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What if ...? Solving the Iran stand-off

by Craig Rowley

I have been mulling over a question or two. Make that a whole series of questions. They are '"What if ..." questions.  They are not messy and futile backward looking "What if ..." questions of the "toothpaste back into the tube" type. They are future focused, solution focused questions that ask what if we could do something, what if we did this or something like it or something else. What if we could work through a problem together?

The Iranian regime has a nuclear program.  It includes several research sites, a uranium mine, a nuclear reactor, and uranium processing facilities that include a uranium enrichment plant. Iran claims it is using the technology for peaceful purposes. The United States, however, makes the allegation that the program is part of a drive to develop nuclear weapons. A nuclear program for peaceful purposes, even one involving the enrichment of uranium, is allowed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), whilst a nuclear weapons development program is not. And therein lies the nub of the problem.

In the last weeks of last year the UN Security Council approved economic sanctions on Iran. If Tehran fails to comply with resolution 1737 by the end of a 60-day deadline that the UN imposed, the Security Council will consider new measures.  What if the Iranian regime fails to comply?

In a few weeks time the 35 members of the Board of Governors of the United Nation's nuclear monitoring body, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will meet in Vienna and review the reports compiled by their inspection teams. They need to decide whether Iran has taken the steps required by their resolution GOV/2006/14, steps "which are essential to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme."   The IAEA will then make its report to the UN Security Council on Iran’s nuclear activities.  What if the IAEA reports that Iran failed to comply with their resolution and thereby Security Council resolution 1737? What then? What is the next move for the Security Council?

Coercive diplomacy seems to have been the strategy so far.  That was reflected in the first Security Council resolution on Iran in response to its nuclear programme. In June 2006, acting under Article 40 of Chapter VII of the United Nations in order to make mandatory the IAEA requirement that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities, the Security Council issued resolution 1696  threatening Iran with economic sanctions in case of non-compliance. Resolution 1696  avoided any implication that use of force may be warranted. Exercise of that option, the use of force, was premature.

Resolution 1737 did not include a clear statement that use of force would be warranted in case of non-compliance. With Resolution 1737 the Security Council affirmed only that it shall review Iran’s actions in the light of the IAEA’s report and:

(a) that it shall suspend the implementation of measures if and for so long as Iran suspends all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, as verified by the IAEA, to allow for negotiations;

(b) that it shall terminate the measures specified in … this resolution as soon as it determines that Iran has fully complied with its obligations under the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and met the requirements of the IAEA Board of Governors, as confirmed by the IAEA Board;

(c) that it shall, in the event that the report … [by the IAEA] … shows that Iran has not complied with this resolution, adopt further appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations to persuade Iran to comply with this resolution and the requirements of the IAEA, and underlines that further decisions will be required should such additional measures be necessary.

The Security Council could continue with the current sanctions and set a new deadline with an explicit threat attached. What if it does so? What is likely to happen after that?

The Security Council could authorise additional and more punitive sanctions. What if it did this? What is likely to happen in this scenario?

And though unlikely at this stage, the Security Council could ultimately authorise action more punitive, more violent, than the use of sanctions. What if it does?

As we enter dialogue and together consider these questions, and in all likelihood the assumptions on which each of us base our answers to these questions, I hope we can look to the possibility of a positive outcome.

As we’ve been discussing the issues in Ceasefire and I’ve been keeping myself informed, learning what I can about the issues raised and considering everything constructive that I’ve come across during that time, I chanced upon some old Persian wisdom: “Epigrams succeed where epics fail.”  So what if we keep this in mind: People make peace.

What if a way could be found, with the help of any people who want to find a way, a way without war, a firm and fair way to have Iran take those steps needed for it to be taken off America's state-sponsors-of-terrorism list without anyone being wiped of any map?  What if we considered what Albert Einstein said about the menace of mass destruction?

"Most people go on living their everyday life: half frightened, half indifferent, they behold the ghastly tragi-comedy that is being performed on the international stage before the eyes and ears of the world ... It would be different if the problem were not one of things made by Man himself, such as the atomic bomb ... It would be different, for instance, if an epidemic of bubonic plague were threatening the entire world.

In such a case, conscientious and expert persons would be brought together and they would work out an intelligent plan to combat the plague. After having reached agreement upon the right ways and means, they would submit their plan to the governments. Those would hardly raise serious objections but rather agree speedily on the measures to be taken ... They certainly would never think of trying to handle the matter in such a way that their own nation would be spared whereas the next one would be decimated. But could not our situation be compared to one of a menacing epidemic?

People are unable to view this situation in its true light, for their eyes are blinded by passion. General fear and anxiety create hatred and aggressiveness. The adaptation to warlike aims and activities has corrupted the mentality of man; as a result, intelligent, objective and humane thinking has hardly any effect and is even suspected and persecuted as unpatriotic."  

- Albert Einstein, 'The Menace of Mass Destruction', in Out of My Later Years.

What if we did compare our situation to one of a menacing epidemic? What if conscientious and expert, intelligent, objective and humane thinking persons were brought together to work out an intelligent plan to solve this problem?

I’ve been mulling over these questions. Most of all I’ve have in mind a couple prompted by a quote by John Ralston Saul  that Margo Kingston used to open the final chapter of Not Happy, John!  That quote is: “If we believe in democracy you have to believe in the power of the citizen – there is no such thing as abstract democracy.”

