The Iranian Terror Plot Is Not All That Terrifying

America’s security hawks are using the revelation about the Iranian thugocracy’s plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador and in other ways spread terror on U.S. soil to argue that America’s decade-long jihad against global terror must proceed full speed ahead. The Wall Street Journal intoned this morning:

To those, notably an emerging isolationist wing in the Republican party, who've argued lately that the U.S. should pull its efforts back from a waning international terrorist threat to focus on domestic concerns, this event is a wake-up call.

No it’s not. It’s actually an argument for Americans to take a deep breath and relax. Their enemies are a bunch of bumbling fools and not all that dangerous.

There was never any doubt that there are some really awful people out there who would like to do some really awful things to America. But just because they want to doesn’t mean they can. Intentions are not capacity. In fact, transnational terrorism (as opposed to local terrorism) is an exceedingly difficult enterprise that is inherently limited by the unavailability of talent. As I wrote previously, in order to be successful in America, the would-be terrorists have to combine a rare skill set. They have to be:

[R]adicalized enough to die for their cause; Westernized enough to move around without raising red flags; ingenious enough to exploit loopholes in the security apparatus; meticulous enough to attend to the myriad logistical details that could torpedo the operation; self-sufficient enough to make all the preparations without enlisting outsiders who might give them away; disciplined enough to maintain complete secrecy, and—above all—psychologically tough enough to keep functioning at a high level without cracking in the face of their own impending death.

There is nothing to suggest that the Iranians came even close to getting the right guys for the job.

Consider the facts.

One: The entity allegedly doing the plotting in this case was not some raggedy al Qaeda peasant army but Gholam Shakuri, a member of the Qods, an elite unit of the Iranian army, kind of like our special forces. It is unclear whether he had official blessing or not, although Eric Holder et al are strongly suggesting that he did and the Iranian government is strongly claiming that he didn’t. If Holder is right, then Shakuri had virtually unlimited resources to hire and train the best and brightest in the terrorism business anywhere to sow mayhem in the United States. Yet who did he find? Manssor Arbabsia, a not-very-bright 56-year-old divorce´ who once sold used cars for a living and liked to party.

Even more tellingly, Arbabsia, a naturalized citizen who lived in Texas, recruited not fellow disaffected Muslims in America for the job, possibly because he couldn’t find any. Rather, he turned to members of a Mexican drug cartel who he knew were unreliable. Hilariously, he complained to his Iranian accomplice that: “they’re not ordinary people…they’re not law-abiding.”

Really? You don’t say!

Two: Even the Mexican drug cartel guy turned out not to be the Mexican drug cartel guy but a paid DEA informant. This fact is crucial because it shows that had American authorities themselves not stepped in and plugged a critical operational hole, there might not have been a plot. The whole thing might have withered on the vine.

Incidentally, it is unclear whether Arbabsia ever made contact with an authentic cartel person. That, however, hasn’t prevented Thomas Donnelly of the Weekly Standard from declaring himself deeply disturbed that “Iran’s thugs are developing a strategic partnership with Los Zetas, Mexico’s most violent thugs.” Talk about adding two plus two and getting twenty-two.

Ten years have gone by since 9-11 without Islamists pulling off a single new terrorist attack on U.S. soil. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep an eye on things. But it does mean that we shouldn’t use every little move and antic of would-be terrorists as a justification to continue a two trillion dollar—and still counting—war on terrorism.

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  • PIRS||

    Let's think here for a moment: Why would someone want to kill a Saudi ambassador to the United States ...... hmmmm .... Could it have something to do with foreign policy???????

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    You're not thinking clearly. Our foreign policy is completely innocent and has the best intentions.

  • PIRS||

    Oh, sorry, I forgot. It must be because they hate our freedoms. Like our freedom to be sexually molested by TSA workers before we get on aircraft.

    USA! USA! USA!

  • k2000k||

    Guys I wouldn't even go on that vein... Even considering US foreign policy it makes no fucking sense to go after the Saudi diplomat to the US on our soil. Think about it, the Saudis and Iranians are already enemies, nothing would be gained by killing this man, baring that he has some access to information on Iran that the Iranian goverment doesn't want utilized. I'm more inclined to think that these guys were

    a) lone wolves or rogue elements of Quds.

    b) Iranian dissidents who wanted to pull some sort of Archduke Ferdinad style chain of events to get the US to overhtrow the Iranian regime.

    Just as it makes no sense to say they hate us for our freedoms, it is equally absurd in this paticular instance to claim this plot was hatched because of our foreign policy. States don't do things unless they see a benefit for themsevles in the outcome. I am hard pressed to see how Iran would benefit from assasinate a Saudi diplomat on US soil would be.

  • anon||

    AMURKA, FUCK YEAH!

    Our foreign policy in a nutshell.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    You Jew-Hating racist mother fucker.

  • $6M RoboTorso||

    You are one with the terrorists.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    You Arab hating racist mother fucker.

  • Al DeWaydown||

    You racist mother fucker hating racist mother fucker.

  • poetry||

    You hating Arab mother racist fucker terrorist-Jew hating Arab racist.

  • anon||

    God damnit, who's mother do I get to fuck?

