Archive

  • MITT ON IRAN....

    MITT ON IRAN. And here is Mitt Romney on how to handle Iran , in remarks at the Herzliya conference in Israel, where he was the only one of the five American presidential contenders to deliver his speech in person: First, we must continue tighten economic sanctions. Our model should be at least as severe to the sanctions imposed on Apartheid South Africa. We should demand no less from the international community today ... Second, we must impose diplomatic isolation of Iran's Government. Ahmadinejad should not be provided the trappings, respect, and recognition of a responsible head of state as he travels....He should neither be invited to foreign capitals nor feted by foreign leaders.... Diplomatic isolation should also include an indictment of Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide under the Genocide Convention. The United States should lead this effort... Third, Arab states must join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. These states can do much more than wring their hands and urge...
  • HEROES. Via...

    HEROES. Via Kevin comes this data point on the increasing representation of torture as a tool of heroes. From 1996 to 2001, prime time television had 102 torture scenes. From 2002 to 2005, there were 624. But it wasn't only the quantity that change. "During this uptick in violence, the torturer's identity was more likely to be an American hero like "24's" Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland ) than the Nazis and drug dealers in pre-9/11 days." A competent analyst of culture could probably wring a three-book deal from the datum, but let me just say this: There's been an unsettling change in not only what heroes do, but what makes a hero at all. Any comic book reader knows that what separates heroes from evildoers is their unwillingness to kill, torture, or even personally punish the guilty. Restraint , in and of itself, is a heroic attribute. DC's Identity Crisis series spends quite a bit of time on that question, as it comes out that a few caped crusaders have spent decades covering up the...
  • WHAT REAL HAWKISHNESS...

    WHAT REAL HAWKISHNESS LOOKS LIKE. Lest everyone get so entangled in parsing the statements of Democrats that they forget the country contains a lot of people to the right of Iowa caucus-goers, here's what a real Iran hawk sounds like. Here's John McCain on Meet the Press in 2004 : SEN. McCAIN: [T]his is a harsh comment, but at the end of the day, it's the United States of America that may have to act if we act, but I hope that we can dissuade them through other means. Well, of course, the first attempt would be to get the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions. So we'll see, but it's a very great challenge.... MR. RUSSERT: What's our timetable? How much time do we have for Iran to stand down? SEN. McCAIN: I don't know. I would think we're talking about a matter of months rather than years. Note the complete absence of any call for negotiations, and the suggestion that a military confrontation would be necessary some time in 2005. Or look at his statements on Face the...
  • POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: STATUS ANXIETY.

    POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: STATUS ANXIETY. Olivia Starr reports from Kosovo on the recently unveiled plan providing a framework for the area's future status. --The Editors
  • MORE PUTIN. ...

    MORE PUTIN. In a slightly confusing series of moves, a right wing Russian autocrat has published an op-ed (really just an edited version of a recent speech) in a left wing British newspaper criticizing America's right wing foreign policy -- and he leads it off with a quote from FDR ! The times they have a-changed. Putin 's assault is slightly strange and more than a bit hypocritical, but its very existence speaks to the dawning realization that Bush has weakened America internationally, degrading both our moral authority and exposing the limits of our military's might. It's no surprise that a militarily diminished, veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council would want more responsibility devolved to that body, but it's somewhat more unsettling for Russia's dictatorial leader to offer and distribute a speech frontally attacking the United States' foreign policy -- a move he would only make if he thought the relative benefits in being seen standing up to America outweighed the...
  • THE ADMINISTRATION THAT...

    THE ADMINISTRATION THAT CRIED WOLF. Props to Joe Klein for this demolition job on the false certainty offered in the administration's anti-Iran briefing. As Klein shows, only a fool or a propagandist would make the confidently declarative claims our shdaowy intelligence officers gave out the other day: the government of Iran is purposely murky. There is no box and line chart that lays out the authority structure--there are, in fact, all sorts of doppelganger agencies, some religious, some secular, that have similar functions. This is especially true of the military and intelligence services. There is the official Iranian military...and then there's the semi-official Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has formal military operations like the Quds division, and less formal operations like Hizbollah. Who funds the IRGC is also a mystery. U.S. intelligence sources--but apparently not the dudes who were giving the briefing--believe much of the IRGC's money comes from the...
  • NEGOTIATIONS ARE TO...

    NEGOTIATIONS ARE TO BUSH�S RIGHT? Since Matthew Yglesias picked up my item yesterday and linked to his own recent Guardian Online column about Hillary Clinton �s hawkishness as a reply, I wanted to note two instances in his column where I believe he is playing by Clinton Rules in attacking her. Matt writes : �From smacking down Howard Dean in December 2003, to calling for a larger army , to earning the praise of psychotic warmonger Marshall Wittman by attacking Bush from the right on Iran, she spent years affiliating herself with the [Democratic] party's militaristic wing.� But if you read the speech which Matt characterizes as �attacking Bush from the right,� this is what Clinton said :
  • PACE SHOOTS DOWN...

    PACE SHOOTS DOWN THE ANONYMICE. The A.P. reports : Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. forces hunting down militant networks that produced roadside bombs had arrested Iranians and that some of the material used in the devices were made in Iran. ''That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this,'' Pace told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. ''What it does say is that things made in Iran are being used in Iraq to kill coalition soldiers.'' His remarks might raise questions on the credibility of the claims of high-level Iranian involvement, especially following the faulty U.S. intelligence that was used to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It's obvious that the Iranian origin of some of the weapons used against U.S. forces in Iraq is going to be used by the administration as part of an argument about Iran's hostile intentions to the U.S. and to buttress the case for eventual military...
  • POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE MAN BEHIND THE MECCA AGREEMENT.

    POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE MAN BEHIND THE MECCA AGREEMENT. Jo-Ann Mort reports on the new Palestinian unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas officials and discusses imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti -- "without doubt the most important person missing from Mecca." --The Editors
  • MORE ON THE DEAL.

    MORE ON THE DEAL. The Times has the details on the deal. Essentially, the U.S. and the five party group will be trading electricity, fuel oil, food, and some diplomatic goodies for a verifiable freeze on North Korea's nuclear program. The freeze won't be wholly verifiable, but the agreement will shut down North Korea's plutonium program, which is a genuine achievement. The talks are supposed to lead to further talks in which North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons. Let me go out on a limb here and say that this will never happen; North Korea may give up some of the nuclear fuel that it has, but I very much doubt that it will disarm entirely. Nevertheless, this deal makes the world safer. In comments to this post yesterday, Steve asked "Does this mean Bush was right about North Korea?" The answer is a pretty emphatic "no". The deal we have today isn't notably different from the Agreed Framework in 1994, except that it doesn't promise a light water reactor and North Korea has nukes...

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