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Thread: US at war with IRAN

  1. #1
    Banned BrianS's Avatar
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    US at war with IRAN

    Koppel: The Iranians Are Coming! Again!

    Ted Koppel knows a thing or two about Iran. His coverage of the Iranian hostage crisis for ABC gave birth to "Nightline" and brought down a U.S. president. Since leaving ABC's "Nightline" last November, Koppel is now a contributing columnist for "The New York Times" and the managing editor of the "Discovery Channel." He's written a piece for the Times today called "Iran Rising: Look What Democratic Reform Dragged In."

    You can't actually read this without buying the Times, or agreeing to sign up for their web feed since it's firmly locked up behind the TimesSelect subscription wall. While I can appreciate their need to make a buck, I also think the public good on this article -- given the precariousness of what's transpiring in the Middle East -- trumps that consideration. Apparently the Huffington Post feels the same way since they've been steering their traffic over here for a look-see. {Note to Huffington Post'ers -- Welcome!}

    So, here it is, Koppel's column, direct from the man who counted down the hostage crisis for America, and tells us today that the Iranians are coming... again...

    The United States is already at war with Iran; but for the time being the battle is being fought through surrogates.

    That message was conveyed to me recently by a senior Jordanian intelligence official at his office in Amman. He spoke on the condition of anonymity, reflecting gloomily on the failure of the Bush administration’s various policies in the region.

    He reserved his greatest contempt for the policy of encouraging democratic reform. “For the Islamic fundamentalists, democratic reform is like toilet paper,” he said. “You use it once and then you throw it away.”

    Lest the point elude me, the official conducted a brief tour of recent democratic highlights in the region. Gaza and the West Bank, where Hamas, spurned by the State Department as a terrorist organization, was voted into power last spring and now represents the Palestinian government; Lebanon, where Hezbollah, similarly rejected by the United States, has become the most influential political entity in the country; and, of course, Iraq, where the Shiite majority has now, through elections, gained political power commensurate with its numbers.

    In each case, the intelligence officer reminded me, the beneficiary of those electoral victories is allied with and, to some degree, dependent upon Iran. Over the past couple of months alone, he told me, Hamas has received more than $300 million in cash, provided by Iran and funneled through Syria. He told me what has now become self-evident to the residents of Haifa: namely, that Iran has made longer-range and more powerful rockets and missiles available to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. We’ll come back to the subject of Iraq.

    Only a couple of days after my meeting in Amman, I visited a then-superficially peaceful Lebanon, where I was introduced to Sheik Nabil Qaouk, the commander of Hezbollah forces in the southern part of the country. Sheik Qaouk, who also holds the title of general, wears the robes and turban of a Shiite religious leader. Indeed, he studied religion for more than 10 years in the Iranian holy city of Qom. He received his military training in Iran and his wife and six children still live there.

    Sheik Qaouk portrayed Hezbollah as being a purely defensive, Lebanese entity. But the more than 12,000 missiles and rockets that the sheik said were in Hezbollah’s arsenal were largely provided by Iran.

    I asked about those newer, longer-range rockets mentioned by my Jordanian intelligence source. The sheik implicitly acknowledged their existence, but refused to talk about their capacities, with which the world has since become familiar. “Let our enemies worry,” he said.

    When Sheik Qaouk talked about Israel and Hezbollah, his organization’s ambitions were not framed in purely defensive terms. There is only harmony between Hezbollah’s endgame and the more provocative statements made over the past year by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president. Both foresee the elimination of the Jewish state.

    Are the Israelis over-reacting in Lebanon? Perhaps they simply perceive their enemies’ intentions with greater clarity than most. It is not the Lebanese who make the Israelis nervous, nor even Hezbollah. It is the puppet-masters in Tehran capitalizing on every opportunity that democratic reform presents. In the Palestinian territories, in Lebanon, in Egypt, should President Hosni Mubarak be so incautious as to hold a free election, it is the Islamists who benefit the most.

    But Washington’s greatest gift to the Iranians lies next door in Iraq. By removing Saddam Hussein, the United States endowed the majority Shiites with real power, while simultaneously tearing down the wall that had kept Iran in check.

    According to the Jordanian intelligence officer, Iran is reminding America’s traditional allies in the region that the United States has a track record of leaving its friends in the lurch — in Vietnam in the 70’s, in Lebanon in the 80’s, in Somalia in the 90’s.

    In his analysis, the implication that this decade may witness a precipitous American withdrawal from Iraq has begun to produce an inclination in the region toward appeasing Iran.

    It is in Iraq, he told me, “where the United States and the coalition forces must confront the Iranians.’’ He added, “You must build up your forces in Iraq and you must announce your intention to stay.”

    Sitting in his Amman office, he appeared to be a man of few illusions; so he did not make the recommendation with any great hope that his advice would be followed. But neither did he leave any doubts as to which country would benefit if that advice happened to be ignored.

    There you have it. The people in the Middle East who are afraid of Iran want us to stay in Iraq. I wonder what the Democratic position is on that one?

    What I particularly hate about this situation is that here, in July, our political leaders (on both sides!) are obsessed about the election in November. This means that Sunday's talk shows will be consumed by more finger-pointing and blame-gaming. The Democrats hate Bush so much they wouldn't lift a finger to help him even if it is in our nation's interests and the Republicans think the Democrats can't be trusted to understand geo-political realities. So they'll fight each other first rather than realize that we have more in common with each other and coming together is what's needed.

    What really, truly ought to happen is that Bush and the leaders of both parties ought to be meeting now, exploring what the real challenges facing are nation are, tossing around ideas for how best to respond and honest-to-God working together.

