“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."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Where is the moral purity in war unending?"

The Limited War for Hearts and Minds
By Diana West
Saturday, April 28, 2007

Someday, when the war in Iraq has become a historical episode, we will tally up the lessons learned -- if, that is, we ever learn any. Here are two worth mastering because failing to do so probably means we will no longer exist.

1. Nation-building in a war zone is nuts. Nation-building in an Islamic war zone is suicide.

When the United States embarked on its most successful cases of nation-building in Germany and Japan, both countries lay in ruins, their cities and infrastructure devastated, their populations decimated. These appalling conditions worked wonders toward opening both countries to all manner of Americana: democracy, deNazification, demilitarization and, in Japan's case, not just a constitution practically written by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, but also baseball. In other words, Total War was followed by Total Pacification.

In Iraq, we have fought a Limited War for Limited Pacification, which has resulted in a perpetual, if limited, war zone. At about $200 million a day, this war may not sound very "limited," but consider where "Sunni insurgents," "Shiite militias" and assorted thugs and jihadi groups go at night after a hard day's maiming and killing and IED-ing. They go home to safe houses. Now, ask yourself whether, say, a George Patton or a Curtis LeMay would allow them to wake up again, chow down breakfast and return to maim, kill and IED another day.

The answer is no, not on your life. Such generals would have seen to it that the enemy's home, his neighborhood, his entire town if necessary, was destroyed, doubtless killing innocent (and not innocent) civilians in the process. Total War. It's ugly and barbaric, but it leads to Total Pacification, not to mention Total Victory, which is supposed to be the point. Limited War is ugly and barbaric, but it just leads on and on. And where is the moral purity in war unending?

The Limited Warrior struggles for the answer, and comes up with ... Hearts and Minds: The superpower that doesn't want to use its super powers will instead make everyone like it a lot. To that end, Gen. David Petraeus, our top commander in Iraq, has ordered troops out of their well-fortified bases into "outposts" in Iraq's most dangerous enclaves. (One such outpost was recently struck by suicide bombers, killing nine Americans and wounding 20.) Often described as the linchpin of Gen. Petraeus' counterinsurgency strategy, this outpost-plan is supposed to "establish regular contact with Iraqi civilians and win their allegiance," according to The New York Times.

Win their allegiance -- is he kidding? I hate to be the one to break it to Gen. Petraeus, not to mention President Bush, but the fact is, in an Islamic war zone, an "infidel" army just isn't going to win Islamic allegiance. There are many religious and cultural reasons I could offer in explanation, but instead I'll turn to the underreported story of the week: two findings contained within an extensive new poll of Muslim opinion conducted in four major Islamic countries Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco and Pakistan.

According to, more than half of those polled in Indonesia, and three-quarters of those polled in Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan believe in the strict application of Sharia, or Islamic law. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents expressed their desire to see the Islamic world united in a caliphate.

Which brings me to Lesson 2.

With numbers like these, portraying jihadist war goals (Sharia, caliphate) as belonging to a "tiny band of extremists" is nuts. Persisting in this PC fantasy as part of the narrative and strategy of the "war on terror" is suicidal.

But such PC fantasy fuels hearts-and-minds efforts that go beyond "allegiance"-winning outposts in Iraq as the United States now weirdly cheers on world Islamization to curry Islamic favor. As said by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos at a recent Kosovo hearing "Here is yet another example that the United States leads the way for the creation of a predominantly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe. This should be noted by both responsible leaders of Islamic governments, such as Indonesia, and also for jihadists of all color and hue. ... The United States stands foursquare for the creation of an overwhelmingly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe."

Aren't we nice? Aren't we lovable?

Or are we just too dumb to live?


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  2. BBC

    "In the Middle East, today's preoccupations can sometimes overcome yesterday's enmities.

    And when the preoccupation is a nuclear-armed Iran, this can have surprising results.

    Hence we have the spectacle of an Israeli prime minister saying he "understands" Washington's desire to sell state of the art weaponry to Saudi Arabia.

    Iran says it is pursuing nuclear technology for purely peaceful purposes, but widespread international scepticism has led opponents to shore up defences.

    Israel, which is traditionally wary of arms sales to its Arab neighbours, has welcomed Washington's $13bn (£7.5bn) package of high-tech support for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states."

    ☂ ☂ ☂ ☂ ☂ ☂ ☂
    It is a smart policy, however to be effective, the US would have to declare a de facto ME Nato policy of a nuclear attack by Iran against any would be an attack against all and the US would guarantee that Iran ceases to exist. The Nancee option.

  3. The Overwhelming Genius of the US Congress
    U.S. House to vote on "comfort women" issue 2007-07-31 02:18:41

    WASHINGTON, July 30 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote Monday on a resolution that calls on Japan to acknowledge and apologize formally for sexually enslaving women during World War II.

    The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), will be taken up on the suspension calendar and will most likely be adopted by voice vote.

    The House Democratic leadership's decision to take up the resolution comes a day after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suffered a devastating defeat in the election for the upper house of Parliament.

