Getting It

Obama, today:

The second thing that I think’s important to recognize is that the easiest way for reactionary forces inside Iran to crush reformers is to say it’s the US that is encouraging those reformers. So what I’ve said is, `Look, it’s up to the Iranian people to make a decision. We are not meddling.’ And, you know, ultimately the question that the leadership in Iran has to answer is their own credibility in the eyes of the Iranian people

Yes.






113 replies
  1. 1
    Darkrose says:

    Exactly.

    Even when I’m pissed at him–as I very much am right now, because of the Justice Dept. brief supporting DOMA–I have to say that it’s awesome to have a President with a clue.

  2. 2
    Comrade Stuck says:

    The second thing that I think’s important to recognize is that the easiest way for reactionary forces inside Iran to crush reformers is to say it’s the US that is encouraging those reformers.

    A long sigh of relief. Thanky you President Obama!

  3. 3
    robertdsc says:

    The only green shoots in an otherwise dismal Presidency: foreign policy.

  4. 4
    TenguPhule says:

    Queue the whine from Sullivan and company in 3…2…1…

  5. 5
    Emma says:

    Sometimes he makes me so angry I could spit but other… such a relief to know the man with his finger on the button is not… John McCain.

  6. 6
    gex says:

    @Darkrose: +1.

    He’s been a good President so far on everything except the gay stuff. Sigh.

    I have been quite relieved the way Obama has handled the situation in Iran. Whatever the McCain response would have been is unimaginably terrifying.

  7. 7
    TenguPhule says:

    Whatever the McCain response would have been is unimaginably terrifying.

    Now imagine what Palin would do.

    Nightmare fuel high octane.

  8. 8
    cmorenc says:

    If only he-who-shall-not-be-named had figured out this sort of perspective around oh, say late 2001 instead of designating an “axis of evil” and making plans to militarily kick-ass against every country (Israel excepted of course) who’s been a pain in the ass to us since the 1991 Gulf War, starting with Iraq (and they’ll be cheering us in the streets within a few weeks for ridding them of Saddam, right?) And we’ll continue right on with Syria after that, and eventually…Iran.

    Of course, the bravest, brashest, most arrogant cowboy soldiers are those who never had to get anywhere near combat themselves (Bush), or even the military (Cheney). Let’s go whup up on some ass and declare “mission accomplished”.

  9. 9
    Adolphus says:

    I completely agree Darkrose. It’s so nice to finally feel like there are adults in charge, even if I don’t agree with every issue and disappointed in some. He’s only been president for 5 months, robertdsc, criminey, can the jury at least stay out long enough to have a bottle of pop?

  10. 10
    freelancer says:

    Queue the whine from Sullivan and company in 3…2…1…

    Which is so damned weird, considering that Sullivan, as of yesterday was absolute in his conviction that the US gov’t must not intervene or be seen to intervene. Today, he’s on the fence between that and the Wingnuts du Jour, even calling Daniel Larison an ‘outlier’. At least this is the quantum state he’s in until he posts Obama’s statement in a few minutes and concludes, “Absolutely”.

  11. 11
    TenguPhule says:

    and making plans to militarily kick-ass against every country (Israel excepted of course) who’s been a pain in the ass to us since the 1991 Gulf War

    Israel was slated to be kicked in the ass by everyone else in the Middle East following US provocation, thus touching off the Rapture.

    So yeah.

  12. 12
    El Cid says:

    Obama is exhibiting an impressive degree of understanding of these issues simply by being willing to state the utterly obvious, which in U.S. politics is mostly considered forbidden in favor of establishmentarian nostrums.

    Over the years many people and organizations have done a great amount of work with various human and political and economic and civil rights campaigns all without representing the U.S. gov’t and while maintaining a keen awareness of the sorts of undesired effects that outside influence can bring.

    This is a very good time for those motivated to international solidarity to pay attention to those sorts of perspectives.

    Carefully thinking through options and being careful to consider the likely consequences of one’s actions need not be viewed as a barrier to any solidarity actions.

    For example, it should be probably be preferable as an individual U.S. citizen to express solidarity with the rights and well-being of ordinary Iranian citizens without being seen as simple partisans of one or other local political candidates — and this for not only moral, but practical reasons as well.

  13. 13
    gwangung says:

    Well, when Krugman’s saying that he’s growing increasingly happy with the administration, I think you have to say it’s not entirely gloomy on the financial front.

  14. 14
    PaulW says:

    Queue the whine from Sullivan and company in 3…2…1…

    Sullivan’s not gonna whine about this. For all his changing font colors and constant twitter updating, Sullivan knows full well that any overt U.S. statement or action will backfire and give the bad guys the excuse they need to go medieval on the protesters. And he praises Obama here for ‘getting it’ and not going in guns blazing like the neocons would.

    I’m not gonna whine about this. I’m in full agreement with Obama: the U.S. should not make any official position on this until the Iranian people resolve this issue on their own.

    It’s just, I do ask Obama if I can borrow the 101st Airborne’s Easy Company for about, oh, three to five days for a little private vacation to… um… Belize! Yeah, Belize! (Hey, if Ahmadinejad is bringing in Hezbollah lackeys like they were 18th century Hessian mercenaries, why not even the odds here, okay?)

  15. 15
    drillfork says:

    Actually, on gay stuff, Wall Street stuff, rule of law stuff, covering Bush’s ass stuff, healthcare stuff (wait for it) and all sorts of other stuff, Obama sucks out loud.

    Yes, on Iran, Barry O. has more sense than Crazy McCain and Caribou Barbie. And that’s important. But I was really thinking he would have differentiated himself from the Crazy/Caribou ticket long before now…

  16. 16
    TenguPhule says:

    (Hey, if Ahmadinejad is bringing in Hezbollah lackeys like they were 18th century Hessian mercenaries, why not even the odds here, okay?)

    Because it’s like throwing lit torches in a dynamite factory.

