Who said anything about non-interference? The last thing the democracy movement in Iran needs is American "help". We have set them back years. If we attack Iran all those who opposed the Ayatollahs and were open to American ideals will join in the defense of their country against us.
"You don't think we have spies and covert ops in Tehran right now?"
That really inspires me with confidence. They did such a great job of "intelligence" in Iraq. In Serbia they bombed the Chinese embassy because they were using their million dollar super secret spy maps. If they had asked any 8 year old he could have googled them the right info.
Actually 'negotiating' with the threat of force worked very well with Sadam. He let the inspectors in and in case you hadn't heard there where no weapons of mass destruction. There also was no Al-Qaida in Iraq and the Shiites were worried more about Iraq then the USA. The threat to the USA was neutralized. Neutralizing the threat Iraq now represents is imeasurably harder. And oh by the way we are broke and in debt. Our economy is crunbling. Who is going to pay for all these wonderful military adventures? The Chinese are laughing their asses off watching us stomp all over the world telling everyone what to do at a cost of Trillions while they ring the cash register.
Hezbollah is most definitely stronger and the war was a disaster for Israel. Hezbollah is the first Arab army to go to war with Israel that was able to brag about their "victory" afterword. Hamas will do the same. The worst thing that could happen to Hamas is for them to have to govern without Israeli blockades and incursions. It would be a political disaster for them. Why do you think they have been provoking Israel?
God save us from the dumb asses who have been "securing America and Israel".
If you shoot yourself in both feet it hampers your ability to win the race. It's something that can't be undone. It's like breaking an egg. The only way you can avoid the consequences is to avoid making the mistake in the first place.
It's a combination of magical thinking and arrogance to think that the American President be he Bush or Obama has the power given present circumstances to determine the outcome of events in Iraq. Try and minimize and contain the damage, maybe, with the cooperation of the surrounding countries. But we are a long way from having that kind of relationship with Iraq's neighbors. We ensured so far that it is in their best interests for us to fail and fail miserably in Iraq so we don't get any ideas about extending our campaign for regime change and they have been acting accordingly.
Our 'allies' in Iraq do not share our vision for Iraq. The Shiites who now control the government are more inline with Teheran then Washington and there isn't shit any American can do about it since we can't dictate who gets elected. The Ayatollahs have used the Americans as useful idiots to remove the biggest obstacle to the extension of Shiite power in the Mideast.
It may get worse? With the exodus of doctors, teachers and professionals, the destruction of infrastructure and the remaining implacable sectarian differences it could get a lot worse. And when people are faced with chaos and daily deadly violence they often turn to a strongman who can restore order. Tell me what Iraqi forces in Iraq are working for a pluralistic democracy? They are angling to grab the biggest share of the pie at the expense of the other ethnic groups. Iraq rates as one of the 3 most corrupt nations on earth right now.
A precuser to democracy in Iraq and Iran is non interference by the USA in the internal affairs of sovereign nations like Iran and Iraq. The invasion of Iraq has dealt a big blow to the cause of democracy and moderation in the Middle East and it has made the Ayatollahs, Hezbollah and the extremists of every stripe stronger.
Everyone understands a failed state is not a desirable option but you don't get a redo. Obama can't turn the clock back to the period immediately following the invasion. That genie is out of the bottle.
You can't blow off the horrific deterioration of the condition of Iraqi woman by saying well it's bad elsewhere as well. The invasion either improved their condition or made it worse. There are millions of Iraqi refugees that never even get mentioned in the news. The Iraqi Christian minority has been driven out of the country. Life in Iraq is now untenable for them.
The Kurds are preparing for armed conflict to retake oil rich Kirkuk. The Sunni's are still shut out by the Shiites who have opposed the US accommodation with Sunni tribal chieftains and the arming of the Sunni Awakening council militia's by the US military. The Shiites who run the government and the army lived in Iran before the war and were trained, funded and armed by the Iranian Ayatollah's. The war removed Iran's biggest enemy and delivered the country to the Ayatollahs on a silver platter.
The political party that is keeping PM Maliki in power is the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Read the name "The Islamic Revolution in Iraq". Their armed wing the Badr militia was founded in Iran by the Revolutionary Guard general in charge of the Jerusalem Brigade. That would make him Iran's #1 terrorist according to the US. The big political issues that will have to be resolved to stabilize Iraq have not yet even begun to be resolved. We will be leaving the Iraqi's to tackle that after we leave.
The BS that mistakes were made in Iraq but all's well that ends well is nonsense. Only the Iraqi's now have the power to put Humpty Dumpty back together and if they choose to resort to arms to settle internal differences there is not much Obama can do about it. Of course the invasion of Gaza right before he takes office will not make things easier for Obama.
I'm not so sure things are better for the average Iraqi. Certainly not for Iraqi women. In Basra it costs $80 to have a women killed for reasons of "honor". The Shiite police are complicit in what has been a wave of murders. Women who formerly held more positions of responsibility then most Arab countries have now been cast back into a medieval status in most of Iraq.
