This is from Obama’s official website. Emphasis mine.

Obama: Initial Meetings With Hostile Nations Would Start With Lower Level Aides; Bush Admin “Preconditions” Are Exactly What Need to Be Negotiated In These Meetings.

Asked whether his idea of meeting with hostile nations consisted of “from the get-go of the President of the United States” or lower level aides, Obama said, “The latter. Understand what the question was. The question was a very specific question. Would you meet without preconditions? Preconditions as it applies to a country like Iran for example was a term of art. Because this administration has been very clear that it will not have direct negotiations with Iran until Iran has meet preconditions that are essentially negotiations with Iran until Iran has met preconditions that are essentially what Iran used and many other observers would view as the subject of the negotiations. For example, [For example??] their nuclear program. The point is that I would not refuse to meet until they agree to every position that we want. But that doesn’t mean that we would not have preparation, and the preparation would involve starting with low level-lower level diplomatic contacts, having our diplomatic corps work through with Iranian counterparts, an agenda. But what I have said is that at some point I would be willing to meet. And that is a position, I mean, what’s puzzling is that we view this as in any way controversial, when this has been the history of U.S. diplomacy, until very recently. This whole notion of not talking to people, it didn’t hold in the ‘60s, it didn’’t hold in the ’70s, it didn’’t hold in the ’80s, it didn’’t hold in the ’90s, against much more powerful adversaries; much more dangerous adversaries. I mean, when Kennedy met with Khrushchev, we were on the brink of nuclear war. When Nixon met with Mao, that was with the knowledge that Mao had exterminated millions of people. And yet we understood that we could advance our national security interests by at least opening up lines of communication. And this was bipartisan. And it’s a signal of how badly our foreign policy has drifted over the last eight years; how much it has been skewed by the rhetoric of the Bush Administration that this should even be a controversial proposition.” [Obama Press Avail, 5/15/08]

Obama is right that the question was a very specific question; more specific than he apparently can recall. It was, “Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?”

I don’t quite follow the italicized explanation(?) that purports to support the headline: “Bush Admin “Preconditions” Are Exactly What Need to Be Negotiated In These Meetings,” when the question was about preconditions Obama called unnecessary.

We can ignore twaddle about preconditions meaning “until they agree to every position that we want.” Nobody ever said pre-conditions meant that, the claim represents an insular arrogance about lying we haven’t even seen from the Clintons.

Aside from the fact that the meetings with Khrushchev and Mao were not held without conditions, there are several other problems for Obama in equating those meetings with meeting Bashir al-Hassad, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, Raoul Castro, and Kim Jong-il, not the least of which is the implication of granting these psychopaths the prestige of a face-to-face meeting with the President of the United States.

So, now there are preconditions, they’re just called “preparations. Now he’s telling that “in the first year” doesn’t mean right away.

That’s some ingenious argument, all right.

Appeasement by any other name…

Would have the same stench.

The man on the right has questioned whether Jews are human beings and has called for Israel to be destroyed.

The man on the right denies that the Holocaust happened, and he participated in the Dhimmi Carter era hostage taking of American Embassy personnel in Tehran. See here and here.

The man on the right can no more disown this crime against the entire civilized world than he could disown his grandmother. Or his own Imam.

The man on the right heads a nation which is developing nuclear weapons in defiance of international sanctions. No sane person doubts they are to be pointed at Israel. No sane person thinks they wouldn’t be pointed at us if an appropriate delivery system becomes available.

The man on the right heads a country which ships weapons into Iraq, and provides training in their use, for the purpose of killing American soldiers.

The man on the right has publicly described his visions of being surrounded by a mystic halo during a speech to the United Nations. In short, he is possessed of a fanatic religious certitude, immune to compromise. Or negotiation.

The man on the right is a person with whom Barack Obama has said he would negotiate unconditionally.

