United, United, United We Stand

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Some dude named "Thoreau" reads The Washington Post and responds to David Ignatius's column, an encomnium to flag-clutchin' American unity after 9/11 and how awful it is that we've lost it.

[A]s inspiring as it was to see everybody standing in line to give blood on 9/11, a lot of bad things happened because a nation was busy marching to the tune of a single drummer. If there's another terrorist attack, we could do worse than to argue amongst ourselves. As long as those internal debates don't lead to shootings or half the population sending the other half to a concentration camp, I think some divide and rancorous debate could be a healthy response to a terrorist attack.

So I hope Ignatius is right, and that we do refuse to march lockstep if there's another terrorist attack. Because if we respond to another attack by marching lockstep behind the government, you can kiss the Bill of Rights goodbye. The sequel to the Patriot Act will be a terror to behold.

Today the ever-serious Joe Lieberman strolls onto the Wall Street Journal's op-ed page and proves Thoreau's point:

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

The hilarious subtext of this kind of unity talk, of course, is that the country isn't "divided" about slogging it out in Iraq or dropping some bombs on Iran. Upwards of 60 percent of the country opposes a war with Iran. And yet it's always the default point in this debate: "Divided" means "not foursquare behind the war party."

Title reference is below. I think it captures all of the thoughtfulness and measure (and masculinity) of Lieberman's column.

NEXT: Say it ain't so, Dominique

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  1. Weigel is just shilling for Big Thoreau.

  2. Good article on the so-called Iranian “threat”. Really cuts through the fear-mongering bull.

  3. Thanks, Weigel!

  4. marching to the tune of a single drummer

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

    So, anybody think that those British sailors may actually have been in Iranian waters? Weigs?

  5. The Iranian “regime” is just as divided (if not more so) than the federal government here.

  6. All this shilling for Big Judas Priest is making my head hurt. I’ll unite with anyone and everyone against that song, and I actually like some of their stuff.

  7. But if we don’t surrender our lives in servitude to Saint Joe Lieberman, the terrorists will win! Don’t you understand!?

  8. Hey I just realized something. Lieberman is pro-choice and pro-interventionism. Does that make him a LIBERTARIAN? (paging Eric Dunderhead).

  9. They say hyperbole is the language of love. It’s also the language of politics. We expect it from our politicians. The critical question is whether the citizenry believes it, not if Joe Lieberman says it.

  10. Does Lieberman think that we have the world’s only stockpile of this unity stuff? If we attack Iran, then they’ll have the unity thing going for them. With our bothersome “first amendment” thing and guys like thoreau writing letters to newspapers, Iran might even be able to out-unify us!

    There’s no doubt that Iran is a problem, but it’s one of the few problems that might go away by ignoring it.

  11. If I was the President it would take me six months to have Iran as an ally of the United States once again. The entire process we’ve gone through of trumping them up as an enemy is just so pointless. If the Saudis can be our allies, there’s no reason the Iranians can’t.

    The real long-term strategic threats the Iranians face are Russia and China. If we told them bygones were bygones and we wanted a strategic relationship they’d jump all over the chance in a heartbeat if we made even the most reasonable concessions.

  12. You know how some media outlets self imposed a ban on Paris Hilton coverage? I wish the same would be done for “9/11”.

    I don’t mean to sound heartless or denigrate the deaths of so many people, but not one day has gone by since without “9/11” being constantly thrown around by the media, politicians, and other people.

    I agree, it was a tragic day, and it has, unfortunately, altered so many things in our nation. But how long must we endure having this event pushed into our heads on a daily basis? Frankly, I’m tired of it.

  13. OK, we’ll all unite under the “Get the hell out of Iraq and stop using Iran as a boogeyman” opinion.

  14. “But how long must we endure having this event pushed into our heads on a daily basis? Frankly, I’m tired of it.”

    Agreed.

  15. JW:
    That’s something I can get behind.

  16. OK, fine, we’ll all march lockstep behind the position that I agree with.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    🙂

  17. The poll question was “If the U.S. government decides to take military action in Iran, would you favour or oppose it?”

    If they asked “If the U.S. government decides to take military action in Iran in response to the Iranian regime killing U.S. soldiers on a regular basis, would you favour or oppose it?” they’d probably get a different response.

    The Iranian mullahs do not want a peaceful, democratic Iraq on their border.

