September 1st, 2006

A trip back in time: Jimmy Carter and the Iranian Revolution (Part III)

[Parts I and II.]

For anyone who was alive at the time and old enough to pay attention to the news, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Jimmy Carter and the Iranian Revolution is the hostage crisis that occurred less than a year after the installment of the Khomeini regime. We watched, impotently, as America was brought to its knees by a bunch of anti-American Iranian kidnappers and a US President who seemed powerless to do anything about them. And the incident wasn’t a short one, either, lasting a Biblical-sounding 444 days.

Carter did do a few things about the crisis, it’s true. He froze Iranian assets in the US and halted oil imports, as well as trying diplomacy. In desperation, about six months into the mess, he approved a half-baked and doomed rescue attempt that ended in tragedy and more humiliation for the US (see here for my post about this incident). In the final ignominy for Jimmy (but a relief for the nation), the hostages were freed on the day of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration.

Here’s more about Carter’s reasoning and the strategies behind it during the hostage crisis:

As winter turned to spring, and negotiations failed to produce a deal, frustrated Americans demanded stronger action. “No one can know how much pressure there was on Jimmy to do something,” Rosalynn Carter recalled. “I would go out and campaign and come back and say, ‘Why don’t you do something?’ And he said, ‘What would you want me to do?’ I said, ‘Mine the harbors.’ He said, ‘Okay, suppose I mine the harbors, and they decide to take one hostage out every day and kill him. What am I going to do then?'”

Based on that evidence, I’d prefer Rosalynn to have been in charge. Carter’s mindset was zero tolerance for even the possibility of a hostage being killed. His basic orientation was pacifist, and the hostage crisis revealed him to the world as an ineffectual and timid leader. By extrapolation, his role implied that the United States was the same. And, for the moment at least, it was.

It’s easy to pay attention to dramatic events such as the hostage crisis, which thrust themselves into nearly everyone’s consciousness in a way that could hardly be ignored. It’s much easier, however, to ignore the more subtle, far less widely-covered events that led up to the Shah’s downfall and Khomeini’s rise, events in which President Carter played a large role as well.

Perhaps, as I wrote yesterday, no policy of the Shah’s in his final years in power could have stopped the steamroller of discontent with his policies and the increasing support for the mullahs. After all, the Iranians knew what they disliked about the Shah, and there was something with which everyone could find fault. The Shah was brought down by an unholy and bizarre alliance, a trio made of three groups with beliefs that utterly contradicted those of the other two– civil libertarians, socialists, and totalitarian Islamists. Each group had reasons to dislike the Shah, and each of them calculated that they’d be the only ones left standing in the end. But there was room for only one winner, and that turned out to be the mullahs.

So maybe Carter’s pre-Revolutionary policies towards the Shah weren’t all that important in bringing about the latter’s downfall. Or maybe they were. What were those policies?

First, a bit of background. The Shah had been a staunch ally of the US for his lengthy reign (see this for some background. Yes, it’s Wikipedia, but it seems fairly straightforward and quite detailed). A particularly complex (and controversial) event in US-Iranian relations involved the Shah’s cooperation with the Eisenhower administration in a 1953 coup (or, to be technical, a counter-coup) against Mossadegh, the elected Prime Minister of Iran who was suspected at the time of being a Communist sympathizer .

The Shah lived in what’s known as a “rough neighborhood.” This meant that, in order to implement the modernization of Iran, he felt he needed to be harsh in dealing with the opposition. Jimmy Carter was dedicated to the cause of spreading human rights throughout the world, and he decided to put pressure to bear on the Shah to expand civil liberties and relax his policies towards those in his country who were against him.

Carter threatened the Shah with cutting arms shipments, and in response:

The Shah…released 357 political prisoners in February, 1977. But lifting the lid of repression even slightly encouraged the Shah’s opponents. An organization of writers and publishers called for freedom of thought, and 64 lawyers called for the abolition of military tribunals. Merchants wrote letters requesting more freedom from government controls. Some people took to the streets, perhaps less fearful of being shot to death, and they clashed with police. A group of 120 lawyers joined together to publicize SAVAK torture and to monitor prison conditions. Dissident academics formed a group called the National Organization of University Teachers, and they joined students in demanding academic freedom. Political dissidents started disseminating more openly their semi-clandestine publications.

