Israellycool » Barack Obama Down Under Punditry in the Middle East Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:10:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Zion Mike Presents…The Good Part Tue, 04 Aug 2015 05:56:20 +0000 Click on image to enlarge

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ICYMI: Recent Must-Reads On Iran Sun, 02 Aug 2015 02:39:24 +0000 There’s been a lot happening with respect to the proposed Iran nuclear deal and Congress’s review of it, and it’s hard to keep up with all of the news. Here are a few can’t-miss items from the past week.

  • In Saturday’s New York Post, Amir Taheri reported that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has written and published a book describing his plan to eradicate Israel.

Khamenei book coverKhamenei claims that his strategy for the destruction of Israel is not based on anti-Semitism, which he describes as a European phenomenon. His position is instead based on “well-established Islamic principles.”

One such principle is that a land that falls under Muslim rule, even briefly, can never again be ceded to non-Muslims. What matters in Islam is ownership of a land’s government, even if the majority of inhabitants are non-Muslims. . . .

[A]ccording to Khamenei, Israel, which he labels as “adou” and “doshman,” meaning “enemy” and “foe,” is a special case [compared to other lands that were once but no longer under Muslim rule] for three reasons.

The first is that it is a loyal “ally of the American Great Satan” and a key element in its “evil scheme” to dominate “the heartland of the Ummah.”

Wow. I guess tweeting “Nine key questions about the destruction of Israel” wasn’t sufficient.

  • In the Weekly Standard, Stephen F. Hayes and William Kristol write that the Obama administration is withholding key documents detailing Iran’s support for al Qaeda.

We have been told by six current or former intelligence officials that the collection of documents captured in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound includes explosive information on Iran’s relationship with al Qaeda over the past two decades, including details of Iran’s support for al Qaeda’s attacks on Americans. Some of these officials believe this information alone could derail the deal. We haven’t seen it. But the American people should see it all before Congress votes on the deal in September.

“There are letters about Iran’s role, influence, and acknowledgment of enabling al Qaeda operatives to pass through Iran as long as al Qaeda did their dirty work against the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, tells The Weekly Standard. “What Congress should demand is to see all the UBL [Osama bin Laden] documents related to Iran and all the documents related to intentions of AQ into the future—they are very telling.”

Hayes and Kristol claim to have been told that “one document fills in the picture of possible Iranian foreknowledge and complicity in the 9/11 attacks first raised in the 9/11 Commission report.”

  • Josh Rogin reported Thursday that Jacques Audibert, the senior diplomatic adviser to French President Francois Hollande, disagrees with Secretary Kerry’s view that Iran will not negotiate again if Congress votes down the proposed deal.

Earlier this month, [Audibert] met with Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Mike Turner, both top members of the House Armed Services Committee, to discuss the Iran deal. The U.S. ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, was also in the room.

According to both lawmakers, Audibert expressed support for the deal overall, but also directly disputed Kerry’s claim that a Congressional rejection of the Iran deal would result in the worst of all worlds, the collapse of sanctions and Iran racing to the bomb without restrictions.

“He basically said, if Congress votes this down, there will be some saber-rattling and some chaos for a year or two, but in the end nothing will change and Iran will come back to the table to negotiate again and that would be to our advantage,” Sanchez told me in an interview. “He thought if the Congress voted it down, that we could get a better deal.”

  • Adam Kredo reported on Iranian lead negotiator Javad Zarif’s comments that the proposed agreement will allow them to violate the conventional arms embargo for the short time that it remains in place, and that the deal “puts the Zionist Regime in an irrecoverable danger.”
  • John KerrySecretary Kerry has admitted in his testimony before Congress that he has never read the side agreements between Iran and the IAEA that are part of his proposed deal. You can watch his testimony here. He’s also told Congress that he has “no specific knowledge of a plan by Iran to actually destroy us.”
  • The President, meanwhile, complained in a private conference call about the “well-financed lobbyists” at AIPAC who oppose the proposed agreement. (Funny how he didn’t seem to mind them when he asked for AIPAC’s help with Syria.)

Importantly, three Congressional Democrats have come out against the proposed deal.