    While an invasion is probably not wise, there are some measures short of that to discourage them. Iran has its own violent groups.

    If I was the President it would take me six months to have Iran as an ally of the United States once again.

    I don’t think Americans are ready to have Islam imposed as our state religion.

  18. I, for one, welcome our new non-argumentitive overlords.

  19. Fluffy writes:

    If I was the President it would take me six months to have Iran as an ally of the United States once again.

    He then elaborates that he would form an alliance based on a recognition of common strategic competitors.

    TallDave replies with:

    I don’t think Americans are ready to have Islam imposed as our state religion.

    Ever think of taking a reading comprehension class, TallDave?

  20. thoreau | July 6, 2007, 11:39am | #

    …What could possibly go wrong?

    We could all end up some half-human, half-animal monstrosities struggling with our identity and having to live by a strict set of laws?

    Not to go on All-Fours; that is the Law. Are we not men?
    Not to suck up Drink; that is the Law. Are we not men?
    Not to eat Fish or Flesh; that is the Law. Are we not men?
    Not to claw the Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not men?
    Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not men?

    Oh, that’s Moreau?

    Never mind then. Carry on.

  21. thoreau,

    Ever look at the ruling philosophy of the mullahs? Imposing Islam is their agenda.

    Fluffy said:

    The real long-term strategic threats the Iranians face are Russia and China. If we told them bygones were bygones and we wanted a strategic relationship they’d jump all over the chance in a heartbeat if we made even the most reasonable concessions.

    That’s possibly the stupidest thing anyone has ever said about Iran.

  22. Yes, TallDave, totalitarian rulers with ambitious subordinates and vast pools of expensive oil make all their decisions without any regard for realpolitik.

    Right.

  23. thoreau,

    Iran’s entire ruling philosphy is built around Islamic revolution. To the extent we support Islamic revolution, they would be willing to ally with us.

    However, as I pointed out, Americans are probably not ready to convert to Islam and be ruled by the Prophet’s earthly clergy.

  24. TallDave, do you believe that a country’s foreign policy is always the same as its domestic policy?

  25. The Iranian mullahs do not want a peaceful, democratic Iraq on their border.

    Wow. It’s the Iranian’s lucky day. They don’t have to do anything and things will turn out just the way they want.

    When it comes to invading Iran: With what? Our Army’s sorta busy. We just going to up and move it to Iran, and try for a full do-over?

  26. TallDave,

    You must not actually read much of what these guys say. Even Osama himself doesn’t talk much about converting infidels. Getting the infidels out of the holy lands, yes, but not conversion.

    In any case, Revolutionary Iran has done business with Russia, France, China, and other non-muslim countries when it has suited them. Like most totalitarians, they are more interested in power than purity.

  27. encomnium

    encomium

  28. thoreau,

    Iran’s certainly is.

    It’s just ridiculous on so many levels. We’re going to embrace the world’s foremost terrorist state? Are we going to agree they can build nukes? Are we going to accept the Iranian position that Israel should be destroyed?

    When we bought off Egypt 30 years ago, we at least got them to agree on that one. But Iran doesn’t need $2B a year from us.

  29. Wow. It’s the Iranian’s lucky day. They don’t have to do anything and things will turn out just the way they want.

    They don’t appear to agree.

    In any case, Revolutionary Iran has done business with Russia, France, China, and other non-muslim countries when it has suited them.

    Doing business with them is not the same as being allied with them.

  30. When it comes to invading Iran: With what? Our Army’s sorta busy. We just going to up and move it to Iran, and try for a full do-over?

    Oh, you… our lords and masters have already figured this question out for us. We’ve got thousands of perfectly good nuclear weapons that are just sitting around uselessly in silos instead of killing this week’s designated Nazis.

  31. TallDave, Richard Nixon forged an alliance with Maoist revolutionaries.

    They didn’t insist that we have our own Cultural Revolution.

    Care to discuss?

  32. The Iranian mullahs do not want a peaceful, democratic Iraq on their border. .

    Why wouldn’t they want a “democratic” Iraq? If “Democratic” means elections, Shias are the largest group and they will dominate politics.

    As for the “peaceful” part they don’t have to worry about that. Thats pretty damn impossible.

  33. WOOOOOOO! PRIIIIIIIIEEEESSSSSST!!!

    I\’m putting on the Green Green Manalishi and turnin\’ up the phones as we march steadily toward a nuclear first-strike with Iran and Armageddon! Woohoo!

