We’re In Trouble

We’re in big trouble.

Have a look at The Washington Note, whose latest begins like this:

Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.

If this is true, we’re in very big trouble. Or, if the rumor was sparked by an order ‘only’ authorizing clandestine operations (or, worse, bombardment) as a form of provocation, this is serious stuff. But even if it’s not at all true in any way, we’re in pretty big trouble, as the spread of this rumor means we’ve reached a point in our politics when sober, quite moderate, people like Steve Clemons are starting at shadows.

I can only remember one time that felt like this: when Nixon was in the last weeks of his Presidency, and people — including the then-Secretary of Defense– got worried that Nixon might try to start a war to distract the country from his troubles, or even stage some sort of coup. People in DC even began to speculate as to what military forces could be assembled as a counterweight in the event that Nixon, rumored to be drunk and unstable, chose to subvert the Constitution.

According to reports published after Nixon resigned, Defense Secretary James Schlesinger even went as far to tell some of the highest-ranking military officers to inform him if any ‘extraordinary orders’ went out from the White House and to refrain from carrying out any orders which came from the White House outside the normal military channels. (An action, incidentally, of dubious formal legality on the part of both James Schlesinger and his generals.)

Those were not good times.

Any time there is serious speculation by ordinarily sober people that the President has launched a secret war against one — or two! — countries, well, those are not good times either.

I think this is true whoever you think is at fault — the administration for being Hell-bent for lunacy, or the DC Democrats (or if you prefer the DC Establishment), for being a bunch of strategic cowards. Whenever the level of trust within the governing class has so broken down, we are in for hard times indeed.

And if, as Clemons’s article suggests, the White House is launching a new secret war (or two), then we’re far worse off than we were in 1974, for who in the modern White House would cast him or herself as our modern James Schlesinger?

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71 Responses to We’re In Trouble

  1. Tiparillo says:

    Well Steve Clemons isn’t the only one.

    Apparently Joe Biden informed Secretary of State Rice that, should the Bush administration attempt to cross over into Iran without Congressional approval, such action will provoke a “constitutional confrontation” when she appeared before his committee today.

  2. Fidel Cigar says:

    Dear Leftie Twats:

    It’s Panties-In-A-Bunch Time!

  3. Emphyrio says:

    Seven Days In May, my favorite panties-in-a-twist movie.

  4. John Gillnitz says:

    It should be noted that Bush does not have near the reserve for the Constitution that Nixon had. He has already shat upon it several times.

  5. Anonymous 1L says:

    First, let me start by saying that IF this is indeed true, it is a Very Bad Thing.

    That being said, I think I’ll wait until a reputable news source – not a blogger’s speculation on others’ speculation – can shed some light on this issue until I make an informed decision. Until then, I’ll do some personal reading…I hear the Weekly World News is running a hot story about how Bigfoot gave birth to a half human, half alien hybrid being.

  6. A.Citizen says:

    Yeah, you’all keep wain’ till they come for ya jes like the Nazi’s came fer the Jews.

    Only…

    It will be too late then.

    Won’t it.

  7. LLM says:

    Well, if the U.S. is already using force illegally against these countries, wouldn’t that give the afflicted countries the right to legally respond w/ force? If the U.S. is truly the initiator and using force illegally, the U.S. will never be on the right side of whatever may ensue and the other side can always claim it was acting in self-defense. And as A.Citizen remarked… how long should syria and iran wait… how much longer should they endure these attacks before they respond in an apparently legal manner under the U.N. Charter… or do i just not get international law?

  8. ronin says:

    Well I hope it is just paranoia, but considering their track record of lies, obfuscations, contempt of the Constitution, etc, can anyone trust this Administration not to launch another war? These people have shown already that they are far removed from reality -so maybe they’re getting advice from Bigfoot.

  9. Joe says:

    It reminds me of a song. Goes sumthin’ like this:

    There’s something happening here
    What it is ain’t exactly clear
    There’s a man with a gun over there
    Telling me I got to beware

    I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down

    My draft number was 353. What was yours?

  10. jayackroyd says:

    The Haldeman Diaries recount multiple instances where Nixon ordered military action late at night, drunk, which were not carried out. i don’t know what can be done about a dry drunk.

  11. a says:

    It’s kinda funny. Here we have some lurid conspiracy theories and who is to blame for them?
    It’s Bush! It’s the pundits!

    How about blaming the maniacs who made the stories up? Too sensible for you?

    Anyway, Tony Snow has already shot all this crap down in his interview with
    Hewitt today. Try to keep up, OK?

  12. Joe says:

    oh my god. This is scary. This is an absolute affront to the constitution. What can we do? This motherfucker MUST BE IMPEACHED!!!!!!!!!

  13. Tony Snow and Hugh Hewitt? *snicker* Nah, no disinformation going on with these two.

    And given the US already invaded an Iranian Consulate in Iraq, violating the inviobility of Consulates and Embassies, and last month took Iranian diplomats as prisoners, this rumour seems to have observable actions that already support it.