    We don’t want Hezbollah picking up any street cred by being “defenders against the imperialist aggressors”.

  17. 17
    Ash says:

    Yeah, but he really should be wearing a green tie.

    But I was really thinking he would have differentiated himself from the Crazy/Caribou ticket long before now…

    Sometimes I really wish you had emoticons John, because I would be :headdesking all over the place.

  18. 18
    robertdsc says:

    He’s only been president for 5 months, robertdsc, criminey, can the jury at least stay out long enough to have a bottle of pop?

    He picked the wrong people for the econ team. The stimulus package being overly reliant on tax cuts. Cramdown was killed with nary a peep. He’s waffled on gay issues. Transparency is a joke. No accountability for torture. State secrets abuse. Backing up people like Specter who spit in his face. Preventative detention. Barring the Uighurs from coming to the US and foisting them off to Bermuda and Palau. Revised millitary commissions. No rights for detainees in Bagram.

    I’m probably missing something but that’s where he’s gone totally off the rails so far.

  19. 19
    gnomedad says:

    @gex:

    @Darkrose: +1.

    What makes you think Darkrose is drinking?

  20. 20
    mcc says:

    John, what is the blockquote here from?

  21. 21
    chuck says:

    The guys calling themselves “Hezbollah” in Iran are not the same Hezbollah as in Lebanon. More modern spelling is “Hizb’Allah” and it means “party of god”. There’s dozens of groups calling themselves that.

  22. 22

    My opinion on the real import of what is happening in Iran.

  23. 23
    Jon H says:

    @robertdsc: “He picked the wrong people for the econ team.”

    He picked Summers.

  24. 24
    gopher2b says:

    It kind of ruins it when he has to explicitly spell it out for people though (I don’t mean ruins it as in its not effective, does, you know, ruins it).

  25. 25
    gex says:

    @gnomedad: Doh! I inserted standard geek for “me too” on the wrong thread. Guess I have to go have a drink now, wouldn’t want make myself a liar.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    28 Percent says:

    JOHN COLE if that is your real name you do not “get it” it is the FREE MARKET OF IDEAS that swhould decide what ideas win it is not fair for B Hussein to STIFLE AMERICAN IDEAS about foreign policy by “dictating” what US foreing policy should be it should be next he will say that if I can afford to run guns to Iran that I should not do it well that is takeing away my RIGHTS I have the right to bear arms it is in the constitution and I can do whatever I liek with my money it is not the governments it is none of there business what I do with it

  28. 28
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @robertdsc:

    You are a glass bone empty sort. Cheer up! Yer giving us the dreary vapors.

  29. 29
    Svensker says:

    @28 Percent:

    Hey! Missed ya!

  30. 30
    Ash says:

    @28 Percent: Aren’t you more at around 23 Percent now?

  31. 31
    robertdsc says:

    He picked Summers.

    And Geithner. Neither of which support the President on executive compensation caps.

    It is my firm belief that they both opposed the cramdown measure and did nothing to save it. The President campaigned on cramdown and spoke of it as part of his plan to fight the foreclosure crisis, yet when it came down to a vote, the White House did nothing. That was confirmed by several sources, and the White House itself didn’t say word one about the death of the measure.

    What does that tell you?

  32. 32
    Mark S. says:

    Taking the last two posts together, it is amazing that someone who has almost no foreign policy experience (Obama) understands the situation so much better than someone who should have a ton of it (McCain). I blame McCain’s ignorance mostly on the stupidity of our national discourse, where neo-cons (who should have as much respectability as creationists) are regularly presented as one of the two major viewpoints on foreign policy.

  33. 33
    jrg says:

    It’s almost a shame shrubbie is not in office any more. I’d love to hear a speech about democracy and how wrong it is to steal an election. And 9/11. And human-animal hybrids.

  34. 34
    robertdsc says:

    You are a glass bone empty sort. Cheer up! Yer giving us the dreary vapors.

    Don’t get me wrong. I supported the guy all the way. I have a lot of personal admiration for him. His policies, however, have me worried and upset.

  35. 35

    @28 Percent: Oh, c’mon that isn’t a worthy screed for a spoof. We demand much better entertainment than that. You think we watch American Idol around this joint?

  36. 36
    demkat620 says:

    @28 Percent: Well, we already know his name is not John Cole.

    Get with the program buddy.

  37. 37
    TenguPhule says:

    What does that tell you?

    Nothing much. The deck started out stacked against him and the other side keeps marking all of the fucking cards.

  38. 38
    gnomedad says:

    @gex:
    I probably should have added a :).

  39. 39
    Ash says:

    What does that tell you?

    That you need a puppy in your life? Or maybe some bunnies.

  40. 40
    gocart mozart says:

    If only he-who-shall-not-be-named had figured out this sort of perspective around oh, say late 2001 instead of designating an “axis of evil” and making plans to militarily kick-ass against every country

    Exactly cmoremc, many don’t remember that in 2002 there were huge pro-democracy demonstration in the streets of Iran. Then W. McMoran gave his Axis of Evil speech and topped it off with an Iraqi invasion. Kneecapped the reform movement he did.

  41. 41
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @28 Percent:

    IDEAS that swhould decide what ideas win it is not fair for B Hussein to STIFLE AMERICAN IDEAS about foreign policy by “dictating” what US foreing policy should be

    Your right. Pass the bottle.

  42. 42
    J. says:

    I wholeheartedly second your “Yes,” John Cole — and wholeheartedly say “Shut the fuck up” to Mike Pence, who just doesn’t get that the U.S. supporting and rooting for the dissenters could seriously backfire on us, and clearly has no long-term memory.

  43. 43
    freelancer says:

    I have specifically not argued for Obama’s speaking out for one side. What blog is this dude reading?

    To quote Ricky:
    I hate to say ‘atodaso’, but I fucking ‘atodaso’.

