Irankonferenz. Au§enminister Mohammed Dschawad Sarif trifft die Hohe Vertreterin der EU f?r Au§en- und Sicherheitspolitik, Catherine Ashton in Wien. 18.02.2014, Foto: Dragan Tatic
Culture Education Montana Politics

Iran deal not enough to secure peace

The title of this post may seem odd, considering that I’ve been consistently supporting the nuclear deal with Iran (and indeed, have been supporting some sort of deal like it since 9th grade). But the fact is that the deal that is likely to pass, while necessary, isn’t sufficient to secure peace. A deal involving inspections of facilities that could be used for WMD is exactly what we had before the Iraq war, after all, and it’s almost certain that those favoring war with Iran are going to keep trying, and indeed have already made progress.

The first step of course is to connect Iran to our enemy de jour, ISIS. Top Republicans like Ted Cruz have already been doing just that, referring to “Global Jihadism” in an effort to find a Venn diagram circle big enough to fit such disparate entities as ISIS and Iran. Right wing media like Breitbart and Fox are rolling with it, arguing that there’s no real difference between the two.

All of this will likely have little effect until January of 2017 – Obama, after all, is unlikely to sabotage his own legacy, or admit he signed a bad deal. But a pro-war president, which seems to mean most of the Republican field, could not only sabotage the deal but also instigate direct hostilities against Iran.

How can this be prevented? First, elect Democrats, and elect them carefully. It’s impossible to calculate how much more likely a Democratic Senator is than a Republican one to support peace with Iran, because that involves dividing by zero, but it’s clear that at the moment the Republican party is dedicated to increasing tensions with Iran. Don’t be fooled by ‘mavericks’ like Rand Paul: war with Iran, or even increasing sanctions, certainly flies in the face of his ‘libertarian’ philosophy, but he won’t let that stop him from supporting it. However, the few Democrats (Ben Cardin, Robert Menendez, Joe Manchin, and Chuck Schumer) who oppose the deal also represent a danger beyond their small numbers (and, in at least one case, likely imminent criminal convictions): they put a bipartisan gloss on what is in fact a radical attempt to drag America into continuous conflict with Iran – a conflict that has gained us nothing, cost us a great deal, and continues to make peace in the region less and less likely. For Montanans, things are more clear cut: we have a Republican opposing the deal and a Democrat supporting it. However, on the East Coast, it’s clear the party needs to make a decision that conflict with Iran is unacceptable, and supporting further conflict is conduct unbecoming of a Democratic elected official.

Besides politics, however, informed citizens who can see the pressure for war coming from far away can work to prevent further hostilities in other ways. Declaring war generally requires convincing Americans it’s a good idea – which is much easier if they are already pre-disposed to see Iranians as villains. Inhibiting this tendency means educating family and friends about the real situation in Iran, it means respectfully correcting erroneous, bellicose thinking on social media, and it means standing up to blowhards and warmongers. But educators (who are a major readership of this here blog) have a special duty. I know that students of my generation were woefully undereducated about Afghan and Iraqi culture until it was too late. I see a better chance for Iran, partially because people like Stephen Kinzer identified America’s bellicose intentions far in advance, and the process of educating Americans started far earlier. Far more Americans know the history of Muhammed Mossadegh than knew about the backgrounds of Afghanistan or Iraq, and even a generally jingoistic Hollywood has taken notice, including that critical background in films like Argo that could have otherwise presented unmitigated demonization.

The education of Americans, however, is far from sufficient: I still see World History courses literally skipping over the Achemaenid, Parthian, and Safavid civilizations and their accomplishments, and US History teachers largely foregoing discussion of the coups of the 1950’s. Only a tiny percentage of Americans has any understanding of Iran’s political system, or how Iranian human rights compare to American ‘allies’ in the region. This is where the real work of inoculating American citizens against War Fever comes in.

