Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Daniel Pipes, electro magnetic convulsions, and let's all bomb Barbara Ann ...

First a little detour, before we get to the excellent Pipes.

It seems after all the excitement in crow eater land that Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has eaten humble crow eater pie.

You can read the details in Attorney-General Michael Atkinson vows to repeal election internet censorship law amid reader furore which generated over a thousand comments. The story also contains the note that the current act will not be acted upon during the impending election campaign.

I particularly loved Atkinson's performance decrying an anonymous Liberal plant as an example of why his law was necessary, which naturally led to the story Michael Atkinson, meet Aaron Fornarino. He lives near your office and yes, he does exist.

What a gold rolled goose.

Now if only his ridiculous stance on an R18+ category for video games could also be given a going over.

But he is after all a provincial player, and for international skills, we need to turn to a player like Daniel Pipes with his guest appearance today in The Australian, under the header Obama can rescue his failing presidency by bombing Iranian nukes.

Now what's the best way to start a pitch to Barack Obama to follow armchair warrior Pipes' advice?

I do not customarily offer advice to a President whose election I opposed, whose goals I fear, and whose policies I work against.

Uh huh, that sounds like a winner. On with the idea:

But here is an idea for Barack Obama to salvage his tottering administration by taking a step that protects the US and its allies.

But wait, stay awhile, tarry a moment, there's more resounding boxing of the ears to be done first:

If Obama's personality, identity, and celebrity captivated a majority of the American electorate in 2008, those qualities proved ruefully deficient in 2009 for governing. He failed to deliver on employment and health care, he failed in foreign policy forays small (say, landing the 2016 Olympics) and large (relations with China and Japan). His counter-terrorism record barely passes the laugh test. This poor performance has caused an unprecedented collapse in the polls and the loss of three major by-elections, culminating two weeks ago in an astonishing senatorial defeat in Massachusetts.

Oh yes, the Olympics, it's all Obama's fault. Just like he personally supervised the boarding of the underpants bomber, handing the man his personal clearance to get on the plane. Nothing at all to do with the intelligence agencies, an oxymoronic name that always passes the laugh test.

How can Obama ever remove that Olympics stain from his record? Could it be that he needs to join the arm chair warriors in becoming a war monger? Isn't his successful work in Afghanistan enough? Of course not:

Obama's attempts to "reset" his presidency will likely fail if he focuses on economics, where he is just one of many players. He needs a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him as a lightweight, bumbling ideologue, preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations.

Uh huh:

Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war? ... He said war was to important to be left to the Generals. When he said that, fifty years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Yes, leave strategy to Daniel Pipes, if not to General Ripper. So what to do to preserve precious bodily fluids?

Such an opportunity does exist: Obama can give orders for the US military to destroy the Iranian nuclear weapon capacity.

Well indeedy, because military action has worked so spiffingly well in Iraq and even now is doing a tremendous job in Afghanistan, and has helped the fight spill in to Pakistan. So much the better if a third front is opened up forthwith, because after all, opening fronts all over the place worked exceptionally well for Adolf Hitler, and we know that Obama is as close to a Hitler as the United States has ever suffered under (okay, a dollar in the Tea Party Godwin's Law swear jar).

Indeed, I still look back fondly on the show trial of Osama Bin-Laden, caught red handed in a sauna with Saddam during the first week of the invasion, and then deservedly punished for his wretched sins.

But do go on:

Circumstances are propitious. First, US intelligence agencies have reversed their preposterous 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the one that claimed with "high confidence" that Tehran had "halted its nuclear weapons program". No one (other than the Iranian rulers and their agents) denies that the regime is rushing headlong to build a large nuclear arsenal.

Yes, there's nothing like rushing headlong into a bombing to prop up a tottering presidential career - remember the good old days when Margaret showed those Argies some British pluck.

But what exactly might be the consequences of such a bombing raid? Would it just be a matter of dusting off the hands, noting a job well done, and then going about business as usual?

So it seems:

Second, if the apocalyptic-minded leaders in Tehran get the bomb, they render the Middle East yet more volatile and dangerous. They might deploy these weapons in the region, leading to massive death and destruction. Eventually, they could launch an electro-magnetic pulse attack on the US, utterly devastating the country. By eliminating the Iranian nuclear threat, Obama protects the homeland and sends a message to American's friends and enemies.

An electro-magnetic impulse attack that will utterly devastate the United States? Oh sorry, I misread it. It's a pulse attack! Those fiends have jumped from nuke bomb 101 to EMP in the blink of an eye.