  • Representative Albio Sires from New Jersey wrote,

Iran has spent decades evading international sanctions, promoting terror in the region, and violently oppressing its own people. I am concerned that if the proposed agreement is made official, hardliners within the Iranian regime may hinder its implementation. Most importantly, the time frame of the deal is too short and it is unclear what will happen to Iran’s nuclear program after the initial pressure to comply dissipates and Iran is allowed to enhance its nuclear and weapons capabilities.

In the coming months, I will continue to meet with constituents, experts, and our allies in the region, but I am not convinced that this is in the best interest of our national security.

  • Representative Grace Meng from New York wrote,

I strongly believe the world could and should have a better deal than that set forth in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which I will therefore oppose.

While I will continue to study the finer points of the deal, they will not be dispositive for me. I believe the inspections procedures set forth are flawed – leading nuclear experts assert that, pursuant to these procedures, inspectors would not necessarily know whether Iran is manufacturing uranium components for a nuclear weapon. This is unacceptable. Furthermore, I am deeply concerned that almost all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would remain intact; this leads me to believe Iran would simply resume its pursuit of a nuclear weapon at the conclusion of the deal in a decade’s time. Finally, the immediate sanctions relief provided Iran in the deal would incentivize the funding of terrorism and lessen Iran’s interest in restraining its nuclear ambitions over the long term.

  • Representative Juan Vargas from California wrote,
Congressman Juan Vargas

Congressman Juan Vargas

It is a fact that Hezbollah, the Iranian terrorist proxy responsible for more American deaths than anyone except al-Qaeda, has more than 100,000 missiles aimed at civilians in Israel. And it is a fact that Iran has financed, trained and equipped Shiite death squads in Iraq and Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan and rewarded them for killing American troops.

In Syria, Iran continues to provide billions of dollars per year in support of Bashar Assad’s murderous regime, even as it uses chemical weapons to slaughter innocent Syrians. In Iraq, Iran supports Shiite militias, which spent most of the past decade fighting American troops and attacking Sunnis throughout the country. And in Yemen, Iranian backed Houthi rebels have taken control of the capital, Sana’a, and overthrown the government, which had been an important ally in our war on terrorism.

Rather than demand Iran’s bad behavior be corrected, this agreement rewards it.

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Once Again, Obama Lies To The Public And Ignores Congress Mon, 20 Jul 2015 14:41:23 +0000 Once again, President Obama has lied to the American people and evaded Congressional authority. In April, he agreed to give the US Congress a role in reviewing the Iran nuclear deal. Congress has not even begun its formal review, yet this morning, at about 9:00 AM eastern time, the US voted at the UN Security Council in favor of adoption of the agreement.

Obama at Press ConfReuters reports that “The 15-member body unanimously adopted a resolution that was negotiated as part of the agreement reached in Vienna last week between Iran and the world’s major powers.” Notably, the majority of these members states were not a part of the negotiations, yet they voted on a 159-page document less than a week after it was announced. So much for a thorough and thoughtful examination.

More to the point, though, Obama has shown again, as he has before, that when Congress won’t do as he dictates, he will circumvent it. Although Obama had the power to block UN Security Council action, he made the choice not to do so. One must wonder whether he planned this before he ever signed the Corker bill into law. He’s shown the highest disregard for the will of the people’s representatives in Congress.

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Opposition To Iran Deal Comes From Many Corners, And With Good Reason Mon, 20 Jul 2015 05:02:06 +0000 There are two refrains that I have heard repeatedly in the past week, not only from President Obama but from his many followers. One is that the only alternative to the deal that Secretary Kerry has negotiated with Iran is war. The second is that the entire world is supporting it, except for Republicans in Congress and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

As to the first, that the only alternative to this deal is war, first I’ll say that I don’t believe that. I do believe that standing strong in the negotiations and pressuring our European allies to keep the existing sanctions regime in place if necessary could have yielded better terms.

ayatollah khamenei

Ayatollah Khamenei

For the sake of argument, however, let’s look closely at that premise. Those that do believe that the alternative is war — or those who at least keep repeating it over and over — seem not to understand the true implications of that statement. In order to avert war, it is necessary for only one side to give in; in this case, we did. Had we not done so, the choice to Iran would have been for them to give in, or face war. Those who claim that that the only alternative to this deal is war, are really saying that they believe that Iran would never give in but would choose to face war rather than make a single additional concession.

