More About G.I. Joe (Lieberman)

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James Kirchick calls me out for yesterday's snarky post about Joe Lieberman and his "Iran is killing our troops so let's do something" amendment:

By its actions in Iraq, Iran has essentially declared war on us. How the United States ought to react is still up for debate. Other than snark, what do Dave and those who, however bad their spelling, righteously call Lieberman a "warmongerer" suggest?

Speaking for myself I suggest: Not going to war with Iran. Hyperpowers like the United States are in a unique position where all sorts of small powers want a piece of us and we have the ability, if we so choose, to respond to all of them. When we're losing face and some of our soldiers get killed, it's awfully tempting to do that. It's wise to resist the impulse because it's altogether easy to get bogged down in these responses. That's sort of the lesson of our Iraq adventure, isn't it?

The problem with Lieberman is that his default response to Middle East flare-ups is military action. He has a track record of this stuff, and he tells anyone who'll ask that, yes, he'd support war with Iran. If we answer Iran's rather measly challenge (the bad guys are spending about $3 million a month in Iraq, which is as much as we spend every half hour) with some sort of large-scale military response, what does Lieberman think will happen? Why's he convinced it won't metastize into a larger war?

More Kirchick:

The near-unanimous support for this amendment brings to mind the unanimous support for the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act. That act stated that "It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime." Whatever one thinks about the wisdom of the Iraq war, keep in mind that regime change in Iraq was the official, bipartisan policy of the United States government years before it became fashionable for journalists to write tiresome, 5,000-word articles linking Ahmed Chalabi, PNAC and Paul Wolfowitz.

OK, I'm going to get accused of snark again, but… so what if it was a bipartisan policy? The fact that it was a stupid and disastrous policy seems more pertinent.

NEXT: Free Speech Victory in Denmark; Fatwa Issued

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  1. So, it’s fair to say that your answer to Kirchick’s question is “I suggest we ignore Iran?”

  2. How about, we get out of Iraq? That would stop them from killing our troops.

  3. Just to add on, who the hell are we anyway to suggests what countries need “regime change”?

    I don’t like George W. Bush but I wouldn’t be thrilled if, say, the Indians came to “liberate” us from him.

  4. The fact that it was a stupid and disastrous policy seems more pertinent.

    PWNED!

  5. Iran has been perpetually at war with the United States since it invaded our embassy in 1979, and it has been killing Americans both directly and by proxy ever since. But anyone in favor of fighting back is a warmonger?

    Faster, please.

  6. so what if it was a bipartisan policy? The fact that it was a stupid and disastrous policy seems more pertinent.

    Quoted for the truth!

    The bill banning “Bush Lied” T-shirts in AZ was not only bi-partisan it was unanimous. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a piece-of-shit legislation. Same thing here.

  7. “I don’t like George W. Bush but I wouldn’t be thrilled if, say, the Indians came to “liberate” us from him.”

    We fret about Iran getting a few nukes when we have thousands. How would we like it if all the non-nuke countries invaded the US to force us to get rid of them?

  8. Richard-

    A twelve year old kid shoots a water pistol at you. Do you respond by shooting of a sub-machine gun?

  9. “Iran has been perpetually at war with the United States since it invaded our embassy in 1979, and it has been killing Americans both directly and by proxy ever since. But anyone in favor of fighting back is a warmonger?”

    Richard, you forgot to mention why they invaded our embassy in the first place. It wouldn’t be because of our meddling policy over there, would it?

  10. Iran has been perpetually at war with the United States since we overthrew their government and installed the Shah’s puppet goverment leading to an Islamic militant uprising, and it has been killing Americans both directly and by proxy ever since.

    There, fixed it for you.

  11. You reap what you sow, and the US has sown a lot of bad seeds in the last 50 years. Harvest time is upon us.

  12. Attacking Iran helps Israel. It doesn’t help America.

    Get smart, people. Joe Lieberman is working in Israel’s best interests, not America’s.

  13. I wonder how Holy Joe would feel if China invaded Mexico, set up a puppet government, and had an Aircraft Carrier battle fleet stationed in the Gulf of Mexico, all the while telling everybody their official policy towards us is “regime change”?