    The House leadership had waited until after the election to take up the vote, so as not to "create the perception that Congress was looking to influence Japanese elections", according to congressional sources.


    Why don't the A-holes vote on how woman are treated today by the Muslims instead of sixty five years ago by the Japanese? Just how stupid do you have to be to get elected to Congress?

  4. Oh, the Humanity!
    I am so sick of reading "intelligent" posters on the right STILL justifying this outrage and singing praises to the "Churchillian" Almighty "w"

    ...then there's Trish who's always said all options are off the table, from taking out a lone sniper in a Minaret with a missile, to save Marine lives, to bombing bomb factories and supply lines, to de facto Partitioning to try to put a lid on this madness.

    "w" is nothing, however, if he is not the most recalcitrant learner on the planet.

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  6. We must respect and defer to the head hackers amongst us.

  7. When all the options are off the table you don't have to worry about doing a damned thing.

    I thought of that!

    Makes life so simple.

    By the way, I've seen that woolly fellow around somewhere else recently. I bet he/she's got bugs or something. Watch out.

  8. It's brilliant when you think of it. When all the options are off the table, what's the worry? and why not then just sit around and piss and moan about everything that's off the table? One can sound important and do absolutely nothing, forever.

  9. Besides the Kurds are 'already spoken for'. As is everyone else, when you think of it, everything being off the table.

  10. We might as well sell the table at the yard sale, for all the good it is doing us.

  11. For Sale--Table with nothing on it--2 bucks, or best offer--plus we have lemonade, 10 cents a glass, and Manhattan for the taking.

  12. It is not the options that matter, but the actions.

    The time to roll on, into the terrorist heartland, is well passed. There is no desire to extend the War, in either time or space.

    Reconciliation is the way, just that it'd be easier to reconcile James Webb and George Bush, easier than reconciling Iraqi politicos.
    Yet there is no reconciliation in DC. Why expect it in Baghdad?

    Preoccupation with fear, leaves those that attcked US off the hook. Attacked by Wahhabists, the US takes on the enemies of Wahhabism, first the secular Saddam, then their enemy in Iran, the Shia. All the while the Wahhabists sit on dozens of nuclear warheads.
    The US doing their heavy lifting, for them.

    The US Government spinning its population into fearing the once and future bomb in the bush, rather the dozens in Mohammed's hands.

  13. What this country needs is an in depth report on the Snake River Massacre We've still to come to terms with that, yet.

  14. Bob, the September 11, Massacre at Mountain Meadows will be the one to watch, for recriminations and aplogies, if Mitt Romney looks like he'll win the GOP nod.

    Mountain Meadow Massacre - the other September 11

    11 September will for most who witnessed the tragic events in New York stay indelibly in their minds. However there are those who now want to ensure that we do not forget another 11 September this time in 1857. This was the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre.
    Chris Armstrong of Christianity Today recently posted an article on the subject in which he says:

    "On September 11, 1857, 120 'gentiles' were slaughtered by Mormon malcontents in an impoverished, remote section of Utah. The Mountain Meadows massacre has been called "one of the worst mass murders in American history."

    "Though details of the event are vague and no eyewitness wholly trustworthy, the consensus of recent historical study and dramatic treatment supports the outline of the story as Mark Twain told it in his Roughing It:

    "A large party of Mormons, painted and tricked out as Indians, overtook the train of emigrant wagons some three hundred miles south of Salt Lake City, and made an attack. But the emigrants threw up earthworks, made fortresses of their wagons, and defended themselves gallantly and successfully for five days! … At the end of the five days the Mormons tried military strategy. They retired to the upper end of the 'Meadows,'resumed civilized apparel, washed off their paint, and then, heavily armed, drove down in wagons to the beleaguered emigrants, bearing a flag of truce! When the emigrants saw white men coming they threw down their guns and welcomed them with cheer after cheer... and were promptly slaughtered en masse, excepting only a few of the many children—those under the age of seven—deemed too young to 'tell tales.'"

    Religous extremists, radical evil doers. apologies are needed, now more than ever.

    September 11 - Never Forget!

    It was on that day,
    Everything Changed?

    or just some were awoken.

  15. :) Some things you got to just keep off the table, Rat, and not ever bring them back up there, on the table.

    It was the wild west, just like dad said.

    My grandpa got here just right after most of the action had died down.

    My aunt remembered the Nez Perce coming through, asking for food, at the farm.

    The Shoshone nobody seemed to like. They seemed to be everybody's enemies, white and red man alike.

    We had black farmers in Idaho in the early days, one right up the road from us, Mr. Settle, nice fellow.

  16. The Mormons, I think, Rat, are already prepared with their 'spin' on the affair.

    It was not like that at all, they will say.

  17. Sure they will, bob.

    But the facts is the facts.

    Never forget the already forgotten.

    Took 150 years, and that September 11 is not yet forgotten, by all.

    The Shia should forget those mass graves dotting Iraq, after only 5 years. Not going to happen.

    Emotions ran high among the Mormons. Some had taken an oath to avenge the deaths of Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, and held the gentiles [non-Mormons] responsible for their being driven out of their homes.

