November 2010

So, based on the trove of recently released Wikileaks diplomatic cables, I gather that Saudi elites consider Iran a threat and are all like, “Hey United States, let’s you and him fight.”* 

Drawing on data from the same document dump, we learn (or, rather, find official confirmation for the proposition) that some of those same Saudi elites think al-Qaeda is a fabulous organization, doing Allah’s work, and is deserving of generous endowments and other cash payments. That in addition to generally funding the spread of a particularly virulent, radical interpretation of Islam around the globe (including here in the States!) by and through various means.

So I got to thinking: Maybe we shouldnt take foreign policy cues from Saudi elites. Maybe, just maybe, they don’t have our best interests at heart.  Something to think about as we load the bombs for Operation Enduring Iran Freedom Hope Justice Strike.

In less, er, diplomatic parlance, Jason Sigger:

I don’t understand the Arab world, but let me say that I’m quite annoyed by this Machevelian scheming where the Gulf States all seem to expect the US military to act as their bitches to achieve their political objectives, while they sit back on their billions of dollars in defense systems and do… nothing. Listen, you fat fucks, you oil-bloated family dynasties, if you want Iran’s regime toppled, get some skin in the game. Form an Arab military coalition and attack Iran. You’ll make Israel really happy. I’m sure the US government will give you all the targeting data you could want. But really. Fuck off with your suggestions to the US government that we act as your bully boys.

I do wonder how the Arab world could have come up with the crazy idea that the United States would ever be willing to act as the outsized proxy of much smaller Middle East powers, like some ferocious dog being wagged by its tail.  I mean, really.

[* edited for the provincial types]

Given all the overqualified applicants, it can’t be said that Michael Ledeen is the dumbest of the neocons (an honorific most likely still retained by “The Fucking Stupidest Guy on the Face of the Earth“).  Actually, much of the time Ledeen is simply playing dumb, and assuming that his audience won’t catch on (like when he had the stones to look his readers dead in the eye and claim that he had been opposed to the Iraq invasion all along – remember?).

In his defense, if at this late juncture there are still those that count themselves as Ledeen’s audience, he’s probably right in his estimation of their cognitive abilities.  So dumb like a fox he is (albeit a warmongering, rabid, frothing for blood fox). 

In a recent offering, Ledeen again hams it up for the crowd by feigning ignorance as to how Secretary Gates could possibly claim that the Iranian people might rally around the flag in the face of a series of massive US or Israeli airstrikes targeting all manner of Iranian military and nuclear facilities (many of which are embedded in civilian areas and would, thus, lead to many dead civilians – although even their scientists and soldiers are Iranians and might be missed). 

Imagine that.  How crazy.  And does Gates have any actual evidence for this conspiracy theory (history be damned)?

In order to perpetrate this thinly veiled ruse, Ledeen pretends that every regime opponent either has a family member locked in prison, or has multiple deceased family members courtesy of the regime (considering that he pegs the opposition in the tens of millions, one wonders at the size of the Iranian prison population – and size of the mass graves). 

In reality, of course, the opposition is probably smaller, and there is a large spectrum of viewpoints represented in that opposition, with many opponents of the current ruling clique not urging on revolution as much as supporting their own candidates within the system (or for more human rights protections regardless). 

But nevermind reality, we’re discussing a Ledeen column.

So after dedicating the opening paragraphs to arguing forcefully that Gates is wrong, wrong, wrong to worry that military strikes would somehow galvanize support for the current regime, Ledeen does one of his patented pirouettes:

Not that I’m trying to talk Gates into bombing Iran;  quite the opposite, in fact. 

Silly liberals, whatever gave you that idea?

Our greatest weapon is political, and consists in [sic] the overwhelming majority of Iranians who hate the regime.  If we supported them with vigor and a sense of humor, I think the regime would be overthrown and we wouldn’t have to worry about the “military option.”  But we don’t hear any vigorous support for the democratic opposition from this administration. [emphasis added]  

One imagines that if an “overwhelming majority” of Iranians opposed the regime they wouldn’t need our sense of humor and words of encouragement to git’r’done.  And if our simple snark and attaboys were not enough, maybe we could sick the Piranha Brothers on em – using the Ledeen calculus, this thing would be wrapped up by the end of the weekend.

One is also left wondering: if that’s all it took, why didn’t the Bush administration just apply the necessary Joke and Stroke offensive?  In Ledeen’s defense, he does add this bit as a caveat:

And more to the point, nothing concrete is done for [the opposition]. 

Hmmm, what do you think he means by “concrete”?

Our collective idiocy in a nutshell (with said nutshell to be fondled by your friendly neighborhood TSA Agent):

Peter Rez, a physics professor at Arizona State University in Tempe, did his own calculations and found the exposure to be about one-fiftieth to one-hundredth the amount of a standard chest X-ray. He calculated the risk of getting cancer from a single scan at about 1 in 30 million, “which puts it somewhat less than being killed by being struck by lightning in any one year,” he told me.

While the risk of getting a fatal cancer from the screening is minuscule, it’s about equal to the probability that an airplane will get blown up by a terrorist, he added. “So my view is there is not a case to be made for deploying them to prevent such a low probability event.”

X-ray the awesome!

Continuing the recent trend of family-oriented entertainment here at The Toot (promise that won’t last long you depraved heathens), it is time now to praise the children.  In that spirit, allow me to make the studied observation that this kid really knows what time is it:

Jay McDowell, a teacher in Howell, Michigan, was temporarily suspended without pay earlier this month after telling a student wearing a Confederate flag and a student making anti-gay remarks to get out of his class. At a school-board meeting on Friday, openly gay 14-year-old high-school student Graeme Taylor came to McDowell’s defense, thanking the teacher for doing “an amazing thing” in a town home to the KKK, and urging the school board to give McDowell his pay and reverse the disciplinary actions.

Go watch the video.

And I mean that in a good way.  Seriously, this woman deserves praise.  What a lucky kid.  This line, in particular, is merchandisable:

…I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off.

Read it.

If only they had listened to my advice, and pushed for my preferred policy package, they would have beaten back the GOP challenge.


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