In other words, Iran would choose war over agreeing to a deal with longer terms.

Iran would choose war over agreeing to anytime, anywhere inspections.

Iran would choose war over allowing American inspectors on the IAEA inspection team.

Iran would choose war over destroying the centrifuges that supposedly will not be in use.

Iran Arak nuclear facility

The Arak nuclear facility

Iran would choose war over closing the Fordo and Arak facilities.

Iran would choose war if the conventional arms embargo were not lifted.

Iran would choose war over coming clean on its past nuclear activity.

Iran would choose war if the unfreezing of a hundred and twenty billion dollars in assets were contingent on cessation of terrorist activity, or at least a guarantee that those funds would not go to terror.

If the only alternative to this deal is war, that means that Iran would face war rather than giving in on a single one of these items.

For those who believe that the only alternative to the deal currently on the table is war, that should tell them something about the people with whom we are dealing. If Iran would choose war over any one of the above concessions, how serious can we believe them to be about dismantling their nuclear weapons program?

With this perspective, it’s easy to see that Iran will surely never adhere to the limitations on its program that have been discussed. The 24-day notice on inspections, the lack of any requirement to destroy nuclear infrastructure, and the $120B pay-out that Iran is about to receive will only help them to evade enforcement on the only real limit that they have agreed to, the limit on enrichment.

Perhaps that is why opposition to this deal comes, not exclusively from Republicans in Congress and Prime Minister Netanyahu as the deal’s supporters would have us believe, but from Canada, Saudi Arabia, and the Israeli left, as well as from many US Democrats.

image Canada Stephen Harper

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has opposed the deal and has said that Canada will keep its own sanctions on Iran in place, even if the rest of the world dismantles them. According to the Globe and Mail, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson said that Canada “‘will continue to judge Iran by its actions not its words,’ and that the government in Ottawa will examine the agreement carefully before making any policy changes.”

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the United States between 1981 and 2005, has written what the Washington Post calls “a damning column,” comparing the current Iran nuclear deal to the earlier agreement with North Korea. The agreement with Iran, Bandar says, will “‘wreak havoc’ in the Middle East, which is already destabilized due to Iranian actions.”

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog told Obama cheerleader Jeffrey Goldberg that this nuclear agreement with Iran “will unleash a lion from the cage, it will have a direct influence over the balance of power in our region, it’s going to affect our borders, and it will affect the safety of my children.”

Former Democratic Representative Shelley Berkley, who served seven terms in Congress, wrote on Saturday that “President Obama couldn’t bring home a good deal, nor could he bring himself to walk away. The consequence is a deal that will give Iran billions of dollars in cash and relief to fuel its terror and war machines, shred the hard-won sanctions and enable the Iranians to get away with hiding the full extent of their nuclear work, infrastructure and know-how.” She’s also joined four Democratic former Senators to form Citizens for a Nuclear-Free Iran, which opposes this agreement.

Absent outright opposition, lukewarm reception has come from surprising quarters as well. Many Iranian dissidents didn’t support the prospect of an agreement.  In India, writes Vijeta Uniyal, although outwardly accepting this agreement, the “defence establishment is bracing up for the real ‘fallout’ and ‘spill-over’ of the Iran deal.”  Even the Palestinian public does not support the agreement.

The Obama spin machine, however, will continue to throw irrational accusations at Netanyahu and at Congress.

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White House Plans To Pressure Democratic Lawmakers To Support Iran Deal (Updated) Tue, 07 Jul 2015 01:50:57 +0000 Today we know that the Obama administration lied to and deceived the American public in order to pass his “signature” domestic policy, the Affordable Care Act. In November I noted that US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had made clear that striking a nuclear deal with Iran is just as important to the President as was passing the healthcare law, and I speculated that Obama and his staff would use any means necessary to sell the Iranian deal to the public, just as they did with the ACA.

