also too

We sort of just declared war on Iran. Right? The State Department would not claim that Iran more or less tried to start a terrorist war in DC for no good reason. After all, we do not just toss that sort of casus belli out there without having a hell of a lot of confidence in the source.

By ‘we’ I mean the people in charge right now. Not the last bunch, who did do that. A bunch of times. And who Obama is a lot better than.

***Update***

Since everyone asked, the plot is not to blow up a bus. That would be bad enough. The idea of murdering the Israeli and Saudi ambassadors in DC, plus maybe sorta blowing up an embassy, is seriously over the top. It is a political act specifically targeted to create the maximum international chaos for us. Assuming that an IRGC link exists and can be proved, it is ipso facto an aggressive act in which the ‘proxy’ part of proxy war is thin enough to read through. As someone at TPM said, via the comments here, John Bolton’s boner can be seen from space.

Not all acts of war become a war. In this case (again, taking the allegations at face value) it won’t. The costs vastly outweigh any possible benefit even if decent military options existed, which they do not. We will talk some more and strengthen sanctions some more and maybe demand some accountability from whoever in Iran cannot manage to wash their hands of it. But seriously. The allegations paint a serious effort to damage America’s international standing through violence on our soil. No dancing around it, that is a casus belli. Even if, like me, you hope like hell that the Iran issue never comes to blows, that is disturbing.






179 replies
  1. 1
    Veritas78 says:

    “Declared war”? Well, arrested a guy and issued a warrant for another guy. Low thresholds these days, I guess.

  2. 2
    4tehlulz says:

    Jews did it.

  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m not where the “sort of declared war” part is coming from, since the primary action seems to be even more economic sanctions and a big public scolding. Did I read the article wrong?

    Personally, I’m waiting for the screams from Congress that these guys are way too dangerous to be tried and have to be sent to Gitmo. I’m hoping those idiots can be rebuffed since it sounds like the suspects are already in the civilian justice system anyway.

    (Edited)

  4. 4
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m not where the “sort of declared war” part is coming from

    Tendentious is the new black.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    WTF? Are you high?

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    WTF? Declared war on Iran? I’m currently out of the country and also out in the countryside and pretty much cut off from news. Just got internet access and see this post. What even happened?

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    As I saw posted in TPM comments, Bolton’s boner can be seen from space. Should it last more than four hours, head for the shelters.

  8. 8
    Tim F. says:

    @Veritas78: Blowing up other people’s ambassadors on US soil is a not insignificant act. If the IRG really did sponsor this (and we can prove it) then it is the kind of ridiculously over the top smoking gun that Cheney’s staff desperately wished for and never got.

  9. 9
    4tehlulz says:

    So war with Iran and the EU could die today.

    Just another day for you and me in paradise.

  10. 10
    Tom Hilton says:

    Um, no:

    A senior administration official said the Treasury Department planned to announce new sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

    Sanctions != war.

    You’re usually much better than this, Tim.

  11. 11
    Gilles de Rais says:

    We sort of just declared war on Iran. Right?

    Not really seeing anything in the linked source that could lead me to such a conclusion.

  12. 12
    wrb says:

    That is why they want to decriminalize domestic violence in Kansas.

    To avoid war.

  13. 13
    Tom Hilton says:

    @Tim F.: And Cheney would have used it to start a war. If you read the article, you see that the President isn’t.

    That’s kind of a huge difference.

  14. 14
    Nied says:

    While Iran’s involvement could certainly be considered an act of war, I’m thinking it’s more likely we’ll use this as a reason to ratchet up the sanctions pressure on the Iranian Govt. Either so that it reaches the point that they capitulate on their nuclear program or that the Iranian population gets fed up enough for the “Green revolution II: Electric Boogaloo” to make it moot.

  15. 15
    Steve says:

    Alleging that Iran has done something that we would be entitled to treat as an act of war is not the same thing as declaring war on Iran. We get to choose how to respond. Also too, Eric Holder does not work in the State Department.

  16. 16
    David in NY says:

    Did occur to me that this was a classic basis for declaring war.

    Also occurred to me that I want to know the extent to which our own government agents hatched the plot before I get all worried about those Iranians.

  17. 17
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @4tehlulz: The death of the EU sure seems to have been priced into the FTSE (down 0.06% on the day) and DAX (up 0.33%)….

  18. 18
    4tehlulz says:

    Just a reminder that sometimes elections do matter.

    Seriously, does anyone really believe that McCain wouldn’t be carpet bombing Tehran by now?

  19. 19
    My Truth Hurts says:

    Aren’t a lot of his people the “last bunch”?

  20. 20
    MBunge says:

    So…we should have arrested that guy in Yemen INSTEAD of blowing him to Hell. But now, arresting this guy in the U.S. will STILL lead to us blowing people to Hell? Somebody’s knee is jerking here and it’s not mine.

    Mike

  21. 21
    soonergrunt says:

    Doesn’t look like anything other than a couple of guys who may be connected to one quasi-governmental organization in another country being indicted for attempting to commit a criminal act.
    It’s a hell of a leap from that which is alleged to carpet bombing Tehran. Nobody in the US government is making that leap so far as I can tell.

  22. 22
    patroclus says:

    I thought declarations of war required an Act of Congress, or, at the very least, military authorization from the Commander-in-Chief. This seems to me more in the nature of an arrest and the issuing of a warrant by the U.S. Department of Justice.

  23. 23
    Alex says:

    From what I’ve heard, we avoided declaring war by arresting someone. If they did go through with the plot, I would think a war would hav happened. But now we can say “no harm no foul” and everyone pretends things are cool. Plus sanctions, because that’s an easy way to respond.

  24. 24

    @Violet:

    Relax.

    The feds intercepted a plot, perhaps sponsored by Iran, to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US and the Israeli ambassador to the US.

    What next? Dunno.

  25. 25
    Ugh says:

    Tim’s referencing comments at the press conference. Josh Marshall at TPM also noted that the administration seems to be pressing the point hard that this was an Iranian gov’t operation.

    The administration will use this to ratchet up sanctions, and then if they decide there needs to be some bombings, will cite the plot as a reason to do so (probably not the only one).

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tim F.:

    If the IRG really did sponsor this (and we can prove it) then it is the kind of ridiculously over the top smoking gun that Cheney’s staff desperately wished for and never got.

    But Cheney’s not in charge anymore, which is why we’re not actually at war with Iran.

    Admit it — you’re just trying to get mclaren to rear her ugly head by throwing her some trollbait, aren’t you?

  27. 27
    Lysana says:

    I’m detecting something close to black humor in this. As it stands, yeah, we’re still being diplomatic instead of flying drones into Ahmadinejad’s front door, so there you are.

  28. 28
    Ugh says:

    @David in NY:

    The complaint alleges that, of all the mexican drug traffickers the guy in the U.S. could have picked to carry out the plot, the one he picked happened to be a U.S. informant. Convenient.

  29. 29
    4tehlulz says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Dude, the markets went up 5% because Sarkozy and Merkel admitted Greece was doomed would agree to agree about recapitalizing banks.

    Their opinions are invalid forever.

