Showdown with Iran

Kenneth R. Timmerman February 8, 2006

Saturday’s resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council for further action is not just a slap on the wrist, as skeptics of the United Nations might legitimately suspect.

On the contrary, it demonstrates a remarkable consensus among nations few would consider as U.S. allies that Iran’s nuclear weapons program poses a clear and present danger to the world at large.

Only three countries voted against the strongly worded resolution: Syria, Cuba and Venezuela. Consider them newly-minted allies with Iran in an axis of insanity. (And hold on to your wallet when Venezuela’s anti-gringo President Hugo Chavez, who exports 2 million barrels of oil daily, joins Iran in efforts to ratchet up the price of oil to chill our resolve.

Voting with the United States were not only Russia and China, whose agreement was essential to ratcheting up the press on Iran, but Egypt and Yemen and India. Getting these five to join us and the Europeans was a major accomplishment. It has required extraordinary diplomatic efforts — from an administration ridiculed by Democrats for its “unilateral” approach to world affairs.

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76 thoughts on “Showdown with Iran”

  1. Thanks Glen – that was excellent.

    While the Iraq war may fail the test, there are situations when Christians must go to war. If you have a chance to read “Lend Me Your Ears”. William Safire’s anthology of famous speeches and sermons throughout history, check out “The Cross and the Double-Cross”, a radio sermon delivered by Bishop Sheen on the eve of World War II.

    Sheen declares that the coming war is the inevitable result of Europe’s choice of the Double-Cross of the Swastika or the Hammer and Sickle, over the Cross of Christ. As in the Book of Revelations the rise of Anti-Christ like figures (Hitler, Stalin), who set themselves up as rivals to God for men’s loyalty, has prompted a world crisis. He compares the sacrifice of the soldier in war to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, saying that there are occasions when Christian values demand sacrifice, and that pacifism in the face of evil on such occasions is selfishness.

  2. Now I’m convinced that there are at least two different people named Dean Scourtes writing comments to this blog.

  3. Glen

    The problem with you analysis is the assumption that Iraq was a war of liberation for the Iraqi people.

    It wasn’t.

  4. JBL writes: “The problem with you analysis is the assumption that Iraq was a war of liberation for the Iraqi people. It wasn’t.”

    Yes, there were many reasons. I guess you can pick one or more reasons from the rather lengthy list of them:

    1) Saddam failed to keep his obligations to the U.N.
    2) WMD kept in violation of agreements
    3) to eliminate Saddam and thus end sanctions against Iraq
    4) defend the credibility of the United Nations
    5) possibility of WMD being used against Iraq’s neighbors
    6) oppression of Iraqi people
    7) protect Iraq’s oil fields which otherwise would fall into terrorist hands
    8) eliminate Iraqi support of terrorism
    9) bring democracy to the region
    10) to defeat evil
    11) as a lesson to other nations
    12) because we could (easy victory, welcomed with flowers and candy)
    13) to protect Israel
    14) finish the unfinished 1991 war
    15) our historical or divine destiny

    Are these the reasons you were thinking of, or are there others?

  5. Resolution Passed by Congress Listed Several Reasons for Iraq

    Jim, I am not sure what point you think you are making but the Iraq enabling resolution passed by Congress DID in fact list more tha one reason for invading Iraq.
    Why should having more than one reason discredit an action? As events transpires conflicts are frequently transformed in their scope and goal.

    You might want to check back with some facts. ABC is airing some Saddam tapes that clearly prove that he was hiding WMD from the hapless and useless U.N. inspectors that everybody thought should “finish doing their job” proving a negative.

  6. Augie – there’s no inconsistency. In 1941 we faced an unavoidable confrontation with a truly evil enemy that had to be destroyed if the world was to be saved. There is no doubt that Japan would have continued beyond Pearl Harbor and attacked our West Coast if we had not fought back in the Pacific. Letting Hitler finish off Britain and Russia would have left us isolated in the world without a single major ally, and an eventual Nazi target, as well.

    In 2003, on the other hand we launched an avoidable and unnecessary war against an evil dictator whose powers were waning and declining every day due to a successful strategy of economic sanctions, weapons inspections and military containment and deterrence. Iraq posed no threat to the United states, as CIA chief Tenet testified before Congress. No credible link between the Saddam Hussein regime and Al Qaeda has ever been established. The reports of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were based on nothing stronger than vague, unconfirmed speculation gathered from dubious and unreliable sources. To date, despite a vigorous search, none have ever been found.