As events spiraled out of control, there were demonstrations throughout Iran. Police reacted harshly, and many protesters were killed, which led to more demonstrations and more deaths, which led to–well, you get the idea.

A genie of dissent had been unleashed–a valid one, because there was much to protest. But as things escalated, and the Shah eventually lost the support of the army and the police (a turning point), few seemed to be prescient enough to predict what forces would replace his regime–not what was hoped for, but what was likely to do so. There were only three choices, and two of them–the mullahs and the Marxists–could reasonably be expected to be far more repressive than the Shah.

Jimmy Carter was probably sincere in wishing that his pressure on the Shah would lead to greater civil liberties, not fewer. But if so, it was one of the gravest miscalculations in history. Be careful what you wish for.

On New Years Eve of 1977:

President Carter toasted the Shah at a state dinner in Tehran, calling him “an island of stability’ in the troubled Middle East….Did the Carter administration “lose” Iran, as some have suggested? Gaddis Smith might have put it best: “President Carter inherited an impossible situation — and he and his advisers made the worst of it.” Carter seemed to have a hard time deciding whether to heed the advice of his aggressive national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who wanted to encourage the Shah to brutally suppress the revolution, or that of his more cautious State Department, which suggested Carter reach out to opposition elements in order to smooth the transition to a new government. In the end he did neither, and suffered the consequences.

Even after it became known that the Shah was suffering from cancer, President Carter was reluctant to allow him entry to the United States, for fear of reprisal against Americans still in Iran. But in October, when the severity of the Shah’s illness became known, Carter relented on humanitarian grounds. “He went around the room, and most of us said, ‘Let him in.'” recalls Vice President Walter Mondale. “And he said, ‘And if [the Iranians] take our employees in our embassy hostage, then what would be your advice?’ And the room just fell dead. No one had an answer to that. Turns out, we never did.”…

No, they never did. And soon the whole world knew it.

46 Responses to “A trip back in time: Jimmy Carter and the Iranian Revolution (Part III)”

  1. Promethea Says:

    I think it’s time for Americans to stop believing that they can control every bad thing that happens in the world. Probably nothing could have been done to stop the rise of the Iranian Islamists.

    On the other hand, the U.S. in my opinion has been far too merciful to its enemies. They think we are weak. I believe the same thing is true for the Israelis. They try too hard to make war gentle and less harmful to their enemies so that their enemies will “like” them.

    Since 9-11, we in the U.S. have learned the true value of “world opinion.” Basically, it’s worthless. Each nation acts according to its own interests. If the rotters have ganged up against us, that’s because there are more of them than we would have liked.

    We should make it clear to both our friends and our enemies as to where their interests actually lie. If Russia acts like an enemy, we should treat them like one. Etc. etc.

    No country should think that it can make the U.S. (i.e. American voters) angry and not pay the consequences.

    This may look like a rant, but it’s a short hand way of expressing my view of the big picture.

    So, on one hand, I’m willing to give Carter the benefit of the doubt for his ability or inability to prevent the rise of Islamofascist Iran. On the other hand, I think we should bomb the crap out of Islamofascist Iran or at least take over their oilfields and cut the Chinese in on the profits (to try to make them our “friends”). The next time Iran does something we don’t like–blammo!

    Of course, we can use oily words to describe this–hey, that’s what diplomacy is for. Since I’m just a commenter and not a diplomat, I can say what I think in simple terms.

    I wish more people in more countries feared the wrath of the American voter. That’s the “world opinion” the world should be worried about.

  2. Sergey Says:

    Leftist obsession with human rights run deep into their moral phylosophy, belief that “all humans are equal”. I already noted that it is a false assumption as statement of fact, and is valid only as a norm of a law. But no law exists internationally, and this norm is not “human right”, but only citizen right. Only citizens are entitled to civil rights, non-citizens are not. And universal, international citizenship is nonsense, it exists only in humanitarian wishfull thinking.