That is, Obama would negotiate without regard to Israel’s existence, Iran’s nuclear weapons program, killing Americans in Iraq or the morality of violating international law. Moreover, Obama suggests unconditional negotiations with a man subject to Islamic rapture of the 12th Imam.

The man on the right is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a state sponsor of terror. Would you even enter the same room with such a man without conditions?

The man on the left is an Iranian puppet, the current Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah. His funding comes from Iran. His is just one terrorist organization funded by Iran, the “most active state sponsor of terrorism.

Here’s some insight from the Council on Foreign Relations.

U.S. officials say Iran mostly backs Islamist groups, including the Lebanese Shiite militants of Hezbollah (which Iran helped found in the 1980s) and such Palestinian terrorist groups as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A few months after Hamas won the Palestinian Authority (PA) elections in early 2006, Iran pledged $50 million to the near-bankrupt PA. The United States, among other nations, has cut off aid to the PA because of Hamas’ terrorist ties.

Iran is suspected of encouraging Hezbollah’s July 2006 attack on Israel to deflect international attention from its nuclear weapons program. Iran was also reportedly involved in a Hezbollah-linked January 2002 attempt to smuggle a boatload of arms to the PA. Some reports also suggest that Iran’s interference in Iraq has included funding, safe transit, and arms to insurgent leaders like Muqtada al-Sadr and his forces.

…What terrorist activities have been linked with Iran?

The U.S. government first listed Iran as a terrorist sponsor in 1984. Among its activities have been the following:

* Observers say Iran had prior knowledge of Hezbollah attacks, such as the 1988 kidnapping and murder of Colonel William Higgins, a U.S. Marine involved in a UN observer mission in Lebanon, and the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish cultural institutions in Argentina.

* Iran still has a price on the head of the Indian-born British novelist Salman Rushdie for what Iranian leaders call blasphemous writings about Islam in his 1989 novel The Satanic Verses.

* U.S. officials say Iran supported the group behind the 1996 truck bombing of Khobar Towers, a U.S. military residence in Saudi Arabia, which killed nineteen U.S. servicemen.

If Barack Obama thinks unconditional negotiations with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are a good idea, I pity his daughters. He’ll have even more difficulty with them, and they will be the worse because of it. Heaven help us if they acquire nukes.

In Obama’s favor in this endeavor is the fact that he already has extensive experience with religious bigots, even if he has assiduously avoided negotiating with them.

Non-interventionists in the State Department

We’ve been running clandestine experiments in non-intervention for some time. John Bolton comments on how that’s worked in Iran:

…Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice initially had planned to provide significant aid to the pro-democracy movement in Iran, as a means of giving the president more policy options, Bolton said. But resistance by the State Department bureaucracy crippled the programs and rendered them ineffective.

“[T]he outcome has been no overt program of support for democracy and no clandestine program to overthrow the regime,” Bolton said.

“This is a classic case study why diplomacy is not cost-free. If we had been working on regime change effectively over the last four or more years, we would be in a lot different position today,” he added.

The State Department emphasis on European-led negotiations has allowed Iran to buy time and to perfect the technology it needs to make nuclear weapons, Bolton argued.

Even if President Bush decided to reinvigorate the pro-democracy programs tomorrow, Bolton believes we probably don’t have enough time for them to be effective before the Iranians get the bomb.

“I think we are very close to a decision point,” Bolton told Newsmax. “And if the choice is between nuclear Iran and use of force, I think we have to look at the use of force.”

…Bolton worries that bad intelligence, coupled to wishful thinking by bureaucrats who tend to downplay the threat, could lead to strategic surprise by Iran or North Korea.

“I personally do not believe in just-in-time non-proliferation,” he said.


The difference between this practice and Ron Paul’s version is that he’d make it official policy AND eliminate American military power outside our borders.


The enemy of my enemy is my friend…

…sums up the Iran-Hezbollah-Sudan-al-Qaeda Axis.

Bitter Muslim enemies have dropped their internal blood-feuds to focus on destroying the West. They’ve been at war with us since 1979. It’s about time we recognized the fact.