    And let us not mistake Steve Clemons for the wild speculation of Michael Ledeen and his comrades at PajamasMedia like Hewitt, who haven’t been right with any of their speculation yet. Iranian Ayatollah dead? *snort* AP source in Iraq doesn’t exist? *snort*

  14. Michael says:

    Tony Snow is the guy who peddled recycled and long-discredited lies about the “Mission Accomplished” banner earlier this week. I should believe him?

    Part of my point was that when large numbers of normally sensible people in the establishment start buying into conspiracy theories, that’s a sign of a more fundamental problem — even if you want to blame those people for being gulled.

    Incidentally, where the story originated would be a very interesting datum. Did it come from an intelligence agency perhaps tasked with covert actions in Iran? A junior Schlesinger in training in the bowels of the NSC? You have to figure if Clemons and now Josh Marshall are giving the story at least some credibility it must come from a source with some plausible claim to know. Heck, even Chris Matthews seems concerned!

    Alternatively, if there’s some anti-Bush fanatic out there smart enough to float a story like this and get it traction…well, I’d sure like to know who that is!

  15. BriVT says:

    Anyway, Tony Snow has already shot all this crap down in his interview with Hewitt today. Try to keep up, OK?

    There are so many levels of comedy in those two sentences, it’s hard to choose just a couple … Snow? Hewitt? Mmmkay.

  16. BobJones says:

    I watched Tony Snow on Hardball today, and he certainly didn’t shoot anything down. He refused to deny anything, he just kept saying “you are getting ahead of yourself.” He wouldn’t even agree with the proposition that, if the pesident wanted to launch any attacks on Iran, he would first need to go to Congress. Matthews asked the question repeatedly, and bluntly, and Snow evaded.

    Given the way this administration likes to keep secrets and avoid reporting things, it would be irresponsible not to be concened “a”.

  17. Cid says:

    Fidel Cigar:

    Two words: Cambodia & Laos

    Now go “Cheney” yourself, before those of us with our ‘panties in a bunch’ start lynching pussy traitors like you.

    Sincerely,
    -A US Veteran

  18. Michael says:

    Posters are reminded of this blog’s comment policy:

    1. Participants in the comments are kindly requested to be civil, and at least vaguely on-topic.
    2. I will delete (or disemvowel) comments that are duplicative, commercial, needlessly foul or mean or otherwise inappropriately offensive.
    3. My decisions are final. I’m happy to discuss them by email.
    4. I’ll amend this policy as I gain experience.
    5. In the long run, it remains to be seen if comments is a workable commons or not.
  19. Steve J. says:

    Anyway, Tony Snow has already shot all this crap down in his interview with
    Hewitt today.

    Yeah, I trust two lying war whores.

  20. Mojo says:

    ABC is reporting the that US forces arrested the Iranians at an Iranian liaison office, not a consulate. There have been no reports of attacks by US forces in either Syria or Iran. The ops tempo of US special forces is extremely high right now without widespread action in Iran and Syria (Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc.) I haven’t heard anything about deployments of additional aircraft to the Middle East (aside from a carrier group which wouldn’t do much good in the case of Syria or much of Iran). And, if the President was going to order military action against Iran and Syria, last night’s speech was the time for him to lay the groundwork. None of the indicators of significant military ops against Iran and Syria seem to be lit up. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence backing up this claim. Here’s hoping it turns out just to be a rumor or a misunderstanding by the source.

  21. Rubyglare says:

    The US forfeited its’ own embassies sovereignity when it ignored Iran’s embassy’s right to be let alone, just like Bush threw away the USA’s right to repell invaders when he broke the laws-including our own War Crimes Act 0f 1996-& invaded Iraq; now it’s all a race to the bottom, throwing away democracies right, left, & center, as fast as they can…

  22. elleng says:

    anonymous 1L, where would you plan to find ‘a reputable news source?’

  23. Peter Principle says:

    Forget the rumors about secret orders: Bush announced last night that he’s sending Patriot batteries to the Persian Gulf. You don’t fight insurgents with Patriot missiles; you knock down Iranian ballistic missiles with Patriot missiles. Add the one and possibly two additional carrier task forces being dispatched to the region, the attack sub that’s already there, the pre-emptive raids on Iranian intelligence offices inside Iraq, the airborne brigade that was just sent into Iraq from Kuwait (to help secure those vulnerable supply lines?), the reports about the Israelis being ready to go, and it’s not at all paranoid to think that an attack on Iran may be right around the corner.

    That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, but it might.

    And of course, if it does, the same dumb fuck right wing trolls who are telling us it’s a paranoid conspiracy theory will be back to tell us what a great idea it is and how clever and grand Dear Leader is for launching a surpise attack without asking for congressional authorization.

    You can’t count on much from the fascist jerks who call themselves conservatives in this country these days, but you can depend on that.

  24. ineedalife says:

    ABC is reporting the that US forces arrested the Iranians at an Iranian liaison office, not a consulate.

