Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Bad news from Iran

Charles Krauthammer on Iran and the coming apocalypse. Not good. Also see this about the Twelfth Imam.

Discussions - 17 Comments

"The closest we’ve come to a messianically inclined leader in America was a secretary of the interior..."

Hasn’t Krauthammer heard our current leader refer to our "War against Terror," of the "War against Extremism" as a "crusade?" I would say that we are much, much closer to a messianically inclined leader than CK would have us believe.

This is not to say that Iran is not worthy of concern. Hopefully, we can start turning our attention to truly dangerous enemies, like Osama bin Laden, and Iran, before we completely deplete our resources bringing Democracy to Iraq.

Fung:

Don’t you think Iran is worried now that America has troops bordering it on the west and the south? Given the realties of the world (direct military action back in 2003 on Iran was unacceptable both globally and locally), I do not think Bush has done too bad for preparing for whatever will happen concerning Iran.

I think allowing Iraqis to freely vote puts a lot of pressure on the Iranian regime. Their response is to try and remind its citizens why it is good (because it is fundamental Islam). Of course, trying to justify its existence as the will of God by public statements such as it has made for the past few weeks continues to build the case for taking out the regime, either through direct or indirect force, and makes it globally and domestically possible to do so. If Iraq succeeds, in the long run, Iran is doomed.

once, in an innocent and offhand way, shortly after 9/11--his sense was the one that Dwight Eisenhower (hardly a religious fanatic) had in mind when he published a memoir called "Crusade in Europe."

After Bush was told that the word grates on Muslim ears, he stopped. Claiming that this one casual usage is evidence of him being "messianically inclined" is beyond lame.

Beyond lame, but typical Fung.

In case you hadn’t already figured it out Fung, by strange coincidence there happens to be ANOTHER Chris L who posts here (which is his/her right, of course!) who happens to always have the opposite opinion that I do.

Steve- I am sure that Iran is concerned. But, to claim that, if Iraq succeeds, then Iran is "doomed" is to flirt (again) with hubris and a bit of amnesia.

First, I remember some pretty optimistic estimates of our "mission" in Iraq, which left out quite a few important details. Second, I also remember a prolonged war between Iraq and Iran which certainly weakened both countries, but which also certainly never resulted in Iraq’s victory over Iran. This is even more unsettling, since Iraq then enjoyed the support and assistance of her old friend, the Reagan Administration. You would think that, with help like that, the evil Saddam could have walked all over Iran, but Iran survived. In fact, with the exceptions of Granada and Panama, we seem to be repeatedly surprised at how difficult it is to subdue other countries. Even when we pointedly avoid tackling the truly dangerous ones like North Korea and China. Even when our military has not been stretched and strained to its current state.

And as for Bush, that one line about the Crusade is far from the only reason to perceive him as messianically inclined. There is also his habit of wearing his "faith" on his sleeve, his "Faith-based" initiatives, and his invocation of "Evil," and "God" and "God-fearing," and "God-blessing" in his every utterance. Whether it is an act for his religious fundamentalist buddies, or the real thing, I do not know, but the separation of church and state has never been so threatened in this country as it is right now.

But Eisenhower wasn’t talking about fighting Muslims, was he? So the possible repercussions of using the word "crusade" were very different for Ike than they were for Bush, who should have known better than to use that word in that context. So really, it’s not a very valid comparison. But oh well.

Fung:

It may be that the US only gave enough aid to Iraq to prevent Iran from winning so both sides would kill as many people as possible and reduce the threat from either country by keeping them busy in a war that fully taxed their capacities. After Iraq-Iran were through, Iraq invaded Kuwait. I have no idea if this was the strategy at the time, but it would not surprise me.

As far as the military might of Iran, it seems most probable that if they could not defeat Iraq they must have a very weak military force. I assume Iraq kept whatever US supplies it got after that war, and the US military easily destroyed Iraq’s military in both of our conflicts with it. I remember reading that Iran sent wave after wave of troops into poison gas, their commanders telling them Allah would prevent the gas from killing them. Any military so divorced from reality will not win any serious war.

You are right about the difficulty of regime building and all of that stuff, but it ought to be clear that we can easily destroy the military forces of other countries provided we use all of our arsenal (excluding nuclear weapons of course).

