Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Fight for the Rebound

The recent mock siege of the British embassy in Teheran by "demonstrators" hurling stones and firecrackers, pretending to be outraged at Whitehall's arrogant refusal to "apologize", was described by the Times of London as "hampering diplomatic" efforts to solve the crisis. That remark by the Times underscores how badly they misunderstand the game Teheran is playing. Teheran's game plan has worked as brilliantly as Whitehall's has been abyssmal and here's why. The principal uncertainty facing the Ayatollahs on the day they kidnapped the British sailors was how London would react. Would Whitehall respond through diplomatic channels or was this going to be treated as a crisis that would jump the green baize routine? On the day the incident took place, the Ayatollahs could not be sure. As I wrote on some hours after the events:

If history is any guide, both the British and the US will attempt to solve this problem diplomatically, as occurred when the Chinese seized a US signals intelligence aircraft and as happened the last time the Iranians seized British personnel. However, it is also possible that given the heightened tension between the US and Iran that policymakers may interpret these actions as an escalation to which they must respond. This is exactly what happened to Krushchev when he shipped missiles to Cuba. Instead of backing down, JFK upped the ante and a confrontation that neither bargained for ensued.

In comments section, I suggested that the British would be best served by "going ugly early" as strongly as possible without crossing the line into overt hostilities. The strategy behind such a move would be to make the Iranians work to put the ball back into diplomatic territory.

So in my opinion, if the Brits are not going to be sucked into some paralyzing hostage crisis, they need to do something now. One possibility would be to expel all Iranian diplomats and known agents from the UK. That would break the spell without necessarily escalating into warfighting. Some of those agents could also be detained under the British preventive detention. Then it would be even stevens with the ball in Ahmedinajad's court. Then it will be his turn to squirm and decide whether five and not six shots were fired from the magnum .44.

But as events transpired, Whitehall telegraphed that it was going the diplomatic route by first going to the EU, then to the UN, which of course required that its Embassy remain in Teheran. The Ayatollahs must have breathed a sigh of relief at that moment. Because now they knew which route the British were going to take. And unsurprisingly the wheels came off the British wagon within days. The EU threatened to take appropriate action. The UN spent a whole day deliberating whether to issue a statement expressing "concern" over the British hostages instead of taking the opportunity to "deplore" Iran's actions. Very shortly after the British committed to going down the diplomatic track, the Ayatollahs knew Whitehall was up against a dead-end. Mark Steyn, writing in the the Chicago Sun-Times put it succinctly:

Even Oxford and Hoover's Timothy Garton Ash, one of the most indefatigable of those Euro-boosters, seemed to recognize the Iranian action was a challenge to Europe's pretensions. "Fifteen Europeans were kidnapped from Iraqi territorial waters by Iranian Revolutionary Guards," he wrote. "Those 14 European men and one European woman have been held at an undisclosed location for nearly a week, interrogated, denied consular access, but shown on Iranian television, with one of them making a staged 'confession,' clearly under duress. So if Europe is as it claims to be, what's it going to do about it?''

Short answer: Nothing.

OK, well, how about the United Nations? Those student demonstrators want the execution of "British aggressors." In fact, they're U.N. aggressors. HMS Cornwall is the base for multinational marine security patrols in the Gulf: a mission authorized by the United Nations. So what's the U.N. doing about this affront to its authority and (in the public humiliation of the captives) of the Geneva Conventions?

Short answer: Nothing.

So having received their "short answer", this certainty totally devalued the naval exercises by the USN in the Persian Gulf. However menacing the fleet off their shores might be, the leadership in Teheran knew, with absolute certainty not only which way "the British were coming" but that they were going to miss. It was a little bit like basketball, where in the beginning you have a nervous moment figuring out whether your opponent is going for a layup or take a jumpshot. But once he takes his jumpshot -- and misses -- you can forget about everything except going for the rebound. The Iranians saw Tony Blair take his jumpshot and from the arc, they knew it was going to miss.

Teheran is doing well because they are not playing the diplomatic game. In fact, they are violating every rule in the diplomatic book. Threatening to try uniformed men as spies, demanding apologies from victims of what was essentially a cross-border snatch operation, displaying their captives on TV. And now, pelting the British embassy with stones and firecrackers. They are punching entirely below the belt while their opponent is locked into a Marquis of Queensbury stance. That's asymmetrical warfare. Here's what one demonstrator outside Her Majesty's Embassy said:

One demonstrator gave warning from a podium that the British Embassy could face a similar fate to that of the US mission in Tehran if “Britain keeps on speaking nonsense”, drawing cheers from the crowd. In 1980 Islamist students stormed the US compound taking American diplomats hostage for 444 days.

By committing to the diplomatic game, Britain not only gave Teheran advance knowledge of what they would do, they absolutely guaranteed the availability of potential British hostages since an Embassy would have be maintained to carry out the diplomatic minuet. And as demonstrator quoted above emphasized, they can have a hundred more hostages anytime they please. As long as Britain behaves predictably Teheran can continue to string it along and promise a solution right around the corner, until finally Her Majesty's Government is so exhausted it will agree to any humiliation to get the sailors and marines out. But as I indicated in my basketball analogy, there's the still the rebound. Britain should not forget the rebound. Now that the diplomatic basketball has rimmed out, what Britain may consider doing now is what I suggested in the first place. Take the whole thing off the diplomatic track without initiating any overt hostilities.

Whitehall should withdraw the entire British diplomatic mission from Teheran and deal with the Ayatollahs through their representatives to the United Nations; they can expel every Iranian diplomat and official from the UK. And if possible, they should convince their European partners -- for whatever they are worth -- to do the same. Make the Ayatollahs beg for a diplomatic solution. Make them ask, "what's next?" Make them beg the British to talk to them. At the minimum this will create uncertainty in Teheran. It forecloses nothing, even a return to diplomacy. And in that atmosphere of uncertainty, the naval force in the Gulf will becoming truly menacing. They should have done this from the first day, in my layman's opinion. But hey, every day is the next day of the rest of our lives.


Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Terrorist Negotiations 101 Soviet style

Yea lets be nice...after all there is one terrorist organization that has killed more Americans than Iran...

