The Suffrage Green Preservation Society

Like Justin, I’m pulling for Iran’s Greenies. No, Mousavi’s worldview and goals aren’t radically different from Ahmadinejad’s; if they were, his candidacy wouldn’t have been approved by the clerics. Nor are the people out in Tehran’s streets good little junior Americans, much less state-hating libertarians like me. But the protesters strike me as decent people with understandable grievances, and Mousavi does have a different temperament than Ahmadinejad, which, as Obama has demonstrated in the last week, actually matters sometimes. (For the first time since the inauguration, I’ve had reason to be relieved that that one beat the other one, because at least the former, while dedicated in principle to all the same fundamentals as the latter, isn’t an impetuous hothead. Obama may yet decide to bomb Iran into compliance with pristine Chicago election standards, but – and I truly hate the phrase “X would have been worse” – Allah only knows what McCain, who combines all the worst traits of a hormone-addled adolescent and a mean old fart, would have done by now.)

In addition to having a better temperament, Mousavi hasn’t yet been fitted for his custom-made caricature. If he miraculously ends up becoming Iran’s president, it will take America’s Mideast hegemonists a few months to affix the Haji Hitler mask to Mousavi’s unfamiliar visage, which may be enough time to head off new sanctions or an Israeli air strike. Moreover, it will be difficult, though hardly impossible, for all the establishment commentators who have made a secular Bodhisattva of Mousavi to take it all back when he, unsurprisingly, protests the U.S. encirclement of his country and insists on Iran’s rights to nuclear energy. In fact, if the mullahs were crafty chess masters, they would invalidate the election results – regardless of who actually won – and install Mousavi immediately. This would be an enormous boost to their domestic credibility (they could blame all the fraud on Ahmadinejad), and it would leave their international critics speechless – again, at least for a while.

But, sadly, that probably won’t happen, so it’s best for those who want peace to emphasize the primacy of negotiations with the Iranian government over the proper composition of that government. And to those who suddenly know, know, KNOW everything about Iranian politics and society: please acquire some self-awareness and humility. A lot of you guys knew, knew, KNEW everything about Iraq seven years ago, and we see the glorious dividends of your omniscience today. If you sincerely want to help your newfound friends in Iran, your first priority should be making sure that our own government (or the one in Jerusalem that it funds and backs to the hilt) doesn’t out-murder the Basij a thousand times over with bombs and missiles.

I Love the Smell of Vindication in the Morning

Lord knows, I tried to warn you: Andrew Sullivan is no peacenik. In the last 24 hours of his hysterical Iran!revolution!fascism!democracy!whiskey!sexy! typeathon, Sullivan has relapsed and rediscovered all his old drinking buddies from the Saddam!liberation!fascism!democracy!whiskey!sexy! days: Michael Ledeen, Glenn Reynolds, Michael Totten, Christopher Hitchens… What, no Laurie Mylroie yet?

Sure, sure, he also links to a Pat Buchanan piece advocating nonintervention, saying he agrees “for now,” but that’s typical of Sullivan’s fluttering, erratic style of punditry, which never pauses long enough to consider its own contradictions. But read his blog for a few hours, and you’ll get the general thrust, whether Sullivan is aware of it or not in his green delirium: something must be done!

Did Ahmadinejad Win Fair & Square – and Cheat, Too?

Juan Cole presents a compelling case that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole the Iranian presidential election altogether, pointing to the sheer lopsidedness of the results, both nationally and in specific areas, as proof of their absurdity. Robert Fisk, on the other hand, cites an Iranian friend arguing that Ahmadinejad’s victory isn’t really that hard to believe:

“The election figures are correct, Robert. Whatever you saw in Tehran, in the cities and in thousands of towns outside, they voted overwhelmingly for Ahmadinejad. Tabriz voted 80 per cent for Ahmadinejad. It was he who opened university courses there for the Azeri people to learn and win degrees in Azeri. In Mashad, the second city of Iran, there was a huge majority for Ahmadinejad after the imam of the great mosque attacked Rafsanjani of the Expediency Council who had started to ally himself with Mousavi. They knew what that meant: they had to vote for Ahmadinejad.” …

“You know why so many poorer women voted for Ahmadinejad? There are three million of them who make carpets in their homes. They had no insurance. When Ahmadinejad realised this, he immediately brought in a law to give them full insurance. Ahmadinejad’s supporters were very shrewd. They got the people out in huge numbers to vote – and then presented this into their vote for Ahmadinejad.”