The economy and civil infrastructure is still not back to pre-war levels. Iraq is essentially now a failed state and likely 10's or 100's of 1,000's more will die in coming years as a result of the after effects of the invasion.
Based on the experience of all the previous Israeli encursions into Gaza and the West Bank this will have the opposite effect. It will not "neutralize" Hamas. It will wind up killing and maiming lots of civilians all of whom will leave behind extended families bent on revenge. It will also wipe out what's left of the infrastructure that sustains life at the miserable levels currently extant in Gaza. If you think that's going to strengthen Palestinian moderates and win over the population you are dreaming.
Hamas provoked the response because it's precisely what they were hoping for. Violence will not push Israel into the sea and it will not change the situation to Israel's favor in the territories either.
The whole shock and awe Neo-con policy that started with Sharon and Bush has been a disaster for the security of Israel and the US. The invasion of Gaza, like the invasion of Lebanon and Iraq before it will further endanger Israel's future and security -the opposite of it's claimed goals. Just like Bush's macho cowboy rhetoric the "get tough" policy might sound good but the results of the last 8 years have shown what a colossal failure it has been.
Right about now someone will ask should Israel just sit on it's hands while Hamas provokes it by firing rockets into Israeli territory? No it should not sit on it's hands and it also should not engage in actions that will endanger it's own security as it is now doing.
Sharon initiated some really disastrous policies. Coddling religious extremists in the settler movement who have murdered an Israeli Prime Minister, have clashed violently with Israeli authorities and have terrorized and murdered Palestinians and reject any peace or 2 state solution. Allowing these fanatics who are as insane as Hamas and Islamic Jihad to set up illegal armed camps in Palestinian population centers is really really detrimental to Israeli security. The policy of collective punishment initiated by Sharon instead of terrorizing the Palestinian population into submission and marginalizing the Palestinian terrorists has had the opposite effect. While Israel turned Gaza into a prison camp it continues to extend the settlements into the West Bank (which contains the water upon which Israeli's and Palestinians depend).
The biggest threat to Israel is not Palestinian terrorists it is Israel's political leadership. The same could be said about the Palestinian's political leaders both in Gaza and on the West Bank. They have been a disaster for the Palestinian people. And let's not leave out the USA. Bush did more damage to the US and killed more Americans then Osama Bin Laden could ever have done in his wildest dreams. The bankrupt leaders on both sides of the Israel/Palestine conflict say that violence is the only thing the other side understands. That you can't negotiate with those who murdered our children and mothers and grandparents. Doesn't matter if it's coming from Hamas or Likud the end result is the same.
The reason that monetary policy is so ineffectual is that what we have is not really a liquidity crisis but an insolvency crisis. Do consumers really need more access to credit or do they need to get out from under upside down mortgages and credit card debt that they can not afford? Will lower interest rates make whole fraudulent credit default swaps that were sold with no assets to back them up in the event the counter-parties had to pay up?
People don't need more credit they need more INCOME and that only comes from good paying jobs. To mask the biggest transfer of wealth in American history the Republicans pushed easy credit and asset speculation as a 'replacement' for income growth. Who needs unions, who needs to work and save when we can borrow our way to riches buying and selling houses to each other with money we borrow from China. Real estate, oil, agricultural commodities, industrial metals prices skyrocketed as a tidal wave of borrowed money pushed prices to the moon. All the while the real income of the American middle class was falling off a cliff as a bigger and bigger slice of real wealth went into the pockets of the top 2%.
It was a Ponzi scheme more crooked and vastly larger then the Madoff scam. Madoff scamed 50 Billion but the Republican scam that is unraveling involves 60 Trillion in phony credit instruments and predatory investment scams. That is an amount the size of the entire world economy.
How do you transfer the income of the consumers that make up 70% of the economy into the pockets of the top 2% without social unrest and a collapse of consumption that would destroy the economy?
Replace income growth with credit growth and convince everyone that you can borrow your way to wealth. That way the victims of the biggest theft in history will be able to maintain the illusion of maintaining their living standard and won't realize they have been robbed. We don't need those factories we can get rich by speculating on assets like housing, oil futures and equities with borrowed money. Workers and savers are suckers. That is until the pyramid scheme collapses and suddenly everyone realizes that living within their means will mean the end of what they thought was the American way of life and the means to earn an income has been packed up and shipped out of the country.
Is it a coincidence that the last time the Republicans ruled in the 1920's we had a massive credit bubble that fueled massive leverage on Main Street and Wall Street that ended with the crash of 1929 when the bubble collapsed.
The Republicans want to stamp out the last vestiges of union power. The fact is that the average union auto worker makes about $28 an hour while non-union auto workers make about $25. Starting wages since 2005 at union plants are $15 an hour.
GM's "labor" problem is that as it's been in business 100 years it's got a huge pool of retirees collecting pensions and getting healthcare benefits. Of course it's foreign competition has no healthcare costs as all industrial nations have universal healthcare. Toyota, BMW and company have almost no retirees they have not been here long enough. But when they have to many I guess the Republicans will demand they go Chapter 11 so they can screw the retirees out of their pensions.