And the questions I mostly think about now are these: What if we, as the citizens of free democracies and the peoples seeking a democratic future, believed in our power? What if we exercised our real power, did not unthinkingly leave these problems entirely to the powers that be, and could work through our problems together? 


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Angela's ashes

Hey Angela, no worries - seriously.  I felt like a pedant making a comment about formatting after such a brilliant post - as I think your other one is today.  It's a labour of love, really, but sometimes .... 

As far as Eliot goes, if the argument between you and him is comparable to a cricket match, I reckon you just cleaned up with a couple of sixes.  Trying to combat his trolling tactics is tiring, but might I say you're doing a stirling job.  He'll try to get you going now on quotation marks or something. 

The thing about people who blindly defend the Land of the Free at this point in history is that they're defending a faith-based administration.   So if they believe they're right, that's all that matters.  Hypocrisy?  Torture?  Wars of aggression?  Illegal surveillance?  A myriad of inconvenient truths?  All irrelevant. 

You just have to believe, Angela. 

Umpire Dishes Out The Faith

This post is some kind of parody, right? Surely David Curry doesn't expect us to take it at face value. Does he?  

Because if he does, I am going to suggest to him that he must stop editing immediately for the sake of WD, and find some other way to help the blog if that is what he wants to do.

For the record:

If that argument was a cricket match then Eliot has just hit Angela for six, six times in the over. As evidenced by the umpire having the sudden uncontrollable urge to jump in and bash the batsman from behind with a stump.  

To call the US a "faith based administration" , thereby attributing to it the worst features of the most dangerous regimes rampant in the world, is sickening. I despair for our civilisation when I read this muck. Global warming? Give me a break. There won't be any globe to warm if this reverse projection worldview gets a stronger grip.

Angela does have a certain style. It must be comfortable living in a world of such complete certainty in the absense of any evidence or factual framework whatsoever. The goodies? The baddies? Look at the world through a pinhole and there can no longer be any doubts in your minds. This of course is "faith based " and probably it is very reasuring. I wouldn't know. But no doubt you and Angela do.   

Eliot and Geoff - my gratuitous comment

Hey guys - you're right, it was a gratuitous comment.  Not helpful, that’s a fair comment.  However, I made it as a ‘diarist, not an editor – so hammer me as a ‘diarist, by all means - and I believe I am scrupulously fair in moderating any comments, from you, Eliot or anybody else, whether I agree with them or not.  I try, anyway. 

As for the faith-based administration line - um, have you not read any analysis of what many commentators have referred to as Bush's 'faith-based' administration?  There are plenty around, Geoff.  Remember, Bush is the guy who when he was asked who he thought was the most inspiring political figure in history said, 'Jesus'. 

I think we should be very wary of any world leader who claims to get their policy advice from God. 

policy advice from God?

David, can you provide a quote where Bush says that he gets policy advice from God?

I'm no fan of Bush but I also think a lot of his professions of religious faith are intended merely to placate his supporter base of southern right wing religious dumbf**ks.

God as policy advisor

Mike , I didn't actually say Bush got his policy advice from God; I made a general statement about how dangerous it is when that happens.  However, there has been at least one report that Bush checked his decision to invade Iraq with the big guy. 

The reference to Christ as a political philosopher is here.  Each candidate on the TV debate was asked what "political philosopher or thinker" he identified with most – Bush nominated Christ.  Christ is many things to many people, but he’s not normally categorised as a political philosopher, is he?   He’s normally described as a religious figure, surely. 

Dubya was the first American president for a very long time to use the word 'evil' in relation to foreign policy - a word mostly used in a religious binary relationship with 'good', as in good versus evil, God versus the devil, etc. The word’s meaning is sometimes broadened, it's true, to include the most ethically despicable acts – but I’m uncomfortable with it as an atheist.   

Bush of course also supports intelligent design as part of the US school curriculum.  

The problem with having people like Bush and Ahmadinejad in such critical positions at this juncture in the world’s history is their apparent eschatological preoccupations. Apocalyptic predictions can quickly become self-fulfilling. 

reponse to David

David, I'm an atheist but I'm very happy to use the word "evil" and do so all the time. You don't have to be religious to refer to, say, Ivan Milat as evil. Or Saddam. Or Hitler. Such people were simply evil, whether that word makes you uncomfortable or not.

My American College Dictionary has a big list of meanings for "evil" and not one of them cites religion or gods at all.

When Bush cited Jesus as his favorite philosopher in a staged political debate where the questions were known to him beforehand, clearly he chose that response to appeal to his core consituency. That doesn't mean he doesn't believe it, but we really don't know for sure.

And God said "George, go and fight those terrorists"

"President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Mr Bush went on: "And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it."

Lears quotes Bush as saying; rather, events are determined by “the hand of a just and faithful God.”

Bush uttered these words at the fifty-first National Prayer Breakfast, held February 2003 in Washington DC. In his remarks, Bush assured Americans that they can “be confident in the ways of Providence, even when they are far from our understanding,” History, according to Bush, is the unfolding of God’s will. “Behind all of life and all of history, there’s a dedication and purpose.”