  3. John Says:

    You oh-so-casually mention the coup against the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh in the 1950s in one line, talkign about the Shah’s and the Eisenhower administration’s involvement in the same.

    Yet this CIA-orchestrated coup is precisely at the origin of the entire crisis since then.

    Look, you have to get used to the idea that when a democracy elects someone with whose policies you not agree, you cannot just go about trying to topple him undemocratically via the CIA. Iranians democratically elected Mossadegh in the 1950s. He was not threatening to invade the USA. He was not waging war against the USA. But you orchestrated a coup against him … why? because he had socialist leanings!

    And installed the Shah in power!

    And of course, it is from that moment on that no one in Iran trusts the US any more. Even pro-democracy activists in Iran nowadays request the US not to give them any money because in the eyes of the Iranian people they will immediately look tainted if they are known to accept money from the USA.

    If Mossadegh had been allowed to govern as was his right as an elected prime minister, without this stupid interference and coup by the CIA, none of this needs to have happened.

    The problem arises from successive US governments treating the rest of the world as its backyard. The world is not your backyard. Please try to understand this.

    The tragedy is that you still have not understood this, which is why the US tacitly encouraged the coup against Hugo Chavez (again, democratically elected) in Venezuela a few years ago.

    When will you ever learn? One despairs at this astounding hubris. Maybe it happens because most Americans pay so little attention to what their governments are doing abroad in their name. If they knew, they wouldn’t have allowed the US-led coups against so many democratically elected governments to have happened (Arbenz in Guatemala, Allende in Chile, Mossadegh in Iran, Sukarno in Indonesia, … the list goes on and on and on).

  4. Isotimides Says:

    It surprises to me learn that Carter had foreseen the real possibility that the Americans in the embassy could be taken hostage AND had foreseen the limits this would impose on his own freedom of action, but nevertheless chose not to close the embassy and get the Americans out. Was he worried that even the attempt to withdraw American personnel might trigger a hostage crisis?

    An unrelated point: In my more pessimistic moments, I think that many pacifists are less concerned with doing good than with minimizing their own guilt. If there’s one rule on planet earth, it’s that the bad guys ALWAYS have hostages. The choice is always between accomodation with evil and risking or accepting the deaths of innocent people. The first choice is almost always the worse one, but it often doesn’t bring with it the pangs of guilt that the second one inevitably entails.

    444 days was more than enough time for Carter to see what kind of men he was dealing with in Iran. How much suffering and death has there been in the last thirty years so that he (and his successors, for that matter) could lose a little less sleep at night?

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    John: actually, the Shah was already in power. That’s why it could more rightly be called a counter coup. Read the details in the link I provided.

    During the Cold War of the 50s many things were done by the US that could be criticized, if we had 20/20 hindsight. I’m pretty sure that this was one of them.

    Your assertion that the entire course of events in Iran stemmed from this one act is disengenuous at best. It was a long and winding road that led to the mullahs, with many players. And the funny things is that the current population of Iran–at least as best as anyone can ascertain–is surprisingly pro-USA. The younger generation there seem to have forgiven the US its sins against Mossadegh, if you haven’t. The subsequent sins of the mullahs seem to have been greater.

  6. John B Says:

    John,
    I think “the entire crisis” predates 1953 by some years. Given the divisions in Iranian society that the original post describes it is simply fanciful to believe that everything would have been rosy in Iran if your socialist had stayed in power. Sure it’s convenient to blame the U.S. for everything but your worldview lacks nuance.

  7. John Says:

    “And the funny things is that the current population of Iran–at least as best as anyone can ascertain–is surprisingly pro-USA.”

    You really believe this, don’t you?

    You were also one of those who believed that “US marines in Iraq would be welcomed would be welcomed in flowers”, I take it?

    And oh, by the way, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I’m looking to sell. Really nice bridge, you know? As best as anyone can ascertain. Surprisingly nice view.

    ————————————

  8. John Says:

    Jimmy Carter was terribly incompetent, granted, and only Clinton approaches him in incompetence in the modern history of the US presidency. In spite of that, I would vote for Jimmy Carter over any other candidate for president.