  14. Kharg Island, Larak Island, Lavan Island, Sirri Island. Iran doesn’t have the amphibious capability to retake them from a U.S. seizure, they’re small enough to secure properly, and they are four of Iran’s six major oil export terminals.

  15. I don’t like George W. Bush but I wouldn’t be thrilled if, say, the Indians came to “liberate” us from him.

    Well, one difference is that we have an orderly process by which we can change our regime every four years (or more often if you count impeachment). No such process existed in Iraq, and none exists in Iran today (at least as far as the Guardians are concerned).

  16. Lunatic-

    But they can launch an invasion into Iraq if we invade their territory, leading to a massive lost of life and a huge uprising from the Shias in Iraq. Try harder, please.

  17. Crimethink-

    There is a process, its called revolting, and the people of Eastern Europe did it quite successfully without us having to invade the Soviet Union.

  18. David – Your response about what to do is “not go to war with Iran” while I agree war with Iran would be a bad idea, that is not a suggestion about what to do, it’s a suggestion about what not to do.
    I don’t have an answer to this either, but I don’t believe we can simply do nothing. Iran may well take control of Iraq after we pull out. their insane President not only wants to wipe out Israel, but America as well.
    Iran may not be nearly as powerful as the US, but they are not a 12 year old kid with a water pistol.

  19. “I don’t like George W. Bush but I wouldn’t be thrilled if, say, the Indians came to “liberate” us from him.”

    Hmmmm…I dunno…I might take that trade, especially if we get some bitchin chana masala and dosas as a part of the deal.

  20. “Well, one difference is that we have an orderly process by which we can change our regime every four years (or more often if you count impeachment). No such process existed in Iraq, and none exists in Iran today (at least as far as the Guardians are concerned).”

    But is it our responsibility to tell them what kind of government they should have?

  21. I don’t have an answer to this either, but I don’t believe we can simply do nothing. Iran may well take control of Iraq after we pull out. their insane President not only wants to wipe out Israel, but America as well.

    Iran is a 12 year old kid with a water pistol. Their army is poorly equipped. Their airforce is grounded due to lack of spare parts. Their navy is a joke. This is a threat to the country that spends more on its defense budget than the rest of the world put together, why?

    They want a nuclear weapon because they don’t want to be invaded by us.

    They look at Iraq–no weapons of mass destruction, invaded.

    They look at North Korea–nuclear weapon, not invaded.

    Their missiles can’t reach the United States. Even if they could, we would t urn their country into glass if they ever launched a first strike. I don’t buy that they want to die, the current leadership in Iran had plenty of chances to martyr itself under the Shah. They didn’t.

  22. “David – Your response about what to do is “not go to war with Iran” while I agree war with Iran would be a bad idea, that is not a suggestion about what to do, it’s a suggestion about what not to do. I don’t have an answer to this either, but I don’t believe we can simply do nothing.”
    We should build a relationship with Iran the way Nixon did with China. The only good thing he did.
    ” Iran may well take control of Iraq after we pull out.”
    That’s our doing by overthrowing Saddam.
    “their insane President not only wants to wipe out Israel, but America as well.”
    He may want to, but he would be stupid to do so. I don’t believe he’s that stupid or even if he is, cooler heads would prevail in Iran. They know we and Israel could retaliate in a big way if they were to attack either of us.

  23. Iran is in a bad neighbourhood (and sure, they’re one of the reasons it’s bad); Iraq and the always unstable Middle East on one side, Afghanistan on the other (with Pakistan and India beyond – both nuclear powers, don’t forget), and a resurgent Russia looming to the north – not to mention the enmity of the US. The current Iranian leaders are shits, but if I were in their shoes I’d want the bomb too.

  24. Iran is a 12 year old kid with a water pistol. Their army is poorly equipped. Their airforce is grounded due to lack of spare parts. Their navy is a joke.

    Then they really shouldn’t go killing the soldiers of a country that spends more on its defense budget than the rest of the world put together.

    Iran is not a 12 year old kid with a water pistol. 12 year olds are too smart to go about squirting men with submachine guns.