In the unfolding of history, God calls on special persons to make history in His righteous name. In a worldview that rests upon providence, the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are interpreted by many, including members of the Bush administration, as signs from God that Bush is ordained to lead a crusade against evil. “It is a theme which is beginning to emerge from the Bush administration,” writes Julian Borger in The Guardian (1-28-03). “While most people saw the extraordinary circumstances of the 2000 election as a fluke, Bush and his closest supporters saw it as yet another sign he was chosen to lead. Later, September 11 ‘revealed’ what he was there for.” The President said in the State of the Union address, “this call of history has come to the right country.” And, obviously to the right president.

Frightening as it may seem Bush really does believe his is on a mission from God. Let's us hope, that Armageddon is not part of  the plan.

specificity for bob wall

Bob Wall, I would echo John Pratt here and cite Bush's remarks to a National Prayer Breakfast as pandering to his base supporters of the loony religious right. I doubt they reflected a sincere devotion to religious faith.


Fiona Reynolds says:

A better (though still simplistic) description is that of a circle, where the ultras become indistinguishable. By the way, have you read Bullock’s Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives? Riveting stuff.

Bullock writes rather too much from the perspective of a biographer than social or political historian for my tastes, but yes his work was very compelling notwithstanding. His main work on Hitler, of course, analyses the Third Reich from the perspective of an individual's (Hitler's) 'career'.

This tends to characterise the major events of the 20th Century as being either precursory to, and then receeding away from the career of Hitler, which is interesting as an idea, but rather limiting in terms of its broader explanatory power.  But hey, who am I to criticise? And it's still very good reading.

Did you read Gita Sereny's books on Stangl and Speer? Similar biographical focus bet ever mindful of the moral dimension in the lives of her subjects.

Fiona Reynolds says:

Is there anything at all about humanity, or life, the universe, and all that jazz, that inspires you?

Schadenfreude. Also, nuclear disarmament.

By the way, for anyone interested in the arms race, here's an article about the air to surface cruise missiles developed in the 1970s for deployment from B-52 long range bombers.

It is an indictment on our civilisation that these things should still exist. even though they might be handy if Iran gets out of line and nukes Israel.

Geoff Pahoff asks:

I wonder what these "analysts" would make of this historical event that I was reminded of by some recent comments here.

You'd be completely ignored in all likelihood, on the grounds that it would be just too inconvenient to do otherwise.

Putting the two together .. goose amd gander.

Angela, there has been a lot of conjecture about those cruise missiles that somehow found themselves on a B 52. There has also been a lot of conjecture  about the Israeli attack om Syria. Now if someone could put them together ...

What's good for the goose ....

Money doesn't talk it ...

Now for Geoff Pahoff's latest - What's to discuss ...

I note that despite the failure to provide evidence to support his earlier allegations he has now made comments such as:

... when it is Israel (invariably falsely) under accusation.

So, more of the same. But not content with that, he decides to try to divert the discussion onto another topic.  In doing so he poses some questions.

What's To Discuss? Israel Is Guilty.

It is interesting that the usual suspects only blurt on about "international law", "acts of aggression",  "violation  of state sovereign integrity" and "war crimes" when it is Israel (invariably falsely) under accusation.

I wonder what these "analysts" would make of this historical event that I was reminded of by some recent comments here. 

In 1970, the PLO which had based itself in Jordan and set up a state within a state decided to implement its avowed policy of deposing Hussein and his government. The PLO didn't like Arab monarchs, you understand. As opposed to hereditary tyrants like the Assads and Saddam and his sons.

They attempted an assassination on Hussein and attacked his troops. In response, in September 1970, the Jordanian army launched attacks on PLO camps and on Palestinian refugee camps that were under the control of PLO units in the vicinity of Amman.

Syria sent some 200 tanks to aid the PLO forces. They crossed the border and headed for Amman. It looked like curtains for the King. 

The Israelis then sent four Phantom warplanes to fly over the Syrian armoured divisions. The manouevre was repeated once or twice without the planes firing a single shot.  The tanks stopped in their tracks, stood in their formations for an hour, and then turned and returned to Syria.

The rest as they say is history. The war ended after ten days and the PLO was expelled from Jordan. Hence "Black September". The casualties, including many civilians, in and around Amman were huge.

Now ask yourself what the Israel-bashing bush lawyers would make of that lot. Who has committed the "supreme war crime"? The PLO for seeking to overthrow Hussein's regime? Jordan for attacking and expelling the PLO? Syria for invading Jordan?

Of course. It must be Israel. The IAF violated sovereign airspace and threatened the military of a sovereign state with which it was in a state of war.    

Still none.

Geoff Pahoff, I note  you still refrain from providing any evidence to support your assertions. On the matter of attacks made perhaps you could provide qualified legal opinion (with links) on how they relate to the UN Charter, any UNSC resolutions, any other relevant aspect of international law  that might apply and to cease fire agreements. You might also clarify the matter of belligerents and sovereignty as it relates to the Israel/Syria situation.

Evidence to substantiate any other assertions and allegations you have made and might make would assist people in determining whether you are interested in whether such assertions and allegations are true or false.

War, Lies And Other Crimes And Victims

Hi Eliot,

The fact that Israel and Syria are at war, a war declared by Syria, and earlier declared by the Arab League on behalf of Syria, and that the only official ceasefire is limited to the Golan Heights, is of itself conclusive on the international law issue, given the scope of the Israeli operation.  Common sense really. 