  9. Senescent Wasp Says:

    John, actually the whole world is our backyard, like it or not and we in the US had better get used to the idea. This is not a bi-polar world anymore and, as the dominant power, we have a responsibility to police it to the best of our ability.

    I am not about to don sackcloth and ashes and mourn past “mistakes” which have, in retrospect, only been mistakes in the view of Leftists and guilt ridden liberals.

    As I have stated here many times before, a stable ME, including historical Persia, is only achievable when the area is allowed to devolve into its component ethnic divisions starting with the Kurds who are in actuality favorably predisposed toward the US; the small violent Marxist splinter group opposing Turkey not withstanding. The Azeri should be the next group to be encouraged to coalesce around its ethnicity, the rest will soon get the message and the faux “countries” formed by the Great Powers in the wake of WW I will come down like a house of cards.

    I don’t care a whit what form of government they form or subscribe too as long as it doesn’t threaten the US or its interests. Iran is a good candidate for this, after having its incipient fangs removed, since by my count there are about fourteen separate ethnic groups in the mix.

    And, John, a large portion of the middle class in Iran is stand offish but pro US since they recall the good times when the Shah was in power and their economy thrived even while being a semi-kleptocracy.

    There are many historical models for this kind of large area management during the several colonial periods, but the British probably did it best; playing groups off against each other. A policy that encourages trade and is light on “pacification” seems to work best.

    Let the “others” kill, maim and step on each other but know that there is a line that should not be stepped over without serious consequences.

  10. banopus Says:

    Again Neo,
    How is it possible that John appears on the ensuing kickoff? As soon as scary is gone, John is here. This is not random.
    Brad

  11. Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) Says:

    Jimmy Carter was terribly incompetent, granted, and only Clinton approaches him in incompetence in the modern history of the US presidency. In spite of that, I would vote for Jimmy Carter over any other candidate for president.

    You lost me, there. Do you mean you’d vote for Carter over Bush or any other GOP candidate, or are you saying that “terribly incompetent” is the best politics has to offer? Or were you saying Carter’s really bad, but you still wouldn’t vote for anyone better (in which case I have no idea why)?

  12. John Says:

    “John, actually the whole world is our backyard, like it or not and we in the US had better get used to the idea. This is not a bi-polar world anymore and, as the dominant power, we have a responsibility to police it to the best of our ability.”

    Welcome to the neoconservative fantasy world, where black is white, the moon is made of Swiss cheese, Iraqis welcome marines with flowers, and the whole world is America’s backyard.

    This kind of hubris would have been good for laughs if only it did not have such tragic consequences. It seems that even after the rice paddy quagmire of Vietnam and now the desert quagmire of Iraq, that ole hubris is still going strong.

    “Wake up and smell the coffee” is one of the best advices on offer.

  13. Brad Says:

    John, your bullshit is unoriginal, you are yet another sock puppet, you are ignorant of the historical context for everything you write about (or aboot, in case you are from canuckastan). Could you please SHUT THE FUCK UP!

    Sincerely,
    Brad

  14. Brad Says:

    John,
    your bullshit is unoriginal, you are yet another sock puppet of some useless person, you dont understand the historical context of anything you write about (or aboot if you are from canuckistan), so please shut the f**k up!

    Sincerely,
    Brad

  15. harry Says:

    John, move over. Your sitting on our oil.

  16. Brad Says:

    sorry for the double post

  17. Senescent Wasp Says:

    John,

    May I point out that your assertions are simply assertions. Opinions are like belly buttons and a**holes, everyone has one of each.

    At least my assertions will be subject to test as American foreign policy moves, inevitably, toward the Jacksonian. I, and many others, will be advocating a less than nuanced iteration of that policy. We have a popular saying here, “When you have them by the b*lls, their hearts and minds will follow.”.

    Shock and awe didn’t work too well; so let’s see how abject fear of obliteration works. This approach will probably need to be demonstrated once or twice. Churchill, once said of the Germans that, “They are either at you feet or at your throat.”. Utter defeat, years of privation and one or two Dresden’s seems to have brought them around.

    The Islamofascists will probably need harsher measures and being blamed for bringing collective punishment to large groups of people will not do their image or recruitment much good, conventional leftist cant not withstanding. The only question that remains is to see if there are upper limits to the amount it will take to assure quiescence.

