Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cracks in the ground

Spengler at the Asia Times asked a year ago: what do you give someone who has everthing -- "cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's, diabetes, kidney failure, and so forth. Iran's economy is so damaged that it is impossible to tell how bad things are. Except perhaps for the oilfields of southern Iraq, and perhaps also northern Saudi Arabia, there is nothing the West can give Iran to forestall an internal breakdown."

That degree of dysfunction was underscored by a recent Pajamas Media article describing the biggest case of corruption in Iran. Or possibly the Middle East. The chief auditor of the Iranian parliament has reported that $35 B of the country's oil revenues has just gone missing. Not that there's a heck of a lot to be stolen anyway. Despite record oil prices, the regime in Teheran has mismanaged its economy so badly that it is bankrupt. Losing the $35 billion is like a struggling retiree looking in the sugar jar and finding that the next six month's rent money is missing. Spengler writes:

Iranian dissidents put overall unemployment at 30% and youth unemployment at 50%. Government subsidies sustain a very large portion of the population; 42% of the non-agricultural population is employed by the Iranian state, compared with 17% in Pakistan.

Within fewer than 10 years, Iran will become a net importer, at which point the government no longer will be able to provide subsidies. Iran's economic implosion is a source of imminent strategic risk.

Risk to whom? one might ask. More on this later. But the huge corruption scandal in Iran may actually understate the extent of its mismanagement. The Pajamas Media article continues: "This is a serious allegation, as this amount constitutes almost half of Iran’s total oil income for that year. ... To make matters worse, this is not the first time since the start of the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that money has been used without the Majlis’ knowledge. One other famous case took place during the 2007-08 financial year. It was revealed later that $2 billion was used to import gasoline, without any consultation or approval of the members of the Iranian parliament."

Spengler argues that Iran is treating its economic malaise with the equivalent of Dr. Morell's famous little pills. Morell was Hitler's personal physician and kept the flagging dictator going with short-term stimulants to the detriment of his long-term health.

The fact that Iran cannot stabilize its currency suggests a breakdown of political consensus within the regime, and a scramble by different elements in the regime to lay hands on whatever resources it can. ... That is the background to Ahmadinejad's decree last week reducing private and state bank lending rates to 12% from 14%, that is, 5-10 percentage points below the rate of inflation. If Ahmadinejad were in the pay of a hostile intelligence service, he could not have found a more effective way to sabotage Iran's economy. If the price of goods rises faster than the cost of money, everyone who can will borrow money to purchase and hoard goods. The result will be higher prices and reduced economic activity, and the eventual prospect of hyperinflation, which no government ever has survived.

Even after discounting the gloom-and-doom talk, there's a reasonable case for arguing that Iran is on the ropes. Spengler argues that one of the motives for Iran's foreign adventures in Lebanon and Southern Iraq -- what he calls Ahmedinajad's "pocket Persian empire" -- is to export Iran's domestic pressures. If so, we are probably not far from hearing the argument that we ought to let Iran continue its expansion in order to forestall an internal meltdown.

Right now Nancy Pelosi maintains that Iran is distributing political largesse, according to Abe Greenwald who listened to her audio interview in the San Francisco Chronicle, advancing the view that Teheran is not only in definite control of the situation at home, but the situation in Iraq. Pelosi said after her May 17 trip to Iraq:

Well, the purpose of the surge was to provide a secure space, a time for the political change to occur to accomplish the reconciliation. That didn’t happen. Whatever the military success, and progress that may have been made, the surge didn’t accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians-they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities-the Iranians.

Manifest evidence that Iran is in difficulty will decisively undermine the assumptions underpinning Pelosi's strategy. Developments in the next few months will clarify the situation for all to see. If Iran begins to break down then it will be abundantly clear that Pelosi's -- and indeed Obama's -- diplomatic strategy in the region is fundamentally flawed. There is no point to going, hat in hand, to a regime that is itself on the way out. It would be like dealing with a corpse. Moreover, if Spengler's prediction that Iran has no way out but to continue it's "imperial adventure" -- "In fact, Iran is engaged in such an adventure, funding and arming Shi'ite allies from Basra to Beirut, and creating clients selectively among such Sunnis as Hamas in Palestine," then the Pelosi-Obama strategy of rapidly abandoning Iraq before an imploding, yet expanding radical Islamic state will be the worst of all possible worlds.

But there is a silver lining to Teheran's mismanagement of affairs. It creates the possibility that regime change will occur without any direct military intervention in Iran. It may simply be sufficient to hold the line and keep up the pressure against Iranian proxies in Southern Iraq and Lebanon to make Teheran blow a gasket. I've argued before that the greatest danger that the relatively liberal, Shi'ite democracy in Iraq poses to Teheran is that it creates an alternative political model within the Shi'ite Crescent.

I'd like to think that if events in the next months show Iran starting to crack, then the Democratic Party will see the see the strategic opportunity and reverse its position on abandoning Iraq. But then again in politics what's good for the faction isn't always good for the nation. Ahmedinajad proved that.




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94 Comments:

Blogger Zenster said...

If you want an explanation for this, look no further than Ahmadinejad's lunatic pursuit of khodkafa'i or self sufficiency. Here are some excerpts from the May 2007 Wall Street Journal article:

Because it controls the oil revenue, which comes in U.S. dollars, the Islamic state has a vested interest in a weak national currency. (It could get more rials for the same amount of dollars in the domestic market.) Mr. Ahmadinejad has tried to exploit that opportunity by printing an unprecedented quantity of rials. Economists in Tehran speak of "the torrent of worthless rials" that Mr. Ahmadinejad has used to finance his extravagant promises of poverty eradication. The result has been massive flights of capital, mostly into banks in Dubai, Malaysia and Austria. Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi, the Islamic Chief Justice, claims that as much as $300 billion may have left the country since President Ahmadinejad was sworn in.

...

The president's favorite catchword is "khodkafa'I" or "self sufficiency." To the horror of most Iranians, especially the millions connected with the bazaars, who regard trade as the noblest of pursuits, Mr. Ahmadinejad insists that the only way Iran can preserve its "Islamic purity" is to reduce dependence on foreign commerce.

"Whatever we can produce we should do ourselves," the president likes to say. "Even if what we produce is not as good, and more costly." His rationale goes something like this: The global economic system is a Jewish-Crusader conspiracy to keep Muslim nations in a position of weakness and dependency. Thus, Muslims would do better by relying on their own resources even if that means lower living standards.

One of President Ahmadinejad's first moves was to freeze a six-year-old policy designed to help the Islamic Republic become a member of the World Trade Organization; in his book the WTO is just another "Jewish-Crusader" invention to cement the inferior position of Muslim economies. It was with reference to "khodkafa'i" that Mr. Ahmadinejad decided to harden the regime's position on the nuclear issue, even if that meant United Nations sanctions and war with the U.S. The Iranian president claims that the seven countries currently capable of producing nuclear fuel plan to set up a global cartel and control the world market for enriched uranium, once mankind, having exhausted fossil fuels, is forced to depend on nuclear energy.

Convinced that Islam is destined for a "clash of civilizations" against the "Infidel"--led by the U.S., of course--President Ahmadinejad is determined to preserve what he regards as the Islamic Republic's "independence." One of his favorite themes is the claim that, forced to choose between freedom and independence, good Muslims would prefer the latter.


Khodkafa'i has had catastrophic results on many sectors of the Iranian industry. Unable to reduce, let alone stop, imports of mass consumer goods (including almost half of the nation's food) controlled by powerful mullahs and Revolutionary Guard commanders, President Ahmadinejad has tightened import rules for a range of raw materials and spare parts needed by factories across the nation. The policy has already all but killed the once-buoyant textile industry, destroying tens of thousands of jobs. It has also affected hundreds of small and medium-size businesses that, in some cases, have been unable to pay their employees for months.

Mr. Ahmadinejad has also used khodkafa'i as an excuse to freeze a number of business deals aimed at preventing the collapse of Iran's aging and semi-derelict oil and gas fields. He has also vetoed foreign participation in building oil refineries, forcing the Islamic Republic to import more than 40% of the refined petroleum products consumed in Iran. The prospect of a prolonged duel with the U.N., and possible military clash with the U.S., has also hurt the Iranian economy in the past six months.

One result of the president's weird policy is the series of strikes that have continued in Tehran and at least 20 other major cities since last autumn. Last year, one major strike by transport workers in Tehran brought the city of 15 million to a standstill for several days. Right now tens of thousands of workers in industries as diverse as gas refining, paper and newsprint, automobile, and copper mining are on strike.

[emphasis added]

In light of recent developments, the article's last paragraph is nearly prophetic:

Mr. Ahmadinejad's next coup will likely be a major privatization scheme affecting more than 40 public corporations across the country. He has promised to help the employees buy up to 10% of the shares. The rest will go to rich mullahs and Revolutionary Guard officers and their business associates, using low interest loans from state-owned banks. By the time the scheme is ready, however, the Islamic Republic may be facing too deep an economic crisis for anyone--even greedy mullahs and corrupt Revolutionary Guardsmen--to want to invest even a borrowed rial there.
[emphasis added]

The situation for Iran's textile industry is much like in Nigeria, where perfectly functional airplanes are cannibalized for spare parts. Ahmadinejad's role in Iran's economy has been that of a pyromaniac idiot in a powder magazine.

I think we can safely chalk all of this up to that wonderful oxymoron, "Islamic logic". If Islam weren't such a looming danger it would be heaps of fun to just sit back and watch it crash and burn. Sadly, the threat is too real and we must expedite the process in every way possible.

5/29/2008 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger timgoogle said...

There's a third option for the Mad Hatter in Tehran: a Cultural Revolution that "cleanses" those who are opposing him. The ensuing chaos might even encourage the Hidden one to appear.

5/29/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Is "khodkafa'I" Farsi for "Juche"?

5/29/2008 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

This is the time to keep our heads. The characteristic of floundering, despotic regimes is that they ultimately rely upon miracles. The wunderwaffen.

The emotional attachment of starving regimes to nuclear or biological weapons programs is really symptomatic of the necessity to bet on the long shot when all the measurable trends are depressingly bleak. Maybe even September 11 filled this psychological niche.

But, pathetic as it is, it is dangerous all the same. I think historians will eventually conclude that the US moves into Afghanistan and Iraq, whatever their shortcomings, also had to the effect of overstressing hostile forces, compelling them to change their mode of activity (like AQI) or enmesh themselves in adventures. It made them gamble, and fruits on the machine have lined up all wrong.

It's interesting how some commentators can only conceive of America falling into a quagmire. The USSR was bogged down in the former empire of the Czars. And maybe expansionary Islam is too. All those legions of fighters it has exported, all the trouble it has stirred up -- like the terror groups created by the ISI -- are going to come back to haunt them some day, or raise a blowback against them.

But that's for posterity. Right now I think a steady hand may just see us through.

5/29/2008 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I wonder how much Saudi Arabia would be willing to pay Iran to buy its nukes. I would think that billions would not be out of the question.