It's amazing that even people on this blog swallow the Republican propaganda of greedy union workers being the problem. The average worker today makes less in inflation adjusted wages then he did in the 70's. The average CEO's compensation in the same time period has increases by a factor of 10. That's 1000% increase from $250,000 to $25 million! But the problem is greedy unions. If you believe that I have a bridge in Alaska to sell you.
So if the auto makers go into bankruptcy they can renege on their obligation to those greedy retirees. The solution is to take away the pensions and healthcare of retirees who busted their ass their whole lives and leave them destitute and without medical care? Welcome to the new economy.
Once the UAW is taken down you can bet the wages at non-union plants will take a dive as their won't be the danger of unionization forcing Toyota et al to keep compensation close. So once every worker in the US is making minimum wages without benefits so we can be competitive with the Chinese who is going to buy houses, flat screen TV's and cars? We have hollowed out the greatest income producing economy in the world and are on our way to being a 3rd world economy all to line the pockets of the top 2%.
Once all the American auto makers are gone do we ask the Koreans to make us some tanks if we have a war?
It was the welfare queens, Willie Horton (black people are all scary criminals) and affirmative action that was the basis of Republican campaigns since Nixon. The radicals only figured in as much as they were appeasing and empowering the lazy criminal blacks (and later on the terrorist Arabs and illegal Mexicans).
Once they beat that horse to death they replaced the Blacks with Mexicans and whipped the same racist asshats into a frenzy about the brown menace taking over the country bringing their corrupt no good inferior culture with them. They portray a traditional white christian culture as under seige and on the defensive against the darkie hordes and their multi-culturalist allies.
Given demographic trends that strategy may doom them to being the party of the rural deep south and appalachia.
Actually it was the civils rights movement and the passage of the civil rights act that made the Southern Strategy and the rise of the modern Republican party possible. It was built on white resentment and fostered a resurgent neo-segregationist backlash. The Weather Underground and campus 60's radicals were a sideshow that had little impact on anything.
"You talk about Christians killing jews.....in modern times have Christians targeted jews for death as a way of life? No." Yes, in Nazi Germany and through out Christian Europe during WWII. The current pope was a member of the Nazi youth.
When governments accept large numbers of civilian casualties as an acceptable byproduct of actions which can not be justified as self-defense or necessary -that is terrorism masquerading as collateral damage. The mother of a child blown to pieces by an American or Israeli missile feels no different then the Israeli mother who's child was a victim of terrorists. We will get a lot farther when we become intolerant of all forms of murder not just those committed against one group.
Yes stateless terrorist groups need to be hunted down and killed but the leadership of nations elected or otherwise whether it be Iran or Palestine need to be engaged. Should we have told the Israeli's Sharon was unacceptable as a partner for peace? Elect someone else. Sharon was no better then Arafat or any of the Hamas thugs but he was the guy the Israeli's voted in. It would have been preferable and much better for the Palestinians if they had leaders like Ghandi. But considering we voted for Bush twice I am not going to pass judgement on the voting habits of Jews in Israel or Arabs in the West Bank or Gaza. People who have to live with the constant threat of random violence are susceptible to demagogues who appeal to their fears and resentments.
The fact is the macho rhgetoric, collective punishment tactics and neo-con shock and awe policies of the neo-con Likud and the Bush administration have failed miserably. Israel is not safer. But if you want to keep supporting policies that have alrady failed go right ahead. You are not however based on the results of the last 8 years advancing the cause of Israeli security.
Yes Christians have slaughtered millions of Jews in modern times and the US has slaughtered 1,000's of innocent civilians in Iraq. Hindus have slaughtered Muslims in India and Ariel Sharon himself presided over the slaughter of women and children in Lebanon and has targeted cilivilians in the West bank in his policy of collective punishment.
Of course in your cartoon character version of history where Arabs are evil and the west is blamless none of that counts. Palestinians unfortunately are no different then people any where else. If there is ever to be peace enemies who killed innocents will have to negotiate or the slaughter will continue.
The radical religious extremists who murdered an Israeli Prime Minister for his role in the peace process teach racism, violence and hate to their children just like the Palestinian extremists. The Likud and the settler movement they have protected and encouraged has done more damage to Israel then Hamas could ever hope to do.
The Israeli right also rejected the Oslo accords. Israeli's have been no better served by their leadership then have the Palestinians by thiers. The Israeli neo-cons have coddled and funded the violent religious fanatics of the settler movement and replaced dialog with 'shock and awe'. Israel's Prime Minister was assassinated for his role in the peace process by a Jewish terrorist not a Palestinian one. It was fundamentalist Rabbi's that justified his murder not Islamic Mullahs.
The Israeli right have made Israel much less secure as a result. It is a sad history of failure of leadership that parallels the failure of the bankrupt Palestinian leadership.