4/01/2007 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger mike said...

Questions: Is Iran really a nation?
What happened to the rules for captured uniformed enemy in combat? Does the media care?
Can the big bank accounts of the top people in Iran be seized?

How does Oil Terminal Karg Island look for a vacation spot for the Marines?

4/01/2007 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

This misunderstands Blair's priorities entirely.

He is far more interested in maintaining the illusion that 'soft power' exists and diplomatic measures somehow project real juju than he is in recovering Royal Navy 15 sailors.

These are the notions he has been pushing on the British public for 10 years while he progressively dismantled their armed forces, he's not going to suddenly reverse course now, during his last weeks in power.

4/01/2007 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

The real question is if the crisis continues for months on end what will be the reaction of everyday Brits and will there emerge a "war" party (Tories?) that will use the national humilation to take control of the Commons?

4/01/2007 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

LOL. The Iranians played this brilliantly? What can they do? If this situation is not resolved to the satisfaction of the British (and the Americans) within a year's time let's say, Teheran will have a hot war on its hands. Only, it is the British (and the Americans) who will decide when and where and how they will strike, while the Mullahs sweat it out guessing.

4/01/2007 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

If I was trying to lull & gull the world while I put my bomb together, I sure wouldn't be kidnapping foriegners. This is all wrong, for the "we have a right to nukes, too" line--which was resonant with the western left, no matter what it might say otherwise.

4/01/2007 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Arthur Neville Chamberlain (18 March 1869 – 9 November 1940), known as Neville Chamberlain, was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940.
Chamberlain is perhaps the most ill-regarded British Prime Minister of the 20th century in the popular mind internationally, because of his policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany regarding the abandonment of Czechoslovakia to Hitler at Munich in 1938. In the same year he also gave up the Irish Free State Royal Navy ports, in practice making it safe for German submarines to stay about 200 miles west of the Irish coast out of range of the Royal Navy, where they could pick off merchant shipping at will.

Chamberlain's political legacy is overshadowed by his dealings with and appeasement of Nazi Germany. He signed the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler in 1938, which effectively allowed Germany to annex the Czech Sudetenland. Shortly thereafter, Hitler occupied the remainder of Czechoslovakia, technically his first International aggression, and the first step on the road to World War II. Chamberlain entered into a Mutual Defence Pact with Poland, but was unable to do anything directly when Germany invaded it six days later on 1st September 1939. Nevertheless, Chamberlain delivered an ultimatum to Hitler, declared war on Germany on 3 September and launched attacks on German shipping on September 4. During the period now known as "The Phony War" until May 1940 Chamberlain sent a 300,000 strong British Expeditionary Force to Belgium. (This force was lightly armed and later had to be ignominiously rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk).
Chamberlain was forced to resign the premiership on 10 May 1940, after Germany invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and France. He was succeeded by Winston Churchill but remained very well regarded in Parliament. He had a key role in the formation of the Special Operations Executive. Chamberlain died of cancer six months after leaving office.

ah yes mr blair,,,,

can we say deja vue?

4/02/2007 02:06:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Wretchard, OT, I posted a jpeg showing those who are "link Challenged " how to do it.


You can copy this as you would copy any jpeg and save it to refer to it or write it down. Type it exactly as it is written. Put the URL address between the parenthesis, and the subject between the facing arrows. This would be for the belmont club, with the subject abbreviation as BC. try it. We will help you.

4/02/2007 02:59:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Experienced agitators know that you must never ask of your crowd more than to go just a little further than they are accustomed to. And right now about the most that can be realistically asked of the Old Continent is to step, very gingerly, outside the green baize. Not under arms, but at least in indignation.

The Ayatollahs are counting on the British to stay inside the box, where they can be harried and finally destroyed at leisure, politically speaking. The first thing to do in this ambush is to break out of the kill zone. That kill zone destroyed Jimmy Carter. And the number one priority of Tony Blair should be to escape from it.

Teheran has by now decided to use the British sailors for a long term game. The task before the UK is to shift the fight onto ground where it can develop more power than its foe. It cannot do this within the strict and stylized confines of diplomacy. But add in other areas where British power can be brought to bear unilaterally -- trade, finance, travel, harassment, covert action and in the last resort, the unmentionable, and Iran begins to look wear and weaker.

Once Blair is outside this political kill zone his options increase. Who are the Iranian agents around the world? Have they paid their parking tickets? Are their taxes in order? Other questions may come to mind, but there is much more to life than simply pleading in Brussels and at the UN. And that's just the beginning. There need be no rush to war. But there should be a flight from inaction.

4/02/2007 03:01:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Back on topic, the strategy based on rescuing the hostages is wrong It is not about the hostages

I am going to link this discussion to one we have been running last night.

4/02/2007 03:06:00 AM  
Blogger zgolem said...

If this situation is not resolved to the satisfaction of the British (and the Americans) within a year's time let's say, Teheran will have a hot war on its hands.

Old is cold. The time to escalate to non-diplomatic responses is now, not a year from now.

If I was trying to lull & gull the world while I put my bomb together, I sure wouldn't be kidnapping foriegners.

All of a sudden, nobody's talking nukes anymore, are they? The West's interactions with Iran now have a new priority. I'd say this is working rather well for the Iranians on the nuclear front as well.

4/02/2007 03:37:00 AM  
Blogger Theo Spark said...

Give them 24 hours to release the hostages, if they do not 'let loose the dogs of war'. Bombing (nuking) Iran back to the stone age works for me.

4/02/2007 05:06:00 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

Wretchard said:
But there should be a flight from inaction.

The whole point of the UN is now to add inertia to any nation that wants to do something, anything. This flight from inaction would also include a flight from the UN - the main purveyor of inaction.

4/02/2007 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Iranians have just heard something they like from Whitehall.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - All 15 British sailors and marines held captive by Iran have confessed to illegally entering Iranian waters, Iranian state radio reported Monday, adding that ``positive changes'' in Britain's negotiating stance meant footage of the alleged confessions would not air.

The radio broadcast did not specify how Britain's stance had changed or quote any officials by name.

4/02/2007 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The most incredible aspect of this whole Groundhog Day episode is Iran's insistance that the British NOT take the issue to the United Nations, or else "No More Mr. Nice Guy."

