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20 September 2007


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Babak, good points about the ground zero issue. Of course, the US could easily turn this episode back on the hard liners if there was some real strategy for pursuing US goals through means other than military force. Ahmadinejad is hardly in a secure position politically at home, and the Iranian people (who do vote) are continually on the verge of throwing their bums out.

The FT had a story today about how Khatami appears to be thinking about how to run again in 2009.
>>>>"While cautioning that it is still early days, close allies of Mr Khatami say he remains one of the rare personalities in Iran who has enough appeal to wrest the presidency from fundamentalists. "He is willing to run and we think he'll win in a landslide if elections were held now. But we still have to wait and test the waters in due time," said one ally.

Another ally said Mr Khatami had become increasingly pessimistic about Iran's prospects, with the escalation of the nuclear dispute with the west and the deterioration of relations with Europe under the radical President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad.

..."He thinks both domestic and international developments will go in such a wrong direction that the regime [leaders] will ask him to run to help the survival of the system," said the ally."<<<<

Listening to Bush and Cheney it is clear that the their strategy is to essentially offer - through military force - the Iranian people a chance of another revolution. But the Iranian people do not want another revolution, which only brings 10,000% inflation, uncontrollable instability and massive uncertainty. The Iranians do want however real, controlled and evolutionary change to the established system to address their very real problems domestic and international problems. In more enlightened times, this would be a considered a rare and golden opportunity.

It's tragic, in the theatrical sense, how cravenly opportunistic this administration can be, while being so absolutely incapable of taking advantage of actual real-world opportunities.

Sidney O. Smith III

David Wurmser -- by proving himself an American traitor -- has done much to validate the worldview of the Hasidic Jews of Satmar and, for those of a religious bent, establish Satmar as a prophetic office. For those of us who grew up strongly Zionist, it comes as a shock. But give Wurmser credit for this: his “option” -- desiring to take affirmative steps to ensure that more US soldiers die and suffer in Iraq -- makes the issue crystal clear, or maybe I should say Kristol clear: as an American, where is your first loyalty…with those who serve our nation in uniform or with a very aggressive Zionist view -- one that even a large percentage of Israelis strongly reject?

In light of Wurmser clicking his heels in joy with the thought of seeing American blood spilled on the streets of Baghdad and even seeing 20 year old Americans writhing in death pangs, I offer a kindly recommendation. Check out what the rabbis of Satmar have been telling us for decades now.

Being raised Zionist (and relatively secular), at first I didn’t believe these Hasidic Jews…and admittedly I still don’t know. But Wurmser is proving their case. The followers of Satmar and similar Hasidic dynasties -- and they number between 120,000-150,000 -- have warned us for years of people like Wurmser and how people like Wurmser ultimately will endanger Jews not only in America but worldwide.

Here’s their website.


From what I can tell, this is a legitimate website. If I am wrong, please tell me. And from what I can glean, basically, these learned and scholarly rabbis believe that Zionism is a violation of the Torah and Talmud. They believe that only the Messiah can end the Exile and Herzl was not the Messiah. So to these Hasidic Jews, Zionism is a type of idolatry that has more to with worshipping the State than the very deep religious experience of true Torah spirituality.

Admittedly, I don’t know the answers. I am not a theologian -- the mere thought is ludicrous. So, if you despise the message of Satmar, don’t argue with me, argue with them. And, for the record, probably like the vast majority of folks, my entire life I have considered myself a Zionist. Like millions of other Americans, I grew up reading the works of such authors as Leon Uris -- the favorite author of my youth -- and much of my worldview comes from his book Exodus. But ol’ Leon did not tell us about Wurmser and his sidekick -- Hagee -- another warmonger with soft hands who incidentally embraces an virulent anti-Semitic vision of the “end days”.

You know, it’s strange. I always thought the USM did much to bring down Hitler and end the horror of WWII. And now Wurmser wants to see the USM further endangered. Maybe General Petraeus, if he really wants to become prez one day, should do something truly unconventional. Go on television and call Wurmser a traitor and challenge him to a “meeting” either in Baghdad or, perhaps even better, Fort Campbell, KY -- home of the Screaming Eagles. Those Screaming Eagles did much to end WWII and the horror of Hitler. It’s a pity that Wurmser wants to see Screaming Eagles annihilated. (Don’t believe me? Read Clemons post again).

A few initial observations about Satmar. Number one, these Hasidic Jews only have a message of peace. Two, no group loves the Jewish people and the Torah more than the rabbis of Satmar. Three, these Hasidic Jews are loyal to the nation in which they reside. In fact, for the ones who live in the US -- and the vast majority do -- it is a sin for them not to be loyal to the US. And, finally, from what I can tell, there is no group in world history with more faith in “Hashem” than these Hasidic Jews. None. It is extraordinary and even for those with a relatively secular lifestyle, such as myself, truly inspiring.