  34. I’d give TallDave a point if it were 1980, but the Iranian regime hasn’t been that aggressive in a long time. The Soviet Union’s policy was to bring about a Communist world. Never happened. We engaged with them. Seemed to work in the end.

  35. You must not actually read much of what these guys say. Even Osama himself doesn’t talk much about converting infidels.

    No, they talk about establishing Islamist states. Converting infidels would be a bonus.

    Hey, maybe Fluffy has a point here. We could agree to overthrow help Iran and AQ overthrow all the moderate Islamic regimes and replace them with Islamist states. Then they’ll be our friends! And the only downside is all the repressive states they’ll establish. It’s win-win!

  36. The Soviet Union’s policy was to bring about a Communist world.

    And they tried like hell to do it.

    We engaged with them.

    Yeah, we enaged all right. Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Nicaragua, Afghanistan… there was engaement all over the place.

    Seemed to work in the end.

    Yes, eventually their economic system collapsed to the point they couldn’t expand militarily anymore.

  37. TallDave-

    We talk to dictators, many dictators are in fact our allies. Try Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan for starters. In fact, we give them very active support.

    Why can we talk to those dictators but not, say, Iran or Cuba?

  38. The “war party” is actually what this is. That was one neo-con in the military that has has the usual suspects riled up and itching to push the button.

  39. The Soviet Union was a continental-size superpower with a vast industrial and technological base, powerful military, and enough nukes to blow up the world a million times.

    And they couldn’t bring about a Communist world, even with all their power.

    What makes you think a third-rate, third-world country with Vietnam-era military technology is going to be any more successful making an Islamist world?

  40. Why wouldn’t they want a “democratic” Iraq? If “Democratic” means elections, Shias are the largest group and they will dominate politics.

    The same reason they don’t allow free elections in Iran: the people don’t vote for the repressive mullahs like they should.

    The outcome you describe is the worst-case for the mullahs: a democratic Shia-majority state, in which millions of Shia make pilgrimages from Iran and hear how Iraqis get to vote for whomever they want.

  41. What makes you think a third-rate, third-world country with Vietnam-era military technology is going to be any more successful making an Islamist world?

    Who says they’re going to succeed? The problem is, they promote terrorist groups all over that blow people up in their stupid, futile attempt.

    We talk to dictators, many dictators are in fact our allies. Try Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan for starters. In fact, we give them very active support.

    Again, nukes, Israel, foremost terrorist-sponsoring state in the world.

    Are you arguing we should ally with every state, no matter how awful?

  42. Neither me nor the mullahs were elected. We were born to be on top.

    Hah!

    Living in Baluchistan…

  43. Again, nukes, Israel, foremost terrorist-sponsoring state in the world.

    Are you arguing we should ally with every state, no matter how awful?

    The smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud!

    (..although probably over Tehran.)

  44. Again, nukes, Israel, foremost terrorist-sponsoring state in the world.

    They want nukes to deter us from invading them. And they are ten years away. Maybe.

    Doesn’t Israel have their own military?

    Last time I checked people in the United States military don’t take an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the State of Israel.

    Are you arguing we should ally with every state, no matter how awful?

    I really don’t think unconditional, permanent alliances with anyone is a good idea (nor in our best interests).

    But trade and have diplomatic relations with every state? Yes, I think that would be a good idea.

  45. Lieberman is a total shill for Israel, which wants to ensare the U.S. in _another_ Middle East trap, as if one wasn’t enough. That’s a truth that can’t be wished or waved away.

  46. I’m not arguing for allying with EVERY state.

    I’m arguing for allying with pseudo-democratic ones with whom we can find a common interest.

    There’s a reason Iran was first in the British sphere of influence and then in ours. More than one reason, actually. The first reason is the geopolitical reality I alluded to above. Then there’s the natural affinity arising from the oil trade.

    Even the revolutionary regime of Khomeini – which was certainly much more radical than the current regime – initially made overtures of friendship to the US. We let personal loyalty to the equivalent of a Duvalier or a Pinochet fuck that up.

    An alliance with Iran might force us to modify our alliance with Israel slightly, but so what? We’re better off not being completely dependent on the Israeli alliance anyway, for any number of reasons.

