April 18, 2009

"Obama dismayed by Iran sentence."

"The US has expressed dismay after a court in Iran jailed an Iranian-American journalist, Roxana Saberi, for eight years on spying charges. Ms Saberi, 31, was sentenced after a secret one-day trial in Tehran."

Can Obama rise to these tragic times?

58 comments:

Peter V. Bella said...

She was tried under Iranian law. All the protest in the world is useless; it is their law and their criminal procedure. Not too much to be done about that.

Why is this Administration reaching out to this country and trying to appease them again? Oh, yeah, Kumbayah.

At least Israel is gearing up to do what we and the rest of the world will not; bomb them.

-Peder said...

I wish the rest of the world would stop throwing these distractions his way.
Stupid world.

Peter V. Bella said...

peder-
"unncessary distractions." There, all fixed.

Big Mike said...
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Big Mike said...

Can Obama rise to these tragic times?No

Wahrheit said...

A warn handclasp with the Iraniann leadership will, no doubt, lead to her release.

SMGalbraith said...

Well, the President said that if other countries unclench their fists at us everything will be, as Benjamin Netanyahu might say, kosher [Yes, Israel is taking out those nuclear facilities].

What they do to their own people is, I guess, okay. Just don't threaten us (and yes, I understand it wasn an American).

Apparently the President believes that the nature of a regime and how it treats their own people plays no role in how they'll treat or relate to the rest of the world.

I'm not convinced.

Eli Blake said...

Clearly the Iranians are throwing Obama a challenge and it is in direct response to his message that was directed to the Iranian people.

Before you jump to the conclusion that we should do what Peter Bella wants, you should ask yourself why:

I answered this in once in a post called Iran defies the U.N.-- and what we should do about it.

In Iran, 2/3 of the population is under thirty, and they don't remember the Shah, Ayatollah Khomeini or the revolution. Many of them hate living under the strictures of an Islamic society. Young people in Iran want reform, and they want a better life, which despite the countries' oil wealth they aren't getting. Ordinary Iranians don't hate us, and in fact the only way that Ahmadinejad got elected was that the mullahs who pull the strings there had to disqualify many candidates from the ballot and manipulate the election in ways that make Katherine Harris look like a picture of integrity. People in Iran want something else, and American and western goods, music and celebrities, while officially on the 'bad' list, are very popular in the subculture that exists among the youth in Iran. A current of wanting to break out of the vicelike grip of this society is bubbling just under the surface and the mullahs have to spend a great deal of effort now just to keep it under wraps.They are afraid of dialogue and they are afraid of trading with us because the younger generation in Iran is more frightening to them than all the bombs we could throw at them.

George W. Bush made life easy for Ayatollah Khameini and the rest of the select group of old men who hold the real power in Iran. They could blame everything on the U.S. and it was plausible (after all we sent large numbers of American troops into their immediate neighbors on both the east and the west.)

How to deal with Barack Obama is harder for them. Clearly the leaders of Iran would prefer confrontation because it's something they know how to do well, and it keeps the thing they fear the most-- their own people-- out of the equation.

Matt Eckert said...

Shorter Eli Blake:

Don't react and let them get that A-bomb. The students will save us. Just lube up and lay back and enjoy it.

AJ Lynch said...

Eli:

Are you suggesting Muhammed Ali showed Obama how to use the the rope-a-dope?

Christopher said...

"...and manipulate the election in ways that make Katherine Harris look like a picture of integrity. . ."

A throwaway snark, of course, but one which signals that Eli simply cannot be taken seriously. Yes, yes, Eli - "selected, not elected," or whatever diaper-soiling nonsense gets you through the day.

Poor Black Narcissus - can't he just finish his waffle?

Matt Eckert said...
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Matt Eckert said...

I hope that he does not just bow or shake hands to his muslim compatriots in Iran. He should kiss Dinnerjacket right on the lips.

It is love all around in Barry Otero's world.

Lem said...

Dismayed?

Obama was not appalled, apoplectic, peod, pissed... mad maybe?

No not mad.. the WH said Dismayed.

Dingy, Dull, Dismal.. 'desmayadado' (fainted in spanish)

Paralized.. incapacitated.. impotent.

Eric said...