  44. 44
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Concur with yes. Now rinse and repeat, one Country to the east, and one Country to the west. There is nothing to accomplish in the Middle East.

  45. 45
    Ash says:

    @freelancer: Shorter Sullivan:

    WHERE’S THE GREEN TIE?

  46. 46
    McMillan says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I supported the guy all the way. I have a lot of personal admiration for him. His policies, however, have me worried and upset.

    I’m with you robertdsc. While I certainly appreciate him having some sense in situations like this, Obama’s certainly been a disappointment in other areas that I hoped for more. Just because we liked Obama better than the other guy, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to hold his feet to the fire when goes against what we want.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    gocart mozart says:

    Re: Shrub the kneecapper
    2001/2002? My memory is after 9/11, but before Iraq war.

  49. 49
    Laura W says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    You think we watch American Idol around this joint?

    Thanks for saying that! Phew! I totally forgot to plug “So You Think You Can Dance” into my Daytimer for tomorrow night and I would’ve totally forgotten since I thought I was gonna totally be away till late anyway. Which I am now not. Probably. Also. Totally.
    Laura W + 2
    (That means I’m having drinks with gex)

  50. 50
    28 Percent says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: ok, yeah, that one was weak, I’ll admit it.

    Still, I think the real question here is whether Blackwater (or whatever they call themselves now) decides to fill the “US swinging its dick around in other countries’ internal politics” gap, or if it’s some other outfit that steps up and launches “Sandanista II: Because Shut Up, That’s Why”

  51. 51
    Politically Lost says:

    I think an appropriate descriptor of some of Obama X’s policies is that they are very analogous to a slightly more back-boned Harry Reid.

    There are times when my maw drops in amazement when thinking of how Reid manages to walk upright. I just never imagined that a being without an exoskeleton could be ambulatory on two legs without the requisite calcium deposits surrounding the spinal cord. Freak of nature, that.

    There’s no other way to describe many of Obama’s domestic policies. He’s reversed himself on his campaign pledges and gone along with some of the worst Bush abuses.

    But, yeah. Thinking of McCain/Palin in the Whitehouse right now does tighten the sphincter to such an extent it could become a freshly honed straight razor.

  52. 52
    JL says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: WTF did he say? I read it twice and still could not figure it out. Was he saying that banks should be allowed to destroy the country? Was he saying that arms for hostages is okay? I could not figure out what he was ranting about.

  53. 53
    JL says:

    @Comrade Stuck: It’s okay our military has fought for the freedom that allows them to be hypocrites.

  54. 54
    Jon H says:

    One thing about the Iran protests: They sure put the teabaggers in their place.

  55. 55
    gocart mozart says:

    a Nevada source said, Ensign met with the husband of the woman involved and had what this source described as a positive encounter. Sources said that the man subsequently asked Ensign for a substantial sum of money – at which point Ensign decided to make the affair public. In his Las Vegas press conference, Ensign declined to give specifics about the woman involved but did say she and “her husband were close friends and both of them worked for me.”

    What happens in Vegas does not necessarily stay in Vegas I guess.
    Imagine if they weren’t close friends? Keep your enemies close and your friends closer or something.

    Also, HA! HA!

  56. 56
    Tsulagi says:

    Getting It

    No way. Obama needs to follow the brilliant thinking of the 101st Fighting Tweeters. Show our support sending ground forces in Iraq up to the Iranian border wearing green and sail all our carriers into the Gulf. That’d show them.

    Then when scared top turbans pass their own Patriot Act, start wiretapping grannies, tell their population “You’re either with us or agin us” then enhanced interrogate anyone not wearing an Iranian flag lapel pin with Khamenei’s picture on it, Obama would have an opportunity to say “No one could ever have predicted…”

  57. 57
    Jon H says:

    @gocart mozart: “a Nevada source said, Ensign met with the husband of the woman involved and had what this source described as a positive encounter. ”

    Who was the top, I wonder?

  58. 58
    PurpleGirl says:

    There is every reason for us to not to meddle in this crisis. If we ever want to have even somewhat peaceful relations with Iran and not give Ahmadinejad (or anyone else) ammunition for craziness, we have to stay out of their internal politics.

    The Iranian people have no reason to trust us. In 1941 we helped put Reza Pahlavi on the Peacock Throne as Shah in place of his father. In 1953 we helped Pahlavi stage a coup against Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and kept supporting Pahlavi as he made himself a autocratic one-party ruler. We supported him through his creation of the secret police and the use of torture. (Is this reminding people of another ruler who we helped?)

  59. 59
    beabea says:

    The second thing that I think’s important to recognize is that the easiest way for reactionary forces inside Iran to crush reformers is to say it’s the US that is encouraging those reformers.

    Is this not in itself a very subtle gesture of encouragement to the reformers, without explicitly saying so? In other words, “We don’t want you guys to get crushed, so we’re butting out.”

    Damn the guy is good. Just imagine St. Bomb McSame of Straight Talk in this situation.

  60. 60
    sloan says:

    Funny how all the wingnuts who are demanding a Big Angry Speech from Obama are the same ones who dismiss all of his other speeches as “just words” from Teh Teleprompter President.

    But now they act as though he’s a wizard who can cast a spell on Ahmedinejad with just a few magic words. No matter what Obama says their response will be the same: He shouldn’t have said that thing, he should have said the other thing! Obama killed the revolution!

    Of course they just want him intervene so they can blame him if and when this thing ends badly. (And if it somehow ends well you can expect them to give full credit to Bush.)