It need hardly be mentioned that Syria has been aiding and supplying Hezbollah, including facilitating the supply of missiles that have been used on Israeli civilians, and that it has done all it can to replenish these and other munitions since the Israel/Hezbollah War. These are of themselves acts of war even if a state of war did not already exist.

This disposes of the "international law" gripes of the Israel-bashers entirely. Not that they could care less. For them its not about whether the allegation is true or false. It never has been.

But beyond the usual bunch of lazy and hypocritical giantbrains of the "Left" there lies something even uglier. These are the kind of people capable of arguing in relation to the recent Syrian operation something like,  "Israel committed a blatant act of aggression against its northern neighbor of the kind denounced as the "supreme international crime" by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal " .

The "supreme international crime" referred to by one of the prosecutors at Nuremberg was waging of a war of aggression. The defendants had been charged with starting World War II. It was described as the "supreme" war crime because it it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

Those who are capable of finding something in common between this and the Israeli operation a week or two ago, let alone claim they are of a "kind" are not worth debating. It is little wonder they are capable of ignoring, even applauding, genuine war crimes where Israelis (or Americans) are the victims.   

Vegan lederhosen

Geoff Pahoff you've got me on a roll thinking about how 'the modern "Left" has degenerated' and about its points of intersection with the ultra Right.

Apart from the matters I raised below, another contemporary Left obsession which has its counterpart in the early 20th Century ultra-right is 'globalisation', with special emphasis on the 'globalisation of culture'.

Anyone familiar with far-right German history will be aware of the obsession German nationalists had with 'internationalism' and its effect on 'volkish culture'.

The pan-Germans got all excited about one of the main characteristics of progressive art, for instance, that of its 'internationalism' against which they fought with the motto, 'Art is not international, it is volkish'.

The term 'international' was a code word with which anti-Semites disparaged certain groups, especially the Jews obviously, in much the same way as the term 'globalisation' is a bogey word used by those in the 'struggle' against 'Zionist imperialism' today.

This might also fit in with the fringe Left's frequent preoccupation with 'folk', 'ethnic' and 'tribal' cultural values, too.

Bits of Rousseau getting mixed up with Gottfried Herder and the like.

Nothing like a bit of folk dancing until you realise your lederhosen are borrowed from the local Strength Through Joy unit costume department, hey?

Until then, it's the sort of thing which allows right wing fringe elements and their left wing counterparts to fire off each others' slogans and rhetoric, leading them to think they're part of some broad, global historic movement.

They see their own slogans coming back and forth at them from across a political divide, so to speak, and think they're witness to the weltanschaaung at work.

Just an idea.

Anyway, just getting back to King Assad II whinging about his sovereignty being breached by Israel, it's tantamount his declaring his right to attack his enemies with impunity from retaliation.

"I might be at war with you, but how dare you attack me."

Bizarre logic. Still, that's the privelege he's enjoyed in Lebanon, of course, also for decades.


Eliot Ramsey, I will possibly shock you by agreeing with your thoughts concerning the "intersection" of (ultra) left and ultra right. Indeed, for most of my politically-aware life (approximately 40 years) I have considered that treating differences in political stance on the basis of one linear dimension is wrong. A better (though still simplistic) description is that of a circle, where the ultras become indistinguishable. By the way, have you read Bullock’s Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives? Riveting stuff.

However, Eliot, I am writing in a somewhat more personal vein. I must confess that, when wearing the editor’s green eyeshade (amazing how we manage to pass it from brow to brow through the ether) yesterday, I was becoming deeply concerned by the general tone of your posts. Specifically, I could not find anything positive in them. It is clear that you have a passion for relentless, even remorseless, ridicule, but that in my view is a negative rather than a positive passion.

Is there anything at all about humanity, or life, the universe, and all that jazz, that inspires you? Do you have any constructive suggestions about how the lot of humankind could be improved? If so, I would be interested in reading them. Or have matters reached such a pass that the only way you have of getting any kind of “fun” is by metaphorically(?) ripping wings off flies?

Just wondering.   

Belligerent for decades

Geoff, hi!

Here's an article you might find helpful:

"Syria and Israel remain technically in a state of war, and peace talks broke down in 2000 over the fate of the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau captured by Israel during the 1967 Middle East War."

That the hereditary dictator for life, Assad, would be whinging about his state's sovreignty under such circumstances indicates the level of hypocrisy that infects his degenerate, criminal junta.

Belligerent states

Geoff Pahoff, hi!

Seeing as Israel and Syria are still legally in a state of war and have been since 1973, how would you say that affects the status of their sovreignty vis a vis each other?

What's your view on beliigerent states - states actually at war with each other - "respecting" each other's sovreignty?

Like, should Great Britain in 1940 have "respected" Germany's sovreignty, for example?

Clarification for Geoff.

Geoff, hi!

I don't know if it helps your understanding of current events, but Syria and Israel have been technically at war since 1973.

You cannot breach the 'sovreignty' of a combatant enemy state.

capuccinno zeitgeist

Geoff Pahoff says:

This stuff serves only one good purpose. It illustrates just how far the modern "Left" has degenerated, how complete is its moral bankruptcy and how intellectually debased and thoroughly dishonest it has become.