Today the Washington Free Beacon reports that

Iran Arak nuclear facility

Arak nuclear facility in Iran

White House officials on Monday held a private conference call with liberal organizations to discuss ways of pressuring Democrats and other lawmakers on Capitol Hill into supporting a nuclear deal with Iran that is expected to be finalized in the coming days, according to an audio recording of that call obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The call, in which there were more than 100 participants, was organized by the liberal pro-Iran group Ploughshares Fund, which has spent millions of dollars to slant Iran-related coverage and protect the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts.

The White House officials described a nuclear deal with Iran as President Obama’s “signature foreign policy accomplishment” and urged liberal groups to launch an all-out lobbying campaign to pressure lawmakers, especially Democrats, to back the deal. . . .

“This has really been on the front burner from a foreign perspective, although not in the public eye necessarily, since the very beginning,” Matt Nosanchuk, an official in the White House Office of Public Engagement, told participants. “This is not an issue of the day, this is really an issue of the presidency.”

The second White House official, John Bisognano, went on to stress “the importance of this to the president.” . . .

“We have to take to our memberships all over the country,” [Robert Creamer, a member of the liberal political shop Democracy Partners] said during the call. “We all have to step up. The other side will go crazy with intensity.”

Read the whole report here.

Update: In the wake of an Iranian demand to end a UN arms embargo, CNN has effectively become a mouthpiece for the White House, with anchor Chris Cuomo hosting an entire segment discussing the Iranian deal in which his only two guests were former State Department Iran negotiator Hillary Mann Leverett and Obama shill and Haaretz contributor Peter Beinart. Leverett’s tale of the doom and gloom that will await us if the deal falls through sounds like a bad sci-fi movie, going so far as to warn us that if we hadn’t made a deal with Stalin, “we might all be speaking German today.” Nice touch. But all Leverett has is speculation. In Leverett’s view, and that of the State Department and White House, Iran’s human rights abuses and sponsorship of terrorism pose no moral dilemma whatsoever. Is CNN now becoming coopted by the administration in its push to pressure Democrats to support the deal, or will they ever show viewers the other side of the argument?

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Obama’s Channel 2 Interview Slammed In Media Thu, 04 Jun 2015 16:35:32 +0000 Obama Channel 2Pretty much everyone knows by now that the President of the United States went on Israeli TV on Tuesday night and made a total ass of himself. His comments do not seem to have been as well received in Israel as they were when he spoke at Beltway Congregation Adas Israel. There isn’t very much that I can add to the many excellent commentaries already written, but in case you missed one or more, I’ve put together excerpts from some of the better ones.

Here’s John Podhoretz, writing in the New York Post:

[Obama] scoffs at the value of a military strike because he says it would only “temporarily slow down” Iran’s ambition. But that is also entirely true of the deal he’s desperately trying to sell.

Assuming Iran obeys every last jot and tittle of the agreement, which its behavior up to now assures us it would not, Obama himself envisions an Iran gone nuclear 13 years from now. If that’s not “temporary,” then what is?

Look: If your choice is (a) Iran goes nuclear or (b) Iran goes nuclear, then obviously a military option is a bad one and a diplomatic solution is better.

But the president has spent his entire time in office assuring the American people that Iran going nuclear was not a choice at all.

Indeed, David Rutz of the Washington Free Beacon counted 28 separate occasions on which the president has made exactly the vow he made to the Washington, DC, synagogue-goers.

Only now he’s amending it a little bit. Last month, he said Iran wouldn’t go nuclear “on my watch.” Of course, his “watch” ends in 18 months. So long, suckers! Après Obama, le déluge.

Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary:

Obama’s focus on Israel’s lack of enthusiasm for more territorial withdrawals must be considered to border on an obsession. The Palestinians have shown no interest in negotiating with Israel on any terms and still won’t recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. As Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah reiterated in an interview this past weekend in the Washington Post, the PA is solely interested in making an end-run around U.S.-led negotiations and getting the international community to recognize Palestinian independence without requiring them to make peace with Israel first.

After repeated Palestinian rejections of peace offers that included statehood and control of almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem, and more terrorism, support for the peace process among the Israeli people evaporated. Though most would back a two-state solution if it led to real peace, they understand that the PA leadership in the West Bank can’t make peace even if it wanted to and the Hamas rulers of Gaza only want war to the death.

