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Monthly Archives: March 2012

It’s all the rage.  Literally.  Two explosions at Iranian military/nuclear weapons sites.  Four explosions in Syria, including three suicide bombers in Damascus on Saturday, two of which were aimed at Syrian security forces buildings,  all in the past few days.  Today’s explosion was in Aleppo, and also “near a government security building.”

The Iranian blasts are seemingly more dramatic, and probably part of the ongoing campaign being waged against the installations of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, especially, but not solely, those connected to the nuclear weapons project.  One of the blasts took place at Zarin Dasht, once the site of a Russian mill, now an important component of the military/industrial complex of the country, where missile fuel and warheads for missiles are manufactured.  As is often the case, much of the complex is underground, which is where the explosion took place.  My sources tell me that seven people are missing and several are wounded and are being treated.  So far as I know there are no reports in the Iranian media.

The more dramatic event was the explosion at Natanz, generally credited as the major uranium enrichment center in the country.  The most important facilities are eight meters underground, and are among those potential military targets said to be very hard to destroy.  The explosion, according to my Iranian sources, took place in the next-to-bottom level of the underground structure, leading to a shutdown of the entire complex.

No public reports of this one, either, although Natanz generates electricity and a shutdown would be hard to cover up.   Nor has anyone taken “credit.”  Maybe the two explosions were just accidents, although it seems unlikely. Whatever the explanation, the Iranian and Syrian regimes certainly have their security issues, don’t they?  Slaughtering their people doesn’t seem to have induced an end to resistance.

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Some weeks ago, Chris Matthews mentioned me in passing as one of those who wants to attack Iran militarily.  So I wrote to his producer, pointed out that I had long opposed military attacks on Iran, had written three books and scads of articles and blogs saying that, and would therefore be grateful if Mr Matthews would take a few seconds to correct the record on air.  After all, that’s where he uttered the false statement to begin with.

He replied with a snail mail, which simply said “this is what I based it on.”  The envelope contained a bit of transcript from an old show of his (ten years ago) in which we talked about Iraq, and I had said that Iran was the really serious problem and we should address it.  Nothing about attacking Iran.  Nothing about bombing Iran.

So I sent him another email via his producer, pointing out that I had been prescient on his show, thanking him for taking the time to send an actual letter, and pointing out that the transcript did not address the question I had raised, namely that he had falsely said I wanted to attack Iran.  I again asked that he correct the record, and to help him clear his mind, I sent him a copy of Accomplice to Evil, which laid out my opposition to military action very clearly.

No reply.  So a bit over a week ago I emailed the producer saying “time’s up,” and that if he wasn’t going to do anything, I would correct the record myself.  The producer emailed back, asking me if I had received the snail mail.  I said I had, but it didn’t have anything to do with the subject, and for extras was ten years old.

That’s about it.  I don’t suppose it’s surprising.  I just want to state the facts:  I am opposed to military attacks against Iran, I think we should be supporting the opposition there, and I think I’ve shown that Chris Matthews isn’t much interested in getting it right.  He got it wrong, and stayed with it.

Par for the course, n’est-ce pas?  Another reason not to watch television.  Stick with PJ Media.  We try harder to get it right, and if we get it wrong, we try to correct it pronto.

It’s the War, Stupid, Not the Nukes

March 7th, 2012 - 2:16 pm

My invaluable friend, David Goldman, aka Spengler, called our attention to an extremely important article in the German press by a highly respected German defense expert, saying there is good reason to believe that North Korea tested an Iranian nuclear device in 2010.  The pundits have not spent much time analyzing the significance of this, uh, bombshell, because it destroys the current narrative and, if taken seriously, would force us to face the real issue with Iran:  the war the Iranian regime is waging against us.

The claim that an Iranian nuke has already been tested need not be true in order to reshape the whole debate.  It need only be plausible, and several experts have said it is plausible.

It reshapes the debate because it demonstrates that there is no basis for the belief that we will know enough about the Iranian  nuclear weapons program.  If we still do not know whether or not Iran tested a nuclear device two years ago in North Korea, then no serious person can believe we will know when, or even if, one of the two celebrated “red lines” (Iran has a nuke;  Iran has the ability to produce a nuke) has been crossed.

And that’s only the beginning of wisdom.  It is a commonplace that Bush took us to war on the basis of an intelligence assessment that turned out to be false.  Ergo — another commonplace — no president is going to war on the basis of a future intelligence assessment.