Still, Ahmadinejad’s almost 2-to-1 victory over Mousavi is reason for skepticism. Last week, we ran a story about Ahmadinejad’s rivals complaining of too many ballots being printed, presumably for stuffing the boxes in Ahmadinejad’s favor. Is it possible that Ahmadinejad’s henchmen bought into the Mousavi hype a bit too much, cheated overzealously to avoid the predicted runoff, and then got blindsided by a much better turnout for their guy than anyone expected? That is, is Ahmadinejad’s 63% total masking a much more modest but nonetheless real majority? And will the recount reveal such a result, thereby undermining Ahmadinejad at the same time that it confirms his victory?

UPDATE: “Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin — greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday’s election.” Read the rest.

UPDATE 2: But on the third hand…

Extrude Mahmoud

In an interview in Der Spiegel, former Mossad agent and current cabinet minister, Rafi Eitan suggested that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might find himself in front of an International Criminal Court in The Hague if he doesn’t watch himself. Anyone with even modest knowledge of the 81-year-old Eiten’s activities, in particular his role in Adolf Eichmann’s capture, can’t rule this out as idle speculation, but as my friend Tom wondered, “why would Eitan say this publicly?”

Sure, Ahmadinejad must already figure he is one of the top picks on Mossad’s hit list, so this simply can’t be a clumsy message to the yappy Iranian leader. Besides, Mossad gets off on well-planned and highly secretive operations anyway. Why would Eitan blow the surprise for his former bosses if high profile abductions were still high on their docket? Hmm….

I might’ve glossed over this morning’s story as politics as usual if it were not for last week’s revelation, also by Eitan, that Mossad allowed Nazi witch doctor Josef Mengele get away when agents in Buenos Aires had the opportunity to nab him. Of course, that wasn’t a botched effort: Mossad had to let Mengele escape so they could be assured of completing the more important Eichmann abduction.

Now, I’m not a psychologist, nor do I generally play one on the Internet, but this paroxysm of Eitanmania is too juicy not to analyze. All fisherman great and small have a fish-that-got-away story, and the Mengele tale smells like Eitan’s. Could the Ahmadinejad story likewise be the ramblings of a famous fisherman, whose best days are long over but likes to make people believe he has live bait on his rusty but still sufficiently bent hook? Or is it possible that someday we’ll learn that Mossad did try to kidnap Ahmadinejad, and failed. I only hope we don’t have to wait 50 years for that fish story.

A tip of the pen to Tom Walls for the headline and this morning’s news story.

Should the Israelis Arrest Benny Morris?

As Justin Raimondo points out in his article this morning, “A Brazen Evil,” noted Israeli scholar Benny Morris wrote an op/ed in Friday’s New York Times, “Using Bombs to Stave Off War,” in which he advocated that the U.S. government or the Israeli government attack Iran. In his op/ed, Morris wrote, “if the attack fails, the Middle East will almost certainly face a nuclear war — either through a subsequent pre-emptive Israeli nuclear strike or a nuclear exchange shortly after Iran gets the bomb.”

Why is this quote so striking? Because Morris implicitly admits that the Israeli government has nuclear weapons, even though that government has never so admitted. In 1986, Mordecai Vanunu, an Israeli nuclear technician, revealed that fact and for his troubles, was kidnapped by the Israeli government, tried for treason in secret, and forced to spend 18 years in prison, 11 of them in solitary confinement. His treason? Revealing Israel’s nuclear weapons program. It’s true that he violated a non-disclosure agreement, but that’s not treason. Presumably the treason is that he revealed Israel’s nuclear weapons program, with the non-disclosure agreement being irrelevant.

Guess what? In last Friday’s New York Times, Benny Morris revealed Israel’s nuclear weapons program. So shouldn’t he be charged with treason too?

Preparing the Battlefield: Scott Horton Interviews Seymour Hersh

An Antiwar Radio exclusive!

[audio:http://dissentradio.com/radio/08_06_30_hersh.mp3]

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, author of the book Chain of Command and many important articles about the Bush administration’s Iran policy, discusses his new one for The New Yorker magazine, “Preparing the Battlefield,” Secretary Gates’s warning about long term consequences of an air attack, the turning over of much of America’s covert action under the control of the Joint Special Operations Command to avoid oversight, the backing of Sunni radicals in Iran, Baluchistan, Kurdistan etc. in order to try to provoke the Iranian government into escalating as an excuse for war.

MP3 here. (6:18)