  7. JBL writes: “Jim get beyond the propaganda.”

    It’s not propaganda. Both before and during the war all sorts of reasons for the war have been given. I mean, people have made charts showing who said what. There are actually about 20 different reasons that have been given at various times, although some of them are similar to each other.

    What we DO know, from various sources within the Bush administration, is that an invasion of Iraq was seriously and continuously discussed within the Bush administration from the very day they set foot in the White House, long before 9/11, and often to the surprise of the people present at those meetings.

    The problem I have with that is that we had just had an ELECTION, but Bush never gave a hint that invading Iraq was one of his major goals. In fact, he spoke against the idea of nation-building and the kinds of military operations that Clinton had been involved with. So I feel like people were intentionally deceived, because they were not informed during the campaign as to the actual goals of a Bush administration.

    We also know from multiple sources within the intelligence community (Paul Pillar is only the latest) that the administration was very interested in intelligence that could support a case for invasion, even to the point of creating their own intelligence bureau within the Defense Department.

    This was because how the war was sold was critical. As Glen as pointed out numerous times, Iraq did not pose a direct threat to us or to any other country. None of Iraq’s neighbors was clamoring for an invasion. In February 2001 Colin Powell even declared that Iraq had been effectively contained:

    “And frankly they [policies dealing with Iraq] have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.”

    And in May 2001:

    “The sanctions, as they are called, have succeeded over the last 10 years, not in deterring him from moving in that direction, but from actually being able to move in that direction. The Iraqi regime militarily remains fairly weak. It doesn’t have the capacity it had 10 or 12 years ago. It has been contained.”

    So there’s a problem: you want to invade Iraq, but it poses no imminent threat to the U.S., and is not even a conventional threat to it’s neighbors. You have to find a justification.

    Missourian: “Why should having more than one reason discredit an action?”

    The multiple reasons are a problem inasmuch as they originate from flawed information and failed policies. In other words, it is important to know WHY we are going to expend vast amounts of blood and money in an invasion of another country. It’s important that other countries know the reason too. The reasons that we put forth in support of an invasion constitute precedent for future invasions, both for us and for other countries.

    In other words, if we’re going to invade Iraq because we think they could be a threat at some future point, then why shouldn’t India invade Pakistan on the same grounds? And how would we oppose that? If we’re going to invade Iraq because Saddam was “evil,” how does that justification then operate given all the other evil rulers in the world? If we invade to “liberate the Iraqi people,” how does that work given all the oppressed people in the world.

    Note that in the invasion of Afghanistan we never had a proliferation of reasons. The reason was obvious.

    Missourian: “ABC is airing some Saddam tapes that clearly prove that he was hiding WMD from the hapless and useless U.N. inspectors that everybody thought should “finish doing their job” proving a negative.”

    If someone has information on that, great, bring it on. I have kind of a natural skepticism of things like this — sort of like people talking about UFOs, but then one never lands in a public place.

  8. Dean,
    There was no plan by the Japanese for any major operations on the West Coast. The Japanese planners realized that an invasion of Calif. they would be outnumbered anywhere to 3 to 1 up to 5 to 1 because of the number of private arms held by citizens at the time. So there was no invasion of the US planned. Keep in mind the Japanese did not invade Hawaii after Pearl Harbor, which could have been done easily and would have been necessary for any future planned invasion of North America.

    Also, they did not have the capability (ships, airplanes, and men) to launch a major assault like Pearl Harbor on the West Coast. Plus there was a fear of another attack by the US that the military was on high alert that any assault would have been detected early and success would have been a questionable.

    That’s why the only attacks they did do were submarines along the coast. (The most notable on a small Fort in Northern Calif.) The other was high altitude balloons with bombs and incendiaries launched from Japan that would drift across the Pacific. The goal was to create havoc by causing large wildfires in the West.

    I suggest reading Ronald Spector’s book “Eagle Against the Sun” it’s probably one of the best synopsis on the Pacific War.

  9. JBL –

    There were other reasons stated for the invasion of Iraq, but they just didn’t pan out in retrospect. The links to Al Queda weren’t there at a level that would constitute justification for an invasion. The stocks of WMD weren’t there. I know that people keep coming forward with ‘untranslated documents’ or the like to say that they are there, but the administration continues to state that the belief in WMD was based on an intelligence failure. If the Bush team doesn’t believe in their existance, then I am not going to either, despite Newsmax articles to the contrary. (On many issues I have nothing against Newsmax, but on this topic their wishful thinking has got the better of them.)

    Most Americans, especially conservatives, don’t give a fig for enforcing UN resolutions. In fact, most conservatives (like me) would just as soon send the whole UN to Brussells or the Hague or Geneva where it belongs. It’s taking up valuable real estate. The performance of his armies showed Americans that Saddam was not even a paper tiger. He was more like a paper mole rat. He couldn’t threaten Belgium in his condition, much less Turkey, Syria, Iran, or Israel.