5/29/2008 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Where's Ronald Reagan when you need him?

We could use someone who wants to win against Iran and can make it overspend its budgets severely.

Dinner Jacket is well known for not knowing the first thing about economics. He, like Chavez, is a robber attracted to the oil like it was a golden goose. I'm sure he has a hard time imagining the wells running dry.

The question of course is when will the house of cards come down? If it's five more years that could be a problem. As their bank accounts dwindle they will become more reckless. However, one might predict that even a small external shooting conflict would bring on the end.

5/29/2008 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

NahnCee,

I suspect SA already has nukes and got them via fellow Sunnis in Pakistan.

At the moment, diesel is in short supply and there is a glut of fuel oil. That makes processing heavy oil unprofitable for some refineries, since the gains from diesel are outweighed by losses on fuel oil. As refineries turn instead to lighter grades, it pushes their prices yet higher. The discount on heavier crudes has risen to record levels. But even then, points out Ed Morse, of Lehman Brothers, another investment bank, Iran is having trouble selling the stuff. It is storing huge quantities of unsold oil on tankers moored off its coast. See The Economist for the full article.

Interesting, in times of sky high oil prices Iran is filling the Arabian Gulf up with oil tankers full of the stuff because it can not get enough cash for its oil.

That has to bite big time into the Mullahs. Half a years revenue gone like a far in the wind and now they can not sell their oil. Pretty soon, they will have to sell.

5/29/2008 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

I do not see the Mullahs as a ruling group that operates on the same principles and logic as the Politiburo in the Soviet Union. The latter had no wish for MAD to become a reality. There are no 72 virgins or heavenly reward for physicalist reductionists. I know that there are those out there who are so cynical that they cannot credit to the Muslim fanatics that kind of steadfastness in the face of death. They think it's all a bluff and that the headchoppers operate by the same rules we do. I can see only one outcome for these folks to be disabused of that kind of delusion: a very sanguinary one.

We must be prepared to break the Mullahs' toys before they use them. I can see plenty of downside for us because of a failure of nerve and resolution. I see less downside for us if we break the nuclear weapons' programs of the Iranians. I have not seen one article or paper out there from the side of "restraint" that deals realistically with the downside of letting Iran get those weapons operational.

5/29/2008 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

While it's too early to anticipate the fall of the Iranian regime, which may never happen at all -- witness the longevity of the starving North Korean regime -- it's interesting to speculate on the fate of all the rootless and masterless thugs who would become orphaned by such an event.

There are probably not too many civilian jobs that a former career Hezbollah fighter could apply for unless it is "thug", "assassin" or "torturer" for some crime syndicate. The same kind of upheaval that hit Iraq would likely convulse Iran if the Ayatollahs came down.

If it were to happen, it would likely be on the next President's watch. It would be interesting to speculate just what Obama would do if the collapse came in the middle of his pell-mell withdrawal. Order, counter-order, disorder, most likely.

He would probably be smart enough to try and take credit for it, by claiming he inspired democracy in Iran or something. But be that as it may, the effect of all those masterless terrorist ronin running around the region would be interesting.

5/29/2008 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Wretchard, Utopia,

Could the Incompetent One (el Presedente Bush the Monkey or whatever) actually be on watch when...

at least two legs of the Axis of Evil fall.

Iraq - Kinetic then Soft,
Iran - undeclared and Soft,
maybe even North Korea (they ain't lookin' real good right about now neither).

Utopia. You asked for a steady hand. You have one in charge. More so than even Reagan.

5/29/2008 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Marcus - interesting. Of course, Khan was selling everything to everyone while Musharref looked on benevolently, but I'd have to plunk for "not yet". We haven't seen any building for launching a nuke, AND - more importantly - I haven't read of any countries with nukes sending in technicians to train the Saudi's (or to run it, since Saudi's never do anything for themselves). They are currently engaged in a fence-building project along the Yemen border and I think they're enlarging their Aramco operation, but surely if they were going to invest in nukes, they'd want to also invest in some place to keep them.

I suppose they *could* store them in their big black rock, which is essentially a really big mosque and we know how Muslim terrorists like to store their little toys in the nearest house of worship.

5/29/2008 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard, I don't think a steady hand is possible.

The elites of the US and the West have found the casualties and money spent and distasteful events of Iraq simply too much. So they want to surrender, and will, even to a faltering and/or adventurous regime.

When Democrats put up Barack Hussein Obama and embrace hug-a-thug as a policy, based on people loving us, while disarming (Obama wants to cut the military severely) a steady hand is not going to happen.

The **Best** possible outcome is Pres. McCain preventing unilateral surrender, and even that is pretty thin given a probable veto-proof Dem Congress that can simply force a surrender in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As for Iran, there is another gamble. Sink an aircraft carrier group, close the Gulf, take over Saudi oil fields and Southern Iraq. Why not? If you might go down (and rest assured regime change = an executed Ahmadinejad). And probably many other regime people. They have no reason at all to be conservative.

My guess, a West unwilling to pay ANY price meets an Iran willing to pay ANY price. It won't be pretty. Ahmadinejad may want to provoke War with the US now.

5/29/2008 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/29/2008 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Marcus,

Always good to hear from you.

Could those tankers sitting off the coast be a Maxine Waters type speculation on an oil market Long Play? That is, a truly ignorant but aggressive speculation move on the ever increasing price of oil.

Might the Hidden Imam’s Mad Hatter have waged a bit of a bet on even a more rapid rise in the price of crude oil.

One that is going bad.

Crude oil has dropped almost $10 a barrel over the past week.

Not good if you have already spent the gains you ain’t got. Spent them on the ink and paper of worthless Rials and gas subsidies.

Remember the hubris of Japan in the 1980’s

China’s starting to have problems now.

And, the oil ticks have learned to live on $130/barrel oil. What happens if it dumps $40 in a month? Nice, very nice. Especially nice if Iran is counting on that cash to pay Hezbollah and the rest, eh.

5/29/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

First of all, it's important to remember the Spengler article is nearly a year old. Iran hasn't collapsed yet. That doesn't mean to say it isn't in difficulty. But the process takes a long time.

5/29/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Wretchard,

You ask, far more delicately than I will, where do the turds go when you flush?

Mine pass through a treatment plant where they get filtered, scrubbed, brushed, chemically deloused, and in general made a bit more environmentally safe. They even want the results to end up in my tap here in San Diego.

Yea, Toilet To Tap!!!!

So, where do the gentlemen of Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, etc. go to get scrubbed when the game is over, when the music stops, when the monthly welfare check ends?
That is a scary thought. I had thought things through to the point of reveling in the Iranian Thugocracy dealing with their returning youths. That was great. That made me happy. All smiles. But, the next step. That is a nice one. Look at the chaos decades of stupid civil war and externalized terrorism in Lebanon brought forth. There is no sanitation facility in the Middle East. The spins and filters just seem to clump things up more. And, I really don’t think it is right to position Iraq as the low point (the flypaper) in the turd farm drainage system. They have already gone through enough.

It scares me to think this, but…

When Iran collapses we are going to have to wall it off and keep shrinking and controlling that area of The Gap. It is too violent to permit ingress and egress. Like Sadr City, or sappers taking on a castle fort, an aggressive and controlled containment is necessary. One that builds walls within walls.

How did the Romans and Greeks and Chinese deal with barbarians and barbaric regions?

Can that happen.

I don’t think so - not now.

Until the day a group of those gentlemen destroy Munich.

5/29/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Kim Lokken said...

A lesser light said, "When Democrats put up Barack Hussein Obama and embrace hug-a-thug as a policy, based on people loving us, while disarming (Obama wants to cut the military severely) a steady hand is not going to happen.

On the contrary, it is written by Obama himself, "We have learned from Iraq that our military needs more men and women in uniform to reduce the strain on our active force. Obama will increase the size of ground forces, adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines."

I answer that your characterization of Obama's platform on renewing US diplomacy as "hug-a-thug" is the result of Bush/Cheney's arrogant refusal to talk to any of our foes at any time until they unilaterally capitulate becoming the new norm. And how has that worked out for us lately?

Objection 1: Ahmadinejad may want to provoke War with the US now.

That is Ahmedinejad's role, to provoke the US into initiating the use of force against Iran. However, Ahmedinejad himself has no equivalent authority. He serves at the pleasure of the Ayatollah Khameni.

5/29/2008 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


Wolf Howling Nazir Ali - The Collapse Of Chistianity Is Wrecking British Society & Islam Is Filling The Void

5/29/2008 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

We have a strange situation here. On one hand, the revolutionary leaders left in Iran worked hard to take the country back in time to around 900AD. On the other hand, the average Iranian is probably getting tired of a third-world image and economy.

And I suspect that not all Iranians want to die in a nuclear exchange with Israel and the US. The spectre of nuclear war was a stressor here in the US - the Iranians aren't any different.

I don't think Mr. INeedANewJob will last long enough to be a Hitler - building a real Army takes time. And when the US stomped Iraq, rational Iranians noticed.

Now Mr. INeedANewJob is a eschatological Shiia and he apparently believes that it is his duty to usher in Armegedon so that the 12th Inman will return. I don't know, (and do our Intelligence folks?), if he is really that crazy or just putting on a show for the faithful.

Ahmadinejad will take advantage of American weakness if Obama makes it into the Whitehouse. But will Iranians allow him to destroy the country?

GWB has set in motion the destruction of Wahhabbist-inspired, 10th century Islamic regimes. I'm sooooo glad that GWB is our President.

5/29/2008 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

I remember a buddy coming up to me after mass noting Pakistan's test explosion. I then immediately mused that Saudi Arabia is now a nuclear nation. I also seem to recall speculation here that since Saudi Arabia is KNOWN to have Chinese missile whose only job really is really to deliver heavy warheads that this is strong evidence they are a nuclear power. There was also commentary about Sandy Burgler getting on the Saudi Ambassador congratulating his nation on working its way into Israeli targeting plans.

I don't think Iran is throwing the dice, I can not imagine it is cheap to retain those tankers and if they start retaining too many I would guess that would add some more upward pressure on oil further exacerbating the need for the tankers. I wrote the above before I read the article I quote below.

The problem it seems (if you buy what the Economist is pushing) is there is a huge demand for gasoline -- easiest cracked from light crude. Then we have a glut of heating oil so refineries do not want the heavy crude (BTW this affects THugo Chavez too, IIRC Venezuelan oil is mostly the heavier type).

Here is another financial analyst who specifically notes the growing scarcity of tankers: Where Are All the Tankers?

For a few weeks now, observers have noticed that Iran is leasing tankers and storing oil in them. At about $140,000 a week or so, that is expensive storage. At first, conspiracy theorists were wondering if they were preparing for some kind of war or attack. But more conventionally, it may be they are having problems selling their oil. Their oil is not very high-quality, and there are only a few places that can take it and refine it. India, China, and the US are among the countries with refineries that can take Iranian oil. (And yes, George Friedman of Stratfor tells me some of it does end up in the US from time to time.)