    It’s THE strategic move that provides the US with the most benefits. Before the Entente between Britain and France in the 19th century, most world observers would have declared an alliance between these two historic enemies impossible as well. But it stopped being impossible when both nations saw the massive strategic advantages the Entente gave them both. Eventually the US and Iran will see the same thing, if we can stop slobbering genocidal maniacs like Lieberman from fucking things up before we get there.

  47. Again, nukes, Israel, foremost terrorist-sponsoring state in the world.

    Are you arguing we should ally with every state, no matter how awful?

    To paraphrase Churchill, Jaw jaw is generally better than war war. Iran has over four times the area and over twice the population of Iraq, a territory that is already costing us n average of ~60 dead soldiers, ~120 wounded, and ~$15 billion per month.

    Just what is it that you would like the U.S. to do instead with respect to Iran? Invade? Air strikes on their suspected nuclear facilities?

    Countries used to not bomb each other when they had a disagreement. Mainly that was due to reciprocity. It’s perhaps been forgotten since it’s been so long that’s it’s happened here (excepting 9/11, and how will bombing Iran help avenge that atrocity?). One of these days, our cruise missile diplomacy will be used against a country that will bomb us back. Picking a fight with a country with infinitely more links to terrorism than some rotting hulk of an airliner, doesn’t seem very bright to me. Unless of course, you want to see those execreble t.v. movies from the mid-80s about domestic terrorism brought to life.

    As others here have noted, we do business with Islamic dictatorships all of the time, starting with Saudi Arabia, continuing through most of the ‘Stans. I fail to see why we cannot do business with Iran. Their actions in 1979 through most of the 80s were deplorable. The time to punish them was then however, not now.

    As far as Islamic governmental use of nukes, I don’t see it. Sure, UBL would use them, if he had them; the trick is in convincing any supplier that his use = their use. Their use subjects their country at a minimum to invasion/regime change/leaders swinging from a rope, and at a maximum to retaliation by the strategic nuclear deterrent. And I think that various Sec’.s of State since 1988 have made that message very clear. It’s the only reason I can think of for why the damn things haven’t been used already.


  48. As far as Islamic governmental use of nukes, I don’t see it. Sure, UBL would use them, if he had them; the trick is in convincing any supplier that his use = their use.

    No country will give their nukes away. Stolen, maybe, but they will not hand them out. What country on earth would hand over its mightiest weapon to a shady international group that might use it on them also!

    It would be like Imperial Germany circa 1912 handing over two of its battleships to an anarchist group that hates Great Britain.

  49. Israel has been nothing but a headache since it was created and the U.S. wasn’t even in favor of it in the first place. Basing our foreign policy on anything having to do with Israel is the most asinine thing we do and should stop doing it immediately. Using it as an excuse for attacking Iran? Now that’s just fucking ridiculous.

  50. Obviously, the only rational response to the Iranians would be something like this:

    There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring ’em on.

    I’m sure Joe Lieberman would agree.

  51. I, too, would like someone to point out exactly what we get out of our “special relationship” with Israel.

    Oil? Nope.

    Counterweight to the Soviet Union? Nope, the USSR is dead.

    Because they are a tiny democracy that can’t defend themselves on their own? Bullshit, they have one of the world’s finest militaries. Nobody in the region can touch it.

    Seriously, what do we get?

  52. “Seriously, what do we get?”

    Absolutely nothing!

  53. “Sure, UBL would use them, if he had them”

    Former FBI advisor Paul Marshall claims he does have them.

  54. “No country will give their nukes away. Stolen, maybe, but they will not hand them out. What country on earth would hand over its mightiest weapon to a shady international group that might use it on them also!”

    According to Paul Marshall, the Chechens and the Russian mafia sold them to Osama bin Laden.

  55. Rattlesnake–

    Link?

    Its possible that a criminal organization would steal them and sell them. What I said was, no national government is going to give them away. And does Marshall say what he plans to do with them (assuming he has them)?

  56. Former FBI advisor Paul Marshall claims he does have them.

    My google-fu is letting me down. Do you have a link for the above?

    Questions I have while I wait: Where did he get them from? Why hasn’t he used them? What is he waiting for? It’s not like he could have pissed us off any harder than he did on 9/11.

  57. It pays to use preview for more than checking my spelling…

    In that case, did the Chechens/Russians also give him the PAL codes? And lay in a supply of consumeables? I’m assuming the putative weapon doesn’t have a tamper-proof design, allowing his group to use the fissionable material in another device?