And as for Bush, that one line about the Crusade is far from the only reason to perceive him as messianically inclined. There is also his habit of wearing his "faith" on his sleeve, his "Faith-based" initiatives, and his invocation of "Evil," and "God" and "God-fearing," and "God-blessing" in his every utterance. Whether it is an act for his religious fundamentalist buddies, or the real thing, I do not know, but the separation of church and state has never been so threatened in this country as it is right now.

Nonsense. Go back and look at the speeches of Franklin D. Roosevelt. There is hardly an example where did not invoke God, or discuss issues in terms of good and evil, and this was on both domestic and foreign policy. It is more accurate to say that never before have certain people had such an expansive definition of "separation of church and state" as they do today.

This is even more unsettling, since Iraq then enjoyed the support and assistance of her old friend, the Reagan Administration. You would think that, with help like that, the evil Saddam could have walked all over Iran, but Iran survived.

The extent of U.S. military assistance to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war should not be overstated. In fact, it never amounted to very much. Most in the Reagan administration recognized that Saddam Hussein was a revolting character even then, but determined that, as bad as he was, Iran was worse. Perhaps that was a bad call, but you know what they say about hindsight. In any case, it’s ridiculous to come up with some sort of historical lesson based on this case that it’s never good policy to support one bad regime against another. After all, isn’t this precisely what the United States did in sending aid to Stalin in 1941?

As others have said, Fung, comparing our support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war with our capabilities in 2005 is pretty silly. Our military is significantly more advanced now than it was then. Not to mention that we weren’t actually fighting in that war, merely providing financial support and weapons. Furthermore, that war was, in essence, Iraq(US) fighting Iran(USSR). Iran had their own support from a military superpower which I would say probably did a rather nice job of leveling the playing field, so to speak. Iran has no such backing now.

Your concerns about Bush being "messianic" are equally silly. Do you really believe that a president using the term "evil" is crossing the line between church and state? Really? Many, many presidents before Bush have referred to God in their speeches. Perhaps you are unaware that a fairly large majority of people in this country actually believe in God and believe that he is involved in how history will unfold? What exactly do you want from a president? No references to good and bad? No moral judgment? No mentioning of God? Complete silence on his own faith even when questioned on it? Really, what is it you think is appropriate?

But in fact, Bush doesn’t talk about "fighting Muslims," either. On the contrary, he goes out of his way and bends over backward to stress that Islam is a "relgion of peace" (an arguably dubious but indisputably politic claim) and that we are fighting the forces of terror, not Muslims qua Muslims. In Iraq, numerous Muslims in the Iraqi army and security forces are fighting alongside our troops and against the forces of terror. So your attack on the Eisenhower example (which was just a way of pointing out that people in the West use "crusade" broadly to refer to any dedicated and righteous struggle) is a fizzle. But oh well.

[E]verywhere throughout the world- throughout this war that covers the world—there is a special spirit that has warmed our hearts since our earliest childhood- a spirit that brings us close to our homes, our families, our friends and neighbors the Christmas spirit of "peace on earth, good will toward men." It is an unquenchable spirit.

During the past years of international gangsterism and brutal aggression in Europe and in Asia, our Christmas celebrations have been darkened with apprehension for the future. We have said, "Merry Christmas—Happy New Year," but we have known in our hearts that the clouds which have hung over our world have prevented us from saying it with full sincerity and conviction. . . .

And even this year, we still have much to face in the way of further suffering, and sacrifice, and personal tragedy. Our men, who have been through the fierce battles in the Solomons, the Gilberts, Tunisia, and Italy know, from their own experience and knowledge of modern war, that many bigger and costlier battles are still to be fought.

But—on Christmas Eve this year—I can say to you that at last we may look forward into the future with real, substantial confidence that, however great the cost, "peace on earth, good will toward men" can be and will be realized and insured. This year I can say that. Last year I could not do more than express a hope. Today I express a certainty—though the cost may be high and the time may be long.

Within the past year—within the past few weeks—history has been made, and it is far better history for the whole human race than any that we have known, or even dared to hope for, in these tragic times through which we pass.

The United Nations have no intention to enslave the German people. We wish them to have a normal chance to develop, in peace, as useful and respectable members of the European family. But we most certainly emphasize that word "respectable"for we intend to rid them once and for all of Nazism and Prussian militarism and the fantastic and disastrous notion that they constitute the "master race."

For too many years we lived on pious hopes that aggressor and warlike Nations would learn and understand and carry out the doctrine of purely voluntary peace.