Under the circumstances, quibbling about what Prime Minister Netanyahu says about two states is irrelevant to the problems of a region rightly more about the threat from an Iran that is being boosted by Obama than Israel’s failure to make another futile peace offer. Yet, Obama continues to have hardly a word of criticism for a Palestinian political culture promoted by the PA that glorifies death and terrorism while claiming to be disappointed in an Israel that isn’t living up to his expectations. In the interview, he continued to implicitly compare the Palestinian struggle to wipe Israel off the map to the struggle for civil rights in the United States. Contrary to Obama’s specious charge, Israel hasn’t succumbed to “the politics of fear” but has instead embraced the politics of realism. Thus, the point isn’t so much that Obama’s view of the conflict continues to tilt in the direction of the Palestinians as he is completely disconnected from the reality on the ground that Israelis must confront.

The Times of Israel’s David Horovitz:

Obama Channel 2

Grinning like a fool

Have you truly internalized the fact that five years ago, Israel was contemplating relinquishing the Golan Heights, the high strategic ground, for a peace deal with Bashar Assad. Where would that have left us now? Utterly vulnerable to the brutal spillover of anarchic violence across that border.

Have you really, truly internalized that Israel left southern Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005, to the applause and reassurance of the international community, only to see the vicious terrorist armies of Hezbollah and Hamas fill the respective vacuums? Have you really, honestly, utterly internalized that Hamas booted out the forces of the relatively moderate Mahmoud Abbas from Gaza in a matter of hours in 2007, and that there is every reason to believe that Hamas would seek to do the same in the West Bank were Israel to do as you wish, and pull out? And Hamas in the West Bank would entirely paralyze this country. A single Hamas rocket that landed a mile from the airport last summer prompted two-thirds of foreign airlines to stop flying to Israel for a day and a half — including all the major US airlines. A single rocket. Hamas rule in the West Bank would close down our entire country.

Finally, in this facebook post, Melanie Phillips asks, “Which is worse – that Obama is a cynical, malevolent politician who in his arrogance knowingly plays fast and loose with reality because he doesn’t care if anyone notices; or that he actually believes these lethal imbecilities?”

After all of that, I have just one small point to add. It’s a point the importance of which pales in comparison to his confirming what everyone already knew, that he will never use military force to stop Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb, or to his complete and utter disconnect from recent history of Israeli-Palestinian relations. I think it is worth noting, though, because it is part of Obama’s ongoing efforts to scapegoat Netanyahu for the toxic atmosphere that Obama himself has created. It illustrates, moreover, just how deceptive Obama is being.

According to the Times of Israel report on the interview, Obama still can’t stop harping on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress in March (again — obsessive, much?). “If I turned up at the Knesset without checking with the prime minister first, or negotiated with Mr. [Isaac] Herzog [leader of the Israeli opposition], there would be certain protocols breached,” Obama is reported to have said. screenshot

Screenshot from

There’s just one problem. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who invited Netanyahu to address Congress, is not the leader of the opposition. The President understands full well that Boehner is the leader of a branch of government that is equal to, not subservient to, the Presidency. Not only does any American high school student who has taken a civics class understand this, let alone a former Constitutional law professor, it is on Obama’s own website. As such, Boehner was well within his rights to extend the invitation, and it would have been not only stupid but insulting for Netanyahu to have declined. Obama is clearly counting on a lack of understanding of the American system in order to deceive the Israeli public, just as he deceived the American public about the Affordable Care Act and attempted to deceive us all about his willingness to use any means necessary to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

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Loving Israel To Death? Fri, 22 May 2015 04:58:18 +0000 Jeffrey Goldberg and US President Barack Obama are at it again. Reading Goldberg’s latest Obama PR piece feels like watching a conversation between someone on a good acid trip and someone else on a bad acid trip. (Goldberg, full of angst and worry but still detached from reality, is the one on the bad trip.) Indeed, it is hard to imagine any other explanation for Goldberg’s comparison of Obama to any one of 50 rabbis that Goldberg claims to have spoken to recently.

In the current installment — and I assume there are still more to come before 2017 — we get some insight into the President’s own definition of anti-Semitism. Obama, the man who put a de facto arms embargo on Israel in the middle of a defensive war, says that if you are not anti-Semitic, “then you should be able to align yourself with Israel where its security is at stake.”