  30. 30
    Ugh says:

    You can read the complaint here.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    BTW, assuming the allegations of direct ties to Iran’s government are true, this was a pretty rock-stupid thing for them to pull. One wonders if they have some of their own Arab Spring bubblings that they’re desperately trying to suppress, and nothing rallies the Iranian people like having the Great Satan throwing their weight around.

    Which is why I think we will not be bombing Tehran anytime soon. For all of their other faults, the president and the SoS are not that stupid.

  32. 32
    Violet says:

    @Linda Featheringill:Thanks, Linda. I have to say, it did catch me a bit off guard. War with Iran is not something I’d expect this administration to be actively looking for an excuse to start.

  33. 33
    Tom Hilton says:

    @Ugh: Oh well, then–speculation about what the administration might do with this totally trumps what they’re actually doing now.

    Pathetic.

  34. 34
    gelfling545 says:

    Only if “sort of declaring war” is synonymous with “speaking really sternly.”

  35. 35
    Ugh says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    You think if the U.S. decides it needs to bomb Iran, that this won’t be near the top of the list of reasons? I’m not saying that this will be the reason to do it, but it certainly would be cited if they do.

    Also convenient in the complaint, the Iranian based conspirator is alleged to have been involved in a bombing in Iraq (it doesn’t say against whom, but I’m sure the blanks will be filled in).

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ugh:

    Did you ever read Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent? My husband is absolutely convinced it’s a dark comedy because the main character infiltrates an anarchist terrorist group, only to discover that all of the other members of the group are also police infiltrators.

  37. 37
    Nied says:

    @Steve:

    Alleging that Iran has done something that we would be entitled to treat as an act of war is not the same thing as declaring war on Iran. We get to choose how to respond. Also too, Eric Holder does not work in the State Department.

    Put this better than I did.

    See also: South Korea’s reaction to the North torpedoing one of their warships in international waters.

  38. 38
    Amir Khalid says:

    Well, the Cheney Bush administration would have declared war over less than this, that’s for sure. Maybe with an army of private contractors, because the ones in government uniforms are still otherwise occupied.
    What I’m wondering, though, is this. The CIA spent years hatching one cockamamie plot after another against Fidel Castro’s life, and that’s a big-time cassus belli if ever I saw one. Did Cuba ever even hint, however obliquely, at declaring war on the USA?

  39. 39
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, considering that this incident involves Muslims, I’m kind of surprised we haven’t already had 12 posts from matoko_chan/Hermione Granger-Weasley/Samara_Morgan/Whatever_the_fuck_she’s_calling_herself_today

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ugh:

    You think if the U.S. decides it needs to bomb Iran, that this won’t be near the top of the list of reasons?

    Yes, and? You seem to be making a very large logical leap from what actually happened to assuming that bombers must actually be in the air right now if the Justice Department made a public announcement of a criminal arrest.

  41. 41
    eemom says:

    Srsly, what a bunch of hysterical bullshit.

    Someone’s looking for an excuse to blame here, and it ain’t the WH.

  42. 42
    celtidragonchick says:

    The complaint says that the men hired by the two accused plotters were in fact confidential sources of the Drug Enforcement Agency. The men were later asked by the accused plotters whether they were knowledgeable in bomb-making, the complaint said, adding that Mr. Arbabsiar “was interested in, among other things, attacking an embassy of Saudi Arabia.”

    Oops.

  43. 43
    Pat says:

    *And who Obama is a lot better than.*

    Citation needed, foreign policy preferred.

  44. 44
    Cat Lady says:

    Isn’t this how we always wanted these sorts of things to be handled – more as a law enforcement action – hence Holder taking the stage – than a military action? I don’t think you can compare this to the Cheney admin at all, since this kind of shit is exactly what they were always trying to cook up in the secret undisclosed location to justify stupid vanity wars.

  45. 45
    Martin says:

    Well, not declared war by any measure, but it’s a serious and surprising diplomatic shot across the bow.

    The suggestion that Iran was backing an assassination attempt on US soil is pretty inflammatory.

    @Ugh: Convenient? A little post hoc ergo propter hoc problem there. If we had perfect knowledge of all plots, you’d have a point, but that’s impossible. The only plots we’re likely to even know about are those that involve informants. That’s, you know, why they’re called informants. So for all we know, all of the other traffickers are also involved in plots that we don’t know about.

    This is how idiotic conspiracy theories get going.

  46. 46
    soonergrunt says:

    @Amir Khalid: No, because playing the victim worked better for them than aggression would have. They were smart enough to know this. Also too, whatever else the Soviets might have been, they were in fact pretty pragmatic, and wouldn’t have hesitated to slit Castro’s throat if they thought he was putting the position at risk, and they certainly wouldn’t have gone to war over him.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    The allegations paint a serious effort to damage America’s international standing through violence on our soil. No dancing around it, that is a casus belli. Even if, like me, you hope like hell that the Iran issue never comes to blows, that is disturbing.

    I think that we got so used to Bush and Cheney crying wolf that we’ve almost forgotten that there actually are people out there who want to damage the US. They’re small in numbers and fortunately aren’t terribly competent, but they really do exist and aren’t just boogeymen made up by the right.

    It’s always disturbing to realize that a group of strangers wants you dead not because they have anything against you personally, but because of politics.

  48. 48
    Ugh says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Where did I say anything remotely close to “bombers in the air”? I just said that they will ratchet up sanctions (which I believe they said during the press conference) and “if” they decide to bomb Iran, this will be one of the reasons cited.

  49. 49
    PeakVT says:

    I’m just wondering how many wingers will be able to explain correctly who the Quds Force reports to. I’ll put the over/under at 27 15%.

  50. 50
    eemom says:

    The allegations paint a serious effort to damage America’s international standing through violence on our soil. No dancing around it, that is a casus belli. Even if, like me, you hope like hell that the Iran issue never comes to blows, that is disturbing.

    WHAT is disturbing? The possible truth of the allegations, or the clear implication in the un-updated part of your post that the Admin is making shit up as an excuse to bomb Iran?

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ugh:

    Again: yes, and? Were you shocked and surprised to find out that Pearl Harbor was one of the reasons cited for the US declaring war on Japan?

    ETA: I guess what I’m questioning here is why you think it’s somehow unfair to cite an attack on the US as a rationale for war.

  52. 52
    Tom Hilton says:

    One side question: does anyone else wonder if they held off on springing the trap until the hikers were freed? Because the timing kind of suggests that. In which case, well done.

  53. 53
    KG says:

    @Amir Khalid: Other than the Cuban missile crisis?

    In all seriousness, no. Mainly because the Soviets wouldn’t let them. But also because they knew they’d lose pretty quickly once an actual real blockade were to happen

  54. 54
    Ugh says:

    @Martin:

    That’s fair. I just note that footnote 14 of the complaint makes a vague reference to the U.S. based conspirator telling how he came to meet the FBI informant, without any further detail.

    I guess I’m dubious these days of “FBI foils plot!” when it seems in a great many cases there wouldn’t be any plot, or the plot wouldn’t have any chance of succeeding, were it not for the FBI’s informant/infiltration.

  55. 55
    Ugh says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Would we have declared war without Pearl Harbor?

    ETA to you ETA: I guess it’s not that it’s unfair, just that this seems so fantastical that I’m having a hard time believing it’s as simple as set forth in the complaint (and of statements at the press conference going WAY beyond what is alleged in the complaint).