India's refiners are telling Iran they no longer want their oil, preferring the higher-quality oil that is readily available in the area. So Iran has to decide whether to send it to China or "repackage" it so that it can end up in the US, while they try to get refiners in India to change their minds. Thus, they are leasing tankers to store the oil they are pumping.
The article goes onto note however, Iran is not the only nation sitting on tankers full of oil, that the oil producers are betting on $150.00 oil and thinks a swarm of oil tankers may attempt to hit the offloading ports are about the same time.

Iran has to have money to pay for the arms and the trouble it ships to Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, etc. It also needs to make sure its own house is in order, If the numbers Mr. Spengler presents via this outlet are only ballpark close to being correct, then Iran is in serious trouble.

5/29/2008 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

If anyone wants more proof of just how bad things are in Iran, consider this: Iran recently eclipsed Japan as the world's largest importer of wheat.

Much of the MME (Muslim Middle East) experiences severe Water Poverty. The entire MENA (Middle East North Africa) region is the fastest growing importer of wheat in the world.

To irrigate the amount of wheat imported by the MENA region would require the entire annual flow of the RIVER NILE.

By importing wheat, they are importing water. Were the principal wheat exporting nations—America, Canada and Australia—to halt shipments to the MENA region, the onset of starvation would begin in a few short WEEKS. Additionally, neither Russia or China could triangulate against such a move as they are both net food importers.

Even as it stabs at us from Hell's heart, Iran—like much of the MME—is teetering on a knife-edge of survival. Ironically, high oil prices have caused the cost of shipping grain and, therefore, bread to skyrocket in Egypt and other countries. Food riots are already happening.

It will give me no small amount of satisfaction to see Iran's mullahs twist slowly in the breeze when Iran's Persian population finally has had enough of their Shiite interlopers. A mere puff of wind will bring this entire economic house-of-cards tumbling down.

5/29/2008 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Soros is behind the publisher of the McClellan Book, also 6 other anti-Bush books.

5/29/2008 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Kim,

Ask the UAE how their talks with Iran are going.

5/29/2008 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Kim Lokken said...

Wretchard, it occurred to me from the last post that it take a lot of development and testing to find a warhead design small enough and light enough to fit into one of those ballistic missiles that Syria is supposed to be trying to test. The Hiroshima/Trinity gun-type is too fragile to survive reentry, and the Nagasaki Fat Boy type is too damn big to fit in the rocket. Iran's first effort will probably be something their F-4s will barely be able to lug around. But never mind me, it makes the Administration look like they're doing something.

5/29/2008 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Kim,

The Hill, 2007/05/07
“The Bush administration earlier this year announced plans to augment the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marine Corps by 27,000.
Democratic frontrunners Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are among those who support an increase in the size of ground forces. “

I know the Marine Corps is approaching 200,000 active duty personnel – almost 40,000 more active duty personnel than Bush had on hand on 9/11. The Marine Corps increase promised by Obama will be reached before anyone gets sworn in on 2009/01/20.

The Army was at 380,000 on 9/11 as a result of the Clinton Legacy. They now have over 515,000 active duty personnel. The increase promised by Obama will be met before 2009/01/20.

Those goals was set over a year ago. Recruiting has been good. Additionally, the baseline number of active duty troops was higher than advertised.

Obama and Clinton are promising returns that are already there. And, truth be told, Bush is doing the same. The authorized strength of the ground forces is smaller than the actual manning strength. That means that politicians can play games. The manpower is largely there already. All that needs to happen is for Congress to fund it in perpetuity.

If you deride the term “Hug-A-Thug” than can you provide at least a small list of names from Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, the Taliban etc. that we should talk to? I think that is a very valid question and one that should be answered before any other questions are answered.

Regretfully, I cannot think of any. None.

Even if we yakked with them they could not control the factions they birthed. We talked and yakked for thirty years. We put arrest warrants out for some. We brought eighteen chaps to justice in the 1990s for their terrorist activity. We sent Ambassador (and future Presidential Candidate) Bill Richards to treat with the Taliban in 1998. There we were smiling in a photo shoot with Arafat. Over there a photo with Assad. Handshaking with Hussein. Those were the days of progress, eh. Get back to what worked?

5/29/2008 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Fat Boy - or maybe even a couple of them!!! - could reside quite comfortably on or in an oil tanker.

However, why would the Iranians have to follow our sixty year old development pattern? Why would anyone develop Fat Boy in 2008? When you know something can be done you know you can do it. They are not stupid and science is not static.

Anyway, the biggest concern is not a direct WMD attack from Iran, but instead an indirect attack using proxies. Then you might know the region and/or the ideology, and/or the technological center of the weapon or attackers but…

I would strongly suggest a careful read of Wretchard’s ’Three Conjectures’.

5/29/2008 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Here's the desperation move.

May 29, 2008 -- Senior U.S. officials tell ABC News that in recent months there have been secret contacts between the Iranian government and the leadership of al Qaeda.

According to U.S. officials familiar with highly sensitive intelligence on this issue, the contacts are on the status of high-level al Qaeda operatives, including two of Osama Bin Laden's sons, who have been under house arrest in Iran since 2003. The officials don't believe Iran will allow these operatives to go free, but said they don't know Iran's motivation for initiating the talks.

5/29/2008 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger not that mark said...

Is it possible that the US has been purposely driving the dollar into the dirt, knowing that the US population could take it better than the Iranian population?

5/29/2008 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

not that mark,

No, I would guess the much simpler explanations of making our products cheaper & more exportable along with the housing market collapse have more to do with running the dollar down have more to do with it than making the dollar weak to drive Iran into the dirt. Cool side-effect though!

5/29/2008 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Somebody please inform "Kim_Lokken" that Iran, in conjunction with help from North Korea and Russia, is working on an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). It isn't just the medium range rockets anymore. They already have those.

It's o.k. to mock Iranian capabilities, as long as you are more up to date with your knowledge. But, failing that, to mock our concerns about the potential of the Iranian nuclear weapons' programs is no laughing matter.

5/29/2008 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Doug,

Already read about the Soros connection with McClellan's publisher and agent. In one sense, Soros is easy to figure out, because he does it so much and is a creature of habit. Just as I also suspect he may have had his son take positions against the dollar during the past year or so, just to nudge things along more conveniently.

5/29/2008 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger lgude said...

An eye opener of a post. I had no idea that Iran might be in that big a bind economically. With their Iraqi proxies and material being rolled up at a smart clip by the US and an apparently very determined Shiite Iraqi government, Iran may indeed be hurting more than we realize. Then there is the ongoing cost of Hezbollah, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. Likewise everyone knows that the MME has us over a barrel of oil, but I was not aware much we had them by the short and curlies with wheat. How delicious. Weaponized wheat.

I want to point out another player tin extreme fantasy regime game - Zimbabwe. Dear Robert is still in power and still world champ in unreal economics. He has gone further than either Comrade Hugo or Brother Ahmadinejad have so far progressed. A quarter to a third of his population has either starved to death or left. Every culture subjecting itself to one of these totalitarian nightmares is different so each will probably play out somewhat differently. What they seem to have in common is that they are all unsustainable. The endgame in the Soviet Union was quite benign. We just don't know how these cases more driven by individual psychopathology will play out.

5/29/2008 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Kim Lokken -- Obama has a whole host of military spending measures he has promised to end: missile defense (so Iran can hit us with impunity, see also North Korea), satellite defense (so China and Iran and North Korea can take out our satellites), new ships, new body armor for the troops, new UAVs. Regardless, if technology gives the US an advantage, Obama wants to kill it. He's also in favor of reducing the Navy and Air Force ship and plane count.

Obama like all Dems wants a non-existent defense force so he can spend it on welfare (more mansions for Rev. God Damn America).

His hug-a-thug unconditional talks with Chavez, the Castro dynasty, the Kim Dynasty and Ahmadinejad relies on charm and groveling to secure America instead of military force.

[Bush has had contacts with Iran since 2001, to no avail. Iran has done nothing but stage more attacks on our troops. In fact Ahmadinejad has rejected WTO, normalization, and other measures offered him by Bush. There's nothing the US CAN offer at this point that hasn't been offered except surrender to Islam.

Brig Gen McMaster blasted the media's lies about "no contact with Iran" listing the lengthy discussions with them in Iraq, and the refusal to talk about Iran's direct role in killing our guys in Iraq AND Afghanistan.]

As for Ahmadinejad, he now DIRECTLY controls the money to the 42% or so directly employed by Iran's regime. Not Khameni. In fact, Iran's power structure is not strictly hierarchical, with many factions each able to displace others who are too favorable to foreigners. Jimmy Carter found that out in negotiating with Iran: any faction could denounce the other as "soft" and gain power. It's doubtful that Khameni could dismiss Ahmadinejad if he wanted to.

Already Ahmadinejad is directly challenging the Imams by making religious proclamations. That's their turf and he's the "rock star" acclaimed by Muslims around the world.

If Ahamdinejad and his backers in his factions want to gain total power, the only way to do that naturally is war. It's also the natural way to hedge against being over-thrown. The Mullahs will obviously throw up their hands and say "It wasn't us, it was him. Hang HIM like Saddam." That example is going to propel Ahamdinejad to any course that keeps that away from him.

DLA -- nuclear weapons plus control over the Gulf + American Weakness via Obama's surrender mandate + Iran's mountainous terrain for Ahamdinejad equals a winnable war. He doesn't need to defeat the US Navy globally, just deny them the Gulf. He has every reason to think Obama would simply surrender that area. Just as Hitler had every reason to think the British would simply surrender after Munich.

Does anyone honestly think that if Iran sunk an Aircraft Carrier group that Democrats would not IMMEDIATELY demand a complete withdrawal from the Gulf? Plus apologies to Iran and offer of surrender? Dems have ruled out ANY military force at ANY time. Heck this policy was in the cards when Moveon marched days after 9/11 in Manhattan against bombing Afghanistan. "Our Grief is Not a Cry for War."

Heck Obama's main critique was that Bush wasted the "lovely sympathy" the world had for "America the Victim" and his job will be to make America into a sympathetic victim.

Obama guarantees an attack by Iran to force us out of the Gulf. Heck the gun-type bombs which they probably already have can be set off in NYC and DC and demands made. Obama would surely cave. As would Pelosi, Reid, and any other Dem.

5/29/2008 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Saudi Arabia has been having their own version of food riots, too. I asked a friend where KSA gets its rice, and he said from Iraq -- those marshes that Saddam had drained.

I have no idea if that is true or not, but it still seems to me that the time is fast approaching when we can make a deal with the oil ticks to give them food (and water) in exchange for their black gold.

5/29/2008 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

lgude: I was not aware much we had them by the short and curlies with wheat. How delicious. Weaponized wheat.

Now ya know! The entire MME (Muslim Middle East) is so incredibly vulnerable that a single major paradigm shift, like bio-fuels (NOT ethanol but algae biodeisel) or the Bussard hydrogen-boron fusion reactor could upset OPEC's rickety little apple cart.