    Yeah, like when we blew up the Chinese liason office in Serbia during the Kosovo war or whatever we “thought” it was. I can just imagine a room full of young Repulicans trying to come up with just the right sounding label that would be consistent with the function of a consulate but still allow us to technically invade it. Even if we get smacked down after the fact they can still whine that “We thought it was just a liason office. If we had kown it was a consulate we would have never done that.” At this point our commanders should know the usage of every mudhut in Iraq. No excuse for not knowing where consulates or “liason offices” are located.

  25. Not a Veteran says:

    I live in a military town (bases from several branches of the military). My neighbors are mostly active or recently retired officers.

    All agree that their sources from the pentagon say that the Iran attack has been a done deal since last spring, and that covert psy-ops operations have been going on since at least that time.

    One is a died in the wool Republican who, along with his boss and peers, is worried that this invasion will doom the Republican party in elections for years.

    None of them like Bush.

  26. Mojo says:

    Yeah, like when we blew up the Chinese liason office in Serbia during the Kosovo war or whatever we “thought” it was.
    No, not like that. The first difference is that the building in Serbia was really the Chinese embassy; this Iranian office isn’t an embassy or consulate. It’s not protected territory. The second difference is that we didn’t attack the Chinese embassy because we thought it wasn’t protected, we attacked it because we stupidly thought it was a Serbian facility. And when the press asked about it later, we didn’t deny that it was indeed an embassy. Even if you put the worst possible interpretation on it and believe the conspiracy theories, the Chinese embassy story in Belgrade is like the French embassy in Libya, not this Iranian facility in Iraq.
    There could be lots of reasons to condemn this action (such as angering the one group in Iraq, the Kurds, who still kind of like us) but opposing something that is admittedly bad but based on false assumptions is the kind of thing that let us get into Iraq in the first place.

  27. Brian Boru says:

    If the US military had reported that the Iranians in Irbil had been caught in an outhouse in the town park, ABC and the others would have reported that as the absolute gospel truth. The Iranian flag was flying atop the building; they used stun bombs to gain access, the Kurds and US forces had some sort of an armed standoff. There’s very likely more there than ABC reported.

  28. matt says:

    Mojo, how does all your “insider” lingo deal with news coming from Iran that three extremely powerful explosions hit the southern part of Iran today? This is being reported by Kurds in the area.
    http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=264847869&url_num=7&url=http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/46589/

    A provocation? Iran blowing itself up so it can blame the US? Not likely. The US is attacking forces in Iran that are protecting its border with Iraq.

    You don’t need an entire squadron of aircraft to intiate air operations against a country. You need helicopters to drop the necessary troops and you need air cover for that mission. That’s it. And if you don’t think there isn’t an AWACS plane flying high over Iran-Iraq border plotting everything and directing missions in real time from the Pentagon or the Situation Room of the White House.

    Remember your Sun Tzu? Create a diversion away from where you are going to strike. What better diversion than attacking Somalia (another sovereign nation) and invading another country’s consulate?

    “None of the significant indicators of blah, blah, blah are lit up?” This guy is trying to save his legacy, trying to make sure we keep losing Americans to his grand design, securing Iraq’s oil for his family and friends and making sure he isn’t the one who bugged out of Baghdad.

    Joe, I agree with you, man. My draft notice came when I was already in Vietnam having dropped out of college and enlisted to at least get a choice of specialties. There’s gonna be a civil war here, people. The divisions that played out through the 60s and carry over today are not going to be easily repaired. And I know which side I’m on.

  29. tiparilo says:

    Here is what Senator Hagel said to Rice, after Biden:

    “When you were engaging Chairman Biden on this issue, on the specific question — will our troops go into Iran or Syria in pursuit, based on what the president said last night — you cannot sit here today — not because you’re dishonest or you don’t understand, but no one in our government can sit here today and tell Americans that we won’t engage the Iranians and the Syrians cross-border.

    Some of us remember 1970, Madame Secretary, and that was Cambodia, and when our government lied to the American people and said we didn’t cross the border going into Cambodia. In fact we did. I happen to know something about that, as do some on this committee.

    So, Madame Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it’s very, very dangerous. Matter of fact, I have to say, Madame Secretary, that I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it’s carried out. I will resist it.”

  30. tiparillo says:

    Senator Webb asking Rice about Iran:

    “Sen. Webb: And this is a question that can be answered either very briefly or through written testimony, but my question is: Is it the position of this administration that it possesses the authority to take
    unilateral action against Iran in the absence of a direct threat without congressional approval?

    Secy. Rice: Senator, I’m really loathe to get into questions of the president’s authorities without a rather more clear understanding of what we are actually talking about. So let me answer you, in fact, in writing. I think that would be the best thing to do.

    Sen. Webb: I would appreciate that. “

    h/t tpm

  31. Deadeye Dick Cheney says:

    Well then. If Tony Snow said it, it MUST be true! Gotta go shoot some some friends. See y’all later!