It was never honest. Marxism in particular based on nonsense and lies mostly.

Since the defeat of Communism, the Marxist or 'Marxisant' political left in particular has been struggling to find a role for itself.

Much of the remnant offshoots of the failed left have grouped themselves around "Green" issues in an effort to find a moral and political focus for their on-going activism.

In Australia, the most bizarre demonstration of this was the rebirth of the old DSP pro-Soviet newspaper Direct Action overnight as Green Left Weekly, which of course helps account for its otherwise anomalous slavish deference to Cuba, a state whose resource extraction and labour policy practices would rightly earn the opprobrium of every genuine 'green' or 'labour' party in the democracies.

Another focus for failed left groups has been the regimes of the so called 'non aligned' group of nations whose  'anti-Imperialist' rehtoric was intended to disguise the corrupt, bankrupt and brutal nature of its member states, such as Cuba again, various corrupt African post colonial dictatorships and the former Yugoslavia.

Arab nationalist and Islamist regimes are prominently aligned to that group, too.

So, some Marxists, realising they otherwise have little historical relevance anymore in world affairs, have lent themselves to recycling the thinly disguised anti-Semitic and anti-Western blather of such regimes.

It's no surprise the rantings of goons like Mugabe, Assad, Kim Jong Il, Ahmadinejad, Chavez and others incorporate so much gibberish slogans faithfully echoed around cafes and wine bars and student lounges from Swinbourne to Pigale to Brixton to Glebe to Sadr City.

That much of this lends itself too to the blather coming from ultra-Right revisionist and racist tendencies no more bothers the left today than it did in September 1939.


Geoff Pahoff, you have chosen an extract from an article I linked as an example to use to illustrate your point. I suggest you should have made it clear to readers the article from which you took the extract, particularly for those who had not read the links - "the ICH site" not being specific enough.

Here is the link.

And again the extract:

One point that none of the pundits and analysts have noted was that, in attacking Syria, Israel committed a blatant act of aggression against its northern neighbor of the kind denounced as the "supreme international crime" by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal.

What are your objections to that paragraph? Are you claiming the attack did not take place?

Are you claiming that an unprovoked attack on the sovereign territory of a sovereign state is not a crime under international law and the UN Charter and that such actions have been denounced as the supreme international crime?

Evidence to support any claims you might make would be appreciated.

How equivalence rhetoric works

Talking about taking the high moral ground...

THE President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has accused the US President, George Bush, of "rank hypocrisy" for lecturing him on human rights and likened the Guantanamo Bay prison to a concentration camp.

"His hands drip with innocent blood of many nationalities," Mr Mugabe said in a fiery speech to the United Nations General Assembly. "He kills in Iraq. He kills in Afghanistan. And this is supposed to be our master on human rights?"

In the good old days, when Commies were proud to be called such, one of the most tried and tested techniques they used to deflect criticism from Gulags, show trials, peasant massacres, bankrupt economic theories and other aspects of life under socialism, their stooges in the west were trained in the art of 'equivalence rhetoric' or 'mirror language'.

This is coming back into fashion.

For example, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does it by stating that Germany's laws against Holocaust denial are 'censorship' and so who are we to criticise him for supressing religious minorities or murdering lesbians.

As if Germany's legal code today was 'the same' as Iran's.

Robert Mugabe, arguably the worst president in the world, does it by criticising Guantanamo and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein as abuses of human rights and aggression.

As if these were the 'same' as his calculated policy of expunging Zimbabwe's underclass and as if murdering his parliamentary opposition made his rule the 'same' as the US Congress and Office of the President.

By the selective presentation of statements and facts free from the risk of contradiction, people like Ahmadinejad and Mugabe can rig any "debate" simply by framing the terms of discussion.

Any evidence yet?

Geoff Pahoff, it seems you do not like the last link I provided for you. If you disagree with its contents, would you like to provide some evidence to rebut it?

RIchard: I think we're in one of those cyclic things again... 

Counterproductive ... cheap at 1,000 times the price.

A view from an Iranian reformist.

Bush, the Bomb, and Iran

Why did Israel attack Syria?

Scott Ritter - Iraq will have to wait.

Ray McGovern - Bush, Oil and Moral Bankruptcy.

An "if only" or cheap even money only terms, let alone the millions of dead, injured, dispossessed .... 

Saddam Hussein offered to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion of Iraq, it was claimed last night.

Fearing defeat, Saddam was prepared to go peacefully in return for £500million ($1billion).

The extraordinary offer was revealed yesterday in a transcript of talks in February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President's Texas ranch.

Was he sincere? Does it matter, given the evidence that Bush was determined to go to war?

Worthless. At A Thousand Times The Price? Still Worthless.

Here is an extract chosen more or less at random from one of the links Bob Wall has provided here. It's from the ICH site.   

"One point that none of the pundits and analysts have noted was that, in attacking Syria, Israel committed a blatant act of aggression against its northern neighbor of the kind denounced as the "supreme international crime" by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal."

See what I mean about some material not worth rebutting? Why would anybody bother reading the rest?

This stuff serves only one good purpose. It illustrates just how far the modern "Left" has degenerated, how complete is its moral bankruptcy and how intellectually debased and thoroughly dishonest it has become.