I wonder how the Kerries who constantly bleat that a diplomatic solution is required deal with the cognitave dissonance associated with one side insisting that diplomacy not be used?

4/02/2007 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The real 'problem within the problem' is that the West these days is dominated by people who fervently believe that "Peace" is the absence of conflict.

It doesn't take too many years of that attitude to assure the bad guys a priori that they can get away with whatever they want.

Britain's idiotic laws penalising those who take violent action in defence of their own home -- rather than the invader -- are all the proof needed that the UK's cultural and political ethos has slipped badly into the same territory that cost them so dearly 70 years ago.

As for the rest of Old Europe, there's nothing they CAN do except jabber hopelessly and issue endless empty threats.

FedEX, with its thousands of highly competent reservists and former military on staff, along with its world-wide logistics abilities, would be able to act militarily more effectively than any European nation with the possible exceptions of Britain and France, both of which are socially, culturally, and emotionally spent.

In strictly biological terms, Europe is composed of 'moribund' nations, trapped by reproductive failure in a long-term death spiral. Within that context, their dithering inaction -- even diplomatically -- is absolutely no surprise.

4/02/2007 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

And right now about the most that can be realistically asked of the Old Continent is to step, very gingerly, outside the green baize. Not under arms, but at least in indignation.

Ask, and you will not recieve. At least not from the Old Continent, which despises you for being right (once upon a time).


4/02/2007 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger jane said...

The Brits could get a lot tougher:

Whitehall could run its antique Tabrizes through a carwash

Dump some Persian pistachios into the Thames

Call an imam ma’am

Send Ali G to negotiate

Levy a tax on dark beards

Eat more black pudding

Send free tickets to “300” to the Iranian embassy

4/02/2007 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger jane said...

Instead, Parliament will probably:

Donate priceless Persians to London’s new Supermosque
Make pistachios the official state nut
Call an imam for advice
Send Ali G to America to lampoon more hick Christians
Levy a tax on red beards
Eat more minted lamb and hummus
Dub Syriana’s director honorary Knight of the British Empire

Satire or truth? You decide (from the Daily Mail, via Melanie Phillips):

“Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed.

“It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

“There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques..."

4/02/2007 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Victor Davis Hanson's comments on the Iranian crisis (not a hostage crisis, they're not hostages yet are they?) Houses of Straw makes me think that if this crisis isn't resolved in Britain's favor then the importance of Britain, and in fact all of the EU, will go down the tubes. Why would China or Russia listen to anything Britain has to say in the future, once they've been humiliated by this two-bit third world thug of a nation.

If Britain and the EU has any hope of influencing the course of events in the future they need to act decisively.

The fact is that Britain has about 5 times the GDP of Iran. I don't know what the GDP of the EU is but they are the major trading partner of Iran. It would seem that they could easily pressure Iran to act correctly. They have to put their contracts with Iran on the line though.

I have to say that in the run up to the Iraq war TBlair seemed such a good speaker and pretty smart (at least by comparison to GWB). What has happened to him?

4/02/2007 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger BigLeeH said...

A case can be made for continuing with diplomacy as usual if you actually continue with diplomacy as usual. Iran misbehaves whenever they don't like the way things are going with UN discussions of sanctions for their nuclear program. Last year when it looked like sanctions were moving forward they had their proxies in Lebanon attack Israel. This year, when it looked like Russia might be willing to vote for effective sanctions they grabbed fifteen British sailors.

The two rational reactions to these blatant attempts to change the subject by acting up are to punish them severely or to ignore them altogether. To say, in effect, "Yes, yes, you've grabbed fifteen of Her Majesty's sailors. We expect them all to be returned. And while we wait we will continue discussion of economic sanctions for your nuclear activities."

4/02/2007 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

The minute that the embassy staff does anything that looks like they're leaving, Iran snatches them. The reason for the demonstration was to give Blair the message.

4/02/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

And what happens when a "mob" decides to take over the British embassy in Tehran, a la USA's in '79.

Another 444 days buys a good deal of time for nuclear experimentation,etc. and inportation and training on new Soviet air defenses.

I don't think Israel will wait for that outcome. The Brits would be smart to move out now. If 15 low level hostages can paralize the process an Embassy takeover would be even better.

4/02/2007 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

mike h,

your point is well taken but it also has a built in self imposed hostage taking admission.

why pretend to be a free nation if you're not going to defend those freedoms recognised by international agreement? let the iranians make an even bigger misjudgement

4/02/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

The most effective way to deal with this would certainly simply be to start sinking Iranian naval vessels.

We can never compete with their bad faith, and we shall never prevail while the essence of the craven policy, dressed up as prudence and admirable restraint, is precisely to indulge their barbarian tactics on grounds that "they feel threatened."

Clearly, they do not feel threatened. They have demonstrated this with regularly and increasing flagrance.

I submit that it is time to apply the following infallible principle: overwhelming violence.

There are no civilians involved in naval vessels. If the Brits get executed, well, put it on the list of Iranian outrages. We cannot keep deluding ourselves that anything but physical destruction will inhibit the mullahs and "change their behavior."

If not, and probably it will be not, war between our countries is inevitable anyway, and time only favors the weaker party.

Enough already: start sinking the Iranian navy. Let's see what they can bring. Let's let everyone see what they can bring.

4/02/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger jane said...

Sinking ships takes a different set of priorities than what exists in the UK today- (Tim Montgomerie, hattip Instapundit):

“Britain's armed forces - although made up of brilliant individual servicemen - are small in number and under-resourced…

“Britain's withdrawal from southern Iraq only reinforces the view of our enemies that we lack either equipment or resolution to prevail…

“Tehran has watched Britain and America consistently fail to respond to its militancy…

“The 7/7 bombings showed that within the home-grown population there were people who hated Britain so much that they were willing to kill themselves and their fellow countrymen in suicide bomb attacks…

“The special relationship between Britain and America has been historically central to Britain's national interests but is now in danger…

“Membership of NATO was once a pillar of Britain's defence strategy but NATO is a shadow of its former self…

“Large sections of the British public - led by the BBC - have come to see the imprimatur of the United Nations as necessary for any military action to be legitimate…

“Although the BBC has given extensive coverage to the hostage crisis it has not reflected the breadth of opinion in many of Britain's newspapers where there has been much impatience with the Blair Government's weak response to the Iranian situation…

“There are very few thinkers in Britain who are preparing for future threats…

“The Party of Margaret Thatcher has every chance of winning the next election and has decided that discussion of public services and climate change is much more likely to win that election…”

Wretchard’s suggestions are the very least measures the Blair government should take, as well as being, in all likelihood, the most it could do, given its disinvestment in the military and over-investment in diplomacy and multi-culturalism these past many years. Sad to say there’s a good chance it won’t even try this minimal much.

