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Monthly Archives: October 2011

“Do you believe it?”

I had just started talking to the spirit of James Jesus Angleton, the legendary chief of CIA’s counterintelligence, back when there were still a few folks who took such things seriously.  The Ouija board seemed to be in good shape, and his raspy, high-pitched voice, which more often than not sounded like a whisper, came through very clearly.

Obviously, I wanted to know what he thought about the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

JJA:  “I was going to ask you the same question.  After all, you’ve probably talked to somebody who actually knows something.  I’ve only got the news reports.”

ML:  “Yeah, but nobody’s saying a lot about the details of the case, since it’s going to trial and all…”

JJA:  “I get that.  But the Iranian guy apparently talked, didn’t he?”

ML:  “Yes, he did.  That’s pretty much standard for them, by the way.  I’m told it’s rare for Iranians to clam up.  However, now he’s pleaded ‘not guilty,’ so we’ll have to see how much of what he said will be admitted, and all that.”

JJA:  “Indeed.  But we’re not a jury, and it would seem on the face of it that if he confessed—as he seems to—then the government’s claim is certainly believable.”

ML:  “That was the opinion of a grand jury, anyway.”

JJA:  “Right-o.  But grand juries tend to believe prosecutors, as we know…”

ML:  “In fact, here in DC it is said that a good prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich.”

JJA:  “Chortle.”  And he started chortling, until that cough of his kicked in, and there was a pause.

ML:  “Got some water?”

JJA:  “I don’t think I’m supposed to talk about the liquid refreshment we get here, but it was delicious and effective.”

ML:  “I’m glad of that!  But getting back to the assassination plot, are you surprised at the number of experts who don’t believe it?”

JJA:  “Not only that;  I’m impressed at how much they think they know, even though none of them has seen anything approaching the full case.  There’s an undersecretary of the Treasury—David Cohen, I think his name is–running around describing the case to leaders of allied countries, and he seems to have made an impact with the Canadians and the French, both of whom have said that it justifies increased sanctions.”

ML:  “I agree.  And the Brits, as usual, were brought in early, trying to locate the Iranian co-conspirator, but without success. We’re in the usual funny situation concerning classified information, aren’t we?  Those who have seen it can’t talk about it, while those doing the talking haven’t seen it…”

JJA:  “That’s how it should be.”

ML:  “Somehow I knew you’d say exactly that.”

JJA:  “The other things that impress me are the claims that it couldn’t have been the Iranian Quds Force—that is, the foreign arm of the Revolutionary Guards—because they are so professional and smart, they couldn’t possibly have done this thing, which is unprofessional and stupid.”

ML:  “Yeah, very funny.  My friend and colleague Reuel Gerecht tried to disabuse some congressmen on this score.  Did you see it?  He said:

Well, let me tell you, the truth is Iranian operations are almost always sloppy. That’s the way they have been. Do not the mix up the notion that the operations are sloppy and therefore they cannot be lethal.

…I tracked Iranian operations all over the place in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of those operations succeeded – that is they killed individuals. Most of those operations, again, it didn’t take you very long to put all of the pieces together again. The Iranians really don’t hide all that much. That is the real truth.

JJA:  “Well said.  Furthermore, we know they have sent assassins to both North and South America.  Many Iranian leaders have been indicted for the bombings in Buenos Aires in ’93 and ’94—probably because the Argentines reneged on a promise of nuclear assistance to the mullahs—and then there’s the guy they sent to Canada, posing as a political and religious refugee, whom they enlisted to assassinate Salman Rushdie.”

ML:  “But an-ex CIA guy, Bruce Riedel, says that if they were working with someone in a drug cartel, that would be a major departure from their previous behavior.  He thinks it’s fishy, fishy, fishy.”

JJA:  “Really!  From what I hear, it’s well established that the Iranians are up to their necks in drug trafficking.  After all, they operate at the source, inside Afghanistan, and you’ve written many times that Supreme Leader Khamenei is a consumer of opium.  So they are in that network.  They couldn’t operate without joint ventures with mafias and drug cartels.  If there were better open reporting on Iran’s activities in Latin America, this would be common knowledge.”

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A Pattern of Appeasement and Retreat

October 24th, 2011 - 6:37 pm

Take two headlines, one about Iraq, the other about Afghanistan.  The Iraqis told us to honor our signed agreement, and pull out all our troops by year’s end.  Over in Kabul, Karzai said he’d go to war against us if we attacked his neighbor, Pakistan.  It’s the same story in both places, but the real headline is the thirty-year-old one:  U.S. fails to come up with an Iran strategy.