  61. 61
    Violet says:

    I’m glad Obama is my president. He’s not perfect, but he’s the best we’ve had in decades. His comments and observations on what’s happening in Iran are right on the money. I can’t even let myself imagine what would be happening if the other guy had won. *shudder*

  62. 62
    Cain says:

    @gocart mozart:

    Exactly cmoremc, many don’t remember that in 2002 there were huge pro-democracy demonstration in the streets of Iran. Then W. McMoran gave his Axis of Evil speech and topped it off with an Iraqi invasion. Kneecapped the reform movement he did.

    yeah, and I remember they were having candlelight vigils for the victims and Bush spit in their faces. When I think about it, I get so furious. God what a fucking disaster of a president. May a thousand fleas infect his dogs.

    cain

  63. 63
    Ash says:

    And George Packer still doesn’t get it

    Anyway, it’s impossible for the U.S. to “stay out of it.” A non-response is itself a response—one of tacit acceptance of the regime’s actions.

    Hurr durr.

    May a thousand fleas infect his dogs.

    Leave Barney out of it. :( It’s not his fault his master is such a stooge.

  64. 64
    Jon H says:

    @robertdsc: “He picked the wrong people for the econ team. The stimulus package being overly reliant on tax cuts. Cramdown was killed with nary a peep. He’s waffled on gay issues. Transparency is a joke. No accountability for torture. State secrets abuse. Backing up people like Specter who spit in his face. Preventative detention. Barring the Uighurs from coming to the US and foisting them off to Bermuda and Palau. Revised millitary commissions. No rights for detainees in Bagram.”

    As far as Obama continuing to argue for Bush’s policies in court, there is one explanation that would be a positive.

    If Obama simply rescinds or reverses the policies, there’d be nothing to stop future Presidents from putting them back in place.

    Taking the policies to court, however, can create legal precedents, that can be used to box future Presidents in.

    If I recall correctly, Bush often tried to avoid such tests, punting cases before they got to that stage, leaving the Bush/Cheney legal theories untested.

  65. 65
    Cain says:

    @Ash:

    Leave Barney out of it. :(

    Don’t worry, Barney will shake off the fleas on G.W. Doozle soon enough.

    cain

  66. 66
    chopper says:

    two things i am pleased as punch about:

    1) we have an intelligent president.

    2) 28% is back.

  67. 67
    jl says:

    Obama did the right thing again today. I also think parts of it are heavy handed and overly explicit in saying “we do not meddle”. But Obama has to address domestic U.S. political concerns. The nutball GOP will be trying to screw things up, either intentionally or unintentionally. Mike Pence (R nutball congressgoofass) wants a Congressional resolution supporting “the forces for democracy” or some such thing.

    I think that is fine for an individual to do, but very bad and counterproductive for the U.S. government to do.

  68. 68
    Cain says:

    @Jon H:

    If I recall correctly, Bush often tried to avoid such tests, punting cases before they got to that stage, leaving the Bush/Cheney legal theories untested.

    An excellent point. He could easily say “I tried, but the courts won.. sorry”. Nobody can touch him at that point. If he wins, he can easily modify it to suit his needs.

    I think the fact that he didn’t release those photos right before those elections was a very good thing. So for all of Greenwald’s bitching about it the end result might be a good thing after all. After a little amount of time I bet he would release them… After a court battle I suspect. But if you want to heal the middleast showing pics of us torturing makes us a poor negotiating partner I suspect especially if after the release we don’t do anything about it. I suspect congress has no stomach thanks to our two democratic leaders of doing anything substantial.

    cain

  69. 69
    beabea says:

    @cain

    God what a fucking disaster of a president. May a thousand fleas infect his dogs.

    Aw, haven’t those dogs suffered enough, what with all the Barney-cam nonsense and just daily life with that sociopath?

    I wonder if Barney started biting reporters near the end, in one desperate, last-ditch attempt to get the f**k out:

    “Maybe if I bite, animal control will haul me off. It’s worth a try; nothing else has worked.”

    But I wouldn’t mind seeing Dubya suffer an incurable flea infestation, preferably while in prison.

    And I agree with your main point; there were positive developments in our relationship with Iran until those Axis of EEVIL clowns flushed it all down the toilet.

    Edit: Sorry, cain–didn’t mean to pile on. Looks like others came to Barney’s defense while I was writing this.

  70. 70
    John Cole says:

    @Ash: Get used to it. The wurlitzer is in full motion, and Sully got himself a couple rolls of quarters. Kaplan was arguing in Slate that we need to disengage from Iran (when did we engage), and you can hear it ratcheting up. We need to DO SOMETHING. ED Morrisey tells us Reagan was not silent about Poland! Ed then tells us the current situation was nothing like Poland, but still, Reagan! Pence and McCain have gone full metal wingnut. Epic struggle against good and evil. Just like WWII

    Couple more weeks of screaming fascism, painting our faces green, and we’ll be ready for some heavy-handed sanctions and maybe some bombing runs.

    I’ve said it before, but I think this may be my punishment for being such a douchebag in 2003-2005 with Iraq. For my sins, I get to participate in the sequel in 2009, with the same plotline, just this time I get to play the role of the dirty fucking hippy watching it all unfold.

  71. 71
    Cain says:

    May a thousand pigeons shit on Mike Pence’s tailored suit.

    cain

  72. 72
    TenguPhule says:

    I’ve said it before, but I think this may be my punishment for being such a douchebag in 2003-2005 with Iraq.

    Yep.

    And just wait till you see the punishment for voting for Reagan!

  73. 73
    Comrade Stuck says:

    The wurlitzer is in full motion

    It does appear they’re getting the band together for another mission from God.

    Good for us — this time God is a DFH.

  74. 74
    Cain says:

    @John Cole:

    I’ve said it before, but I think this may be my punishment for being such a douchebag in 2003-2005 with Iraq. For my sins, I get to participate in the sequel in 2009, with the same plotline, just this time I get to play the role of the dirty fucking hippy watching it all unfold.

    At least, you’re not jumping in full steam ahead. I like Sullivan’s coverage, but yeah, I’m not so much in the particpation green stuff. Some part of me cynically believes that this is like War of the Worlds radio broadcast. The only reason I don’t is that I have a friend whose brother is in danger running around in Tehran. He’s safe now, but who knows? (the brother got me some awesome awesome pomegranate paste for making persian dishes)

    cain

  75. 75
    TenguPhule says:

    May a thousand fleas infect his dogs.genitals & his clan die out in a generation. </blockquote<

    Fixed.