Incidentally, ALL countries around the entire world are soon going to face Water Poverty issues, including America and Australia. Too many deep aquifers and other fresh water resources are being depleted faster than they can replenish themselves.

The big difference being that technologically advanced countries will be more able to evolve cost-efficient desalination methods.

Does anyone else think it slightly odd that Saudi Arabia's hyper-corrupt royalty hasn't at least had the sense to spend some of their gazillions of petrodollars on desalination plants? I can understand them not building universities, hospitals and other major infrastructure so they can remain in their cherished Mohammedan Iron Age, but one would think that perishing of thirst might have gotten their attention.

The fecklessness with which MME countries are governed simply defies all reason or imagination. It's a race between Pakistan and Iran over who gets to be the poster child for dysfunctional Islamic leadership. And, yes, I realize that "dysfunctional Islamic leadership" is redundant.

5/29/2008 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

whiskey_199 said...

nuclear weapons plus control over the Gulf + American Weakness via Obama's surrender mandate + Iran's mountainous terrain for Ahamdinejad equals a winnable war.


Interesting perspective. However, I'm leaning more towards the irrational apocalyptic thinking that Ahmadinejad has demonstrated. In my worst-case scenario, Ahmadinejad would nuke Israel knowing full well the consequences from the Israelis. My guess is that Ahmadinejad is counting on post-GWB weakness in the Whitehouse to be able to produce enough weapon-grade material for a hard hit on Israel.

I don't know how long the Israelis will wait. They didn't wait very long before zapping the Syrian nuke weapon facility.

I always wondered just how many B61's we gave the Israelis.

5/29/2008 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Pyruz said...

Here are some facts from Is Iran Facing an Economic Crisis? by Kelly Campbell. U.S. Institute of Peace, May 2007:

The belief that Iran suffers from dire economic conditions is one of four myths circulating about Iran's macroeconomic performance. Iran's economy has actually performed well in aggregate terms, with a moderate rate of growth in the last ten to fifteen years, including healthy GDP and per capita growth in investment. In the last three years, Iran's actual growth rate has averaged 5.8 percent. 

Nor do economic indicators support assertions by some observers that inflation is much higher than the rate stated by the Iranian government. In the last fifteen years, the consumer price index (CPI) has increased by a factor of forty-two; if the inflation rate were actually twice the reported rate, the CPI would have increased by a factor of 950. Prices have increased by a factor of five in the last ten years, not twenty, as some claim. While this rate of inflation is cause for concern, it is in line with the depreciation of the exchange rate.

The third myth is that Iran suffers from widespread poverty and rising inequality. The poverty rate actually declined throughout the 1990s and continues to fall, and is low by international standards—especially when compared to that of other developing countries. Government public service and social assistance programs have helped to reduce poverty, particularly in rural areas. In addition, economic inequality throughout Iran has remained fairly stable and does not appear to be increasing.

The final myth is that unemployment in Iran is twice the official rate. Although the unemployment rate is high, it has declined since 2000 and reached 11.2 percent in 2004.2 While official statistics match World Bank estimates, the current government has failed to generate sufficient job growth to meet the needs of Iran's young, educated population. For these youth, unemployment often lasts two to three years, which has resulted in more young Iranians living with their parents well into their twenties...

5/29/2008 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger hass said...

Ummm...Iran's economy is actually pretty good:

http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2008/05/is-iran-facing-an-economic-crisis.html

5/29/2008 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger DaveK said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/29/2008 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger DaveK said...

Zenster...

With regard to desalination plants, the Saudis have long been building them, on a scale that would seem to most of us to be massive. Part of the problem is that even with massive construction programs, the desalination effort cannot keep up with the combination of increasing demand (growing population, expanding industrial sector, heavily subsidized agricultural sector) and the depletion of groundwater resources. This is beginning to manifest itself with such events as the recent announcement that the Saudi government will cease its support of grain production (mostly wheat). Next I expect to see that the dairy industry is seriously curtailed (when last I checked, Saudi Arabia was an exporter of dairy products! They have some of the largest dairy herds in the world, and production of a liter of milk may require as much as 2000 liters of water!).

The other problem is that in spite of advances in desalination technology, the most common configuration for new large-scale desalination plants is a co-generation facility. If you build your desal plants this way, you must have a market for the electrical power you produce as a by-product. To continue building these desalination plants, the Kingdom will need to become a net exporter of electricity to the entire Middle East.

And a side note with regard to Saudi infrastructure investment... They have continually invested in a lot of infrastructure, such as hospitals, roads, universities, and so forth. Unfortunately, the universities don't do much to prepare the students to actually operate and maintain these facilities. Hence the massive importation of contract labor and brainpower from around the world. The Saudis aren't really all that big on maintenance, either, so a lot of this infrastructure doesn't hold up very well after the first few years.

5/29/2008 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

The idea of Obama negotiating with lil' Kim is humorous if it weren't a real possiblity.

5/30/2008 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Lokken - Wretchard, it occurred to me from the last post that it take a lot of development and testing to find a warhead design small enough and light enough to fit into one of those ballistic missiles that Syria is supposed to be trying to test. The Hiroshima/Trinity gun-type is too fragile to survive reentry, and the Nagasaki Fat Boy type is too damn big to fit in the rocket. Iran's first effort will probably be something their F-4s will barely be able to lug around. But never mind me, it makes the Administration look like they're doing something.

I've heard this theory about nukes and other technology from too many people - and it's pure ignorance.

The theory basically goes that any nation that develops an existing technology on its own is compelled against all logic to start at the very beginning that the initiators of the technological advance started at, and repeat their own sort of the slow development and learning curves....

Thus when Japan wanted to make their own firearms industry in the 19th Century, they had to start with matchlocks, then flintlocks, then single shot, inaccurate black powder muzzzle-loaders and cannons, then after a few hundred years, they would be up to modern, cartridge loaders and machine guns and artillery.
Except Japan did none of that. They went with figuring out how to produce firearms stuff as good or better than the Gen IV, V stuff then in production.

Same with China bypassing all the old telecomm technology and avoiding all the clunky old stuff of landlines wired in, analog electromechanical relay generations, rotary-dial phones - and going cellular instead.

No nation that wants nukes is going to start with old American industrial processes, science, slide rules, 70 year-old designs. (Except what the Soviets had their Jewish agents steal). The whole belief set - of the people ignorant of how technology is adapted maintaining that any technology will have to go through the whole historical record of incremental improvements - is preposterous.
Israel got it's bomb from French PU-missile ready implosion design and 60s French technology, plus whatever nuke designs their Jewish agents stole from the US and Soviet programs later.
Pakistan got it's missile-ready 1500 lb 1st and 3rd bomb testing efforts A-Bombs from a late 60s Chinese implosion design. Which the NORKs also used.

Arguing that any Iranian bomb will have to be of the size and obsolete technology and cumbersomeness of the Hiroshima or Nagasaki designs is laughably ignorant, but laughably common in people that do not understand technology adoptation.

5/30/2008 03:28:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Nahncee - but it still seems to me that the time is fast approaching when we can make a deal with the oil ticks to give them food (and water) in exchange for their black gold.

Zionists love the term "oil ticks" to describe Arabs, but the fact remains that it is THEIR OIL on THEIR lands - and we are the oil ticks, not them, sucking it up...

We don't call those who mine minerals in the US and export it parasites..Typically the charge of being a leech, a tick - fall on people in a middleman culture that by hook or crook, manage to get a "cut" of the labor or capital/resources owned by others.

**********

The US actually now imports more food, in terms of monetary value - than it exports. While we remain a net exporter of grainstuffs, other major exporters are unaligned with us or while allied with us - have no interest in forming a cabal of food exporters to squeeze oil producers by witholding production. Brazil is now the largest food exporter, and other major exporters with huge reserve capacity (Thailand, Australia, Ukraine, Russia, Columbia, Canada, Argentina, etc.) - are as committed as US Senators are to getting the maximum return to their farmers.

On the other hand, if the dollar collapses as the global reserve currency (due to American fiscal irresponsibility) we may see oil priced in other ways - pegged to metallic gold, the cost of a bushel of Brazilian grain or soy, the value of an hour of a Chinese industrial worker's labor.

5/30/2008 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger newscaper said...

cedarford said
"Zionists love the term "oil ticks" to describe Arabs, but the fact remains that it is THEIR OIL on THEIR lands - and we are the oil ticks, not them, sucking it up..."

Oil on their land that in most cases US&UK companies helped them find and extract -- and then many had their assets nationalized, IOW stolen (something that has never been fully dealt with IMO.) Sounds parasitic to me -- and tend not to use the epithet in question.

ABout the path in developing nukes not mirroring our historical one -- I mostly agree :)

5/30/2008 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

C4 comes out from under his white hood long enough to state: Zionists love the term "oil ticks" to describe Arabs



Funny I have been a ZIONIST for over 48 years, I meet with ZIONISTS, I breed ZIONISTS, have friends who are ZIONIST and NEVER heard the term "oil ticks" to describe the arabs...

I have heard "bastard sons of the cleaning lady", jackass of a people, camel fuckers, child molesters, inbred fuckwads but never :oil ticks"

c4 continues: , but the fact remains that it is THEIR OIL on THEIR lands - and we are the oil ticks, not them, sucking it up...

actually, 1/2 of all arabian oil belongs to the jewish people, stolen by that camel fucker mo in the 7th century..

remember Medina the JEWISH trading center?

but that doesnt count correct?

C4: We don't call those who mine minerals in the US and export it parasites..Typically the charge of being a leech, a tick - fall on people in a middleman culture that by hook or crook, manage to get a "cut" of the labor or capital/resources owned by others.

well ask a native american if those who panned for gold in the american occupied lands of the west were not leeches or thieves....

it is funny how c4 is all for arab rights to their oil at a time when the world wants the west to give up copyright and patent rights as some how unfair to those without...

I concede that the current blood thirsty arab occupation of the lands of the middle east are actually in control by these camel fucking inbred losers and as such it is their right to sell or not to sell what lies under their asses...

thus being said, it is also our right to charge them whatever price we can for arms, food, medicine & technology. And as all nations can and do, if they feel the need, take what they need to survive, just as the arabs did when conquering most of the middle east

5/30/2008 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kim Lokken said...

A lesser light said, "The US actually now imports more food, in terms of monetary value - than it exports."

This is a sign of prosperity, not decline. It says US consumers have the purchasing power to obtain exotic foods which do not grow in the United States, such as bananas and mangos. Poor countries such as Bangledesh or the Philippines must content themselves with home-grown rice, if they can get it. Also, the cost of moving a shipping container from Asia to the US has nearly tripled, and this is passed to the cost of the imported food, which obscures the underlying numbers by weight. The US remains the leading food exporter.

5/30/2008 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Wretchard wrote: "The chief auditor of the Iranian parliament has reported that $35B of the country's oil revenues has just gone missing."