Eli, "the young people will overthrow the mullahs" has been a pipe dream for decades now. When they're young they want blue jeans. As they get older they get more conservative, just like people everywhere. Eventually they become the Iranian version of George Will. Seriously, I read this same analysis more than twenty years ago. Nothing has changed.

Anyway this whole spying case intrigues me. If they really thought she was a spy they would have put her to death. Wouldn't be the first time - hell, it wouldn't be the first time this year. They want to trade her for something. I wonder what it is.

SMGalbraith said...

The Clinton Administration - both President Clinton himself and Secretary Albright - publicly apologized to Iran for our support for the Shah and his regime.

And they made other overtures to Tehran that were summarily dismissed.

There's no secret word or apology or statement that will assuage them.

I think it was Tocqueville who observed that the second generation of a revolutionary government was the most dangerous. For after securing power with the first generation, the second begins to look outward and be more aggressive since they believe that their power is safe at home.

Let's hope Al was wrong.

rhhardin said...

The shortest path from dismayed to proud in the thesaurus is

dismayed
abashed
bashful
reserved
aloof
disdainful
proud

which doesn't do badly describing an Obama reaction.

Eli Blake said...

And what would you do to prevent them from getting the bomb?

We could bomb the crap out of them but history teaches that it is possible to survive a bombing campaign and in the volatile political world of the middle east, if we give them our best shot and they survive they win a propaganda victory and come out of it politically stronger than they are now (reference Hezbollah and Israel.)

We can't invade and occupy them because our land army has been bogged down in Iraq for years and we frankly don't have the land-based force available right now to do anything about Iran. As we redeploy our forces from around the world we will eventually rebuild our ground based invasion capability (though it will take years) but we don't have it right now and the Iranians know that very well.

Even if you do manage to prevent them from getting the bomb, they could buy one and smuggle it in from a nuclear armed state that needs money like Pakistan or North Korea.

Besides, the idea that we are always going to prevent rogue states from developing sixty year old technology is ridiculous.

Eric said...

I feel like we're back in the '90s. Remember how Clinton would be "concerned" about things he didn't plan to address? If it was really bad he would be deeply concerned.

Eric said...

Besides, the idea that we are always going to prevent rogue states from developing sixty year old technology is ridiculous.

Yep. We are not going to prevent Iran from getting the bomb unless we're willing to nuke them. Acquiring nuclear weapons is priority #1 for the Iranians, so there's no amount of economic or diplomatic pressure likely to be successful.

The smartest thing Bush ever did was fob that doomed effort off on to the Europeans. If nothing else they got a good lesson on the limits of the "soft power" they're so proud of.

Beta Conservative said...

Maybe some one should tell Hillary Roxana is being held by dangerous right wingers in Waco.

Dems are generally more willing to use force against internal enemies than the international kind.

Eli Blake said...

Eric:

Twenty years ago the Ayatollah Khomeini was still alive (or maybe he died that year) and even teenagers remembered the Shah (who despite some recent apologists was every bit as brutal a dictator as Saddam Hussein.)

Galbraith:

There's no secret word or apology or statement that will assuage them.Exactly. As I said already, they don't want to be 'assuaged.' They understand one strategy: how to confront the west. Anything else, they are afraid of.

Let me quote one more sentence from what I had written some years ago:

And with products, inevitably follow ideas.

I'm surprised conservatives (who are still railing for an invasion of Iran, as if we have some secret armies somewhere that are just waiting for the command) don't see this. If anyone would see it, I'd expect it to be conservatives.

Some conservatives praise free trade, suggesting that the market determines the direction of society, and point out that it was free trade that opened the door behind the iron curtain that evetually led the people there to replace their system with a free system. Other conservatives bemoan monetary mammon and the effect materialism has on the religious fervor and strength of society.

And that's why we should unleash our best weapon on Iran.

Let mammon go to work.
The mullahs know this could be their undoing, which is why they are trying so hard to keep things confrontational. I hope that Obama doesn't fall into the trap that they are trying to pull him and you are trying to push him into.

Maguro said...

We can't invade and occupy them because our land army has been bogged down in Iraq for years and we frankly don't have the land-based force available right now to do anything about Iran.

Yeah, if only that stupid Bush hadn't parked our army 400 miles west of Tehran it would be super-easy to invade Iran.