    So the only thing that has stuck as a reason to do this was ‘spreading Democracy.’ That is the theme of the President’s second term. He mentions it in every speech that he gives. It is the one justification which lives on. We have to ‘combat evil,’ ‘spread Democracy,’ ‘export our way of life,’ and ‘re-engineer the Middle East.’

    As others have mentioned, these themes were already developed by the neo-cons back in the 90’s working with the Project for a New American Century. The plan was already there, and Iraq was already in the gunsights. What was needed was 9/11. To his credit, Bush ignored Wolfowitz and went to Afghanistan instead of Iraq.

    I was with Bush in a big, big way up through the invasion of Afghanistan. I was also with him when he pushed Saddam into having the inspections. When I parted company with him was when it became apparent that he was singing from the neo-conservative hymnal and angling for a war with Iraq and a subsiquent crusade to ‘change the Middle East.’ I couldn’t support that, and so I have been at odds with the administration since.

    As have a large number of conservatives and libertarians, who are normally on-board with the Republican Party. In any case, it is because of the on-going blitz by the administration outlining their future plans to bring more democracy (as an adjunct to the ongoing operation in Iraq) that keeps me focused on this issue.

    If they’d move on, so would I.

  10. JBL – We actually did fight the Japanese on the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska off Alaska. At the very least, the Japanese would have also attacked our West Coast Naval bases to destroy what remained of our Pacific fleet, as well as major industrial targets such as oil refineries, shipyards and munitions factories. The submarine missions you refer to were reconnosance for those types of operations.

    In the Atlantic, our Merchant Marine sustained heavy lossses to Nazi U-Boat attacks before and after December 7th 1941, so Americans were the victims of Nazi aggression in that respect as well.

    “Several ships were torpedoed within sight of East Coast cities such as New York and Boston; indeed, some civilians sat on beaches and watched battles between U.S. and German ships.

    Once convoys and air cover were introduced, sinking numbers were reduced and the U-boats shifted to attack shipping in the Gulf of Mexico, with 121 losses in June. In one instance, the tanker Virginia was torpedoed in the mouth of the Mississippi River by the German U-Boat U-507 on May 12, 1942, killing 26 crewmen. There were 14 survivors. Again, when defensive measures were introduced, ship sinkings decreased and U-boat sinkings increased.

    The cumulative effect of this campaign was severe; a quarter of all wartime sinkings – 3.1 million tons. It rates as the worst defeat by the United States Navy.

    Other sinkings took place in the St. Lawrence River.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attacks_on_United_States_territory_in_North_America_during_World_War_II

  11. Dean that’s why I recommended the Spector book. The Aleutian Island effort by the Japanese was an attempted diversionary action for their Midway campaign.
    American planners because of the occupation of the islands were motivated to build the Alaska highway. But the Japanese were never able to capitalize on the islands. There was never any great plan by the Japanese for a major attack against the West Coast on the scale of Pearl Harbor. After their defeat at Midway the Japanese never seriously had the capability to launch that assault. (And let’s be clear these islands are closer to Japan than they are to Seattle) The main reason the Japanese made any stand on the Aleutians was their fear that the US would use the Aleutians to leap frog to the Kurile Islands.

    I’m not sure why you brought up German submarine warfare? They were always a threat off the coast during World War II.

  12. Here is another example of the Bush administration ignoring high-level career government officials and pursuing it’s own more radical agenda to the detriment of our nation.

    Navy Counsel Issued Warning On Torture, February 20, 2006
    The Washington Post
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/19/AR2006021901002.html

    “The Navy’s general counsel warned Pentagon officials two years before the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that circumventing international agreements on torture and detainees’ treatment would invite abuse, according to a published report.

    Legal theories granting the president the right to authorize abuse despite the Geneva Conventions were unlawful, dangerous and erroneous, then-General Counsel Alberto J. Mora advised officials in a secret memo. The 22-page document was obtained by the New Yorker for an article in its Feb. 27 issue.

    ..The July 7, 2004, memo recounted Mora’s 2 1/2 -year effort to halt a policy that he feared would authorize cruelty toward terrorism suspects.

    It also indicates that some lawyers in the Justice and Defense departments objected to the legal course the administration undertook, according to the report.

    Mora said Navy intelligence officers reported in 2002 that military-intelligence interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were engaging in escalating levels of physical and psychological abuse rumored to have been authorized at a high level in Washington.