Geoff Pahoff has announced the end of a discussion - one that he began by making allegations and casting aspersions about material I had linked. Material which was referenced. He provided no evidence to support those allegations and aspersions. When requested to do so he changed the subject. When reminded he decided to end the discussion. He has done so with further denigration of the material and, of course, no attempt to provide evidence. Nor, despite the refusal to provide evidence was there a withdrawal of his allegations and aspersions.

So an attack on material with nothing to back it up. Standard Operating Procedure for some?

Let no-one say I am not generous, and here is something Geoff might enjoy

Thanks Daniel

Is OK Richard. Glove puppet indeed. And grudges? Ever read Bruce Haigh's books?

Generous With Dross

Bob Wall : Let no-one say I am not generous, and here is something Geoff might enjoy. 

I would never say you're not generous, Bob. After you so quickly produced another example to prove my point.

Another blast from the past

Daniel Smythe says:

There are megalomanic crazies on both sides of the Great Theological Divide just as there are many misguided crazies who support these crazies. 

Equivalence rhetoric. Now that takes me back.

No Going Back, Eliot!

The blast that will occur if Israel and America drop nukes on Iran will do more than catapult you back to the past, Eliot! 

It might even project you into the present and the dire predicament that the militaristic imperialists Israel and America could create. 

Of course, if that happens, there's no going back.

It's Armageddon, Eliot. 

Daniel, overblown as usual

Daniel, if the US and Israel really were "militaristic imperialists" they would've been ruling the world for a long, long time now.

America Rules Already, Mike!

Since the end of the Cold War, America has already assumed the role of world ruler, Mike. With its military bases spread all over the world, and its massive army, and its domination of the world's economic system,  and its virtual control of the U.N., and its domination of servile allies like the Brits and Australia and Japan, etc, America decides who can have nuclear weapons and who can't and it decides which lands it will invade and occupy to gain scarce resources or strategic advantage.

Israel is but a proxy of its master, a brutal bit player in the jigsaw of American imperialism.

Catch up with the real world, Mike. It's not pretty!

You're kidding, right??

Daniel, is China a vassal state of the USA? Russia? Indonesia? (I could go on of course.) Where are the American military bases in those countries? If the US were really a "militaristic imperial power" like ancient Rome, all its enemies would have long been destroyed by now, as the US has long had ample capability to do so. All countries would simply be states of the USA. And Israel is far less brutal than its enemies. Imagine if the Arabs had the kind of power Israel currently does: Israel would cease to exist in a flash - literally. Israel would have ceased to exist long ago, despite the U.N. mandate establishing it, if it were not more powerful than its racist enemies in that region.

Daniel, with all due respect it is you that needs to catch up with the real world.

Skinning A Cat, Mike!

Although you came from America, Mike, you probably understand the meaning of the phrase: "There are many ways to skin a cat!"

America doesn't have to make sovereign States vassals like Rome did. It can achieve its ends by the usual methods it employs: bribery, threats, economic manipulation, funding coups, funding terrorists, crawling to or supporting despots and royalty, building army bases everywhere, coercing allies, etc.

If those methods fail then there is always the invasion and occupation option, one so beloved by America despite its many failures in this area.

America has its hands around the throat of the world. It is time the world fought back and put the rogue state in its place, one befitting a country that has represents only 4% of the world's population! 

USA. rules?

Is Russia a vassal state of the U.S.? China? Indonesia? Clearly the USA does not rule the world. Clearly your assertion is wrong.

Your last post suggests that you hate the USA, so I'm curious: what country would you prefer to see as the dominant world power today?

It's funny how although I have long protested against American actions in Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Iraq, people like Daniel with their over-the-top attitude tothe U.S. force me into a defensive mode.

Forced Into A Defensive Mode, Mike?

America has, since WW2, been claiming they are purely acting in a defensive mode as a means of justifying their continual military aggression. The Israelis claim the same thing. And now, surprise, surprise, Mike is claiming the same strategy.

Which country do I want to see the dominant world power? None, Mike.

That is the whole problem with our world, the anachronistic battle for ultimate supremacy that has been raging for millenia. Individuals and nations should be co-operating with each other, not competing.

On www.seeking-utopia.blogspot.com I'm putting forward ideas for peace not promoting endless wars and the existence of dominant nations.


A few facts, Daniel

The Israelis really were acting in a defensive mode. If they hadn't done so they would not exist today. As for the USA's various conflicts against communism, history will be the judge as to whether the threat was real or not.

I am not claiming a "strategy," just pointing out the irony of a long-time leftie like myself being forced to take a particular stance when confronted with nonsensical bigotry.

Burmaburmaburma boom. Bit like Beijing , shiites, Tibetans, ,,,,

I think in English there is also a "Skimming the milk" phrase and right on cue here is a bit about when it curdles:

"You are wrong to interfere with the committee's inquiry," Waxman said in a letter to Rice. "The State Department's position on this matter is ludicrous," added Waxman, a vocal opponent of the Bush administration's Iraq policies.

Richard: He's not a big fan of a certain corporation, either.

"The State Department had no immediate comment on the letter or Waxman's allegations of interference but it has in the past dismissed the California lawmaker's comments as partisan.

