Foreign Policy

Out of Iraq, In to Iran?

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Great to see the Democrats are beginning to think hard about the hows of getting out of Iraq. It seems they also need to think hard about ways to stay out of Iran, with Israeli Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu telling the United Jewish Communities General Assembly at their annual meeting that "It's 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bomb. Believe [Iranian leader Ahmadinejad] and stop him. This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this. He is preparing another Holocaust for the Jewish state."

Ahmadinejad for his part announced  today that in his estimation the world has "finally agreed to live with a nuclear Iran, with an Iran possessing the whole nuclear fuel cycle," and that he hoped "to hold the big celebration of Iran's full nuclearization in the current year." I somehow doubt much of the Western world will be happy partyers at that "big celebration."

How might the new congressional majority react to events unfolding in Iran? New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at least back in May 2005, took a pretty tough line against Iran's nuclear ambitions, saying in a speech to AIPAC

"The greatest threat to Israel's right to exist, with the prospect of devastating violence, now comes from Iran. For too long, leaders of both political parties in the United States have not done nearly enough to confront the Russians and the Chinese, who have supplied Iran as it has plowed ahead with its nuclear and missile technology.

"Proliferation represents a clear threat to Israel and to America. It must be confronted by an international coalition against proliferation, with a commitment and a coalition every bit as strong as our commitment to the war against terror.

"The people of Israel long for peace and are willing to make the sacrifices to achieve it. We hope that peace and security come soon—and that this moment of opportunity is not lost. As Israel continues to take risks for peace, she will have no friend more steadfast that the United States.

"In the words of Isaiah, we will make ourselves to Israel 'as hiding places from the winds and shelters from the tempests; as rivers of water in dry places; as shadows of a great rock in a weary land.'

The United States will stand with Israel now and forever. Now and forever."

The "strong as our commitment to the war against terror" part certainly makes it sound as if the next Speaker of the House has no problem with a military response to a potentially nuclear Iran. Both parties may well have their own quagmires to deal with (tho the Dems don't entirely deserve a pass on the Iraq one either) come 2008.
 

NEXT: Three Cheers for Dirty Tricks

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  1. Containment and MAD are military responses to a nuclear Iran. And it’s one that has a history of working, against a much more powerful adversary.

    In this case, it would even be Mutually Assured Destruction, because a nuclear Iran couldn’t hope to cause 1/1000th the damage to use that we could do to them.

  2. I wonder when the first limited nuclear war will occur in Asia nuclear blob (Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and Iran with North Korea and likely Japan coming on soon after).

    Nuclear deterrence is much weaker in a regional context. First, there is not necessarily MAD, as the parties engaged in a war might not have enough weaponry to destroy one another (e.g. India and Pakistan). Second, whereas if the USSR shot at us, we would know before the missiles hit or some weaponry would survive and we would hit back at them. This is largely because the countries are far enough apart. In a regional context, a country would not have enough time to respond to a missile attack before the missiles hit. So a country is more likely on a hair trigger, resulting in it perhaps having weaker command and control systems. It is more likely to shoot when the situation becomes tense.

    As to a US response, if two nuclear states in Asia shot at each other, I doubt we’d get involved at all. There just might be 20-40 million dead.

  3. Deterrence worked once! The US and Soviet Union avoided blowing each other up. That proves nothing, it can’t prove anything, any more than one example of anything can prove anything. Maybe deterrence really does work (perfectly? 99% of the time? 90%?) but we don’t know that. And that’s not even considering the near misses of the cold war, the ideological nature of the iranian regime, or the damage the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism can do without using its nuclear weapons.

    ok, maybe it worked twice: the soviet union v china, i don’t know enough to say either way, biut two examples, while better than one, is not enough for a pattern. other possible “examples” are either unfinished (us-china, inidia-pakistan) or were minor parts of the first (england/france v ussr).