Check ‘em out and perhaps ask yourself…who do you trust more…Rabbi Teitelbaum or David Wurmser? Regardless of whether or not Satmar is correct on its view of Zionism, I am glad so many Hasidic Jews chose America as their home. May “Hashem” forever bless these Hasidic Jews living in the USA! And a word to Wurmser -- you are a traitor.

Babak Makkinejad


The chance of another revolution in Iran, in my judgement, is nil. The Revolution of 1979 followed by the war against Iraq has emotionally drained the Iranian people. Moreover, there are millions of people who owe their positions and situations in life to the current dispensation. I think a regime changes in any number of Arab states & Pakistan is more likely than in Iran - Iran has found her political equilibrium and she will run hither and thither within that boundary until she resolves her internal social, religious, economic, cultural, and political problems.

On the practical side I believe that the Iranian government is now viewing everything from the security point of view and thus has put in place mechanism in place to thwart any chance of regime change - soft, hard, or in between,

As far as Mr. Khatami running again, I am not sure that would make much of a difference. It was quite clear that US & EU were not prepared to give him something that he could show off as his accomplishment in dealings with US & EU.

On the one hand, you have a rather stubborn Iranian regime that feels under threat and under siege (Arab neighbours, Pakistan and its bombs, the US and UK on the ground in Iraq, etc.)

On the other hand, you have the West that does not like the Iranian regime, is under pressure in Iraq where it has become a complete disaster, and are blaming Iran for part of it. (Iran, if guilty at all, is probably responsible for less than 10% of it at most I would have thought - the Arabs are responsible for 90% of it, I mean the Iraqi Arabs, who are totally, utterly hopeless...and the US/UK for the way they dealt with it of course.)

This brinkmanship on both sides is worrying. If only a mood for compromise set it on either side, but there is none of that in the air right now.



I know Iran had nothing to do with 9/11. My point was that once again this administration has missed a golden opportunity to make headway in its policy regarding Iran, that is if there were a policy that didn't involve the military as its first option. But one of the principles of the neo-con ideology is to use the military to achieve its goals as a first option instead of as an absolute last option. And the media plays right into their hands by continuing to "drink the Kool-Aid."

Babak Makkinejad


You wrote: "once again this administration has missed a golden opportunity".

I do not think this case, the Ahmadinejad letters prior to this, or the 2003 Iranian offer of dialogue were opportunities that were "missed" by US government. Rather, I should think that deliberate decisions were made by USG since USG was neither interested in diplomacy nor in dialogue, in my opinion. I believe Ahmadinejad's administration & Khatami's administration before him were interested in initiating a dialogue.



I believe we are talking about the same thing but using different words. When I wrote "missed an opportunity" I meant that a deliberate decision was made. I did not mean that it was random chance the way events have unfolded. We are interpreting this event through the same prism. My apologies for not being more clear with my thoughts.


Babak, I agree that the chance of a revolution in Iran is zero (even though it remains a scenario in some circles of ignorance). I like your descriptions of the various balancing issues. The good news I guess is that right now the scales within Iran and the US are just balanced to avoid war, and time does not favor the hard liners in either country, as it only brings their respective policy failures at home and abroad into closer focus for their domestic opponents to exploit. The bad news is that in the meantime these scales could easily tip in the wrong direction for all the reasons discussed here.

One unrelated thought: I also wonder if Bush is thinking of Russia in his calculations of whether to listen to Dick or not. Russia would be happy for IRan and the US to duke it out for a while, and would put resources to make sure the fight was as painful as possible for all involved. Maybe the Decider gets this on some level, even if he gets little else?

Rob stormer

"Low yield" Cruise Missile?

Colonel Lang, what is your take on the so-called misplacment of 6 W80 ACM129's by the USAF? The W80 is what we call a "Dial Up Nuke". We can adjust its yield from 5kt to 150kt. As you know Barksdale AFB is a ME staging ground and really not part of the reduction business. Furthermore, we do not place nukes for elimination on a combat aircraft as one package.

I do not believe that MMS screwed up here. I believe someone at Barksdale got the wires crossed.

Babak Makkinejad


Yes, indeed about Russia. There have been various oil price simulations in US in the past in which the impact of a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia had been modeled. The conclusion was that under certain conditions Saudi Arabia could drive out of the market the Russian producers.

You can well imagine that the same task can be more easily accomplished if Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran are included on the Saudi Arabian side.

That is one reason, among many, that the US-Iran War will be a long war; there is snow ball's chance in hell of Russia letting Iran get defeated by US.

3000 years of human historical knowledge and we are discussing modes of piracy.

Clifford Kiracofe

Here is another take on the energy issue and Iran by a principal directly involved in the Iranian hydrocarbon bourse project:



Jim Webb on the trojan horse that is the Lieberman Iran amendment - the Senate is rushing to embrace.

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