It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?  You’re a Middle Eastern leader, and you’ve been working and fighting alongside the Americans.  The United States was magnificent on the battlefield, and you either won (as in Iraq) or were winning (Afghanistan) when the Americans announced they were leaving.  And they even set a date for their departure.  Where does that leave you?

It leaves you high and dry, at the mercy of the Iranians, who aren’t going away, and who, although defeated in one battle and bloodied in another, intend to keep on killing.  Maybe even you yourself.  Remember that Maliki in Baghdad used to be a member of an Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization called Dawa.  He knows all about the Iranians’ enthusiasm for slaughter, and he knows that if he’s uncooperative they won’t hesitate to blow him up.  And remember that Karzai in Kabul is being paid by the Iranians — he said so himself — and he, too, knows that there are lots of terrorists in his country who will kill him.  They already killed his brother, after all.

When the Americans are gone, who’s going to defend Maliki, Karzai, and the rest of them?  They are properly dubious about the capacity and loyalty of their own forces, and we’ve taught them they can’t rely on us.  Along come the mullahs with their protection racket:  “What a shame!  The Americans are leaving, as we told you all along.  But hey!  Everyone’s entitled to a mistake now and then.  And we’ll protect you much better than they did.  And it will only cost you…”

The reaction from the administration is predictably pathetic.  Having failed to convince the Iraqis to rewrite the Status of Forces Agreement they signed with Bush, Obama declared victory.  He proclaimed it a triumph of his diplomacy, and the fulfillment of a campaign promise.  As I remember it, he promised to run away right away, but no matter. At the same time, Defense Secretary Panetta acted as if it was just something we’d have to pretend to respect, while reopening talks that would lead to the return of American trainers.

And out there in diplofantasy land, our secretary of state, having overcome an attack of the giggles after being told of the butchering of Muammar Qaddafi, warned Iran that they’d better watch out, because our heroic diplomats weren’t about to leave.  Furthermore, we’ve got bases in the region. “Iran would be badly miscalculating if they did not look at the entire region and all of our presence in many countries in the region, both in bases, in training, with NATO allies, like Turkey…”

Nobody pointed out that one of our fiercest diplomats, Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, had run back to Washington because of “threats to his safety.”  And Hillary’s reference to Turkey as a paradigm of tough American friends was particularly unfortunate, since the Turks neither talk nor act like allies.  They talk like anti-Americans.

Before I forget, let me remind you that anti-Americanism comes in two distinct versions.  The first is the one we’re most familiar with, the hatred of America because it is held to be arrogant, imperialistic, militaristic, and insensitive to the needs of the rest of the world.  The second, which is very much in play nowadays, is contempt for America because the Americans just aren’t up to the role history has assigned them:  global policeman.  There’s a lot of that out there, not without justification.

To be sure, as Obama’s fans will tell you, he approves the killing of lots of bad guys, of which Qaddafi is the latest case in point.  It’s an impressive list by now, and grows longer virtually every day.  And they insist that he’s brought down more tyrants than George W Bush and Dick Cheney ever dreamed of, and is calling for Assad to go.  Why is he not getting proper credit? they ask.  The answer’s pretty easy:  because in the three cases of regime change to date (Tunisia, Egypt and Libya), Obama arrived late to the fight, plainly dithered before making up his mind which side he was on, and never seemed to be “in charge,” without which he really isn’t entitled to ask for a medal.  And as for the assassination of terrorists, while it’s a better world without them, it’s not a fundamentally changed world, and Obama promised to change the world.  If you’re going to fight the terror network, you’re going to have to target headquarters, training camps, and home bases. He has yet to act effectively against the two surviving charter members of the Axis of Evil, Iran and Syria.  They have every reason to believe they can do most anything without fearing anything more than sanctions, headshakes, and tongue clucks.

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My new book, Virgil’s Golden Egg and Other Neapolitan Miracles, investigates why Neapolitans are so creative, and have been for centuries.  It’s a world’s record, I think.  The Florentine Renaissance was amazing, too, but it was largely over after two and a half centuries.  The Golden Age of Periclean Athens was less than one hundred years, as was the American “Truly Greatest Generation” of the War, the Constitution, and the consolidation of the state.  What accounts for explosions of creativity?  And what keeps it going?