  • Sarah Palin's of course||

  • PIRS||

    If someone hated a race of people what could be a better way to destroy them than to put them all in a small geographic area - say - about the size of the U.S. State of Delaware and make sure that every country surrounding that area was filled with people who hate their guts. Wouldn't that be an ingenious plan?

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    I'm with you PIRS, just being a dick for no reason.

    I never understood (outisde of reverence for religious fairy tales) why Israel had to be placed around millions of people known for not tolerating 1)Invaders 2)Whites and 3)White, Invading Jewish people.

    For satan's sake... Most of the American West is empty thanks to the Federally-approved eradication of the Natives. If the Jews needed a homeland why couldn't it have been placed in the bosom of the retarded Giant (Montanta, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota) it currently needs to justify its existence? I mean, the Mormons live in a goddamned desert and have essntially thrived there. And if some sort of vengenance was desired (not like that has ever had any unintended consequences though...), couldn't they have carved a chunk out of Germany and called it New Zion or something? No instead...how about we roll into an area, kill a bunch of farmers who have superstitious views of Jews already, and surround ourselves with hostile nations even more pissed because they have to absorb the refugees we created. It makes perfect sense.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Montana. Fuck this proofreading bullshit.

  • Vake||

    But Zion is the promised land!!!!

  • jtuf||

    Vake, are you trying to argue that the Jews didn't really come from Israel? Do you think the writings of Roman Historian Josephus are a myth? Do you think the Koran just made up the fact that Jews lived in Media and Mecca before Mohammed arrived?

  • jasno||

    Who cares where they came from...2,000 years before we put them back there.

    How about, in another 1800 years, we carve out a nice section of coastal california, kick out the inhabitants, and give it to a bunch of Canadian Native Americans?

  • PIRS||

    Not only that, there was an African country (Ethiopia I think?)that actually OFFERED some land for the Jewish people to settle in.

  • jtuf||

    PRIS, you are thinking of Uganda. The British offered land in it for the Jews, but the Jews turned it down. Considering that Idi Amin banned Judaism in 1971 and persecuted the Abayudaya, that was a wise choice ( http://bechollashon.org/projec.....yudaya.php ).

  • PIRS||

    Thanks

  • jtuf||

    You're welcome, PIRS.

  • jtuf||

    Drax,

    1) Jews turned down offers to settle in Africa, because they wanted to return to their ancestral homeland. The native language of Israel was Aramaic until Arabs invaded it.
    2) Non-Jews make up the same percent of Israel's population today than it did in 1948. The vast majority of privately held farms in Israel are still owned by non-Jews.
    3) Half the Jewish population of Israel is descended from Middle Eastern and North African Jews. Your argument is like telling the Coptic Egyptians to "go back to where they came from".
    ( http://www.jimena.org/ )

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Well...none of that would explain why there are so many people screaming for several generations now about some sort injustice they suffered (real or imagined) at the hands of the Israeli government (let alone the horrible Palestinian organizations they fail to find fault with).

    If the "ancestral homeland" argument actually meant anything I'm sure (presuming you live in the U.S.) you would be fine with Native Americans rolling into your house, taking your shit, and maybe "accidentally" killing your family.

    Yes, Non-Jews do make up the same percentage they did in 1948, and they own 70% less property/land than they did pre-1948(could be that they are less productive brown savages or something...I think that's what Yaron Brook says anyway). Sounds like millions of people living in slums to me.

    In the end, how much of a shit can one give? Israel exists, based on specious reasons and originally backed by a specious orgnaization (The U.N.). Nothing short of more atrocities will "right" that situation. My father left that country in the 60s because he got sick of the police state that hell-hole had become. Peace groups within the country routinely had their leaders assasinated (Jew, Christian, and Muslim alike). Good thing he dodged that forced conscription bullet. Ultimately, that seems to really be the only option. I just don't know what people are going to do when the entire Earth sucks. Go to Mars I suppose.

  • jtuf||

    Drax,

    First of all, non-Jewish Israelis have equal access to the the approximately 90% of the Israeli land that the Israeli government owns. If government land grabs bother you, why aren't you complaining about the NJ Pine Barrens or the Highlands Preservation Act.

    Secondly, were the property taxes on that land paid each year from 1948 until the Israeli government seized it? If a New York land owner refused to pay property taxes because he doesn't want to acknowledge a Democratic run government, how long would it take before the state of New York takes his land?

    Finally, contrast that to the pogroms in Arab nations against the Jews during the 1920's and the confiscation of their property for several decades.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Since I'm pretty much against governments pretty much doing anything I would probably take issue with the government grabbing land in any capacity.

    Yes, the property taxes were paid. That is main reason for the beef.

    Regarding the fictional New Yorker, since my respect for states and property taxes hover around 0 on a good day, I'd have a hard time faulting someone for not wanting to pay taxes, let alone acknowledge that a state has power(the power to kill him ultimately) over him.

    A lot of nations have atrocities under their belts. This is nothing new. The common thread is usually that the governments of these countries perpetrated these atrocities. It's no different than the U.S. government wiping out the Natives or sending Japanese-Americans to concentration camps. And Yes, Arab govenrments/countries are pretty awful as well. There is a reason Drax Senior didn't go to Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, et al vs. the U.S. at the time.