Waxman said security contractor Blackwater, which was involved in an incident in which Iraqi civilians were killed last week, said they could not hand over documents relevant to an investigation without State Department approval.

"Congress has a constitutional prerogative to examine the impacts that corruption within the Iraqi ministries and the activities of Blackwater may have on the prospects for political reconciliation in Iraq, " Waxman wrote to Rice.

Blackwater provides security for the U. S. Embassy in Baghdad and has a contract with the State Department. . .

Note the secretary's name: "Waxman also released a letter signed by State Department contracting officer Kiazan Moneypenny to Blackwater…". Isn't that just the cat's whiskers? Pity the last senate subpoena was ignored so eloquently with so impotent a response. What a pussy.

War is a racket. So many in this world fail to realise how easily they are used to support this racket in blood money.

And all this hoo-ha about Burma, so contrived and planned and well reported in the MSM, one and all in unison unlike last time there was an uprising just before Beijing massacre, also already conveniently forgotten. And Howard sanctioning. Big deal. How about just asking for the 40 million bucks or whatever it was given to the regime last year for "democracy" plans as the military junta moved out of Rangoon to the mountains? How is the regime any worse now than then? But no, we have the orchestrated reported rising up triggered by Bush's keywords at APEC/OPEC, and all are reporting from the borders, bit like the Balkans. Here we go again. Hey, just like Kosovo, rich in resources.

Pity we are so myopic about regimes under the Bush cabal control that can indeed be changed for the better and so much easier without the pending blood shed. Craig Murray was very outspoken about one particular and we can keep going on and on about quite a number of finger puppets that reek from need of washing bad stains out.

http://www. iraq-war. ru/article/141870, about Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan in another and Azerbaijan and Pakistan and Saudi and Ethiopia, Egypt and various tin pot corrupt regimes in Africa and the piece de resistance is the Columbian which just had military admit it planted its own car bombs and of course the major trading partner and home to so many US companies like Wal-Mart, China. All nice democracies with proper freedoms. . . not. But plenty of crème.

But no, today's target for media blitz is Burma.  Unless of course they sign that little C------ contract :).  Good boys, and pay for our missile shield too, just like Japan, good boys, OK next regime. . . . and be careful of that crop. OK this is a demonstration, of a special kind too, keep watching all, déjà vu.

Doing business, global cop style, is just the cat's whiskers. Trouble is, I think we are down to eight lives.


PS: The giveaway about the flight issue during APEC week was the tanks were FULL when found in Turkey. If that is true then it is all clear. Bad luck Geoff.

US has lost more wars than it has won.

For a country which takes excessive pride in flags, uniforms, and marching bands and spends more than the rest of the planet combined on its military, the record of America's forces since World War II is depressing. In dozens of quickie invasions against weak opponents, Americans indeed have prevailed, but when faced with tough and determined enemies, they have remarkably often been defeated or stalemated.

The US has lost more wars that it has won. That is the reality, Mike.

John - that proves my point.

Thanks John, for proving my point. The U.S. has the sort of power that many other countries would use to utterly annihilate those they oppose, if they had that kind of power. The U.S. refrains from using its full power, which is why it lost Vietnam and other such conflicts. That is hardly the behavior of a militaristic imperialistic rogue state as Daniel hyperbolically claims. Nor does the U.S. have imperial colonies, unlike many European powers. The few times the U.S. did take possession of a distant land, such as the Phillippines, it soon thereafter gave the people independence, rather than colonizing it. (Hawaii was a notable exception.)

obedience to Satan

Richard Tonkin says:

 What's your take on the US walkout during the speech at the UN? 

Now let's see..

"Iranian state television on Tuesday criticised the way Mr Ahmadinejad had been treated during his university talk, adding he had triumphed over his adversarial hosts, whom it described as Zionist Jews."

Don't even pretend to be other than an out and out racists of the very highest order.

The regime in Tehran and it's obedient claque of apologists in the West are the complete vindication of Israel's right, indeed it need, to exist.

Ahmadinejad's fans over here talk about the US demonising him, but there's him calling them "obedient to Satan".

I'd have walked out, too. If only to register my disgust.

I certainly would count him as a "brother revolutionary" as does the lickspittle Hugo Chavez.

I'd be fostering as many links as I could with dissident groups within Iran, instead.

There can be no doubt that as that malignant gnome sets about further polluting the corridors of international diplomacy with his bilious rantings - and advances his genocidal agenda both within Iran and external to it -  there will eventually come a time when people will be asked to recall what they did to oppose him and his odious paladins.

 Richard: Now that's elucidating!

Some views and nore on the crazies.

A view from The Independent on the visit.

The View from Tehran.

Now for the crazies:

Patrick Foy

Michael Scheuer - a review of Norman Podhoretz's book.

Now for a lack of a sense of irony moment - the Commander goes to the UN and cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Matthew Rothschild noticed some omissions.

At his speech to the UN,
Bush had the audacity to invoke the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights several times, despite the fact that he’s been
violating it over and over again.

He was quite selective in
the articles that he mentioned by name.

Article 5 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights says, “No one shall be subjected
to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or

For some reason, Bush failed
to mention Article 5.

Article 6 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights says, “Everyone has the right to
recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”

For some reason, Bush failed
to mention Article 6.

There are more but you get the idea.

