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The United States Government Should Not Remain Neutral During the Iranian Protests

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Corporations, in my view, have one basic obligation, and it is to those who invested money in them. That obligation, in most circumstances, is to make money for their investors — not to promote freedom and not to ensure the well being and comfort of corporate employees, except as doing so increases their earnings. It is for those who invested in the corporation to decide whether and how to use their own resources to support worthy causes. A business corporation has no mandate to diminish the gains of its investors by using what should be their money to support what its officers and directors consider to be worthy causes.

The United States Government is, in many respects, similar to a corporation. Her primary obligation is to her citizens, which she should meet by keeping them safe and otherwise generally staying out of their way. In most circumstances, the United States Government should offer support to, or oppose, other governments only when that benefits her own citizens. On this basis, if Country A attacks Country B, and there are no pesky treaty obligations standing in the way, the United States Government should normally intervene only when it appears to be in the best interests of United States citizens for her to do so; no matter that Country B may be a democratic, freedom loving country or that Country A may be a dictatorship lusting after the resources of Country B.

The problem here, as I see it, lies in the words "in most circumstances;" those words suggest that there may be cases in which the United States Government should seriously consider doing things not likely to promote the safety of her own citizens — directly or even indirectly. Such cases are probably uncommon. They may include providing relief to people in other countries suffering from natural disasters. They may include spending money to support literacy and medical efforts in other countries. Some would probably say that they include sending food to the people of North Korea, many of whom are starving, even though this may help North Korea to keep her armed forces well fed and better able to attack our ally South Korea. These things cost money and detract, pro tanto, from the ability of the United States Government to ensure the safety of her own citizens and otherwise to stay out of their way. Contrary to the apparent opinion of some, the United States Government's supplies of money and other resources are finite.

Most of those now protesting the Iranian election are not starving, nor are they the innocent victims of a natural disaster. Still, I think it the obligation of the United States Government to come to their aid in whatever way is within her means and is likely to assist them. There are times when even a country should strive to encourage those freedoms which she claims to hold dear — even if it costs money and even if a consequence may be to irritate an existing, already hostile, Government such as that of Iran.

It is claimed by some that, due to her horrible record in the past, the United States Government has no moral authority now to encourage freedoms elsewhere. I don't accept that basic thesis, but even accepting it for the sake of argument, it seems very unlikely that remaining indifferent to the situation of the Iranian protesters will help the United States Government to regain any moral authority; to the contrary, it will further erode what little she is said to have.

The United States Government is not a human being, and generally should not behave as though she were. A human being, seeing another human or a dog lying injured in the road should, I think, stop and render such assistance as he can. If a delay in getting to the grocery store or even worse results, so be it. "Good" people do that sort of thing. That human reaction is probably at the root of many of the cases in which the United States Government uses the resources of her citizens to assist those elsewhere in time of crisis.

I think that's what the United States Government should do in the present Iranian situation. Even if the United States has not done enough to support human freedom in the past, it is now high time for her to do so.

What can't and shouldn't the United States Government do? I have not heard any cries for her to send in troops, and think that to do so would be a very bad mistake. The imposition of further sanctions on the Iranian Government would not likely help, and would do far more harm to the Iranian citizens who are now opposing that Government than to the Government itself. At best, further sanctions would reiterate to the Iranian Government what she already knows — that other countries are unhappy with her actions. That has not worked well in the past, and seems unlikely to do so now.

The United States Government should and can come down firmly on the side of the Iranian protesters by stating, clearly and not in "diplospeak," that the protesters are right to oppose their Government's actions, and that their Government is wrong in violently repressing them. President Obama has done this to a minor extent, and he continues to do a bit more, a little at a time. However, he still needs to do more; with passion and not as though he had to. He should use the office of the Presidency to emphasize the recent news coverage of the Iranian Government's highly dubious election and of the violent repression of those protesting it, as well possibly as any independent intelligence gathered by the United States Government and (with their consent) by her allies; he should say that he, personally and as the President of the United States, agrees with the voices in the United States and elsewhere damning the Iranian Government's actions. He should say that the United States Government will provide all of the moral support it can, but will not send in troops or otherwise meddle in any physical sense. He should express the strong hope that those willing to give their blood and their lives succeed in overthrowing an illegitimate Iranian Government, and the belief that if they do not give up, they will succeed. He might even consider using a minor variation on his campaign phrase, "Yes You Can!"  He should extend the hand of the United States People to them, and promise that when they succeed, he will make it his priority to extend diplomatic recognition to their new Government and to provide whatever assistance it may request and which does not undermine United States treaty obligations. If, as I understand to be the case, the Iranian people seek and badly need such support, he should give it to them, unstintingly and without unnecessary reservations. Unlike a corporation looking only after its profits, or a government looking only after her own parochial interests, the United States Government should do all within its power to assist those Iranians who want voices in a legitimate  government of their own.

President Obama has said that having such voices is a universal human right.

Democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion — those are not simply principles of the West to be foisted on these countries, but rather what I believe to be universal principles that they can embrace and affirm as part of their national identity.

Now, President Obama has a very good chance to show that he meant what he said. He should do it before it's too late.

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About Dan Miller

  • http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Well said. I totally agree and to do less is not only hurting us, it’s hurting the Iranian people.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I have only one thing to add, Joanne. It eases the conservative’s conscience.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    The Government hasn’t been neutral. It’s not good to start an article with a flawed premise, but then you appear more focused on playing with the Bold button.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Atrocious habit. The editor should be shot.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    btw, it’s hysterical to see a conservative ask Obama “to provide whatever assistance [the new Iranian government] may request”. That side usually chastises Obama for all the assistance he tries to give the American people, which is sending the country towards bankruptcy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Isn’t there a proverb saying that it’s easier to be generous with a stranger than at home?

  • doug

    Haha. First you reveal in the comments that you don’t understand the region or the situation and now an entire article. Obama making claims he can’t back up will only make your nation look weaker. Do you not remember how you guys hung out the kurds? Why is it americans in general seem to know so little about world history?

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    The Congressional resolutions from last week certainly weren’t neutral.

  • STM

    This is not just Iran’s problem.

    This is a genuine, grass roots freedom movement against real tyrants masquering as friends of the people (makes the events that set off the American revolition look like a Sunday-school outing) … with no agenda other than to shake off the yoke of a sham government ruled by unelected clerics and a puppet president who does their bidding.

    The US must do whatever it can to help them succeed, and so should everyone else. Educated Iranians are rather a sophisticated people politically, and understand they are being shafted right now.

    The problem is, the movement has to spread out from Tehran and right across the country if it is to have any chance of success – and therein lies the problem.

    Once outside the bigger cities, the level of political sophistication goes back to: “That’s what it says in the Koran”.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dan(Miller),

    Did you ever consider that if you were to engage in a sword fight with a fellow who had an eye patch, a peg leg and a hook arm, it probably would not make you look too good? You’d likely be guilty of picking on the handicapped.

    (I know it has nothing to do with your article…but that corporation thing just gets to me…you know how people can just accept that. And I just happened to be thinking about pirates.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Roger, El Bicho and Doug — thank you for your insightful comments; they are exactly what I had expected. You may be right that we “conservatives” should just shut up and go away, having nothing useful to bring to the table. I shall consider the source and perhaps go crawl under a rock.

    I considered the source, and decided, Nah; it’s just too much fun.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Bliffle

    The article states “Corporations, in my view, have one basic obligation, and it is to those who invested money in them. That obligation, in most circumstances, is to make money for their investors –…”

    No obligation to obey the laws?