  32. Altoid says:

    The deep constitutional doo-doo may come from this. It may come from some attempt to raise money from us without bothering to go through congress, or spend it on things that haven’t been appropriated by congress.

    Who can believe they wouldn’t do this kind of stuff, when bush so clearly despises that “piece of paper” that starts “We the people of the United States”?

    Why does this family model itself so exactly on the Stuarts, and w himself so much on Charles I?

  33. aidan says:

    Michael is right to view this as serious. Anyone who dismisses this as conspiracy thinking has be very naive indeed, especially after Bush mouthed the words on the tube – to the effect that they will go after supply lines (and doubtless the origins of those lines also) in an effort to protect American troops and ensure greater Iraqi security ostensibly.

    Yeah right! Sounds more like a search for a casus belli . The recent raid on Iranian offices in Arbil is a sign of things to come. Bush is out to push Ahmadinejad’s buttons. And if the latter’s rhetoric is matched by his actions, it could become extremely nasty. Bush has no mandate to do this – Joe Biden is right. Moreover the American public is NOT on-side this time. This is a desperate man throwing the dice one last time.

    Quite aside from what was said or leaked re administration intentions, the regional realities support this type of brinkmanship.

    Bush is under pressure from the Israelis and Saudi hard liners, who want to see action against both Iran and the Shia ascendancy that is emerging in Baghdad. Despite Bush’s pro al-Maliki rhetoric in public, I simply don’t believe that he sees any real future there. Al-Maliki is crippled by association with Muqtada al Sadr and other shadowy Shia leaders, many of whom have ties to the Mahdi army and other lunatics, some of whom have become specialists the fine art of drilling people’s heads. The possible emergence at a later of date of a Shia dominated Islamic republic in Iraq with ties to Iran is an Israeli AND Saudi nightmare. A Saudi paper even recently called for an invasion of Iran and described “Persian influence in the region” as, get this … “the real clash of civilizations”.

    Bush is under pressure from all these allies, and anyone who thinks it wildly conspiratorial that he might be looking for a back door strategy to escalate outside of Iraq’s borders is underestimating the pressure the administration is under from outside players – notably the Israelis and Saudis.

  34. banjobailey says:

    The one thing Bush is good at, is co-opting people. He is completley capable of co-opting all of us by starting a war with Iran or Syria. Remember, he is the one who creates reality while the rest of us are analysing what he just did….war with Iran, and perhaps Syria, could be already in the works. Bush has placed two aircraft carrierrs, plus a whole lot of other ships, in the Persian Gulf recently….why? This whole situation is far worse than any of our good friend conspiracy folks could have conjured up..

  35. Mojo says:

    matt; I followed your link and here is what I saw there:
    “U.S. forces in Iraq raided Iran’s consulate in the northern city of Arbil and detained five staff members,” according to state-run Iranian news, via Bloomberg.
    The source of the only part that makes this a significant story (the claim that this constituted “invasion” of an embassy) is the state-run Iranian news. Why is it that people who believe that every single US news source is independently lying to them are willing to believe the state-run press of a country with a long history of fabricating stories? I’ve read some incorrect and even false stories in papers such as the NY Times but their batting average compares to the Iranians like Rogers Hornsby to Michael Jordan.
    We don’t know whether it was Iranians or Iranian diplomats who were captured or why the raid even took place. But the timing is curious, given Bush’s speech last night.
    Translation – We don’t know what happened but whatever it is must be suspicious. Really?
    Last night, Bush sent US forces to attack the inviolate territory of a foreign diplomatic mission, the Iranian mission in northern Iraq
    As I noted above, this appears to have the slight disadvantage of not actually being true.
    The rest of the article is a repetition of the same claim that Bush has ordered attacks into Iran and Syria that started this thread; a story based solely on a quote from an unnamed source.

    I simply don’t understand. Bush publicly announced a plan that is going to continue to get US servicemen and Iraqi civilians killed to no good purpose but people still feel the need to try to uncover some secret plot.

  36. Duckman GR says:

    Bush attacking Iran would be about the stupidest thing he could do, and the saving grace of this whole nightmare. Because then there wouldn’t be any hand wringing or parsing about pre-war intellignece and the intent of the AUMF and so on, although they would surely be brought into the IMPEACHMENT that would result.

    SPEAKER Pelosi said impeachment was off the table, but that was based on Bush’s Oil War, attacking Iran would bring all sorts of new violations into the picture, and pretty much force the Democrats hand.

  37. mdhatter says:

    everything from unexpected nominees to confirm, through the minimum wage, to a leaked budget 2 months early, to 20,000 troops and clandestine operations are being organized for maximum conflict, and it’s exactly the way the white house wants it.

    I’m more worried about -why- ? What is the plan in begging censure, or impeachment??

  38. ahem says:

    The source of the only part that makes this a significant story (the claim that this constituted “invasion” of an embassy) is the state-run Iranian news.

    Backed up by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, I could go on… But ad hominem is all you’ve got to keep your mojo working, isn’t it?