I highly recommend that you go here, and download Thomas Joscelyn’s Iran’s Proxy war against America. You will learn much. The point Joscelyn makes is this:

…the dominant school of thinking inside America’s foreign policy establishment and intelligence community is that Iran has not been an active participant in the terrorists’ war against America since the mid-1990s.

The facts, however, tell a different story. Indeed, six years into the “war on terror,” America has no bigger blind spot. The purpose of this essay is to expose this ongoing intelligence failure.

…In fact, contrary to widespread opinion, Iran has been a vital ally for bin Laden’s international terrorist organization. The evidence is overwhelming.

Indeed, it is.

The appendix titled “A TIMELINE OF TERROR,” is worth the download all by itself. It’s the history of the war. You can connect the dots yourself.

Read Joscelyn’s analysis!

H/T Power Line

New Democrat talking point

Iraq PM: Country Can Manage Without U.S. What’s left unsaid is that Iraq would have to invite Iran to assist in supplying those weapons and training.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American troops leave “any time they want,” though he acknowledged the forces need further weapons and training.

The embattled prime minister sought to show confidence at a time when congressional pressure is growing for a withdrawal and the Bush administration reported little progress had been made on the most vital of a series of political benchmarks it wants al-Maliki to carry out.

Al-Maliki said difficulty in enacting the measures was “natural” given Iraq’s turmoil.

But one of his top aides, Hassan al-Suneid, rankled at the assessment, saying the U.S. was treating Iraq like “an experiment in an American laboratory.” He sharply criticised the U.S. military, saying it was committing human rights violations, embarassing the Iraqi government with its tactics and cooperating with “gangs of killers” in its campaign against al-Qaida in Iraq.

… Thursday’s White House assessment of progress on the benchmarks fueled calls among congressional critics of the Iraqi policy for a change in strategy, including a withdrawal of American forces.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari warned earlier this week of civil war and the government’s collapse if the Americans leave. But al-Maliki told reporters Saturday, “We say in full confidence that we are able, God willing, to take the responsibility completely in running the security file if the international forces withdraw at any time they want.”

Al-Maliki’s frustration with the American cut and run crowd is understandable, but it is no excuse for giving them aid and comfort. It won’t be long before we hear al-Maliki’s statement used as justification for giving him the opportunity to conduct his own experiment, God willing. Apparently, he has never heard the expression “Be careful what you wish for.”

Ex-president – by the Grace of God

I called it Legacy of the Dhimmi when I asked the rhetorical question, “Who ‘lost’ Iran?”

The answer, of course, is Dhimmi Carter. The Jerusalem Post makes the same point by noting that the Dhimmer is Father of the Iranian revolution:

…Let’s look at the results of Carter’s misguided liberal policies: the Islamic Revolution in Iran; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (Carter’s response was to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics); the birth of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization; the Iran-Iraq War, which cost the lives of millions dead and wounded; and yes, the present war on terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

…Carter pressured the shah to make what he termed human rights concessions by releasing political prisoners and relaxing press censorship. Khomeini could never have succeeded without Carter. The Islamic Revolution would have been stillborn.

Gen. Robert Huyser, Carter’s military liaison to Iran, once told me in tears: “The president could have publicly condemned Khomeini and even kidnapped him and then bartered for an exchange with the [American Embassy] hostages, but the president was indignant. ‘One cannot do that to a holy man,’ he said.”

Investor’s Business Daily has some thoughts on Dhimmi’s most recent perfidy, Carter’s Nutzpah. They begin with another rhetorical question:

Has Jimmy Carter gone off the deep end? He’s now scolding the West for refusing to bankroll Hamas terrorists who’ve just seized power at gunpoint in Gaza. It’s a new low in coddling terrorism.

As the Gaza Strip flamed into Hamas gang warfare and the West Bank slid into another civil war, Carter — cozy in distant Ireland accepting another “human rights” award — found cause Tuesday to blame America first for all the violence.