  25. How about this solution:

    1) The United States officially abandones “regime change” as its official policy towards Iran

    2) The United States and Iran issue apologies to eachother for 1953 and 1979, respectively

    3) Diplomats are exchanged, and relations normalized

    4) Iran promises to abandon its nuclear weapons program–backed up by inspections–and its support for insurgents in Iraq in exchange for a sweetheart trade deal with the United States

  26. What we’ve learned from Iraq is that we can topple such governments in a week or two. We just shouldn’t hang around for the aftermath. Hey, lesson learned! Heck, maybe we should just look at the Iranians darkly and say that if we do invade, we’ll just hand the leftovers to our pals, the Russians. Or our other pals, the Turks. Then leave the whole damned region.

  27. Cesar, that sort of common sensical approach only helps US. It doesn’t help Israel’s goal of a permanant hegemony in the middle east. You silly goose!

    Lieberman has a vested interest in Israel and a position of power in the United States. You do the math:

    Iran has the second largest natural gas reserves in the world.

    Uranium and Plutonium deposites in the Zagros Mountains.

    The second largest producer of Oil in the world (the reserves aren’t as big as saudi arabia but big enough)

    A young population of 70 million, a large portion of which favor Western styles and will make a fantastic market for everything from Western TV shows to Levi’s jeans and Financial services. (so it’ll pay for itself)

    The US Empire has a decided manifest destiny to attack Iran. The US Republic has no reason to attack Iran but would rather get help from Iran to stabilize Iraq. We’ll see if the empire wins this debate or the republic.

    Blowback is always unpredictable.

  28. Terrorist depend on people like Leiberman and Kirchick. What would be the point of terrorism if the people you’re trying to goad into making a mistake don’t rise to the bait?

    And while supporting regime change in Iraq was bipartisan policy, Operation Iraqi Freedom most certainly was not. I’ve seen awful lot of Republicans proclaim that they want to see poor urban areas redeveloped, but if I equated that with support for a big HUD project, I’d be laughed out of the room.

    Republicans: declaring that supporting a goal commits you to a massive, poorly-thought-out government initiative to achieve that goal since 2002.

  29. Terrorist depend on people like Leiberman and Kirchick.

    The inverse of that statement is also true. People like Lieberman and Kirchick depend on terrorists.

  30. Wow, the last time I saw someone steal the “faster, please” formulation from National Review, the thing they wanted to happen “faster, please” was the invasion of Iraq. Boy, good thing we didn’t put THAT off!

    Smarter monkeys, please.

  31. With hyper power comes hyper responsibility.

  32. For all those of you who think its the job of the United States to ensure a democratic government for everyone in the world, heres your boy!

  33. Cesar,

    To be fair, Wilson didn’t advocate the conquest of distant countries as the means to spread democracy and freedom. He actually advocated the opposite – that those powers that had invaded distant countries and set up governments to their liking cease doing so.

  34. To be fair, Wilson didn’t advocate the conquest of distant countries as the means to spread democracy and freedom. He actually advocated the opposite – that those powers that had invaded distant countries and set up governments to their liking cease doing so.

    He just lied us into an unnecessary war, transforming us into an unwitting tool of the British and French Empires.

    He is similar to the neocons in that he was extremely, extremely naieve and idealistic.

  35. So, basically, you’re giving up your original point, about Wilson supporting the conquest of foreign countries for the purpose of making them Democratic, and changing the subject to other failures of Wilson? OK.

    Yes, he was naive and idealistic, and didn’t have the skills to parlay our assistance to those powers into any gains for his anti-imperialist ideals. I agree completely on that part.

  36. The near-unanimous support for this amendment brings to mind the unanimous support for the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act.

    And Kirchick considers this an argument for it? Amazing.

    (FYI, 38 Congressmen voted against the 1998 Iraq act, including of course Ron Paul).

  37. Cesar,
    thanks for the perspective. I agree with you (and david) now.

  38. joe-

    Just as Wilson was naieve enough to believe the British and French imperialists would fight for the Fourteen Points, the neoconservatives were just as naieve to believe Iraq was society ripe to become a Jeffersonian Democracy. That is the point I’m trying to make.