    Apostle Abraham H. Cannon recorded in his journal that his father, George Q. Cannon (a member of the First presidency) admitted that when
    "he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in that massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs." (Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon, Dec. 6, 1889, p. 205, original at BYU; photocopy at University of Utah)

  18. Thus events followed one another, leading inexorably to the final tragedy....Strong hatred, deep-seated beliefs, and greed were all combined in the drama. That this was a wealthy train with good wagons and ox teams and horses; with a large herd of cattle; and with loads of household goods and necessities was without doubt a factor with some who were involved. Their own deep religious convictions increased in potency—that "the blood of the Prophet should be avenged" and that by their own covenants, taken in the Nauvoo Temple or in the Endowment House, they were bound to help carry out God's will. (John Doyle Lee, by Juanita Brooks, Utah State University, pp. 207-208)

    When chosen by God, as the special folk, all manner of things become acceptable, it's God's will, you know.

  19. I get tired of being thought of as a 'gentile' by almost all the 'religious' of the earth.

    I have to say deuce, your Arab hooker, she/he's 'well heeled'. :)

  20. A lot of that language sounds all too eerily familiar, doesn't it Rat?
    Avenging the prophets and so forth.

    Might be a lot better to have a table with nothing on it.

    Sun's up here. Still a lot of smoke in the sky, we have had some mean fires out in the woods.

  21. Moving Tip 32 states:
    “[when moving] don’t put your dog and your cat in the same box!”

    But Mr. Churchill didn’t care about the dogs or the cats or the camels or the goats if you will, especially after discovering oil in Kurdistan, and saw to it that the Kurdish goat would be tied to the Arab camel whether the two liked it or not.

    Both peoples lost their relative liberty and it has been an unmitigated disaster ever since.

  22. Paul Bremer: A man living in a cloud-cuckoo-land

    Paul Bremer starts and ends his speech as a converted Iraqi (say Arab) nationalist! One can sense throughout the speech Mr Bremer’s na├»ve appeals to Iraqi nationalism, to one Iraq, with one history, and one happy future!

    He envisages and operates his historical mission as ensuring the realisation of this Iraqiness without Saddams, Hajajs, Sadrs or any present or potential dictators.

    "Thousands of conversations with you over the past year have made me certain that the vast majority of Iraqis reject the brutality and darkness of the old days. You have told me you want a new Iraq that honors the best of your past, but provides freedom, equality and opportunity for all.

    The Coalition shares your vision of Iraq’s future, a future of hope. Working together we can create the future you want.

    Much is going to happen in the 10 weeks before Iraqi sovereignty.

    In the days and months ahead the Coalition will work with you to provide security, justice and prosperity for all Iraqis.

    Such an Iraq will honor Iraq’s history, a proud and ancient history stretching back to the beginnings of civilization.

    This is a sermon not a political speech. Who are this “you”, these Iraqis, that Bremer is addressing? Perhaps Mr Bremer was thinking of all Iraq as one cosy family sitting around a radio or TV and attentively listening to his sweet-sounding sermon!

    But can Mr Bremer compete in his sole solitary sermon with hundreds of more eloquent fiery sermons delivered daily and in Friday prayers from the tribune of hundreds of mosques by not just a Muqtada Sadr but hundreds of Muqtada Sadrs many of whom were known trumpeters of Saddam’s wars, genocides and anfals?

    Can he compete with poisonous propaganda poured by Arab media and TV channels?

    Does Mr Bremer realise that none of these firebrand preachers ever talk about democracy, freedom, women’s rights although they do like him talk about one Iraq!
    And use this idea of Iraqiness and of course Muslimness to justify their fascist discourse! This is the common ground between Bremer and his co-sermonisers. And by imposing this illusion of Iraqiness Mr Bremer, just like Moqtada Sadr, confuses issues, hides facts and harbours personal aims and ambitions!!

  23. The chance for the US to fight a big, "good" war passed at Tora Bora.

    The left and the UN began whining about the US bombing the Taliban to the pre-stone age and we took it to heart. We backed off and that was the beginning of the Long War.

    The jihadi can fight because they are funded by Saudi Wahabist petro dollars. Pakistan has nukes because of Saudi Wahabist petro dollars. Iran is building nukes because of Persian Shi'ite petro dollars.

    Stop the jihad? Take the petro dollars and the petrol.

    Would it look "imperialist"? Yes. Is it strategic? Yes. Does it get to the root cause? Yes.

    The jihad cannot be exported without petro funds. We read how Wahabism is getting strong in the moderate musselmen parts of Bosnia and the former Yugoslovia. Who is funding those mosques and imams?

    What is our counter? More counterinsurgency against the locals while doing nothing about the flow of funds from the Arabian peninsula?

    Yet, even now, the US has not used every economic weapon it has to pull investment out of Iran. Why?

    We had a chance in late 2001 and early 2002 to grab the Bad Islam by the throat and choke it to death.

    In addition to total economic warfare, we would have had to deny sovereign nations - who harbored, trained, funded and birthed Islamic terrorists - their own natural resources by military force.