  56. 56
    MTiffany says:

    @PeakVT:

    I’m just wondering how many wingers will be able to explain correctly who the Quds Force reports to.

    In their own minds? 100%
    In reality? Zero.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PeakVT:

    I did not know that (but I looked it up in Wikipedia). Veddy interesting. I don’t think very many people realize how little power the elected officials of Iran really have. Though it does seem to back up my “brewing popular rebellion in Iran” theory.

  58. 58
    Carl Nyberg says:

    How do we know that this plot is not a fraud?

    Would it be possible for people who are into the cloak-and-dagger stuff to get one or more Iranian to begin a plot to do this?

    Are there parties who do cloak-and-dagger stuff that have been trying to get the United States to use military force against Iran?

    What would Iran gain if this plot was successfully executed?

  59. 59
    eemom says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think that we got so used to Bush and Cheney crying wolf that we’ve almost forgotten that there actually are people out there who want to damage the US. They’re small in numbers and fortunately aren’t terribly competent, but they really do exist and aren’t just boogeymen made up by the right.

    exactly what I was thinking.

    So what are Holder et al supposed to do? Not prosecute suspected terrorists for fear of giving ammo to the warmongers, and idiot bloggers another excuse to say that Obama is the same as Bush?

  60. 60
    dmsilev says:

    @4tehlulz:

    Just a reminder that sometimes elections do matter.
    __
    Seriously, does anyone really believe that McCain wouldn’t be carpet bombing Tehran by now?

    McCain would have dropped dead from a stress-induced heart attack by about this time last year. Winky McStarburst would be in charge instead.

    I believe this may strengthen your point.

  61. 61
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    Fortunately, the Iranian government has in its possession a secret legal finding which allows this sort of thing. President Obama understands this.
    .
    .

  62. 62
    Carl Nyberg says:

    @Ugh:

    I’m dubious these days of “FBI foils plot!” when it seems in a great many cases there wouldn’t be any plot, or the plot wouldn’t have any chance of succeeding, were it not for the FBI’s informant/infiltration.

    Any media outlet that doesn’t acknowledge the U.S. public has ample reason to be skeptical of the government on these matters is a suspect source.

  63. 63
    Tom Hilton says:

    @dmsilev: But who would be in charge now? I mean, after Winky McStarburst quit halfway through her first term?

  64. 64
    MTiffany says:

    In case no one else has already said it: “This is good news for John McCain Michele Bachmann Rick Perry Chris Christie Mittens.”

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ugh:

    Good (and complicated) question. You certainly had factions in the US who wanted to step in as soon as Germany invaded Poland and/or Japan invaded China, and other vocal factions who did not. I think it would have been a lot harder to declare war without that attack, but I think the declaration was coming either way. Without that attack, the likelihood is that we would have declared war on Germany first rather than Japan.

  66. 66
    Cat Lady says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s always disturbing to realize that a group of strangers wants you dead not because they have anything against you personally, but because of politics.

    This. Which is why I waste no time discussing al-Alwaki’s killing or whatever the fuck the POS’s name was who tried to kill and promised to keep trying to kill innocent people because they were Americans, apparently making me one of history’s greatest monsters according to Greenwald and his fanbois.

  67. 67
    eemom says:

    @Ugh:

    just that this seems so fantastical

    uh, a coordinated plot to fly four planes into buildings would have seemed pretty fantastical on September 10, 2001.

  68. 68
    Martin says:

    No dancing around it, that is a casus belli. Even if, like me, you hope like hell that the Iran issue never comes to blows, that is disturbing.

    Well, part of the problem with going that far is establishing that those affiliated with Iran were doing so with the knowledge of the head of government. That’s not even suggested as far as I can tell.

    Iran isn’t like the US where government is by and large highly organized and accountable. I know we like to joke about how fucked the government is in this regard, but neither states nor the legislative bodies, judicial, or military would step out of line to this degree from the intentions of the executive branch.

    Iran does not have that kind of accountability. They don’t have those kinds of checks and balances. There’s a fair bit of freewheeling independence in various groups, not unlike Pakistan. Iran has two completely independent militaries. The one like ours which answers to the elected leaders, and the other which is designed to protect the religious leaders from the first military – and they’re both powerful, both can serve as aggressors, and both have their own agenda.

    Now, that doesn’t excuse something like this as it could indeed be cause for military action on our part, but how the US would react would depend on whether we want to recognize or ignore that reality. If we want to start a shooting war, we’d ignore that fact. If we want to send a message that Iran needs to clean their internal shit up, we’d recognize that fact and point it out, and put smaller consequences behind it (as would appear we’re doing). That’s what we have a State Department for – to look at something like this and work out what the real intention is. It’s entirely possible that it’s designed to provoke a military response by us and Israel to further some internal power play. Then we’d be fools to go along.

  69. 69
    El Cid says:

    Though the report clarifies that the location of the Saudi embassy the two wished to attack was unknown, ABC supposedly had sourcing which suggested Buenos Aires.

    Had the extreme case been true that these men were targeting the Saudi embassy within the US, that would either seem a freakishly rogue operation or one of the insanely stupidest moves an Iranian government ever could have initiated.

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Martin:

    The one like ours which answers to the elected leaders, and the other which is designed to protect the religious leaders from the first military – and they’re both powerful, both can serve as aggressors, and both have their own agenda.

    From the little bit I can gleam from the article and Wikipedia, this looks like it may be an action by that second military.

  71. 71
    Amir Khalid says:

    There’s not going to be war with Iran over this matter, the Obama administration just isn’t that dumb. But I note that the TPM story quotes AG Holder as blaming the plot on factions in the Iranian government, rather than the government; members of an arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, rather than the Corps itself; a member of the Quds Force, rather than the Quds Force itself.

    Is Holder being to careful not to inflame the international situation by directly accusing Iran of giving official sanction to the plot? Or is the Obama administration hinting at rogue elements within Iran?

  72. 72
    Tom Hilton says:

    Shorter Update: “My initial reaction was 100% bullshit, but I’m not going to admit it.”

    In other news, I’m declaring war against every blog that I have to refresh a dozen times just to get it to display line breaks. That would include Balloon Juice, and…well, Balloon Juice.

    We begin bombing in five minutes.

  73. 73

    I don’t know why Iran would bother with this kind of subterfuge. They can just send one of their agents (they can probably still reuse Ahmed Chalabi) to the pentagon, and we’ll drop a bomb wherever they’d like.

  74. 74
    Martin says:

    @Carl Nyberg:

    What would Iran gain if this plot was successfully executed?

    Iran is a complicated place. You’ve got minority factions in the government that would like to see the current regime overthrown that are sufficiently independent to do something like this. If this was successful and blamed on the active Iranian leadership, and spurred an aggressive response from the US and/or Israel, that might be exactly the lever those minority factions need to rise to power.

    False flag operations are not hypothetical. They actually do happen from time to time. And sometime there are people that are just nuts/sociopaths/radicals and will do these things regardless of the consequences. Every government has some of those as well.

  75. 75
    wrb says:

    @Carl Nyberg:

    What would Iran gain if this plot was successfully executed?