If you are not anti-Semitic, continues the man who threatened to withhold the US veto at the OIC-controlled bad joke that is called the UN, “you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora.”

The man who spent six solid weeks lambasting the Israeli Prime Minister for having the gall to accept an invitation from the Speaker of the US House of Representatives then said, if you are not anti-Semitic, “you should align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not isolated.”

Goldberg, ObamaReading his words about feeling obligated to constantly condemn Israel and its democratically elected Prime Minister “precisely because I care so much about the Jewish people,” Obama sounds like a domestic abuser who claims that he beats his victim because he loves her so much. The threats to do her harm, the public degradation, the black eyes, are all for her own good. Like the abuser, it’s possible that Obama even believes it. The most deeply held belief that such actions are for the benefit of the abused, however, doesn’t change the fact that the behavior is pathological.

The arrogance with which the US President lectures, seemingly endlessly, about the values that he thinks Israel should embody is nothing short of surreal. His demand, essentially, is that Israel prioritize the ideals that he, Obama, deems important over the protection of Israeli lives. Israel’s founding principles, however, never required it to protect “kids” who kill or try to kill, at the expense of the lives of its own citizens. Indeed, Obama’s demand that Israel prioritize abstract ideals over human life is arguably contrary to Jewish law.

Obama may have taken the advice of Jewish members of Congress, that in order to sell his Iran deal, he needed to stop “getting into a daily argument” with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  His actions throughout his term, however, especially earlier this spring, have already revealed his true feelings. No amount of flowers and candy can erase what he has already done.

It’s important not to ignore Goldberg’s own impression of Obama, as it is probably shared by many Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish:

This is my interpretation of his worldview—he holds Israel to a higher standard than he does other countries because of the respect he has for Jewish values and Jewish teachings, and for the role Jewish mentors and teachers have played in his life.

“Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” is within President Obama’s own State Department definition of anti-Semitism. Whether the double standard is applied because of overt malice or based on the best of intentions, it makes a demand on Israel that is impossible to meet, and then blames Israel for failing to meet it. Yes, Israel is a democracy, and yes, it has high ideals. But let’s also remember that Israelis, like the rest of us, are only human. Obama himself has certainly made his share of ill-advised campaign statements, and he’s also unquestionably been responsible for the deaths of civilians. It’s neither fair nor realistic to expect Israel or its Prime Minister to be better than the US. In setting forth such an expectation, however, Obama and Goldberg ensure that Israel can never live up to what is expected of it, and that they will always have an excuse to condemn it. If that is not anti-Semitic, then I really don’t know what is.

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Freudian Slip Of The Day? Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:37:51 +0000 A blogger has screenshotted a still from Israel’s Channel 2 last night, which labels Barack Obama “President of Iran.”

obama president of iran gaffe

Given his recent words and actions, I am not 100% sure this was a Freudian slip as much as an editorial choice.

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#TBT: Obama On Iran In 2012 Thu, 09 Apr 2015 12:47:27 +0000 On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama discussed the “deal” with Iran (and I use the term loosely, since no one can actually agree on what the supposed agreement is) in an interview with NPR. Incredible assertions by the State Department that Obama misspoke notwithstanding, Obama plainly admitted in this interview that, even assuming that Iran adheres to all of its terms, the “deal” really does not do more than delay Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear weapon by 13-15 years, and that at that time “the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.” At the same time, the White House is insisting that the only alternative to this “deal” is to do nothing, and allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon even sooner.

I was reminded today of the very different position that Obama took on these issues in March of 2012, when he still had an election ahead of him, and when he was attempting to forestall a potential Israeli military strike. In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama insisted that containment of a nuclear Iran was not an option, that he was seeking a permanent solution to the nuclear issue, not a temporary fix, and that, if diplomacy failed to achieve those objectives, US military action was “on the table.”

Here are some quotes.

Obama in the AtlanticOn the permanency of the outcome:

GOLDBERG: Do you think Israel could cause damage to itself in America by preempting the Iranian nuclear program militarily?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don’t know how it plays in America. I think we in the United States instinctively sympathize with Israel, and I think political support for Israel is bipartisan and powerful. . . . In that context, our argument is going to be that it is important for us to see if we can solve this thing permanently, as opposed to temporarily.