Amid wine, cheese and good feeling, America’s worst ex-president drew a bead on the West. The refusal by the U.S., Israel and the EU to support Hamas, an armed terror group that just launched a coup d’etat and civil war in full view of the world, was nothing but a “criminal” act at the root of the trouble there, Carter asserted.

“The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah,” he said.

The statement was so malevolent and illogical as to border on insane. Carter wasn’t honest enough to say he was rooting for terrorists who started a terrifying new war in the region and trashed what little democratic rule the Palestinians had. Instead, he tut-tutted the West for being insufficiently sensitive to the fact that Hamas thugs were democratically elected in 2006 in an “orderly and fair” vote.

With his persistent delusional relativism, Jimmy Carter has done far more to promote amorality than anyone since Lenin. People will say, “His intent is good.” So what? We see that all the difference that makes is to compound the power of evil in the supposed service of moral principle. A congenital inability to comprehend the nature and existence of evil may get you a Nobel Prize, but it does not make you a Saint. Rather, you become evil yourself by giving to it aid and comfort when you could have opposed it. There’s a special place in Hell.

If you doubt Carter is unhinged, please explain how he can commend murderers, without recognizing the elephant-in-the-room irony.

…Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Hitler was also far “more organized,” politically, and more efficient, militarily, than his opposition. He became Führer in a democratic process, after eventually receiving about 40% of the popular vote – like Hamas. Upon assuming the Presidency, he immediately abolished the office along with the democracy. Sort of what Hamas just did – only they did it with more up-front general violence.

Paul von Hindenburg, the Presidential incumbent and winner of the 1932 Weimar Republic election (its last), helped make Hitler’s reign of terror possible. Hindenburg agreed to appoint Hitler as Chancellor of Germany in 1933, and Hitler assumed the Presidency upon Hindenburg’s death in 1934.

Hitler’s first act was to eliminate the office of the President, replacing it with the Führer und Reichskanzler. AKA, Nazi totalitarianism. What followed was a larger, even “more organized” version of Hamas’ recent successes in Gaza and Lebanon. Hamas is still in the planning stages for Israel’s destruction, but to cement the German parallel, Hamas has sworn to exterminate the Jews. Neither Hitler, nor Hamas, ever showed any sign they could be dissuaded from such genocidal intent. Dhimmi Carter is not interested in the attempt.

We can see a parallel to Hitler’s ascension to power, but completing the analogy is more difficult, because it is not clear whether Carter should be assigned the role of Paul von Hindenberg, Vidkun Quisling, Lord Haw Haw, or Jane Fonda. Perhaps a combination.

Neville Chamberlain is excluded from such consideration because he was a far better man than Jimmy Carter will ever be.

Legacy of the Dhimmi

Why is the general population in Iran of a far more moderate mind than those in the rest of the region? The Captain’s Quarters notes:

Iran Nearing The Tipping Point?

…The Iranian people as a whole are a lot more cosmopolitan than the provincial clerics that act as dictators over them. Until recently, the creation of an Islamist state has kept Muslims from reacting to the oppression, especially as the mullahs acted to give limited expression of popular dissent after the death of the revered Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as a safety valve against an explosion of resentment.

There is certainly evidence that Iran’s people are restive now because they remember life under Shah Pahlavi. Could it be that the Shah, who was deposed on Dhimmi Carter’s watch, should be credited for the present undercurrent of dissent in Iran?

…His [the Shah’s] White Revolution, a series of economic and social reforms intended to transform Iran into a global power, succeeded in modernizing the nation, nationalizing many natural resources and extending suffrage to women, among other things.

…[By 1979 the] exiled monarch had become unpopular in much of the world, especially in the liberal West, ironically his original backers and those who had most to lose from his downfall.

To be sure, the Shah was no democrat, but the 1979 revolution was not about achieving democracy. It was about restoring 14th century Islamic values. Here are the major points of the Shah’s White Revolution. Compare these to the current government. The Iranian people are.