4/02/2007 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

A 20% tariff on all goods imported into the EU from Iran, or originating in Iran, would end the crisis inside a week.

The speech Blair should have given:
It is my sad duty to report that the government of Iran has taken fifteen sailors hostage in Iraqi terrirtorial waters. This should never have happened, and I take full responsability for letting it happen.
Let me further say that at this point I can not guarentee the safety or the eventual safe return of the hostages. What I can guarentee is that tose responsible for this terrorist act will not profit from their perfidity, but rather will have cause to regret their perfidy until their dieing days.

4/02/2007 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Utopia Parkway: I have to say that in the run up to the Iraq war TBlair seemed such a good speaker and pretty smart (at least by comparison to GWB). What has happened to him?

He's more mushroom now than man. His poll numbers are around 26% approval, worse than even Bush.
He's already said he will step down before September of this year. The Britons beat him down year after year for being too close to Bush and Israel, and now they will reap what they have sown.

4/02/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

habu, the point was only what Iran was going to do, not what the response should be. I think that you and I would agree that it's not too late for the Brits to do something now to a facility that the Iranians can't protect, and explain that if the Brits have to write off their people then the hell that will be paid wouldn't be worth it to Iran.

4/02/2007 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I wonder what this is about?

WASHINGTON - The government is seeking information from Iran about a former FBI agent reported missing while on a business trip to the Islamic republic several weeks ago, officials said Monday.

FBI spokesman Rich Kolko said the agent retired nearly a decade ago, and appeared to be in Iran on private business. He said the missing man was last seen in Iran in early March, and was not working for the FBI as a contractor.

4/02/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Is the guy a blonde haired, blue eyed person that can be fed to their fighting cocks?

It's really depressing to see people who are earnestly trying to get a message across to someone(Iran), and the recipients(us) just can't seem to get it. If we would just listen to Iran then all would become clear. The bombing would start in five minutes.

4/02/2007 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger pantapon rose said...

They know in that part of the world that Europeans always pay off kidnappers, and it's so it's just a matter of time until the UK agrees to pay whatever Iran is asking.

4/02/2007 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

P Rose,

The odd thing of course is that Iran has made no public demands, except for an apology.

4/02/2007 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger jane said...

All the UK has to do, all we all are expected to do is submit, apologize for pretend misdeeds and grovel. Yep, Islamist governance has much to offer the world.

If there's a chance the rumors of US action against Iran in April/May or Israeli strikes vs. Hamas and Hezbollah in early summer are true, then that might explain Blair's barely perceptible reaction thus far. Otherwise, some interesting concessions must be happening under the table for the Brits to put their faith in doing next to nothing on the surface. Or, do they think they can simply outwait the Iranians who are expert at beleaguer and siege?

4/02/2007 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The groveling, if it happens, will be sincere. Osama Bin Laden correctly understood that the cultural weakness of the West was real, not some veneer.

Historically empires have tended to last about 300-400 years before they rotted from within. The Ottoman Empire, the last dynasties of China, etc. all fell into a kind of stupor and Western adventurers, though few, easily dominated them.

Then followed a period of shame, rediscovery and resurgence. One should note that the Young Turks and the Kuomintang were rough contemporaries and motivated by the same thought: to recover the dignity of their cultures. These movements arose at the same time within fallen empires from an independent discovery that the time had come to challenge their conquerors.

Looking at the current Western multilateral elite, one could be forgiven for mistaking them for the Manchus in decline or the Ottoman court in its last, corrupt dreamy days. Excessively affected, mincing, ornamented to a fault and languid. Utterly effete.

And once a civilization, even a great one, falls into this stupor there is no cure for it except by going through the purging experience of humiliation, and suffering over time. A disease so deep needs a deep cure. Islam is already building its triumphal palaces in the rotting West, just perhaps as the West in the 19th century built great buildings on the Shanghai Bund. Once upon a time it was all the rage in China to be a Christian. The Soong sisters, for example, were all Christian. Today you have British aristocrats converting to Islam because they believe it is cool. That is what happens when your civilization has fallen to a low estate.

If the Brits cave to the Iranians, it would be both good and bad. The bad I don't need to explain. But the good side is less obvious. It is the first and bitter dose of what will be a long series of humiliations administered to a West and the first of many fires which will, if anything is left, inflame its renewal.

4/02/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

It was a desperate move by the Mullahs that will backfire over time.

The whole IRGC was laid bare by the recent defections. The Mullahs have to be eyeing EVERYONE rather nervously.

Who is to say the IRGC agents were captured - maybe they were turned - either in Iran or recently.

Bombing Iran is what the Mullahs want in order to unite the population.

Wanting them to think they will be bombed is what the USA/UK wants them to think. They have to be under enormous pressure now with the uncertainties presented by the kidnapping, bombing talk, and the IRGC penetration.

We need to ratchet up the pressure by increasing their fears and doubts. Selective financial and economic actions done under the table are best. Media exposes on iranian treatment of women and minorities. Stories on iranian Corruption.

Make the mullahs look increasingly shrill and uncontrolled.

4/02/2007 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Wretchard, what ascendent civilization has ever regained its past glory? None that I know of. It's been said that the present communist chinese regime was just the latest point in an ongoing dynastic continuum, but I would argue that the face of chinese civilisation has been changed radically from what went before. All of the other heavy guns, Britain, Rome, Spain, et al. are out of the fight at the moment. Perhaps my slice of the view isn't broad enough.