    Of course, the aim is for action against Iran and/or Syria to be a fait accompli. And the only counter to that strategy has to be a fait accompli to match: wake Bush after he’s gone to bed (say, 10pm) and drag him out of the White House in handcuffs to face justice.

  39. TC says:

    “Tony Snow has already shot all this crap down”.

    Ah, that wouldn’t be the same Tony Snow who also accused Helen Thomas of speaking for Hezbollah or who can’t/won’t answer many questions honestly; a man who actually worked for Fox; oh yeah, and check out when Helen Thomas went on Hugh Hewitt’s show: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/2/16/14921/3718. Yeah, that Hugh Hewitt, that’s the place to go to establish your credibility….

  40. M. Sinjohn says:

    We have been watching the Iran thing for months Unless they can be stopped, the NeoCons will continue to push their PNAC agenda. Why the hell should that surprise anyone, let alone be referred to as a conspiracy threory? It isn’t a theory, if said conspirators have published their agenda on the Internet and yap about it, constantly, to anyone who will listen. Apparently some listen without hearing.

    Someone has managed to convince Junior that he is chosen to lead the crusade in the “greatest Ideological War of our time.” (That, pretty much sums up how stupid this war really is.) He believes that if the “axis of evil” doesn’t get blown to smitherines and thrown into chaos by him, it won’t get done.

    Hopefully, he is right about that.

    He makes our point for us.

    High ranking people at State, the CIA and in the military have been screaming bloody murder for years, about this administration, its agenda and its incompetency. In my 58 years on this planet, I have never seen so much open rebellion against an administration by members of its own political party.

    Some of the very first books I read about this administration were by Republicans: Paul O’Neil, Richard Clarke and Kevin Phillips.

    The problem is the NeoConservative agenda, which is still being persued, in spite of opposition, across the political spectrum, and against the clearly expressed will of the people in this past election, is about the worst possible agenda for this country.

    Mr. Bush has stated that elections have consequences. I am beginning to think that his interpretation of his own remarks are very different from my interpretation. Seems he means that if we vote for him, even by a couple prcentage points, it is a mandate. If we say no, to him, through elections, the consequences are that his obvious contempt for the people will harden even more, and we won’t like the consequences of having had the temerity to repudiate his failed, illegal and immoral policies.

    He is playing a very dangerous game of political chicken, domestically and in matters of foreign policy. He has already lost that game. The only question is, will he be allowded to drag the entire nation and, maybe, half the world, into the 5th hell realm with him?

  41. DrBB says:

    Yeah, Joe, I remember that song and a couple of others. My number was 340. Lotteried out, fair and square. Dunno what I would have done if I hadn’t. Probably gone ahead and been the worst PFC ever killed in action. Lucky for anyone else in my potential unit, I wasn’t drafted.

    And yeah, 7 Days in May is a great flick. Just talking about it yesterday, matter of fact. Context being “I never thought I’d end up wishing the generals maybe WOULD do this.”

  42. minorripper says:

    anyone remember sy hersch’s piece in the New Yorker last spring? it’s clear this administration (at least Cheney) has lusted to go to war with Iran for some time now…hell we’ve got war already on two fronts, to these morons we might as well open up another on a third one.
    http://www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com

  43. DrBB says:

    Remember your Sun Tzu? Create a diversion away from where you are going to strike. What better diversion than attacking Somalia (another sovereign nation) and invading another country’s consulate?

    Actually, I was thinking “What better diversion than to get the whole country debating the wisdom of a ‘surge’ in Baghdad while you’re lining everything up for a fait-accompli attack on Syria and Iran.” But then I assume that to the Bushocons, the “enemy,” primarily, is us.

  44. Anonymous 1L says:

    elleng, I consider the AP, Reuters, the NYT, WSJ, WaPo, CNN, Newsweek, etc. all to be reputable news sources. I do not consider blogs (no offense, Prof. Froomkin), state-run media, the Drudge Report, the Daily Show, or Bill O’Reilly to be reputable news sources.

    To clarify, I’m not debating whether it was an Iranian embassy, consulate, or liaison office. I’m merely skeptical of a blogger’s speculation of others’ speculation that Bush illegally sent troops into Iran. I’m no Bush lover, but some of the vitriol in these comments has obviously taken the place of rational thought.

  45. michael says:

    I think some bloggers, who are journalists, think tankers or academics, sometimes have very good sources either in government or on the ground. Juan Cole, for example, has access to a lot of foreign media and experts, and acts as intermediary for their views and information. Clemons, who writes the Washington Note, is a very reputable and reliable source for US foreign policy info, and also has a lot of contacts in foreign consulates and non-US international policy circles. Much of what blogs like those report as fact turns up in newspapers a couple of days later. So it depends on the author.

  46. Anonymous 1L says:

    Prof. Froomkin, I think you are right about the reputation of the blog depending on the author. Perhaps I was too quick to lump all blogs together; there is a difference between Informed Comment and the Daily Kos and LGF.