I offer three suggestions for the Neapolitans’ extraordinary energy and creativity, and note that the personality type for which Naples is famous, is very much like ours.  We call them Triple-A types, and the psychologists have fancier names for them (hypomanics, for example), and we all know several.  You know, people just this side of manic-depression, people who aren’t likely to end up in a padded room, but you can’t tell for sure.  Think Steve Jobs, or Walt Disney or…well, put in your own favorites.  Naples is full of those people, and we can identify them scientifically;  they have a unique DNA.  It’s interesting that the countries with the greatest number of such people are all immigrant societies:  America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Israel.

Naples has an added ingredient, as did New Orleans, as does Venice, as does Israel:  the people “know” that they are doomed, either because a terrible natural catastrophe is looming and can’t be avoided, or because there are so many murderous enemies that, sooner or later, death will be visited upon the place.  Doomed cities and doomed countries have a unique relationship with death, and (therefore, but you’ll have to read the book to get the particulars) are extraordinarily artistic, and imaginative.  There’s fabulous Neapolitan literature, art and music about Mount Vesuvius, the great volcano whose next explosion is, according to the vulcanologists, overdue.  When it comes, they say, it will totally destroy the city and a big area around it.

These remarks, which are considerably expanded in Virgil’s Golden Egg, came to mind today when a dear friend sent me this wonderful video from Tel Aviv, in which Italian opera is played and sung in a public market in Tel Aviv.  I cannot watch it without thinking of the enormous creative energy unleashed by the Israeli people, despite, or indeed because of, their surrounding doom.  No wonder they have such an amazing track record of scientific, literary, technological and scientific achievement.

History unfolds through paradox.  War is sure hell, but the looming presence of doom has creative consequences.

I’m Baffled. What’s He Up To?

October 19th, 2011 - 8:09 pm

I don’t think bloggers are supposed to confess bafflement, but I’m gonna do it:  I’m baffled.  I don’t get it.  Every time I think I’ve got a grip on this administration, they do something I just can’t deconstruct.  Sure, Obama is a lefty with the knowledge of a typical liberal arts undergrad (not so much). I get that.  And he’s now sealed into a very small compartment in which the handful of people he talks to tell him happy things like “all your decisions were the right ones.” No surprise there.  But look at the odd — maybe even weird — stories that have floated out of the White House of late.

The Uganda Adventure

He’s sending special operators to Uganda to fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is itself a bizarre movement that combines shamanism, Christianity, animism and various other African cultish themes, and that slaughters people, most certainly including little children, in a war against the peoples of Uganda, Kenya, and the charmingly misnamed Democratic Republic of Congo.

Fine. I can understand that. But here’s the source of my bafflement: this operation was approved and even funded by Congress TWO YEARS AGO.  Yes, in 2009. Except that nothing happened. Until now.  I suppose there might be some “intelligence reporting” that suddenly got the attention of Petraeus, Panetta, Hillary, and Obama. East Africa is the wild east, with lots of Islamist terrorists running amok. Like in Somalia,  the Iranians are very busy in the wild east, as I’ve said before.  But nobody seemed to care. Until now. Why? Beats me.

Or maybe there’s some corrupt scheme involved. One of these days I’ll ask Angleton’s ghost if he has heard anything interesting. But since this little story trickled into the news feed late Friday, and since there hasn’t been much in the way of “investigative reporting,” I’m scratching around the margins of my baldness, wondering what is going on.  What took them two years to get to this?  And why don’t we hear much of anything about it?

The Assassination Plot

It’s not so much the plot itself that baffles me;  that’s just what Iran does, ask the Canadians, for example, who found that a poor immigrant was actually in cahoots with the regime back home, and was planning to carry out an assassination. I’m talking about the reaction. Just to keep things simple, have a look at two stories from al-Reuters. The first one  says that several government officials — that is, members of the Obama administration — have their doubts about the story. And the second one  says that leading members of Congress — including Republican critics — totally believe it and are worried that we’re going to war with Iran.

It looks a bit backwards, or upside-down to me.  Administration officials are supposed to back their leader, and the crowd on Capitol Hill is supposed to act “independently.”  Not here.  What’s going on?

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The “Occupiers” think they’re the new revolutionaries, but they’re not.  Indeed, they are farcical actors performing a failed drama on a stage resting on ignorance of history and a classic philosophical error best illuminated early in the last century by someone they’ve never heard of, Ludwig Wittgenstein.