4/02/2007 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

He's more mushroom now than man. His poll numbers are around 26% approval, worse than even Bush.
He's already said he will step down before September of this year. The Britons beat him down year after year for being too close to Bush and Israel, and now they will reap what they have sown.

Well, as it was, Blair was indeed too close to Bush and the Jewish moneymen for Britain's tastes. His choice. His collapse.

4/02/2007 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

I've been an avid reader of the Belmont Club for a long time. Always, enjoyed the writing and the repartee.

Here's something under the "It didn't take long category".

Or under the "consider the source category".

4/02/2007 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger jane said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/02/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger jane said...

Blame Bush™, of course!

From Chavo's link: The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis

“A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines…

“Better understanding of the seriousness of the US action in Arbil - and the angry Iranian response to it - should have led Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence to realise that Iran was likely to retaliate against American or British forces such as highly vulnerable Navy search parties in the Gulf…

“The attempt by the US to seize the two high-ranking Iranian security officers openly meeting with Iraqi leaders is somewhat as if Iran had tried to kidnap the heads of the CIA and MI6 while they were on an official visit to a country neighbouring Iran, such as Pakistan or Afghanistan…

“US officials in Washington subsequently claimed that the five Iranian officials they did seize, who have not been seen since, were ‘suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces’. This explanation never made much sense. No member of the US-led coalition has been killed in Arbil and there were no Sunni-Arab insurgents or Shia militiamen there.

“…Mr Jafari himself later complained about US allegations. ‘So far has there been a single Iranian among suicide bombers in the war-battered country?’ he asked. ‘Almost all who involved in the suicide attacks are from Arab countries."

4/02/2007 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger james wilson said...

Well now, Wretchard, we just don't know how this civilization thing is going to go down, because as you established a week or two ago with those 100 useless celebrity opinions about that very subject,the future has a way of ariving unannounced.
What we do know and anguish about is that the United States- and only part of that- is holding this entire planet up. One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. We are lacking. Europe is showing us it may crumble even before cynical readers of this blog have projected. Push will come to shove in so many things, and yet we are so distracted from useful thought by the noise and madness of the left that we continue to follow events and not lead them. This is disheartening.
The Islamist may save us. Napoleon advised not to interrupt an enemy when he is making a mistake. They will. Not because they are stupid- they are not- but rather because they are barbarians. That, and they have not one head, but many, even in competition, so cannot let us continue to merely slide to our destruction. The greater their confidence the greater their coming disaster. When one-tenth of one percent of our population is extinguished through attack, the gloves will come off. And I mean domestically. The Muslims here will be treated decently, I think, and better than anywhere in the world. It is the left that will have to go,literally.
There is precedent. After the Revolutionary War, great numbers of Torries prudently left for Canada. At that time, Canada was presumed to have a French speaking future. The American immigration changed that and the course of Canadian history. We have an oportunity to humanely unite our Nancy boys with theirs once again. Canada bady needs population, and since neither group has children they can extend themselves for another generation. We will again speak in sentences not carefully contrived to avoid suspicion, and act as we must.

4/02/2007 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

There is something very telling about this kind of confrontation and crisis when many Americans, like myself, are more outraged and concerned about the seizure of British citizens/sailors/Royal Marines than the majority of the British are.

There is something absurd about the nonchalance I detect across The Pond.

4/02/2007 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...


If you look at every territory, province, country, and backwater that Islam has either conquered outright or forced into some kind of political submission, in most cases the road back from complete humiliation never came. It is an ideology so thorough and so brutal that it strips everyone of their prior identity and denudes their historical memory of any symbols of resistance.

Please, please! Read Bat Ye'or's "The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude." Also, obtain and read Andrew G. Bostom, M.D., "The Legacy of Jihad." You will get a thorough grasp of the strategies of conquest and cultural erasure that Islam is EXPERT with.

No back from the ashes from this sucka... Allah's minions do not even leave ashes. Under Islam the final act of the conquered people is... finis. There is no resurrection. We have to get things right now, not relying on some cycle of history to unleash some dormant resistance.

Under Islam, it's The Borg: resistance is futile.

4/02/2007 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

From a certain viewpoint, the Independent is correct to say that Iran is continuing the tit for the American tat. But then America was responding to many, many warlike provocations Iran had engaged in previously. So the Independent's observation is trivial.

But the departure is that while the Independent sympathizes with Iran's "right" to retaliate, America enjoys no such reciprocal right. It's the whole Geneva Convention thing again. A one way street in favor of the enemy.

But since the Independent wants to side with the enemy, the trick is to make them reap its consequences. The first casualty of a civilization which has lost consensus should be the Free Rider privilege. When things fall apart the King's Highway becomes safe only for those with private security. Safety becomes commoditized. As it has already become so in the Third World and at the margins of the First World. The Independent can print its drivel because ultimately it is defended by the very people it vilifies. It gets a free ride despite its irresponsibility. It "knows" it is safe because of the social contract.

But once the greater social contract fails through the untiring efforts of organizations like the Independent then they will find, as many Europeans are beginning to find that security is no long so assured. In France, Denmark, Britain and Spain internal security is no longer guaranteed. Even internationally, things are no longer so certain. Surely the EU would support Britain? Surely the UN? They got nothing from either; they might get something from NATO, but only because America will still provide it. The US it the security Central Banker of last resort. But if the Independent doesn't want even that sort of help then clearly Britain is on its own.

But what if the US simply defaults on its security guarantees? Or selectively provides it? Maybe it already has no choice. Nancy Pelosi is trying to engineer the abandonment of Iraq. She will devalue the American coin of commitment. So clearly the American word isn't worth its face value. But it's still redeemable for Britain isn't it? And for France, is it not? How sure is anyone now?

I suppose the people in the Independent think that the cavalry will always come. But the Times have changed. The BBC correspondent in Gaza has been missing a long time now. Sometimes the cavalry just goes away. Or sometimes the world is so full of trouble nobody has time to care any more about the troubles of journalists.

4/02/2007 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

W: "Osama Bin Laden correctly understood that the cultural weakness of the West was real, not some veneer."