    It would have been bold, scary and unpopular in the world community, but it would have sent the message that the US was dead serious about its commitment to killing terrorists and stopping Islamic terrorism in its tracks.

    Diane West is whistling past the graveyard. Doing a Curtis LeMay on Iraq is too much in the wrong place too late.

  24. Saddam and Iraq, strawmen in the "War on Terror"

  25. Ah, yes, brother,
    But Iraq is not the first kinder and gentler war, and it won't be the last.

  26. Rush's idea for Iran was to blockaide petro coming in:
    Since they import gasoline, it would bring them to a stop.

  27. If the US were at war with Iran, that blockade idea would be all the rage.

    So would forced divesture from all companies that did business in Iran.

    But the US is not at war with Iran, not at all. We are beating the drums, stirring up the Wahhabs, but no Act of Congress, no hot pursuit.

    Rhetorical bombast on both sides of the Persian Gulf.

  28. I think the biggest fear of the US .gov is that any meaningful action against the Wahabs and the Persians will so totally disrupt the world oil markets that the US' Achilles Heel will be laid bare for the world - and most importantly - the US citizenry to see.

    No politician worth his weight in steaming pig dung will want to have the US sheeple endure any hardship to win a war. No sir.

    Wouldn't want to spur any homegrown exploration and production or innovations to get us off the black junk.

    Got to keep those malls filled to fight the jihad.

  29. I thot we became energy independent 30 years ago.
    One of them presidents, or more, said we would.
    ...guess he mighta meant
    more dependent tho, in a DC way of talkin.

  30. Like you say, back in the Torah Bora days, many things were possible.
    ...w, wussed out, even as Iran offered it's beaches for our convenience.

  31. Khadafi peed his pants, and the Dentist watched his satellite (temporarily) drift away.

  32. Rhetorical bombast may be W and Candy's legacy.

  33. Well a Congressional Research Service report lays out the economic allies of Iran:

    Oil Production 4 million barrels per day (mbd)
    Oil Exports 2.4 mbd
    Major Oil Customers China - 450,00 barrels per day (bpd); about 4% of China’s oil imports;
    Japan - 800,000 bpd, about 12% of oil imports;;
    South Korea - about 9% of its oil imports;
    Italy - 9% from Iran;
    France - 7%;
    Belgium - 14%;
    Turkey - 22%;
    Greece - 24%;
    India - 150,000 bpd (10% of its oil

    Refined Gasoline Suppliers
    India, Kuwait, Turkey, Venezuela

    Some Major Trading Partners
    Japan ($7.5 billion exports to Japan);
    China ($3.9 billion exports, $2.7 billion imports);
    Italy ($5.3 billion equally divided import/export);
    Germany ($4.9 billion imports
    France ($3.2 billion imports)
    Export Credit Guarantee
    Exposure Limit
    Italy - $6.2 billion;
    Germany $5.4 billion;
    France - $1.4 billion;
    Spain - $1 billion, and Austria - $1 billion
    Major Non-Oil Investments
    Renault (France) and Mercedes (Germany)- automobile production in Karaj, Iran - valued at $370 million;
    Renault (France), Peugeot (France) and Volkswagen (Germany) - auto parts production;
    Turkey - Tehran airport improvement, hotels;
    China - shipbuilding on Qeshm Island, aluminum factory in Shirvan, cement plant in Hamadan; United Arab Emirates financing of Esfahan Steel Company;
    India - steel plant; S. Korea - steel plant in Kerman Province;
    S. Korea and Germany - $1.7 billion intended investment to expand Esfahan refinery.

    Trade With U.S. (2006) $242 million (trade is severely restricted by U.S. sanctions, as discussed later). Of which: exports to U.S. - $157 million. Imports from U.S. - $85 million.

    Foreign Exchange Reserves $40 billion+
    External Debt $19 billion (2005 est.)
    Income Per Capita
    (purchasing power
    $8,100 per year
    Unemployment Rate 11%+

    The US has direct trade with Iran valued at almost $250 Million USD, not the kind of thing one does while at War.

  34. FBI, IRS Search Home of Sen. Ted Stevens...

    ...links with an oil-services company

    Longest-serving Republican senator...
    One more Pub will bite the dust under W, as Sandy the Bergler runs free, along with Jefferson in New Orleans, and etc.

    "W" stands for WMD for the Pubs.
    RIP, GOP.

  35. You left Russia out of that list.
    Russia no longer has any debt.
    Watch Pootie Poot.

  36. Russia,
    Low taxes, no debt.
    USA, high taxes, enormous debt.

  37. Want to guarentee that Turkey falls to the radicalized mussulmen, start a war in Iran.

    Watch Turkey collapse.
    Along with Japan and South Korea.

    High price to pay, because of what may happen, someday, or not.

  38. Trish will say the Librarian from Texas would fix all that.
    What's St Paul's position on the fence, Trish?

  39. Interesting that Russia is not in that report, what with that nuclear power plant they are building in Iran.

    No telling though, about what or why something is not in a report. I would think that the numbers related to Turkey, Greece, Japan and South Korea are accurate, regardless.

