. It’s like something right out of that episode of Family Guy where Peter starts his own country and has all the Third-World dictators over for a pool party.

    Techie (482700)

  110. “Of course, we have to state our fundamental convictions of freedom of speech, free elections, and I don’t see how President Obama could say less than he has, and even that is considered intolerable meddling. He has, after all, carefully stayed away from saying things that seem to support one side or the other. And I think it was the right thing to do because public support for the opposition would only be used by the — by Ahmadinejad — if I can ever learn his name properly — against Mousavi.”–Henry the K

    I dunno about that. We supported Pinochet against Allende because Allende was our enemy, didn’t we? We supported Stalin against Hitler, because Hitler was our enemy, didn’t we? Us supporting Pinochet and Stalin didn’t seem to help Allende or Hitler too much.

    I’d support pretty much anyone
    that’s against the current regime in Iran, because, like the commies in Chile in the 1970s or the Nazis in 1941-45…they’re the enemy, and anyone who is against them is (for the moment) our friend.

    Supporting Mousavi will definitely hurt the current regime, whether or not he wants to be our pal. There’s basically no question about that. So…why not toss our support behind Mousavi? The worst thing that can happen is is that he wins, and then proves to be as intractable as the current government, which won’t be any worse than the current situation.

    And, as long as there is factional infighting in Iran, they’ll be concentrating on that instead of on building nuclear weapons or sending weaponry to Hellbollah, and that gives us some breathing room, while we try to figure out what to do about Iran’s longstanding support for terrorism and their pursuit of nuclear weaponry.

    If we’re not going to smash the mad mullahs with our armed forces (which is what I’d do, if I was running the show) then why not stir things up, and cause as much trouble for our enemies as we can?

    Hit the mullahs with a constant stream of vilification and propaganda pointing out what tyrants and murderers they are. Send money and weapons to the opposition on the q.t. What’s the worst than can happen? The mad mullahs will hate us? Hey, dudes and dudettes, they already hate us. They haven’t been calling us the Great Satan and screaming “Death to America” for the last 30 years out of respect and admiration.

    Not meddling and staying neutral is a great idea if you’re dealing with friends or neutrals…it ain’t such a good idea if you’re dealing with sworn enemies. Then it’s just appeasement.

    Frankly, I’m not too impressed with Henry the K’s viewpoint, and I don’t think our president has the slightest idea of how to handle this situation…or any other situation, for that matter.

    Dave Surls (5cc12c)

  111. Tim McGarry,
    I suppose I should be grateful that you didn’t liken me to an apologist for Stalin, as Mike K. did.

    How you must hurt on that cross!

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (4c6f28)

  112. Oh, I’m not on any kind of cross, Bradley. I’m not even pretending to be George Orwell!

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  113. Um. Did I ever? I have had this conversation with several people who seem very much into criticizing me for a pseudonym.

    You aren’t helping your case, again.

    Why so nasty?

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  114. It seems like some people do not like to be questioned about their assertions, and reply by calling people disingenuous and trotting out the “woe is me” mantra, again.

    JD (336b12)

  115. Eric Blair,
    Of course Tim McGarry just wants to battle people, as his snark at your reasoned comment indicates. That’s why he’s here on a blog dominated by those “echo chamber” conservatives he despises. (“Echo chamber” is pretty much anyone who disagrees with Tim McGarry.) It’s certainly not for an open and non-confrontational exchange of views, as the lengthening list of people he’s dissed indicates.

    St. Timothy the Martyr fancies himself a Fearless Fighter for the Truth against those mean conservatives. But Tim’s downfall is his grandiose, fragile and easily punctured ego. Tim can’t bring himself to apologize or admit his actions were less than totally noble. So Tim gets mad when called on his petty, ignoble actions and beclowns himself even more.

    Everyone’s out of step but poor persecuted Tim McGarry.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (4c6f28)

  116. A pompous lecture from “Eric Blair” and more moral instruction from Bradley J. Fikes. If this hasn’t been a red letter day…

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  117. Tim McGarry,

    Here’s my effort to state your position:

    Obama didn’t want to incite violence with his statements but after Khamenei’s sermon, he realized the Iranian government’s position was so intransigent that a measured statement was no longer that important. Accordingly, he changed strategies and issued a stronger statement denouncing the government’s actions.

    Is this correct? Is it complete?

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  118. You know, the word “pompous” has many definitions, because of subjectivity. Some people, for example, think of “snark” as equivalent to “pompous.”

    And if people want to apply such a label to me, that’s fine. But I am far from the only one to whom that label could be applied.

    I have tried to be polite to Mr. McGarry. His own responses tell their own tale.

    Eric Blair (521cac)

  119. “However, what I have argued on this thread is that Obama’s cautious approach grew out of a desire to avoid making statements that the authorities in Tehran could use as a pretext for a crackdown.”