How do you define cultural weakness? (Politicians trying to avoid an inopportune confrontation?). We have never enjoyed a stronger gravitational pull culturally. No others, in all of human history, come close. Islamers and our own home groomed Leftist enemy apparachicks might view Islam's brand of nihilism as good, but the only way Islamers are able to "sell" their cultural primitivism to anyone, is through extreme violence and extreme psychological coercion. That wont change. What will change however, is the ability to apply this extreme violence and extreme psychological coercion. Once an economic alternative to Jihadi oil is worked out, it will be game over for Islamers. And once that happens, it wouldn't surprise me in the least, if some enterprising China men work out soup recipes involving Jihadi testicles.

4/02/2007 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Mətušélaḥ said...

"Once an economic alternative to Jihadi oil is worked out, it will be game over for Islamers. And once that happens, it wouldn't surprise me in the least, if some enterprising China men work out soup recipes involving Jihadi testicles."

It's funny how some political problems are self correcting. After the Saudis get past peak oil, their whole economic/political house of cards will collapse along with rest of the Middle East. Of course, the trick will be for us not to collapse along with them.

If you buy into carbon dioxide based global warming (I don't) then that problem will also self correct when the oil goes away. We probably can not sustain our present economy with a coal based energy supply because the EROEI is too low (same holds true for wind, solar, oil shale, etc.). When the oil goes away, our options will be to go nuclear or revert back to an eighteenth century economy. Our course, if we've wrecked our civilization while genociding 1.5 billion muslims then reverting back to the eighteenth century isn't such a big deal. There's always a bright side...

4/02/2007 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

The Verum Serum blog offers a Timeline: Iran vs. the US in Iraq. If you read the events he lists it does seem plausible that the Iran action is in retaliation for the capture of their agents in Iraq in February as put forward by the Independant. That they would imprison Britains rather than Americans suggests weakness on their part.

W, the Independant doesn't think that the cavalry will always come. They don't want us to come. They live in a fantasy world where evil doesn't exist and the cavalry itself is the bad guy. They will use their soft power to overcome all crises.

The journalist will be let go by the Pals, eventually. And if not, it will be the Jewish moneymen who are at fault.

4/02/2007 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

And therein lies the irony. I remember coming across an elderly Eastern European man the Boston area in the Reagan era who asked for directions and then, inexplicably, grabbed a hold of my hand and said "God Bless America." There was a Mexican American who died in Iraq last year whose wrote home before he died that if he never came back, it was worthwhile giving his life for his country. Or the African I met who showed me his walletful of Green Card lottery tickets.

How strange it is that people with no liberty, no money and no future can value what privileged persons in the West can only hate.

4/02/2007 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I just finished reading The Independent's execrable article. What seem beyond their mental triangulatory abilities is the fact that the Irbil raid was carried out for far different reasons than they recognize. We were getting intel that the Iranians were a lot more involved in funding and fueling the "insurgency" than was previously grasped. We had captured a lot of Iranian weapons IN THE HANDS OF BOTH Sunni and Shi'a groups. We learned from prior raids on "insurgent" hideouts the degree of complicity of Iran in trying to get both sides to ratchet up the killing of each other and of American troops. We learned that the planning involved al Quds, and Iranian political leadership, disseminated from their diplomatic corps and spies. And the Irbil meeting was on our radar for reasons which I suspect had to do with more Iranian malfeasance in Iraq.

For The Independent to morally equivalize these two events is stunning in its obdurate stupidity. We did not go inside Iran to take those agents. We violated their diplomatic "sanctuary" only because we had evidence and compelling reason for doing so. Iran has no right to be acting to undermine the Iraqi government. The Left acts as if Iran has the right to undermine the Iraqi government because of our "provocations."

Would that this detestable detritus could be exposed to the violence of the jihad and know no safety from which it can act out its adolescent intransigence!

4/02/2007 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

It's ironic perhaps but not strange. I don't think it's hard at all to understand how Europeans, who hosted two world wars and fought off horrible tyrany, would want to leave all that behind. They've gotten past it, they are past needing wars to solve their problems, so they don't see why anyone else needs force to solve their problems. The basis of the leftist beliefs are harder for me to understand but I guess they are based on a feeling of support for the underdog. Helping the downtrodden and having understanding for the weak. They are fooled by those who perhaps are weak and downtrodden but also are evil and dishonest.

I made at trip to Cancun about twenty years ago. Cancun was built by Mexico to serve as a tourist destination, primarily for Americans. When I was there I took a ferry ride to a nearby island called Isla Mujeres, which was less of an American tourist destination. I was in the bow of the boat when the guy came around collecting fares. The fare was 200 Pesos (about a dollar) and the smallest bill I had was 500 Pesos. He had started collecting fares in the bow so he told me that he didn't have the change but would get it for me after he had collected more fares. I watched him and after he had collected all the fares in the bow he was about to disappear into the cabin, from which I'm sure I would never have seen him again. I called out to him and he came over to me and did give me my change.

I would have survived if I didn't get my change from the guy but he owed it to me. He had a right to the fare and I had a right to my change. I guess the leftists at the Independant would have preferred that he got to keep my change, and maybe my camera and shoes too. In some sense he was a downtrodden Mexican and I was a rich first worlder. Nevertheless I didn't think he had a right to cheat me.

I suspect that to many from the third world America is simply magical, the goldene medina, streets paved with gold. I suspect that many Iraqis want democracy not because the really understand what it is but because America has it and they want what America has. However, the man in the third world does have a realistic understanding of what life is like where he comes from. I guess the writers at the Independant have a realistic understanding only of what life is like where they come from. Neither one has a realistic understanding of what life is like for the other one.

4/02/2007 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Das said...


I'm not letting your trademark fetor of anti-Semitism go un-commented upon.

So, what, you took a cigarette break from your job as an Auschwitz guard to drop in and slime the comments seciton of Wretchard's noble site?

I swear you're like those obsessive mental cases that sport a suction dart on their forhead - otherwise they would bash their skulls in; they can't help it. You have a weird obession with bashing Jews in this thread - it's almost like you can't help it - you are a sick, debased person. (Wretchard, a better Christian than I, patiently forebears all participants on his blog, but I would beg commenters here not to engage with this sicko; his remarks are vacuous and redolent of his obsession. Interesting, I've never ever met a smart anti-Semite.)