As we redeploy our forces from around the world we will eventually rebuild our ground based invasion capability (though it will take years) but we don't have it right now...

I'm sure Barry will get right on rebuilding that ground based invasion capability...first thing on his to-do list, no doubt.

You really don't have a clue, do you?

Eric said...

Yes, yes, Eli. Pournelle calls pop music and blue jeans "cultural weapons of mass destruction". It's still a pipe dream. Today's mullahs are far less repressive than Khomenai's generation. The young people have an appetite for Britney, but they don't have any appetite for revolution.

Incidentally, I'm not trying to push Obama into anything. Some problems simply have no solution, and this is one of them. The best thing Obama could do is just ignore Iran entirely, along with Gaza and the West Bank. He ought to focus on the possible.

PatCA said...

Well, I think "dismayed" is diplo-speak. Let's see what he does behind the scenes (if anything). The BBC seems to like her; that should give Obama enough lefty cover to try to free her.

MnMark said...

I feel like we're back in the '90s. Remember how Clinton would be "concerned" about things he didn't plan to address? If it was really bad he would be deeply concerned.And Daschle was always finding himself "disappointed" or perhaps even "deeply disappointed".

Ah, these paternalistic liberal leaders. Always with the measured parental disappointment, concern, and dismay for the way we let them down.

MnMark said...

...and even teenagers remembered the Shah (who despite some recent apologists was every bit as brutal a dictator as Saddam Hussein.)Bullshit. I don't recall the Shah ever gassing a village. I don't recall the Shah starting a war that killed a million people. I can believe that there was torture under his regime, but it begs belief that the Shah's human rights violations were even on the same order of magnitude as the Saddam/Uday/Qusay regime.

Just part of the ongoing left-wing effort to make the U.S. look bad (we supported the Shah!) and Saddam look not so bad, and thus not really worth overthrowing.

traditionalguy said...

These Persian/shiites are the same Iranian guys who dismayed Jimmy Carter 30 years ago, after he who had literally sponsored their coup in hopes of winning their everlasting affection. There must be a missing ingrediant in getting Iranian Love back in return to our Christian country which also defends the Jews from extermination. What are Jimmy and Barrie leaving out? What could it be? Maybe they need to ask more Harvard and Yale professors who know the truth about everything!

Lem said...

...she was once crowned Miss North Dakota and was among the top 10 finalists in Miss America 1998.Yep! there she is.

jayne_cobb said...

I notice we've heard next to nothing regarding those held by North Korea

Drew W said...

Indeed. Now that's three American journalists held by nutso dictatorships.

I bet all three of them wish they were being held by pirates instead.

AJ Lynch said...

Dismay? I say let's look at the bright side here. There is a glut of journalists in the job market. The Iranians just created a new job opening.

If more and more are sent to jail, it will loosen the journo job market. That may help Presdient Obama achieve that goal of "creating or saving 3.5 million jobs".

Paul Zrimsek said...

They are afraid of dialogue and they are afraid of trading with us so expecting them to start trading with us is an absurd pipe dream.Fixed.

AJ Lynch said...

Eric:

Obama's plate must be huge cause he just keeps piling more and more stuff on it.

Obama should clam up and refuse any new assignments for about a month so he can just try and get one thing fixed.

Peter V. Bella said...

"so he can just try and get one thing fixed."

Yeah, that shit eating grin.

peter hoh said...

NPR reporter jailed by Iran.

Must be hard for populist conservatives to figure out how to get worked up about this.

AJ Lynch said...

She was with NPR? The next time I hear a smart, independent thinking NPR reporter will be the 1st time.

Peter V. Bella said...

Obama was dismayed? Did he cry? Did he wring his hands? Did he ask his oh so very competent and talented staff what he should do or say? Did he pray? Did he ask the teleprompter? Did he order the Air Force to fire up the bombers? Did he call BiBi and tell him it was OK for Israel to bomb Iran?

Dismay is what people feel when they cannot make a decision. It is despair. It is the opposite of hope. I guess that reporter will rot in prison.

Hope and change? More like hopium and same shit different day.

Chip Ahoy said...

There is much I have to say on this subject but I'm afraid I'm too busy right now. I'm engaged presently reading my downloaded copy of Eduardo Galeano Las Venas Abietas de America Latina: Cinco Siglos de Pillaje and I believe that's far more important than chimming in here. I must keep open my Spanish to English dictionary debido a que contiene muchas palabras y frases difĂ­ciles.