    That is what I’ve been wondering.

    What the fuck would they gain?

    Who would gain?

    American revelators?

    Israel?

    Are there any other possibilities?

  76. 76
    Ash Can says:

    Hell, if McCain had won the last election, we would have been bombing Iran long before this.

  77. 77
    soonergrunt says:

    @wrb: What do you know about internal Iranian politics?
    Not much, I’m guessing. It’s not like it’s a widely discussed field of knowledge. Just because something doesn’t make sense to you or me, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make a great deal of sense internally to the person or persons who may have kicked this off.

  78. 78
    Tom Hilton says:

    @Martin:

    And sometime there are people that are just nuts/sociopaths/radicals and will do these things regardless of the consequences. Every government has some of those as well.

    I’m seeing parallels in the GOP.

    Oops, that comment wasn’t good for comity. Sorry, James Joyner.

  79. 79
    Cain says:

    @dmsilev:

    McCain would have dropped dead from a stress-induced heart attack by about this time last year. Winky McStarburst would be in charge instead.

    And Winky will also carpet bomb the american coasts since clearly they are all communists and they are all in league with the muslim conspiracy.

  80. 80
    catclub says:

    @Amir Khalid: “Did Cuba ever even hint, however obliquely, at declaring war on the USA?”

    They must have never watched the movie “The Mouse that Roared”. Or decided they were too big to be considered a mouse.

  81. 81
    Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    From the little bit I can gleam from the article and Wikipedia, this looks like it may be an action by that second military.

    Which would be expected. They’re the ones that support Hamas and so on. We’ve had them tagged as a terrorist group for quite some time. Maybe not the entirety of the Republican Guard, but there are independent elements even within that group.

    Iran does not like this kind of laundry aired as they definitely want to be among firsts on the world stage and this makes them look like a bunch of fucking clowns.

  82. 82
    jwest says:

    This is quite a fortunate occurrence for Eric Holder. Judging from the press conference he had today, it sounds as if he personally swung from a helicopter to catch the would-be assassins. If everything is as presented, this could take the heat off of him for a few days.

  83. 83
    David in NY says:

    @wrb:

    What would Iran gain if this plot was successfully executed?

    Or Mexican drug lords? Or US undercover agents? Inquiring minds want to know.

  84. 84
    catclub says:

    @soonergrunt: This.
    “Just because something doesn’t make sense to you or me, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make a great deal of sense internally to the person or persons who may have kicked this off.”

    Saddam and his behavior about WMD’s was really about keeping the Iranians uncertain about his capabilities. The US did not figure into it very deeply.

  85. 85
    El Cid says:

    From the Guardian, quoting the actual complaint:

    Arbabsiar is alleged to have told the DEA agent that the assassination needed to go forward, despite mass casualties, telling him:
    __
    “They want that guy [the ambassador] done [killed]. If the hundred go with him, fuck ’em.” The agent and Arbabsiar allegedly discussed bombing a restaurant in the United States that the Ambassador frequented.
    __
    When the agent noted that others could be killed in the attack, including US senators who dine at the restaurant, Arbabsiar allegedly dismissed these concerns as “no big deal”.

    This does not sound very rational. It doesn’t sound like the sort of internal plot which would take into account the leveling of much of Tehran, or, who knows, auto production facilities, or whatever, given that this would be an attack on the low end of a scale of resemblance to 9/11, and not long after the 10th year anniversary.

  86. 86

    @Carl Nyberg:

    What would Iran gain if this plot was successfully executed?

    From a practical standpoint, I would guess that they wouldn’t benefit at all. However, the implication of your posts, taken together, is that U.S. foreign policy is driven entirely by rogues, idiots, sociopaths and those who stand to benefit while the country suffers, while Iranian foreign policy is driven entirely by rational self-interest. As such, we can jump straight from a conclusion that this action wouldn’t benefit Iran to a conclusion that the plot was nefariously concocted by U.S. agencies.

    Sorry. I’m not buying it. While I agree that U.S. policy is somewhat driven by the sort of actors you suggest, I also think that this is a lot less true here than it is in most countries, including Iran. There are a lot of complete nutballs who have significant power in Iran along with the assorted factions that others have pointed out.

    The sense I got from what I’ve read on this incident (which does not include the actual complaint) is that the U.S. government has a lot of informers within the Mexican drug cartels. There were also some folk who independently wanted to blow up a bunch of Saudis, and that these people contacted the Mexican cartels for help.

    Further, I would guess that pretty much anyone with a brain within the cartels were so desperate to avoid any taint from these loons that, even if U.S. informants hadn’t been involved, the ones who weren’t informants may well have narced on the terrorists anyway. While I think the Mexican drug cartels are extremely dangerous and borderline crazy in their own way, I’d be stunned if they were at all crazy in this way.

    From there, the U.S. government got involved. They probably strung the idiots along, both to get them deeper into the shit and rack up bigger charges and to try to figure out how much involvement there was from the Iranian government. In addition to the hikers being released, they have probably decided that they’ve learned everything they can and so decided to roll it up.

    So, I think that the assessment that there might not have been a serious plot without U.S. government participation may well be correct. However, that does not mean that there weren’t real crimes involved. There are a lot of valid reasons not to arrest the initiators right away.

  87. 87
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    Boy.

    Isn’t it nice to have grown ups in charge?

    Now imagine what would have happened if Mittens had to make a decision about whether or not the U.S. should declare war on Iran.

    He woulda shit all over his magic underpants like his poor doggie trapped in the carrier on top of Mitt’s car did.

  88. 88
    MTiffany says:

    @Martin:

    Maybe not the entirety of the Republican Guard,

    I think you mean ‘Revolutionary Guard.’

  89. 89
    Karen says:

    Aren’t the Clerics in Iran the ones who are really in charge?

  90. 90
    El Cid says:

    @Martin: If this sort of stupendous brinksmanship wasn’t authorized, then I can see one serious hell of a purge about to happen within Iran.

  91. 91

    @PeakVT:

    Quds Force:

    One problem is that the Revolutionary Guards are more radical than ol’ Ahmedinejad is. Also, I get the impression that that Guards are only sort of under civilian control.

  92. 92
    soonergrunt says:

    @catclub: It was also about keeping his various internal enemies from knowing just how weak he really was. One Republican Guard commander thought another RGC had physical control of the chemical weapons, but that guy thought the someone else had them and so on.

    @jwest: Bless your heart. You sure are cute when you try so desperately to make something out of nothing. You’re like the kitten chasing the little red dot.

  93. 93
    Samara Morgan says:

    @J. Michael Neal: agreed.
    this is implausible.
    Iran is fucking with Saudi Arabia in situ.
    How many americans know that the KSA refuses to recognize the Maliki government of IRAQ?
    lol, we dont control either of those “allies”.
    i think this is bulshytt.

    drench for the cudlips.
    bomb bomb bomb Iran.

  94. 94
    Yikes! says:

    OMG. I know the folks representing one of these guys!

  95. 95
    soonergrunt says:

    @Linda Featheringill: The RGCC, of which Quds is part, is under the authority of the Guardian Council–the Imams. They pretty explicitly do NOT answer to the civilian government.