4/03/2007 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

W: How strange it is that people with no liberty, no money and no future can value what privileged persons in the West can only hate.

I also think it's interesting that refugees are a big source of cultural optimism. But how sustainable is this when many of the children of these refugees learn quickly to hate the west?

These refugees serve as pockets of resistance for the west because of their appreciation for freedom. Blogs like this also serve as pockets of resistance because of the intellectual discussions held here. But I've always felt that universities should be our cultural backbone, and I'm pessimistic about our universities defending us.

4/03/2007 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger mrsizer said...

You're "pessimistic about our universities defending us"?

You're wildly optimistic (or looney) to even entertain the thought.

4/03/2007 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Evanston said...

Jane, Wretchard and others list a number of cultural changes in the UK and its military priorities.
Neglected topic??? Gays in the military.

The UK is pioneering open homosexuality in its armed forces. The government has set the tone: its priorities are social experimentation, pleasure, and avoiding confrontation. The armed forces naturally reflect this prioritization. The last thing they have done, are doing, or will do is fight.

Quit obsessing about a 1,000-year old fighting history. Culture can be destroyed in a generation. The fighting culture of Britain's armed forces is set on self-destruct.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear...

4/03/2007 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Andrewdb said...

Evansten -

All of NATO (except Turkey), Oz, New Zealand, and the IDF all allow gays to openly serve. I don't know that NATO is all that effective, but Oz and the IDF are pretty damn good. I don't think its the gays that are the difference. Something else seems to be going on.

4/03/2007 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger jane said...

Have no idea about NATO relative newcomers and traditional societies, such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, but one founding and major member of NATO doesn’t allow homosexuals to “openly” serve- the US. Just for the record.

4/03/2007 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger jane said...

Of course, gay men and women have served in the US military in the past as admirably as their straight counterparts and will continue to do so. The question is whether their orientation should be open and open in the barracks. I know many in the military who say not for good, practical reason. Their considered opinions are based less on prejudice or PC than on the nature of young testosteroned forces out to prove their manhood (or female warriorhood) and working and living intimately with one another.

But this issue is a whole other can of worms...

4/03/2007 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Does mainstream Islam endores violence?


The mainstream is by definition that branch of an organization which is most vocal and controls the policies of the organization. Thus we refer to the mainstream media as the most visible outlet of journalism, with the most access to the policy makers. The non-violent branch of Islam may be the numerical majority, but in terms of influence they are of no consequence, because they either fear or choose not to speak out.

4/03/2007 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Jane: founding and major member of NATO doesn’t allow homosexuals to “openly” serve- the US. Just for the record.

Now try to imagine any recent NATO campaign, say Serbia, without the participation of that same errant member of NATO.

4/03/2007 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger ppab said...

So how does one position on homosexuals serving openly in the military claim practicality while the other gets "social experimentation?"

Gays want to survive too and I'm sure there just as good killers as any. If they aren't, shame on those who trained them.

This is another can of worms, but primates "utilize" homosexual acts in peer-bonding and dominance displays that strengthen group cohesion. This does not mean that such sexual acts underpin a family best, but I fail to see how you could realistically consider a harmful impact on a military's power.

4/03/2007 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...


...Blair was indeed too close to Bush and the Jewish moneymen for Britain's tastes.

Which Jewish moneymen? Please name names.

4/03/2007 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger jane said...


Tell it to the "moronic, unschooled and illogical neanderthals" at the Pentagon who haven't given this issue any thought at all over the years :) We don't make policy here.

But, after spending years as a spouse in the military, I suspect the issue it isn't in the least about killing capability, but about the living, showering, bunking and foxhole arrangements and about reinforcing the gung-ho macho male self-image we need in warriors, as opposed to what civilian employees and most of society experience in their private- not collective- lives at home and what they need for their work.

Male to male homosexuality requires a submissive male. You may call it bonding, but---

4/03/2007 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Darren Duvall said...

The homosexuality issue is irrelevant, the pertinent point that evanston should have stuck with is:

The government has set the tone: its priorities are social experimentation, pleasure, and avoiding confrontation.

That pretty much sums it up. On a GDP basis you pretty much get what you pay for, and since they're spending 60% of what we are in GDP terms on defense, their readiness and combat capabilities will be commensurately less. Sexual orientation policies would seem to matter less than budgeting in that regard, but the budgeting itself is an expression of the society's values -- social experimentation, pleasure and avoiding confrontation. And what's worse, the Brits spend more on defense (prioritize their military more) than most EU countries.

Personally I'm in favor of the US military policy on sexual orientation. Although I am not in the military, in a crisis situation I would like to think that so long as my fellow soldiers watch my backside figuratively, the remainder of their unexpressed thought processes are functionally irrelevant.

4/03/2007 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Alexis said...

...Blair was indeed too close to Bush and the Jewish moneymen for Britain's tastes.

Which Jewish moneymen? Please name names.

Read British papers on Labour donors on the Iraq War run-up. Then remove Alexis's head from his rectum.

4/03/2007 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


I'm curious, where did the Jihadi moneymen park their donations? Any word on that in your British Newspapers?

4/03/2007 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I speak as a veteran, and as one who is not a homophobe. It is best for all concerned that gay soldiers and Marines keep it a private matter.

One of the more compelling arguments I've heard from veterans and from people who understand the dynamics of battle, training, and the necessity of sending young men into battle is thus:

A major concern is the fact that homosexual relationships in the ranks and in battle can compromise unit cohesion. Could a gay sergeant or officer send a fellow soldier who may be a lover into a situation where the chances are he won't come back alive? It may sound hypothetical to some, but it is a practical and realistic condition. Homosexuality was forbidden in the Roman legions for just that very reason, among others. The bonds of erotic love can tend to mess up good order. Plus, the potential exists for widespread degeneracy if you get a cluster of those kinds of guys in one unit.