    However, I still think there is something different about reporting news under the imprimatur of the New York Times versus reporting news on a personal blog. And from my interpretation of Clemons’ post, he isn’t so much reporting news as reporting speculation and adding further speculation on top of that.

  47. Diogenes says:

    If you think that the rumors about an impending invasion of Iran and an expansion of the Iraq war are unfounded, then I suggest that you watch Jim Lehrer’s interview with Zbignew Brezinski on the News Hour (yesterday, 1/11/07).

    I thought it was spooky. Brezinsky is a powerful insider who usually speaks cautiously. I think that he was sending a warning to the foreign policy professionals that the neo-conmen and president Cheney are out of control.

  48. Alan says:

    IRAN SAYS 2007 COULD BRING ISLAMIC MESSIAH, POSSIBLY THIS SPRING
    http://www.crusade-media.com/news42.html

    Indict Ahmadinejad
    http://www.crusade-media.com/news44.html

  49. Mojo says:

    ahem said that the Iranian claim that the building was a consulate was “Backed up by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, I could go on… But ad hominem is all you’ve got to keep your mojo working, isn’t it?”
    The Washington Post wrote – “The Kurdish government had approved the opening of the Iranian Liaison Office, which provided consular services and which Iran wants to upgrade to a formal consulate
    The New York Times wrote – “The Iraqi foreign minister said Friday that the five Iranians detained by U.S.-led forces in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq were working in a liaison office that had government approval and was in the process of being approved as a consulate.”
    The BBC web site says – “The Iranian liaison office in Irbil did not yet have full consular diplomatic status but it had been operating for years, Hoshyar Zebari said.”
    So your claim that these organizations back up the Iranian claim that the building was a consulate is simply wrong.
    Also, it isn’t an ad hominem attack to point out that the source of the information on which someone is basing an argument is unreliable. Ad hominem is attacking the individual rather than their argument. For example, if somebody claimed that scientists had created flying pigs but the only evidence they presented was an article in the Weekly World News, it would be perfectly appropriate to point out that the WWW isn’t a real newspaper and that all the legitimate news stories called it a hoax.

  50. cafl says:

    http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2007/01/20070112_a_main.asp

    Andrea Mitchell is not a blogger. (Radio discussion from NPR On-Point).

  51. Diogenes says:

    Zbignew Brezinski is not a blogger.

  52. GlennK says:

    The enemy is indeed all of us !! This whole time smells like late Nixon. The fear and paranoia is everywhere. Bu$h and his cabal are going down hard and they don’t intend to go into the night quietly .

  53. Altoid says:

    Here’s the big thing: these are people who believe that the US, being the last superpower and impossible for any other country to defend itself against militarily, has a duty to throw its weight around for whatever reasons it has in mind. In other words, we have the power, and since we have the power, we use it.

    These are also people who believe that the president is the central figure in the entire structure of government, with complete and plenary authority to use our military forces as he sees fit, to seize phone records, open mail, intercept phone calls, lock people up without charging them, and keep it all secret. In other words, the president has the power, and since he has the power, he uses it.

    This is beyond all normal political calculation. David Brooks has this fantasy that Warner and Lott will go to the White House one day and say “it’s over, you don’t have the support.” Warner and Lott may do that, all right, but it won’t turn out the way Brooks thinks.

    The bush people will say, “so what? We have the power and we’re going to use it.” When the day comes, they’ll also claim the power to raise money from us without any laws, or more likely they’ll be taking money from foreign governments directly, or something else equally unthinkable in the normal state of things since, oh, about 1645.

    People who talk about political support as if it means anything to these people just don’t know what we’re dealing with here. When the Goopers controlled Congress, it was Operation Armtwist and Bludgeon. Now that the Dems do, there’s a new game plan: Operation Just Try to Stop Me.

    And anyone who thinks that they’d leave the White House or the Naval Observatory or those “undisclosed locations” just because they’d been impeached and convicted better think again. This is a whole lot more serious than just launching a war against Iran.

  54. 3reddogs says:

    Surely Iran supplying the Iraq insurgency with people and weapons didn’t just start happening. It’s likely this has been going on for years and you have to ask yourself, why is this only now being addressed? Because Bush and Cheney have had an agenda all along and attacking Iran is just another part of their agenda, a rabbit to be pulled out of their hat when the time was right. We’ll try to provoke Iran into some kind of attack and if that doesn’t work we’ll manufacture some excuse. The only thing that can stop this madness is for Congress to make it crystal clear that expanding the war to include Iran will result in impeachment. (And shame on Pelosi and Reid for declaring that impeachment was “off the table” because they essentially told George Bush that he could spend the next two years doing whatever he wanted!) And if Bush does launch an attack on Iran then, by God, he should be impeached because the repercussions of such an attack will last for decades and the price America will have to pay will be higher than we can even imagine.