  39. Well, then, it’s a good one, Cesar.

  40. joe | July 13, 2007, 3:46pm | #
    […]

    Smarter monkeys, please.

    hier

    (story behind it, hier)

  41. VM,

    Do you believe that children are the future?

  42. Well, he believes that monkey children are.

  43. Monkey children with horns and a little barbed thingy on the end of their tails.

    Oh, yeah, with a nearly insatiable sex drive.

    For gymnastics equipment.

    and automotive spare parts.
    (as long as everything we do is for the chidren (sic), then it’s hokae)

  44. Of course, it’s common knowledge that I believe that the robots are our future.

  45. I believe that periods of time subsequent to the one we are in now is the future.

  46. the future…

    the future…

    the future…

    Proc VARMAX data=children;
    Model high low/p=3 lagmax=5 ecm= (rank=1
    normalize=high) cointtest;
    Cointeg Rank=1 H=(1, -1);
    output out=out1 Lead=50;
    ID T Interval=Day;
    Run;
    ******************
    The VARMAX Procedure

    Variable Type NoMissN Mean…

    *** Null Set Error. No future.

    No future
    No future
    No future for you.

  47. Uranium and Plutonium deposites in the Zagros Mountains.

    Plutonium deposits? What, did the Babylonians leave their nuclear reactor waste there? It doesn’t exist naturally.

  48. crimethink

    tip for dealing with zealot zipperheads:

    Dont ask them rhetorical questions. It gives them more excuse to spout manifestos. Sometimes better to just nod knowingly, and give them the,

    “Plutonium Deposits, ay? Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter”

    http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=Your%20ideas%20are%20intriguing%20to%20me%20and%20I%20wish%20to%20subscribe%20to%20your%20newsletter

  49. to add some more substansive comment =

    Congress still sucks dead elephant assholes.

  50. Congress still sucks dead elephant assholes.

    Congress has been doing that pretty much since 1775.

  51. Iran has been perpetually at war with the United States since it invaded our embassy in 1979, and it has been killing Americans both directly and by proxy ever since.

    Does that include when we were secretly selling them weapons in the 80’s so we could then secretly fund terrorists in Nicaragua?

    What a weird war…

  52. Joe Liberman please….please…please….

    get off of that Israel thing…..

    People like u are goin to get us (Americans that have nothing to do with this) KILLED!!!

    Joe Liberman…If u r willing 2 commit suicide to defend ISRAEL…THEN U R THE AMERICA Suicide Bomber

  53. I say we bring Israel HERE!!!

    There’s no need to have a bunch of caucasian (Ex-German) people living amonst a bunch of suicidal savages.

    We haven’t had a DAY OF PEACE since the institution of ISRAEL.

    Let it go…

    Bring the Jews Here…

    We have LOTs of Jews…6 million more won’t make a difference….

    Why heck, we may be letting 12 million mexicans stay here…why not well educated, resourcefull Jews ??

  54. I would totally be for the entirety of Israel to move to the United States.

  55. Most criticism of US foreign policy during the cold war is bogus. It does not acknowledge that the problem was SOVIET foreign policy. US foreign policy faced many tough choices, such as putting the Shah in power in Iran, because communists financed a world wide campaign to put totalitarian governments in place all over the world. Through messy, democratic processes over many elections over a half-century of cold war, the US defeated the commies and liberated millions from communist oppression.

  56. As evidenced by his voting record and pronouncements, Lieberman, like far too many others both inside and outside the government, but wielding influence with the government, is quite anxious to sacrifice American blood and money for what he thinks will be good for the Israeli government and the Likudnik agenda.

    Each of us should contact our representative and senators and tell them that attacking Iran is not in our interest.

    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

  57. “Is War With Iran Inevitable?
    Yes. “

    http://antiwar.com/justin/

    This one is disturbing cuz Justin Raimondo usually right about these matters.

    BTW, antiwar.com is both the most frequented snti-war site and libertarian site extant.