But the assumption that we will “know” all about the Iranian nuke is the basis for the whole debate, even though it’s quite clear we are very unlikely to know that.

We are having the wrong debate, about the wrong questions.  The right debate is about the war Iran is waging against us.  The Iranian regime kills Americans whenever and wherever they can, including inside the homeland.  Remember the plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington?  If it had been “successful,” it would have killed and maimed many Americans.  And that’s only the latest in a long series of attacks ever since the Ayatollah Khomeini declared war on us in 1979.

I agree with the Washington Post when it says that regime change in Tehran is the only reliable way to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons project.  It’s also the only way to win the war they are waging against us, in tandem with an international network that includes Syria, Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and a collection of wicked actors from terrorist groups like al -Qaeda and Islamic Jihad to international drug dealers.

We have to win that war.  The enemies’ central command post is in Tehran, down the hall from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.  I remain convinced that that war can be won without dropping bombs or sending troops;  I think the Iranian regime is mortally threatened by its own people.  If you look at the regime’s behavior, you can see that Khamenei et. al. believe it too.  Otherwise why would the streets be full of security forces to protect against…voters?  The supreme leader knows that the people would happily rise up against him — they’ve tried it many times — and so the major cities are under virtual military occupation, all forms of rapid communication, whether by cell phone or via internet, are monitored, blocked or filtered, and anyone suspected of disloyalty is rounded up and thrown into the hell of the prisons and torture chambers.

I think we should support the Iranian opposition even if Iran had no nuclear weapons program at all.  It’s both morally and strategically sound  policy.

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The Basij — the radical thugs who beat up Iranians for violations of the dress code and other sins against the official version of Islam — will be voting early and often in Iran on Friday. Groups of them have been organized to go from polling place to polling place, “voting” en bloc in accordance with the foreordained results decided by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s Politburo. The official numbers will claim a very large turnout, which the tyrants will interpret as a ringing endorsement of the Islamic Republic.

Totalitarian regimes love elections. Stalin loved them, Hitler organized boffo movies about them, Mussolini stood in the blazing sunshine of Piazza Venezia to rally the faithful, Fidel’s campaign speeches famously droned on for hours and hours. Saddam used to win upwards of 90%. To be sure, referenda are more popular with supreme leaders than actual elections of candidates, because the whole thing is reduced to a simple “Do you love me, or do you love me not?” instead of having to sort out scores of would-be members of the ruling class. But the totalitarians solve this fairly neatly by ensuring that no maverick makes it onto the  lists. That way, it doesn’t matter who “wins,” since the voting doesn’t matter anyway. Everything is top-down.

The Iranian regime, given its remarkable capacity to screw up most everything (above all the country itself, which  vies with the Soviet Union at its worst for a wrecked system), every now and then fails to get it right and some real votes get counted. That’s what happened in June 2009, when Mir Hossein Mousavi — the leader of the Green Movement — got more votes than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the regime had to scramble to produce results that gave the victory to Ahmadinejad. They did it so ham-handedly that everybody saw what was happening, and months of demonstrations followed.

The regime is palpably worried about tomorrow’s events, to the point where the supreme leader’s son Mojtaba Khamenei quietly visited Mousavi — held for over a year along with his firebrand wife in solitary confinement in a house in Tehran — to try to strike a deal by which Mousavi would somehow come to terms with the regime.  Mousavi refused, and this was followed by an amazing telephone conversation between Mousavi and his kids, beginning with the Green leader’s announcement that he wasn’t changing his mind and that the upcoming carnival should be boycotted.

Lots of people will be compelled to vote — government workers and military employees, for example, will be accompanied to the voting booths by overseers — and it will be a while before “real numbers” on turnout become known. But it’s already clear to anyone who cares to see that this carnival demonstrates that the Iranian people don’t like this regime and that the regime knows it.

Can’t wait to hear the Obama administration’s “take” on its sought-after negotiating partner’s behavior. Of late there’s been a huge disinformation campaign in Washington, designed to convince us that a) there really isn’t the slightest chance of Iran getting The Bomb in the near future, and b) anything the Israelis might do to attack the nuclear-weapons-program-you-know-the-one-nobody-should-worry-about would only make things worse.

In other words, the White House wants to be left alone to make its glorious deal with a regime that kills Americans every day. And stages carnivals for its own amusement.