  76. 76
    Ash says:

    I’ve said it before, but I think this may be my punishment for being such a douchebag in 2003-2005 with Iraq. For my sins, I get to participate in the sequel in 2009, with the same plotline, just this time I get to play the role of the dirty fucking hippy watching it all unfold.

    Well, it’s not quite the same. For once, this time you are on the side of (mostly) good. Therefore, you don’t have to suffer sitting around helpless as the world goes completely to shit, while those in power call you treasonous.

    The best punishment would be be something along the lines of having your soul transported into Jonah Goldberg’s body.

  77. 77
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @Jon H:

    I think it means they crossed swords.

  78. 78
    TenguPhule says:

    The best punishment would be be something along the lines of having your soul transported into Jonah Goldberg’s body.

    That violates the Geneva Conventions, good taste and my stomach.

  79. 79
    Zach says:

    If you want to get really pissed off at Bush on Iran, read James Dobbins (or watch/listen to a speech).

    Many believe that in the wake of Sept. 11, the United States formed an international coalition and toppled the Taliban. It would be more accurate to say that the United States joined a coalition that had been battling the Taliban for nearly a decade. This coalition — made up of Iran, India, Russia and the Northern Alliance, and aided by massive American airpower — drove the Taliban from power.

    It was, for instance, the Iranian delegate who first insisted that the agreement include a commitment to hold democratic elections in Afghanistan. This same Iranian persuaded the Northern Alliance to make the essential concession that allowed the meeting to conclude successfully.

    Check out his full testimony on negotiating with Iran for more. Bush’s disgusting decision to put international relations in jeopardy as he floundered around for a message (this is before democracy was the motive du jour) is, I think, the worst quality of his Presidency. It’s one thing to have an inconsistent public message; it’s another to inconsitently shift your actual policy to match your erratic rhetoric (obviously, the strategy in Iraq is another example of this).

    The axis of evil speech (and the policy that followed it) probably won him support for the war and the 2004 election, but the pointless inclusion of Iran was incredibly destructive. If you want to look for one time American projections of power actually changed thing in Iran (as opposed to wearing green), that’s Exhibit A.

  80. 80
    jl says:

    @Ash:

    A lot of people in the U.S. are projecting their own feelings, wishes, and prejudices, and even career interests on to what is going on in Iran. And they will goof and clown themselves by being totally wrong most of the time.

    If this is turning out to be a mass movement for real reform in Iran, there is no way at all anybody here can say what it all means or how it will evolve. Who the heck was Moussavi at the beginning of the campaign: a candidate from the reform faction of the powerful ayatollahs, who was just as moderate as Khatami, but probably a more sophisticated and hard edged political operator (despite his extremely cautious and soft-spoken demeanor).

    His election promised no big changes.

    Was Moussavi the same person at the end of the campaign? Is this still about who “won” the presidential election, that was bogus to begin with because all the candidates had to be approved? Who knows? Nobody knows, probably not even in Iran.

    From what I have read, reformers in Iran and US Iranian human rights groups have already said what they need right now. That is two things: IP addresses from internet experts, and for the U.S. government to stay the heck out of their business, except for statements that it supports human rights and democracy, and not to accept Friday’s election results.

    OK, done and done.

    If people, including arrogant foreign policy pundits, feel moved to do something, why not contact a US Iranian human rights groups and get involved that way?

  81. 81
    TenguPhule says:

    I think it means they crossed swords.

    More like asymmetrical docking.

  82. 82
    gwangung says:

    I’m glad Obama is my president. He’s not perfect, but he’s the best we’ve had in decades.

    He is SOOOOO not perfect.

    But that means we pressure him, not abandon him. (Which means, if we don’t pressure, we’re not going to get what we want anyway).

  83. 83
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Ask-Imam on democracy, AKA why Iraq and Afghanistan were lost upon the adoption of their Constitutions:

    One of the primary flaws in a democratic system is that ‘majority view’ is accepted. This is irrespective of whether the ‘majority view’ conforms to Shari’a or not. In an Islāmic system, views that conform to Shari’a are accepted and views against Shari’a are rejected, though it may be the ‘majority view’. This flaw could be deduced from the following verse.

    “If you obey the majority of those on earth, they will make you lose the way of Allah”. [6:116]

    The whole answer is interesting.

  84. 84
    PaulW says:

    Couple more weeks of screaming fascism, painting our faces green, and we’ll be ready for some heavy-handed sanctions and maybe some bombing runs.

    Doesn’t that sound a lot like a Scottish soccer match between Rangers and Celtics?

    Seriously, I do think Obama won’t take it that far, no matter how much the neocons scream about it. If the Khamenei/Amhad faction does survive this (which I’m starting to think is unlikely, Khamenei will cut Amhad loose to save his own job as ayatollah), expect targeted sanctions and more strenuous action policing Iran’s nuclear program, but that’ll be it. If Rafjan/Mousavi prevail, see some social reforms and more relatively secular lifestyles for the populus but expect the gov’t to remain focused on their nuclear program and remaining major players in the region.

  85. 85
    AhabTRuler says:

    this time I get to play the role of the dirty fucking hippy watching it all unfold.

    It’s a great feeling isn’t it. Now I can finally say: “Welcome to the club.”

  86. 86
    JK says:

    I’m thanking God every hour that John “Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran” McCain is not President and that Sarah “the airheaded field dressing moose killer” Palin is not Vice President.

  87. 87
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    I think the Repugs know exactly what would happen if Obama spoke out against the election results in Iran and in support of the protesters. They know that it would only bolster the hardliners rhetoric that the big bad US of A is meddling in their affairs like they did in 1953.

