Thursday, November 16, 2006
Like my man Mohammed from Afghanistan, grew up in Iran -- the n**** runs a neighborhood newsstand:
My American Prospect piece on the Baker-Hamilton commission will be available in a few days, but I note with regret that I missed the heart of the issue. What I should have demanded of the Iraq Study Group is an expansion of the war into Iran and Syria.

Oh, wait. I'm not Michael Ledeen.

Ledeen is a friend of my friend Eli Lake, so I have to believe that there's a sensible man in there somewhere. But his column today is another instantiation of his argument that the war on terror reduces to a problem with Iran and Syria. It would be nice if al-Qaeda played a role in Ledeen's thinking, but we can't always get what we want. Why we should welcome a war with Shiite Islam as well as bin Ladenist Salafism is... a bit obscure to me, but, it frightens me to concede, if you will it, it is no dream.

For the life of me, I just don't understand this:
Serious policies must aim at regime change in Tehran and Damascus. This does not require a military invasion of either country, but it does require active support for anti-regime political groups, combined with an explicit declaration that we want an end to the tyrannies. As a starter, it would be nice to have the Justice Department indict the Iranian leaders. . .


A free Iran would most likely become an instant ally in the war against terror, reversing the balance of power in the Middle East in a single, non-violent stroke. Hezbollah would be deprived of its source of money, materiel and guidance, and would shrivel up, awaiting last rites. Al Qaeda, many of whose leaders moved to Iran from Afghanistan in 2002, would be similarly damaged, as would Islamic Jihad and Hamas, two of Tehran’s major clients. And the information from Iranian intelligence files would turn over many rocks in many swamps, all over the world, probably including our shores.
An "instant ally in the war on terror," eh? "Reversing the balance of power in the Middle East in a single, non-violent stroke," eh? I recall we were made these promises about Iraq. Also, anyone who aims to reverse a balance of power -- what it means to "reverse" a balance of power I couldn't say -- in one fell swoop is probably a spectacularly bad imperialist. (What would Lord Curzon say?) The sweetener about all this business being "non-violent" is a lovely thing as well.

Plus -- and someone please answer this for me -- didn't Ledeen help sell weapons to the Iranian regime? I mean, doesn't that make him, like, a catspaw to the Terror Masters or something?
--Spencer Ackerman
An instant ally?

What exactly would he have to say to permanently discredit himself as an analyst? That might be the single dumbest statement I've read this week that wasn't published in TNR...
Blogger Pooh | 3:13 PM

Ah, but despite many peoples’ inaccurate predictions about Iraq, Ledeen is right about Iran and, in a sense, he was also right about Iraq before the invasion. Why?

Ledeen has always argued that the US's first priority should have been to remove what he calls the 'terror masters', i.e. those regimes who are responsible for organizing, supporting and funding the majority of terrorist activities that take place around the world. When looked at in this light, it becomes obvious that the Islamic Republic is the mother of modern-day terrorism, for it is from her seed that radical Islam as it is known today really began to spring. From her womb came Hezbollah and Hamas, and after her establishment, the Middle East slowly began to fall into chaos (after all the region’s ‘police’ force had been removed).

If the US would have targeted Iran first (before Afghanistan and Iraq) and succeeded in changing the regime, the world would certainly have changed significantly for the better – both for the hundreds of thousands of Iranians who have been tortured by their own regime, and for the rest of the world, who would live in a world with significantly less terrorism and Islamic extremism.

And yes, this could have been done peacefully as well for a number of reasons. For example, the vast majority of Iranians utterly despise their regime and have an overwhelmingly positive opinion of Americans. Just ask them – the real ones though, not the ones that the BBC interviews, who are being watched by the regime’s armed minders to ensure nothing 'inappropriate' is conveyed. There have also been a number of strong, nation-wide streams of protests in Iran over the years (i.e. the summer of 2003), which were not reported by the mainstream media (that is another story altogether…the black box around reporting about what’s really going on in Iran). By consistently supporting the dissident groups in both a moral and economical sense, there was a good chance that the regime could have been brought down without the need for a war.

But despite Bush’s wishes for something like this to happen, he has constantly been mislead / distracted from doing the one thing that would go the furthest length to solving many of the problems in the Middle East and the world at large – removing the mullahs from their seat of power. Why he has been distracted and by whom he has been distracted by is another long discussion..

If you want more background on the atrocities of the Islamic Republic, and how certain Western nations continue to support them (namely Britain, France and Germany), you can view the ‘Brothers in Arms’ document on the right-hand column of my blog at

The short of it is that you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Ledeen’s views on Iran. He has been following the situation for a long time and he has been one of the only people to have a logical and consistent argument(s) on the issue.

As a footnote, the fundamental reason that Iraq can’t be ‘won’ is that the Islamic Republic is using its various tentacles to ensure that the country remains in chaos. If you listen to Iran-based news sources, you would have heard the country’s military commander telling the entire world openly that the Revolutionary Guards have sent 50,000 of their own troops into Iraq over the last few years. They all speak Arabic and have gotten legitimate passports and are heavily armed. They are waiting for the day when George Bush will go (~2 years from now) and they can then safely create an Islamic Republic of Iraq. Let’s hope something happens before this occurs, because the more Islamic Republics there are, the less chance we all have of surviving this century.

All the best,

Noggr the Bloggr
Blogger Noggr the Bloggr | 4:44 AM

Oh man, a GZA reference. You're the best pundit ever.
Blogger David Weman | 10:12 PM

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Blogger Fibercement | 3:06 AM