The Occupiers, with their signs advocating “class war” and blaming the Jews for life’s intrinsic unfairness, bring to mind — at least to my aging mind — Karl Marx’s famous  line:  “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice…the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” The Occupiers are indeed farcical, and they go well beyond Hegel’s forecast.  They are not the second, but the umpteenth appearance of a bourgeois movement advocating the destruction of the bourgeoisie and the victory of the proletariat.

One of my wittiest friends was once the leader of the Youth Organization of the Italian Communist Party.  Like all good Communists, he fought zealously to bring the “working class” to power, until, one day, he had an epiphany.  Walking across an elegant piazza in Milano, he suddenly proclaimed “but there is no working class.”

As indeed there isn’t, not even in Europe, and less still in the United States. While it may once have existed in the sociological sense of the term (you could talk about people in certain kinds of work with certain levels of income and certain conditions of life), it never existed in the way Marx wanted:  the “workers” never thought of themselves that way. They never had “class consciousness” that would enable them to advance their “class interests.”

The myth of the working class existed in the minds of the intellectuals who conjured it up, and the revolutionaries who went to their doom trying to lead it.  Working-class revolution never succeeded anywhere. For a while, Marxist historians hailed the French Revolution — the early phases, anyway — as the model for such a thing, but in the past few decades even the greatest historian of the Revolution, Francois Furet, had the same sort of epiphany as my Italian Communist friend, and hardly any leading scholar believes in the myth any longer. Indeed, Furet came to see that the French Revolution was a very bad thing, all in all. Bad for the workers, bad for the bourgeoisie, bad for the French people.

Nonetheless, the myth lives on, with the farcical results we saw,  for example, in the streets of Paris in the summer of 1968. It damn near wrecked the city until de Gaulle’s troops rolled down the Champs Elysees and sent the advocates of “imagination in power” back to their classrooms and printing presses.

In America, the myth of socialist revolution has always been weak, and every serious student  of American history has pondered the question “why has there never been a serious socialist movement in the United States?” It’s an important question, because it highlights a fundamental difference between us and the Europeans.  The short consensus answer is:  “because Americanism embodies the ideals upon which the socialist movements are largely based,” in the sense of social justice and equality. Most Americans have never seen the need for social revolution because they believe they live in a revolutionary society that offers them a path to success and happiness.

The Occupiers are a spinoff of the European tradition, which is hardly surprising. Leftist American intellectuals — of the sort that gravitate to social activism or who enter government bureaucracy to impose on the people things that the people would reject if given a free choice — have always wanted the prestige that is enjoyed by their European counterparts, but which is generally denied American intellectuals. Marx would laugh at them.  Hegel wouldn’t pay them the slightest attention.

Finally, the Occupiers are caught in a linguistic trap best described by the early 20th century British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. “What do all games have in common?” he asked in the Philosophical Investigations. And then he explored the various possible answers.  A winner and a loser?  No, because a boy throwing a ball against a wall and then catching it is playing a game.  Keeping score?  Not always.  And on and on.  Finally, he said, the question itself led us into a trap.  If we had instead asked the empirical question (“is there something that all games have in common?”),  we’d have stayed outside the trap and said something like “well yes, but it’s a sort of vague family resemblance.”

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What? There was nothing surprising, let alone “brazen,” about the Iranian attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, or to blow up the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington. It is, after all, what they do. No new “red line” has been crossed. This is simply business as usual for the Tehran regime, you know, the one with which president Obama was so confident he could reach a good working relationship.

If you thought — as so many of the overnight experts have declared — that there was anything new about Iranian terrorists operating on American soil, forget it. Iranian agents have been busy in this country for quite some time. Just ask the FBI, who within the past few years broke up a very worrisome group of radical Muslims in Washington, D.C., who were receiving weapons from the Iranians. We have been aware of Iranian sleeper cells in the United States, often working in tandem with narcotics traffickers (Iran, after all, is very busy at the Afghan source of the global opium supply), for many years, and it’s not surprising that DEA had such a strong grip on the investigation. Surely the Bureau and the Agency were not surprised to find Iran in cahoots with (what the Iranians thought was) drug runners in the United States.

And for those who have scratched their heads and asked out loud how such smart people in Tehran could have done such a “stupid” thing, just think about the monumental mess these stupid people have made of their own country.  Iran has lots of advantages, from natural resources to an educational system that was once one of the region’s finest, but the mullahs have wrecked the place.  This by you is smart?  Not by me.  I think they’re fanatical buffoons, who are working feverishly to make their country even worse by enforcing gender segregation on a scale even a Saudi morals policeman could envy.

