“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, July 06, 2007

Calling Iran for what it is.

Iran's Proxy War
Tehran is on the offensive against us throughout the Middle East. Will Congress respond?

Friday, July 6, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Earlier this week, the U.S. military made public new and disturbing information about the proxy war that Iran is waging against American soldiers and our allies in Iraq.

According to Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, the Iranian government has been using the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah to train and organize Iraqi extremists, who are responsible in turn for the murder of American service members.

Gen. Bergner also revealed that the Quds Force--a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps whose mission is to finance, arm and equip foreign Islamist terrorist movements--has taken groups of up to 60 Iraqi insurgents at a time and brought them to three camps near Tehran, where they have received instruction in the use of mortars, rockets, improvised explosive devices and other deadly tools of guerrilla warfare that they use against our troops. Iran has also funded its Iraqi proxies generously, to the tune of $3 million a month.

Based on the interrogation of captured extremist leaders--including a 24-year veteran of Hezbollah, apparently dispatched to Iraq by his patrons in Tehran--Gen. Bergner also reported on Monday that the U.S. military has concluded that "the senior leadership" in Iran is aware of these terrorist activities. He said it is "hard to imagine" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei--Iran's supreme leader--does not know of them.Hit Ira

These latest revelations should be a painful wakeup call to the American people, and to the U.S. Congress. They also expand on a steady stream of public statements over the past six months by David Petraeus, the commanding general of our coalition in Iraq, as well as other senior American military and civilian officials about Iran's hostile and violent role in Iraq. In February, for instance, the U.S. military stated that forensic evidence has implicated Iran in the death of at least 170 U.S. soldiers.

Iran's actions in Iraq fit a larger pattern of expansionist, extremist behavior across the Middle East today. In addition to sponsoring insurgents in Iraq, Tehran is training, funding and equipping radical Islamist groups in Lebanon, Palestine and Afghanistan--where the Taliban now appear to be receiving Iranian help in their war against the government of President Hamid Karzai and its NATO defenders.

While some will no doubt claim that Iran is only attacking U.S. soldiers in Iraq because they are deployed there--and that the solution, therefore, is to withdraw them--Iran's parallel proxy attacks against moderate Palestinians, Afghans and Lebanese directly rebut such claims.

Iran is acting aggressively and consistently to undermine moderate regimes in the Middle East, establish itself as the dominant regional power and reshape the region in its own ideological image. The involvement of Hezbollah in Iraq, just revealed by Gen. Bergner, illustrates precisely how interconnected are the different threats and challenges we face in the region. The fanatical government of Iran is the common denominator that links them together.

No responsible leader in Washington desires conflict with Iran. But every leader has a responsibility to acknowledge the evidence that the U.S. military has now put before us: The Iranian government, by its actions, has all but declared war on us and our allies in the Middle East.

America now has a solemn responsibility to utilize the instruments of our national power to convince Tehran to change its behavior, including the immediate cessation of its training and equipping extremists who are killing our troops.

Most of this work must be done by our diplomats, military and intelligence operatives in the field. But Iran's increasingly brazen behavior also presents a test of our political leadership here at home. When Congress reconvenes next week, all of us who are privileged to serve there should set aside whatever partisan or ideological differences divide us to send a clear, strong and unified message to Tehran that it must stop everything it is doing to bring about the death of American service members in Iraq.

It is of course everyone's hope that diplomacy alone can achieve this goal. Iran's activities inside Iraq were the central issue raised by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq in his historic meeting with Iranian representatives in Baghdad this May. However, as Gen. Bergner said on Monday, "There does not seem to be any follow-through on the commitments that Iran has made to work with Iraq in addressing the destabilizing security issues here." The fact is, any diplomacy with Iran is more likely to be effective if it is backed by a credible threat of force--credible in the dual sense that we mean it, and the Iranians believe it.

Our objective here is deterrence. The fanatical regime in Tehran has concluded that it can use proxies to strike at us and our friends in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine without fear of retaliation. It is time to restore that fear, and to inject greater doubt into the decision-making of Iranian leaders about the risks they are now running.
I hope the new revelations about Iran's behavior will also temper the enthusiasm of some of those in Congress who are advocating the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Iran's purpose in sponsoring attacks on American soldiers, after all, is clear: It hopes to push the U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan, so that its proxies can then dominate these states. Tehran knows that an American retreat under fire would send an unmistakable message throughout the region that Iran is on the rise and America is on the run. That would be a disaster for the region and the U.S.

The threat posed by Iran to our soldiers' lives, our security as a nation and our allies in the Middle East is a truth that cannot be wished or waved away. It must be confronted head-on. The regime in Iran is betting that our political disunity in Washington will constrain us in responding to its attacks. For the sake of our nation's security, we must unite and prove them wrong.


  1. Iranian misdeeds are infamous.
    Have been since Jimmah Cater was President of these United States.

    Their attack on US Marines in Lebanon, during the Reagan years, merely a continuation of their transgressions.

    Iranian actions against US interests, since then, in Lebanon are also infamously well known, have been for years.

    Their harbouring of Osamas' son, as well as other aQ members, well known.

    Now they act as provocatours in Iraq. And why shouldn't they?

    What big stick should the Iranians fear?

    From their actions, none that we wield.

    US mandated Divestiture in any Company with commercial interests in Iran, should be passed by Congress and made the Law of the Land. If the Iranians are really an enemy of the United States.