    And, before you ask, I do not rule out the double flash weapons since meeting a threat of such with the reality of their effects should cure anyone of the desire to threaten the US with them. At the same time, it will indicate to those who may have a handful of such weapons that we have many more than we need to encourage them to dismantle theirs so as to not suffer a similar fate.

    This is not a game, there are no rules and there can be only one result. The US must prevail, and if it takes a road a thousand miles long paved with skulls, so be it. And, don’t trot out the “chickenhawk” argument either, since in my case it is, for reasons I don’t care to discuss, a non-starter. My ass has been on the sharp end before and it may well be again; I have no problem with that either.

  18. harry Says:

    Yes. I like that. Abject fear of obliviation.

    No, abject fear of obliviation and air droppable, self-inflating textile mills. Instant sweatshops.

    It my own idea. Gonna shop this one to Haliburton and get filthy rich.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    banopus: John and scary are not the same person.

    However, John is also one of the shifty ones–his IP is a moving target. One of the IPs he does use bears a strange resemblance to one used by our old friend Robert, aka Dave the Rabbit.

  20. Cappy Says:

    Re: Trolls Selling Real Estate

    Dear Troll:

    If you love your stupid Dhimmi Carter so much, why don’t you buy the Brooklyn Bridge yourself at the stinking 14% mortgage rates that train wreck brought the USA?

  21. jgr Says:

    So what will our foes on the LEFT do when the same hostage situation happens on THEIR watch? Make America join the EU’s blackmail club? Has anyone ever speculated on the Dem’s game plan for Iran?

    Unfortunately I can see the MSM selling a blackmail plan as the “peaceful solution!” to crisis.

  22. Senescent Wasp Says:

    Pete,
    Could you try to explain to us your compulsion to continue to post here? I, for one, would like some insight into the mind of a troll.

    Mission From God, apologies to the Blues Brothers, Witnessing, exhibitionism? Just what drives you? Are you brave in your personal life or are you timid?

  23. Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) Says:

    Social psychology was probably the most useful GE class I ever took. It made so much of the world make sense – like what happens in these comment threads, for instance.

  24. Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) Says:

    Could you try to explain to us your compulsion to continue to post here? I, for one, would like some insight into the mind of a troll.

    Mission From God, apologies to the Blues Brothers, Witnessing, exhibitionism?

    I imagine that he’s much like me: he just plain enjoys laughing at people he thinks are idiots. Though to my credit I’ve mostly grown out of that in my early twenties. I don’t think I’ve done more than one of my infamous “I win, you lose, and you want to kill yourself” attacks (the name one of my friends gave my particular debating style) in the last 2 or 3 years.

  25. Peter Says:

    “When Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, invited President Bush to engage in a “direct television debate” a few days ago, the White House predictably responded by calling the offer “a diversion.” But even though this debate will never happen, it’s worth contemplating.

    Both presidents are propaganda junkies — or, more precisely, propaganda pushers — so any such debate would overdose the audience with self-righteous arrogance. The two presidents are too much alike.

    Each man, in his own way, is a fundamentalist: so sure of his own moral superiority that he’s willing to push his country into a military confrontation. This assessment may be a bit unfair to Ahmadinejad, who hasn’t yet lied his nation into war; the American president is far more experienced in that department.

    By saying that it’s an open question whether Nazi Germany really perpetrated a Holocaust, the Iranian president has left no doubt that he is dangerously ignorant of history. Bush’s ignorance of history is decidedly more subtle — though, judging from his five and a half years in the Oval Office, hardly less dangerous.”

    — Normal Solomon,
    http://www.counterpunch.org/solomon09012006.html

    .

  26. Sergey Says:

    If you remember history of rising of British Empire, Britts did not have a plan to create one beforhand: they only sought to secure their see comunications. But this included struggle with Spain and France, extermination of pirates (terrorists of those days). So they need Navy, and Navy need bases, and bases need to be fortified, and keeping forts around the world require settelments and garrisons. Economical interests came later and shape politics of colonozation. So the empire had been established as unintended, but inevitable consequence of existential need of an island state to secure its see communications. Japan also followed this track and failed, because the niche of world domination was already occupied. It seems to me, that ascent of world-wide American Empire follows the pattern: being unintentional, it is also inevitable as the only way to achieve national security. But it is a long-time process that will take a century of gradual expansion.