    But, of course, they won't. Because that's not the way things work in Washington. And that completely sucks. At least that's my opinion, for what it's worth...

  2. #2
    GODFATHER mike black's Avatar
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    Re: US at war with IRAN

    Wait, a minute - where does the article end?

    I can't imagine Koppel saying "sucks". Nevermind. Figured it out at the link.

    I question whether you actually read the article Brian. It makes a case for the U.S. to be in Iraq for the froseable future.

  3. #3
    Chiseler ty gorton's Avatar
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    Re: US at war with IRAN

    Thanks for posting this up, appreciate it.

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    GODFATHER Greenville 90210's Avatar
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    Re: US at war with IRAN

    thanks, man.

  5. #5

    Re: US at war with IRAN

    Whole Article without the blogging:

    The United States is already at war with Iran; but for the time being the battle is being fought through surrogates.

    That message was conveyed to me recently by a senior Jordanian intelligence official at his office in Amman. He spoke on the condition of anonymity, reflecting gloomily on the failure of the Bush administration's various policies in the region.

    He reserved his greatest contempt for the policy of encouraging democratic reform. ''For the Islamic fundamentalists, democratic reform is like toilet paper,'' he said. ''You use it once and then you throw it away.''

    Lest the point elude me, the official conducted a brief tour of recent democratic highlights in the region. Gaza and the West Bank, where Hamas, spurned by the State Department as a terrorist organization, was voted into power last spring and now represents the Palestinian government; Lebanon, where Hezbollah, similarly rejected by the United States, has become the most influential political entity in the country; and, of course, Iraq, where the Shiite majority has now, through elections, gained political power commensurate with its numbers.

    In each case, the intelligence officer reminded me, the beneficiary of those electoral victories is allied with and, to some degree, dependent upon Iran. Over the past couple of months alone, he told me, Hamas has received more than $300 million in cash, provided by Iran and funneled through Syria. He told me what has now become self-evident to the residents of Haifa: namely, that Iran has made longer-range and more powerful rockets and missiles available to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. We'll come back to the subject of Iraq.

    Only a couple of days after my meeting in Amman, I visited a then-superficially peaceful Lebanon, where I was introduced to Sheik Nabil Qaouk, the commander of Hezbollah forces in the southern part of the country. Sheik Qaouk, who also holds the title of general, wears the robes and turban of a Shiite religious leader. Indeed, he studied religion for more than 10 years in the Iranian holy city of Qom. He received his military training in Iran and his wife and six children still live there.

    Sheik Qaouk portrayed Hezbollah as being a purely defensive, Lebanese entity. But the more than 12,000 missiles and rockets that the sheik said were in Hezbollah's arsenal were largely provided by Iran.

    I asked about those newer, longer-range rockets mentioned by my Jordanian intelligence source. The sheik implicitly acknowledged their existence, but refused to talk about their capacities, with which the world has since become familiar. ''Let our enemies worry,'' he said.

    When Sheik Qaouk talked about Israel and Hezbollah, his organization's ambitions were not framed in purely defensive terms. There is only harmony between Hezbollah's endgame and the more provocative statements made over the past year by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president. Both foresee the elimination of the Jewish state.

    Are the Israelis over-reacting in Lebanon? Perhaps they simply perceive their enemies' intentions with greater clarity than most. It is not the Lebanese who make the Israelis nervous, nor even Hezbollah. It is the puppet-masters in Tehran capitalizing on every opportunity that democratic reform presents. In the Palestinian territories, in Lebanon, in Egypt, should President Hosni Mubarak be so incautious as to hold a free election, it is the Islamists who benefit the most.

    But Washington's greatest gift to the Iranians lies next door in Iraq. By removing Saddam Hussein, the United States endowed the majority Shiites with real power, while simultaneously tearing down the wall that had kept Iran in check.

    According to the Jordanian intelligence officer, Iran is reminding America's traditional allies in the region that the United States has a track record of leaving its friends in the lurch -- in Vietnam in the 70's, in Lebanon in the 80's, in Somalia in the 90's.

    In his analysis, the implication that this decade may witness a precipitous American withdrawal from Iraq has begun to produce an inclination in the region toward appeasing Iran.

    It is in Iraq, he told me, ''where the United States and the coalition forces must confront the Iranians.'' He added, ''You must build up your forces in Iraq and you must announce your intention to stay.''

    Sitting in his Amman office, he appeared to be a man of few illusions; so he did not make the recommendation with any great hope that his advice would be followed. But neither did he leave any doubts as to which country would benefit if that advice happened to be ignored.

  6. #6
    Lord of the OOMPH!!! Ray G.'s Avatar
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    Re: US at war with IRAN

    Thanks, Nate. It's nice to see it without spin.

    Honestly, I'd like to avoid another military entanglement, especially since the administration seems to know how to win a war but not how to handle an occupation, but the consequences of another war are nothing compared to the consequences of a nuclear Iran.
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  7. #7
    Banned BrianS's Avatar
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    Re: US at war with IRAN

    Quote Originally Posted by mike black
    Wait, a minute - where does the article end?

    I can't imagine Koppel saying "sucks". Nevermind. Figured it out at the link.

    I question whether you actually read the article Brian. It makes a case for the U.S. to be in Iraq for the froseable future.

    Yes, thanks Nate...I threw it up quick, and I usually HATE posting from blogs.
    I had meant to bold Koppels stuff...grrr...

    Mike, I firmly believe we either have to COMMIT to Iraq, or get out.
    Right now we are doing it half-assed. OK, we should never have gone in the first place, but now that we're there, we can't leave them in their current state of civil war. The main problem is, I don't believe we have enough troops to secure Iraq, Afghanistan AND deal with Iran.

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