  58. Rick Barton-

    Lets all of us keep in mind that there is a bigger debate within Israel over Israeli policy than there is in the United States over Israeli policy. Its not the Israelis that would want war with Iran, its just the most extreme, nationalist, and militarist elements within that country that want it. I don’t buy for a minute the majority of the Israeli people want endless war, only the fascist elements in that country.

  59. buck smith,

    Through messy, democratic processes over many elections over a half-century of cold war, the US defeated the commies and liberated millions from communist oppression.

    No, this is just wrong. Communism didn’t get “rolled back,” if fell from the inside out. It fell first in Berlin and Moscow and Prague. Why do you think there are still “outposts,” but no mother ship?

    Our screwing around in third world countries did nothing to bring about the fall of the Soviet Empire. Perhaps, in some cases, it stopped it from expanding – Greece, for example, or South Korea, but none of these third world fights between proxies weakened the Soviets in the slightests.

    It was the genius of Ronald Reagan that he was able to recognize that containment had worked, and its end-game had come, even after he had spent two decades deouncing containment as ineffective.

    The Soviet Union wasn’t brought down by American foreign policy; the Soviet Union was brought down by the people of Russia and Eastern Europe, because the system it forced them to live under was unsustainable. All we needed to do was to contain their power and the damage it did, and wait them out, like Truman and Kennon said.

  60. Those guys at TNR are determined to make an even bigger joke out of themselves then they already are.

  61. What Cesar said. Which was:

    Its not the Israelis that would want war with Iran, its just the most extreme, nationalist, and militarist elements within that country that want it. I don’t buy for a minute the majority of the Israeli people want endless war, only the fascist elements in that country.

    Poll after poll reveals that the majority of Israelis want the occupation of Palestinian land to end. But our government keeps on funding the occupation.

  62. That’s not quite it, Rick. Our government isn’t sending funds earmarked to pout fences around settlers’ trailers or anything.

    Our government is funding Israel. Israel is trying to figure out a way to extract itself from the occupation (most of Israel, anyway, as you point out), but it’s a difficult matter.

  63. joe,

    The current Isreali government wants to maintain the occupation and when our government gives them our money, that makes it easier for them to do so.

  64. joe,

    Are you sure that part of our tax money that is given to the Israeli government isn’t specifically earmarked for the occupation? IMO, it’s bad either way. Either our government is itemizing part of it for a shameful purpose. or they’re saying: “Here are billions of dollars. Use it for “defense” however you want to.”

  65. Okay, since the original version seems to have been eaten since my attempt to post it, here’s the nuance-less, short version

    1) Iran doesn’t have the ability to mount an invasion of Iraq. Mixture of defects in their military and logistics, plus the new era of GPS bombs.

    2) The most likely reaction of Shia Iraqis to an Iranian invasion is to rally around the Maliki government against the invader, not rising up against it.

    3) It’s unlikely the result in Iran would include enough blame of the Iranian government by the people to get it overthrown. Which means the result would be an expensive stalemate.

  66. I don’t get it, Warmonger. Are you arguing for or against an attack on Iran?

  67. Iran is our sworn enemy. It has it’s proxies attacking our soldiers in Iraq. Iran is supplying arms and tactical information to the so-called insurgents that are killing our people. Iran is at war with us, but because of political panty wastes, our Military isn’t allowed to engage the enemy in the Iranian theater. This is ridiculous! We should let our military fight our wars, not the politicians. Yes, we are a democratic republic, and not a military oligarchy but in times of war we need to win. We should let the people who are trained to fight our wars, do so. Not with one arm tied behind their backs, either. One nuke would ruin our whole day, so lets blast them back to the neolithic era before they get the chance. Then maybe, in 400 years or so we can ask them , How do you like us now?.
    But the real problem, of course, is what will Russia and China might do if we did follow my course of action. They wouldn’t pee in their pants as the progressives would. They would respect our determination and like wise, be warned. The world would know that there are consequences to attacking the United States of America, that there are consequences to killing American soldiers. Yes, the world would be a more dangerous place, for OUR ENEMIES!
    There would no lasting damage to our world image, as everyone in the world already hates Bush (oops, I mean ) us. It would be more in our self interest to totally destroy the threat than quitting and running away from the problem. It would not be pretty, but war never is. Peace is more than not fighting a war, peace seldom come to the loser of the war but peace comes when real justice is established in the world.