After making making deductions from the $35B for wardrobe expenses and monthly automatic deposits into accounts of the oligarchs, Mr. A. most likley has diverted the balance to the nuclear program and to Hamas and Hezbollah, to which Mr. A. has promised unlimited support.

(See NYT, August 16, 2006: "Nehme Y. Tohme, a member of Parliament from the anti-Syrian reform bloc and the country’s minister for the displaced, said he had been told by Hezbollah officials that when the shooting stopped, Iran would provide Hezbollah with an “unlimited budget” for reconstruction.")

We've seen that unlimited budget on parade recently in Lebanon.

Mark P. offers some recent economic statistics on Iran, and these are indeed the correct figures, as currently available. About whether Iran has delivered accurate information we might inquire.

We know that the smart and effective Persian people will make the best of whatever economic circumstances come their way. The question is how long they will support a regime that is rotten to the core:

E.g.: Payam Akhavan, National Post. Published: Saturday, April 19, 2008:

"Notwithstanding the Mullahs' pretensions, the Islamic Republic is built less on the sublime spirituality of religion and more on the profane temptations of power. In placing so much focus on demonizing the peaceful Baha'i minority and threatening human rights champions, such as Dr. Ebadi, the hardliners betray the emptiness of their beliefs and ideals, which must be imposed through violence and intimidation."

Violence is a remarkably effective tool for keeping a regime in power. Jacobo Timmerman (Prisoner Without a Name, Cell without a Number) made the claim some decades ago that no oppressive regime ever failed due to internal, democratic revolt. The regime always rotted (especially economically) and fell.

5/30/2008 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 05/30/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

5/30/2008 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger joe buz said...

New Private ComSys in Lebanon -- $XXM
New Weapons for the Party of Got -- $XXXM
NorK consulting,funerals and shipping fees -- $XXXM
Stashes for the coming 12Imam -- $XXXM
New thrift store suits (xshort)--$10.00
Words from the lips of Ms. Pelosi --$.50

False sense of Security in the West -- Priceless

5/30/2008 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

In another era, khodkaf'i may have been called feudalism. Other than a feudal lord, who could argue that mankind was better off under feudalism?

Apparently Venezuela is following Iran's lead. Interesting how several net oil exporting nations who have chosen to nationalize are facing the paradox of declining output and increasing imports. I'll leave it up to others to derive a common thread from the evidence presented.
As a sidenote, if some radical changes do not occur at Pemex in the very near future, Mexico will join the likes of Iran and Venezuela.

5/30/2008 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Bush/Cheney's arrogant refusal to talk to any of our foes at any time until they unilaterally capitulate becoming the new norm. And how has that worked out for us lately?


This lefty lie continues. The main administration stand on diplomacy was refusing BILATERAL (not multi-lateral) talks with the bloody, corrupt North Koreans. Lefties do not like to contemplate that the North Koreans have starved 10 percent of their population to death. They want to talk to them too.

And Obama did say he would talk to Adminanutjob without preconditions. Just like Kennedy did with Kruschev. Us adults who study history know that Kruschev owned Kennedy at their non-preconditioned talks and went on a spree of aggression leading to the Cuban Missile crisis. Want to live through that with the Iranians?

5/30/2008 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Fred said:

"Already read about the Soros connection with McClellan's publisher and agent. In one sense, Soros is easy to figure out, because he does it so much and is a creature of habit."

I see Soros as the money behind Barack Hussein. If Hussein wins then we've effectively elected Soros as our president.

Kim Lokken said:

"it occurred to me from the last post that it take a lot of development and testing to find a warhead design small enough and light enough to fit into one of those ballistic missiles that Syria is supposed to be trying to test. The Hiroshima/Trinity gun-type is too fragile to survive reentry, and the Nagasaki Fat Boy type is too damn big to fit in the rocket."

The US has built gun-type nukes that were shot from cannons. Properly designed, gun-type nukes are very robust. Gun-type nukes are considered obsolete because they require too much U-235. However a gun-type nuke is appealing to an emerging nuclear power because they're low tech.

Modern nuclear weapons used in ICBMs are based upon the implosion concepts developed for the Fatman-type nuke.

It should be emphasized that minaturization is not really an issue for an Islamic fascist nuclear weapon. They're most likely attack scenario against the United States would be to transport a high yield, dirty nuclear weapon in a shipping container and then detonate it before it's unloaded from the freighter. Prime targets would be port cities like New York and Long Beach. I see no defense against this obvious tactic except through denying potential enemies access to nuclear weapon's technology.

5/30/2008 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Zionists love the term "oil ticks" to describe Arabs

Cedarford, you are a funny man. You flame Nahncee for calling the Saudis a name when you are guilty of this same crime in nearly every post of yours on this site. It seems you simply cannot make a post here without libeling the Jews. Perhaps you have some quotes where Theodor Herzl or David Ben-Gurion use the term oil-tick. If not then it's a damn lie and you know it. Zionists didn't invent this term. Zionists don't love this term. Your statement that they do is just one more of your constant attacks on Jews filled with libel, slander, innuendo and outright lies and ridiculous associations.

I'm a zionist and I don't love the term "oil tick."

It's a shame that you haven't been banned around here like you have at other sites where you used to post. You get away with your constant spew of gratuitous insults and libel because you attack a nation and not an individual and because of the general openness of this site. The rules around here are intended to prevent flame wars and insults against individuals so you manage to fly under the radar.

Just because you don't get called on each and every one of your ridiculous and libelous insults doesn't mean that they aren't offensive and that there is general acceptance of your remarks. The number of your fellow travelers at this site is few or none.

Since it's against the rules to attack individuals let me just say that I hate all those anti-semitic scum-sucking morons that live on your block. And I especially hate those anti-semitic brain-dead jerks whose constant libel of the Jewish people is both inane and ridiculous who live in your house. And of course those anti-semitic Jew-hating SOBs who sleep in your bed are the worst of the worst and beyond the pale.

C4, I don't know what 'a' Jew or 'the' Jews have done to you. I don't know what problems you have in your life that makes you hate an entire people so much that you can't open your mouth without attacking them. But all the anti-semites that live on your block should seek professional help.

5/30/2008 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

I suppose it's worth pointing out that Lokken is wrong about nuclear weapon types: Trinity was a plutonium implosion device, not a gun -type design.

5/30/2008 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

To All,

Wretchard asked a brilliant question we have turned away from.

What happens to the turds when the septic tank dries up? My words, not his.

What happens to Iranian sponsored terrorists when the state of Iran fails catastrophically? Do they have a ‘right of return’ to their benefactor state? How does the civilized world deal with these barbarians when there is absolutely no state control over them?

In effect, will these terrorists simply ‘melt away’ like the Soviet sponsored kleptocrats and murderers or will they act differently?

Great question.

Answers?

5/30/2008 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Boghie - it seems to me that we're watching and exact example of what happens to the turds going on in Iraq right now.

The thing no one ever seems to consider in our zeal to "help the Iraqi's" is that a certain percentage of those Iraqi's WERE the murderers, the torturers, the informants, the soldiers who dug the mass graves, etc.

I think we like to believe that all those Iraqi people who used to run the rape rooms, the rooms with the beds hooked up to electrical outlets, the rooms with the bloody meat hooks, etc. -- all of those people magically turned into terrorists, and we have killed them.

But you know that's just bullshit. The torturers, murderers, and informants were doing their job and I have to believe that a percentage of them are *still* doing whatever middle-class job they have been able to acquire under the new American-led regime.

Like the East Germans and the Tutsi's and the Kosovars, the Iraqi's are going to have to learn to live with the sure knowledge that the person they pass on the street, or buy meat from at the butcher shop, or call in to fix their toilet was absolutely the same person who informed on Uncle Joe before he disappeared, or who raped Aunt Harriet to death, or who bashed Little Baby Niece to death against a wall.

Unless, of course, in their civil war the Iraqi's (and others) managed to go down a list of names of people who were on the Saddam Torture paylist and systematically killed them all off, tick mark by tick mark.

But THAT is what happens to the turds, and really, it ain't got nothing to do with us.

5/30/2008 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Maybe the Iranians will have the good sense to have their house of cards fall in October. Love to see the Dems spin their way out of that one. To paraphrase the line from 300, "Long I pondered our President's cryptic talk of victory. Time has proven him wise." Perhaps like Reagan before him, Bush created the stresses that maybe yet see the collaspe of the Iranian terror empire.

5/30/2008 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

NahnCee said...The thing no one ever seems to consider in our zeal to "help the Iraqi's" is that a certain percentage of those Iraqi's WERE the murderers, the torturers, the informants, the soldiers who dug the mass graves, etc.


You seem to have the perception that everything has stood still in Iraq since 2003 - not so. The Iraqi's have had many, many "purges", and have either brought to trial, or just killed those Baathist loyalists who did the nastiness. The de-baathfication effort was the major work that led up to the first elections (remember the purple thumbs?).

This is one area where the American media should be convicted of treason - they've never told the story. They either don't report (current approach) or they mis-report (what they before the surge).

And this is also the biggest failure of the Bush admin. GWB should've hired somebody who knew how to get the message out despite the American media.

5/30/2008 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

boghie,

Wretchard's question presumes that it might be possible (although not probable)that the regime elements in Iran and the Revolutionary Guards people are pragmatic and flexible like the former Soviets. That the religious aspect of the regime is just a veneer for something else - that something else being what we in the West are familiar with: the naked quest for power and control. I would contend that the religious element is unique and is so at variance with our culture that we literally cannot wrap our minds around it.

I don't think they will melt away. They will find other venues and arrangements within which to carry on the jihad.

One more thing. The discussion got sidetracked, as seems all too often the case lately, when the Leftists and Islamist sympathizers squeeze into the forum, drop their inane comments, and we just cannot let the idiocy stand without rebuttal. They are successful at whatever it is they are trying to accomplish. I think what they are trying to accomplish is simple intellectual sabotage. I rather suspect that there are a lot of them out there who have time on their hands and a mission to fulfill. Most people of a conservative-leaning persuasion like me do not even entertain the idea of going on over to the DailyKos, Huffington Post, or MoveOn to be obstreperous. We consider it a waste of time and bandwidth. We know that no one is going to credit us, no matter how intelligently we state our positions. Most likely we'd be mocked furiously and profanely. Fortunately, most of the contributors here on Wretchard's blog are not masochists (or sadists)and just enjoy good repartee. We're here to learn, not to engage in agitation for a candidate or cause.

5/30/2008 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Fred, don't you think that after all this time C4 is just the crazy relative we keep in the attic? When we let him come down to wave to the company, you're just supposed to pat his shoulder, ruffle his hair, and keep on truckin'. Do *not* read his diatribes, do not try to educate him, and for god's sake, don't let him near the good china.

I think it's an example of freedom of speech carried over to cover the mentally deficient insane folks, too. When we find a dynamite belt under his tunic, then we can consider the next step of a white jacket and "Pulp Fiction" mouth ball.

5/30/2008 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Fred,

I think Wretchard's concern is that the militant Islamists that have been nurtured by Iran will NOT simply melt away. That there must be a PLAN for the complete failure of their world view.