  27. Sergey Says:

    If you remember history of rising of British Empire, Britts did not have a plan to create one beforhand: they only sought to secure their sea comunications. But this included struggle with Spain and France, extermination of pirates (terrorists of those days. So they need Navy, and Navy needs bases, and bases need to be fortified, and keeping forts around the world require settelments and garrisons. Economical interests came later and shape politics of colonozation. So the empire had been established as unintended, but inevitable consequence of existential need of an island state to secure its sea communications. Japan also followed this track and failed, because the niche of world domination was already occupied. It seems to me, that ascent of world-wide American Empire follows the pattern: being unintentional, it is also inevitable as the only way to achieve national security. But it is a long-time process that will take a century of gradual expansion.

  28. Sergey Says:

    Pardon for doubling the post.
    IMHO, human history unfold and reveal itself as a Law of Unintended Consequences of existential threats and inavoidable responses to these threats. These responses are, in turn, manifestations of unstoppable basic instict of collective self-preservation. American public and leadership were fairly isolationist before WWII, but they also could not allow attacks on US naval bases. The route from Pearl Harbour to Midway to Iwo Jima to Hiroshima was not someone’s concoction, it was manifest destiny. During Cold War there also were powerfull isolationist and pacifist sentiments in US, but, again, US simply could not avoid the neccessity to abate world-wide imperialistic ambitions of Soviet block. Now it is GWT and Iranian nuclear challenge. The same law apply. I understand, of course, that this openly social-Darwinian geopolitical thinking can be labelled as “imperialist” and “facsist”, but can anybody refute it materially, without name-calling and moralizations?

  29. C. Owen Johnson Says:

    neo-neocon:

    Thanks for the great run down on this history. The assessment that Carter was handed an impossible situation and made the worst of it is most apt. Carter can be blamed for many things – the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan leaps to mind – but not the Shah’s downfall. Reza Khan probably bears most of the blame for that by virtue of the choices he made when he seized power in 1921.

    For those interested, compare that history with the history of Turkey under Attaturk.

  30. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “I think it’s time for Americans to stop believing that they can control every bad thing that happens in the world.”

    Why not? The US gets blamed whenever anything goes wrong. Everything from terrorist attacks to condom shortages in Uganda, from weather change to tidal waves, gets blamed on the US. If we’re going take responsibility for all these bad things, we’d better be given control of them.

  31. Jerry Says:

    http://www.lonympics.co.uk/thefirstterrorists.htm How French Royalists were the first terrorists

  32. Senescent Wasp Says:

    Before this thread drifts completely away, a Jimmy Carter joke of the period.

    When the Carter’s have sex, Rosalyn is always on top. Why?

    Because Jimmy can only screw up.

    Sergey,
    Your re-casting of “manifest destiny” is interesting and reminds me of a the mission statement that Stewart Brand used for the original Whole Earth Catalog, a printed forerunner to Google. “We are as gods and might as well get good at it”

  33. jgr Says:

    Sergey, appreciation for your insights. Still my feeling is, despite all the political theories I’ve heard over 40 years, America doesn’t desire an empire.
    Yeah, the Left insists we do; that’s their Marxist origin. Maybe other segments of America desire empire. You say we have one anyway. I can see these points of view.

    I prefer Zell Miller’s analysis of a country who DECLINED an empire (link below) (a post 2004 election address)
    (excerpt)
    “..We recalled also how millions were spared the tyranny of fascism, and could not help but note that our enemies in World War Two are now free, prosperous, peaceful democracies that respect human rights and individual liberty – thanks to the efforts of America! And as we traveled with our dear departed President Reagan to his final reunion, we pondered the hundreds of millions of people no longer enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, who enjoy their freedom because of this good man and America’s resolve to win the Cold War. It was Reagan’s dream, but it was America’s resolve that made the greatest liberation of mankind the under-appreciated miracle it is today.