  4. How do you deter someone who regards death as a way to attain paradise?

  5. Some of my felloe Reasoids will be surprised that I don’t have all the answers. That said, the mad mullahs of Iran gaining nuclear weapons should scare the crap out of the civilized and muslim world alike.

  6. the civilized and muslim world alike.

    And you expect to be taken seriously?

  7. the civilized and muslim world alike. And you expect to be taken seriously?

    I’d take him seriously. Outside of giant shopping centers, big weapons, and slick media practices where is the civilization of the dar al-islam?

  8. a nuclear Iran couldn’t hope to cause 1/1000th the damage to use [sic] that we could do to them.

    Problem is, we’re worth 10,000 Irans.

  9. Can MAD work if you can’t prove who shot a bomb at you? What if someone brings a bomb into the Tel Aviv area in the back of a car or using another low tech delivery system? Most of Israel is gone, to where does an Israeli sub commander fire his missiles? A general spread across the capitals of the middle east? No way. Focus on Iran’s major cities? Maybe, but what if someone else set you up to clean out Iran for other top take the oil?

    Makes my head spin.

    And I agree with FinFangFoom that the US will not get involved, since it will take some time to figure out who did what and cooler heads will prevail

  10. thoreau – I stand corrected. Malaysia and Turkey both meet my definition of civilized.

  11. Outside of giant shopping centers, big weapons, and slick media practices where is the civilization of the dar al-islam?

    Hi there, asshole!

  12. Malaysia and Turkey both meet my definition of civilized.

    Well, at least you try.

  13. Well, this thread went downhill in a hurry.

    How is anyone supposed to have a rational discussion about Iran policy with such aggeressive bigots?

  14. Outside of giant shopping centers, big weapons, and slick media practices…

    Actually, that sounds like a description of America.

  15. It’s not bigotry.

    If you disagree with me about the “civiliztion of most of the islamic world, take your wife and daughter there on vacation. Bring your bible, swimsuits, and pork rinds. One piece of advice, don’t let them leave the hotel room unescorted or uncovered.

  16. “Outside of giant shopping centers, big weapons, and slick media practices where is the civilization of the dar al-islam?”

    Aren’t all three of those pretty major components of American civilization? Isn’t this kind of, um, the pot calling the kettle black?

    (I, for one, am quite fond of giant shopping centers, big weapons, and slick media practices. I’m not knocking, I’m just asking. đŸ˜‰ )

  17. From the Guardian Today via the Corner

    British intelligence officials believe that al-Qaida is determined to attack the UK with a nuclear weapon, it emerged yesterday. The announcement, from an officially organised Foreign Office counter-terrorism briefing for the media, was the latest in a series of bleak assessments by senior officials and ministers about the terrorist threat facing Britain. UK officials have detected “an awful lot of chatter” on jihadi websites expressing the desire to acquire chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons. Asked whether there was any doubt that al-Qaida was trying to gain the technology to attack the west, including the UK, with a nuclear weapon, a senior Foreign Office counter-terrorism official said: “No doubt at all.” The official explained: “We know the aspiration is there, we know the attempt to get material is there, we know the attempt to get technology is there.

    British counter terrorism officials believe plots they have thwarted and plots they claim are being hatched have strong links to Pakistan. They say hundreds of Britons travelled in the past year to Pakistan for terrorism activity, including training in camps and acting as couriers for messages. Officials also believe Britons are taking cash to terrorists in Pakistan.

    And from the Daily Telegraph today also via the Corner.