Most of the important lessons to be learned from this event have not been mentioned so far. Here are a few of them:

First, even if the assassination had taken place, it would not have been an act of war against the United States. It would have been a crime, to be sure, and if we had caught the assassin we would have prosecuted him, but not for attacking the United States of America. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia might have considered that an act of war against them.

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The Shape of the Middle East to Come

October 10th, 2011 - 8:37 pm

First, I’d like to say a few words in sympathy with Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki.  Not that I’m an admirer, mind you.  But I have been warning about this moment — the moment when we are leaving, and those Iraqis in charge of things in their country have to cope with nasty neighbors on their own — ever since we first mistakenly invaded Iraq while leaving the terror masters in Iran unchallenged.

As the Times’ report makes clear, most “common” Iraqis hate Iran (oddly, the Times account does not discuss the fundamental differences between the two countries’ versions of Shi’ism, which are very deep), but the government has been much more accommodating.  And how could it be otherwise?  Poor Maliki knows first hand (he was a member of an Iranian-sponsored terror group back in the old days) how dangerous the Tehran regime can be, and he doesn’t want to be blown up.  Nor do Kurds like the Barzini and Talabani clans.  Who will protect them from the Quds force?  Or, for that matter, from Iran’s Sadr Army?  And so, when Tehran calls Baghdad and says “support Assad!” they do it.  They try to do as little as possible, but they do it.  As most any Iraqi government would.  Or get blown up.

That’s what happens when we walk away from a job half done.  If we wanted a truly independent Iraq, we needed to go after Iran.  But Bush/Cheney weren’t up to that — apparently, they could only think in military terms, and their secretaries of state and defense weren’t about to tell them otherwise — and Obama/Biden are running away.   There is a better way — supporting the Iranian people against their oppressors — but there isn’t a “leader” in the Western world who cares to support revolution in Iran.

Western leaders may not wish to see it, but the Tehran regime knows that the Iranian people, from the periphery to the cracking core of the mullahcracy, are preparing to fight on:

…an official at the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence is saying the authorities fear…chaos in the country and even armed violence in the coming months, amid reports of the weakening regime and the illness of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The official said that intelligence centers in the areas of Kurdistan, Baluchistan and west Azerbaijan (are) wary of “popular revolutions” in addition to chaos and protests in Tehran and a number of major cities.

Notice the line about the “illness of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,” please.  He’s not a well man.  He’s been in and out of the hospital many times in the past few years, and despite his remarkable recuperative powers (and the finest doctors his Russian and Chinese friends can provide), some of the internal conflicts that are rending the Islamic Republic have less to do with political or ideological differences than with a brutal struggle for power after Khamenei’s passing.  I’ve called it the War of the Persian Succession.

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Victory Could Be Ours, If Only We Want It

October 4th, 2011 - 1:38 pm

In the real war, our major enemies are the evil regimes in Iran and Syria, and both are hollow and wobbling, needing only one good push to go over.

Syrian soldiers are defecting in significant numbers, while brave, peaceful demonstrators continue to fill the streets despite the likelihood of arrest, torture, and death. The regime is unleashing mass slaughter, as army troops fire blindly into the crowds from a safe distance, a sure sign that Assad has lost control, despite massive Iranian assistance.

In Iran, the war of all against all at the highest levels of the regime continues unabated.  The latest tumult revolves around the theft of billions of dollars from the major banks, and it is accompanied by strikes at bazaars and factories, explosions in pipelines and refineries, and open warfare along the borders with the Kurds, where, despite the regime’s usual disinformation campaign, Iranian casualties have been significant.  Somehow the Kurds are being armed, and they are notoriously good fighters.

The defeat of Assad and Khamenei would be a world-changing event, pulling the plug on the ominous strategic alliance that runs from Tehran and Damascus to countries quite close to us, such as Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. It would weaken Putin’s ability to sponsor dangerous mischief in the Middle East and our own hemisphere. And it would deprive the terror network of safe havens, funding, weapons,  logistics, and intelligence, along with the sort of documentation they need (think false passports) to travel safely.

In Iran, the opposition is overwhelmingly pro-Western, and eminently worthy of our support (once again, for those tuning in late, I’m talking about political, technological, and financial support, not military anything), while in Syria we should steer away from those many characters linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist crowd. But there are plenty of good democrats fighting against Assad. Having dithered so long, we are now facing some nasty scenarios, and it may well be that the Free Syrian Army — the defectors from the regular armed forces — will need some sort of military assistance.