    As the shrill charges of the post-Vietnam crowd rained down, Americans weighed these events. They wondered: If America is not a liberator, why are our old enemies today free, prosperous and independent? If America creates puppets, why are countries we liberated now free to object to what we do? If America is the problem with the world, what would the world look like today without us?”

    http://www.hillsdale.edu/imprimis/2005/January/default.htm

  34. nyomythus Says:

    I imagine that he’s much like me: he just plain enjoys laughing at people he thinks are idiots. Though to my credit I’ve mostly grown out of that in my early twenties. I don’t think I’ve done more than one of my infamous “I win, you lose, and you want to kill yourself” attacks (the name one of my friends gave my particular debating style) in the last 2 or 3 years.

    multiple examples of a delusional person. Delusional

  35. grackle Says:

     
    The assessment that Carter was handed an impossible situation and made the worst of it is most apt. Carter can be blamed for many things – the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan leaps to mind – but not the Shah’s downfall.

    True, Carter should bear no guilt for the overthrowing of the Shah. What’s significant about Carter is his reaction after the Shah’s downfall when the terrorists held our embassy employees hostage.

    Iran should have been invaded and the terrorist government destroyed. The embassy employees would have probably died but many other American lives would have been saved that Iran’s terrorist government has since murdered.

    Jimmy should have realized his Presidency was doomed the second the embassy was overrun and that he had nothing to lose in sending in the military to bring the mullahs down. Instead he dithered and attempted to negotiate with them in order to save his administration – exactly the wrong response. Every despot and terrorist in the Middle East watched and noted Carter’s reaction. Much of today’s terrorism was originally fueled by Carter’s lack of retaliation.

    The lesson is clear: Never negotiate with terrorist states. Always crush terrorist governments without mercy.
     

  36. nyomythus Says:

    Proof? Here your proof! You neocon beast!!!!

    US Responsible for Beslan Massacre

  37. US troops were greeted with fl Says:

    Al Jazeera, April 10, 2003:

    “The scenes in the Iraqi capital were chaotic. Jubilant Iraqis welcomed advancing US forces in Baghdad while rampaging looters attacked symbols of Saddam Hussein’s power.

    Residents threw flowers at the armoured column as it swept past, just three kilometres east of the central Jumhuriyya Bridge over the Tigris river. Joy at the apparent removal of Saddam Hussein was tangible, with one man beating a canvas portrait of him with his slipper.

    Crowds threw flowers at the Marines as they drove past the Martyrs’ Monument, just three km (two miles) east of the central Jumhuriya Bridge over the river Tigris.

    “No more Saddam Hussein,” chanted one group, waving to troops as they passed. “We love you, we love you.” One young man ran alongside a Marine armoured personnel carrier trying to hand over a heavy belt of ammunition. An older man made a wild kicking gesture with his foot, saying “Goodbye Saddam”.

    Women waved from balconies, girls threw flower petals at young Marines leaning across gun turrets. One woman held her baby aloft. Tank crews picked the flowers from the tops of their fighting machines, smelt them and grinned. Crowds of Shia men beat their chests in the streets.

    Other signs of a breakdown were also apparent. Journalists at the Palestine Hotel confirmed that their minders had disappeared.”

    http://www.ccmep.org/2003_articles/Iraq/041003_us_stops_short_of_announcing_vic.htm

  38. Ariel Says:

    US troops: Thanks. I am bookmarking the article for the cretins who can’t seem to remember the Iraqis initial response to the liberation. If I remember correctly, many Shia were reserved, afraid that we would leave them hanging to face Saddam’s rage as happened in Desert Storm. The cretins took that as proof that they did not welcome liberation, rather than proof of the fear we would leave the job undone.

    Unfortunately, liberation becomes occupation. I don’t doubt the Iraqis want us gone, but I do doubt that they want us gone before the government is stable and somewhat firmly in control. Distinctions the “reality-based” crowd often seem unable to grasp.

  39. Ymarsakar Says:

    Good analysis, Neo. Being compassionate and nice, whether you are Bush towards Ramsey Clark or Carter towards terroists, you’re not going anywhere fast.

    Being nice to your true allies, and smiting your foes, is a lot better than overthrowing your friends and being nice to your enemies.