    They want confrontation with Iran and they will use anyone, including the Iranian people fighting for change in their country, to achieve their own goals. So what if our official support is with the protesters and so what if that support riles the hardliners? Who cares if it ends up causing more death and destruction?

    They want war with Iran, end of story. No matter what Obama does, they are going to find fault with it and the press will probably go along and report it as if it is fact.

    Obama has it right.

  88. 88
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @John Cole:

    Remember when we we all Georgians?

    That was great.

  89. 89
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gwangung:

    But that means we pressure him, not abandon him. (Which means, if we don’t pressure, we’re not going to get what we want anyway).

    I’m all for people keeping the pressure on — I knew from the start that we’d have to do it, because Obama is a centrist by personality and politics and the center has been pulled too far right. I think the GLBT community should be outraged and pissed off right now, and they should be flooding the White House with calls, e-mails and letters to say so.

    I do get annoyed with the facile “Obama=Bush!” formulation I’ve seen too many people using. If you can’t see any difference whatsoever between Obama’s stimulus package and Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy, well, I can’t help you.

  90. 90
    Laura W says:

    @John Cole:

    I’ve said it before, but I think this may be my punishment for being such a douchebag in 2003-2005 with Iraq.

    For your sins, you get to be our douchebag in 2009.
    See how everything always comes together for good for those who love Dog?

  91. 91
    Redshirt says:

    What’s to stop the Wingnuts from intentionally making provocative statements intended to give ammo to the Supreme Leader? Seriously? Is that treason, or just that First Amendment our brave lady and men soldiers over there fighting for our freedoms?

    I’d like to say their honor and sense of duty to country would prevent them. But c’mon! We all know what’s what with that: Wingers have no sense of honor, no sense of real duty to one’s country. All they care about is “winning the day” or otherwise trying to punk Liberals.

    So, I’m dubious. I won’t be surprised if they continue to ramp up their dialogue and condemnations of Obama.

    Who I think is doing an awesome job. Almost perfect, actually. And to those supporters who have now turned against him (which has seemed to have happened all over the internets), I ask, seriously again: Do you not trust him? Because I do, and I am certainly not prepared to criticize our President in this most critical juncture in our country’s history.

    Regarding this crisis our country faces – which is nearly all-encompassing – he’s been near perfect. I challenge anyone to prove otherwise. And before anyone lists this policy or that campaign pledge, I ask you to consider the full scope of our current crisis: Economic, social, political spheres all in crisis; wars raging all over the world with plenty more ready to happen; a global environmental crisis that threatens to seriously impact mankind; and so on — there’s more! And through it all, Obama has calmed America, the World, and begun changing the course of this massive ship which is our collective societies. Heck, more Americans think we’re on the right track now, a first in a long time. That says a lot.

  92. 92
    Darkrose says:

    @gnomedad:

    What makes you think Darkrose is drinking?

    If I wasn’t a) at work and b) having a migraine, I totally would be.

  93. 93
    matoko_chan says:

    That is so perfect, especially the no meddling part.
    I am an Obamotaku, and proud of it.
    He rings all my cultural chimes.

    Teacher: Earth-That-Was could no longer sustain our numbers, we were so many. We found a new solar system, dozens of planets and hundreds of moons. Each one terraformed, a process taking decades, to support human life, to be new Earths. The Central Planets formed the Alliance. Ruled by an interplanetary parliament, the Alliance was a beacon of civilization. The savage outer planets were not so enlightened and refused Alliance control. The war was devastating, but the Alliance’s victory over the Independents ensured a safer universe. And now everyone can enjoy the comfort and enlightenment of our civilization.

    Young River: People don’t like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don’t run, don’t walk. We’re in their homes and in their heads and we haven’t the right. We’re meddlesome.

  94. 94
    Irony Abounds says:

    I just not all that sure how really big a revolution can be that uses “Twitter” as its main weapon.

    Frankly, I’m happy Obama is pissing off both the right and the left. That tells me he’s on the right course. Not to mention the fact that even a Magical Unity Pony can’t just come to Washington, wave a wand, and get whatever he wants. Much of the problems lies in Congress, where the Ben Nelson’s and the rest of the “moderate” Dems hold a key edge to getting anything done.

    Finally, on the subject of the mortgage cramdown, I’m not sure giving homeowners that right in bankruptcy really would solve anything. If someone has to go to bankruptcy, losing a home isn’t the biggest issue and maybe, just maybe, they really aren’t in a position to own a home. The key to the housing problem is to get the prices down to their natural level. Foreclosures, as nasty as they may be, will do that faster.

  95. 95
    windy says:

    Remember when we we all Georgians?

    about that…
    Police in Georgia beat opposition protesters

  96. 96
    Brachiator says:

    @Darkrose:

    I have to say that it’s awesome to have a President with a clue.

    Obama is saying pretty much exactly what he should say as president. That is, this is the kind of foreign policy wonk speech that is suitable for public consumption, and which will not unnecessarily rile up the Iranian government.

    I hope that what is going on via back channels is more substantial.

    It is also bullpuckey. If the Iranian government wants to crush the protesters, it will do so because it suits its purpose, not because of anything that the US says or does not say. And certainly not because of the past history of Western (not simply US) meddling in Iranian affairs.

    So what I’ve said is, `Look, it’s up to the Iranian people to make a decision.

    Whatever one thinks about what is happening in Iran, it’s pretty much clear that the ability of the people to make a decision is severely constrained by the government’s ability to exclude candidates from consideration.

    And apart from, perhaps, the breakup of the former Soviet Union, it is damned rare for any country to shake off authoritarian rule without the assistance of some outside foreign power.

    El Cid – For example, it should be probably be preferable as an individual U.S. citizen to express solidarity with the rights and well-being of ordinary Iranian citizens without being seen as simple partisans of one or other local political candidates—and this for not only moral, but practical reasons as well.