The deal with Iran will not be enough, on its own, to reign in the power of those who have an interest in war with that country. However, this time supporters of war tipped their hands very early, and thoughtful, informed American citizens, who a decade ago could only watch with horror as the surreally irrational and immoral Iraq war happened before their eyes despite their opposition, have a chance at real grassroots resistance through both political and socio-cultural action.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • Quite a while back, years in fact, you wrote that on the matter of the JFK assassination, you were “agnostic.” That’s an expression or moral cowardice, as the information you need to cure your agnosticism is abundant and easily accessed. But it will cost you, and that is the definition of the moral coward, fear of leaving mainstream. You can either live by faith, which is what moral cowardice requires, or evidence, which upsets conventional belief systems.

    And that cowardice expresses itself throughout your wordy and missing-point post here – faith in a political system that never delivers results, faith in an education system that turns out workers, soldiers and bureaucrats, and faith in yourself, that despite the easily accessible higher world view that places fake “deals” like that with Iran in perspective, you’ll not access that information because it is uncomfortable to do so. So much reasier it is to fall back on bromides and appeals to mediocrity as exist in our non-thinking and uninformed lives.

    I feel your hubris, your insistence that you are indeed inside and know what is up. It’s hard to get knocked around by evidence, but do understand that avoidance of it is the definition of the moral coward. That would include 90-95% of the population, so you’ll always have friends, you’ll always have Kinzers to fall back on, and you’ll never have to admit being wrong. You’ll just change your tune a bit. But you are wrong, about everything you think.

    I await the triggering of your intellectual development, which can start at any time. For me, it did not happen until age 38. You’re young.

    • Any disagreement with the substance of the post, Mark?

      “But you are wrong, about everything you think. ”

      I think, very strongly, that we shouldn’t invade Iran, that there are those who would, but there is a possibility we will not. If those three statements are all wrong, per your worldview, it’s a very odd world you live in.

      I also think Kinzer has done more to educate Americans about Iranian-American history than most, and that this education was a major reason the Baghdad-Damascus-Tehran plan that was so openly proclaimed in 2003 has been bogged down dramatically (though never killed). I also think that while he was touring the country trying either to slow down the plan you were doing people’s taxes and ranting online. So I know who I think I’d rather keep company with, thanks.

      • Address the issue at hand? How can I? We do not have the necessary facts. (unless you are a true believer, in which case they fall in your lap without intellectual effort.)

        In the meantime, address the matter of moral cowardice. Would you rather be part of mainstream thought and get along, or actually use your brain and make find yourself on the margins?

        One takes courage, the other not, I’ll wait.

        • Real response: we do have the necessary facts. We don’t know a great deal, but we know enough. We know Iraq was an unmitigated catastrophe, from a moral and geopolitical perspective. We know that the US won’t attempt a ground war without majority support. We know that people can be easily swayed to offer that support – view Iraq. But we also have a good idea of HOW they are swayed. We don’t have the money to launch an enormous ad campaign, but we don’t need it. Someone is spending a lot of money to make sure every time I log into Facebook, I see an ad telling me to vote against Tester since he supports the Iran deal (with a mushroom cloud in the background, no less). Consistent efforts by enough people can have the same effect without the same resources. (More importantly, though, it’s possible to play different monied interests against one another – open up enough business to Iran, and they [the businesses] won’t tolerate a re-enforcement of sanctions, much less an invasion).

          • Funny – the accounting. swipe, while a truism, had a different tint during the Enron affair, when accountants were called upon to say things that were true in the face of power. Most failed – all but two people, one apparently by dumb accident. I saw at the time, comparing journalism (glamorous) and accounting (not), that each was paid by power to (in theory)!report truthfully about power, an impossibility. Each profession is babkrupt.

            But that is a deflection on your part. You are right we do not have the necessary facts. What more need be said?

            If there is to be a war, many things must come together. One of them, public opinion, is the least troublesome. According to Lawrence Eagleburger before Iraq 2003, they felt they could count on 60-70% support after working their PR campaigns, WMD’s the lie of choice. He was dead on.