These decisions will have to be made by people who know more about the actual battlefield than you or I, but they should be made within a narrow context:  what is the best way to bring down Assad and Khamenei? Despite decades of bad policy, the fates have delivered our enemies to us. They are waiting for a swift kick, or a decisive thrust from our side. One will get you ten the tyrants have already made plans for life in exile.

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Time to Get Real in Iran and Syria

October 2nd, 2011 - 6:35 pm

Can we agree that Iran and Syria now constitute a single strategic problem?  Surely Ali Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, thinks so.  Otherwise he would not have ordered the Revolutionary Guards to conduct a policy of all-out military, financial, and intelligence support for the Assad regime, combined with the usual deception (various public statements urging Assad to be reasonable and settle his differences with the protesters, a ridiculous fantasy). Khamenei knows that if Assad falls to anything remotely resembling a free, representative government, the consequences for Iran range from severely damaging to fatal.

The Syrian crisis is only one very dark cloud in the terrible storm that has descended upon the Iranian regime.

That is why the current announced policy of the Obama administration — “Assad must go” — is incoherent.  First, because once you have declared war on a regime, you are obliged to follow through with real action, as  in Libya.  Second, because if Assad must go, so must Khamenei.  They are fused at the belly button, part and parcel of a strategic alliance that is responsible for thousands of American deaths and tens of thousands of American casualties.

Third, if you’re going to call for the end of Assad, you’ve got to do something to make it happen.

To be sure, this president is not a big believer in telling the world what he is up to, which could be meaningful.  He talks like Ganhdi and acts like LBJ (the LBJ who said “if you’ve got them by the balls, the hearts and minds generally follow”).  As everybody knows, we are engaged in a very large covert war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in and around Afghanistan and Pakistan.  So far, the world has accepted his Gandhian facade, accepting the cover story that the Libyan campaign was waged by NATO (when most of it was us, including the training and logistics provided to the “rebels”), and finessing the hi- and low-tech killing of terrorists, which are so very reminiscent of Israel’s campaign against Hamas.  You are not going to find that comparison in the “leading” dead tree media most anywhere in the Western world.

In short, it may well be that Obama has signed the necessary “findings” authorizing our secret armies to support the foes of the Assad and Khamenei regimes.  Heaven knows there are lots of foes to support (militarily, financially, and politically), from the peaceful demonstrators in both countries to the not-nearly-so-peaceful Kurds and the “New Syrian Army,” composed of defectors from Assad’s armed forces, now fighting their former cohorts in several cities.  If so, and if the opposition forces want our assistance to remain secret, we should respect their wishes.  And by “we,” I most certainly include the journalists and politicians who so avidly exposed the secret war conducted by the Bush administration.

Whatever we are, or are not, doing on the ground, we are certainly feckless in denouncing the evils of the Khamenei and Assad regimes, and we are not doing nearly enough to denounce their dreadful excesses.  Clandestine operations do not preclude openly speaking the truth about our enemies.

That the announced “Valkyrie” policy is little more than an ideological gimmick is abundantly obvious by the administration’s silence about the Iranian campaign of torture and slaughter against its own citizens (it’s been a bit better about the Syrian mass murder).

If Obama seriously wished to defend innocent civilians against murderous regimes, he would rally to the side of one of the world’s truly heroic figures, the Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeini Boroujerdi, imprisoned for more than six years and subjected to severe torture.  Amazingly, he has continued his campaign from within Tehran’s grim Evin Prison.  No charges have ever been brought against him, although it is obvious that he has been singled out for advocating separation of mosque and state, toleration of minority religions, and respect for the civil rights of the Iranian people.  In recent days he has suffered a heart attack, but has been denied medical attention.  If he dies, perhaps the winged troika of Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power, and their many admirers, will mourn the death of this fine man, whom they have judged unworthy of American support.

Not that it’s personal, mind you;  this administration has always shrunk from speaking the truth about the Iranian regime, which is now engaged in a “killing spree” at the expense of the Persian nation.  There have been so many executions and arrests of late that it’s very hard to keep track of them all, ranging from movie directors to Baha’is, from Christian converts to peaceful Sufi dervishes, and on to political protesters and those unlucky enough to be in the area when the security forces are unleashed.

This frenzy of repression — more a bloody orgy than a spree — bespeaks enormous insecurity as well as the great evil about which I have been warning for so long.

Want more? 

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