    Regarding the income, did you adjust for inflation? Moreover, how much of that "wealth" is somehow bolstered by the American Defense Industry? Or American Subsidies? Take those fictions away and see how things even out. Frankly, I don't really care much anymore. I have no aspirations to visit my "ancestral homeland". Fuck that place.

  • jtuf||

    Drake, you are wrong about Non-Jewish Israelis owning less property now than in 1948. The average monthly income for employed Israeli non-Jews is NIS 5,410, which is much greater than the income of Israeli non-Jews in 1948. I find it hard to believe that Israeli Non-Jews have less net wealth today than their ancestors had in 1948.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I never understood (outisde of reverence for religious fairy tales) why Israel had to be placed around millions of people known for not tolerating 1)Invaders 2)Whites and 3)White, Invading Jewish people.

    It has less to do with religious fairy tales than the peculiar notion of eternal national self-identity, that any particular group has a perpetual right to a piece of land that their ancestor sat on several centuries ago. The Israelis are not the only ones to invoke it. The Hebrews displaced the Canaanites, the Babylonians displaced the Hebrews, the Assyrians displaced the Hebrews again, the Romans displaced the Hebrews again, and the Arabs displaced them again.

    It's almost as if military power determines a nation's boundaries or some other silly idea. As we all know, national borders are drawn by unicorns. With crayons made out of happiness.

  • jtuf||

    Anonymous Coward,

    Zionism became a much more active movement when Jews were inspired by Serbia's successful secession from the Ottoman Empire. Israel is an example of decolonialization.

  • jtuf||

    + 1 to Anonymous Coward

  • jtuf||

    PIRS the historical evidence contradicts your argument. Israel is the only country where the Jewish birthrate is above replacement level. Outside of Israel, the USA is the most welcoming place an Earth for Jews, and even here, Jewish fertility is at 1.9 while fertility needs to be 2.1 to maintain a steady population.

    Circa 1900 Jews debated the best way to preserve the Jewish people. The vast majority of Jews at the time believed that they would be safest staying in Europe. History proved them wrong.

  • PIRS||

    A couple of things to consider here.

    1. More religous people tend to have more children.

    2. The Jewish population in the USA is very diverse and includes very religious people as well as many who do not even practice Judaism at all.

    3. Israel, because of where and what it is and the history there - tends to attract more of the very devout Jewish people.

  • jtuf||

    PIRS,

    Israel has school choice, which enables both religious Jews and non-Jews to send their kids to schools that pass on their values. America instituted compulsory education and compulsory funding for government school monopolies a century ago. This makes it extremely expensive for Jewish families to send their kids to Jewish day schools. Many Jewish families want to have more kids or send their kids to Jewish day schools, but they can't afford it after paying such high property taxes to support secular liberal schools. Jews raised in secular schools are much less likely raise Jewish kids. A bit over half of Generation X and Generation Y American Jews are single or married but childless ( http://www.jewishdatabank.org/....._Today.pdf ).

  • ||

    The hand wringing in this post is tragic.

  • ||

    The majority of Israelis are not only not 'very devout', they're as secular as the average American Jew. Or more so.
    It's the bizarre coalition governments in Israel that gives the extreme Orthodox 'Haredim' the political power that they have. And it's true that they are very, er, prolific. Orthodox Judaism makes women unclean (and unapproachable) during their most infertile weeks, and clean when most fertile. It's built-in.

  • jtuf||

    Geoff, "unclean" is the wrong word for it. In Hebrew, treff means "unclean", as in cheeseburgers are treff. The Hebrew term for a being in the menstrual phase of the menstrual cycle is "being in niddah". "Niddah" doesn't have any meaning unrelated to menstruation, so translating "niddah" to mean "unclean" reflects the translator's view of menstruation.

    While Greek philosophers saw the womb as a regrettable source of irrationality (the Greek word for womb was "hystera" and is the root of the English word hysteria http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hysteric ), Jewish philosophers saw the womb as a holy source of mercy. The daily Jewish prayers refer to G-d many times as the "Merciful father" and the Hebrew for mercy has the same root as the Hebrew for womb. Jewish culture embraces the behavioral affects of estrogen and progesterone.

    It's more accurate to view the time of nidda as a time for a husband to switch from erotic to domestic activities. This system works with a woman's cycle rather than against it. Real Clear Science recently linked to an article in Cosmo (hardly a pillar of patriarchy) that says women tend to prefer domestic partners during their infertile phase and sexy partners during their fertile phase ( http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/.....d-partners ).

  • ||

    Many then came to America, which has proven to be a good choice. Detroit would welcome them with open arms. Send them there.

  • jtuf||

    Lost_In_Translation, yes. It would have been wise for all European Jews to move to America around 1900. Most of the non-Russian European Jews stayed in Europe. By the time the Holocaust happened Democrat hero, FDR had shut the gates to immigration as part of his economic isolationism. Although, even in the USA, as great as it is, the Jewish population is on a trend towards long term decline. Sovereignty is the most effective option for preserving a people, barring that, living in America is a close second.