    Complete bullshit. If we express our support for freedom of speech, democracy and the right of people to choose their government, what the hell do we care what “PRETEXT” the mad mullah’s manufacture to crush dissent. They’ve become experts at it over 30 years as well as demonizing the U.S. Why does Mr. Softee magically expect that to change overnight?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  120. Just how can McGarry type on a keyboard with all the stigmata?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  121. Tim McGarry,
    No moral instruction, just a reminder about how you’re making a pompous ass out of yourself, Mr. Projection.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (4c6f28)

  122. #117

    DRJ, I think you’re close. Please bear in mind, though, that I’ve expressed my view in my own words several times in this thread.

    #118

    You’ve actually been very condescending, “Eric,” and I really don’t appreciate it.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  123. Tim,

    Patterico has a debate device that I think works well in these cases. Each person states the other’s view in their own words and then they refine those views until each is satisfied. I’d like to do it with you, at least from my end, if you’re willing. Thus, I’m not restating your position to try to change it but to understand it.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  124. Also, Tim, the process of fleshing out viewpoints can help pinpoint where the disagreements are.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  125. All right, DRJ, I’ll put myself in your hands, even though I’m having a little of the sensation I get every time I climb into a dentist’s chair.

    At least Bradley will be around to entertain us…

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  126. Bradley – I think he needs to climb down from the cross. We can probably use the wood for something else.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  127. #109 is funny.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  128. I’m in the dentist’s chair now, daley. The cross is all yours.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  129. Tim,

    I’m not worried that you understand my views, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether to restate them. Of course, I’ll be happy to discuss it if you decide to.

    As for my statement of your position, can you give me feedback so I can edit it to your satisfaction. (Don’t tell me what to say. Instead, explain what I got right, wrong, and what I left out. Then it’s my job to state it to your satisfaction.)

    And don’t be worried about this. The point isn’t to agree, just to understand where we each stand.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  130. You know, Tim, the irony of your last few posts is how sensitive you are to your perception of “tone”…but you show a lack of concern at your own tone.

    I don’t want to fight with you, and if you recall, I agreed with your call for civility recently.

    But you have been quite unpleasant to me, from my own perception. Can we start again, with a virtual shaking of hands?

    Eric Blair (b3f947)

  131. daleyrocks, I was thinking a couple of nice bookshelves.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  132. Careful or Tim will find one of those new racist Republican thoughts get its genesis here.

    JD (336b12)

  133. Again, to repeat –

    1) Obama is a ‘wordsmith’ who can fashion clear, concise communications that bridge the gap between the United States and the rest of the world. Obama will make them understand the role of the United States as a partner in the world.

    but,
    1a) Obama is incapable of fashioning a clear, concise communication to the Iranian population, because anything he says can be used by the rulers as an excuse to repress said population.

    And,
    2) It was important for Obama to address the people of the Middle East, especially Iran, in a speech less than a month ago. This speech strongly addressed Democracy, Rule by Consent of the People, and the proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Obama gave said speech with the full knowledge that Iran was about to have a major election, and the effect of his words was secondary to the importance of the speech.

    but,
    2a) President Obama cannot strongly address Democracy and Rule by Consent of the People because, even though he has already done so, his repeating the same points will now be used by the rulers of Iran to frame the US as ‘meddling’ in Iranian internal affairs.

    Or is it just that whatever Obama does is the right thing? And if you really believe that, then why defend his actions?

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  134. Good luck, Eric.

    Now I’m going to go back to figuring out Twitter.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (4c6f28)

  135. I take it that means Elvis has left the building…

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  136. #130

    Wherever you are in the real world, I wish you well. Let me be honest, however — the prospect of conversation with you is not something I look to with pleasure or with high expectations. Condescension seems deeply ingrained in your approach here. Perhaps it is a professional hazard.

    On the other hand, people surprise me all the time.

    Let me sleep on it.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  137. Apogee – Spot freakin’ on, and not one of the Leftists will respond, in an honest manner.

    JD (336b12)

  138. “WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.”

    I’ll be happy to donate as many Hebrew National hot dogs as the Iranians can choke down.

    Dave Surls (28518b)

  139. Dave – is that accurate?

    JD (f2604b)

  140. #129

    DRJ, family obligations call, but I’ll try to return later tonight with my half of our exercise.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  141. No problem, and thanks for letting me know.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  142. When you return, Tim, tell her first whether she stated your position correctly. (If you did, I missed it.) Then see if you can state hers.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  143. “Dave – is that accurate?”

    The part about our idiot-in-chief inviting the Iranians to celebrate our Independence Day appears to be true.

    But, I made up the part about me feeding them. There ain’t no way that’s going to happen.