  • Bliffle

    The article states: “Most of those now protesting the Iranian election are not starving, nor are they the innocent victims of a natural disaster. Still, I think it the obligation of the United States Government to come to their aid in whatever way is within her means and is likely to assist them.”

    Would that include staying out of the fray in order to avoid the protesters being labeled as tools of the US, and thus undermine their authority?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Bliffle, yes — corporations, like the rest of us, should have to obey the laws. In my view, the laws which should have been enforced, such as the anti-trust laws, haven’t been, for a very long time. I would very much like to see vigorous anti-trust law enforcement. I have felt that way for more than four decades.

    I understand the danger of getting into the Iranian fray to the extent that we undermine the protesters by having them labeled as lackeys of the U.S. I should hope that the sorts of thing I suggest in the article, perhaps accomplished by the wise people in Washington, could minimize that. The little baby steps thus far taken in that direction by President Obama have already caused some squirming by the Iranian Theocracy, along with the suggestion which you indicate should be avoided. Other countries have gone further, and it does not seem to have undermined the Iranian protesters. In any event, I am less concerned about what the current Iranian Government will say or think than I am about what those legitimately opposing it will say or think.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #11

    The idea is not for conservatives to shut up, only to speak when speaking is meaningful. It’s easy to be defending the rights of those where granting those rights costs you nothing. It’s a different situation entirely when you’re speaking with a united voice against those at home who, for a variety of reasons, may be less fortunate than you. It’s the empty talk and hypocrisy that I object to. Be human beings on the domestic front, where possibly, just possibly, your own interests may stand to suffer somewhat as a result of compromise, and I’ll start believing that you’re high-minded when it comes to foreign affairs.

    Not before.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    What I find amusing about this whole situation is that I am now getting emails from the fools at moveon.org urging me to support the Iranian people and encourage Obama to intervene. These being the same hypocrites who for years supported Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs and railed at Bush for opposing them and kept up a constant barrage of fearmongering about Bush’s plans to invade Iran.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    How do you explain that? This is odd.

  • http://whalertly.blogspot.com Robert M. Barga

    Dan, have you read my newest post, if not, it covers this.

  • http://whalertly.blogspot.com Robert M. Barga

    now, what do you think will happen when the government takes an official stance? The moderates, who are the people we need to court, are not goign to be too happy with that

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re not going to sway Dan with your articles, Robert. He’s got an ax to grind and he’s grinding it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Robert,

    I don’t believe Dan is concerned here with the fallout or the relative utility of US making a stand. I believe he’s more concerned with making a personal statement. That’s what I find so ironic.

    There may be a secondary motive, that of strengthening America’s prestige in the world, but under the circumstances, a strong moral stance on the part of US, without our being able to back up our words with resolute and decisive action, wouldn’t do very much, I’m afraid, to strengthen our prestige. In short, it’s just the opposite of the optimal situation where we should speak softly but carry a big stick. We’re very far from being there.

    There’s a third underlying motive, no doubt: to provide the Iranians with a show of support. And with this I cannot argue. So if this happens to be the main point of the article, then I cannot disagree. But I do have reservations concerning the first two points alluded to earlier.

  • zingzing

    someone made the point that america’s stance on the current iranian gov’t is already obvious. obama doesn’t need to stick his unilateral nose in there. we aren’t going to (and shouldn’t) invade them, so what’s the damn point? he already stated that the difference between the two candidates is minimal, and that’s true. both were vetted by the ruling council as easily malleable, weak leaders, willing to spend a few years under the thumb of the religious leaders of iran. both would just follow orders.

    what’s happening in iran must happen organically, from within. letting this thing continue as it is, with the ruling council flailing about, arresting each other, arguing, showing their collective ass, losing credibility with the people and generally destroying themselves is the absolute best idea.

    we have no place in this, and any action we would take would only slow the progress by giving the leaders of iran a common enemy in the u.s.. right now, they are doing a better job at bringing democracy to iran than we ever could. (and obviously, iraq, we’re pretty bad at “spreading democracy.)

    remaining neutral, at least to the point of not making any serious blunders, is absolutely the smartest thing we can do. anything else is monumentally stupid if anyone wants to see democracy in iran.

    at least for now.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But we’re not neutral with respect to Iran, zing. We’re definitely against the mullahs and the Islamic regime; and the state of Iran is an undeclared enemy. So the position is more touchy than what meets the eye. US would like to see the regime topple over. Can it afford to aggravate the already strained relationship and make waves about undeniable human rights violations – that is the big question. And it’s all the more poignant in light of the US failure to do anything about stopping Iran’s nuclear development program, compounded no doubt by what Iran must view as US unwelcome presence in Iraq.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Only speaking for myself, nowhere in my comments did I tell you to either shut up or go away. I simply pointed out that your position on this matter was wrong.

    However, the demonstration of your poor reading comprehension would explain why you think the U.S. government is neutral. I’ll consider the source next time.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    It is claimed by some that, due to her horrible record in the past, the United States Government has no moral authority now to encourage freedoms elsewhere. I don’t accept that basic thesis,….

    That, Dan, is my precise argument.

    ….it seems very unlikely that remaining indifferent to the situation of the Iranian protesters will help the United States Government to regain any moral authority; to the contrary, it will further erode what little she is said to have.

    When the United States government stops trying to screw us over in Israel and bully us out of our own land (King David was born in Bethlehem long before any “poor Palestians” came along to steal the land; King Saul, his prededcessor, came from the mountains of Binyamin a few klicks south of me), when they undo the damage they have done us by forcing shit borders on us, by corrupting our politicians and institutions, then maybe, they can claim some moral authority.

    Until then, the United States government has less moral authority than a pile of horseshit near a fence. At least the horseshit comes by its stink honestly.

  • http://whalertly.blogspot.com Robert M. Barga

    @21
    the problem is, it acutally will harm the Iranians more than it helps them

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Ruvy,

    I agree that the United States Government is trying too hard to mold Israel to fits its own agenda. The demands it is making, evidently in the hope that forcing Israel to meet them will bring the blessings of peace to the region, are not only misguided, they are an unwholesome intrusion on the right of the Israelis to control their country’s destiny. I think I have made my position reasonably clear elsewhere. In a clumsy way, the United States Government appears to have taken sides with the Palestinians and their supporters. I think that is the wrong side to favor.

    A U.S. State Department spokesman told reporters on Monday that opposition to building for Jews in Judea and Samaria includes established Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, where thousands of housing units are under construction.

    Properly, in my view, Israel seems to be pursuing her own interests rather than those of the United States Government. It seems that most Israelis agree that the Israeli Government should resist U.S. pressures, and Israel does not appear to be using the sort of repressive tactics against her own people that the Iranian Government is using against its people. Nor, for that matter, does Israel appear to be using Iranian style tactics even against the Palestinians who have daily bombed Israel and sent suicide bombers — some of them young children — to attack her.

    The Governmental actions I advocate in the present article do have at least some relationship to what the United States is doing vis a vis Israel: I would like to see the United States Government take sides with the Iranian protesters by encouraging them to keep up the pressure and by announcing that it is the policy of the United States to support those in Iran who are being persecuted for seeking some modicum of democracy. President Obama has not yet done that. He has, properly if belatedly, chastised the Iranian Government for its brutal repressions, but that is not the same as taking sides with the protesters. Rather a squishy sort of neutrality, it is neutrality nonetheless.