  55. grjunctguy says:

    Draft # 342 here and like others this low on the list, I wasn’t required to go–fair and square. Why am I so amazed that there are people out there who still use the term “conspiracy theory” when, in fact, there’s no theory at all? There’s an agenda and it’s happening. These chickenhawks in power are leading us down the path towards Armageddon–come to think of it, why is it that this idea of Armageddon isn’t considered a “conspiracy theory”? Is it because there’s a book in the Bible that describes the “end of days”? What if those of us who don’t take the Bible literally began telling the insane, whacko fundamentalist Christians that Revelations is a conspiracy theory and not fact? Again, come to think of it…we can’t tell them that, because they are making it come true. So, why is it that they call our observations about the PNAC and the neocons as “conspiracy theory”?

  56. purvis ames says:

    There are already thousands of Iranian agents in southern Iraq. Bush is so insane he doesn’t know which way to jump these days. Furthermore, this little piece of cheerleader human filth created the situation himself.

  57. the red brahmin says:

    we were warned by Franklin to beware the rule of inherited wealth, and by Washington to beware the economic elite. i wrote that a man is not measured by the thickness of his portfolio but by the weight of his social conscience, that our commonality is our humanity, and that I respect you because you are.

  58. Ricarlo says:

    Iran Says 2007 Could Bring Islamic Messiah, Possibly This Spring
    Date: Friday, January 05 @ 01:32:54 MST
    Topic: News Articles

    The New Year may not be so happy if Iranian leaders have their way. The Islamic Messiah known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi” may come to earth in 2007 and could be revealed to the world as early as the Spring Equinox, reports an official Iranian government news Web site. The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Web site says the world is now in its “last days.” It claims that the Mahdi will first appear in Mecca, and then Medina. He will conquer all of Arabia, Syria, Iraq, destroy Israel, and then set up a “global government” based in Iraq, interestingly enough, not Iran. Such Islamic eschatology (end-time theology) is driving the Iranian regime and helps explains why Iran has no interest in helping the United States and European Union create peace in Iraq or the region, much less in ending its bid for nuclear weapons, the “Iraq Study Group Report” notwithstanding.

    A television series on IRIB called “The World toward Illumination” has been running since last November to help answer the many questions Iranians have about the end of the world as we know it. The series explains the signs of the last days and what to expect when the Islamic Messiah arrives.
    The program also says that Jesus is coming back to earth soon as a Shiite Muslim leader and it denounces “born-again Christians” for supporting “the illegal Zionist state of Israel.” An Israeli news site was the first to pick up the story and its significance to Israeli national security, noting that the Mahdi will soon “form an army to defeat Islam’s enemies in a series of apocalyptic battles” and “will overcome his arch villain in Jerusalem.”

    Iran’s calendar year ends on March 20, the usual date of the Spring Equinox. Is Ahmadinejad signaling that Iran will have nuclear weapons by then? Is he suggesting that an apocalyptic war to annihilate Jews and Christians in Israel and the US could come in 2007, perhaps as early as this spring or summer? It is not yet clear, though Ahmadinejad today vowed to “humiliate” the US and continues to vow that Israel will “vanish” soon.

    The IRIB series is important in that it offers some intriguing clues as to how Iranian Shiites believe their prophecies will play out. [Go to Rosenberg’s blog site to read details about their beliefs.]

    Too many Western analysts are missing the central importance of Shiite eschatology in Iranian foreign policy. They mistakenly believe that Iran’s current leadership can be somehow cajoled into making peace with the West. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  59. Pam says:

    5-10-07
    SECRET BLACK WAR RAGING IN CHICAGO SUBURBS (SOUTH)
    Idiots with money are recruiting idiots with no common sense..and brainwashable.. BLACKS are being called upon in a forgein military operation to find a man named JOE LEZY, except they use males, females, and children. This person is not real to them, but an iconic name of which they use it as a goal to recruit ignorant people longing to belong to something into a REAL alquada operation. The money is financed thru a Saudi Sheik, and the military style op is real, they solicit black artists and musicians and falsely tell them its for the PRESIDENT.. alluring to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, when in fact its a represenation of potentially many people including but limited to a man called JOHN who was solicited off the internet from NIGERIAN 419 scam letter, a record company exec, a retired CEO who is black from COCACOLA, a private investigator and a plethora of people what ever fits it best. Their goal is seriously to harrass extensively a 9-11-01 witness who is white and jewish and being denied proper police and fed agent investigation. They have audio tooth satiellited devices that transmit verbal communications like a party line cell phone and bug her bathroom, bedroom, car( which isnot hers) and contact each and every person, business, school , financial institution ,medical instutition and governmental offices for the sole purpose of harrassing , underminding , stealing and retriving, isolating and denying her any social life or services. She has made over 300 police reports in the last three years, the signifigance of this is a psychotronic network which is all black. Per Defense dept archives blacks are better suited to do this type of harrassment as they will do as they are told, without fussing and really see no reason not to. they will not have any emotional thought or feelign about their job, and most selected were considered in low mentality , low self esteem , often have drug or alchohol or abuse issues and are willing to do anything to be part of the crowd. they use local churches to gather them together and give a false sense of belonging and purpose and they dont know what they are really doing is harrassing and gangstalking and few actually care.
    they are doing this for low pay usually under $8.00 an hour and expense reimbursement. they work in a company that has been organized to maintain a harrass team and that the owner lends herself out for a contract price. they are trying to drive this person crazy, as there are no other clientson the schedule. They solicit enough personal data to steal cell phone accts, credit card numbers, identiteis to give to forgein illegal aliens usually of africian or saudi decent. They set up fake schools, churches and training programs and steal stuff offered to people off the INTERNET AND HAVE MOLES IN THE US POST OFFICE. they encourage people of low income to work for them as they are more bribable with gifts in exchange for silence and they encourage suicide bomber schools for their young children.
    rewarding extreme negative behaviors in them. If you know of such children please report to the elementary school counselors they will need assistance and notice of the state to help stop this training.
    this is may 10- 2007 and this is going on currently with little notice by the FBI of over 2000 people recruited in the SOUTH SUBURBAN AREA OF CHICAGO.
    They train and practice their techniques of annoyances, and currently have a goal to SPY ON US CIA SPIES AND COVERTS who were exposed to them by SAUDI NAtionals in 2004. the CIA did little to control it when it was 12 people..
    peacheswrites@yahoo.com
    read my yahoo 360 blog its all true!