  96. 96

    @Karen: I think it’s safe to say that no one is entirely in charge in Iran. Further, Caribou Barbie may our own peculiar problem, but I suspect that there are plenty of Ibex Kens in Iran.

  97. 97
    lamh34 says:

    isn’t there a republican debate tonight??? what’s the over/under on there now being a question about Iran, and who will be the first to say they would bomb Iran?

    My money’s on Cain or Bachmann or Perry!

  98. 98
    Samara Morgan says:

    This smells like the fantasy 10th anniversary plot that didnt happen on 9/11 this year.
    Paranoia induction.

    i don’t believe Obama is going to fall for this…in private.
    he might have to suck it up in public so it doesnt look like the homeland security droids are having a psychotic break with reality.

    And its bringing the Sauds back in line after they broke formation on the Pali statehood question, right?

  99. 99
    Davis X. Machina says:

    If this was successful and blamed on the active Iranian leadership, and spurred an aggressive response from the US and/or Israel, that might be exactly the lever those minority factions need to rise to power.

    Or get themselves killed — in a rally-round-the-flag purge of fifth columnists.

  100. 100
    Samara Morgan says:

    @lamh34: its on Bloomberg.
    no one is watching.

  101. 101
    IM says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No, that is another one: The man that was Thursday and it was written by Chesterton.

    The secret agent is someone making a living spying on emigrants , his reports are boring and to stay in the god graces of his pay-masters he is blowing up somethign himself. Tragedy ensues.

  102. 102
    BobS says:

    @Carl Nyberg:That was my first thought. I have no reason to believe the denials of the Iranians, but every reason to not believe the claims of an American government that has told me many more lies.

  103. 103
    IM says:

    @soonergrunt:

    You seem to be the just the sort of person who would say candyman five times to their mirror.

  104. 104

    @Amir Khalid:

    What I’m wondering, though, is this. The CIA spent years hatching one cockamamie plot after another against Fidel Castro’s life, and that’s a big-time cassus belli if ever I saw one. Did Cuba ever even hint, however obliquely, at declaring war on the USA?

    Pawns don’t declare war.

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:

    jwest just made me realize that this is going to make a whole bunch of wingers’ heads explode. Were they totally right about the Iranians, in which case Operation Fast & Furious was justified since it meant we had an informant in place to trap these guys? Or do they still want to bring Holder down over F&F, in which case they’re going to have to totally discount the importance of these arrests?

    Who do they hate more, Democrats or Islamic terrorists?

  106. 106
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ugh:

    “I guess I’m dubious these days of “FBI foils plot!” when it seems in a great many cases there wouldn’t be any plot, or the plot wouldn’t have any chance of succeeding, were it not for the FBI’s informant/infiltration.”

    Be as skeptical as you want. However, the fact that these defendants are pleading out rather than subjecting their claims of entrapment to the scrutiny of a jury should tell you something.

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @BobS:

    So if you don’t believe either side is telling the truth, does that mean today’s press conference never happened since that cancels the entire arrest out?

  108. 108
    Samara Morgan says:

    @wrb: there is nothing for Iran in this.
    they are already fucking Saud and the US magnificently in situ.
    Iran is supporting Asad, the Yemeni rebels, the Jordanian rebels, and the Bahraini rebels. Saud and the US are on the monarch/dictator side of all those issues.
    King Abdullah supported Mubarak too.
    A few weeks ago KSA broke ranks with the US on the Pali statehood question, and is threatening to start up their own army to balance out Iranian influence when the US gets booted out of Iraq.
    The US is folding tents in A-stan too, and that makes the Princes doubly nervous…

    who benefits?
    Amerikkka.
    this little escapade is going weld the Sauds to America’s big fat cellulite hip. :)

  109. 109

    We sort of just declared war on Iran. Right? The State Department would not claim that Iran more or less tried to start a terrorist war in DC for no good reason. After all, we do not just toss that sort of casus belli out there without having a hell of a lot of confidence in the source.

    We actually just charged a couple of guys with conspiracy to commit murder. Not the same thing. As to the “confidence in the source”, it seems that this was a six months investigation and the feds will have to put up or shut up in front of a judge soon. I’m pretty confident that they can establish probable cause. What would Bush have done? Notice how these guys weren’t just “arrested” and brought to GITMO and tortured for a few years like Jose Padilla. This is how it is supposed to work. Rule of Law and all that.

  110. 110
    Citizen Alan says:

    @4tehlulz:

    Seriously, does anyone really believe that McCain wouldn’t be carpet bombing Tehran by now?

    No because there wouldn’t be anything left to bomb. Grampa Crazypants would have had boots on the ground in Iran by the winter of 2009 if he’d won.

  111. 111
    Lojasmo says:

    @eemom:

    uh, a coordinated plot to fly four planes into buildings would have seemed pretty fantastical on September 10, 2001.

    You’ve covered your ass now.

  112. 112
    celtidragonchick says:

    Hermione Samara Chan is nearing orgasm, judging by her last three posts.

  113. 113
    Samara Morgan says:

    AND five years later, KSA still does not recognize the Maliki government and will not open an embassy in the Green Zone, inspite of US bullying and pleading.

  114. 114

    @burnspbesq:

    Be as skeptical as you want. However, the fact that these defendants are pleading out rather than subjecting their claims of entrapment to the scrutiny of a jury should tell you something.

    Did I miss something? Link to “pleading out” evidence please.

  115. 115
    Chris says:

    @Martin:

    Iran does not have that kind of accountability. They don’t have those kinds of checks and balances. There’s a fair bit of freewheeling independence in various groups, not unlike Pakistan. Iran has two completely independent militaries. The one like ours which answers to the elected leaders, and the other which is designed to protect the religious leaders from the first military – and they’re both powerful, both can serve as aggressors, and both have their own agenda.

    Not quite. There is no part of the Iranian military that doesn’t report to the Supreme Leader (religious): he, not any elected leaders, is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and ultimately responsible for the defense of Iran. Both armies’ chain of command leads up to the same place.

    But yeah, all the rest is spot on – you have the regular military units, and then you have the Pasdaran (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps). It’s the classic totalitarian system of rule-through-division, like Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia using the SS/KGB as a counterweight to the Wehrmacht/Red Army. Iran’s not the only government in the region to rely on it.

    The interesting thing about the Pasdaran is the wide diversity of stuff they’re involved in. They maintain internal order (controlling the Basij, local militias), yes. They’re also involved with all the black ops work abroad, like liaison with terrorist groups (they supported Hezbollah in the 2006 war). And they also have a HUGE economic sector, maintaining their own industrial empire inside Iran. When I studied them in college, one outside observer described them as “the U.S. Marine Corps, the SS, the Mafia and a Japanese megacorporation all rolled into one.”

    Because they’re present at every level of society, they’ve become a huge power within Iran, even more so since Khamenei relied on them to quell dissent during the Green Revolution, and many people suspect that the tail’s beginning to wag the dog. If they were in fact behind this thing in Washington, a fair question’s going to be, did Khamenei even know about it?

  116. 116
    Samara Morgan says:

    @celtidragonchick: dont you have a Hirsii Ali baby shower to attend? i hear she gettin’ married.
    :)

  117. 117
    El Cid says:

    @gocart mozart: Heck, Eisenhower was bombing civilians and agricultural and economic facilities soon after the revolution, so it’s not like they didn’t have cause. Oh, and that’s not to mention all the proxy attacks by exiles, including Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs).