    Japan would buckle if 12% of it's oil imports stopped, tomorrow, with no chance of short or medium term recovery.

  40. "Japan and South Korea"
    That's a stretch:
    they could conserve that much (10%) if need be.

    We could conserve three times that much, but "Conservatives" like Rush say that's the antithesis of "Freedom," even tho his mom and dad, to whom he owes all, conserved rubber, gas, aluminum, and etc to get us over the wartime scarcity.
    Oil more scarce in the immediate future now, then aluminum was then.

  41. No way, 'Rat:
    Japanese are affluent like us, far from a "buckle" if really in dire straights.
    Even us moderns could learn to save a little again, as almost all our parents did in WWII.

  42. Rush brags about chilling his pool, and leaving the AC on in his six guest places.

  43. It may be that these CSR reports contain an occasional ephiney

    The 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in East Africa highlighted the threat of terrorism to U.S. interests on the continent. Political instability and civil wars have created vast ungoverned spaces, area in which some experts allege that terrorist
    groups may train and operate. Instability also heightens human suffering and retards economic development, which may in turn threaten U.S. economic interests.
    Africa recently surpassed the Middle East as the United States’ largest supplier of crude oil,
    further emphasizing the continent’s strategic importance. This report provides a broad overview of U.S. strategic interests in Africa and the role of U.S. military efforts on the continent as they pertain to the creation of a new Africa Command.
    Although the command is still in the planning phase, a discussion of AFRICOM’s potential mission, its coordination with other government agencies, and its basing
    and manpower requirements is included. This report will be updated as events warrant.

    Angola, Nigeria, Algeria and the Congo supply US 2.2 million barrels per day, while the ME chips in at just over 2 million.

    Surprised me, how much Nigeria contributes to the cause of a well oiled society.

  44. Travolta could take Air Trans instead of that beautiful Quantas 707, or one of his OTHER airliners!

  45. "Surprised me, how much Nigeria contributes to the cause of a well oiled society. "
    Fear not, Trish assures us the Islamist threat is a mere Campaign Slogan for us Rubes.

  46. CIA probly knows that's a
    ...Slam Dunk.

  47. No sacrifice is to great for those taking synthetic heroin on the sly, the self acknowledged and proclaimed leader of "Conservatives" across the heartland.

    Believe it or your mind is made of mush!

  48. Dope Smoking piles of Human Debris. money in homegrown Hemp.

  49. DR

    The US has direct trade with Iran valued at almost $250 Million USD, not the kind of thing one does while at War.

    I'm curious to see who is on the receiving end of the $250M in direct trade...

  50. least we ain't doin BILLIONS, like the rest.
    Cut old Ted Stevens some slack.
    Build a bridge of friendship to the North.

  51. Cut 12% of US oil imports, without recourse to a resupply possibility.

    That is equvialent to Canada and Kuwaits' contributions, combined, to the US economy.

    Look at those pictures coming from Iran, they already are living in mud huts, adobes that were condemned here ages ago.
    The Iranians are already "One with the earth", ready for further deprivation in God's cause.

    The Japs would crack, as we already have, at just the threat. When living in glass towers, beware of those with the stones.

  52. That's "Okie Smack" to those of us in the know, 'Rat:

    Me, I got my last hit of Moriphine last time I was in the hospital.
    Neither my wife or I can tolerate 2 pills worth of that Oxywhatever that Rush runs on.
    We're Organic.

  53. What does Canada do with all that money?

  54. ...they ain't buying IED's for their Muzzies to take down through Detroit, are they?
    We'll all be driving Canadian Chevettes.
    Last Days of Empire

  55. According to the US Geological Survey, ANWR could yield anywhere from 650,000 Bbl/day to 1,900,000 Bbl/day for about 30 years before decline.

    We use 23M Bbl/day currently. ANWR would fill 3% to 8% of any shortfall.

  56. Each March since 1995, the U.S.
    Administration has renewed a declaration of a state of emergency that triggered the March 1995 investment ban.62 Some modifications to the trade ban since 1999 account for the trade that does exist between the United States and Iran. (H.R. 1400, S. 970, introduced in the 110th Congress, would reimpose the restrictions that have been eased, and would apply sanctions to the parent companies of U.S. subsidiaries if those subsidiaries are directed or formed to trade with Iran. The following Some goods related to the safe operation of civilian aircraft may be licensed for export to Iran, and in December 1999, the Clinton Administration allowed the repair of engine mountings on seven Iran Air 747s (Boeing). In September 2006, the Bush Administration, in the interests of safe operations of civilian aircraft, permitted a sale by General Electric of Airbus engine spare parts to be installed on several Iran Air passenger aircraft (by European airline contractors).