  60. help hungers says:

    OUT THERE SO MANY HUNGER EYES LOOKING MESSIAH WHO HELP THEM FiRST

    Donation or charity is the key for the peace in the world and fair charity only possible from this way make the box and put it on your door out side home or make a big charity box put it on your main street corners and daily put some money or any thing you better know in your region needy poor peoples they can pickup from that boxes this is the way you can help hungers in the world if every one do like this Allah will accept your charity and also Allah knows who took that charity doesn’t matter you also poor but spare it some for donate to other poor peoples, make your self new environment take care of each others Allah give you more Allah always watching you …

    This is only one key bring the revelation in the world and this message came to me from Allah and Allah want equally share with your brothers what you have for your life facilities.. like one tree roots not bothers his branches who gave the fruits or not, roots not differentiate and equally distribute the food to all branches same thing branches not differentiate which root is good for his and they distribute his all energy food equally to all roots and its called complete strong tree same thing you all humans need to favor each others with charity and donations.

    Your community charity not reach to needy persons it always filtered by satan so please don’t considers your charity organizations linked with hungers and needy peoples… Please make decisions your self other then no difference between animals and you…

    With this kind of charity or donations your homes will be get special mercy from Allah and Allah protect those houses… Please start today if you live in poor regions in your countries…

    Please translate and populate into your voice… Please make decision today, out there so many hunger eyes looking messiah who help them first…

    When you leave the tomb for pray then real Islam will be in your heart and you will be pure Momin….

  61. Funny that I found this in your “most commented” section.

    So… where is this war in Syria and Iran that was secretly happening over a year ago???

    Iran backed down. That was the end of the game. We played hard ball, and they ran for cover. Well done Mr. Bush!!

  62. Joshua says:

    Whatever Bush/ the US did with Syria and Iran, or worked. Both of those cowards backed down, and the world is a little more stable now.

  63. maxloaded says:

    Lol, the Middle East Project is not finished and I mean it’s not even half-finished, the worst is yet to come. It doesn’t matter if the president is Bush or Obama.

  64. filmalem says:

    Iran didn’t back down, they are still working hard to get their WMDs as soon as possible.

  65. memurlar says:

    I agree that something is going on in the Middle East and this is not going to end soon.
    Hard times awaiting Obama.

  66. So what do you guys think is going to happen to the situation with the Iran now since Mr Bush is out of the white house?

  67. Maxwebber says:

    Well, are we still in trouble?

  68. James Smith says:

    It isn’t as if any rational person still believes the USA is a free country. Think about it. No-warrant wire taps, indefinite detention of citizens without charges, approval of rendition of prisoners and torture, stop and frisk without probable cause, search and seizure without a warrant, no-knock entry, confiscation and destruction of cameras that might have been used to film police acting illegally, police brutality, police shootings that go without investigation, managed news, and the civil-rights destroying “Patriot” Act.

    Acts of police behaving illegally, with shootings, Tasers, and unwarranted violence now appear almost daily. Rarely are these offenses punished. Most often “an investigation” is claimed, but soon forgotten.

    

In addition, the USA, with 5% of the world population, has 25% of all of the prisoners in the world. That means the USA has the most people in prison of any nation in history. Even by percentage of residents incarcerated, not just sheer numbers. USA is # 1!

 Does any of that sound like a free country?

    As Dwight D. Eisenhower said about communism, “It’s like slicing sausage. First they out off a small slice. That isn’t worth fighting over. Then they take another small slice that isn’t worth fighting over. Then another and another. Finally, all you have left is the string and that isn’t worth fighting over, either.

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