  118. 118

    Chill out Samara and others, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  119. 119
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s always disturbing to realize that a group of strangers wants you dead not because they have anything against you personally, but because of politics.

    Oh, you weren’t talking about 27% of America?

    Never mind.

  120. 120
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    From the little bit I can gleam from the article and Wikipedia, this looks like it may be an action by that second military.

    Bet on it. If this really was an Iranian show, it’s the Pasdaran who carried it out.

  121. 121
    Samara Morgan says:

    @celtidragonchick: And why would it make me “happy” to see how pig-ignorant dumbass buttfuck stupid americans are?
    do you think it makes me “happy” to see Assangian information theory in action?
    i have parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces, nephews and a gazillion cousins that live here.

  122. 122
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Chris: if its legit why the Saudi ambassador? whats in it for the Pasdaran?

  123. 123
    drkrick says:

    Just because there’s precedent in a situation like this: we didn’t go to war with Chile when they actually succeeded in assasinating their Allende-era amabassador to the US and a US-born staff member while driving through Dupont Circle on his way to work in 1976.

  124. 124
    celtidragonchick says:

    @Chris:

    The Quds Force (Jerusalem Force) is the part of the Pasdaran responsible for forein operations. A Quds operative is still wanted for the assassination plot.

  125. 125
    celtidragonchick says:

    @Chris:

    The Quds Force (Jerusalem Force) is the part of the Pasdaran responsible for foreign operations. A Quds operative is still wanted for the assassination plot.

  126. 126
    IM says:

    @drkrick:

    But of course back then the US thought that a good thing.

  127. 127

    People, there are two separate issues.
    1. Did these guys try to kill two ambassadors?
    2. Who was behind it?

    I’m guessing “strong evidence” on the first and “murky evidence” on the second.

  128. 128
    El Cid says:

    @drkrick: Well, partly because the DINA were our employees; after all, we had hired the Chilean military.

  129. 129
    Martin says:

    @MTiffany:

    I think you mean ‘Revolutionary Guard.’

    LOL. Tells you something about what I think of the GOP, doesn’t it?

  130. 130
    Samara Morgan says:

    wallah, too slow chris.
    if Iran can weld KSA onto America’s hip, then because America is welded to Israel… KSA gets a shotgun wedding to the Israelinazis.
    This helps Iran how?
    Iran and Saud are dueling over who gets to be the new caliphate, and if the capitals are qom and karbala or mecca and medina.

  131. 131
    Chris says:

    @Karen:

    Aren’t the Clerics in Iran the ones who are really in charge?

    Depends who you mean. Supreme Leader Khamenei is the ultimate head of the Islamic Republic, and the one who commands the Pasdaran. But I’m not sure if any other clerics can claim to command them, and plenty of outside observers are starting to wonder if in general the clergy’s power isn’t waning at the same time the Pasdaran’s is rising.

    @Linda Featheringill:

    One problem is that the Revolutionary Guards are more radical than ol’ Ahmedinejad is. Also, I get the impression that that Guards are only sort of under civilian control.

    Yeah, you and a lot of people… But like I said, I think the only civilian who can actually claim to control them is Khamenei, and even then it’s an open question exactly how much that’s true.

  132. 132
    El Cid says:

    Speaking of Saudi Arabia, a reminder of this recent activity:

    Saudi forces pull out of Shia troublespots
    __
    By Patrick Cockburn | Thursday, 6 October 2011
    __
    The Saudi security forces are pulling back in troubled parts of the oil-rich country’s Eastern Province to avoid further confrontation with Shia protesters, say human rights activists, but they warn that any small incident might provoke fresh clashes.
    __
    Saudi police and soldiers had previously been besieging the Shia town of al-Awamiyah which was the scene of shooting and riots earlier in the week. The Saudi Interior Ministry had accused protesters of carrying arms and throwing Molotov cocktails from motorcycles which they used to circumvent police checkpoints.
    __
    It also alleged that they were directed by an unnamed foreign country – which in Saudi official terminology invariably means Iran.
    __
    Hamza al-Hassan, an opponent of the Saudi regime who comes from Safwa town in Eastern province, said yesterday that “so far as I know the security presence in al-Awamiyah was reduced dramatically last night”.
    __
    Since Sunday there have been clashes around the police station at the centre of al-Awamiyah, a Shia town, sparked off by the arrest of the 60-year-old father of one activist wanted by the police. Video shows at last one police car on fire and young men with their headdresses wrapped round their heads to hide their identity…
    __
    …The spread of the Arab Awakening to the Shia minority of Saudi Arabia is important because they are concentrated in the region which hold the world’s largest oil reserves. One Saudi human rights organiser points out that the pipeline carrying six million barrels a day of crude to the oil terminal at Ras Tanura passes through al-Awamiyah where there have been clashes for the past four days.

    I’d think this would be the focus of Iranian-based efforts (even if rogue) to split US-Saudi relations, just by trying to introduce more instability into what really is a not-very-stable state.

  133. 133
    Samara Morgan says:

    that is a casus belli.

    nope….its bait..if its real and not a paranoid fantasy or entrapment.
    Iran knows we wont declare war….think of the price of oil lol.

  134. 134

    @celtidragonchick: I’m trying to figure out whether to be repulsed by the fact that she agreed with my post #86, or amused by the fact that it seems like she didn’t understand it, since everything else she’s said indicates that we actually the opposite view of what has been happening.

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Be as skeptical as you want. However, the fact that these defendants are pleading out rather than subjecting their claims of entrapment to the scrutiny of a jury should tell you something.

    Meh — given that the Chicago defendants’ “terror group” broke up over the management of a head shop that they were totally going to buy one day, I have a feeling they weren’t really competent to fight an entrapment case. It’s much, much easier to plead to a lesser charge and be out in a few years.

  136. 136
    JGabriel says:

    Tim F.:

    The allegations paint a serious effort to damage America’s international standing through violence on our soil. No dancing around it, that is a casus belli.

    If true.

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that it was carried out successfully. How does that help Iran? What’s the strategic or tactical advantage from such an attack?

    I can’t see any gain from this for Iran, only a hell of a lot of trouble.

    Makes me skeptical that the Iranian gov’t approved this plan.

    I mean, attacking ambassadors? That just makes their own ambassadors everywhere fair game.

    .

  137. 137
    Tom Hilton says:

    @IM: Yes! I was starting to wonder if I had forgotten major portions of The Secret Agent (which I’ve read several times), and at the same time it was tweaking my memory–I just couldn’t recall what.

    Man Who Was Thursday was really good, up until it foundered in religious mystical bullshit. I have the same problem (times ten) with C. S. Lewis.

  138. 138
    Svensker says:

    @Martin:

    The suggestion that Iran was backing an assassination attempt on US soil is pretty inflammatory.

    I’d normally agree, but haven’t we or the Israelis been assassinating their nuclear scientists? On iranian soil? Of course we and the Israelis are exceptional and don’t have to answer to normal modes of conduct, but still.