    Yep. Yep. This is about the best that can be done under the circumstances.

    Obama has returned to realpolitik, and in the absence of saber-rattling, it is a huge improvement over the Bush/Cheney neocon voodoo. But to fall all over Obama for saying something that could have been crafted by Henry Kissinger is not nearly as enlightened as people want to believe.

  97. 97
    Texas Dem says:

    Want to know what a McCain presidency would have been like?

  98. 98
    iluvsummr says:

    @Texas Dem: Not really. Hence the vote.

    I do like the fact that he’s getting a new Ford Fusion Hybrid though. At least he’s using his non-presidency to support Detroit.

  99. 99
    Texas Dem says:

    Want to know what a McCain/Palin presidency would have been like? Remember that scene from The Dead Zone? “The Missiles Are Flying! Halleleujah! Halleleujah!” Enough said.

  100. 100

    @Brachiator:

    It is also bullpuckey. If the Iranian government wants to crush the protesters, it will do so because it suits its purpose, not because of anything that the US says or does not say. And certainly not because of the past history of Western (not simply US) meddling in Iranian affairs.

    Do you work at being stupid or does it come naturally? The US stance is not aimed at the fucking Mullahs beyond not pissing them off pointlessly, it is about the society’s perception of the US. You bring the point that theocrats will do as they please with their election to BJ as though it is some newsflash? You’re damn near as smart as the Republican dipshits giving more credence to US interference in the populace’s mind. That piece of propaganda has played endlessly to support the Mullahs and who exactly is propaganda aimed at? The Mullahs???

    Bring a better game, you suck at this.

  101. 101
    TenguPhule says:

    Do you work at being stupid or does it come naturally?

    My money is on A, it takes effort to be that idiotic and build the level of strawmen that Brach specializes in.

  102. 102
    omen says:

    @Brachiator:

    And apart from, perhaps, the breakup of the former Soviet Union, it is damned rare for any country to shake off authoritarian rule without the assistance of some outside foreign power.

    you belittle the public pressure brought to bear from people who grew grassroots campaigns into a mass movement that worked to oust dictators musharraf in pakistan and charles taylor in liberia. how can anybody deny that revolutionary trends are in the air?

  103. 103

    @TenguPhule:

    I probably should have asked if he played at it, as well. It just wasn’t a very good effort.

    Your one sentence is superior work with less effort.

  104. 104
    grumpy realist says:

    Gee, don’t remember the “outside power” that was responsible for the final success of the French Revolution.

    And I hope you’re not so clueless to say that *Holland* was responsible for the Great Revolution in England?!

  105. 105
    bjacques says:

    @99 Texas Dem:

    I always liked that Martin Sheen played both President Greg Stillson in The Dead Zone *and* President Jed Bartlett in The West Wing.

    “Gentlemen, I have fulfilled my destiny.”

  106. 106
    Persia says:

    @drillfork:

    Actually, on gay stuff, Wall Street stuff, rule of law stuff, covering Bush’s ass stuff, healthcare stuff (wait for it) and all sorts of other stuff, Obama sucks out loud.

    This. So far I’m pretty disappointed. But I am deeply grateful we have a grown-up in charge of foreign policy.

  107. 107
    someguy says:

    This is the only approach: support human rights by not supporting them, because if the U.S. supports human rights, the cause will be discredited.

    I think that was the Bush Administration approach. In fact, I think they followed this approach to the point of violating human rights as much as possible. Who knew they were actually supporting human rights at the time?

  108. 108

    […] Iranian election “results” in Tehran, Do You Use Twitter And Want To Help Iranian Bloggers?, Getting It, That’s No Way To Steal An Election, Iran limits foreign news coverage…, and Iran’s […]

  109. 109
    x says:

    Pitch perfect

  110. 110
    Brachiator says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Bring a better game, you suck at this.

    What I most enjoy about your replies is that you are good at insult and reaction, but bad at anything that demonstrates an actual knowledge of politics or history.

    The US stance is not aimed at the fucking Mullahs beyond not pissing them off pointlessly, it is about the society’s perception of the US.

    Let’s review. Obama’s actual words were: “The second thing that I think’s important to recognize is that the easiest way for reactionary forces inside Iran to crush reformers is to say it’s the US that is encouraging those reformers. ”

    Not much here about the society’s perception of the U.S., as if anyone would give a rat’s ass.

    You bring the point that theocrats will do as they please with their election to BJ as though it is some newsflash?

    Apparently, it is a newsflash to Obama and to those who quote his words as though he were delivering Churchillian wisdom.

    omen – you belittle the public pressure brought to bear from people who grew grassroots campaigns into a mass movement that worked to oust dictators musharraf in pakistan and charles taylor in liberia.

    No, I belittle the lie that revolutions are successful without outside influence. Musharraf’s ouster was not really a revolution, and even here I doubt that it would have happened had not the US not applied pressure (and let’s not forget the absolute idiocy of the US pushing for Mrs Bhutto to go back to Pakistan to share power with Musharraf).

    Pressure on Charles Taylor came from a number of groups, including the LURD. LURD was sponsored by the government of Guinea. Another group was allowed to operate from bases in the Ivory Coast, and may have been supported by that nation’s government. Scratch deeper and you might find CIA involvement as well.

    grumpy realist – Gee, don’t remember the “outside power” that was responsible for the final success of the French Revolution.

    The French Revolution was a success? But I’ll grant you this one, even though we have to go back 200 years. On the other hand, you must grant the involvement of the French in the American Revolution.

    And I hope you’re not so clueless to say that Holland was responsible for the Great Revolution in England?!

    Do you mean The Glorious Revolution of 1688? One thing I’ve always found interesting about this is that by inducing the stadtholder of Guelders, Holland, Zealand, Utrecht and Overijssel into becoming William III of England, various factions were able to undermine the humanistic and progressive Dutch Republic.

    Bottom line: Obama’ caution is a realistic, calm and measured reaction, and a welcome antidote to GOP bombast.