And when I done with that I must then immediately reread my copy of Howard Zinn's A Peoples History of the United States 1492 to Present. I was going to get his A Peoples History of American Empire but that's a comic book format with Zinn as narrator so I thought I'd just go back and drill all that stuff in so I'm more thorougly prepared for a new age of Hope and Change™. So you can see I have my reading cut out.

Peter V. Bella said...

Chip,
Donde esta dinero? :)

Revenant said...

I'm dismayed that she was imprisoned to.

But the current administration isn't going to do anything about it, so oh well.

blake said...

Eli--

We might have a chance of winning the PR war if so many within this country weren't constantly shouting about how evil we are.

Daryl said...

Never waste a crisis.

Who was it who said that?

I think this crisis is going to be wasted.

You all need to remember Daryl Herbert's Rule No. 1:

Stay the F### out of Muslim-controlled places, big or small (countries, cities, buildings, or rooms). Just stay away! Muslims are dangerous.

You think you can accomplish some journalism? Improve your career? Make some money selling trinkets to the locals? Don't get greedy.

Unless you're buying oil or flying an attack aircraft, stay out of Muslim-controlled areas! Muslims are bad, and their governments are really bad.

Anyone who willingly submits to the authority of an Islamic government is a fool and we can't go around the world rescuing every fool who gets into trouble.

Penny said...

"Besides, the idea that we are always going to prevent rogue states from developing sixty year old technology is ridiculous."

Eli, I couldn't agree more. It's within the above context that I've come to accept what Obama is trying to do with his foreign policy. He isn't in a position to vocalize this, which is exactly why so many see him as being weak. It will be interesting to see how our allies will deal with this "power void".

To many of us, myself included, this is just going to feel all kinds of wrong, and that's ok. It may FEEL wrong, but I think it makes sense in context.

Steven said...

Military action against Iran is easy enough. You seize the islands with the oil export terminals, seriously reducing the amount of crude Iran can export.

It's a task well within the capabilities of the U.S. military even with the current commitments, requiring relatively few ground troops.

It puts the boot of the U.S. military pressing down directly on the neck of the Iranian economy.

You can keep it there as long as you like; Iran doesn't have the capability to launch an amphibious assault with the U.S. Navy in the neighborhood.

As long as the U.S. is occupying Iranian territory, no propaganda in the world can spin it as an Iranian victory.

Oh, you can even hand the islands over to some sort of U.S.-recognized "Free Iranian" government, if you like. In fact, recognize them and get their authorization in advance. It isn't aggression against Iran if the legitimate Iranian government authorizes the operation, after all.

Eli Blake said...

traditionalguy (7:57)

Carter sponsored their 'coup' ?

Not.

Carter supported the government of Shahpour Bakhtiar, a politician who briefly ran Iran after the Shah was deposed. He never, ever supported Khomeini (and if you have any evidence otherwise then either put it up or retract your false claim.)

Freder Frederson said...

You people have short memories, or maybe just have mid-term memory loss, since you seem to be able to recall the ineffectiveness of the Clinton and Carter administration but can't seem to recall that the exact same thing happened less than two years ago. Except back then it was three, not one, American citizens being held.

Of course my memory may be failing, because I don't remember Ann mocking the Bush administration's rather flat-footed response to the Iranian government convicting three American citizens (including a 67 year old woman) of espionage. It took several months of mostly private negotiations to secure their release.

hdhouse said...

Thank God we didn't resort to secret trials or we wouldn't have that high ground to cast this stone!

Fen said...

Obama: "I'm dismayed that 400,000 Israeli's were just incinerated by Iran. Dismayed."

UNSC: "We strongly condemn this attack. Stongly. With vigor. We protest."

Steven said...

hdhouse, I don't care about the moral high ground. We had the clear moral high ground when Iran took our embassy hostage (how many Iranian diplomats had we seized, exactly?), and that didn't do those U.S. citizens much good. Protecting your citizens is about making anybody who harms them regret their stupidity, not trying to make them feel guilty about not meeting your moral standards.

Eric said...

Obama: "I'm dismayed that 400,000 Israeli's were just incinerated by Iran. Dismayed."