  68. When you see “so-called insurgents,” it should set off a bell.

    They’re NOT insurgents?

    but because of political panty wastes

    Well, we can’t all sweat testosterone from our 26 inch pythons like, uh, Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol. But far be it from me to condone the waste of panties.

    One nuke would ruin our whole day, so lets blast them back to the neolithic era before they get the chance.

    Last time you people dragged that out, we ended up stuck in Iraq.

    They would respect our determination and like wise, be warned. The world would know that there are consequences to attacking the United States of America, that there are consequences to killing American soldiers. Yes, the world would be a more dangerous place, for OUR ENEMIES!

    That’s what you said the Iranians would do if we invaded Iraq. How’s that working out? Have they bowed before our might yet?

    peace comes when real justice is established in the world

    Once again, that’s what you said about invading Iraq – the last time launching a war was going to create peace in the world. What it accomplished was to mike Iraq more violent and more dangerous than it was under Saddam Hussein, and greatly enhance Iran’s strategic position.

    All of the arguments offered for an Iran War are those that were offered for an Iraq War. Fool me one, shame…shame on you. A foo mah…can’t get fooled again!

  69. Mickey Knight-

    Let me just let you in on a little secret–foreign policy isn’t an online multi-player session of Halo 2. You don’t go up to a foreign nation, drop bombs on another country and say the equivalent of HAHAH I GOTZ UR FLAGz n00b. Its a bit more complicated than that.

  70. I’m confusing, eh?

    I’m of the opinion that the Iranian government is an openly declared enemy of the United States, possesses no legitimate grievances against the United States that justify its hostility, is an active danger (if relatively small) to citizens of the United States, and is utterly lacking in legitimacy due to the character of the state.

    Further, I am of the opinion that limited action effective on the purely military level can be entirely successful.

    (I can go into detail dissecting each of these points, but I’m unlikely to convince anyone who disagrees with me or vice-versa, so let’s just let them stand for now.)

    However, I do not think such successful limited military action would be likely to resolve any of the objections I have with the Iranian regime, and therefore, as both a matter of practicality and preserving human life, it should be avoided.

    (I’m ignoring how American wars are financed for the simple reason that it’s a bigger, deeper issue. Since one can object to basic contractual enforcement in the U.S. on that grounds, it confuses issues more than it clarifies.)

    So we can see I disagree with just about everybody here on some grounds, and thus am really hard to pigeonhole. But, net, I’m opposed to attacking Iran.

  71. “The problem with Lieberman is that his default response to Middle East flare-ups is military action.”

    Except for, you know, that little flare-up involving the U.S. Liberty.

  72. “Iran possesses no legitimate grievances against the United States.

    If another nation had replaced our government with a puppet in 1953, I wonder if Warmongering Lunatic would think he had a legitimate grievance.

  73. Bob, if that had happened to Iran (instead of the actual events of 1951-1953*), they still wouldn’t have a legitimate grievance today, almost thirty years after the ayatollahs took over.

    (*Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq managed to alienate both the clerical and communist factions that supported him in Iran’s parliament-mostly because it wasn’t possible to keep the communists, democrats, and clericalists all happy at the same time, and assisted by the hardship caused by the British blockade. As his support slipped, he tried to make himself dictator of Iran through assumption of emergency powers, suspension of the secret ballot, an unconstitutional dissolution and suspension of Parliament, and the exiling of the Shah. The result was pushback from every faction in Iran that wasn’t in favor of a Mosaddeq dictatorship. That culminated in Mosaddeq being dismissed by the Shah, and the military backing the legally-appointed replacement Prime Minister in his effort to take control of the country. MI6 and the CIA took sides during the power struggles of ’53, but only the ignorant, fools, and agenda-blinded blame Mosaddeq’s fall on anything other than internal Iranian politics.)

  74. Ameircans killed 12,658 american civilians this year. Perhaps we should go to war with ourselves.

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