    If the US Government cannot take that action, well it'd be obvious ... Iran is NOT an enemy of the United States, as far as the United States is concerned.

  2. You guys fightin' for top billing?

    That Mexican Special Ops piece, training the boys at the School of the Americas, right up my alley.

    School of the Americas, my Panamanian amigos, they called the "School of the Dictators" when it was down on the Atlantic side, at Fort Gulick.

    But they all thought they were living with the results. Fellows like Mr Noriega

    Only up for a moment, then lost to the ether, ahh well....

    The "Other" War

    The unWar

  3. LAS VEGAS (Associated Press) -- A man on a balcony over the New York-New York casino floor opened fire on the gamblers below early Friday, wounding four people before he was tackled by off-duty military reservists, police said. A fifth person was hurt in a crush of people fleeing the casino.

    "It was crazy, pandemonium," said Jade Jacobson, 28, a tourist from Deland, Fla., whose cousin, a dance teacher from Pennsylvania, was wounded in the leg.
    Las Vegas police Capt. James Dillon said a woman and a teenage boy were wounded; a man was grazed by a bullet; a woman was hit by a bullet fragment or shrapnel; and a woman was bruised and scraped when she fell amid the crowd of people exiting the casino.

    Steven Zegrean, 51, of Las Vegas, was arrested on felony charges including attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm in an occupied structure, Dillon said.

    "All we know so far is that he was emotionally distraught," Dillon said. "I can say with absolute certainty that this has nothing whatever to do with terrorism."

    Zegrean emptied a semiautomatic handgun toward the casino floor before he was tackled by a U.S. Army reservist, a Navy reservist and others who held him for police, Dillon said. He said he did not know the names of the people who intervened.

  4. Pentagon Appeals Case Against Canadian Detainee Accused of Murdering American Soldier
    07-06-2007 4:11 PM
    By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (Associated Press) -- The Pentagon said Friday it had appealed a decision by a military judge to dismiss the case of a Guantanamo Bay detainee accused of murdering an American soldier in Afghanistan.

    It is the first time that the appeals process has been used since it was created by Congress in late 2006 to handle cases involving Guantanamo detainees.

    Omar Ahmed Khadr, a Canadian citizen, is one of two detainees whose military trials fell apart because they were not identified as "unlawful" enemy combatants.

    The other is Yemeni detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden.

    Prosecutors filed an appeal in Khadr's case with the Court of Military Commission Review on July 4, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler, a Pentagon spokesman.

    Peppler said both sides will be given an opportunity to file written briefs.

    Khadr and Hamdan are the only ones currently in the roughly 375-prisoner population at Guantanamo who have been charged with crimes under a reconstituted military trial system. The judge who threw out the charges against Hamdan has not yet ruled on prosecutors' motion to reconsider. Hamdan is accused of conspiracy and providing support for terrorism.

    One other detainee charged under the new system, Australian David Hicks, pleaded guilty in March to providing material support to al-Qaida and is serving a nine-month sentence in Australia.

    Khadr has been in custody since he was 15. He is charged with tossing a grenade that killed one U.S. soldier and injured another in Afghanistan in 2002.

    He is the son of an alleged al-Qaida financier, and his family has received little sympathy in Canada, where they've been called the "First Family of Terrorism."

    Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay has said the government will wait until the appeals process has been exhausted before asking U.S. authorities to release Khadr to Canada.

  5. Our columnist says freeing Alan Johnston was no good deed

    Gerard Baker

    How do you like your jihadi? Is yours the avenging physician sort; self-immolating practitioner of weird medicine outside nightclubs and airport terminals who hopes to take hundreds of innocents with him on his journey to Paradise?

    Or do you prefer the voice of sweet reason, the heroic freedom fighter turned politician, who magnanimously leaps into a hostage drama and helps to free your innocent journalist from his captors?

    Not difficult, is it?

    We’ve had an exercise in good-cop, bad-cop with our Islamist friends in the past week.

  6. This African tale made me think of that young electrical engineer from a thread or two back.

    Self-taught, self-reliant, self-starting.

    From the LATimes, not slanted in the old faxhion way. Perhaps those firings at the LATimes, its' new management by the Tribune.

    And Mr Murdock at the WSJ, a new age of journalism is upon us, that's a fact.

    Morphed, transformed ... content without physical form

  7. Joe speaks the truth..

    For those who will not listen, and for those that do it makes no difference...

    The culture of the jackass of ishmael has now spread, it has evolved from a "black rock" cult into a cult of personality to now a death cult.

    These death cultists will attack, they will not back down, they will continue as long as we allow them to

    the tipping point is almost there, just a few more suicide bombs that are successful and the jihadists will get what they seek..

    the blind flash of light that they take as paradise, we will see as a n-bomb explosion

    happy trails....

  8. Hell of an Article. Sounds like we finally found some Generals; but, the hour is late. Awfully damned late.

  9. You guys get off topic so quickly with your comments concerning the original post that it seems tangential to add one about Iran.

    We won't do anything about them. They've been killing us by the hundreds with impunity for decades and they will continue to do so. Why shouldn't they? All they get is a stiff tongue wagging and a brisk finger shaking...ooooh, scary! I'd love to see our B-2s attack in waves over the course of 3 or 4 weeks starting with their one oil refinery. Consequences be damned.