            So, do we know the U.S. won’t attempt a ground war without majority support? Wrong question! The U.S. will attempt to achieve is goals by the most efficient way possible, though regular wars, even if pointless, are a part of policy. In Syria, they chose to found and fund ISIS, and of course, ally themselves with a former “enemy,” al Qaeda. Wrong question you ask there.

            Proper question: What means to their desired ends are to be used this time? A ground war is one option. Funding a local insurgency proved more reliable.

            Speaking of moral courage, or lack thereof: It is my suspicion that you are more schooled than most, but like most rely on authority figures for your opinions, in this case Kinzer. That is a truism as well, that most people don’t look inward and weigh evidence to discern truth, but rather upward. That you inject intellectual hubris but essentially behave as Joe Sixpack, relying on authority figures for your truth, is interesting.

          • ? That was a whole lot of irrelevance. You’re right, it was easy to whip up public support for the war in Iraq, because there was no effective effort to create support for the Iraqi people and opposition to the war. Today, we have a chance to do just that – convince Americans they don’t want a war on Iran. It needs to be tried. Iran is far less vulnerable to internal insurgency than Syria, because it most more ethnically and religiously united. But what you’re not getting, I think, is the importance of sanctions. Neither the US nor Israeli defense establishment believed that sanctions could slow Iran in building a nuclear bomb, or that sanctions would lead to regime change. Why implement them, then, and why fight their removal? Simple: sanctions cut economic ties, thus eliminating the natural allies of peace: businesses making money in Iran. When Iranians start buying Ford Fiestas and halal Big Macs, you’ll have a strong disencentive for any kind of hostile action. And while you’ll call that capitulation, I (and the Iranian people) will be observing peace and increased prosperity.

          • You seem to like to attempt to control a discussion by repetition of an ill-constructed argument based on false premises, which you rinse and repeat ad nauseum. But your view is very narrowly informed, and I don’t think has changed in essence since you argued in 2011 that Obama’s aggression (masked as NATO) was good aggression, an improvement over bad Bush aggression. You lack the political savvy to understand that parties are merely the same team in home and away uniforms, and that elections have no impact on foreign policy. Ergo, in your view, putting a D in office must have had positive effect, and you went searching for it. It was confirmation bias, big time, a complete misunderstanding of how our system is constructed (as taught in school).

            You continually harp on the nuclear issue as if it were real, presuming to know that Iran was developing a bomb rather than nuclear power, as it is legally allowed to do under the NNPT. So your foundation for debate is flawed at the outset, poisoned by MSM saturation. It is irrelevant. No one in power cares about it, but from a marketing standpoint, it carries fear with it, and so it works. ergo, the recent “deal” had to be about something else. What? We cannot know. (We usually only get a hint of what really went on decades later, when sanitized internal records are released.)

            You presume to know that sanctions are a peace-seeking device, rather than economic warfare. You presume they are morally justified because you bought into the false premise that aggression against Iran is justified due to threats posed to peace by Iran, false.

            Proper course of action? Do nothing. Iran presents no threat to peace. A reasonably competent person, unrestrained by our indoctrination system, can easily see that the greatest threat to world peace is US foreign policy, and that has not changed in my lifetime, the postwar era. Elections, save perhaps the one in 1960, have not affected it.

            I do wish you’d deal with all aspects of a debate, including use of the self reflection necessary to get yourself out of the self-affirming sense of hubris that presumes that Stephen Kinzer is gonna lead you down the path of light. You need to broaden your frame of reference. You’re mired in irrelevance, tuned into the commissar class.

            My arguments above were cogent. I answered your swipe at accountants in a way you did not expect, showing my own profession to be, just like journalism, thoroughly corrupt. Both accountants and journalists are paid to report on the people who pay them. It cannot work, is designed not to work. Deal with it.