    Some contend that mere words ring hollow, and that the United States Government should not utter them unless it is prepared to back them up with — something. I disagree. Beyond words there is now very little other than force, probably military. If I thought that the use of force would work in the present context, if the United States Government were not heavily engaged militarily elsewhere, and if it did not seem likely that it may soon be heavily engaged should the North Koreans venture south, I might in some circumstances advocate it. However, that would appear to be, and might well actually be, an effort by the United States Government to take over the country of Iran. I do not think that the Government of the United States should do that, and I do not think that the protesters would like or be encouraged by it. Far from threatening to back up its words with force, I think the United States Government should expressly disavow any such intention while holding out a promise of diplomatic and other support should they succeed.

    There are lots of very repressive governments, of which Venezuela is one of the most notable and vocal. However, the time does not appear ripe to take sides strongly with those who oppose the increasing repression in Venezuela. Should there be protests in Venezuela comparable to those now in Iran, that might be the time to take sides, strongly, with the protesters and against the Venezuelan Government, along the lines I think proper in Iran. Now is not the time.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    Do you think we might remember if a foreign power had engineered a coup in America less than sixty years ago?

    That’s what we did in Iran, when we engineered a coup against a democratically-elected government and installed the more American-friendly Shah.

    Yes, we’d remember – and I assure you the Iranians remember, and any time we interfere even with only words, the people there will remember what we did.

    All our interference, no matter how well-intentioned, only strengthens those who are against America.

    It’s said that people follow a bully because they have to, but people follow a leader because they WANT to. The more we act with constraint, with diplomatic respect for other nations, even when we have the capability to force our will upon those nations unless we have no choice otherwise, the more we are respected by the people of the world in general.

    One measure of a man is not only in how he uses power, but in how he knows when NOT to use his power.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dan(Miller),

    I had been eagerly awaiting your answer to Irene’s comment on this thread. But, you may have missed her question. I think it’s relevant.

    #59-Irene Wagner Jun 22, 2009 at 9:16 am:

    “Now I’d be interested in hearing what Dan (Miller) has to say about US funding of Jundullah. How would a verbal show of support for the Iranian people by President Obama (who has not made arrangements to discontinue the support authorized by former President GW Bush) be consistent?”

    Here is the article Irene posted in comment 29 on page two. She verified some information in comment 33 on page two, as well.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Glen, back during the Revolutionary War, France was one of the few countries to provide overt support to the colonies. Although France tends to be rather mercurial, I have a sense that her support then is still appreciated even now.

    The United States has made some real blunders, some well intentioned and some probably not. I have no wish for her to blunder now. I recognize that what the United States Government should and should not do present delicate questions. These clearly involve the U.S. efforts diplomatically to dissuade Iran from using nuclear weapons and supporting terrorism in Israel and elsewhere. If I thought that remaining sorta kinda maybe neutral, as President Obama has thus far done, would materially assist the peace process, I might agree with his approach. I don’t think it will help, and am concerned that it will probably be counterproductive. I do think that Iran, under a new and probably more democratic government, is more likely to be amenable to peace. I find it difficult to imagine that the Iranians now protesting their government’s repressions would be enthusiastic about going to war because the ruling theocracy says to; they have nothing to gain and much to lose. If a new Iranian Government, chosen in a reasonably free election, turns out to be no better than the current government, that will be very unfortunate. However, the recent use of modern communications technology by the protesters, and the draconian but less than completely successful efforts of the Iranian Government to make them stop, suggests that the nascent openness of Iranian society will be increasingly difficult to repress; the genie is out of the bottle and probably can’t be stuffed back in.

    Be that as it may, as between the current theocratic Government waging a perhaps nuclear war, and a more democratic and less theocratic Government doing so, I still think that a new government, more responsive to the Iranian people than to her clerics, would be better.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Be that as it may, as between the current theocratic Government waging a perhaps nuclear war, and a more democratic and less theocratic Government doing so, I still think that a new government, more responsive to the Iranian people than to her clerics, would be better.”

    I don’t believe there has ever been any disagreement about that.

  • zingzing

    roger: “But we’re not neutral with respect to Iran, zing.”

    i know. that’s the point. everyone knows where we stand, so we don’t need our president to shout empty words at them. our government’s point of view is unwelcome all over the middle east. we should stand back and watch, at least as long as things are going the way they are.

    unfortunately, that means the deaths of protesters. who knows how bad it really is… people shouldn’t have to die for this, but if that’s what it takes to get the people angry enough to take down their government… ugh.

    anyway, the main point of my argument, as stated above, is “any action we would take would only slow the progress by giving the leaders of iran a common enemy in the u.s.. right now, they are doing a better job at bringing democracy to iran than we ever could.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy, I have no personal knowledge about the activities of Jundallah, and it is possible that every group in and around Iran with the exception of the Iranian Government is composed entirely of wicked religious fanatics whose intentions are very destructive and very despicable. It is also possible that the claims of the Iranian Government and of Press TV about Jundallah are completely accurate; perhaps the fact that Press TV characterizes itself as “the first Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English on a round-the-clock basis” suggests no valid reason to disregard any of its claims. It is also possible that all claims made by the North Korean Government are equally factual, and that all contrary claims are intentionally fallacious. Ditto the claims of the Venezuelan Government. Perhaps the United States, in concert with the Bohemian Grove organization, is now continuing the long sought domination of the entire world. Perhaps President Obama is complicit in these nefarious activities because he really is a somewhat secular Muslim. Somehow, I doubt these things.

    However, even assuming that Jundallah has long been targeting the Iranian Government with U.S. support and blessings, I fail to see any reason to conclude that the people in Iran now protesting what happened during the recent election are under the control of Jundallah, the United States Government or, for that matter, organizers of the United States tea parties. And that, to me, is the important thing. Should you have credible and verifiable information to suggest such control, I hope that you will share it with us all. In the meantime, I have seen too much violent repression of the protesters in Iran to find anything really nice to say about the current Iranian Government.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I entirely agree, zing, and I stated as much in my comments.

    My suspicion is that one reason why the conservatives keep on harping on this issue is in order to come across as “being strong on moral values” whereas the truth of matter is that they are impoverished; or alternatively, in order to ease their conscience.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    To hell with Congress and their message to Iran. Barack Obama is right to remain as neutral as possible. While there are possible human rights violations, the bottom line is that it is up to the people of Iran to chart their own destiny.

    Our government will serve us best by being cautious. We’ve spent too much time interfering in the affairs of other countries. We have mor eimportant things to worry about, i.e. health care, campaign finance reform and the expulsion of every Far Right member of Republican Party. The way I see it the current regime in Iran and people like Mark Sanford, Mitt Romney and John Ensign have more in common with each other than they do with the rank and file citizenry of both countries.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Roger, while I appreciate your splendid efforts to analyze the motives of all “conservatives,” after dumping all of us in the same morally impoverished kettle, I hope there will be no charge for your services. I don’t think my medical insurance company pays for psychiatric help; perhaps it should.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    To hell with Congress and their message to Iran. Barack Obama is right to remain as neutral as possible. While there are possible human rights violations, the bottom line is that it is up to the people of Iran to chart their own destiny.

    Our government will serve us best by being cautious. We’ve spent too much time interfering in the affairs of other countries. We have mor eimportant things to worry about, i.e. health care, campaign finance reform and the expulsion of every Far Right member of Republican Party. The way I see it the current regime in Iran and people like Mark Sanford, Mitt Romney and John Ensign have more in common with each other than they do with the rank and file citizenry of both countries.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    For those who continue to be so keen on the benefits of US intervention, just another little tidbit from a war that has no end.