    Iran is seeking to take control of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’eda terror network by encouraging it to promote officials known to be friendly to Teheran, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.According to recent reports received by Western intelligence agencies, the Iranians are training senior al-Qa’eda operatives in Teheran to take over the organisation when bin Laden is no longer leader…Recent intelligence reports from Iran suggest the Iranians are particularly keen to promote Saif-al-Adel, a notorious al-Qa’eda operative who is wanted in the United States for his alleged role in training several of the September 11 hijackers. Al-Adel, 46, a former colonel in Egypt’s special forces who joined al-Qa’eda after fighting with the Mujahideen against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, was named in the FBI’s list of 22 most wanted terrorists that was issued after the September 11 attacks.He is also alleged to have been involved in the deaths of 18 US soldiers in Somalia in 1993 and the truck bomb attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.Al-Adel has, technically, been living under house arrest in Teheran since fleeing to Iran in late 2001 with hundreds of other al-Qa’eda fighters following the US-led coalition’s invasion of Afghanistan. For the past five years he has been living in a Revolutionary Guards guest house in Teheran together with Saad and Mohammed bin Laden, two of the al-Qa’eda leader’s sons.Until 2003, al-Adel acted as bin Laden’s security chief and since his arrival in Iran he is understood to have struck up a close personal relationship with several prominent Revolutionary Guards commanders…Links between Iran and al-Qa’eda date back to the early 1990s, when bin Laden was based in Sudan. According to the US 9/11 Commission report, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards helped to train al-Qa’eda fighters, and the Iranians were suspected of helping al-Qa’eda to carry out the truck bomb attacks against an American military base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in June 1996 that killed 19 US servicemen. The growing links are being viewed with profound alarm in Western intelligence circles. Iran has a long history of sponsoring terror groups. The Revolutionary Guards were primarily responsible for setting up, financing, training and equipping Hizbollah, the radical Lebanese militia that now stands accused of plotting to overthrow the Lebanese government and seize power. Any increase in Iran’s influence over al-Qa’eda could have potentially devastating consequences for international security. Al-Qa’eda has made no secret of its desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction – including “dirty” nuclear bombs.Intelligence experts believe that Iran will soon have the capacity to develop its own nuclear weapons and Teheran is also known to have developed a highly effective chemical weapons programme.”We are looking at a Doomsday scenario here where al-Qa’eda finally fulfils its ultimate goal of acquiring weapons of mass destruction,” said a senior Western intelligence official. “And unlike other terror groups, al-Qa’eda is perfectly willing to use them.

    This combined with Iran’s nuclear program combined with their President’s stated goal to destroy Isreal is pretty freightening. They are planning our destruction and we are watching them do it.

  18. I’m afraid J sub D won the thread.

    There may be civilized muslims everywhere, and pockets with mostly civilized muslims (I’m going to stop short of saying all because I’ve actually been to a high school in Dearborn) but the vast majority of muslims in muslim countries are savages. That may sound offensive to your supposedly enlightened ears but it’s the truth. Don’t believe me turn on the fucking news.

  19. Yeah Andy,

    When we talk about Iran, all I hear on Reason is how Muslims are all wonderful peace loving people and we could just talk the whole thing out if we would just stop being so prejudiced. When we talk about Iraq, all I hear is how they are nothing but a bunch of sectarian savages who are best left under a brutal dictatorship. Odd how it works that way.

  20. John,
    According to recent reports received by Western intelligence agencies, the Iranians are…

    Substitute ‘Iraqis’ for ‘Iranians’ and it sounds quite similar to the news reports that led us to Iraq…personally, western intelligence will have to offer more than press releases and public assertions to engage me this time.

  21. Does anyone here actually believe the Middle East is on the same moral and intellectual ground as Western Europe and North America? Come on.

  22. “This combined with Iran’s nuclear program combined with their President’s stated goal to destroy Isreal (sic)is pretty freightening (sic). They are planning our destruction and we are watching them do it.”

    Awww… I think the A-man is just bluffing about destroying Israel — pandering to his base. In truth, it’s really about generating electricity without the global warming.

  23. If you disagree with me about the “civiliztion of most of the islamic world, take your wife and daughter there on vacation. Bring your bible, swimsuits, and pork rinds. One piece of advice, don’t let them leave the hotel room unescorted or uncovered.

    cute.

    Ever been to Dubai on business? Kuala Lumpur? heard of a little country called Indonesia? Or is your direct experience with what you’re calling “islam” mostly from Team America, conservative blogs?