    Dave Surls (28518b)

  144. I was waiting for Tim to revert back to his usual MO when he realizes his complete and utter beclowning:

    – challenge Mike K. to a fight;
    – act out the final scene in Joan of Arc
    – the second act of the twinbill will feature Tim wearing the hairshirt as Beckett.
    – classify anyone not agreeing with him as the hallowed “echo chamber.”
    – refuse to answer any specific question directly

    Check on 4 out of 5; but there’s still time left on the clock.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  145. Eric,
    You made a decent gesture and what does Tim McGarry do? He churlishly throws the “condescension” label at you for being honest about his less-than-stellar behavior. And then he says he’ll “sleep on it”.

    On the other hand, even churlish people can change their ways. If Tim gets enough sleep tonight, maybe he’ll be less cranky tomorrow.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (4c6f28)

  146. #99- Dr. Kissinger agrees with the Obama Administration’s approach and given his credentials and experience at the highest levels of government in crises in several administrations, it carries more weight than, say, wordsmith Noonan or fading columnist Will. But as all are in agreement with the majority in the other party, it appears conservative Republicans advocating a return to ‘cowboy diplomacy’ are in the distinct minority. To put it tactfully, Obama style, majority rules. In more blunt terms, conservative-style, ‘We won.’

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  147. #103- Though not of the same magnitude as the violence on Saturday (if news accounts have it right, that is — one report on CNN had deaths totaling 150 on Saturday, far more than any previous day), I would certainly not characterize the violence directed against the Iranian people earlier in the week as any less objectionable morally or from the point of view of human rights and I’m at a loss to understand how you would read me that way. Bear in mind that over 250 were killed when one Air France Airbus disintegrated over the ocean earlier this month. Every life is precious, but if Iran secures reform and fresh freedoms for less than 1000 lives it would be a bargain. Russia wrestled reform as the Soviet Union disintegrated with a comparatively low loss of life. Compared these ‘revolutions’ to the three bloody days at Gettysburg from an even bloodier civil war as the United States saved itself from itself.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  148. “it appears conservative Republicans advocating a return to ‘cowboy diplomacy’ are in the distinct minority”

    DCSCA – You are Nucking Futs! What is this absurd notion of Cowboy Diplomacy you are floating? Obama was out there alone in not denouncing the Mullahs – he was the cowboy, nimrod. How many countries in Europe had issued strong statements in advance of D’uh one? How many countries in the Middle East think the Mullahs are loco and would not be sorry to see them deposed? Time to lay off the cough syrup pops.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  149. Dr. Kissinger, having fucked the Kurds for a generation, compliments Obama on potentially fucking the Persians. Hoo-freaking-ray.

    carlitos (84409d)

  150. Bradley, my response to Eric was an honest one. If you don’t like it, I’m afraid that’s too bad. It really doesn’t concern you.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  151. Obama didn’t want to incite violence with his statements but after Khamenei’s sermon, he realized the Iranian government’s position was so intransigent that a measured statement was no longer that important. Accordingly, he changed strategies and issued a stronger statement denouncing the government’s actions.

    Well, I hope I’m doing this right. DRJ, Patrick — let me know, I’m happy to learn.

    I think the statement misses some elements of my position, elements that strike me as important.

    The total picture includes the factional struggle within the clerical establishment. I think the administration wanted to avoid saying anything that would work to the advantage of the hardliners or help them make a plausible case for repression. Yes, the ultimate concern was to avoid inciting violence against the Iranian people, but I think Obama and his people have been very focused on the impact of their words or deeds on the political elite in Tehran and Qom.

    The other element that I’ve tried to incorporate into my statements is a rather sad one. Khamenei has opted for severe repression and the police and the plainclothes thugs are (so far) making it happen with grim efficiency. The state of affairs Obama meant to discourage has come to pass anyway. The goal of avoiding violence becomes moot once the violence arrives with a vengeance.

    In sum, while DRJ’s version is a good first approximation, it’s missing a reference to the factional struggle and to the specific change in circumstances that has made the initial objective moot.

    Next up, my first approximation of DRJ’s position. Am working on it now.

    Again, hoping I’m following the correct steps in this exercise. Let me know. Thanks.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  152. “I’ll be happy to donate as many Hebrew National hot dogs as the Iranians can choke down.”

    So they would be pork free? How nice.

    imdw (7a86ac)

  153. A first cut at articulating DRJ’s position as I understand it.

    Our revolutionary heritage as a democracy requires America to support the democratic aspirations of all the world’s people and, in particular, to support people and nations who take great risks and rise up for freedom and against tyranny. Our leaders must provide both moral and material support for such struggles and unreservedly condemn any and all violence and repression directed against a nation’s people as they seek to exercise their human and political rights.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  154. I was hoping Tim was going to take the exercise more seriously than that pitiful first effort. It’s either pitiful for lack of effort or pitiful for his understanding of DRJ’s position, perhaps both.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  155. Yeah, that was pretty much mailed in.

    JD (b7c790)


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