Good to see you over here John. As to what was or wasn't bombed or seized in that raid, or that it was a test of Syrian defences is uncertain as are different versions of what transpired (and why) as can be found in links I have provided previously. Therefore, definitive assertions  on the matter are premature at best.

Good question on preemptive strikes.

Down WIth The Crazies!

Bob and John, it's great to see you both presenting some kind of sanity and balance as the verbal and military conflict between the world's crazies rages.

There are megalomanic crazies on both sides of the Great Theological Divide just as there are many misguided crazies who support these crazies. 

Who was it that said it was a crazy world? I'm one for sure! 

That's For Sure

Daniel : I'm one for sure! 

You'll get no argument from me, Daniel.


Now that the finger-puppet on the ring-finger of the US State Department has started twitching,  I"m beginning to get it.  While we're watching the interception of a concerted act of the Axis Of  Evil, being the placement of Korean-built Iranian Nuclear Stuff In Syria  (bear with me, Bob)and the US are deliberately (and provocatively) snubbing Iran at the UN, suddenly, without warning, Alexander Downer has sprung into action.

He's berated the Iranians for aiding Iraqi insurgents that could kill our soldiers, and  he's done a doorstop (he loves his New York doorstops) to deny there's going to be a war.

[ABC extract]

"I'm not saying that the end result of this is going to be war," he said.

"But I think we are heading into a period where there could be greater enthusiasm amongst a number of countries to introduce financial sanctions."


It was a damn shame that the US bugging of the IAEA conversation with the Iranians cost Downer the job of running that agency.  Not that someone like Alex would ever bear a grudge.

Back to the point.

Geoff Pahoff, I had addressed criticism you made about material I linked by suggesting you could provide evidence to support your criticism. In your most recent post to me you have addressed the M&W book. I would prefer to address the prior issue. 

To remind you, you headed the post thus:

Words Shoved In The Mouths Of Dead Men

You wrote:

It is the principal propaganda site of a tiny anti-Israel group
notorious only for its preparedness to misrepresent historical fact and
distort the record even down to the point of mixing entirely fabricated
"quotes" of historical figures with statements out of context.


It is not worth the effort of rebutting.

Those are your opinions.  IIt is my opinion that you should be prepared to rebut
material you disagree with and to support such allegations as you have
made.    If you are unwilling or unable to do so, it is my opinion that you should withdraw the above allegations.


It is not worth the effort of rebutting.

With an internet full of junk I take the view that there is a certain threshhold that must be reached for a "source" to be taken seriously enough for it to be worth engaging. That standard need not be high but as a minimum the site should be operating in good faith. It is worse than a waste of time to engage with "sources" that do not reach that minimum.  To treat this material  as if it was serious, researched comment is to invest it with a credibility it does not deserve.

The site you linked is beneath this minimum standard. It should be treated with contempt. There is far too much of this dross on the net designed merely to confuse, deceive and sabotage intelligent and informed debate on important complex issues. This stuff is a deliberate assault on truth itself. I will have no part in encouraging it. Come up with something sensible about the Six Day War and I'll respond,  time permitting.

Your "opinions" have been noted. This is the end of this discussion.



A Bit Of Balance

Bob Wall:

Meawhile, Mearsheimer and Walt have a book on the influence of the Israel lobby. Here is Chapter 1.

Meanwhile here's a "roundup of the Walt and Mearsheimer "Israel Lobby" controversy". Including nine reviews of the book.

Reviews of the Book

  1. Dual Loyalties (Leslie Gelb slams "shoddy scholarship," New York Times, Sept. 23, 2007)

  2. Seeds of Anti-Semitism (Michael Gerson, Washington Post, Sept. 21, 2007)

  3. The Israel Lobby and the Second Holocaust Debate: An emblematic error in a controversial book (Ron Rosenbaum, Slate, Sept. 19, 2007)

  4. Israel’s Lobby as Scapegoat (Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 12, 2007)

  5. The "Israel Lobby" Myth (George P. Shultz, U.S. News and World Report, Sept. 9, 2007)

  6. Anti-Semitism and the Anti-Israel Lobby (Jeff Robbins, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 9, 2007)

  7. Unfair Charge vs. Israel lobby (Steve Huntley, Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 7, 2007)

  8. A Prosecutorial Brief Against Israel and its Supporters (William Grimes, New York Times, Sept. 6, 2007)

  9. Inside Track: Missing the Point (Ben Fishman, The National Interest online, August 27, 2007)


Geoff Pahoff, you wrote:

The events of June 1967 are well known and carefully, indeed
meticulously documented by many real historians and fair-minded
writers. Right down to the last phone call. They are not my "version".

You could, if you wish, provide some examples of such material. You might also, to be fair-minded, other examples of material that contradicts the version you have given. Which, without reliable evidence to support it, remains merely your version and the opinion you passed on the material I provided in my earlier post, merely your opinion.

You might find some discussion of such material on WD, including on the documentary shown on SBS a couple of months ago.


Richard: "I asked Eliot to elucidate, he declined, no worries, all's good."

Actually, I elucidated, whereas you asked me to narrow my response down to a single word.

So, I 'inclined', in effect.

Touche, Eliot

Cunning linguist of the highest order, you are indeed!  What's your take on the US walkout during the speech at the UN?  Stageplay?

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