  40. Ymarsakar Says:

    Your assertion that the entire course of events in Iran stemmed from this one act is disengenuous at best. It was a long and winding road that led to the mullahs, with many players. And the funny things is that the current population of Iran–at least as best as anyone can ascertain–is surprisingly pro-USA. The younger generation there seem to have forgiven the US its sins against Mossadegh, if you haven’t. The subsequent sins of the mullahs seem to have been greater.

    you know neo, whoever is around to blame, gets it. Target of convenience. Such is human nature, and prone to propaganda ploys.

  41. Ymarsakar Says:

    Both presidents are propaganda junkies — or, more precisely, propaganda pushers — so any such debate would overdose the audience with self-righteous arrogance. The two presidents are too much alike.

    I don’t know what gets your goat, Justin, but this to me is pretty funny.

    What happened to the duel for debate, Justin, where you win and he loses, but he gets to try and kill you anyways?

    It’s a good piece of internet stored news, Ariel, that is true. However as good and hearty a picture the account portrays, you can now see with clear 20/20 hindsight that there was a mass movement to raise the morale of people who supported the war, then through careful negative stereotyping, plummet us to the depths of despair. I can’t give too much credit to the media, they aren’t competent enough to plan such a coup, but the propaganda apparatus of various terroist organizations are. They were the ones who took advantage of the gift, the media gave when they painted such luscious images of liberation and freedom and joy. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and lined with the bodies of those who sought to protect the weak.

    The lesson is clear: Never negotiate with terrorist states. Always crush terrorist governments without mercy.

    I don’t favor crushing terroist governments. I’m in favor something more subtle.

    That’s a pretty good precept, sergey. I’m not a believer in manifest destiny or revealed religion, but I’ve come to much the same conclusions as you. Except about the start of the British Empire, that I’ll have to look into more.

    All these multiple comments of mine? Just think of them as recouping several of the comments I haven’t made here.

  42. Sergey Says:

    To Ymarsakar:
    This precept was not mine.I also do not belive in crushing foreign governments without extreme need, only as a last resort to save many thousand lives. It is gracle’s. And what I call “manifest destiny” is not some ideological or religion dogma, but objective course of history: unintended consequences of intended actions. It becames “manifest” only by hindsight.

  43. grackle Says:

    I also do not believe in crushing foreign governments without extreme need, only as a last resort to save many thousand lives.

    With all due respect, I believe the fact that a government operates as a terrorist government demonstrates a situation of “extreme need.” On saving lives: If the US had retaliated appropriately in ’79 after the embassy takeover 9/11 might never have happened. But all the Middle East observed, noted and surely acted on the basis of those observations. The Iranians are directly responsible for many American deaths since ’79 through the utilization of terrorists and terrorist groups. Furthermore, by committing an act of war(the embassy takeover) and sponsoring terrorism over the ensuing years with impunity, demonstrating America’s almost total inability to respond to a variety of aggressive acts of war, Iran is thus indirectly responsible for many more deaths, perhaps even “many thousands.”
     

  44. Davis Says:

    Carter’s response to the hostage crisis tells us much about his character and ignorance of history. The crisis bore a remarkable resemblance to the prelude to the Abyssinian War in the late 1860’s. When a local warlord called Theodore took about 200 British citizens hostage, Britain isued an ultimatum, then raised an army from England and India. Marching across unbelievably difficult terrain, the British Army confronted a far larger force, defeated it without a single casualty, and freed every hostage unharmed. It remains one of the most amazing military accomplishments in history. Theodore was at least as nutty as Iran’s mullahs. Carter’s response more nearly resembled the naysayers England faced at home.

  45. Sergey Says:

    Situation of extreme need arises not from moral indignation and criminal character of regime. It is a very pragmatical question of geopolitics. I tend to agree with Sen. John McCain: there is only one thing which is worse than direct American invasion in Iran, namely nuclear Iran. This will give mullas so powerfull tool for blackmail America, that is absolutely inadmissible.

  46. Sergey Says:

    I am afraid, Britts in 1860 were made from much more strong material, than modern Americans.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>






Monthly Archives



Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge