Today's Blogs

Stop or We’ll Shoot

Bloggers wonder about the soundness of allowing U.S. soldiers to arrest or shoot Iranian infiltrators in Iraq. They also suss out Liz Cheney’s “no retreat” op-ed in the Washington Post, and Jimmy Carter’s apology for a controversial passage in his new book.

Stop or we’ll shoot: President Bush has authorized U.S. military forces to shoot or capture (without release) any operatives from Iran. Bloggers are split on the decision.

Conservative English blogger Matthew Sinclair at Sinclair’s Musings doesn’t think the new plan can work: “The Iranians have more popular support and no troops directly in harms way. The idea that a few of their operatives getting shot will deter them is absurd but it might cause them to treat it more like a proxy war, at the moment it seems plausible they see their job largely as cementing the Shia advantage for a post-US involvement Iraq, which will make our job pacifying the country far harder.”

Liberal hawk Judith Weiss at Kesher Talk asks: “What took Bush so long? This seems basic to me, leading me to wonder if his briefing panels were not shielding him from home truths about the situation in Iraq. This lack of hands on approach is often what leads his adminisration into incompetencies.”

Ditto, says righty Jeff at Kinshasa on the Potomac: “We have been allowing the Iranians to, essentially, invade Iraq and help destabilize a situation in which our success is critical, not to mention providing those opposed to the Coalition and the Iraqi government with the means to kill thousands. Further, Tehran, based on their behavior in the past few years, has seen our soft approach towards them as indicative as weakness.”

Are we shooting Iranians or shooting ourselves in the feet, asks anti-war liberal Spencer Ackerman of Too Hot for TNR: “The best case scenario for us in Iraq is handing Iraq to Iran even more than we already have. At the same time, U.S. military and intelligence assets will go around the country seeking to kill Iranian Revolutionary Guard Forces.”

Read more about the American license to kill Iranian spies in Iraq.

Don’t mess with Liz: In a strongly worded Washington Post editorial [note: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.], Liz Cheney, the former principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs who’s more famous for being Dick Cheney’s daughter, wrote that retreat from Iraq is not possible or desirable.

Lefty Noam Scheiber at the New Republic blog The Plank finds absurd Cheney’s claim that elections are not adequate barometers of the public’s opinion on specific policies:  “It’s true. Elections are remarkably crude instruments for gauging public opinion. For example, the American people did express some concerns about the economy when they elected Franklin Roosevelt over Herbert Hoover in 1932. They did not say they wanted to scrap Hoover’s innovative worker re-training programs.”

Liberal Steven Benan at The Carpetbagger Report rejects Cheney’s claim that our allies in the war on terror—namely Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan—are worthy of the title: ” ‘What allies?’ Who, exactly, are we going to ‘scare away’ if we redeploy troops from Iraq? Musharraf isn’t exactly a model ally and champion of democracy … and he’s been opposed the war in Iraq from the start. Karzai would probably be thrilled if we redeployed from Iraq and started taking Afghanistan seriously again.”

No love for Hillary from Karl at righty Leaning Straight Up. Quoting Cheney’s line about the junior senator from New York—”Anyone who has watched her remarkable trajectory can have no doubt that she’ll do whatever it takes to win the presidency. I wish she felt the same way about the war”—Karl comments: “You know, that right there is a profound thought all on it’s own.  And it dovetails to Hillary’s former position supporting the war.  As long as supporting it was in her political interest, fine.  But now that public tide has been swayed by the constant barrage of negative stories and demagoguery, she dumps the war and the troops like an ugly prom date.”

Read more about Liz Cheney’s op-ed.

Carter says sorry: Here’s a sentence causing trouble in cyberspace: “It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.” Speaking at Brandeis University, Jimmy Carter issued a mea culpa for the “stupid” placement of that “when” in his new book about the Arab-Israeli conflict, Palestine:Peace Not Apartheid.

Conservative Matty N writes: “He may have intended to say something else—but in that passage he basically said that the Palestinian groups are right to continue suicide bombing as long as Israel doesn’t accept the International Roadmap for Peace. I know there was a great deal of peace advocacy in the book—but passages written like this really give the opposite connotation to the reader and that is enough to cause the many criticisms of this book.”

However, Joshua Muravchik at conservative Commentary magazine’s new blog, Contentions, suggests this is not Carter’s first dip into lexical quicksand: “Whatever the subject, Carter makes a specialty of exploiting grammatical ambiguities to leave listeners or readers with the impression that he has said one thing, while a precise examination of his words shows them to mean something else. In a 2003 op-ed in USA Today on the North Korean nuclear crisis, he wrote: ‘There must be verifiable assurances that prevent North Korea from becoming a threatening nuclear power.’ The average reader might think that the word ‘threatening’ is merely descriptive. But, in fact, Carter had fought to allow Pyongyang to have some nuclear weapons, because he believed that was the price of an agreement.”

Read more about Jimmy Carter’s apology at Brandeis.