    The theft/illicit sale of nuclear devices from the former Soviet Union has always worried me. I could never figure out why, in a country where everything else was for illegal sale, up to and including military hardware, that nuclear weapons would be somehow exempt. I had thought that the US had contracted with the various ex-Soviet states to purchase all of the easily moved/used warheads and components. It doesn’t surprise me that, in a country with over 30,000 warheads at its peak, we failed to acquire all of them. Well, if true, that certainly answers the first question I had.

  58. “Its possible that a criminal organization would steal them and sell them. What I said was, no national government is going to give them away. And does Marshall say what he plans to do with them (assuming he has them)?”

    My information comes from Marshall’s latest book, “The Day of Islam”. His information comes from al Quada defectors. What bin Laden plans to do with the nukes according to Marshall is an American Hiroshima. He plans to bomb 7 cities in the US on a single day. The cities are New York, Washington, Los Angelas, Boston, Houston, Miami, and Las Vegas.

  59. “Questions I have while I wait: Where did he get them from? Why hasn’t he used them? What is he waiting for? It’s not like he could have pissed us off any harder than he did on 9/11.”

    The reason you couldn’t find it from Google is because I gave you the wrong name of the author. It’s Paul Williams, sorry.

    According to Williams, bin Laden bought them from the Chechens and the Russian Mafia. I think the reason he hasn’t used them yet is because he wants to get it right. This is not something you rush into. 9/11 was planned years before it took place.

  60. According to Williams, al Queda received training in how to use and maintain the nukes from Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb.

  61. “We’ve been dissed!”

    And how- that guy should be captain of the debate team; “Those guys won’t just accept our assertions at face value; they are like so totally wrong, dude! And, furthermore, I reject their arguments out of hand!”

    ———-

    ps- Every time I see a statement which runs on the lines of, “The fanatical regime in _______ has concluded that it can use proxies to strike at us and our friends in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine without fear of retaliation. It is time to restore that fear, and to inject greater doubt into the decision-making of Iranian leaders about the risks they are now running.” [Lieberman] I like to plug “America” into the blank and see how it reads.

  62. lol

    That d00d named Goldfarb at Weekly Standard is counselling Weigs on how to raise concerns about anti-Islamic militarism in a proper way. Can I get a: “fuck that shit!”

  63. That doesn’t make sense then.

    This is pretty much the ultimate trump card that Bush is holding. I mean, really, all he has to do to silence a lot of critics of his eavesdropping or waterboarding is tell people, “Hey, we have reports that Al Qaeda does have suitcase bombs some of which are already here. Do you really want us not to be looking for them?”

    Very few would oppose anything he wanted to do if they thought the alternative was NYC, LA, and company in radioactive ruin.

  64. Fuck that shit.

  65. “””I don’t think Americans are ready to have Islam imposed as our state religion.””””

    As if that’s possible.

    That’s an appeal to fear. People who fall for it are wussies.

    The Islamic Republic of America is coming!! OOOOOHHHHHHHHH, scary. Give me a friggin break. Never gonna happen.

  66. Rattle snake-

    Considering this is the same FBI/CIA that told us Saddam had WMDs, color me skeptical on OBL having nukes.

  67. Yup yup yup. Same old stuff, whether we get it from the nuts on the left or the nuts on the right:

    Islamists==BOO! SCARY!

    Nukes==BOO! SCARY!

    Islamists + Nukes == OH MI GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIIIEEEE!!!!!!

    Can we please get our foreign policy out of the hands of people who live with one hand on their dicks and the other on a Tom Clancy novel?

    Wankers.

  68. Can we please get our foreign policy out of the hands of people who live with one hand on their dicks and the other on a Tom Clancy novel?

    Thats the best description of neocons and their LGF followers I’ve ever heard.

  69. What the idiots at the weekly standard don’t realize is the world is freakin terrified of the United States right now, thats part of the problem!

  70. Despite what Fluffy asserts, mending our relationship with Iran would not be so simple to cuddle up to Iran as to simply whisper in their ear that we forgive them and now we want to kiss and make up.

    We are the “GREAT SATAN” and the mullahs hate the US. The population of ordinary Iranians would probably be happy to have a respectful relationship with the US, but the mullahs won’t allow it. Period; end of discussion.

    There would have to be a change in government in Iran before the two countries mend fences.

  71. Wayne-

    Couldn’t you have said the same thing about the Chinese government circa 1969?

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