    OFAC regulations do not permit U.S. firms to negotiate investment deals with Iran or to trade Iranian oil overseas.
    ! Since April 1999, commercial sales of food and medical products to Iran have been allowed, on a case-by-case basis and subject to OFAC licensing. OFAC testified before a House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee on April 18, 2007, that licenses for exports of medicines to treat HIV and leukemia are routinely expedited for sale to Iran, and license applications are viewed favorably for business school exchanges, earthquake safety seminars, plant and animal conservation, and medical training in Iran. Private letters of credit can be used to finance approved transactions, but no U.S. government credit guarantees are available, and U.S. exporters are not permitted to deal directly with Iranian banks. The FY2001 agriculture appropriations law (P.L. 106-387) contained a provision banning the use of official credit guarantees for food and medical sales to Iran and other countries on the U.S. terrorism list, except Cuba, although allowing for a presidential waiver to permit such credit guarantees. Neither the Clinton Administration nor the Bush Administration provided the credit guarantees. Iran says the lack of credit makes U.S. sales, particularly of wheat, uncompetitive, and few such sales to Iran have been completed.
    ! In April 2000, the trade ban was further eased to allow U.S. importation of Iranian nuts, dried fruits, carpets, and caviar. The United States was the largest market for Iranian carpets before the 1979 revolution, but U.S. anti-dumping tariffs imposed on Iranian pistachio nut imports in 1986 (over 300%) dampened imports of that product. In January 2003, the tariff on roasted pistachios was
    lowered to 22% and on raw pistachios to 163%. In December 2004, U.S. sanctions were further modified to allow Americans to freely engage in ordinary publishing activities with entities in Iran (and Cuba and Sudan).

    Subsidiaries of U.S. firms are not barred from dealing with Iran, as long as the subsidiary has no operational relationship to the parent company. Some U.S. companies have come under scrutiny for dealings by their subsidiaries with Iran. On January 11, 2005, Iran said it had let a contract to the U.S. company Halliburton ...

  57. Hey, many of you folks are of the "Armed society is a polite society" are you not? How do you square that with your desire to bomb Iran because they want to take part in "polite society" as well?

  58. "Wouldn't want to spur any homegrown exploration and production or innovations to get us off the black junk."

    As I've said before, as I see it the problem with "energy independence" as a solution is that you could get the United States entirely off oil, and China and India would still pick up the slack in the next decades, as well as Japan, Europe, etc, etc.

    To solve the problem of petro dollars you'd have to get everyone off oil, not just us. So the dicovery or innovation would have to be globally viable and attractive enough that other countries would make the transition on the basis of its own merits, because as we know, they certainly aren't going to do it just because we ask them to.

    You gave a potential Gordian Knot solution (also my father's), which is to simply seize the oil, somehow manage it as an international trust, and eliminate their ability to fund extremist Islam, but we're too civilized for that. On the other hand, I wonder if we exaggerate the influence of petro-propaganda and minimize the simple appeal of Islamic jihadist anti-Americanism, simply because it is an easy cause on which to focus.

  59. The Iranians are cast as felons, within civilized society, there by unqualified to bear those arms that require a "special license".

    But they are still allowed a full range of other weaponry, to both import and export.

  60. Besides, as Desert Rat has listed, we've never gotten the majority of our oil from the Middle East. That's been Europe and Japan (and soon India and China). For the most part, we fight for their continued access and prosperity, because we think that their access and prosperity (the "Global Economy") in the long run justifies our sacrifice.

    Does it? (I honestly don't know).

  61. ahhh, so some gun control is ok it is just a matter of degree.

    re the Iranian "felons" - I guess you are a proponent of international law and its enforcement nowadays?

  62. "Hey, many of you folks are of the "Armed society is a polite society" are you not? How do you square that with your desire to bomb Iran because they want to take part in "polite society" as well?"

    Iran's leadership is the type of people we arm against.


  63. Glenn Beck has a guest who just got back from three weeks in Russia who describes Russia as a complete "Police State." The Russians love Putin who enjoys a 70% approval rate. The Russian people are enjoying the security Putin has provided and would rather have the security than the chaotic democracy of the post Soviet years.

    My thoughts during the commercial break:

    We've seen the same thing in Iraq and should have learned the lesson that Democracy is not the paramount concern of a people facing death and destruction.

  64. No, not especially, but then I do not favor bombing Iran, either.

    Just explaining the case.

    Of course the US favors International Law and Order, just not based out of the Hauge, in those cases when it does not suit US.

    The entire excuse for entering Iraq was to maintain the authority and respectability of the UN. Even if that body did not vote to be respected.

    Actually, it would solve many problems, if a stray Iranian nuclear device was detonated, anywhere in the world, within range of Iranian delivery systems.

  65. "re the Iranian "felons" - I guess you are a proponent of international law and its enforcement nowadays?"

    I don't rely on the mis-named "international law" for morality.

  66. He says that the ever present police range from thugs who look "half-drunk who walk around with batons whacking people" to groups known as the "Omans."

    He says that Putin will not bring back communism but is a totalitarian who is all about restoring "National Pride."

    Anti-American sentiment on state owned media is constant and extremely harsh. We're greedy, stupid and responsible for the world's ills.

  67. Similar, ash, to gun control that already esisits on a Federal level in the US, with regards fully automatic weapons.

    There is a licensing system in place, not all who apply are qualified. Their past actions disqualify them from owning automatic weapons.

    Same should go for nukes, aye?