If that happens we won't need to worry about Mideast diplomacy. As Israel has a couple hundred nukes there won't be anyone to talk to.

Eric said...

Protecting your citizens is about making anybody who harms them regret their stupidity, not trying to make them feel guilty about not meeting your moral standards.

I'm gonna frame that.

hdhouse said...

steven...yes it is clear you don't care about the moral high ground. but may i point out to you that there are ways and there are ways and while you and others don't care, 8 years of secret trials and non-trial detentions is a big blot on the US as OTHERS perceive us.

It makes little difference on how we judge ourselves IN THE EYES OF OTHERS but how they treat us based on what they see us doing makes a great deal of difference.

You have been led down a black and white tunnel for 8 years. Try and get some perspective for a change.

Cedarford said...

Steven said...
Military action against Iran is easy enough. You seize the islands with the oil export terminals, seriously reducing the amount of crude Iran can export.

It's a task well within the capabilities of the U.S. military even with the current commitments, requiring relatively few ground troops.

It puts the boot of the U.S. military pressing down directly on the neck of the Iranian economy.

You can keep it there as long as you like; Iran doesn't have the capability to launch an amphibious assault with the U.S. Navy in the neighborhood.
Problem with armchair generals looking at one aspect of military superiority the US has - then conclude that translates into winning a conflict - easy - cakewalk!

We invade Iran mainly at Our Special Friend's behest and three things happen.

1. The US is immediately blamed for starting an unprovoked war in violation of international law...acting as Israel's puppet.

2. The Iranians don't care about the economic pressure, they have been invaded. They will first close the Straights of Hormuz, blocking all Gulf Oil. Oil goes to 240 a barrel. They will Draft immediately and impose patriotic rationing and suspend all debt payments.
The global economy, already in great danger in large part to American poison financial paper, goes into full Depression. Full blame goes to America and the Zionist interests that got them to start the war against Iran.

3. Secondary effects could be worst than the initial consequences. An oil embargo is declared against America and Israel. This one honored by all non-OEC nations save perhaps Canada. If we allow Israeli warplanes to cross Iraq, we will be complicit and fighting a full-scale Shiite uprising in Iraq. Attacking nuclear facilities opens up US and Israeli nuke facilities to counterattack. A Coalition may form against America that includes most NATO countries, China, Russia, and Muslim lands for this "Bridge Too Far" - and begin a huge supply effort to give Iran the latest high tech weapons to force a ceasefire, reopen the Gulf, begin work on salvaging the World from the Depression, and cause a serious US/Israel humbling. (much as the US and USSR humbled the UK, France, and Israel for their Suez aggression.).

These scenarios have been run in countless wargames.

Clinton's, Bush's, and Obama's security councils have concluded most of these "attack Iran for Our Special Friend!!" scenarios end very badly for America.

Alex said...

Let the Iranians have whatever amount of nukes they want - with the stipulation that if they were to ever use it, Iran will become a parking lot. Mutually assured destruction, worked back in the 1950s-1980s, and can work again!

jeff said...

"You have been led down a black and white tunnel for 8 years. Try and get some perspective for a change."

Oh give me a freaking break. For the last eight years it has been Bush bad, not Bush good. You wouldn't know perspective if it bit you in the ass.

Ofc. Krupke said...

hd, are you actually arguing that relations with Iran were fine before Bush's "secret trials"?

Can you point to a historical example where a repressive foreign government was forced into doing something merely by the shining unquestioned moral example of the United States?

hdhouse said...

jeff said..."Oh give me a freaking break. For the last eight years it has been Bush bad, not Bush good."

Well I think that was my point.

Ofc. Krupke said... "hd, are you actually arguing that relations with Iran were fine before Bush's "secret trials"?

Certainly not. They haven't been fine for decades and when the Shah was there that was just the old monster same as the new monster type of thing.

My point is that there are a lot of countries on which Iran has relationships on an entirely different set of terms...middle ground so to speak...between us and them. They are the countries with some influence and some of them are moderate voices. Our actions over the past 8 years have taken a chip off the table with many of them and those nations are the ones who are going to broker the deal to get this woman out.

This will be a face saving indirect negotiation and it happens a lot and is all back channel. Otherwise the woman has no hope.