    How long has it been now – eight years and counting? We’re sure good at helping those we consider our friends. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

  • zingzing

    well, dan, when are conservatives going to learn to leave the middle east alone? i read your article, but i’m still flabbergasted that you would want to stick your nose in that mess AGAIN. isn’t iraq enough? isn’t afghanistan enough? isn’t israel vs. palestine (“the never-ending story”) enough? we should not be fucking with them, especially when things are going our way without unnecessary tomfoolery.

    besides, we have other problems.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No charge, Dan. It’s just how I see it when folks like yourself are becoming so gung-hoe and take the high ground, especially when it’s done so as part of critiquing the party in power. Yes, it’s circumstantial but suspect nonetheless.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    I have been informed that this travesty was initiated by the U.S. Government, with the help of some Bush holdovers still lurking at the CIA. As soon as I have verified my sources, I shall probably write about it, obviously from a “conservative” perspective.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But zing. It should be obvious what Dan and cohorts would want to stick their nose in the Middle East. Don’t forget that we’re into nation-building. That’s why none had any problem with unlawful invasion of Iraq and still support that venture with all their heart and soul. It’s the American way to spread freedom and democracy worldwide, fuck the domestic front.

    And so, they’ll fight you on universal healthcare tooth and nail while with the same forked tongue espouse the values of liberty in foreign lands – because it’ll cost them nothing to sound so high-minded and noble.

    Again, talk is cheap.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dan(Miller),

    If I may recommend a rejoinder on par, do you know the one that goes, “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Everything you say to me bounces off me and sticks to you.”?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Concerning Mark Sanford, that paragon of the Republican virtue, shedding crocodile tears.

  • zingzing

    ahh, fuck it, conservative or liberal, the us just beat world #1 spain 2-0 to move onto the final. what a day to be american.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    The whole thing is a joke, Roger. Personally, I’m glad that Mark Sanford even had a sex drive. I want our leaders to have an aura of pheromones. It makes them human.

    I really wish that the closet Republicans would come out of the woodwork. The Party of Lincoln has been stolen by a Far Right group who are no different in thought processes and tactics than the so-called enlightened council of Mullahs in Iran. And, the ONLY difference between the Taliban and the Far Right is that the Taliban are not driven by greed.

    Obama should stay the course. And the main stream media needs to start reporting facts instead of adding drama to Obama’s statements yesterday. Everything Obama has said with regard to Iran in the last two weeks has been a consistent, steady message. Unfortunately, steady and sure don’t sell commercials on cable news. Mark Sanford had an affair with a married woman from Argentina with two kids. Big deal. News reporters are supposed to be JOURNALISTS, not writers for the Lifetime Network.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Did you see the match?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    My beef with Sanford is not over sex but his racist remarks. I’m still curious though about your take on the Republican party being financed by the Religious Right. If that’s the case and if that’s what drives the present ideology, how do you envisage the breaking of the pattern?

    Polarization is a natural phenomenon in these times. If the Reps move away from their power base, what else have they got?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    The stories about Governor Mark Sanford are inaccurate. In reality, he was in Argentina covertly helping the Jundallah to organize violent protests against the Argentinian Government, in preparation for an armed U.S. invasion of the country. Meetings, previously scheduled with the Jundallah along the Appalachian Trail, had to be abandoned because the CIA had discovered the plot and expressed concern that the news might be leaked to the New York Times. Governor Sanford had to make arrangements with the Jundallah because John Edwards failed in his secret mission last year. The mistress angle is just a transparent cover up; I wouldn’t be surprised if former Vice President Cheney put Sanford to it. That’s the sort of devious thing all Republican “conservatives” do, don’t ya know.

    Please do not pass this news along; it might mean the failure of Sanford’s mission, and make it necessary for former President Clinton to try.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    US citizens’ taxes are funding murder worldwide. It take 36 hours of pressure from Twitter users to get CNN to cover Iran … yet Sanford’s affair story got instant coverage everywhere.

  • zingzing

    roger–yep. spain probably deserved to win, but as soon as they got into america’s box, it became lemming ball with 9 or 10 us defenders crowding around. the us scored on their only 2 on-goal shots. so there was some luck involved. still, a win is a win is a win. especially against the #1 team in the world. huzzah!

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Roger, I honestly believe that there is a tide of young Republicans ready to start the GOP revolution. Somehow we lost sight of the fact that gay marriage, environmental protection,quality education and business regulation are decidedly conservative values.

    If enough Center-Right people get involved, the GOP could be a different party after next year’s convention. Jindal, Palin, Sanford, Ensign… well, all of today’s GOP “leaders” have got to go, period. Michael Steele will be out in 2010 and there will be a fight for control of the party. We need more Republicans in the mold of Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon and Everett Dirksen to step up and take back what was ours to begin with. Let all the Far Righters moved to Utah and go to the Tabernacle with their Savior, Mitt Romney. I’m sure there’s some MidEast country they would like to claim as their own.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But Sanford, according to Dan Miller, was involved in the Jundallah affair (#49), not to mention the urinating monkey business (#41).

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Urinating monkey business? Every time a member of Congress takes a contribution from some corporate political action committee, we get urinated upon.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, a change of the guard and the New Turks is not a new idea, and so it stands to reason that things may well be brewing.

    Perhaps Nalle should be enlisted in the common cause, don’t you think?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Check it out – #41. It’s Miller’s next topic. He feels it’s one thing he can write competently about, and with a degree of credibility unparalleled.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing,

    there’s no such thing as “deserving to win” in soccer, and not with 2:0. You’re either brilliant against all odds, or just have an off-day. So they had an off-day.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Roger, I am not aware of any credible evidence to support your specious accusation that Governor Sanford has been implicated in the monkey business noted in my Comment #41; I did not suggest that he had been. You must be letting your imagination go wild.

    On the other hand, well, . . . . who knows? Maybe Rush Coulter Beck enlisted him; and, of course, Zambia is not all that far from either Iran or Argentina.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yes, I did let my imagination run wild. Just thought it would be fun to connect the dots, between #49 and #41, that is.

  • http://whalertly.blogspot.com Robert M. Barga

    Dan, you still are not explaining why you think that the moderates will enjoy US support of the liberals

  • http://whalertly.blogspot.com Robert M. Barga

    @42
    pet peeve of mine
    iraq was not unlawful, Bush had permission from Congress (granted, the WPA is pretty unconstitutional, so he didnt even need permission)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    well, it was engineered under false pretenses – and that’s unlawful in my book.

  • pablo

    I just love the political naivete of so many of the writers and commenters on this site. Case in point, Mir-Hossein Mousavi was the butcher of Beirut. Here is your great hero of this so called CIA revolution folks. Wake up and smell the napalm folks.

    Mousavi, Celebrated in Iranian Protests, Was the Butcher of Beirut

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    That just proves the point that we need to stay out of the internal political affairs of Iran, Pablo.

  • Clavos

    zing are you talking about some sort of sporting event?

    And the Spanish are #1 in it?

    Must be bullfighting.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    #50 Cindy. Quite an astute observation, Cindy. The problem is that our media is driven by ratings and commercial revenue. They’ve lost sight of what their role is in American society. Every day we hear of a newspaper folding. If the Boston Globe dies in this market, we’re left with the Boston Herald. And, trust me, the Herald makes the NY Post and Daily News Pulitzer prize winners. A great measure of how we have devolved is USA Today. That’s us in a nutshell.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    USA Today – a magazine, really. Reducing a newspaper service to a TV format. For the illiterate.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy is astute in almost every area except when it comes to the subject of anarchism. That’s her idée fixe.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Roger,

    I’m wondering do you have trouble finding hats big enough to fit?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I abhor hats of all sorts. Never wore one. They cut off the circulation.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Cindy, is that a double entendre? Some men tend to buy hats that are much too big and consequently they reproduce.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Roger,

    An interesting observation of mine is that you dismissed anarchism when you clearly had no idea what it was. (I’m pretty sure you really don’t understand yet.)