On containment of a nuclear Iran:

 GOLDBERG: Let me flip this entirely around and ask: Why is containment not your policy? In the sense that we contained the Soviet Union, North Korea —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It’s for the reason I described — because you’re talking about the most volatile region in the world. It will not be tolerable to a number of states in that region for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and them not to have a nuclear weapon. Iran is known to sponsor terrorist organizations, so the threat of proliferation becomes that much more severe. . . .

GOLDBERG: What I’m getting at specifically is, let’s assume there’s a Hezbollah attack on Israel. Israel responds into Lebanon. Iran goes on some kind of a nuclear alert, and then one-two-three —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: The potential for escalation in those circumstances is profoundly dangerous, and in addition to just the potential human costs of a nuclear escalation like that in the Middle East, just imagine what would happen in terms of the world economy. The possibilities of the sort of energy disruptions that we’ve never seen before occurring, and the world economy basically coming to a halt, would be pretty profound. So when I say this is in the U.S. interest, I’m not saying this is something we’d like to solve. I’m saying this is something we have to solve.

On the US military option:

GOLDBERG: Go back to this language, ‘All options on the table.’ You’ve probably said it 50 or 100 times. And a lot of people believe it, but the two main intended audiences, the supreme leader of Iran and the prime minister of Israel, you could argue, don’t entirely trust this. The impression we get is that the Israeli government thinks this is a vague expression that’s been used for so many years. Is there some ramping-up of the rhetoric you’re going to give them?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think the Israeli people understand it, I think the American people understand it, and I think the Iranians understand it. It means a political component that involves isolating Iran; it means an economic component that involves unprecedented and crippling sanctions; it means a diplomatic component in which we have been able to strengthen the coalition that presents Iran with various options through the P-5 plus 1 and ensures that the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] is robust in evaluating Iran’s military program; and it includes a military component. And I think people understand that.

. . . .

GOLDBERG: One of the aspects of this is the question of whether it’s plausible that Barack Obama would ever use military power to stop Iran. The Republicans are trying to make this an issue — and not only the Republicans — saying that this man, by his disposition, by his character, by his party, by his center-left outlook, is not going to do that.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Look, if people want to say about me that I have a profound preference for peace over war, that every time I order young men and women into a combat theater and then see the consequences on some of them, if they’re lucky enough to come back, that this weighs on me — I make no apologies for that. Because anybody who is sitting in my chair who isn’t mindful of the costs of war shouldn’t be here, because it’s serious business. These aren’t video games that we’re playing here.

Now, having said that, I think it’s fair to say that the last three years, I’ve shown myself pretty clearly willing, when I believe it is in the core national interest of the United States, to direct military actions, even when they entail enormous risks. And obviously, the bin Laden operation is the most dramatic, but al-Qaeda was on its [knees] well before we took out bin Laden because of our activities and my direction.

In Afghanistan, we’ve made very tough decisions because we felt it was very important, in order for an effective transition out of Afghanistan to take place, for us to be pushing back against the Taliban’s momentum.

So aside from the usual politics, I don’t think this is an argument that has a lot of legs. And by the way, it’s not an argument that the American people buy. They may have complaints about high unemployment still, and that the recovery needs to move faster, but you don’t hear a lot of them arguing somehow that I hesitate to make decisions as commander in chief when necessary.

Sounds a lot like, “You can keep your health plan. Period.”

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Barry Got Back By Sir Enrich A Lot Tue, 07 Apr 2015 06:46:47 +0000 obamaSung to the tune of Baby Got Back by Sir Mix A Lot *

Oh, my, god. Barry, look at the size of their bomb.
It is so big. [scoff]

I hate big bombs and I can not lie
It’s a nuke you can’t deny
That when a mullah walks in with a big fat lie
And yellow cake in your face
You get sprung, wanna pull out your tough
‘Cause you notice that we’re all stuffed
Deep in Natanz they’re enriching
We’re screwed and you can’t stop bitching
Oh Barry, I wanna shake you
Not take your picture
My homeboys tried to warn me
And that cliche you made makes you sound so corny

Barry got back!

* based on this report

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