The well-intentioned but ill-fated experiments of former years did not work. It is nay hope that we will not try them again. No -that is putting it too weakly—it is my intention to do all that I humanly can as President and Commander in Chief to see to it that these tragic mistakes shall not be made again.

There have always been cheerful idiots in this country who believed that there would be no more war for us if everybody in America would only return into their homes and lock their front doors behind them. Assuming that their motives were of the highest, events have shown how unwilling they were to face the facts.

The American people have had every reason to know that this is a tough and destructive war. On my trip abroad, I talked with many military men who had faced our enemies in the field. These hardheaded realists testify to the strength and skill and resourcefulness of the enemy generals and men whom we must beat before final victory is won. The war is now reaching the stage where we shall all have to look forward to large casualty lists—dead, wounded, and missing.

War entails just that. There is no easy road to victory. And the end is not yet in sight.

I have been back only for a week. It is fair that I should tell you my impression. I think I see a tendency in some of our people here to assume a quick ending of the war- that we have already gained the victory. And, perhaps as a result of this false reasoning, I think I discern an effort to resume or even encourage an outbreak of partisan thinking and talking. I hope I am wrong. For, surely, our first and most foremost tasks are all concerned with winning the war and winning a just peace that will last for generations.

The massive offensives which are in the making—both in Europe and the Far East—will require every ounce of energy and fortitude that we and our allies can summon on the fighting fronts and in all the workshops at home. As I have said before, you cannot order up a great attack on a Monday and demand that it be delivered on Saturday.

Less than a month ago I flew in a big Army transport plane over the little town of Bethlehem, in Palestine.

Tonight, on Christmas Eve, all men and women everywhere who love Christmas are thinking of that ancient town and of the star of faith that shone there more than nineteen centuries ago.

American boys are fighting today in snow-covered mountains, in malarial jungles, on blazing deserts; they are fighting on the far stretches of the sea and above the clouds, and fighting for the thing for which they struggle. I think it is best symbolized by the message that came out of Bethlehem.

On behalf of the American people—your own people—I send this Christmas message to you who are in our armed forces:

In our hearts are prayers for you and for all your comrades in arms who fight to rid the world of evil.

We ask God’s blessing upon you—upon your fathers, mothers, wives and children—all your loved ones at home.

We ask that the comfort of God’s grace shall be granted to those who are sick and wounded, and to those who are prisoners of war in the hands of the enemy, waiting for the day when they will again be free.

And we ask that God receive and cherish those who have given their lives, and that He keep them in honor and in the grateful memory of their countrymen forever.

God bless all of you who fight our battles on this Christmas Eve.

God bless us all. Keep us strong in our faith that we fight for a better day for humankind- here and everywhere.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=16356

Buuuut... Aren’t ALL of the terrorists Muslims? So then aren’t we kinda fighting Muslims? You DO admit Muslims have something to do with the GWOT, right? Yes, Bush may have made some obviously-pandering remarks about the majority of Muslims being "freedom-lovers and peacefulists" or something, but my point is that is was obviously a dumb thing for him to have said- the climate was totally different for Eisenhower than it was for Bush. If you claim you don’t see any difference, then you’re either lying or you’re simple.

Bush’s one-time, offhand use of "crusade" was brought up as putative evidence for his religious fanaticism.

Bush is no more a fanatic than Ike was, though they both used the word "crusade" in the broad and benign sense that is rather common in Western societies.

Pointing out that Ike’s use was circumstantially less problematic is accurate, perhaps, but irrelevant to my point, which is that if using the word "crusade" is prima facie evidence of "messianism" then Ike no less than Bush must be considered a religious fanatic, whereas neither man was or is any such thing. You are taking Bush to task for making one less-than-fully-circumspect remark, while my point is that circumspect or not, his one-time use of "crusade" in its general sense hardly counts as evidence for the charge of religious fanaticism made against him.

If you claim you can’t see the irrelevance of your remarks to the main point at hand now that I’ve spelled that irrelevance out for you, you’re either dishonest or just plain stupid (not that I much care which).

I’m not so sure there "last poster." It seems you’re not following. If your criticism is based on the idea that when Bush says "the fight against terrorists" means "the fight against Muslims," then you are wrong. It is not valid. You got it backwards. It goes:


If terrorist, then Muslim (which by itself is not true, but we’ll grant you that)


Terrorist


__


Muslim


Not: If terrorist, then Muslim


Muslim


__


Terrorist


But I might be simple.

"Last Poster" refers to the comment on 14, and not the comment of 15. I was beaten to the mark.

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