    What does such dismissal suggest? I mean on what basis does one dismiss something one does not even comprehend?

    btw, how astute do you think Mark is? Have you any idea yet (it’s been more than 6 months) whether he is a Marxist or what he actually believes?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t believe in those either.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Mark is Mark, and with Mark I have a discussion – ongoing one and to be continued.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Silas needs to duck. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Okay, that’s fair, Roger. He’s a lover, not a fighter. I’m not sure I could imagine anyone who couldn’t get along with Mark. But, the question is not do you discuss things, but do you know what his beliefs are? I mean after 6 months of discussing things with him.

    (avoiding the question?)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    We’re both working on one another, one step at a time. At this point, it’s still foreplay. We haven’t gotten yet to the sex part.

  • http://whalertly.blogspot.com Robert M. Barga

    @62

    i knew that it was false at the time, i think most of congress is smarter than myself

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    they may be smarter, but they’re also more corrupt (is it because they’re smarter?)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Reverting, if ever so briefly and unnecessarily, to the situation in Iran — all seems to be getting back to normal. The protests are being squashed like an annoying fly. The foolish Iranians who died, were arrested or tortured for acting upon their absurd fantasies that they might be able to take some measure of control over their miserable lives are only a pitiful reminder of their naive protests. Not important, really. The news cycle has passed and the whole thing will probably have been forgotten before the day early next month when we celebrate U.S. independence. Now, President Obama can continue to preach piously but without consequence about the universal nature of human rights in the abstract, and get on with the heroic business of bleeding the U.S. treasury dry.

    What a great abstract victory for the human spirit! It makes one proud.

    Earth, receive an honoured guest:
    William Yeats is laid to rest.
    Let the Irish vessel lie
    Emptied of its poetry.
    In the nightmare of the dark
    All the dogs of Europe bark,
    And the living nations wait,
    Each sequestered in its hate;

    Intellectual disgrace
    Stares from every human face,
    And the seas of pity lie
    Locked and frozen in each eye.

    Follow, poet, follow right
    To the bottom of the night,
    With your unconstraining voice
    Still persuade us to rejoice;

    With the farming of a verse
    Make a vineyard of the curse,
    Sing of human unsuccess
    In a rapture of distress;

    In the deserts of the heart
    Let the healing fountain start,
    In the prison of his days
    Teach the free man how to praise.

    It’s just some old poetry, written some seventy years ago; nothing to do with the glories of today.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Cindy, I duck, therefore I am. Insofar as Iran, I understand all sides in the debate here in our country. But let us not lose sight of the fact that this Iranian Revolution has been in progress for over a generation. They have come to the proverbial crossroads and now it is for them to decide the direction of their country. We can be supportive. We can provide encouragement for free speech and elections. But we must do no more. The President is quite right in a deliberate avoidance of our injection into the Iranian political debate. Without us to focus upon, the Iranians are now left to look at themselves and place the blame where it squarely belongs.

  • pablo

    64

    I couldn’t agree more Silas, try telling that to the CIA.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, what I’m curious about is why do you think the results would have been any different from what they are?

  • zingzing

    clavos: “zing are you talking about some sort of sporting event?”

    fifa confederations cup. it’s a warm-up for the world cup.

    “And the Spanish are #1 in it?”

    yep. probably not anymore, however.

    “Must be bullfighting.”

    nope.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To avoid general confusion, #83 was directed at #80.

    But isn’t it true, Pablo, that the CIA program initiated by Bush is still fully operational under Obama? Hope and Change.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What we must never lose sight of, though, is that our nation-builder proponents are supportive of CIA’s clandestine and subversive operations so long as forging democracies is the goal – because the ends always justify the means.

    And so it was with the Shah-instituted regime, prior to the Iranian Revolution, when democracy was the order of the day, enforced by the way by Shah’s secret police.

    Speaking of good old times, when America and Iran were bosom buddies.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #77 wasn’t meant as a scorpion sting, only a statement of fact.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Roger, I believe that before we start injecting our so-called “values” on other countries it is time we take a cold, hard look at ourselves as a nation. Iran and the remainder of the MidEast are at a crossroads — as are we. Obama has brought us to that Apocalyptic fork in the road. We can no longer straddle the divide. We must make a conscious choice as to the course we take. What we decide in the next two years will have an impact on the world for the next century. We do well to tread with caution but with solemn reserve that we will not return to the practices of those who came before us. Our decisions as a nation will define our destiny. Now is the time for those who hear the call to come forward and help in forging a new bridge illuminated in hope for a new prosperity and quality of life.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Very well said, Silas. It’s a good enough speech to be delivered by Obama. I’m not kidding.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Reverting, if ever so briefly and unnecessarily, to the situation in Iran — all seems to be getting back to normal. The protests are being squashed like an annoying fly. The foolish Iranians who died, were arrested or tortured for acting upon their absurd fantasies that they might be able to take some measure of control over their miserable lives are only a pitiful reminder of their naive protests.

    And the nuclear Sword of Justice once again hangs over the Persians’ heads.

    Persia delenda est!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Apropos Persia, the following is worth seeing:

    One Night with the King”.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Thank you, Roger. Your complement is taken gratefully.

  • pablo

    85 Roger,

    Since I am not currently employed by the Agency, I can only surmise that Obama is continuing to covertly throw Iran into chaos. As usual he was out in public lying once again, this time about not using the CIA in that capacity. Soon Obama’s lies will outdo even his illustrious predecessor.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    #77 I take it that means, you’ve been conversing for six months, but the answer to my question is–you haven’t a clue.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    81- Silas

    I am all for imperialists minding their own business. They never have found the people’s interests very interesting.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That was a fair answer, Pablo.

    #94: It’s between me and Mark (also note #87).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    80- Dan(Miller),

    I would quote Dr.Suess’ Butter Battle Book here. But, my copy is packed.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    #96 I see – you don’t know.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Food for thought.
    Perhaps it is about

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #98,

    What you fail to realize is that Mark and I thread softly, just as we ought to, because we respect one another as persons and intellects.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Who needs Obama when you’ve got Regime Change?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Providing the missing link to #99:

    It may well be all about women.

    Never mind the CIA or “the Butcher of Beirut.”

  • Clavos

    Mark and I thread softly, just as we ought to, because we respect one another as persons and intellects.

    tread

    but here, you’re still just pixels

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Terrible misspelling (thanks)

    Yes – self-respecting ones and courteous to a fault.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Great article at 102 about Iranian women in the uprising. Iranian women in have been, in past peaceful protests been beaten, arrested, and charged with threatening state security for peacefully protesting for women’s rights.

    Roger, you’re joking right? Oh well. I guess you are so full of respect for yourself, you forgot to ever pay attention to what your discussion partner thinks. lol

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m beginning to have a different feel for what”s going on over there, in spite of whatever US intervention or the opposition party that “lost” the elections. If it’s the women who are protesting, I can well understand that, especially in light of the demographics. They’ve been under the thumb for so long, they’re educated, and they’re simply tired of it.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I mean, I’d almost think you’d have like a mystical insight, you know, being practically twins and all. :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That is a silly remark. A respect for myself in the sense outlined – it’s a most ridiculous kind of sentiment a person could have. I know the quality of my thinking, and that’s all. But “a respect for myself”?

    I don’t even understand it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t operate on insight – though it’s a resource for further thinking. To the contrary, I’m trying to work things out. Problem is – you’re a scorpio woman and I am a quintesential scorpio. No mystique there – just going for the jugular – which is why it doesn’t work. I need an element of seduction as part of the chemistry and your sign just doesn’t work. The chemistry isn’t there.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    ??? Where did that come from?

    Anyway. That is a great video in 101. Very powerful. I like it a lot!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t know, but I like it too. Notice the little dialog lines running all the way through. Really neat.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Yes, a wonderful message. You seem to have inadvertently stumbled upon some folks who didn’t sign the social contract. ;-)

  • http://www.welive2care.com call center worker

    The economy is in trouble so US should focus in business and stop for a while in mingling with other nation’s politics.

    If there is someone who will decide in the future of Iran it should be the majority of population and not foreigner. They should unite themselves

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No, they have, but they want to change it. Regime change is part of the deal. Break the old contract, start a new one.

    But it only shows how thick and crude you are when you harping on a metaphor. Get a real horse.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan #30 –

    Sorry it took so long to reply – I’ve been busy on another topic.

    We cannot follow France’s example in the Revolutionary war, because the religious, racial, and cultural gaps between America and Iran are far greater in every respect.

    I think the right wing’s biggest misunderstanding of the art of diplomacy is that if America doesn’t overtly spread the gospel of democracy around the planet, then we’re failing our duty as the last, best hope for freedom.

    But they’re forgetting something – people are people are people…and people in those other countries are JUST as patriotic – even rabidly patriotic – as we are.

    It sorta reminds me of the quote (I think it was) in ‘Apocalypse Now’ “Inside every Vietnamese is an American yearning to breathe free”. That’s only a poor paraphrase of the quote, but it serves the purpose, because it seems that many on the right seem to think that the only real and legitimate patriotism on earth is American patriotism…and I’m sure you’ve read how Bush et al believed we’d be greeted as liberators. They were partially right in the beginning, but time soon proved them almost wholly wrong.

    The wiser path, then, is not only to honestly respect and encourage the national patriotism of the people of other countries, but also to show them that we don’t need to throw our weight around by making diplomatic statements that would give the dictators the opportunity to twist the patriotism of the people to their own ends.

    Always bear in mind this quote by Hermann Goering:


    “Why of course the people don’t want war…Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    That is a true statement, and the same thing has been done countless times. Think back how those against the Iraq war were castigated as being ‘unpatriotic’ and even ‘traitors’.

    If we go making bombastic statements as the right wing wants, then we would enable Iran’s government to follow Goering’s guidance – indeed, they’re already trying to do just that.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Glen,

    I understand the difficulties you address in comment #115, and agree that the United States Government should do nothing likely to thwart the hope of the many Iranians seeking something approaching a democratic government. I would prefer to see a freely elected democratic government there, even one which daily vituperates the United States, than a theocracy which daily praises the United States while violently repressing its own people.

    The question, I think, is how best to support the Iranian protesters. Castigating the Iranian Government, as President Obama increasingly did during the protests, was good. Unfortunately, he did not go far enough and seems not to have been very effective. The protests lasted only a few days, and were squashed, mercilessly; it now appears that the Iranian people will be even more repressed than before, for the foreseeable future. Jews in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943, with no external support except from the Polish Resistance, and little in the way of arms, managed to withstand German military might for almost a month. They were, of course, defeated and trucked off to concentration camps, where “arbeit macht frei,” to participate in the final solution. Will something similar happen in Iran? Years from now, will hundreds of unmarked graves be found? Thousands? I don’t know.

    What more could/should President Obama have done? With no more “bombast” and perhaps even less, he might well have said that the United States — its people and the Government for which he speaks– despise tyrannical regimes and support the struggles of those who oppose them; that she despises them even if it is not in her best short term interest to do so. I recognize that this would be a new departure. That does not mean that it would be a bad thing to say, to mean and actually to act upon. President Obama might have expressed his hope, and that of the people of the United States, that the Iranian protesters not give up. He might have encouraged them to continue their protests, and he might have expressed willingness to respond to their pleas for help — funds, technology, and just about anything else they deem useful short of armed intervention. I think that we agree that military intervention would have been a dumb course of action, and I have heard nothing of Iranian requests, or demands from the people of the United States, that it even be considered.

    The United States Government must have eyes, ears and even hands in Iran and in the rest of the region. If not, it is grossly negligent or worse. Obviously, President Obama could not talk about those things publicly. He could, however, enlist those resources in the aid of whatever protesters remain. He could also take seriously his prior announcements that human freedom is a universal right which the United States Government, solidly backed by the people of the United States, will henceforth support. If this entails pissing off some quasi allies, such as Saudi Arabia, China et al, so be it. Sadly, in my view, his words about human freedoms ring hollow in light of the Iranian situation, the recent restoration of full diplomatic relations with Venezuela, and apparent timidity toward highly repressive countries such as North Korea.

    I had hoped for, but didn’t expect, significant change for the better in these areas when President Obama was elected. I am concerned that despite his “apology tours” and good words, there will be none for the better. I very much hope that I am wrong.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yep, you should have hoped for significant change for the better with the inarticulate Bush in the White House for eight years. Who wouldn’t?

    Now, that was an example par excellence in nation-building, the spectacle still unfolding before our very eyes, bombs exploding daily.

    If US support for the dissenters in Iran might result in anything even approximating the havoc we’ve helped raised in the Middle East, the Iranian people should thank their lucky stars – or whatever gods they’re praying to – that the present administration kept its nose out of their affairs.

    But here’s goes our Dan again, a first-rate shit disturber, riding in on his white horse(or is it a scroungy pony), trying to foment more disturbance and civil unrest as if we hadn’t enough. A real Yankee Doodle is he.

    Keep on riding, fearless warrior.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Somewhat in support of Dan Miller’s thesis.

    A reasonable argument for a revolution from within.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Charles Krauthammer can’t see past his own nose.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Somebody woke up from their dogmatic slumber.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dedicated to Chuck K.

    Really don’t mind if you sit this one out
    My words but a whisper, your deafness D a shout
    I may make you feel but I can’t make you think
    Your sperm’s in the gutter, your love’s in the sink
    So you ride yourselves over the fields
    And you make all your animal deals
    And your wise men don’t know how it feels
    To be Thick as a Brick

    And the sand castle virtues are all swept away
    In the tidal destruction, the moral melee
    The elastic retreat rings the close of play
    As the last wave uncovers the newfangled way
    But your new shoes are worn at the heels
    And your suntan does rapidly peel
    And your wise men don’t know how it feels
    To be Thick as a Brick

    And the love that I feel is so far away
    I’m a bad dream that I just had today
    And you shake your head
    And say that it’s a shame

    Spin me back down the years and the days of my youth
    Draw the lace and black curtains and shut out the whole truth
    Spin me down the long ages, let them sing the song

    See there, a son is born, and we pronounce him fit to fight
    There are blackheads on his shoulders, and there he pees himself in the night
    We’ll make a man of him, put him to trade
    Teach him to play Monopoly, not to sing in the rain

  • Bliffle

    IMO we should do something to increase pressure on the Iranian leadership, but, unfortunately, we don’t have much room left for sanctions. Previous administrations have already instituted so many sanctions that we don’t have many plays left.

    This is the consequence of many historical policy mistakes we have made with respect to Iran, from the 1953 coup to the 1979 revolution to the Iraq Invasion.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Now, this is one thing about which we definitely ought to do something about –

    see the link.

    It’s got to be done with conjunction, thought, with other major powers. Because the kind of retaliation that the Iranian government contemplates goes beyond the boundaries of what’s acceptable.

    There’s got to sufficient pressure brought to bear from the international community, all major players, and humanitarian groups to stop Iran in their tracks.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “in conjunction, though …”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Although the media now have more important stuff to cover in depth, things in Iran seem to be getting worse but more “stealthy;” things probably won’t get better if the United States, and the rest of the world, simply continue make modest noises about the evils of repression but do nothing to help the repressed — while continuing to deal with the sham in Iran.

    I continue to think that sanctions won’t work and that military intervention would be a big mistake. The only “solutions” I can come up with are those addressed in the article and in my earlier comments. Unfortunately, it may now be too late. Whatever “opportunities” this crisis produced may have vanished.

    Continuing to blame the prior administration is a sad excuse for inaction. President Obama “won” last year and its his watch now, not Bush’s. I think it would be better if he ceased simply watching and trying to maintain a steady and politically convenient course.

    The Walrus and the Carpenter
    Were walking close at hand;
    They wept like anything to see
    Such quantities of sand:
    “If this were only cleared away,”
    They said, “it would be grand!”
    “If seven maids with seven mops
    Swept it for half a year.
    Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
    “That they could get it clear?”
    “I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
    And shed a bitter tear.
    “O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
    The Walrus did beseech.
    “A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
    Along the briny beach:
    We cannot do with more than four,
    To give a hand to each.”
    ****
    “I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
    “I deeply sympathize.”
    With sobs and tears he sorted out
    Those of the largest size,
    Holding his pocket-handkerchief
    Before his streaming eyes.
    “O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
    “You’ve had a pleasant run!
    Shall we be trotting home again?’
    But answer came there none–
    And this was scarcely odd, because
    They’d eaten every one.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    I will answer that later Dan(Miller) there are things anyone can do. Even you, maybe.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “The only ‘solutions’ I can come up with are those addressed in the article and in my earlier comments.”

    That’s utter BS. Unless I missed some pearls of wisdom, none of the things you proposed – and I can think of nothing other than nudging the administration to assume a more critical and biting tone – would have averted the present crisis and the possible retaliation that the protesters are now facing at the hand of the fanatical regime.

    It’s almost obscene to be congratulating yourself so. Borders on egomania.

    There you go: I gave you a free diagnosis.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    I’ve got to ask – why the quotation marks when you said Obama “won”?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Because he’s a sore loser, that’s why!

    If he had couched his argument on behalf of “stronger show of support for Iran’s resistance” aside from criticizing the administration, in a neutral context, I would have supported the idea (because we all believe in human rights and hate to see human rights violations). But he didn’t!

    Consequently, I can’t divorce his self-proclaimed “high-mindedness” from down and dirty partisanship. And even if he ain’t aware he’s doing it, that’s no fucking excuse.

    Become aware, or forever be stained!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Glen, I put “won” in quotes because President Obama seems to feel a need to remind everyone of the obvious fact that he did.

    Roger, I shall continue to write the way I want to, and I assume that you will continue to write the way you want to. As to your suggestions as to how I should write, I continue to be modestly amused but shall hereafter ignore them. So, for that matter, are and and shall my horses referenced in your comment #117. Should you attempt to speak to the substance of my articles or comments, I shall consider responding. Response to your most recent comment and to such as your comment #117 is a silly waste of time, and I shall not do it again.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    You say it’s a mistake to blame the past administration, so I have to ask, when Bush referred to Iran as part of the ‘Axis of Evil’, not only comparing them with atheist North Korea and with (rabidly anti-Shi’a) Iraq (with whom they’d fought the worst war in the Middle East’s modern history less than a generation ago)…

    …AND on top of Bush’s assertion that they were somehow allied with these other nations which the everyday Iranian would despise more than almost any other, Bush also used the word ‘Axis’, obviously likening them to the Axis of WWII…

    EXACTLY HOW DO YOU THINK that made the Iranian everyman-on-the-street feel? Do you think it made him feel, “Gee, I should oppose my government!”?

    Or would he have had a sentiment similar to that of Stephen Decatur (and you DO know of him, sir) who once made a famous toast: “”Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!”

    You draw a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar, Dan…but Bush threw a whole truckload of really bad vinegar when he made that statement, and that vinegar, like the preservative it is, takes a long time to dissipate.

    So yes, the blame DOES rest with Bush, with “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” McCain, with all those on the right whose bile only embittered future efforts to spread democracy without using the sword.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dan(Miller)

    Well, I am going to remain as up-your-face as necessary, because it’s people like you who are the most dangerous in this battle of ideas.

    You’re no Archie and no H&C whose prejudices and biases they were on their sleeve. You’re a sophisticated thinker, a clever one, which makes you all the more dangerous. In fact, I do regard you as a sophist, capable thus of corrupting the youth and the innocent. It was against sophists that Socrates launched his campaign, and quite rightly, he regarded them as the greatest menace to, and scourge of, society.

    So I am going to fight you tooth and nail – and you, in particular, more than anyone else, for the very reasons I stated.

    As to the last part of your remark, concerning substance, yes – that is well taken. But I can only respond to and address matters of substance once I have no reason to suspect a conflation of motives. For if and when I do, matters of substance must take second seat – for reasons, I’m certain, you understand.

    I’m not necessarily accusing you of bad faith. But perhaps, just perhaps, you should take a closer look at how you present your ideas so at to eliminate even the possibility of being unfairly charged. You certainly have the language skills and the acumen to be able to do so. In fact, it should be any intelligent and well-meaning person’s objective to be able to present a well-balanced and thought-through piece which goes beyond polemics.

    Which isn’t to say that polemics doesn’t have its proper role and function. But it also comes with the territory that essentially polemical pieces deserve a polemical kind of response and repayment in kind. Consequently, I did respond to your article on that very level, because there were elements in it which, were you to use you better judgment, could well have been omitted.

    Roger

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “they wear on their sleeves …”

  • zingzing

    you know, there’s something i’ve been wondering about for a while… whenever anyone both living outside of america and leaning towards the left pipes up, there’s some right wing nut (like archie, et al) who screams “if you don’t live in america, then shut the hell up,” etc. but dan, who may or may not be a citizen of the united states, seems to escape this. is it because the archies, etc, agree with him? where are the “shut up foreigner” cries? not that i’m saying that should happen, but i’m just curious. (and, in all fairness, it’s been a while since i noticed the phenomenon. maybe archie grew up or something. ew, archie growing up… it’s like a mogwai to gremlin kind of image.)

  • Clavos

    How amusing.

    A diatribe and lecture about how to write addressed to arguably one of the best writers on the site. Forget ideology, Dan(Miller) strings words together better than most, and this is something about which I know a fair bit.

    up-your-face

    uh uh.

    In your face.

    Up your ass.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dan(Miller),

    I heard somewhere that vinegar is good for removing stains caused by unawareness.

    (p.s. just don’t use balsamic–learned the hard way)

  • zingzing

    clavos… you walk a fine line. your grammar nanny days MUST come to an end. it’s like watching your ocd friend clean the kitchen after making toast. just sad, but you usually restrain yourself from saying anything. not today! i stand up for all of us! and i stand up for you! look at yourself!

    and even if “up your face” isn’t part of the popular lexicon, i think it makes the point in a fairly poetic, hilarious fashion. (although it’s quite possible he meant “up IN your face.”)

    and even if dan is a good writer, ideology put aside, he’s also smart and cunning enough to leave big old holes where he’s obviously ignoring the big old elephant in the room. so i find some of his writing a bit disingenuous, which, i think, is what roger was getting at.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thank you, zing. Exactemundo.
    It’s precisely that he’s a good – read: extremely clever and sophisticated writer – that he’s got to be watched, and yes, censured if need be.

    Clavos again seems to be displaying his favoritism in a more or less cunning way, obscuring the point of his remarks under the veneer of grammar or some other esoteric notion (he’s so famous for) of linguistic propriety. Or perhaps just hiding the fact that he ain’t got the balls to confront the likes of the highly-esteemed Dan Miller.

    Be that as it may, thank you trying to see what I regard as the larger point.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To add:

    “A diatribe and lecture about how to write addressed to arguably one of the best writers on the site.”

    Misses the point completely, not by omission but on purpose.

    To wit, “being one of the best writers on the site” is no kind of guarantee or assurance against perfidy.

    Clavos of course knows better, but he’s intent on doing what he does best: obfuscation.

  • Clavos

    clavos… you walk a fine line. your grammar nanny days MUST come to an end. it’s like watching your ocd friend clean the kitchen after making toast. just sad, but you usually restrain yourself from saying anything. not today! i stand up for all of us! and i stand up for you! look at yourself!

    Yawn. Translation: Don’t hold your breath, zing.

    and even if dan is a good writer, ideology put aside, he’s also smart and cunning enough to leave big old holes where he’s obviously ignoring the big old elephant in the room. so i find some of his writing a bit disingenuous, which, i think, is what roger was getting at.

    Roger can “get at” any point he wants to — that’s the nature of the game here, but, he has no business telling others how to write and particularly not to a writer as good as Dan.

    His arrogance and condescension seemingly know no bounds.

    Roger’s real beef here, and yours as well apparently, is not with how Dan writes so much as it is with what he writes, which is a legitimate line of discourse, but has nothing to do with the Dan’s ability to communicate in writing.

  • Clavos

    Or perhaps just hiding the fact that he ain’t got the balls to confront the likes of the highly-esteemed Dan Miller.

    “Balls” has nothing to do with it, Roger, not that it’s any of your business — I don’t need to prove anything to you.

    I have seen nothing in his writings about which I find a need to confront Dan. Nothing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, you never have, Clavos. That’s my point exactly. And what’s a greater cause for concern is that I never made a mistake of underestimating you: you’re as sophisticated a reader and perceptive of nuance as can be. I have no doubts whatever. Which makes it all the more puzzling to me that you haven’t.

    By the way, I have never noticed in your own writings the kind of obvious slant that I see in his. And this tells me you have better judgment, or at least control when it comes to putting things down in writing (not by way of comments but articles).

    PS: I apologize for using the term “balls.” It was used for evocative, not descriptive purposes.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    fuck manipulation

    (sorry couldn’t resist)

  • zingzing

    roger: “It’s precisely that he’s a good – read: extremely clever and sophisticated writer – that he’s got to be watched, and yes, censured if need be.”

    watched, yes; censured, nah.

    clavos: “Yawn. Translation: Don’t hold your breath, zing.”

    oh, i’m not. i know it’s impossible for you to stop. that said, whenever i catch your grammar-ocd-nightmares, i’ll make fun of them.

    “I have seen nothing in his writings about which I find a need to confront Dan. Nothing.”

    come on. never? that’s pathetic. are you in 100% agreement with everything he writes, all of the time? you can’t be. no one is EVER totally of the same mind as another person. you’ll eat those words, and soon, i’d wager. either that, or you’re just a dan groupie, and i know better than that.

    “Roger’s real beef here, and yours as well apparently, is not with how Dan writes so much as it is with what he writes, which is a legitimate line of discourse, but has nothing to do with the Dan’s ability to communicate in writing.”

    i think dan’s a very good writer. but, like i said above… which somehow seems to have escaped you… i also think he knows exactly what he’s doing when he dances around the gaping holes in his arguments as if they didn’t exist. i’m not saying i have a problem with him saying whatever he wants to–that’s the name of the game around here, isn’t it?–but he isn’t above reproach or criticism.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sorry. I’m gung-ho when it comes to false prophets, sophists, and deliberate purveyors of untruths. Their kind of evil work has got to be nipped in the bud. There are just too many minds out there that are liable to fall captive to these soothsayers and their sugarcoated message. They’ve got to be exposed for the potential harm they might cause.

    It is a battle for the minds first and foremost, whether we’re talking BC or the world at large.

  • zingzing

    to conclude my last thought…

    he isn’t above reproach or criticism, and i think you’d be the first to WANT that to be true. otherwise, you’re treating him just like you accuse dems/libs or treating obama.

    seriously, if you read a sentence such as “I have seen nothing in his writings about which I find a need to confront obama, Nothing,” wouldn’t you be a bit up on your high horse?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Correct, zing. Censure is a wrong word because it implies censorship and I meant nothing of the kind. What I should have said is “exposed” or “challenged.”

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    censure v. ‘to criticize strongly’
    censor v. ‘to ban or expurgate’

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So perhaps my use of the word wasn’t all off.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Breaking News:
    Battle for Iran shifts from the streets to the heart of power

    Ayatollah Khamenei’s support for President Ahmadinejad has led both moderates and hard-liners to start plotting against him

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The following is even more encouraging.

  • Tony

    Yeah more forgien intervention is exactly what we need, especially in the Arab world. Is the Shah still alive? Can we put him back in power?

    This is joke. First of all we have no business meddling in another countries affairs. If any country tried to do that with our elections we would drop a nuke on them.

    Second of all the kind of support you’re purposing would cost money. It is repulsive to think that, at a time when American families are being booted out into the streets, uninsured, unemployed, and homeless, any American would purpose spending money on anything but the American people.

  • Tony

    Yeah more forgien intervention is exactly what we need, especially in the Arab world. Is the Shah still alive? Can we put him back in power?

    This is joke. First of all we have no business meddling in another countries affairs. If any country tried to do that with our elections we would drop a nuke on them.

    Second of all the kind of support you’re purposing would cost money. It is repulsive to think that, at a time when American families are being booted out into the streets, uninsured, unemployed, and homeless, any American would purpose spending money on anything but the American people.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But that’s the conservative mindset, Tony: screw your own people while appearing noble-minded to the world at large.

    Your point about the Shah is well taken. There was also a great deal of brutality and human rights violations in Iran during that regime – though against the Islamist then, so what did we care. We very readily overlook human rights violations when it’s in our national interests, don’t we?

    Which is why I find all this talk of nation-building and of spreading freedom and democracy to the rest of the world the height of hypocrisy.

    Which isn’t to say we should turn our blind eye to what’s going on there, especially as regards the crackdown against the protesters. We should try to do all we can, but in conjunction with other major powers and human-relief organizations. But to try to foment or instigate civil unrest in Iran is not only immoral (because too closely related to our ambitions in the Middle East) but impractical as well – especially in light of America’s loss of credibility as a true leader.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Another eye-opening article, Unveiling the Revolution.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dan(Miller),

    I’m too tired to think of anything witty. This is for you. And now I am sure you will have a nice day. :-)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Although the mass protests in Iran may have run their course, a substantial group of important clerics has broken with the Government and, calling the Government “illegitimate,” has demanded new elections.

    “This crack in the clerical establishment, and the fact they are siding with the people and Moussavi, in my view is the most historic crack in the 30 years of the Islamic republic,” said Abbas Milani, director of the Iranian Studies Program at Stanford University. “Remember, they are going against an election verified and sanctified by Khamenei.”

    Dan(Miller)