    You certainly dont set much of an example for Christian Charity, at the least. I’m sure some muslim out there can use examples like this to cast all Americans as Ignorant and Bigoted.

    JG

  24. What about the Iranian gijin,

    Do you think they are lying when they say they are going to build a bomb and use it? Why is it so hard to take people at their word?

  25. Do you think they are lying when they say they are going to build a bomb and use it? Why is it so hard to take people at their word?

    John, yes, it is hard to take people at their word when there is no history of trust to rely on…western intelligence agencies fall into that category now…so until there is more evidence, I’ll keep my apocalyptic fears about the ‘islamofascii’ locked away… For the record, I don;t recall the Iranians saying they were building a bomb.

  26. Gaiin,

    From global security.org.

    Iran’s nuclear program began in the Shah’s era, including a plan to build 20 nuclear power reactors. Two power reactors in Bushehr, on the coast of the Persian Gulf, were started but remained unfinished when they were bombed and damaged by the Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq war. Following the revolution in 1979, all nuclear activity was suspended, though subsequently work was resumed on a somewhat more modest scale. Current plans extend to the construction of 15 power reactors and two research reactors.

    Research and development efforts also were conducted by the Shah’s regime on fissile material production, although these efforts were halted during the Iranian revolution and the Iran-Iraq war.

    The current nuclear program is headed by the President, the commander of the Iranian Revulutionary Gaurd Corps (IRGC), the head of the Defense Industries Organization, and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO). These leaders continue the pursuit of WMD’s and support Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear programs against all pressures from the United States and its allies.

    Iran ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1970, and since February 1992 has allowed the IAEA to inspect any of its nuclear facilities. Prior to 2003 no IAEA inspections had revealed Tehran’s violations of the NPT.

    Since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, Tehran redoubled its efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles. In addition to Iran’s legitimate efforts to develop its nuclear power-generation industry, it is believed to be operating a parallel clandestine nuclear weapons program. Iran appears to be following a policy of complying with the NPT and building its nuclear power program in such a way that if the appropriate political decision is made, know-how gained in the peaceful sphere (specialists and equipment) could be used to create nuclear weapons (dual-use technologies have been sold to Iran by at least nine western companies during the early 1990’s). Also, in this atmosphere of deception, unconfirmed reports have been made that Tehran purchased several nuclear warheads in the early 1990’s

    It is evident that Iran’s efforts are focused both on uranium enrichment and a parallel plutonium effort. Iran claims it is trying to establish a complete nuclear fuel cycle to support a civilian energy program, but this same fuel cycle would be applicable to a nuclear weapons development program. Iran appears to have spread their nuclear activities around a number of sites to reduce the risk of detection or attack.

    Iran does not currently have nuclear weapons, and would appear to be about two years away from acquiring nuclear weapons. By some time in 2006, however, Iran could be producting fissile material for atomic bombs using both uranium enriched at Natanz and plutonium produced at Arak. The Natanz facility might produce enough uranium for about five bombs every year, and the Arak facility might produced enough plutonium for as many as three bombs every year.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iran/nuke.htm

    Nothing to see here. Go ahead put your head back in the sand. Why wouldn’t a country would a country loaded with oil and gas need massively expensive reactors capably of producing plutonium?

  27. “Ever been to Dubai on business? Kuala Lumpur? heard of a little country called Indonesia? Or is your direct experience with what you’re calling “islam” mostly from Team America, conservative blogs?”

    Sadly, people errantly interchange Muslim and Arab.

    Arabs are the problem. They made Indonesia Muslim via the sword. Arabs are killing African Muslims in Sudan.

    Arabs hate Persians, Europeans, Jews, Blacks, Asians, etc.

    The problem is Arabs.

  28. ” Why wouldn’t a country would a country loaded with oil and gas need massively expensive reactors capably of producing plutonium?”

    The electricity produced by expensive reactors frees up the oil and gas for export / revenue.