Now, I'm not saying that these things have been overcome in real life in combat arms. I'm sure it has happened that some homosexual males have transcended this dynamic. Still, the very culture of the military is hostile towards gays and that isn't going to change anytime soon. And I don't think it should be incumbent upon the military to dabble in a social experiment. The race issue was different, because probably most servicemen privately were against segregation to begin with. I know some old Navy officers (and the Navy was the most recalcitrant service in regards to race)who detested the segregation and prejudice, but unless you were an Admiral you tended to not have much of a say in the matter.

4/03/2007 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cruiser said...

Just after the Brits were captured (March 23rd), I posted the following at two other sites:

"If the Iranians believed that the US, British and French naval forces in the gulf were a real threat this would never have happened. They are calling a bluff by publicly humiliating the British.

The hardliners need to do this to show other (less astute) Iranians that the hardliner's aggressive (nuclear, terrorist) strategy is not putting Iran in any real danger and is getting them what they want. The inevitable passive response by the West will prove the hardliners correct. Indeed, I suspect that they will get a few of their IRGC (Qods) officers back in return for releasing the Brits.

We always hear that acting aggressively towards Iran shores-up the hardliners. This is an good example of why the opposite can be true."

Unfortunately, it looks like my prediction will prove correct. Two sad observations: (1) the Brits have just undermined the naval buildup (might as well send our ships home); and (2) all I had to do to make an accurate prediction is look for the worst plausible outcome.

4/03/2007 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


In 1973 the Egyptians did not surprise Israel by the close positioning of their troops. It was if and when Egypt would use its pre-positioned troops that surprised Israel.

4/03/2007 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...


Read British papers on Labour donors on the Iraq War run-up. Then remove Alexis's head from his rectum.

Please give specific citations, preferably with hyperlinks. Vague assertions do not amount to evidence. Also, to ascertain the possible effect of Jewish money, Jewish donations ought to be compared to Labor's total donations and specifically to total donations from Muslim sources.

References to anatomical parts of other people are not necessary and do not enhance this discussion.

The influence of Michael Levy appears to be minimal, for although he is known to be a major fundraiser for Labour, he doesn't appear to wield much influence if at all. He is so prone to drop names and gloat over his photo opportunities that his real influence within the British establishment is close to nothing. Labour will take his money, and he will be seen in powerful circles, but that isn't real power.

In contrast, Sir Gulam Noon (Muslim industrialist, Labour donor, and recent peer) appears to have a greater degree of discretion, and his public statements appear to be indicative of where British Labour policy is actually heading.

4/03/2007 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger musemonk said...

grampa used to say,
"keep your mouth shut and you'll have a decent funeral."
same with girlie-men in the military - they used to get the crap beat out of 'em. Kinda solved the problem.

4/03/2007 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pakistani Militants Staging Raids Inside Iran: ABC
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. has been secretly advising and encouraging a Pakistani militant group that has carried out a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran, ABC News reported on Tuesday, citing U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources.
Every man shall stand alone

In a recent post, we discussed the benefits the West will receive from Iran’s latest blundering. Iran’s capture, imprisonment, and unseemly displaying of 15 British sailors and marines will slowly but surely lead to Iran’s economic and financial isolation from the rest of the world. From there will arrive economic turmoil, social chaos, and possibly revolution for the Islamic Republic. Many observers will be highly displeased at the sluggish pace by which these events will unfold, but the direction at least seems clear. This is the good news.

But there is also bad news from the British hostage episode. The bad news is that this incident will add a bit of confirmation to the views of many in Britain and Europe that their governments are too weak and insignificant to defend them. Friends they thought might help them are shrugging their shoulders and walking away. Collective security promised by the NATO treaty is a promise that might or might not be fulfilled depending on the whim of the moment. And common British soldiers, sailors, and marines have good cause to wonder whether their commanders are competent or even care about them.

4/04/2007 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


Another hit and run? You shameless Jihadi propagandist.

4/04/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Evanston said...

First, thank you to Jane, Andrewdb, Teresita, ppab, Darren Duvall, and Fred for not treating me like a kook or a bigot for bringing up the homosexuality issue.
Second, I type these comments after the Iranian announcement that they will release the Brits.

I served in the Marine Corps for 22 years, under Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. I know firsthand that the "tone" set by the POTUS and Congress reverberates throughout the military, even through the hidebound culture of the Marines. This certainly is as it should be in a democracy. Still, this is why I provided a biblical warning. National defense is not an area to mess with lightly.

During the heyday of DACOWITS (Congressional women's rights committee) we were constantly being pushed to have women in combat roles. This, thankfully, did not succeed although in a few areas we went too far. Women on ships is a good example, but the negative effect has been hidden by a lack of a legitimate naval threat to challenge the USN. In other words, it's a hidden weakness.

In the case of the recent push for open homosexuality in Western militaries, the national priorities are clear and any military commander who openly resists is in his "terminal grade" (i.e., will not be promoted). We had a taste of that in the U.S. in the aftermath of Tailhook, for example, and will see it in the Tillman affair. I must repeat, military accountability to the government is a good thing, but it makes the current enthusiasm for social engineering particularly dangerous.

Fred mentioned an analogy I quite frequently use. Putting aside the breakdown of unit cohesion in actual combat, the issue here is why the Brits did not fight to begin with. Again, it reflects the priorities of the government, which are all about "soft power." For those enemies who are not afraid to pull a trigger, this policy is laughable.

Let's turn away from the middle east for a second and consider Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe has continuously ignored all soft power initiatives by the Brits. Does the gay issue have any relevance. Most certainly in his public statements: "ROBERT Mugabe has ruled out ever trying to get back into the "useless" Commonwealth during a blistering attack on Tony Blair and his "gay gangsters". (3 Jul 2005, Scotland on Sunday)
"...veterans of the Zimbabwean liberation struggle and landless peasants, who defied a court order to vacate white-owned farms they had occupied. Mugabe...promptly denounced Blair's "gay cabinet." (6-12 Apr 2000, Al-Ahram)

Perception IS reality in the political arena. We see this all the time in domestic political campaigns, and foreign policy (see reactions to Reagan vs. Carter). When your major policy initiatives to "improve" defense consist of promoting (yes, "promoting" it as acceptable) homosexuality then don't be surprised if your nation is challenged routinely and aggressively.

4/04/2007 11:46:00 AM  

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