  68. A few years ago, I looked at the Federal Statistics on gun crime which showed that the overwhelming majority of gun crimes were black on black. When I took those numbers away from the overall total, the US looked as good as any first world country. I doubt that has changed and if those statistics haven't become too politically correct, they will probably show the same conclusion.

    How do one explain rising levels of gun crime in gun control countries?

  69. It is refreshing to see you advocate some gun control.

    To keep the parallel going at the international level regarding nukes one needs a form of "law" and an enforcement mechanism. Currently Iran maintains they are abiding by their treaty agreements regarding nuclear power and that the development of the fuel process is entirely within that scope. So too may many a folk possess a handgun in the US - legally even though they are equally as deranged as we assert the Iranian leadership is. So many here like that "armed society is a polite society" stuff which is the same stuff of MAD as well.

    It seems we desire to keep handguns out of the hands of the 'deranged' individual as we wish to keep nukes out of the 'deranged' states. Seems we need Laws limiting their possession at both the international level and local level. Waiting for Iran to commit a felony first seems foolish especially considering the state of International Law at present...

  70. International law? Who is going to enforce International Law against the Taleban or the Saddam Husseins or the Iranian Mullahs or in Darfur?

    I suspect and hope that after the scoriation the US has taken for enforcing international law against Iraq, it will be a cold day in hell before the US enforces International law anywhere in the world. I suspect that the vast majority on the left agree with this sentiment.

    So, so go ahead and serve your warrants on international criminal states. Without the US muscle, see where that gets you.

  71. DR - Good analogy with the ClassIII stuff. That includes with full-autos ($15,000 for a real M16 on the civvy market); sound suppressors, short-barreled rifles under 18.25" (SBRs), any-other-weapons - shotguns w/ barrels under 18.25" (AOWs), and my personal favorite, destructive devices - 20mm Solothurns, 40mm grenade launchers and grenades, 105mm arty, etc.

    Deep background check from the BATFE equalling Secret or Top Secret (if you have some skeletons) scrutiny into your past, a $200 tax stamp per ClassIII item which must be kept with the item at all times, a minimal annual visit from BATFE to inspect your ClassIII collection and storage of said collection, and after the BATFE is satisfied, you need a signed letter from your local Sheriff that says he is cool with you having all the fun toys. Most likely he will want to come visit you on occasion as well (as much to shoot the stuff as anything).

    So only the responsible with a good supply of liquid assets are allowed to own the stuff that can cause major damage.

  72. Whit, very few believe that the US invaded Iraq to enforce any international rule of law, quite the contrary - the invasion violated international law.

  73. Oh? What International Statutes did the US violate when it invaded Iraq?

  74. Whit, from wiki:

    "A crime against peace, in international law, refers to the act of military invasion as a war crime, specifically referring to starting or waging war against the integrity, independence, or sovereignty of a territory or state, or else a military violation of relevant international treaties, agreements or legally binding assurances.

    An important exception to the forgoing are defensive military actions taken under Article 51 of the UN Charter. Such defensive actions are subject to immediate Security Council review, but do not require UN permission to be legal within international law."Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations." (UN Charter, Article 51) The Security Council will determine if the action is legally the "right of individual or collective self-defence", or it may appoint another UN organ to do this.

    The definition of crimes against peace was first incorporated into the Nuremberg Principles and later included in the United Nations Charter. This definition would play a part in defining aggression as a war crime."

    Loads more complete with links there if you care to read the UN charter ect.

  75. The way I read your wiki reference is that the UN Security Council authorized the US to act as its agent and therefore, the invasion was not a crime against peace.

  76. The US invaded and occupied a Sovereign State that did not pose an imminent threat. There was no Security Council resolution authorizing the invasion. It is pretty straightforward really.

  77. The crime against peace has been committed when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Multinational forces then threw him out with conditions that Saddam violated for years. The situation eroded with the ongoing Oil for Food corruption of the UN until the September 11 attacks when it became apparent that the United States was under attack. Saddam Hussein chose to continue his cat and mouse games with UN inspectors and unwittingly played into the hangman's noose.

    In any case, I had forgotten that the UN had charged the US with war crimes and that George Bush had subsequently been impeached and convicted by the ICC.

  78. See, ash, with all the talk of "Law" it is, as you said
    "...a form of "law" and an enforcement mechanism."

    Yep, the enforcement mechanism of International Law is the United States, has been since 1948.

    If the US does not participate, it doesn't get downe. Darfur and the ICC warrents the perfect example.

    The US is the world's sheriff, like it or not, whether seen as the Sheriff of Nottingham, or a benevolant beat cop, well that''s a matter of perspective.

    If the US was a walking war criminal, in Iraq, you'd think the UN General Assembly would renounce US membership and dues, payable to the UN.
    They should reject "blood money", no?
    But they do not, because the US is not a war criminal, nor behaving illegally. We have not been sanction and are not about to be.

    Justice loudly spoken, in a de facto manner.

    As to endorsing the Class lll licencing, I'm not sure that I do, endorse it, but it exists.
    It's how its' done, now.