We had no plan to bring Afghanistan into the Core after the Soviet invasion was repulsed. We walked away and washed our hands. Every time our hands were muddied or bloodied we washed them. Then the Gappers yelled some Islamic chants and chopped a hand off.

A soft power solution would be the best. If the violence could be contained and subdued than a bit of care and feeding might work. That is in progress now.

However, if Iran fails catastrophically than the flow of angry militants must be expected and dealt with. Do we have a plan? Are we seeing the problem clearly? Can we accept the plan? Does the opposition know what will happen when something or another is done? We must be ready to contain the violence.


Also,
I think Kim brought something to the arguement - at least early on. I think she is actually reading the comments.

5/30/2008 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Boghie -- I gave you an answer. I don't like it much either.

The gunmen CANNOT allow themselves to be cast out. Of course the gunmen will simply amplify the fight. Raise the stakes. Fighting is all they know. They won't become farmers or boring old businessmen, or anything else but brutal gunmen.

That's who is backing Ahmadinejad. He has his very own SA. He and his backers HAVE to keep rolling the dice. They NEED a war with the US, and believe rationally by their own perspective that their "fighting spirit" to borrow the Japanese term can win over the larger but psychically moribund US.

5/30/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

dla said:

"And this is also the biggest failure of the Bush admin. GWB should've hired somebody who knew how to get the message out despite the American media."

President Bush did hire someone to do that. His name is Scott McClellan.

5/30/2008 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

"don't you think that after all this time C4 is just the crazy relative we keep in the attic?

I offer, again, my theory that C4 is a lefty agent provocateur.

5/30/2008 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Cederford is right that the Iranians do not have to start out at a 1945 level when they build their first bomb. When Egypt and India decided to build their own fighter aircraft they hired a couple of famous WWII German designers, but they did not start out by building FW-190’s and Bf-109’s. They built jets, and they were not down at the level of WWII Me-262’s and P-80’s, either. On the hand, they were not world-class and both countries found it necessary to buy jet fighters from world powers and abandoned their own designs. We have to conclude Iran can build more modern nukes than Hiroshima-type bombs; they just can’t do it very well.

Gun-type Uranium nukes are notoriously inefficient when it comes to both use of fissionable material and delivery systems. But they are also dirty nukes, and that is not a negative when it comes to Iranian use of them.

Also, Iran and Iraq made the most extensive use of conventionally armed ballistic missiles since WWII during the War of the Cities period of their war. Iran has displayed no limitations about firing missiles into civilian areas.

You have to wonder if Iran would give a rat’s rump if the Palestinians got p.o.ed over their irradiating “their” land with a deliberately dirty, even cobalt-jacketed nuke.

5/30/2008 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

At last, I agree with Fred:

``Most people of a conservative-leaning persuasion like me do not even entertain the idea of going on over to the DailyKos, Huffington Post, or MoveOn to be obstreperous.''

Indeed. Why would they? The Freds of the blogosphere spend their days and nights blogging in the desperate quest for rationale and emotional edification.

Their overwhelming need is to have people agree with them and to hear or read someone saying that their intellectual opponents are stupid and/or evil.

Fred clearly believes his ideas require no testing, no empirical, logical or factual challenge for verification. That can only be because they were not formulated on the basis of fact or logic in the first place.

This is precisely why the American right succeeds so spectacularly in talkradio and mainstream media commentary, yet fails so miserably in the hard news business. They love self-congratulation, commiseration and pep talks, but hate debates. Who can blame them?

Fred writes:
``We consider it a waste of time and bandwidth. We know that no one is going to credit us, no matter how intelligently we state our positions. Most likely we'd be mocked furiously and profanely.''

It's great to hear Fred admit that he cannot even imagine any reason to enter into a discussion about politics, other than to gain "credit" for his views.

It does not even occur to him that the only basis of enlightenment is the search for ideas and facts that DISPROVE one's own.

5/30/2008 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

RWE,

The other big feature of gun-type Uranium designs is their functional simplicity. Remember that the US didn't consider it even necessary to perform a full working test of Little Boy.

5/30/2008 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

eggplant said...

President Bush did hire someone to do that. His name is Scott McClellan.

No, I'm being serious. GWB didn't put together a communication team. He relied on the old-school method of dealing with the press and it was totally ineffective.

The Media hates all things Bush and will not report objectively and accurately on Iraq. Normal Americans are starved for information on Iraq. Poll after poll shows that Americans do not want to cut and run. I think the public has a more accurate understanding of Britney Spear's life than the war in Iraq.

GWB has shown himself to be an excellent manager, but he and his advisors totally screwed up communications. Frankly, given the debacle in Nov 2006, I don't think GWB or Carl Rove understood how confused and misled the voters were - which is part of the reason Carl doesn't work there anymore.

5/30/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

McDaddyo is garbling again.

5/30/2008 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

mcdaddyo,

I have a few acquaintances who did in fact go over to the other side's weblogs and tried to post contrary views to those of the natives. They got very roughly treated - one tried to, politely, argue his point with one of the natives who got into it, and he was then banned. And don't play the amateur psychologist with me: I don't have the kind of ego that needs affirmation and stroking. Just fair treatment is all.

mcdaddyo, I along with most Americans do not wish suffering or disaster upon the people of Iran. We may want the regime wiped out, but wish that this could be done with minimal harm to the vast majority of the Iranian people, who themselves want the regime gone too. But, if Iran gets the bomb, puts it on missiles or into freighters, and blows up Israel and threatens the West, I think Israel and the United States have no choice but to send orders to our boomer subs for a massive retaliation. If we do not do this, our deterrence posture in the world is shot to shit and our allies cannot any longer rely on us. That is why it is so very important for our leadership to take steps to break the Mullahs' toys NOW before things escalate. I will argue this point until the cows come home, because the pre-emptive destruction of those weapons and their development facilities is the only way to avoid nuclear catastrophe. In fact, as I see it, the destruction of these things is far more important than regime change. I would not rule regime change out or reject it as a desirable outcome, but the weapons must not, under any circumstances, be allowed to stand. I would hold the same opinion if the Pakistani nukes were to fall into AQ's hands. Ditto, if some day the Ummah were to consume Europe and get its hands on the French nukes.

Despotic, tyrannical, and belligerent regimes do not have the right to possess WMD's of any kind. It only destabilizes the world more than it already is.

For any American to not understand the logic of this or its urgency is scandalous and disastrous.

5/30/2008 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Fred,

I assume you've seen this. Imagine my delight to see my words spread all over the internet. Clearly it's a team.

FWIW, many forums on the internet have been simply wiped out due to an influx of vandals. Ever heard of alt.karlmaldensnose?

Usually they get bored around here in a few days. There are too many serious posters. It's potentially a serious problem though.

Nahncee,

He's not my crazy relative. And I got tired of letting his, ahem, stuff, pass unremarked.

5/30/2008 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

McDaddyo: Fred clearly believes his ideas require no testing, no empirical, logical or factual challenge for verification. That can only be because they were not formulated on the basis of fact or logic in the first place.

In light of how Fred is one of the more well-informed and erudite commenters here at The Belmont Club, your assessment carries all the weight of so much eider down.

5/30/2008 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

C-fudd, if the Arabs have more "heart and courage" than the Israelis, *and* outnumber them 50 to 1, *and* have all the goddamn oil money in the world, *and* are as smart and productive as you claimed they were in a previous post -

then why have the Jooos been beating them like a drum for 60 years? You don't have the balls to answer this because you can't without exposing yourself (your favorite activity) as the sweaty, neurotic, compulsive Jew-baiter that you are.

Not that I object to your posts. I love them, because every single one confirms my contention that antisemites are nitwits, misfucks and born losers. Plus you get nailed as a liar nearly every time you open your piehole. Quite enjoyable.

5/31/2008 01:12:00 AM  
Blogger Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

McDaddyo said: "It does not even occur to him that the only basis of enlightenment is the search for ideas and facts that DISPROVE one's own."

Actually, no. The basis for enlightenment is the search for ideas and facts which lead to a more complete understanding. In my experience most people don't want that, they prefer the comfort of dogma. Now dogma has it's place, any structure of ideas is based on core, immutable principles, else we'd have to re-invent the wheel on a daily basis. Which is why the thesis, antithesis, synthesis process is really useful.

I offer two vignettes for purposes of comparison.

About twenty years ago, long before the whole Muslim issue was on the table in the way it is now, I had occasion to travel by train from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles. It chanced that my seat companion was a Iranian woman, and as it turned out, a Muslim. I had with me a breviary which I was employing. She politely asked me what that was. The conversation that developed over the course of the trip is one which I will never forget, not simply because she was, without doubt, the most physically beautiful woman I have ever met. We discussed our respective faiths and religions. Questions were asked and answers given in a slow, thoughtful and totally respectful way. Each statement was followed by a long pause as each of us reflected on what the other had said. Alas, the journey ended, too soon, and we went our separate ways. That was a dialog.

In contrast, during the run up to the 2004 election, I was discussing the candidates and their positions with one of my colleagues. I tended to favor Bush, and he absolutely opposed Bush. At every turn he had only polemical boilerplate to offer, while I presented facts and analysis of those facts. In the end the stormed out with this memorable quote: "All you have is facts and logic, but I KNOW what the truth is!"

A polemic, in my definition, is an argument that sheds more heat than light. Pace, Daily Kos et al, but there is a great deal of heat over there, and precious little light. What Wretchard offers is a forum in which light is encouraged and abounds. Here folks can disagree, even strongly disagree, and be heard with a measure of respect and without much abuse. The proof of that is that comments here could, for the most part, be read in toto on the air, which is certainly not the case at the Left leaning blogs.

5/31/2008 03:56:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Reread McDaddyo's dialogue inserting the pronouns "I" and "me" for "Fred".

Is that a sparkling example of psychological projection or not?

He thinks that is what Fred must be and thing and do, because that is what he sees in the mirror every morning.

As Fred points out, one wonders why someone like McDaddyo bothers to come to BClub and out himself like that.

5/31/2008 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

dla said:

"GWB has shown himself to be an excellent manager, but he and his advisors totally screwed up communications. Frankly, given the debacle in Nov 2006, I don't think GWB or Carl Rove understood how confused and misled the voters were - which is part of the reason Carl doesn't work there anymore."

I agree with what dla has written but must add the cavaet that I'm sympathetic with the President's dilemma. I'm reminded of the cliche:

"Fighting with the media is like mud wrestling with a pig. You both get dirty but the pig likes it."

I can appreciate why the President didn't deal more effectively with the MSM. The worst of the MSM are egregious moonbats. Who wants to argue with fools and liars?

A troll posted some comments here at Belmont Club attacking Fred for not wasting time at DailyKos, Huffington Post, or MoveOn. What's the point in communicating with the folks at DailyKos if you know they're not susceptible to reasoned argument and/or they'll pursue any unethical line they can to prove a point? One is reminded of the old adage about arguing with fools.