  29. The loud Muslims are savages, that’s the problem. I’ve been in the region–everyone who’s not a savage (which is by far most people) is scared of objecting too loudly or they’ll get shot. That’s why the “moderate Muslim voices” never get heard in things like the cartoon controversy–if they were heard, gunshots and bombs would be heard soon after, then no more moderate Muslim voice.

    The whole Middle East is hostage to gun-toting loonies who, over the past 50 years, have gunned all the moderates into stunned, terrified silence. It’s a real testament to the power of violence to control the public square if it’s allowed to.

  30. If the IAEA reports Iran has fissile material in concentrations required for a bomb, I’d take that as evidence from a trusted source…I’m not suggesting we be without vigilance…just that we leave room for a little self doubt this time.

    You do ask an interesting question…

    Why wouldn’t a country would a country loaded with oil and gas need massively expensive reactors capably of producing plutonium?

    I wondered the same thing…since then, I’ve learned that there are quite a number of reasons Iran might logically be drive to pursue this…a few might be:

    1. They do not have the ability to turn that oil into anything except cash
    2. They are thinking forward to a day when they have extracted what oil they can
    3. They are attempting to diversify their relationship to the global commodity markets (they buy much of their refined oil products on the open market afterall).

    Also, I’m not sure the costs of the reactors would be as expensive as in the west, given the relative lack of regulation…

    In the end, I don;t know why they want a nuclear fuel cycle…All I am saying is that until someone does more than quote recycled conspiracies posted on the Interweb, I’m not ready to support a bombing campaign.

  31. Classical nuclear deterrence is nearly guaranteed to fail catastrophically once the number of nuclear actors grows beyond a small number, because the chance of miscalculation grows exponentially. The model depends on predictability, and beyond a handful of nuclear actors, predictability becomes much more difficult.

    Toss in the chance of surreptitious use of said weapons, along with ideologies which assert that a divine power has ordained their use, and the number of nuclear actors doesn’t even need to be particularly large. The odds of the world failing to see at least one major city incinerated in the next 20 or 30 years is pretty small. Where it all leads I can’t say, but the 21st century has a pretty good chance to be every bit as slaughter-filled as the last one.

  32. “In the end, I don’t know why they want a nuclear fuel cycle…”

    May be they are tired of being called savages by people who think “bigger guns = better people”

  33. VIENNA, Austria – International Atomic Energy experts have found unexplained plutonium and highly enriched uranium traces in a nuclear waste facility in Iran and have asked Tehran for an explanation, an IAEA report said Tuesday.

    The report, prepared for next week’s meeting of the 35-nation IAEA, also faulted Tehran for not cooperating with the agency’s attempts to investigate suspicious aspects of Iran’s nuclear program that have lead to fears it might be interested in developing nuclear arms.
    And it said it could not confirm Iranian claims that its nuclear activities were exclusively nonmilitary unless Tehran increased its openness.
    “The agency will remain unable to make further progress in its efforts to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran,” without additional cooperation by Tehran, said the report, by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
    Such cooperation is a “prerequisite for the agency to be able to confirm the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” it added.
    As expected, the four-page report made available to The Associated Press confirmed that Iran continues uranium enrichment experiments in defiance of the

    U.N. Security Council.
    Both highly enriched uranium and plutonium can be used to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads, and Iran is under intense international pressure to freeze activities that can produce such substances.
    But Tehran has shrugged off both Security Council demands that it stop developing its enrichment programs and urgings that it cease construction of a heavy water research reactor that produces plutonium waste. It insists it wants enrichment only to generate nuclear power and says it needs the Arak research reactor to produce isotopes for medical research and cancer treatment.
    Earlier Tuesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Iran would soon celebrate completion of its nuclear fuel program and claimed the international community was ready to accept it as a nuclear state.
    Iran has been locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear program. The United States and its European allies have been seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.
    “Initially, they (the U.S. and its allies) were very angry. The reason was clear: They basically wanted to monopolize nuclear power in order to rule the world and impose their will on nations,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference.
    “Today, they have finally agreed to live with a nuclear Iran, with an Iran possessing the whole nuclear fuel cycle,” he said. He did not elaborate.