1- Land Reforms Program and Abolishing Feudalism: The government bought the land from the feudal land lords at a fair price and sold it to the peasants at 30% below the market value, with the loan being payable over 25 years at very low interest rates. This made it possible for 1.5 million peasant families, who had once been nothing more than slaves, to own the lands that they had been cultivating all their lives. Given that average size of a peasant family was 5, land reforms program brought freedom to 9 million people, or 40% of Iran’s population.

2- Nationalization of Forests and Pasturelands: Introduced many measures, not only to protect the national resources and stop the destruction of forests and pasturelands, but also to further develop and cultivate them. More than 9 million tress were planted in 26 regions, creating 70,000 acres of “green belts” around cities and on the borders of the major highways.

3- Privatization of the Government Owned Enterprises, manufacturing plants and factories by selling their shares to the public and the old feudal lords, thus creating a whole new class of factory owners who could now help to industrialize the country.

4- Profit Sharing for industrial workers in private sector enterprises, giving the factory workers and employees 20% share of the net profits of the places where they worked and securing bonuses based on higher productivity or reductions in costs.

5- Extending the Right to Vote to Women, who had no voice and were suppressed by Islamic traditions. This measure was widely criticized by the clergy.

6- Formation of the Literacy Corps, so that those who had a high school diploma and were required to serve their country as soldiers could do so in fighting illiteracy in the villages. At this point in time 2/3 of the population was illiterate.

7- Formation of the Health Corps to extend public health care throughout the villages and rural regions of Iran. In 3 years, almost 4,500 medical groups were trained; nearly 10 million cases were treated by the Corps.

8- Formation of the Reconstruction and Development Corps to teach the villagers the modern methods and techniques of farming and keeping livestock. Agricultural production between 1964 and 1970 increased by 80% in tonnage and 67% in value.

9- Formation of the Houses of Equity where 5 village elders would be elected by the villagers, for a period of 3 years, to act as arbitrators in order to help settle minor offences and disputes. By 1977 there were 10,358 Houses of Equity serving over 10 million people living in over 19,000 villages across the country.

10- Nationalization of all Water Resources, introduction of projects and policies in order to conserve and benefit from Iran’s limited water resources. Many dams were constructed and five more were under construction in 1978. It was as a result of these measures that the area of land under irrigation increased from 2 million acres, in 1968, to 5.6 million in 1977.

11- Urban and Rural Modernization and Reconstruction with the help of the Reconstruction and Development Corps. Building of public baths, schools and libraries; installing water pumps and power generators for running water and electricity.

12- Didactic Reforms that improved the quality of education by diversifying the curriculum in order to adapt to the necessities of life in the modern world.

13- Workers’ Right to Own Shares in the Industrial Complexes where they worked by turning Industrial units, with 5 years history and over, into public companies, where up to 99% of the shares in the state-owned enterprises and 49% of the shares of the private companies would be offered for sale to the workers of the establishment at first and then to the general public.

14- Price Stabilization and campaign against unreasonable profiteering (1975). Owners of factories and large chain stores were heavily fined, with some being imprisoned and other’s licenses being revoked. Sanctions were imposed on multi-national foreign companies and tons of merchandise stored for speculative purposes were confiscated and sold to consumers at fixed prices.

15- Free and Compulsory Education and a daily free meal for all children from kindergarten to eighth grade. In 1978, 25% of Iranians were enrolled in public schools alone. In that same year there were 185,000 students of both sexes studying in Iran’s universities. In addition to the above there were over 100,000 students pursuing their studies abroad, of which 50,000 were enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States.

16- Free Food for Needy Mothers and for all newborn babies up to the age of two.

17- Introduction of Social Security and National Insurance for all Iranians. National Insurance system provided for up to 100% of the wages during retirement.

18- Stable and Reasonable Cost of Renting or Buying of Residential Properties (1977). Controls were placed on land prices and various forms of land speculation.