--However-- President Bush unlike Fred does not have the option of ignoring a seditious MSM. Part of the President's job description is to deal with the media including the treasonous part of it.

I have to confess to being a Reagan hater. In my opinion, both Ronald Reagan and Barack Hussein can both be described as demagogues (they are merely on opposite sides of the political spectrum). However I admired Reagan's ability to deal with the MSM. The MSM hated Reagan almost as much as they hate President Bush. However Reagan was very skilled at dealing with scumbags. He could feed the MSM's excretment right back at them and effectively neutralized them. President Bush failed to do this. GWB was too focused on policy and management (Bush didn't have an Ed Meese doing the heavy lifting for him). Bush abandoned the public arena to the MSM enemy and allowed them an uncontested victory. Unfortunately President Bush's failure to deal with the MSM has poisoned public opinion and created an opportunity for a demagogue like Barack Hussein. There is a very real possiblity that President Bush has a won a significant battle but in the process (through omission) ended up losing the war.

5/31/2008 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

To All,

This post got me thinking - along with AJ Strata's post 'May 2008 One Of Top Two Least Violent Months Of The Entire Iraq War' - about something completely different.

Yet topical...

The Left has spent weeks, months, even years planning for failure and surrender. They have the process down - at least to their minds.

Simply quit

No need for an official surrender.

The militant Islamists will accept that and cease hostilities.


Now, however, the situation looks markedly different. We have to ask another question.

Where and how does the militant Islamist movement surrender?

((yuk, yuk - very presumptuous of me to link to my own site, a rather dead site...))

For those who are not silly enough to fall for that trick I am starting to think a civilized Iraq will become the guarantor of peace. The signing authority so to speak.

5/31/2008 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Boghie,

On your website you mentioned:

"I would love to go to Iraq as a tourist."

I'd like to as well. However I'd really like to tour Egypt again. I visited Egypt years ago and found it fascinating. I'd like to go again and take my family with me but unfortunately it's way too dangerous.

I would be very surprised if things settle down in the Middle East anytime soon. Even if we achieved complete victory in Iraq and Islamic fascists fell like dominos, there would soon come the crisis connected with "Peak Oil". Even Egypt's economy is tied to Persian Gulf oil, i.e. many Egyptians work in the Gulf and send money home. When the oil money starts to run out, all hell will break loose in the Middle East.

5/31/2008 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Eggplant,

I have thought often about Egypt.

Another thing Lawrence Wright spoke to Hugh Hewitt about was Sayyid Qutb, Dr. Fadl and many of the Egyptian Islamists. It was the Egyptians Islamist movement that promoted militant jihad, defined takfiri, and formulated the belief that killing innocents – in particular Muslim innocents – was just in jihad.

Dr. Fadl has apparently changed his tune. Many other Egyptian radicals have changed their tunes. They claim the violence resulting from their earlier teachings changed them deaply.

This leaves the militant Islamists of the Sunni sect out in the cold. Their legal and moral justification in shambles.

However, who knows. Lying is not below an Islamist. The next book, Fatwa, screed may differ.

But, if Sunni Islam initiates a reformation than the battleground will most likely be in the Shiite regions. That is, if the Sunni leadership truly espouses the peaceful elements of Islam than we might be welcome in Egypt well before you might think – but, maybe not Tehran, eh. Maybe the Egyptian Sunni Islamists fear the growing power of the Iraqi Islamists?

Watch Ayatollah Sistani. Has he been militantly pro-Shiite, anti-Sunni. No and No.

Is the Islamist Caliphate going to be his?

Is that a good thing?

A powerful Islam centered in a democratic and vibrant Iraq. Maybe, maybe not.

And, yes, I know some of the Lefties on this site will claim we are siding in some sort of civil war. Here is where I come down on this: The status quo on 2001/01/01 was trending toward a civilizational conflict. I don’t think this is the pattern now. God, I hope not.

5/31/2008 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

This leaves the militant Islamists of the Sunni sect out in the cold.

Aren't the Wahhabi's of Saudi Arabia Sunni? Hardly out in the cold if you've got the backing of the most powerful - and filthy rich - country in the Middle East.

We *really* need to do something about the Saudi's and their clerics, and their funneling money into these activities if we want our lessons in decency to take.

Personally, I think that sparing the rod may spoil the Arab brat, and I can't think of a more effective rod than our nuclear one.

*poof!*

problem solved.

5/31/2008 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Boghie said:

"Lawrence Wright spoke to Hugh Hewitt about ... Sayyid Qutb, Dr. Fadl and many of the Egyptian Islamists. It was the Egyptians Islamist movement that promoted militant jihad, defined takfiri, and formulated the belief that killing innocents – in particular Muslim innocents – was just in jihad."

Sayyid Qutb was one of the most influential members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood was the prototype for al Qaeda. One can argue that modern day jihadism is an Egyptian invention. While Saudi Arabia is jihadism's primary funding source, it is Egypt that provides the intellectual basis. This is an important distinction because the intellectual support for jihadism would continue even if Saudi Arabia got nuked into incandescent glass. Also the snappy come-back of "nuke the Egyptians along with the Saudis" doesn't follow because 14-20% of Eygpt's population are innocent Coptic Christians (second class citizens in their own country).

5/31/2008 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

I don't spend much time on lefty blogs, but I do skim them regularly and, I must say, I have never seen a single reference to nuclear holocaust being a good thing to try against Israel, or the U.S. or any nation.

Very rarely, you will see calls for violence against the U.S., but they are always shouted down and disowned by liberal commentors.

How is then at so many conservative blogs, it has become acceptable to call for the total destruction of Islam and its people?

Wretchard cannot and should not be held responsible for the comments here, other than the ones he writes. It is an open forum and a better one for that, in the long run.

Nevertheless, it is more than a little sad that few, if any, of regular commenters take the time to condemn the somewhat regular calls for mass killings of Muslims.

I would urge all posters, especially those of a conservative bent, to spend a few words on condemning those who would urge a nuclear holocaust or any kind of war against the entire religion of Islam.

Those kind of statements would never, ever be acceptable on any English-language political forum, if they were directed against the U.S., or Christians, or Jews. Nor should they be acceptable when directed against Muslims.

6/01/2008 01:46:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

McDaddyo - ever hear of a concept called "freedom of speech"?

Ever hear complaints about PC speech being used to silence everyone that the listener doesn't agree with? You *do* understand what PC stands for don't you? And how the Muslims are trying to use it against us?

Ever hear the term "thinking outside the envelope"? Brainstorming? Running it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes? Throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks?

Your discomfort sounds like a personal problem to me, and as such, perhaps you'd be better off taking your sterling self back to MoveOn.org and the KosKids where you can all feel superior about yourselves so much more easily.

Trust me -- from what I've seen you post so far, you won't be missed.

6/01/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

McDaddyo: I would urge all posters, especially those of a conservative bent, to spend a few words on condemning those who would urge a nuclear holocaust or any kind of war against the entire religion of Islam.

I adamantly oppose first use of nuclear weapons by America or the West in fighting Islam. I also abhor the notion of another holocaust.

None of that prevents me from continuing to predict a Muslim holocaust. Islam, in its current cast, is totally dedicated to instigating terrorist atrocity after terrorist atrocity until such time as they are able to deploy WMDs in a major assault upon the West. Most likely involving a terrorist nuclear attack.

The West's inability or refusal to engage Islam in a true warfighting mode will permit Muslims to continue painting us into the nuclear corner. While it is a case of moral weakness in the West for not more agressively retaliating against continued Islamic predation, the eventuality of a Muslim holocaust in no way is any fault of our own.

At its core, Islam is so totally incompatible with modern civilization and simultaneously contemptuous of all things Western that—given the Muslim practice of taqiyya—there remain no non-violent ways of dealing with it. This is entirely Islam's own fault.

How can there be any peaceful and productive interaction with an opponent who takes the field with an open declaration that they will play by their own rules, all the while insisting that your team must follow the regulation book's every last letter and dot?

Islam is utterly recalcitrant in its steadfast refusal to modify or pacify the inherent violence of Koranic doctrine. It demands accommodation by the West at every turn without showing the slightest reciprocity. What sort of negotiation or worthwhile discourse can be obtained from such an entity?

Out of Islam's hidebound and stubborn resistance to fair play will come an eventual atrocity of such staggering proportions that all reluctance by the West to impose total war will simply disappear. Once that threshhold has been crossed, look to a Muslim holocaust of horrendous extent.

Again, this is not any fault of the West's. Western powers have continually sought the least violent alternatives in dealing with a foe whose reliance upon violence is complete and total. Who is to blame over that, Islam or the West?

Your turn, McDaddyo, please comment constructively upon the points I have just made, particularly the questions asked. If you cannot do so, then all of your arguments will only serve to prove how useless it is to engage liberals in productive discourse.

6/01/2008 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Zenster,

I don't think McDaddyo can provide you with a satisfactory reply. However if you'll permit me, I'd like to stick my nose in:

Zenster said:

"Islam is utterly recalcitrant in its steadfast refusal to modify or pacify the inherent violence of Koranic doctrine. It demands accommodation by the West at every turn without showing the slightest reciprocity. What sort of negotiation or worthwhile discourse can be obtained from such an entity?"

Islam is an archaic dysfunctional religion. However Arabs are an intelligent resourceful people. The solution is to convince Arabs to rise above their religion and think about their own survival. We have observed this happening in Iraq where the Iraqi people are standing up to the evil of al Qaeda. We need to convince Arabs, Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghans that they do not need to continue their suicide pact with Islamic fascism. They can chose instead to continue living.

I might add in passing that we need to make similar arguments with our own moonbats. Closing our eyes, clapping our hands and wishing for all the bad things to go away is not a viable solution.

Oddly enough, it might be easier to talk sense to an Arab Islamist than a common American moonbat.

6/01/2008 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Zenster asks:
``How can there be any peaceful and productive interaction with an opponent who takes the field with an open declaration that they will play by their own rules, all the while insisting that your team must follow the regulation book's every last letter and dot?''

Who is this opponent?

The government of Syria?

The people of Syria?

The government of Indonesia?

The people of Indonesia?

India's Muslims (who outnumber Arab muslims)?

Arabs only?

Persians and Arabs only?

Before we could even begin to answer your question, Zenster, you'd have to be specific about whom you're talking about.

The vast majority of Muslims are peace-loving people who simply want to work hard, educate their children and stay healthy.

There is indeed a virus within Islam called extremism. But it is a simple, childish mistake to think of the virus as the host. It may well be that the host is itself more vulnerable to the virus than some other hosts, but that is still no reason to say the host IS the virus.

The facts are clear: from Egypt to Algeria, Indonesia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and pre-invasion Iraq, the biggest, most powerful governments in the Islamic world are ruthlessly opposed to Islamic extremism.

The only hope we have to permanently contain Islamic extremism is to support moderate Islam, which has suffered far more than the West, at the hands of the extremists.

6/01/2008 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

McDaddyo: Before we could even begin to answer your question, Zenster, you'd have to be specific about whom you're talking about.