          • You bring up confirmation bias, which is an interesting point. I’ll approach that first. There’s a way to minimize confirmation/publication bias, which scientists should use more than they do: publish your methods and hypothesis before you publish your conclusions. I did precisely that: before Obama was elected (before he was even well known), and before Democrats had, to my knowledge, taken any position on Iran, I was arguing that sanctions should be lifted, that we should normalize relations with Iran. I wrote my 9th grade persuasive essay about it (“Peace with Persia” – I was big into alliteration then, ask Mrs. Belisle, Helena High). That’s how you fight confirmation bias: you propose what would be ‘good’ and ‘bad’ policy before you know who supports what. I was on the record opposing our conflict with Iran before Obama, and I backed it up with what little action I could, joining Stephen Kinzer’s efforts. This is all verifiable. As is the reverse: when it looked like we were in a coin-toss about commencing airstrikes against Assad, I came out and openly said it was a bad idea, that the justification didn’t make sense. If Obama had done it, I would not have been able to recant (indeed, even though he didn’t end up bombing Assad, I still published my opinion that declaring a ‘red line’ on chemical weapons use was wrong – in my opinion, one of his biggest policy mistakes). And I don’t take Kinzer as gospel – I disagree with him, for example, on the effects of NATO expansion, as well as intervention in Libya. But on Iran, he’s right.

          • As to the substance of your reply – I never claimed to know Iran is building a bomb. But you yourself claimed (accurately) that it’s the only rational thing for Iran to do to protect itself, and that Iran is inherently rational. So, to make the claim that Iran is not building a bomb, one of your postulates must be false – and they both seem quite sound to me. But I absolutely agree that sanctions are much more likley to lead to war than peace, as you say – so now that we’re clear on that, isn’t it also clear that the lifting of sanctions is a move towards peace? By your own definitions, isn’t it clear that the current administration is moving us away from war with Iran? And as I argue at the bottom, no Democratic president & Senate will be able to declare war on Iran for at least a decade, whereas Republicans, having gone on record mistrusting Iran, have all the more motivation to “discover” some discrepancy, some reason to scrap the agreement and potentially launch a strike.

          • Again you fall back on avoiding war with Iran as an objective, obfuscating the U.S. policy objective of undermining the regime by any and all means, sanctions, war, subversion. My solution, to do nothing, stop being an aggressor, makes perfect sense. If the US does nothing, nothing bad happens. Iran is not militaristic, aggressive, or expansionist. That”s us.

            Iran having a bomb? I don’t care. It would make sense, but it is also a negotiating ploy. I do worry about Israelis with nukes, as while they are under U.S. control, neither the U.S. Nor Israel has shown restraint in dealing with this region of the world. The area has been bombed, attacked, and under sanctions since 1991. The crimes just against Iraq and Libta are historic, the criminals, desk murderers as Arendt called them, walking free, pretending to seek peace as they murder children. Tphis is Bush 41, Clinton, 42, and Obama. desk murderers all, all in need of a good Nuremberg toe-twitching party.

            Their only relief, in my view, is that they do not actually make policy. They are mere actors on the stage. Those who run foreign policy do not consult the electorate, though for control of the domestic population, elections are a necessary exercise.

            It appears that, given your interest in the region since 9th grade, you’ve received a sanitized history of US involvement, which has included Nuremberg scale atrocities. Perhaps that is the reason we don’t see eye-to-eye- you never got beyond your American schooling.

            There’s tons of resources out there. Kinzer satisfies you emotionally, this much is clear. But that is not a wise course. You should seek out people who upset your thinking, not conform it.

            Confirmation bias is defatted in the following manner: You challenge your own views, become your own harshest critic. Your views, if they survive your own rigorous self examination, are then defensible. I don’t see that you’ve done that. By your own admission, you still hold the same views as in 9th grade. Where is forward movement?