  • broken prisim||

    its a sunni v shite thing. however 100+ casualities in a DC restaurant explosion wouldve forced a US military response probably w UN backing. strange very strange

  • jtuf||

    Broken prism,

    Iran's choice of targeting Saudi Arabia over a DC restaurant makes sense from a rational egoist perspective. Islamic radicals shake their fists at the USA and Israel for fundraising purposes, but the majority of their victims are fellow Muslims. The payoff for eliminating your competitor next door is much greater than the payoff for attacking a distant, relatively peaceful country.

  • Spoonman.||

    You're right, that is hilarious.

  • z||

    Actually, there have been many terrorist attacks on American soil in the last 10 years. Fort hood shooting, plane flown into IRS building, etc, etc.

  • Brett L||

    Foreign terrorism, not so much.

  • wef||

    The magician's hand.

  • Chuck N Little||

    Just think what might have happened if Arbabsia had access to an Iranian nuke! Bomb Tehran before it's too late!

  • Colin||

    Are you saying his marriage status gives an indication of his terrorist capabilities?

  • Janet Napolitano||

    No. That would be profiling.

  • Spoonman.||

    If I were a used car salesman in Corpus Christi I think I'd be more interested in bombing seagulls than ambassadors, because they'd always be shitting on my shitty cars.

    I have never been in a place with more seagulls.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Waaaiiiiittt a sec...isn't Corpus Christi in Ron Paul's distrcit? 10 bucks they use this poorly written Kristol fan-fic against Paul in the next debate. They'll say his isolationaist views helped facilitate this shit or some such claptrap. They(conventional "conservatives") just love shanking the people trying to drag them out from under the ice.

  • Matrix||

    IIRC, Paul said he was not going to seek reelection for his House seat, so he could focus his efforts on his presidential run.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    I know that, but rhetorically the Neo-Cons could(will?) use this against Paul, saying something to the effect that his "naive" view of the world would have just ignored these bumbling terrorists in his own "back yard". I won't be surprised if they try to blame this on him completely, even though he has no real power over National Defense at this point.

  • Spoonman.||

    Nope, but it's the next district south on the coast (won by the Rs in 2010 by 799 votes), which is probably close enough for East Coast newspaper work.

  • Old Mexican||

    ReL Drax the Destroyer,

    Waaaiiiiittt a sec...isn't Corpus Christi in Ron Paul's district?


    No, that would be Galveston.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Yeah, got the message. I still expect this issue to be used against Paul as if he directly facilitated it... wait... that was the FBI.

  • Matrix||

    I was there doing work at NAS for a week at the end of August. Hot and humid as friggin' hell. But the Mexican food there kicks ASS! Man, I miss the food...

  • Spoonman.||

    I'm probably going there in early November, so hopefully it'll be rather pleasant other than the "weeklong business trip" aspect.

  • Matrix||

    Try some Whataburger if you've never had it before. Also, check out Scuttlebutts on the island. Very good food, especially the fish and sushi. Also, try some of the local Mexican restaurants... yum yum yum.

  • Abdul||

    The entity allegedly doing the plotting in this case was not some raggedy al Qaeda peasant army but Gholam Shakuri, a member of the Qods, an elite unit of the Iranian army, kind of like our special forces. It is unclear whether he had official blessing or not

    The guy made two payments of $50K and promised the hitmen up to 1.5 million.

    If he didn't have Iran's blessing, he at least had their checkbook.

  • ||

    Yes, payments that went through a US bank and would have triggered every imaginable red flag in the system if the guy hadn't already been dealing with a DEA agent. It's inconceivable that the Iranian government wouldn't be aware that $10K+ international money transfers are closely monitored by the US. Anybody doing a money transfer like the ones here is literally trying to get the attention of law enforcement.

  • ||

    Tells me the DEA screwed up. $100k in pre-payments for international assasination? What are we, a giant dollar store. A mil up front, 10 at closing.

  • cynical||

    Well, he had someone's checkbook.

    Couldn't be our government, since they would never conspire against us with Mexican drug cartels. So who, I wonder?

  • k2000k||

    My money is on a rogue element of the Quds. I highly doubt that the powers that be in Iran would want to try an incredibly stupid stunt like this.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Even the Mexican drug cartel guy turned out not to be the Mexican drug cartel guy but a paid DEA informant.

    Too bad for Arbabsia the guy wasn't ATF instead. He'd have gotten plenty of guns and bombs.

    Gholam Shakuri

    Gholam? Really? "We hatesess the Great Satan! Yes, precious."

  • Tim||

    This is why we in the West use modern, efficent Drones for all our assasination needs.

  • ||

    This is all just a rightwing meme. Gholam Shakuri, was a rougue member of Qods. He was just trying to track the weapons and money going to the Mexican cartels - to get the big guys. No way did he tell his boss the Attorney Gen-- Qods Commander about the operation.

    And when the Qods Commander Eric found out about it, he shut it down immediately.

    Also, the Bush Administration did it to.

    PS: Qods Commander = Dance Commander
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of2WzZx9AhA

  • Tim||

    Another Hare brained post?

  • Warty||

    Booty-shaking girls = AWESOME

  • WOGT = Rearden Metal||

    The War on Global Terrorism is:

    1. an innovation
    2. for profit
    3. by industrial supermen
    4. to increase production
    5. for profit.

    Is somebody gonna start bitchin' about Robber Barons now?

    Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice. ~Derrick Jensen, Endgame www.endgamethebook.org/Excerpts/1-Premises.htm

  • Warty||

    You're up early, rectal, you stupid whore.

  • Jerry||

    Is this another one of those FBI agent provocateur cases where they basically create the terrorist themselves?

  • WOGT = Rearden Metal||

    Of course it is.

    It's profitable.

    Don't you want to keep America productive?

  • Chatroom Crank||

    Sounding more and more like it. Already in the US, 90% of all Nazi/Klan group members are Feeb agents of one kind or another. I would guess the percentage is fairly close to that for "muslim" extremists too.

  • FBI Spokesagent||

    Is this another one of those FBI agent provocateur cases where they basically create the terrorist themselves?

    Absolutely not. We always ask the perp if he is aware that he might kill innocent people.

  • ||

    Is this another one of those conspiracy theories about how 9/11 was an inside job?

  • ||

    "Their enemies are a bunch of bumbling fools and not all that dangerous."

    "As I wrote previously, in order to be successful in America, the would-be terrorists have to combine a rare skill set."

    Unfortunately, our chief means of defense is organized by the same government that is screwing up our healthcare system and killing our economy with their incompetence.

    In other words, our defense is also being run by a bunch of bumbling fools, which doesn't give me much confidence that our fools will outwit their fools. Surely our fools need a rare skill set too--to have that special kind of stupid necessary to rise within our federal bureaucracies and yet still be competent enough to combat terrorists running under our radar.

    Hoping that the idiots that run Iran will do the smart thing in their own best interest doesn't inspire much confidence in me either. That's actually a prescription for anxiety.

    Our leaders engaging in a little saber rattling doesn't scare me though--so long as they don't actually do anything stupid. And, no, I don't believe the former necessarily leads to the latter.

  • ||

    THE WURLD IS ROOLD BY DOPS!!

  • ||

    As scary as it may be to live in a world of LCD's, take heart in the fact that the Masons and Illuminati are the adults actually making the decisions...

    :)

  • Lord Jubjub||

    NPR has been suggesting that this attempt might be a false flag attack by elements in the Revolutionary Guard seeking to embarrass other elements of the Guard.

  • k2000k||

    That makes some sense

  • ||

    So, if I understand this correctly, the nation which has unilaterally declared the entire globe to be the battleground of a "war" which they define idiosyncratically according to their internal political calculus, and which has claimed the right to carry out political assassinations against anyone anywhere at any time, is pissed off because somebody was trying to swipe a page from their playbook.

    Is that it?

  • Bradley||

    You're wrong because terrorism.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'm laughing.

    It's not funny, but I'm laughing.

  • ||

    So Iran fucked the job up. That clearly means they won't succeed next time.

    This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep an eye on things.

    What does that even mean? We shouldn't continue the war on terror but we should still keep an eye on things, like how? What a meaningless stupid post. Shikha is the worst current Reason writer and maybe the worst they have ever had.

  • Matt||

    I think she means that it should probably costs a lot less than $2 trillion to keep an eye on things. Note that this threat did not come from Iraq or Afghanistan, where we now have troops and are spending billions of dollars.

  • ||

    See my post above...

    "Surely our fools need a rare skill set too--to have that special kind of stupid necessary to rise within our federal bureaucracies and yet still be competent enough to combat terrorists running under our radar."

    Just because I often disagree with Dalima doesn't mean she's a bad writer--and she's certainly not...worse than Weigel was?!

    That was a terrible thing to say.

    Her take may not be my take, but having smart people that disagree with me is what keeps me coming back to Reason.

    Reason isn't a political party. You don't have to vote for Dalima. If she writes stuff that you disagree with--but still from a libertarian perspective--that makes her a provocative writer.

  • ||

    It is not that I disagree with her. It is that her posts are always so poorly thought out. "Keeping an eye on things" is just a meaningless catch phrase. She doesn't like continuing the wars in Iran and Afghanistan, fine. But that has nothing to do with Iran plotting to blow shit up in Washington. What does she want to do about that? Saying that it wasn't a well executed plot doesn't excuse the real problem of its existence.

  • ||

    She doesn't like continuing the wars in Iran and Afghanistan, fine.

    Q and N are not next to each other on the keyboard Mr. Freud.

  • poetry||

    burrrnnn

  • Apostate Jew||

    So, you're slagging her off for not presenting a fully formed alternative model for domestic counter-terrorism operations? In a blog post? In a blog post whose purpose was to mock the over-reaction to a farcical plot?

  • ||

    I agree that minimizing the danger of terrorism might not be a very good idea.

    If Iran does somehow set off a dirty bomb or something in the U.S., then what we libertarians gonna do? Pretend like we never said there wasn't any threat?

    Still, there's gotta be some way to combat the overreaction. It is possible to be both concerned about combating terrorism and notice that people on the right have used incidents like this--and would use this Iranian incident--to justify all sorts of overreactions.

    Some of us were hoping that if the downside of the Obama Administration was on the economic policy side, maybe he'd at least dial down on the part of the War on Terror that threatened our constitutional rights.

    Unfortunately, those hopes were completely unfounded.

    If we can't trust the Democrats to undo the damage the Bush Administration did to some of our constitutional rights, then that doesn't mean we libertarians should just give up the fight.

    And if libertarian journalists can't point out the dangers of knee-jerk overreactions without being accused of dismissing the danger of terrorism entirely, then what hope is there for my libertarian heart?

  • ||

    The key is "what do you do?" Do we invest another trillion dollars in another war, getting Americans killed in the vague notion that we can end the threat that is Iran? Do we send in the drones to assasinate a few Iranians until (we hope) they relent and come groveling to us?

    The media and hawks are getting themselves jacked up for more stupid international intervention because they know we the people suckers will shell out the capital to pay for it (or atleast someone will).

    This constant panic and lashing out is no way to run a country, but partisans with nothing in their head but a sea of blood continue to drive us that direction.

  • ||

    It is a hard question. The fact that the plot failed doesn't really change. If they did it once, they will do it again. And eventually they will get lucky no matter how incompetent they are.

    Is it the Reason position that Iran or anyone else should be able to freely plot to set off car bombs in Washington? That seems to be the position to me. We are so afraid of going to war that Reason doesn't seem to really give a fuck if they blow shit up provided it isn't Reason headquarters.

    It seems to me what Shikha is saying here is that it is better to have a couple of hundred of thousand Americans die every once in a while than do something about it.

  • ||

    Is it the Reason position that Iran or anyone else should be able to freely plot to set off car bombs in Washington? That seems to be the position to me. We are so afraid of going to war that Reason doesn't seem to really give a fuck if they blow shit up provided it isn't Reason headquarters.

    It seems to me what Shikha is saying here is that it is better to have a couple of hundred of thousand Americans die every once in a while than do something about it.

    WTF are you talking about. A failed plot against a foreign national through a angry loser from a possible entity that may have current connection to Iranian government, but is currently unconfirmed somehow equals Iran declaring war on the US and is definitely planning a mass attack?

    I don't get you John. You're reasonable up until the point you find out somebody somewhere may not like us and then the only possible reaction must be "Kill it...KILL IT!!!".

    I understand a condemnation against Iran, but what the hell kind of overreaction is beating the drums for war on something that was such a low level event.

  • ||

    So what if the plot had worked? What would you do then? If a car bomb had gone off on embassy row and killed say 100 Americans and it was traced back to Iran, what would you propose we do? Send them a nasty note?

    And how does the fact that we got lucky and caught them make it any different. Is it okay from to take a shot at you provided I miss?

  • Snarkpocalypse||

    and killed say 100 Americans

    Would these Americans be government employees?

  • ||

    Its called realpolitik John and starting a shooting war with another country is not supposed to be your FIRST FUCKING RESPONSE!

    If it had succeeded, it would indicate how badly our own internal security had failed us first of all and second that we'd probably fucked up by spreading ourselves so thin in terms of our ability to respond to threats. Smaller countries have to deal with hostile neighbors alot and although state sponsored terrorism (which we don't know whether this was in any case) is unacceptable (for lack of better word), you have to deal with the situation you have rather than the situation you wish you had. If we were not involved in 3 wars, had a healthy, bussling economy driving a strong, debt free government, Iran probably would be thinking more than twice about fucking with someone with resources to spare on laying the smackdown. But we're not in that position. So if we start getting fucked around with, we hurt ourselves as well as the enemy when we go all out. And a war with Iran wouldn't be like Iraq or Afghanistan. It would be more costly to our reputation and power than anything up until now. And we'd be in it alone.

    It doesn't take a genius to figure out that driving us to war is the stupidest reaction ever.

  • ||

    What other reaction is there? Your position is that we should do nothing. Do you really think telling the entire world that they are free to kill Americans on American soil is a good way to keep the peace?

    Doing noting is telling Iran and all of our enemies that they can take all of the shots at us they want and if we catch them before hand great but if we don't no big deal it is just a few Americans in their homes. It is real politic after all. That wouldn't embold anyone or create the risk of larger conflicts at all. Nope.

    This is why peacenik Libertarians are so damned dangerous. If ever in power they would literally back the country into a corner until we finally ended up in a really bad war. They just don't get the idea that weakness not strength is what causes wars.

  • ||

    Alright, you want to know what I'd do in our current position?

    Ban travel visas, impose economic sanctions, have Iran's accounts frozen wherever possible. There.

    Doing noting is telling Iran and all of our enemies that they can take all of the shots at us they want and if we catch them before hand great but if we don't no big deal it is just a few Americans in their homes. It is real politic after all. That wouldn't embold anyone or create the risk of larger conflicts at all. Nope.

    No big deal!? The soviet union assainated Americans around the world, but that never led us to a shooting war with them. Iran fucking knows what we can do, but right now, doing nothing and calming down is the smartest move. 10 fucking years of playing whack-a-mole with out supposed enemies has left us weaker than if we'd just played it cool and been smart about who we go after and how (remember John, we can play the same game of spies and sabotage anyone else can).

    This is why peacenik Libertarians are so damned dangerous. If ever in power they would literally back the country into a corner until we finally ended up in a really bad war. They just don't get the idea that weakness not strength is what causes wars.

    And this is why you goddamn neo-cons are so dangerous. When they WERE in power, they expended a bunch of economic strength to fund overseas adventures in nation building while we went further in debt, leaving us in a weakened position that could lead us to our final war of demise. They just didn't get that displaying strength while weakening the country in mapower and economically is what causes demise of countries.

  • ||

    The Soviet Union never planted a bomb in Washington. If this were blowing up Americans overseas it would be less of a problem. And the Iranians are only doing it because they know people like you will keep us from retaliating against them. They know they can get away with it.

    That is what weakness buys you. How long does the world have to kick you in the balls before it dawns on you that it really doesn't give a shit how nice you are?

  • poetry||

    "How long does the world have to kick you in the balls...?"

    Hilarious commentary, John.

    By any objective measurement, it is the USA that has been kicking the world in the balls for the past fifty years.

    When will you realize that you can't just go around kicking people in the balls forever? Eventually, somebody is going to want to retaliate. The CIA calls this "Blowback," but you probably think they're a bunch of sissies for believing in it, don't you?

  • ||

    The Soviet Union never planted a bomb in Washington. If this were blowing up Americans overseas it would be less of a problem.

    WTF goes through your mind John? There was no bomb planted in DC during this debacle either. And if the soviets did try to plant a bomb in the US, we certainly weren't going to hear of it because our leaders knew we have a bunch of people like you anxious to get into a shooting war regardless of the consequences because in your mind "not going to war" causes graver consequences. Jesus Christ you're insane when it comes to this.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Cytotoxic||

    John is right end of story. He understand history a lot better.

    Ban travel visas, impose economic sanctions, have Iran's accounts frozen wherever possible. There.

    So more of the same? Pathetic.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Indeed, one should understand history. Then one would realize that "
    turn-about is fair play."

  • Cytotoxic||

    Turnabout for what? Playing a marginal role in a coup that swapped a pro-Soviet dictator for a pro-American one? Protecting the world from Soviet expansionism is 'kicking the world in the balls'? Any excuse to see America allow its citizens to die is a good one I guess.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Playing a marginal role in a coup that swapped a pro-Soviet dictator for a pro-American one?

    The CIA files are still classified as to our role in the coup, unlike MI6's files. Make of that what you will.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    By the way, you might want to read this before you lecture me about 'protecting America'.

    Pay special attention to paragraph 31.

  • ||

    Cogent argument....

  • ||

    So more of the same? Pathetic.

    You want to go fight in Iran. Come to my house. I've got some rations and a hunting rifle. good luck over there.

  • k2000k||

    A war with Iran wouldn't necessarily e any more costly. It depends on the scale of the war, a Libyan type, or Persian gulf type would result in massive amount sof destruction with minimal casualties to us. Though the long term political fallout could be bad. But I think this is all moot. I do not think that the Iranian goverment organized this as an official operation. It makes no sense to do so. Now a rogue element, or perhapes internal power struggle makes more sense.

  • ||

    That is just it. We wouldn't have to or want to invade them. But a good retaliatory bombing campaign for a few weeks and some well placed cruise missiles that wiped out some of their leadership would get the message across not to try this shit.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Unlike many of the U.S.'s opponents over the last 10 years, Iran actually does have significant ties to world-wide terrorism. Hezbollah, for one thing. Eventually the U.S. is going to pick a fight with someone who will look at the example of Malvo and Muhammad and realize that they can cause a lot more damage domestically, than they can by going heads up with the Big Green Machine. (Or is it purple now?) Maybe Iran will be that country?

    I agree with John that plotting to bomb an ambassador in our country is a very serious thing, with grave consequences. I also agree that those consequences need to be demonstrated to governments that refuse to police their own rogue elements. I just stop at the idea of going right to acts of war, which bombing someone's capitol tends to be (whether D.C. or Tehran), and would prefer Iran be given the opportunity to police itself.

    If they won't, then yes, we have a problem, because you can't let stuff like this slide. It encourages others, North Korea comes to mind, for one thing. I agree though with k2000k, that this is, at the worst, likely due to a rogue element within the Quds group. So, assuming it's a real plot, at a minimum I'd want to see Iran purge these rogue elements. If Iran instead told us to go fuck ourselves, then those elements wouldn't be very rogue, now would they? I'd think they'd have ratified their agents' decisions. And then you would have an Iranian act of war against the U.S., IMO.

  • Clarence R||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letelier_case

    In 1976 Chilean agents assassinated Orlando Letelier an (ex) Chilean diplomat, in Washington DC, using a car bomb. An American citizen was also killed in this incident. I don't recall any retaliatory action taken against Chile by the US government.

  • ||

    That is just it. We wouldn't have to or want to invade them. But a good retaliatory bombing campaign for a few weeks and some well placed cruise missiles that wiped out some of their leadership would get the message across not to try this shit.

    Yeah, surely there can be no unintended consequences with sending a few cruise missles Tehran's way. Oh, and those civilians we kill. Well thats just acceptable collateral damage.

  • ||

    I do not think that the Iranian goverment organized this as an official operation. It makes no sense to do so. Now a rogue element, or perhapes internal power struggle makes more sense.

    Especially if they think people like "hair trigger" John run our government.

  • jasno||

    If the plot had worked? Are you fucking serious? The only reason the Iranian guy still has a head is that he found a DEA agent instead of a Zeta. The cartels would have taken his money, chopped up his body and thrown him in acid. Do you really think they'd risk that kind of escalation for such little money?

  • Cytotoxic||

    The problem isn't that someone 'doesn't like us' it's that they tried to FUCKING KILL PEOPLE. That is an act of war and if they get away with it as they have before so many times they will go again and again until a lot of people die. Shikhia's column is a desperate and failed deflection of the need to terminate the Islamic Republic.

  • Federal News Network||

    REMEMBER BUENOS AIRES!

    Would you like to know more?

  • Cytotoxic||

    That's funny.

  • db||

    It interesting how we've set our warlike tendencies on an increasingly light hair trigger over the last decade. We've gone from thousands dead in a horrific attack on innocents to a failed plot of assassination of a foreign official as a threshold for beating the drums of war.

  • jtuf||

    Not quite, db. We've gone from responding to an attack on USA civilians to sending in our air force via NATO without an authorization from Congress because Gadaffi oppressed his own people. Obama talks peace, but he makes war.

  • Nobel Peace Prize Committee||

    You sayin' we messed up?

  • ||

    Don't forget, children:

    SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING

    Your neighbor with the obnoxious buzzing radio controlled airplanes could be preparing to bring down the Chrysler Building; better report him.

  • GILMORE||

    Si Ves Algo, Di Algo

  • CE||

    He's probably just spying on you. Those things all have cameras now, and you're definitely suspicious.

  • Xmas||

    Why go through all of that trouble? They should have just accused the Saudi ambassador of witchcraft and the Saudis would just take care of killing themselves.

  • jtuf||

    + 3

  • Washington Establishment||

    we shouldn’t use every little move and antic of would-be terrorists as a justification to continue a two trillion dollar—and still counting—war on terrorism.

    You must be new here.

  • ||

    Does anyone else know that Hugh Laurie is a fantastic musician? I had no idea. My wife bought me his New Orleans record and it is great. The guy is a serious piano player and a very good singer. Who would have thought?

  • ||

    I appreciate the need for a Non-Sequitar, but what does this have to do with the price of tea in china?

  • Wesley||

    Agree with the article, but...

    Ten years have gone by since 9-11 without Islamists pulling off a single new terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

    There's a lot of people at Fort Hood that would disagree. I know Hasan's not being charged with terrorism. That's just because UCMJ allows him to be convicted of murder and executed rather easily. There's no need to prove terrorism, too. Lone wolf or not, Nidal Hasan is an Islamic terrorist.

  • ||

    Yes, that line is another example of the sloppiness that John was complaining about above. There was also the guy who shot up the El Al counter at LAX in 2002.

  • ola||

    So let me get this straight. Iran would hire Mexican drug cartel members to kill the Saudi and possibly Israeli ambassador in Washington DC and make it look as if it was Al Qaeda getting revenge for the United States entering Pakistan and killing Osama bin Laden?

    This reminds me of the family guy episode where the griffins visit ground zero.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpP7b2lUxVE

  • Chris||

    So which administration official demanded to include the Mexican drug cartel when they hatched this story. Biden? Clinton? Holder? Someone who fears going down due to Fast & Furious?

  • Chris||

  • poetry||

    what?

  • Chris||

    It's a limited time offer, so you better act fast.

  • k2000k||

    I know this looks like a comedy of errors right. Perhapes they can turn it into a musical.

    With songs like:
    I only wanted to give the Saudi diplomat an angry letter but instead I got a bomb

    I don't want to get nailed for fast & furious so I'm gonna nail that curious Iranian

  • CE||

    This fact is crucial because it shows that had American authorities themselves not stepped in and plugged a critical operational hole, there might not have been a plot.

    As is the case with most "terror plots" that the "authorities" "foil".

  • ||

    Christ, I still can't believe people actually fall for this "Iranian plot" story.

  • PP-l||

    Tell it, brother. The most charitable possible assessment of anyone who thought for one fucking nanosecond that this was anything but totally fabricated, completely bogus from top to bottom, is catastrophically naive.

  • ||

    HOpe we invade Iran, america... fuck yeah! Gonna graze on some McDonalds while we start another war for no reason. Dur Dur Dur America #1

  • Alan Vanneman||

    It appears that Obama is plotting to make himself look more paranoid than Dick Cheney.

  • ||

    He's already tried to make himself look like more of a stone cold killer.

    Cheney just shot his duck hunting partner--I bagged me an OBL!

  • Arbol de La Barranca||

    Machine-Gun Holder and Killer Barry are tired of the Mexican gun-running questions and want a nice new war-front as a distraction.

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