  79. As to the UN's position, today, with regards the US being in Iraq, well the Director-General puts it this way

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Monday that an abrupt U.S. troop pullout could deepen the crisis in Iraq, and he urged the United States to keep the Iraqi people in mind when making decisions on the increasingly unpopular war.
    Ban said both the United States and the international community have a responsibility not to abandon the Iraqi people.

    While he expressed reluctance to jump into Washington's fierce debate over Iraq, he emphasized that the rest of the world has a stake in the outcome of the conflict.

    "It is not my place to inject myself into this discussion taking place between the American people and the administration and Congress," Ban told a news conference when asked about the U.N. view on a pullout.
    "However, I would like to tell you that great caution should be taken for the sake of the Iraqi people."

    "Any abrupt withdrawal or decision may lead to a further deterioration of the situation in Iraq,"
    Ban said.

    Almost every time, in pursuit of conflict resolution, the Authorities try to get the criminal to vacate and surrender.

    If the World's Authority wants US to remmain, it must be because the Director-General sees the US Military as an extension of peace and security in the New World Order, the policemen of the World.
    Not a Sheriff of Nottingham, at all. But the "go to" guys.

  80. Ash said:
    The US invaded and occupied a Sovereign State that did not pose an imminent threat."

    Iraq was an on-going threat. It had been for years, (ask the Kuwaitis).

    You said that many people believe that the US invaded illegally. Belief does not constitute law just as believing does not may it so. If you adhere to a strict rule of law philosophy, you must provide more proof of US crime or desist from the smear campaign. It's the right and decent thing to do.

  81. DR, obviously, with the US holding a veto on the Security council it will not be sanctioned by such body.

    Yes law and enforcement are both necessary and things are a bit of a shambles in the world. The US playing both law maker and cop makes the world more like a police state then anything else.

    Now that we've invaded and occupied Iraq we are firmly ensconced in the role of cop - the Chinese finger trap is firmly set as we now get articles such as the NYTimes "We might win this war" coming out describing the 'success of the surge'. That trap is firmly set - just more troops, more money, more time and we might successfully police Iraq for them....ain't it wonderful??

    Whit, I take it you also believe the authorization to use force Congress also authorizes Bush to launch and invasion of Iran, and Brazil, if he should choose to?

  82. Whit,

    There is a big difference between "threat" and "imminent threat". Iraq had neither the will nor the capacity to invade or even attack the US. There were no troops massed at our border, no fleet of Ships and Aircraft poised for the attack, no missiles capable of reaching our shores. He didn't even pose a threat to Kuwait anymore - there were no troops massed a the Kuwaiti border yadda yadda...

  83. "Whit, I take it you also believe the authorization to use force Congress also authorizes Bush to launch and invasion of Iran, and Brazil, if he should choose to?"

    What's Brazil got to do with the price of tea in China? If you meant to say Iran and Venezuela, then yes, technically they are seen as an imminent threat in the ongoing war against terrorism, Bush would be within the current Congressional authorization to act. That said, in light of our current political climate I doubt that our intelligence agencies would ever declare an imminent threat until the Iranians themselves provide the incontrovertible facts.

    Just as we did with Saddam and al-Qaeda for that matter, the US has been extremely patient, has refrained from bellicosity and sought through diplomacy to avoid any such actions as you fear.

    I take that you rule out a first strike under any circumstances.

  84. should read:
    If you meant to say Iran and Venezuela, then yes, technically, if they are seen as an imminent threat...

  85. Actually it does, ash.

    The empowering line, as I recall, is:
    " the President may determine ..."

    He is so empowered by the Authorization for Use of Force, 14 Sept, 2001.

    There is no sunset provision on that Authorization. All Mr Bush has to do is make a determination that a State was involved and he is legally and morally bound to act against them.
    He has been so directed, by Congress.

  86. Ash said:
    There is a big difference between "threat" and "imminent threat". Iraq had neither the will nor the capacity to invade or even attack the US.

    If only you could give your own country such benefit of the doubt.

    You play with semantics as if this were a court room. We do know that Saddam had intent to do harm. We do know that Saddam was funding (or lied about funding) Palestinian suicide bombers. We do know that Saddam had murdered not only innocent Kuwatis but had been seen as the most barbaric dictator in the world at that point. And we do know that Saddam had begun to use the pious Islamic angle even portraying himself as the new Saladin that would lead Muslims to the new Caliphate.

    Your bias clouds your judgment.

  87. Saddam was a bad man but, under current international law, he did not pose a significant enough threat to the US to 'make it legal' to invade and occupy Iraq. Bush et al tried to present the case that he was an imminent threat; they failed AND they were wrong about the facts they presented. That is the crux of the matter vis a vis international law.

  88. Brazil? Venuzuaela? What difference does it make regarding the authorization to use force. Y'all seem to be saying Bush can attack anyone he desires an he is justified by what congress passed. If true, its a bad law and should he should be 'de-authorized'.

  89. Yada, yada, yada. Move on to the next post.

  90. "Y'all seem to be saying Bush can attack anyone he desires an he is justified by what congress passed."

    Hello, sir. Nice to meet you too.