  139. 139
    Chris says:

    @JGabriel:

    I’m still reading up on this thing: I was surprised and my initial reaction was “that can’t be right…” just because, like you said, who benefits? What’s in it for them?

    But what the hell; governments don’t always act rationally, and just because there’s no obvious reason for it doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason, one that we’re not thinking of or one that wouldn’t make sense to us but does to someone else. So I’m skeptical, but open-minded.

    Need to read more + will follow developments with great interest.

  140. 140
    Lawnguylander says:

    @Tom Hilton

    You’re usually much better than this, Tim.

    I don’t know about that. Unless there’s another Tim F here. The last post of his I can remember was during the default fight when he dragged back some shit from the Washington Post by a well known as a hack reporter about how Obama was going to cut Medicare. Panic ensued. This time he stretched it a little too thin to get anyone to bite. So far.

  141. 141
    celtidragonchick says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    I’ll take amused for 400 dollars, Alex…

  142. 142
    celtidragonchick says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    I’ll take amused for 400 dollars, Alex…

  143. 143
    IM says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    I have read the entire chronicles of Narnia. Chesterton while quite preachy too, is much funnier. And a better story teller. Still, I wondered: In the whole Pater Brown stories, is there ever a catholic murderer?

  144. 144
    JGabriel says:

    Chris: @Chris:

    … governments don’t always act rationally, and just because there’s no obvious reason for it doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason, one that we’re not thinking of or one that wouldn’t make sense to us but does to someone else. So I’m skeptical, but open-minded.

    Same here. Skeptical, but open to changing my mind should better evidence come along. It’s not like I think the Khamenei regime is a model of rationality. But there’s usually some reason behind their actions and games.

    .

  145. 145
    Samara Morgan says:

    @El Cid: yup. and the Sauds are worried about the sunni minorities in Iraq as Iraq and Iran start to form the new shiia crescent.
    an alliance with the Great Satan makes arabs inclined to take the other side.

  146. 146
    Samara Morgan says:

    @JGabriel: did you hear what their Iranian guards told those hitchhikers everyday?

    this is just what the guards to do muslims in Gitmo.

  147. 147
    Samara Morgan says:

    @J. Michael Neal: im just arguing both sides. it certainly could be entrapment, paranoia reflex, or attempt by the feebs to make a bigger deal than it was.
    then again it could be pasdaran trying to mess with Saudi Arabia.
    why the Saudi ambassador?

    and im amused when i recall cdc fawning over Hirsii Ali.
    most of Hirsi Ali’s fan club is older white christian males.
    i thot cdc was gurrlstyle.

  148. 148
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @Lojasmo:

    @eemom: You’ve covered your ass now.

    She’d need a lot more TARP for that. Five sheets to the wind would be five too few.
    .
    .

  149. 149
    Barry says:

    Hopefully I’m being redundant, but Chr*st, Tim – you know better to believe any such accusations until proven beyond a reasonable doubt. And there’s a history of ‘terror plots’ which involve the Three Stooges and a dozen FBI agents.

  150. 150
    soonergrunt says:

    @IM: what the fuck does that even mean?

  151. 151
    virag says:

    nonsense. this is more about darrel issa than any eye-ray-nee-ans. note how the plot reads like a syphilitic teabagger fever dream.

  152. 152
    Samara Morgan says:

    @virag: and even the conservitards are not dumb enough to fire on Iran.
    gas would be $10 a gallon overnight.
    plus we would have the excruciating public humiliation of Iraq taking Iran’s side, …like they just took Bashar Asads.

  153. 153
    Chris says:

    @JGabriel:

    Same here. Skeptical, but open to changing my mind should better evidence come along. It’s not like I think the Khamenei regime is a model of rationality. But there’s usually some reason behind their actions and games.

    There’s a good quote from The Hunt For Red October (ahhh, back when Clancy wrote great books…) when Ryan describes the Soviets as “not entirely rational by our standards, but they are rational by their own.”

    The trick’s figuring out by what the other guy’s standards are….

  154. 154
    Samara Morgan says:

    @virag: its like the Mysterious Courier tall tale that the WH spun for cover with Pak when we bought OBL’s coords in return for dialing back the droning in waziristan long enough for Zardari to get re-elected.

  155. 155
    burnspbesq says:

    @gocart mozart:

    Apparently you did miss it.

    http://news.opb.org/article/or.....t-defense/

    Karen Greenberg directs the Center for Law and Justice and New York Universtiy. Her group has made in-depth studies of counter-terrorism cases and how they’ve played out in the courts. Greenberg notes the government has gone after about a thousand people prosecuted for terrorism since September 11th 2001. Of those cases courts have already resolved, Greenberg says, only six people have chosen to mount an entrapment defense. They weren’t successful.

  156. 156
    wilfred says:

    War with Iran will mean war against Islam. There won’t be any way to hide it. Carry on.

    The usual suspects have been beating the drum for this war for the past 6 years.

    Critical thinking, please.

  157. 157
    JGabriel says:

    @Samara Morgan: Sigh. This is not a surprise. It was basically predicted GITMO would lead to shit like that from the start.

    .

  158. 158
    Glen Tomkins says:

    Casus belli?

    Who worries about that crap anymore?

    If you insist on thinking in those terms, how many countries are there left in the world to which the US has not given such casus bellorum? We send drones to assassinate people in their countries, or we kidnap people in their countries, or we suborn officials of their governments, or we run secret prisons in their countries, or we arm insurgents in their ocuntries, or etc., or etc., or etc. And that’s just the stuff we know about, that our govt is so proud of that it boasts about in public.

    Of course these countries aren’t going to start wars over this stuff, however clear-cut the infringements to their sovereignty. The US is both powerful and quite ruthless, and worse, much worse, is so self-centered and self-regarding as to do immense and completely pointless damage to other nations out of pure blind stupidity. The worst damage not infrequently results when the intention is purely to do what we imagine is a service for our victims. People who imagined that the “real” reason we were invading Iraq must involve stealing their oil or something, anything to make the whole mad venture make some practical sense. But it really was what it advertised itself as, a crusade of utter dimwits who actually imagined they were doing Iraq a great service. Jesus, you do not want to fuck with the US, the only country in the history of the planet with the luxury to be completely blind-ass stupid in startng wars and not pay the price most countries in history pay very swiftly for such stupidity. In the long run, of course, what goes around comes around, and these countries we insult and damage on a daily basis will bide their time until out stupidity grows so out of bounds that it overweighs the power imbalance and actually puts us at risk of losing a war with them. Then there’ll be a reckoning.

    But the same reason applies to us, in reverse. That power imbalance works both ways. We haven’t the slightest need to take even the most egregious insult to our sovereignty from an Iran or an SA as even the slightest threat to our national interest, much less national existence. They can kill ambassadors to the US all day long, and feel they can kill 20 more tomorrow, and the US is not the least bit worse off for it. If we do choose to respond to such things, it’s entirely for what it gets our politicos in the domestic political market, and not at all driven by necessity and our national interests.

  159. 159
    Hbin says:

    @burnspbesq:

    So, maybe people pleaded out because they know the entrapment defense won’t work in our courts, not because they are necessarily GUILTY, no? Which seems to undercut your initial assertion that these people must be guilty BECAUSE they pleaded guilty.