          • I’m over giving lengthy responses to your endless tedium – as it distracts me from better uses of my time – but you still don’t get it. The goal ought to be normalization of our relationship with Iran. That’s one thing I’ve consistently said, regardless of what party is in power or what they are saying. And if it’s just parrotting what I learned in school, wouldn’t that negate your ever repeated point that school is just indoctrination to make us support jingoistic capitalism? Your solution – ‘do nothing’ – isn’t terrible advice with regard to our relations with Iran, where you’re right, there is little chance of war. But as private citizens, it’s clear ‘do nothing’ (or it’s close cousin, ‘post nonsense on blogs’ hasn’t worked out. However, thanks to people who worked to put Obama and Dems in the Senate, Iranians will still have their own money back, their standards of living will go up, old people will live longer and babies will die less frequently. It’s not a sufficient condition for peace, but a necessary one. If you’re going to tell me that that’s what John McCain had in mind for Iran, you’re delusional. But then, you thought we were going to nuke Iran two years ago, so I guess that question has been answered.

  • the Iran deal is not about securing peace. it’s about a global economic war being waged by the west against the increasingly integrated economic bloc represented by the BRICS nations.

    since the premise articulated in the title of your post is crap, it’s not surprising that most of what follows is also crap. “first, elect Democrats?” that’s hilarious. and yeah, go educate Americans, PW. go stand up to all those evil warmongers in the GOP. if you haven’t noticed, the Democrat establishment isn’t too keen on talking foreign policy, and for good reason.

    I’m sure a post is forthcoming.

    • Good, good, the far left establishment hates the peace deal too. So Obama, Merkel, Hollande, all villains, sure. But Rouhani! He’s also a villain, selling out his people, right? The Iran deal does have a huge economic component, you’re right: but it’s going to lead to a great deal less ‘economic warfare’. First, Iranians will have more access to their own money, which will both ease tensions and improve standards of living. Second, they’ll be better integrated into the global economy. That will not only benefit their people, it will also give them powerful, monied friends in the halls of congress, which makes war less likely.

      One reason it was so easy to steam roll the public into a war in Iraq was because there were no monied interests opposed: a decade of sanctions meant no one was really doing business there. If American companies are deeply invested in Iran, however, there’s every reason to believe that they’ll be putting pressure on the US government to keep relations amiable.

      The spectacle of you and Mark hoping for the Iranian government to let its own people continue to suffer in order to win some symbolic ‘victory’ against capitalsim (or something) is just too much. Almost like your pretension that Chinese and Russian capitalism are in any fundamental way different, to say nothing of more humane, than that practiced in the West. If there’s a war between the W. European system of Capital and the Russo-Chinese one, it’s clear which side should win (for the benefit of humanity)!

      • the hubris is strong in you, PW. no head of state gives a shit about trying to benefit humanity.

        and why this constant need to equate criticism of US foreign policy with acceptance of the opposition? I have never claimed Russia and China would lead the world in any better direction.

        all directions right now point toward escalation. saying that first we need to elect Democrats is honestly worthless advice.

      • So a deal that gives Iran access to its own money and to international finance is escalation? I’m curious. I agree there is still a strong possibility for escalation. But it’s clear which side wants it – those who actively oppose the deal also actively promote war and conflict with Iran. Are you suggesting the two sides are totally inverted? I don’t see how 40 Senators who voted for the agreement are going to eat crow and vote, within the next couple of years, to break the terms of the agreement. We can’t be at war with Oceania that quickly – Dems, minus the four warmongers, have basically committed to not attacking Iran for a few years at least. Republicans, on the other hand, can and probably will derail the agreement if given a chance, in the White House or the Senate. Is it your opnion somehow that there’s not likely to lead to escalation?

          • yes, I think this deal with Iran is an escalation, like the western-backed coup in Ukraine and normalization with Cuba.

            a global conflagration is getting more likely, not less. would you disagree?

          • Yes, I strongly disagree. The signing of this deal creates a pretty huge financial incentive for both sides to NOT accept a flare up. How are lifting sanctions of Cuba and Iran acts of escalation, while putting more sanctions on Russia is also an act of escalation? Do you think it’s possible that you’re seeing all events as acts of escalation, even ones of opposite natures?

          • Peace is not the goal. Perpetual war will not end even if Iran, N. Korea, Russia and China are all defeated by Empire. Total dominance requires constant war against every living thing on the face of the Earth. Get used to it or fight against it, you cannot have it both ways. Vote Democrat if you like, it will change nothing — it’s just a slightly longer route to the same end.

          • ” Perpetual war ” ” it’s just a slightly longer route to the same end.” Wait – but if the war is perpetual, it has no ‘end’, nor a beginning. So a longer route actually just means slowing down the killing – ie, allowing more human beings to live better lives. But in your mind, that’s not a good enough reason to vote for Democrats, because it distracts from what we really need to do, which is make fatalistic comments and poor predictions on local blogs. Got it.

          • What I’m hearing from the unhinged Left is that nothing really matters, because we won’t be completely at peace, our only choices are killing more people or fewer, and they won’t vote or pick sides until they can be killing no people. That’s idiodic. Real peace has never existed in the world, conflict, not cooperation, is the rule. Some see a chance for ‘peace’ in a multi-polar world, not realizing that such multipolar set ups have actually allowed, in many cases, for greater violence and oppression than we see today (go ahead, look up 1848). If your moral compass doesn’t see ‘killing fewer peope’ as an issue worth caring about, sorry, you’re an idealistic psychopath.

          • Nice word games. You have provided no evidence for “killing fewer people” because Democrats are elected. Different people perhaps. Fewer, I doubt that seriously, and history is not kind to that theory.

            We are following almost to the letter the unambiguous “Yinon Plan” for the Middle East. Look it up, I’m tired of providing that link.

          • Okay Steve, I’m going to venture a bit down your rabbit hole. The Yinon plan offers little to nothing in the way of benefits for the United States. So then you’re proposing that this is true, that the US is essentially doing Israel’s bidding in the ME. Okay. So Israel made their desires pretty clear regarding the sanctions against Iran. Don’t you suppose a huge electoral defeat on the part of the Republican party and Chuck Schumer & co would put a bit of a damper on America’s overt support such a plan. And then you bring up history. Yes, let’s look at that. Have we had a bi-partisan drive for the Yinon plan? We had Iraq under Bush, and Syria is largely an aftershock of Iraq. But before Bush, we had Clinton, whose policies seemed pretty opposite what you’re talking about: consistent support for Mubarak in Egypt, no real moves against Assad, continued friendship with Jordan, and a conscious effort to keep Iraq standing in 1998. Nothing like the plan you’re talking about in any of the countries that actually posed a threat to Israel. Now, you could say Obama’s abortive attempt to push strikes on Assad, or whatever covert action the US is taking in Syria (which seems in any event dwarfed by Saudi, Turkish, UAE, and potentially Egyptian actions), qualifies as an effort to continue the Yinon plan, but look how poorly he did it! Democrats didn’t line up behind him, Republicans continued to mistrust him. If anything is clear, it’s that the Democratic party is less likely to throw us into ground wars and less able to marshal support for air wars.

            All that said, the second part of the post is ultimately more important: If people have a generally positive opinion of Iran, or at least large already-existing doubts about attacking it, war is much less likely in the coming decade.

          • Your mistake here is to presume that Israel and the US are different entities. Eliminate that notion, Yinon makes perfect sense. The U.S. needs small and manageable states, and a cop on the beat to manage them. Current war efforts are to break up the larger countries into smaller ones, and expand Israel’s borders. Whether it is the U.S. or Israel carrying out these objectives matters not.

            U.S. Elections have no impact, no input in these matter, decided at much higher levels.

  • All of this crap above never has addressed some issues that are the pink elephants in the room. #1 Iran has never attacked anyone in its long history. Ever. #2 No one has ever proved that they are even building a bomb. All the statements by the Bushies that they were have so far been proven false. They have claimed to be trying to build a nuclear reactor to generate power which they desperately need. The Supreme Leader declared in 2003 that a Nuclear Bomb was against Islam and that they would not do any weapons development. They are a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty actually – unlike both Pakistan and India who are also and in violation of that agreement have both developed and exploded nuclear weapons – where is the outrage there???

    Iran has been trying for years for some sort of rapprochement with the US and has been snubbed repeatedly by our diplomatic corps at every turn whenever they have made an approach. But they have kept on trying which is nothing short of amazing.

    The only thing that has been a problem is the anti-American rhetoric of former civilian President Ahmedinijad, and he is gone now. Anyone who knows anything about the hierarchy of the country knows it is the religious leaders who really call the shots there so the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is who you really want to pay attention to. He says that atomic weapons are against Islam. Therefore, no bombs. Period. People who know say that their nuclear weapons programs were all shut down in 2003 right after that fatwa. Of course the warmongers here have chosen to ignore that because there is money to be made fighting wars as we all know too. ‘Nuff said.

  • PW,

    “The Yinon plan offers little to nothing in the way of benefits for the United States.”
    Yes, hold onto that thought. Neocons and “liberal interventionists” are destroying national sovereignty everywhere you turn. Is this not where the unrelenting attacks on the U.S. Constitution and our national sovereignty originate? Most recently, witness TPP and NATO’s involvement on multiple fronts leading us closer to a nuclear showdown with Russia — a final act with no winner IMO. It’s all staring you in the face if you will open your eyes.

    During Obama’s tenure neocons and “liberal interventionists” have become almost indistinguishable. He began with retaining Bush holdovers, and added some of the most dangerous warmongers to some of the highest positions in government.

    “Obama’s foreign policy is a box of chocolates. Except you always know what you’re going to get __ more war, more bombing, more drone assassinations, more innocent civilian deaths, more illegal regime change, more chaos and destruction.”

    – John Rachel

    • yep, and let’s remember how last year Obama appointed, and the senate confirmed, David Barron as a federal judge. why doest that matter? because this guy helped create the legal justification for Obama to kill American citizens with drone strikes:

      WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday confirmed David Barron to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, overcoming bipartisan opposition over legal memos he authored justifying the use of drones to kill American terrorist suspects overseas.

      The final vote was 53 to 45. All Republicans opposed his confirmation, along with two Democrats: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Mary Landrieu (La.).

      Barron, who is currently a Harvard Law professor, faced resistance for weeks over the drone memos he drafted during his time at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel early in the Obama administration. A group of liberal and conservative senators banded together and vowed to oppose him unless the administration made public all drone-related memos that Barron had a hand in crafting. The White House stepped up its game last week, sending White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler to Senate Democrats’ weekly lunch to make the case for Barron and allowing lawmakers to view copies of Barron’s memos in a secure Senate room.

  • So wait, the Iraq war was about getting the TPP passed? Now you’re really getting ahead of yourself, Steve.

    Let me put it his way: Even if we assume that the US has created the situation in Syria via covert action (I’d say partially true, mostly false), there’s no way the US could have covertly started the sort of Sunni-Shi’a warfare happening in Syria without already having created the precursor to it via overt action in Iraq.

    So let’s forget Obama’s intentions; they are unknowable. Or, if you prefer, we can follow your assumptions: Obama has the exact same goals as Bush had. Even following that line of reasoning, it’s clear that with Obama as president, and with 40 some Democrats in the Senate, the US will not unprovokedly invade another country. Now we ask – is Iran susceptible to the combination of civil unrest and air power that was marshalled against Libya, or the the covert action used (at very least by SA, probably by the US) against Syria? The answer is no. So, it stands to reason that as long as we have an Obama-like president and 40-some Democrats in the Senate, there will not be an attack on Iran without provocation. And we know Iran will not provide such provocation – hence, elected suffiicent Democrats while working to improve the public’s opinion of Iran should prevent a war with that country – a catastrophe that would be worse than Iraq and Syria combined.

    Is there anything in that reasoning, wherein all of the ‘unknowns’ we assume to go to you, and yet still electing Democrats is the most likely path to avoiding war with Iran, that doesn’t follow?

    Because if so, I’ll bet any of you one hundred American dollars that, if we elect a Democratic president and 40-some Senators – not counting the four warmongers – in 2016, we will not attack Iran before 2020.

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