    “I was appalled by the whole thing,” Mora told the magazine. “It was clearly abusive and it was clearly contrary to everything we were ever taught about American values.”

    Mora said he thought his concerns were being addressed by a special group set up by the Pentagon. But he discovered in January 2003 that a Justice Department opinion had negated his arguments with what he described as “an extreme and virtually unlimited theory of the extent of the president’s commander in chief authority.”

    When the first pictures from the Iraqi prison Abu Ghraib appeared in the press in spring 2004, Mora said, he felt stunned and dismayed that what he had warned against had taken place, and in a different setting than Guantanamo Bay.”

  13. Dean, What is so special about “high-level government officials.”

    Democracy means rule by elected officials, NOT, high level bureaucrats. High level career government officials are not ordained with wisdom from on high. As usual the Left is populated by people who really deep in their hearts want to see the world ruled by the adn enlightened elite who will have the best interests of the infantilized, dependent population in their hearts.

    As I type this I am reeling from the UAE decision. I think this could be the battle of the decade. I can’t see the American people standing for this.

  14. Missourian writes: “Dean, What is so special about “high-level government officials.””

    Dean wrote “career officials.” So you mean, what is so special about people who have spent years in an organization developing expertise in a particiular field of knowledge. To me, that answer is obvious. Isn’t it to you?

    Missourian: “Democracy means rule by elected officials, NOT, high level bureaucrats.”

    I think in the Bush administration democracy means being able to ignore all contrary opinions and never having to say you made a mistake.

    Missourian: “High level career government officials are not ordained with wisdom from on high.”

    You seem willing to jettison virtually anything in order to defend the Bush administration. Now, the professional expertise of long-term employees can be dispensed with. Who needs that when you have Shrub. Environmental expertise? Military expertise? Legal expertise? Human rights expertise? That’s no longer necessary, because we have Shrub and his buddies.

    Missourian: “As usual the Left is populated by people who really deep in their hearts want to see the world ruled by the adn enlightened elite who will have the best interests of the infantilized, dependent population in their hearts.”

    There it is! The obligatory slam on “the left.” I was waiting for it. So in your view this whole “expertise” thing is really a kind of leftist conspiracy to undermine true democracy. The people in this case who oppose torture are elitist. This is in contrast to our Elected President, a man of humble origins — inherited wealth, Andover, Yale, Harvard, etc.

    Missourian: “As I type this I am reeling from the UAE decision.”

    Think not about it for another second. This is merely the Left trying to undermine the legitimate authority of our Elected President Who Loves Jesus and Opposes Gay Marriage and Abortion. The same man who led us into the War Against Evil in Iraq, who rightly favors torture and indefinite imprisonment even of innocent people, who doesn’t need the advice or expertise from leftist career officials (or anyone else for that matter) has now decided that putting major port operations in the hands of the UAE is a good idea. Of course the left will attack, but this is what we expect. All we can do is stand by our Elected President no matter what, because we know he is always right.

    By the way, since this is Orthodoxy Today, how about a religious question: what would Jesus think about torture and humiliation? Now some people say that Jesus would support attack dogs, stress positions, and sodomizing with broom sticks, but would draw the line at waterboarding. But I say the gospel clearly supports waterboarding too. What do you think?

  15. Jim, I give it a “10”

    Jim you touched on all your major themes. Very good. High passion at 9:00 a.m., very good. Therefore I have decided to aware you a perfect “10” for your last post.

    I have to admire your energy, I am not really moving at 9:00 a.m. I may have a solution to that however, I just found out that although Kona is a single bean coffee variety, it does not contain much caffeine. Sheesh!!! Slap Forward Here. Drinking cup after cup and finally the light dawns. Folgers tastes like dish rags but it delivers the caffeine directly to the frontal lobe where it is needed.

    As I said, this is a true Holman “10”, I will add it to my scrap book.

  16. Missourian: This isn’t so much about partisan politics as it is the arrogance and imperial ambitions of the Bush administration. Former General Counsel to the Navy, Alberto J. Mora joins a growing list of conservatives whose careers in government have been prematurely ended for clashing with the Bush agenda.

    In the New Yorker article, Mora is described as “a courtly and warm man, a cautious, cerebral conservative who admired President Reagan and served in both the first and the second Bush Administrations as a political appointee. He strongly supported the Administration’s war on terror, including the invasion of Iraq, and he revered the Navy.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060227fa_fact

    All of the events that transpired following Mora’s memorandum proved him correct. The Bush administration declaration that the war on terror “renders obsolete” the “strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners” required by the Geneva conventions which were ratified by the United States in 1955, indisputably resulted in serious damage to our nation.