Please do not resort to such pathetic ploys. I make it abundantly clear that the opponent in question is Islam. Also, your use of the editorial "we" is ridiculously pretentious.

As Mark Twain once said:

Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we."

There is indeed a virus within Islam called extremism.

Have you bothered to read the Koran? The very core of Islamic doctrine is extremist in nature. Feel free to argue otherwise, it will be mildly amusing.

The facts are clear: from Egypt to Algeria, Indonesia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and pre-invasion Iraq, the biggest, most powerful governments in the Islamic world are ruthlessly opposed to Islamic extremism.

Only to the extent that Islamic extremism causes domestic conflict. Otherwise, literally all of the countries you name are actively engaged in the exportation of jihad to the West.

The only hope we have to permanently contain Islamic extremism is to support moderate Islam, which has suffered far more than the West, at the hands of the extremists.

Again, you demonstrate a deeply flawed understanding of Islam. While there may be "moderate" Muslims, they are not true Muslims and MINO (Muslims In Name Only).

THERE IS NO MODERATE ISLAM.

Islamic clerics make this point over and over again. Nowhere is the Koran's doctrine anything approaching "moderate". What's more, even "moderate" Muslims are of little to no use in fighting Islamic extremism. To depend upon those who remained silent in the face of such a hideous act as the 9-11 atrocity is worse than foolish.

To re-examine your closing statement:

The only hope we have to permanently contain Islamic extremism is to support moderate Islam, which has suffered far more than the West, at the hands of the extremists.

Why haven't all these numerous adherents of your so-called "moderate Islam" long ago risen up and crushed the supposedly small minority of Muslim extremists? After all, as you say, "The vast majority of Muslims are peace-loving people ...". How is it that they have neglected to rid themselves of those violent Muslims that literally guarantee the coming of a Muslim holocaust?

Or are these "peace-loving people" actually a minority of overall Muslims, unable to sway the larger numbers of pro-jihadists? Which is it?

I invite you to peruse Fjordman's well-constructed essay, "Why We Cannot Rely on Moderate Muslims ". Some excerpts:

Examples such as these leave non-Muslims with a very powerful dilemma: How can we ever trust assurances from self-proclaimed moderate Muslims when deception of non-Muslims is so widespread, and lying to infidels is an accepted and established way of hiding Islamic goals? The answer, with all its difficult implications, is: We can’t.

and ...

When Mr. Andersen raised the issue of dialogue with the Muslim World League in Denmark, the answer was: “To a Muslim, it is artificial to discuss Islam. In fact, you view any discussion as an expression of Western thinking.” Andersen’s conclusion was that for Islamists, any debate about religious issues is impossible as a matter of principle. If Muslims engage in a dialogue or debate on religious subjects, this is for one purpose only: To create more room for Islam.

and ...

As Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald says of moderate Muslims: “They are still people who call themselves Muslims, and we, the Infidels, have no idea what this will cause them, or could cause them, to do in the future. We likewise have no idea what their children, or their grandchildren will see as their responsibility as Muslims. The “moderate” Muslim today may be transformed into an “immoderate” Muslim, or his descendants could be if he does not make a complete break and become an apostate. All over the West now we see the phenomenon of Muslim children who are more devout and observant than their parents.”

And ...

At the end of the day, what counts isn’t the difference, if any, between moderate Muslims and radical Muslims, but between Muslims and non-Muslims, and between Muslims and ex-Muslims. Ibn Warraq says that there may be moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate.

McDaddyo, your post consisted almost entirely of outdated and thoroughly discredited Leftist memes. Should you wish to be taken seriously, I suggest that you bring to the table more timely and verifiable evidence.

I also invite Fred to please comment on this predictable turn of events.

6/01/2008 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The solution is to convince Arabs to rise above their religion and think about their own survival.

The thing about Arabs in paticular is that they are so vile over and above their vicious religion that not only do we need to convince them to rewrite their religion, but then we also have to see if they're willing to learn some manners that come from their culture and aren't included in their religion per se.

I do not want Arab Muslims to immigrate to my country or to be my neighbors as long as they are dressing their women in body bags, not allowing them to drive, keeping slaves, performing female genital mutilation, practicing polygamy, marrying pre-pubescent girls, claiming to be above Western laws because of their "culture", and claiming victimhood in all cases where they're not willing to put in a day's work to earn it.

I'm also really tired of being expected to feed those mainly Muslim countries that after how many millenia haven't figured out how to grow enough corn yet, so I have to wonder just exactly how intelligent they really are.

McCain (and others) are discussing consigning the UN to the dust heap and starting all over again with only elected democratic states. In the Middle East, that would include Iraq (sorta/kinda provided they ever can manage another election) and Israel.

If Arabs want to join the rest of the world and be accepted as neighbors then they *have* to start working and doing for themselves, and they *have* to learn some manners instead of falling on the excuse of "this is how it's always been done".

Otherwise, increasingly and world-wide, we see them being shown the door of their new countries and told to beat it back home to where they came from.

6/01/2008 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

zenster,

Sorry it has taken awhile for me, on this nice Sunday afternoon, to catch up with this thread and respond to your last post, commenting on what "mddaddyo" had written about Islam. Speaking of Islam... I just received from amazon.com the book "Understanding Muhammad: A Psychobiography" by Ali Sina. It is outstanding. In it, Dr. Sina examines the personality and the psychological profile of Muhammad. Most of his conclusions are not surprising at all. Muhammad was a classic NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)and also suffered some kind of frontal lobe disorder, perhaps even epilepsy. I love Dr. Sina's name for Allah: "Muhammad's sock puppet alter ego."

I think there are two kinds of people trying to debate us on the matter of Islam. The first kind are the Islamists, living within our Western societies, like "mcdaddyo" who try to take on a Western veneer so that they can blend in with our Leftist crowds. The second kind are what I would call Western dhimmis who are only very superficially versant about Islam and who have decided, in their minds, that those people like us who have actually taken the time to read as much of Islamic scripture as we can are just knuckledragging bigots. From long experience with these types, I am not sure there is anything we can say to deter them from their mission to be as much of a pain in the podex as they can be.

The latter type of person is very entrenched in the currently popular poly sci distinctions that we are debating the merits of. Because these people are wholly given over to intellectual sloth, our encouragement to actually read the Qur'an and some English translations of the ahadith is wasted. They won't do it. Stubborn in every respect, we can see how very often the deadly sin of sloth often attends the sin of pride.

Several times on this weblog and also on a couple of others I have explained what a "good" Muslim is and what a "bad" Muslim is - and why we are best served by trying to help the "bad" Muslims. Dr. Sina's view - he's an Iranian who once trained to be a Muslim cleric back in his country many years ago - is that Islam cannot be reformed or re-made, because it is violent, evil, and retrograde to the core. It is so because it's founder, Muhammad, was one of history's most evil characters. Islam's deity, "Allah," is really Muhammad's alter ego. It's all a con job - and it worked fantastically well. It will stop being "successful" in its enterprise on the day when most of humanity has had enough of it and cuts it no more slack. It's a "cult of personality" every bit as dynamic and destructive as Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Pol Pot.

The current political expediency being practiced by our elites is the product of cowardice, sloth, and the false hope that these people will grow up and grow out of their 7th century darkness. But their hope will fail. Only our refusal to submit and our determination to protect our civilization and our values will be our best defense. Failing that, humanity will slide back into a Dark Age darker than what prevailed after the fall of the Roman Empire.

6/01/2008 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Fred, fascinating as always. If they refuse to change, do you see genocide as a viable final alternative? Or do we just need to plan to relocate to Mars?

Also, I had thought of McDaddyo as a dhimmi and not one of "them". Interesting that you see him as a "moderate Muslim".

6/01/2008 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Nahncee,

I would prefer that we relocate them to Mars, not us.

In the interim, we need to take the intermediate steps before we get to the drastic measures. I would prefer that we ask them to leave and go back to their countries of origin. Converts from our societies, however, are an entirely different matter and I would suggest that we deal with them more harshly.

Dr. Sina agrees with my view: it's NOT a religion. It's a cult and an ideology of domination. Right now, they get away with what they get away with because we're too stupid to question their very superficial classification.

6/01/2008 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Thank you, Fred. As you can see by the reply I received from McDaddyo, nowhere is there a genuine effort to examine the hardcore elements of Islam, like its triumphalist aspirations or use of taqiyya. The misdirection and intentionally obtuse nature of McDaddyo's insincere rejoinder gives me little hope for any constructive exchange with Western liberals.

I can only assume that it was McDaddyo's almost immediate evasion regarding taqiyya that led you to classify him as an actual Muslim and not a dhimmi, no? If not, his recourse to some of the most shopworn Islamic palliatives certainly was a giveaway as well.

To date, my best results have been obtained by providing female strangers that I meet with a simple and factual description of what they should expect their life to be like if shari'a law were put in place. Almost invariably they begin repeating, "That's really evil.", over and over again. I'm doing my best to change this world one mind at a time.

6/01/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

zenster,

Back in the early eighties, after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire (my alma mater too, before I entered the seminary)and before I met her (we never crossed paths on campus; she graduated in '81, I in '82)my wife took her first job as an occupational therapist at D.C. General Hospital. While in the nation's capital, my wife had ONE date with a wealthy young Arab, and he was very aggressive trying to get into her you-know-what. She got away from it. Thank God. She was nearly date-raped by one of those savages. My wife hates Muslims. When I told her that Muslims consider kafir women to be whores and fair game, she was not at all surprised.

So, your approach in proselytizing the females of this great land seems a fruitful approach.

My greatest frustration, zenster, is in seeing those Christians and Jews who think we can have "dialog" with Islam. Worse are the ones who would like to see some kind of fantastic melding of the "Abrahamic faiths" into some kind of composite religion. Seeing fellow religionists hankering for that dhimmi status nauseates me. When clergy, who are supposed to at least endeavor to learn about Islam, show the same intellectual sloth as our State Department employees I am very discouraged. And the reason for this is that I know history. One of the classic tactics during Islam's expansionist phase was to compromise groups of Christians and Jews within the target societies. Then, these groups would serve as a Fifth Column for the jihadis, during the preliminary terror phase. Having weakened the target societies, then the relatively small Arab armies would come in and apply the coup de main.

6/01/2008 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Fred: My greatest frustration, zenster, is in seeing those Christians and Jews who think we can have "dialog" with Islam. Worse are the ones who would like to see some kind of fantastic melding of the "Abrahamic faiths" into some kind of composite religion.

However miraculous one might think this to be, speaking as a devout agnostic, I still could not agree with you more.

Islam has so little in common with the very best of modern society's Judeo-Christian civil foundations that according it any sort of recognition amounts to an insult of all that has gone before.

This forcible "melding of the Abrahamic faiths" which others are so dead-set upon seems to be nothing less than an unholy amalgamation of that which cannot possibly have any common foundation.

Again, even my own agnosticism is compelled to upbraid such a promiscuous interpretation of our societal origins.

6/02/2008 12:24:00 AM  

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