  160. 160
    burnspbesq says:

    @Hbin:

    Which seems to undercut your initial assertion that these people must be guilty BECAUSE they pleaded guilty.

    My initial WHAT????? Reading comprehension severely challenged, I’d say. You can take that strawman and shove it somewhere.

  161. 161
    Calouste says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s always disturbing to realize that a group of strangers wants you dead not because they have anything against you personally, but because of politics.

    You’re ill, underinsured and listening to a Republican Presidential debate?

  162. 162
    Samara Morgan says:

    Americans are a bunch of carny marks.
    Most people swallowed this story FOR OUR OWN GOOD.

    A trusted courier of Osama bin Laden’s whom American spies had been hunting for years was finally located in a compound 35 miles north of the Pakistani capital, close to one of the hubs of American counterterrorism operations. The property was so secure, so large, that American officials guessed it was built to hide someone far more important than a mere courier.
    __
    What followed was eight months of painstaking intelligence work, culminating in a helicopter assault by American military and intelligence operatives that ended in the death of Bin Laden on Sunday and concluded one of history’s most extensive and frustrating manhunts.

    What really happened is that Pak spychief Pasha sold OBL’s coords to spychief Panetta in return for the US dialing back the droning long enough for Zardari to get elected.
    The US and Pak needed plausible deniability for the Pak people, or the Zardari government could topple in the wake of anti-droning protests and the Raymond Davis affair.
    I suppose this is a secret that Obama has judged better for the marks american people not to know. Hes probably right. Obamas goal has been consistant– gtfo whatever it takes. if it takes drones, if it takes a minisurge, if it takes leaving a force in Iraq, hes out for the long game, and that is withdrawal.

    probably some mex cartel sold these guys out. there may have been a legit random plot to whack the saud ambassdor on american soil, but it didnt flow from ‘Nejad and Khameini.
    those guys are way more savvy.
    there is insufficient payoff. Iran is fucking the Saudis up in situ, because the closer Amerikkka and the Sauds are, the closer Israel and the Sauds are.
    And one thing the shiia and sunni, indeed, all of dar ul islam, all hate with the fire of thousand sons is the Israelinazis.
    and the backstory smells just the same as the Magical Courier story.

  163. 163
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Glen Tomkins:

    But it really was what it advertised itself as, a crusade of utter dimwits who actually imagined they were doing Iraq a great service.

    haha, yup, implanting/installing/imposing missionary democracy with freedom of speech.
    But it cant be done, because of the consent of the governed and the governed are MUSLIMS.
    And there are plenty of those dimwits here, like AL, em hauser, and aimai who want to liberate our muslimah sistahs from the sexist oppression of teh evuul muslim male, even if we have to (sowwy!) kill them and destroy their country to do it.

  164. 164
    Samara Morgan says:

    This is appropriate so i’ll say it again.
    Bush and Cheney paved the road to hell with the good intentions of the american people.
    The economic destruction of our country all flows from the 14.3 trillion dollars squandered in paranoia reflex to 911.

  165. 165
    THE says:

    Former CIA and Iran expert Robert Baer is skeptical and urges caution.
    Interview: Australia’s Radio National.

    Me? I have no opinion yet. Anything is possible.
    The Sunni-Shia thing is getting more and more tense. The Syrian situation is starting to look like a Saudi vs. Iranian proxy war. So I’m less worried about what the US does here and more interested in any Saudi response.

  166. 166
    Samara Morgan says:

    @THE: and remember that the Sauds broke ranks on Pali statehood and have refused for 6 years to put an ambassador in Baghdad because they dont recognize the (shiia) Maliki government..
    exactly like we dont have an ambassador in Iran or recognize the Iranian government.
    that is the new American proxy war…sunnis and shiia, because the war on terror islam didnt work.

  167. 167
    THE says:

    I don’t believe there was a war on Islam. I believe it is all about oil. Without oil USA couldn’t give a damn about the Muslim world.

  168. 168
    THE says:

    And another thing. With the growing Chinese domination of the Persian Gulf oil market, there is less and less reason for the US to involve itself at all in Muslim affairs even for the oil.

    Why should US sacrifice so that China can have cheap oil?
    Even the Saudis are starting to understand they need to realign their political ties from US to China.

  169. 169
    Samara Morgan says:

    @THE: we cant do that because otf FUCKING ISRAEL.

    and also because of retards like celticdragondragon chick getting grifted by Hirsii Ali and the Heritage/AEI fuckers.

  170. 170
    THE says:

    Israel has less and less dependency on USA (longer term) for a whole host of reasons:

    The discovery of oil and gas that fixes her current account issues.
    The economic and political crisis of every one of her neighbors that might have wanted to cause her grief–easing the security situation.
    The demographic trends inside Israel/Occupied territories, where the ultra-Orthodox are not only successfully settling in “Judea and Samaria” but also having six+ kids and winning the demographic war, also thereby dominating the politics of the next generation, etc.
    The post Peak Oil era will further benefit a sunbelt industrial power like Israel because solar has now just-about reached grid parity for daylight-peaking electricity generation. (This is also big news in much of Australia. Qld. NSW. WA. NT.)

    Israel only needs from USA two things now: Arms sales for the things she can’t make herself (not much–planes maybe) and support in UNSC. This is not in doubt.

  171. 171
  172. 172
    jeff montanye says:

    is this post satire? casus belli? like bombing/droning anyone anywhere? are you serious? see http://politics.salon.com/2011.....singleton/

  173. 173
    Samara Morgan says:

    @THE: are you some sort of idiot?
    Israel wont last 10 minutes without US patronage.
    and here i thought you were smart.

    who do you think is chilling the egyptians out right now?
    who is bully/bribing the security council?
    do you know one reason the Palis want statehood? so they can make a big stink suing Israel in the IC for ILLEGAL settlements and get their land back.
    so bibi & co can be arrested for WAR CRIMES if they travel out of Israel.

  174. 174
    THE says:

    @Samara Morgan:
    I agree the UNSC, at its worst, could make life very difficult for Israel.

    The rest of what you wrote I don’t really agree with.
    The Egyptian and Syrian economic situation is becoming increasingly dire, I believe.

  175. 175
    Samara Morgan says:

    @jeff montanye: not satire, just STUPID.
    Tim F., cher, by this argument Operation Ajax is casus belli for 911.
    Was imposing the Shah and Mubarak casus belli?
    LOL.

    you are just another Amurikka Fuck Yeah! cudlip.
    i suppose the genocide of the indigenous americans was justified too.
    they brought it on themselves.

    you can bury your heart at wounded knee or bury your uterus at waco, it doesnt make a damn bit of difference.

  176. 176

    […] policy exaggerations or fabrications for political gain, and not the United States of America (especially not with Barack Obama, rather than a Republican, in the White […]

  177. 177

    […] policy exaggerations or fabrications for political gain, and not the United States of America (especially not with Barack Obama, rather than a Republican, in the White […]

  178. 178
    matt says:

    In a Butthead voice… “Yeah yeah yeah, heh heh, war war, heh, heh, war. coool”

  179. 179

    […] said in response to objections over radical secrecy, and it’s what many Obama followers say now (if Obama says someone is a Terrorist, I don’t need to see evidence: I’m sure he is – if […]

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