    The new policy caused confusion among military personnel leading to the grave and embarrassing abuses which have discredited the United States overseas, weakened foreign leaders friendly to the United States and provided the strongest and most sensational fodder for anti-American propaganda.

    Elected officials should set the broad direction for public policy. However as this episode demostrates, the actual business of implementing policy is better handled by serious, experienced people who have made policy implementation their career, than it is by dangerously inexperienced political appointees whose ideological fervor makes them impervious to contradictory points of view.

    When the next Democrat is elected President, you may be repeating these words back to me since there will be a shortage of Democrats with actual foreign policy experience, their party having been out power for 8 years.

  17. A President is Chosen to Lead

    A President is Chosen to Lead. For better or worse, a President MUST LEAD. It is NOT POSSIBLE to lead the federal government and obtain complete agreement from all the 300,000 government bureaucrats. More than anything, today, in this tremendously dangerous world, we need leadership.

    Dean, an EXECUTIVE has the right to CHOOSE his team. Methinks that you have never worked in the private sector. In the public sector, there is no such thing as failure because the taxpayer always picks up the tab. In the public sector and in international relations there is real FAILURE.

    I quoted Will Durant about the fall of the Indian civilization at the hands of the Muslims. Indians had forgotten the basics and were not able to secure their borders or resist the growth of hostile populations inside their borders. Hindu civilization was nearly wiped off the map.

    We need leadership, not endless conferences. Lilfe and events moves too quickly for that.

  18. Port Scandal: An Action of Government Bureaucrats

    This is the end of the road for the Bush administration. There is reliable information that NEITHER the White House or Rumsfeld even KNEW about the port deal until AFTER it had been approved.

  19. We are all PROFILERS NOW

    Faced with the immense stupidity of allowing an Arab nation to have close contact with our vulnerable ports, nearly the entire American population is rising up in protest. Yes, we are all profilers now.

    We now have to fact the truth
    the attack on America is coming from the Muslim world,
    that it is an attack on our civilization, including free speech and free thought,
    that our enemies seek the reimposition of sharia law on lost Muslims lands
    like Spain and on the West in general
    that Muslims are more likely to be part of this attack than non-Muslim
    that non-Muslim have no good way to shift the violent from the non-violent
    that Islam is Sharia Law is Islam

    Please note that recent surveys in Britain have reported that as many as 40% of British Muslims would like Sharia law in the U.K. There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. There may be a non-violent Muslim but no one who honors the Koran as the law of God is moderate. The Koran is Sharia is Islam.
    Now Britain, the country that produced the first representative Parliament, has contained within it a population bent on wiping out its traditional institutions, including, first of all, freedom of speech. They have come close to succeeding.

    Lord help us all.

  20. Missourian writes: “I have to admire your energy, I am not really moving at 9:00 a.m.”

    Actually, that’s 6:00 a.m. my time. You know, it’s hard work undermining the foundations of civilization, so we liberals like to get an early start.

    By the way, I hear that the Bin Laden family got the contract to construct all future overseas U.S. military bases. (Just kidding. Sorry, had to twist the knife.)

  21. Allegiance is to Principles Not People

    Jim, you would be “twisting the knife” if my allegiance was to a person. My political allegiance is first to the Constitution, not to a party, not to a person.

    You may remember that I have criticized Bush on immigration very vigorously, and probably on other matters. Again, unlike people suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome, I am capable of praising Bush (Alito was a good choice) or criticizing Bush (port deal was bad.)

  22. Missourian writes: “Again, unlike people suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome, I am capable of praising Bush.”

    I also praised Bush for his performance immediately post-9/11, and I supported the invasion of Afghanistan 200 percent.

    For me the tragedy of this administration is that Bush had the potential to be a great president, maybe one of the greatest. The times were right, and the issues were there. But . . . I don’t know. He wasn’t up to it, or he listens to the wrong people.

    Concerning the liberals, one of your favorite topics: I know a lot of liberals, and they hated Nixon and Reagan. But all of them would PAY to have Nixon or Reagan back again.

  23. Beware Allegiance to Parties and People\

    My first allegiance is to my faith, my second allegiance is to the U.S. Constitution, my third allegiance is to a long-suffering husband who puts up with me for some inexplicable reason.

    Allegiances to parties and people are dangerous and nearly always lead you to compromise your principles.

  24. Missourian —

    third allegiance is to a long-suffering husband who puts up with me for some inexplicable reason.

    Either it’s love

    or as my wife and I tell each other: “You’re stuck with me because I’m too old and lazy to go through the dating process again.”

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