    But I give him more props for this, which certainly counts for meddling (With a Hint to Twitter, Washington Taps Into a Potent New Force in Diplomacy).

    Yet on Monday afternoon, a 27-year-old State Department official, Jared Cohen, e-mailed the social-networking site Twitter with an unusual request: delay scheduled maintenance of its global network, which would have cut off service while Iranians were using Twitter to swap information and inform the outside world about the mushrooming protests around Tehran.

    And I like even more the plausible deniability: “The State Department said its request did not amount to meddling. Mr. Cohen, they noted, did not contact Twitter until three days after the vote was held and well after the protests had begun.”

    Go Obama.

    And again, clearly some in Iran are seeking the world’s support:

    An account called StopAhmadi wrote on Tuesday evening, “We need ppl around world helping to raise the issues put pressure on Iranian gvmt.”

    So, as the old union song asks, Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

  111. 111
    Darkrose says:

    @Brachiator:

    Apparently, it is a newsflash to Obama and to those who quote his words as though he were delivering Churchillian wisdom.

    Except no one was saying that his words were “Churchillian wisdom”. The point is that the Cheney administration, who blew an opportunity for a thawing of relations with Iran immediately after 9/11, and Senator “Bomb Iran” McCain are wrong, and it’s refreshing that the guy in the Oval Office right now has enough sense to know when the U.S. needs to step back and not be seen as trying to play puppetmaster.

    No, I belittle the lie that revolutions are successful without outside influence.

    Now that’s certainly true. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was successful in part because the mullahs were able to paint it as the People vs. the Great Satan. Having a common enemy that was viewed as a colonialist, imperialist power only interested in Iran’s oil wealth helped hold an uneasy coalition of secularists, communists, and theocrats together long enough to oust the Shah and replace him with religious fanatics. Our “outside influence” worked well there.

  112. 112
    Bender says:

    The second thing that I think’s important to recognize is that the easiest way for reactionary forces inside Iran to crush reformers is to say it’s the US that is encouraging those reformers. So what I’ve said is, `Look, it’s up to the Iranian people to make a decision. We are not meddling.’

    One would hope that Obama realizes he’s talking complete rubbish…but I doubt that’s the case. Of course, as anyone who isn’t as gullible as The Zero! (and BJ drones and Big Media) would’ve already figured out, Iran reactionaries will just blame the US for everything anyway. Come on, 100 comments and not one Obot has bothered to read a paper and state the obvious? NAIVETY = FAIL.

    As the owner of his own propaganda bureau, Zero! should know that the truth doesn’t matter with a state-run media. When a lie best serves the government (be it Tehran or the Obama White House), a lie will be told.

    So who does Obama think is going to believe that “We are not meddling”? Among the Iranian people, only the Tweeters whom US support might aid will ever even hear Obama’s sweet nothings. The non-Tweets will only hear the Iranian state message of US interference and rabble-rousing a hundred times a day, from their media, their mullahs, and their madrases.

    And, as was astutely stated before (how’d that guy get on BJ?), what on Earth has convinced Obama that what he says makes any difference to Iran’s leaders at all? They’ll do exactly what they want to do with the protesters, regardless of Obama’s noodle-armed dithering.

    The Iranian hardliners will still hate the US for perceived “meddling,” and will crush the dissidents as they please, while the more moderate new guard, whatever the outcome, may well resent the US for non-support.

    Where’s the epic win in that?

    So, in the end, this message wasn’t really intended for anyone except the media and the Obots (BIRM), who can now reflexively gush, “Isn’t he measured and brilliant? I get a thrill up my leg! I betchoo McCain woulda just blowed them clean up!”

    And perhaps Obama was put into a tricky corner by Ahmalphabetijad. Maybe Chicago’s own AcornFraud McBlackPanther just doesn’t feel comfortable railing against vote fraud and polling-place intimidation. For some reason.

  113. 113
    Brachiator says:

    @Darkrose:

    Except no one was saying that his words were “Churchillian wisdom”. The point is that the Cheney administration, who blew an opportunity for a thawing of relations with Iran immediately after 9/11, and Senator “Bomb Iran” McCain are wrong, and it’s refreshing that the guy in the Oval Office right now has enough sense to know when the U.S. needs to step back and not be seen as trying to play puppetmaster.

    The plain fact is that Obama is very astutely avoiding inflammatory language while indirectly providing what assistance he can, even if it was only helping to keep Twitter activity going. We don’t know what is going on behind the scenes.

    I commend this. But Obama’s actions is not the same as the odd consensus for liberal isolationism that many posters yearn for.

    Posters keep bringing if references to Cheney and McCain as if any sane person would endorse them or as if they are relevant to the conversation. I don’t endorse them, nor are they relevant to any point that I have raised.

    Now that’s certainly true [No, I belittle the lie that revolutions are successful without outside influence]. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was successful in part because the mullahs were able to paint it as the People vs. the Great Satan. Having a common enemy that was viewed as a colonialist, imperialist power only interested in Iran’s oil wealth helped hold an uneasy coalition of secularists, communists, and theocrats together long enough to oust the Shah and replace him with religious fanatics. Our “outside influence” worked well there.

    Irrelevant to my point. It’s funny. Even John Cole acknowledges that outsiders, and American foreigners to boot, in the form of Lane Kirkland and the AFL-CIO, provided aid to Poland’s Solidarity movement. There is an article that discusses this here (How American Unions Helps Solidarity Win).

    And this was my only point. Yes, the US has meddled horribly in various countries. I guess this calls for an international time-out. Whether this should disqualify the US from doing anything but offering humanitarian aid, but otherwise not acting in the world stage, or in the Middle East, is an interesting debating point, but otherwise an idle dream.

    And the plain fact is that pretending that resistance movements have been and must be solely home-grown affairs is an infantile fantasy and just flat out historically incorrect.

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