Monday, April 19, 2010

Smokeless Gun

Much is being made by those who wish only the worst -- including my latest and, by all measures, least interesting troll -- of the astounding revelation, in that organ the RWS™ suddenly have found nothing but credible, the NYT, of a memo by Robert Gates regarding Iran policy, or lack thereof.

When I first read the article, a few things came to mind: 1) given the anonymity of the sources, we have no idea what the memo actually said, 2) we have no idea of context, 3) we DO have an idea of the intent of the leaker.

Be those as they may, today there's a little more information.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Mr. Gates said he wished to correct what he described as mischaracterizations about the memo’s content and purpose, and to dispel any perception among allies that the administration had failed to adequately think through how to deal with Iran.

“With the administration’s pivot to a pressure track on Iran earlier this year, the memo identified next steps in our defense planning process where further interagency discussion and policy decisions would be needed in the months and weeks ahead,” Mr. Gates said.

“The memo was not intended as a ‘wake-up call’ or received as such by the president’s national security team,” he added. “Rather, it presented a number of questions and proposals intended to contribute to an orderly and timely decision-making process.”

The New York Times article quoted one senior official as saying the document was a “wake-up call.” But Mr. Gates said, “The New York Times sources who revealed my January memo to the national security advisor mischaracterized its purpose and content.”

Well, sure, there's spin, and there's backspin. Damage, and damage control. Still, it's hardly credible that, after sixteen months in office and numerous speeches and diplomatic efforts on the subject of Iran, President Obama hadn't thought about policy until the memo. Okay, it's credible to trolls, John McCain and all of the RWS™. But not to anyone who thinks about stuff.

Heck, when George Bush invaded Afghanistan (from the Oval Office) he used a CIA plan developed under Bill Clinton. So if it were true that there were no contingency plans for Iran when Obama took office (and I'm betting it's not), what would that say, and about whom? And does anyone except my troll and the TB/RWS™ contingent think policy discussions aren't held regularly regarding Iran? We know, for example, that attacking has been war-gamed.

How, I wonder, does one arrive at a meets-all-possibilities strategy for a situation of endless fluidity? How, one might ask, could anyone believe that dealing with Iran is not of the highest priority in this or any other imaginable White House? And how could anyone not believe -- AND PREFER -- that this one includes a lot more complexity than the "pulling the trigger" on "bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" that would constitute the entire strategy had Obama lost the election?

Never mind. A second-hand, context-free, anonymous and partial description of a memo which is part of a hugely complex process dealing with a near-impossible problem is enough to convince those already convinced. They hate hearing stuff like this, so jumping to self-evidently wrong conclusions is what they do.

What we don't have is a coherent opposition party. Would that we did.


  1. \\\]][ FIt would be nice to have a policy to cover "endless fluidity"--but all we're asking for is a policy to cover this one thing. Gates's accusation is that "the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability."

    Undoubtedly George Bush left good plans. But the One's desire to undo all things Bush means he had to trash them and come up with his own. But that means taking time out from golf and basketball in order to get some things done. Shoot-he went months without an actual Afghanistan plan, after announcing in March 2009 that he had a new strategy.

    It's really no surprise. Obama clearly still has no plan to deal civilly with the UK, either--other than doing his best to drive away our closest ally.

    He's getting his way with Israel, though, isn't he? Or as he and the left would put it..."those dirty joos" are finally getting what they deserve.

    It's you and people like you who are leading to the attacks on conservatives. Your hate speech incites the left-wing rabble, giving them permission for the beatings we're seeing across the countries. You should be ashamed of that and your anti-Semtiism.

  2. So much misinformation, so much disinformation in a single comment, the mind simply reels.

    Putting quotes around Gate's accusation (which it was not) implies he said those words. He did not.

    I assume you were outraged at the vacations Bush took. But it's gratuitous in any case. Obama worked on a plan for Afghanistan as strategies were tried and improved. Y'know: thoughtful, careful, taking into account the full range of issues. Unlike you know who. By some measures, it's working now. And, of course, there'd not have been a need for a plan had Bush stayed where he belonged and not left the country to ruin so he could invade Iraq.

    UK. Civilly. Simply absurd. But a well-known talking point of the RWS. Fact is, Obama has raised approval of the US in GB, and throughout the world. As you know, if you followed my link.

    Israel is getting continued support, as you also know. But it simply can't expect to avoid criticism no matter what it does.

    Last paragraph: it's like Mitch McConnell (stay tuned) calling financial reform a giveaway to Wall Street. Say the opposite of truth with a straight face, knowing teabaggers will wipe off their chins and swallow it.

  3. Anonymous, what can I say? The epitome of rational reasoned discourse.

    Sid, why waste your time responding to what amounts to nothing more than a sarcastic attempt to get a rise.

    Now, if he/she really had a rational fact based response I would love to read it. It would be educational to see that kind of dialogue between opposing viewpoints.

  4. Jim, on the rare occasion I get legitimate and informed disagreement, I welcome and try to engage in kind. This latest anonymous refuses to provide an identifier -- to complex, perhaps, to end a comment with a X, for example -- so I can't be sure if it's the same one on various threads. There's a consistent lack of seriousness, for sure.

    On the other hand, this latest comment had, compared to his others, a grain of purpose, or so I thought before re-reading it just now. I suppose simply printing it is more credence than I should give comments like that.

  5. We appreciate your blog although reading it depresses us.

    We then go to Frankie's for a belly laugh.

    Keep up the good fight Sid. Someone needs to do it.


Comments back, moderated. Preference given for those who stay on topic.

Popular posts