Take that Saddam, you small time thinker. You clearly lacked the WMDs because you should have been thinking EMPs, as you would if you'd had the grand imagination of the paranoid thinker.

But what's this? The suspiciously named Hussein Tahiri spinning a different line in that haven for lefties, the SMH, under the header An attack on Iran would be a blessing for the regime:

An attack by Israel or the US against Iranian nuclear facilities could mobilise Iranians behind the regime as a sign of national solidarity and support for Iran's sovereignty. At the least, an attack could give the regime plenty of ammunition to accuse the protesters of being the "agents" of Zionism and America. Thus, such an attack could well end the opposition protests and so end the chance for regime change within the country, just as the Iraqi invasion of Iran in 1980 helped the Iran's Islamic Regime to consolidate its power and suppress all the opposition groups.

Ayatollah Khamenei and Ahmadinejad therefore have plenty of incentives to continue with their nuclear program. If, in the process, Israel or the US attacks the Iranian nuclear facilities it may well be a blessing that could be warmly welcomed.

But, but, you goose, the polls are favourable, and any possum with half a clue knows that before going to war, you should consult the polls:

Third, polling shows longstanding American backing for an attack on the Iranian nuclear infrastructure.

• Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg, January 2006: 57 per cent of Americans favour military intervention if Tehran pursues a program that could enable it to build nuclear arms.

• Zogby International, October 2007: 52 per cent of likely voters support a US military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon; 29 per cent oppose such a step.

• McLaughlin & Associates, May 2009: asked whether they would support "using the [U.S.] military to attack and destroy the facilities in Iran which are necessary to produce a nuclear weapon", 58 per cent of 600 likely voters supported the use of force and 30 per cent opposed it.

• Fox News, September 2009: asked "do you support or oppose the US taking military action to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons?" 61 per cent of 900 registered voters supported military action and 28 opposed it.

• Pew Research Center, October 2009: asked which is more important, "to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action" or "to avoid a military conflict with Iran, even if it means they may develop nuclear weapons", of 1500 respondents, 61 per cent favoured the first reply and 24 per cent the second.

Not only does a strong majority - 57, 52, 58, 61, and 61 per cent - already favour using force, but after a strike Americans will presumably rally around the flag, jumping that number to a much higher level.

Yep, in the old days they used to check the chicken entrails and the runes, but these days, you just check the polls. Preferably the Fox News polls. In the knowledge that people would rally around the flag.

But what about the fall out, the consequences?

Fourth, were the US strike limited to taking out the Iranian nuclear facilities, and not aspire to regime change, it would require few "boots on the ground" and entail relatively few casualties, making an attack politically more palatable.

Great, sounds like a tremendous idea. No boots on the ground, few casualties, politically palatable. But what about the impact in the middle east?

We interrupt this program to apologise for a resounding silence. Just as there was never any need to worry about the post war progress of Iraq, so there's not any point caring about ordinary Iranians or their situation, or what an entrenched Iranian theocracy might manage to do in the middle east. Just bomb them to hell, and worry about the consequences later. Remember it worked tremendously well in Iraq.

Oh and the armchair warriors and war mongers will swoon at your feet:

Just as 9/11 caused voters to forget George W. Bush's meandering early months, a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama's feckless first year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene. It would sideline health care, prompt Republicans to work with Democrats, make netroots [internet-based activists] squeal, independents reconsider, and conservatives swoon.

And as a bonus sideline health care. Tremendous news for uninsured sick Americans. Encourage partisanship. Bring the teabaggers onside as they vote for more taxes to make more nukes. And make the netroots squeal. Not to mention the swooning conservatives, who can suddenly remember their love of Jane Austen and their enthusiasm for the very stern Mr Darcy.

Such a considered, well rounded approach to foreign policy. But quick, hurry, or you might miss out on the bonus set of steak knives. This offer is only open for a week:

But the chance to do good and do well is fleeting. As the Iranians improve their defences and approach weaponisation, the window of opportunity is closing. The time to act is now or, on Obama's watch, the world will soon become a much more dangerous place.

But not so dangerous as when Pipes gets his fingers near a nuclear weapon button?

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum for the carpet bombing of the middle east, and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, with a special interest in the bombing of the middle east into the stone age.

Now everybody sing along with that old Beachboys' song: bomb Iran, bomb bomb bomb Iran.

Dammit, will somebody put up the correct lyrics on this song:

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