19- Introduction of Measures to Fight against Corruption within the bureaucracy. Imperial Inspection Commission was founded, consisting of representatives from administrative bodies and people of proven integrity.

That Iran’s government is populated primarily by thuggish religious fanatics today, is but another thing for which Dhimmi Carter needs to answer.

What would a moderate, modern Iran mean to us at this moment? Who “lost” Iran?

Doing our part

Daniel Pipes notes a civilian study, out of MIT, that examines Israeli capability to significantly impede Iran’s progress toward creating nuclear weapons. It is likely that only Israel will have the political will and capability to mount such an attack:

Barring a “catastrophic development,” Middle East Newsline reports, George Bush has decided not to attack Iran. An administration source explains that Washington deems Iran’s cooperation “needed for a withdrawal [of U.S. forces] from Iraq.”

If correct, this implies the Jewish state stands alone against a regime that threatens to “wipe Israel off the map” and is building the nuclear weapons to do so. Israeli leaders are hinting that their patience is running out; Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz just warned that “diplomatic efforts should bear results by the end of 2007.”

Can the Israel Defense Forces in fact disrupt Iran’s nuclear program?

The short answer is that there is a “reasonable probability of success,” the most difficult part being the navigation of other countries’ airspace. My read is that “reasonable” is being cautious. In any case, if your survival is at stake, you would certainly take “reasonable” as reasonable.

The medium answer is to read Pipes post, linked above.

The full answer is to read the study itself.

Pipes believes this report deserves the “widest possible dissemination.” Well, TOC is doing its part, and I’m sure Joe Lieberman has read it already. Joe would like NATO to be engaged:

…The stability and well being of both the EU and the U.S. are threatened by Iran’s program to develop nuclear weapons. For two years, the “EU3” – in coordination with the U.S. — has engaged in a vigorous and conscientious engagement with Iran. These efforts merit our profound gratitude, because when the EU and U.S. work together, our prospects for success are all the better. Unfortunately, the Government of Iran has responded by reneging on multiple treaty obligations and other pledges, and continuing to push forward with their nuclear program.

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad recently asked an audience to realize a “world without the America” and recommended “wiping Israel off the map.” He is only the most recent and extreme example of the small, fanatical, corrupt leadership in Iran who have made similar hateful, violent statements about other religions, countries, and cultures. History teaches us this crucial lesson: that sometimes people advocating hate and violence do exactly what they say they are going to do. The evidence of this is as varied as the writings of Hitler in the thirties and the polemics of bin Laden in the nineties. So we must take Ahmadinejad’s statements literally and seriously. We have seen this chilling pattern of extremist statements, disingenuous negotiations, preparation for aggression, and repudiation of international commitments followed by war before. Let us not deceive ourselves into letting it happen again.

Iran will test us all. If we ignore the threat it poses, or cover it with endless and hopeless negotiations, we will regret it. Given the recent agreement among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council that Iran will be “reported” to that body, I urge our respective governments to pursue vigorous measures under UN auspices to induce Tehran to abandon its aspiration for a nuclear arsenal.

However, should the efforts at the United Nations fail, then we in the transatlantic community must be ready to apply a cohesive regime of sanctions against Iran in an economic coalition of the willing. For instance, the United States and European nations, acting together, could effectively halt foreign direct investment in Iran. “Smart sanctions” that capture the assets of the government and its multi-millionaire rulers will best work with transatlantic coordination. I suggest that NATO begin to plan now how its military assets might be employed to enforce our shared goal to stop Iran’s military nuclear program. For example, NATO can conduct surveillance and interdiction activities that are sufficiently intense and enduring to secure an economic or political blockade and defend against Iran’s potential reaction to it. And I also agree with John McCain that both the U.S. and NATO should make clear that military action to destroy or deter Iran’s nuclear arsenal is not an option we seek, but it is also not an option that we can eliminate.

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