    President Bush said Monday there was no change in his position that Iran must first suspend uranium enrichment before there can be any dialogue with Tehran.
    “Our focus of this administration is to convince the Iranians to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions. That focus is based on our strong desire for there to be peace in the Middle East. And an Iran with a nuclear weapon would be a destabilizing influence,” Bush said Monday.
    The Iranian leader said he hoped “to hold the big celebration of Iran’s full nuclearization in the current year.” Iran’s current calendar year ends on March 20.
    Though Ahmadinejad did not specify, he appeared to indicate that Iran was on the verge of proficiency in the whole cycle of nuclear fuel – from extracting uranium ore to enriching it and producing nuclear fuel.
    Russia, which is backed by China, opposes tough action advocated by the U.S., Britain and France, and its amendments to a Western draft resolution would reduce sanctions and delete language that would cut off Iran’s access to foreign missile technology.
    The U.S. and some of its allies allege that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and are suspicious of its intentions after Tehran concealed parts of its nuclear development from U.N. inspectors for many years.
    Iran claims its program is peaceful and for generating electricity.
    Uranium enrichment at low levels can be used to produce fuel to generate electricity but at higher levels can be use to make atomic bombs.
    Iran has said it will never give up its right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel. Officials have said they plan to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear energy in the next two decades.
    Since revelations more than three years ago of a covert uranium enrichment program, Iran has moved to develop its capabilities, activating two small experimental enrichment plants and enriching small amounts of uranium to nuclear fuel level. Although that is far short of the weapons grade uranium that could be used for nuclear warheads, international concerns about Tehran’s ultimate intentions led the Security Council to set an Aug. 31 deadline for an enrichment moratorium – which Tehran has ignored. Officials have said they plan to have 3,000 centrifuges operating by next year – enough to make enough material for several nuclear weapons a year.
    Suspicions also are focused on Tehran’s construction of a heavy water reactor that – when completed in the next decade – will produce plutonium waste, another pathway to nuclear weapons.
    The

    International Atomic Energy Agency declined comment on the Iranian president’s remarks.
    The Bush administration, frustrated by U.N. Security Council inaction on sanctions against Iran, is pressing a new agenda – trying to deny Tehran U.N. aid for a plutonium-producing reactor that could be used to make nuclear warheads.
    Diplomats from nations on the IAEA board say the U.S. is lobbying for denial of Iran’s request for help on its Arak research reactor, where Iran says it wants to produce radio isotopes for diagnosing and treating cancer.
    Seven diplomats, who demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing confidential information, told The Associated Press separately Tuesday that they believed that the 35 member nations of the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog would deny Iran’s request when the IAEA meets next week.
    But even a total denial of technical aid for Arak, while symbolically important, is expected to do little to slow the eventual completion of the reactor, let alone Iran’s nuclear program. When finished – probably early in the next decade – Arak could produce enough plutonium for about two bombs a year.

  34. “May be they are tired of being called savages”

    Then maybe they should start by not hanging 16 year old girls in the public square for having pre-marital sex.

  35. What joe said.

    despite Pelosi’s tuff talk, I am still a bit more comfortable with the Democrats having a portion of the power for basically the reson joe identifies.

  36. “Then maybe they should start by not hanging 16 year old girls in the public square for having pre-marital sex.”

    May be that’s their answer to not having “Child porn” or “child prostitution” in their evening news as we do.

    Both savage acts but, East or West not savages as a whole.

  37. Sadly, people errantly interchange Muslim and Arab.

    Arabs are the problem. They made Indonesia Muslim via the sword. Arabs are killing African Muslims in Sudan.

    Arabs hate Persians, Europeans, Jews, Blacks, Asians, etc.

    The problem is Arabs.

    So Persians, including Persians with the Bomb, are OK?

    (BTW, I must have dozed through the history class that talked about how the Arab armies conquered Indonesia. No, wait; that never happened.)

  38. turkey: nobel prize winning author put on trial for acknowledging genocide.
    malaysia:hindu temples destroyed, agressive implementation of sharia law on non muslims
    indonesia: 10,000 dead (estimated) due to “communal violence” that is muslim agression against the country’s remaining christians.
    in none of these countries do non-muslims have fully equal rights legally, and their rights are less practically. (Even countries that do not impose blasphemy laws stand by when their citizens take that bit of islamic law into their own lands.

    as to the lack of civilization in america….
    a:is it racist to call muslims barbarians but liberal to say that americans are?

    and b: art, music, science, the wire….. we produce a lot more than just guns and fashion.

  39. “Ever been to Dubai on business? Kuala Lumpur? heard of a little country called Indonesia? Or is your direct experience with what you’re calling “islam” mostly from Team America, conservative blogs?”

    Sadly, people errantly interchange Muslim and Arab.

    Arabs are the problem. They made Indonesia Muslim via the sword. Arabs are killing African Muslims in Sudan.

    Arabs hate Persians, Europeans, Jews, Blacks, Asians, etc.

    The problem is Arabs.

    Yeah, just look at all the Arab Christian suicide bombers and members of Hezoballah.

  40. indonesia was one of the few regions of the world that became islamic without millitary agression. maybe that’s why its religion has been idiosyncratic and moderate. untill recently. with sharia already installed in aceh, look for agitation for its spread.

  41. Anyone else think the 20,000 megawatts over two decades is either a translation error or a very low number?
    Anyone have any idea how much oil that translates into to? Afterall every megawatt is that much more oil that is available for export.

  42. “in none of these countries do non-muslims have fully equal rights legally, and their rights are less practically.”

    Religious wars did not start yesterday. It’s not matter of rights but ‘Bad Blood’. Did old time bloggers call crusaders barbarians?

  43. the crusades, for all the crimes they commited, were, nevertheless no more than the first large scale (non-local) christian response to over 450 years of muslim agression. keep in mind too, that not untill the 1480’s did christians attack a single muslim state that had not previously been conquered, from the christians, by muslims during that time. and that first exception, when the portuguese arrived in india, was not european agression against muslims, but rather a conflict between european and muslim imperialists for the right to abuse hindus.
    oh, and the crusaders were not barbarian. materially, their civilization was inferior to that of islam, but intellectually, it was, if not equal, then catching up fast and soon to rise above a now stagnant and failed civilization

  44. a second point…. if the crusades were the worst crime in history, would that excuse the muslim treatment of christians? should germans and russians be able to butcher each other at will because of world war II, a war in which more atrocities were commited than in the entire 200 years of crusades?

  45. Who said crusades were the worst crime in history?
    Were crusaders barbarian/cruel?

    Sounds like you excuse one and not the other.

  46. James, I would call crusaders barbarians. Hell, I’d call all of Europe from approx. 400 AD till the enlightment barbaric. But I’m not a cultural relativist. I have standards.

  47. I’m curious, hasn’t every single community of Jews been expelled and/or destroyed by their neighbors throughout history? I find this disturbing because I’d like to see the Israelites live in peace & harmony for more than a few generations.
    BTW, you’ll find tastier cuisine & beer, even nicer people in Turkey than 95% of the States.

  48. “But I’m not a cultural relativist. I have standards.”

    Everyone has standards. Everyone’s standard is higher than next person’s.

    We will always have conflict between Jews, Muslims, Christians, … as long as we don’t compare their actions under “one absolute standard”.

  49. Iran, Iran’s so far away. . .gonna bomb it anyway.

  50. Are they showing the Borat movie in Iran? How about in the Gaza Strip?

    How about in Israel?

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