Thursday, September 21, 2006

"On The Brink"

Readers know I'm a fan of Andrew Sullivan. I've linked to him often, and he's been kind enough to return the favor every now and then. But in light of his oft-stated regrets for having trusted the Bush administration before the Iraq invasion, I simply don't understand his repeated misstatements on Iran -- inaccuracies that parrot the demagoguery and hysteria favored by those he so deeply mistrusts. Andrew's been the subject of a PIA Alert before in this space for writing, "Especially when they are on the verge of wielding nuclear weapons." He wrote the following today:
Ahmadinejad is calling upon God to bring about the coming of the Twelfth Imam ("the perfect human being promised to all by you"), who heralds the Apocalypse. He is also saying that he will "strive for his return." It is the most terrifying statement any president of any nation has made to the U.N. We have a dictator on the brink of nukes, striving to accelerate the Apocalypse. Think of the Iranian regime as a nation-as-suicide-bomber. And anything serious we can do to prevent it may only make matters worse. No wonder Ahmadinejad smiles. Paradise beckons.
Aside from the fact that calling Ahmadinejad a "dictator" is a stretch, we know that as of one year ago, the official estimate of the U.S. intelligence community was that Iran was about a decade away from developing nuclear weapons. A few weeks ago, The Washington Times reported that the Pentagon is working off an estimate of 5-8 years. So where's Andrew getting "on the brink" from?

I'm all for calling out Ahmadinejad on his hateful and dangerous rhetoric. But let's not try to appease far-right readership or bolster our "patriotism" street cred via easy but erroneous statements. Those of us who actually care about preventing Iran from developing a nuclear capability know that intelligent, honest analysis is far more likely to yield effective policy than lazy or deliberate Iraq-redux hysteria.

Is Andrew's definition of "on the brink" 5-10 years? If not, then he should clarify or retract the statements he's made on this, or wed himself to the results -- which may be worse than Iraq. I suspect significantly fewer readers will be willing to grant him an easy divorce this time around.

30 Comments:

Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

"Those of us who actually care about preventing Iran from developing a nuclear capability know that intelligent, honest analysis is far more likely to yield effective policy than lazy or deliberate Iraq-redux hysteria."

Well said, but beyond that: what of active engagement? That Bush refused to meet with Ahmedinejad this week in NYC speaks volumes. The Bush regime isn't interested in a peaceable solution, rather they're telegraphing (U.S. initiated) violence to come.

9/21/2006 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh...Andrew...the religious people in this country are...like...cheering on the return of Christ, too. It seems the atheists are the only ones who want the world to carry on. Funny that.

9/22/2006 12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never understood your love affair with Andy. Surely, getting a couple links from Sullivan ain't worth having to pretend you
In the lead up to the war in Iraq, I was compelled to place a complete moratorium on reading Sullivan. He adds nothing useful to the dialogue and is so contorted with contradictory hatreds and allegiances that you end up in lost in his text. Once lost, you are in a very dangerous zone with his thought as he turns a well-written phrase or tempts you with his latest hyper-ventilation causing you to leap into his lacuna. If there is any justice in the world, he will be on the docket along with all the other neo-con war criminals. Of course, he will get his way in Iran first. And we will all pay the price. Please stop encouraging people to read this madman and complete fraud.

9/22/2006 1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nothing big is gonna happen in 2yrs. (big = direct military conflict between US and Iran)

so dont worry about it.

in 2 yrs, bush is out. and i dont think it's possible we can have another president so out of touch with everything again (unless we are really unlucky!)

ffs, bush doesnt read newspapers!!! WHO DOESNT READ FFS!!

9/22/2006 1:43 AM  
Anonymous semper fubar said...

Andy Sullivan? The guy who labelled anyone who criticzed Bush and the Iraq War a "fifth column?" THAT guy? Why would you listen to someone who gets it wrong year after year, issue after issue, all the while criticizing the very people who get it right?

Conservatism dies hard, I guess.

Hey, how 'bout that torture bill, huh? That's one for the history books. Republicans must be so proud.

9/22/2006 6:55 AM  
Anonymous macca said...

Hey CR,

I'm also a conservative (albeit an Aussie one), and I too share your distaste in Sully's current turn. But, are you the guy whose e-mail inspired his latest post "Excitable moi?". This is an example of why I still read Andrew Sullivan; he acknowledges that views other than his own me be right, and usually gives them a fair hearing. I think he's a basically good man who, like you and me, finds himself feeling conflicted in these troubled times because of his basic conservative tendences.

9/22/2006 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He also falls very very easily into the fallacy of averages: "we know the truth lies between two extremes, so it must lie in the exact center." Um, no.

Centrism is just another way of saying you're too lazy or clueless to figure out which side is better.
-MH

9/22/2006 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time and again Sullivan has shown that his judgement is shit. Andy doesn't so much think through an issue as gush about it. Only recently has the idiot come to realize that he got duped by the Cheney administration, and here he is again, ever the fuckwit, eager to get bamboozled again in the same way by the same people.

Look, if he didn't have the Gay Tory British Catholic carnival sideshow schtick, he'd maybe make it as far as writing the restaurant reviews for some poseur "alternative" free weekly. Andy's got a lot less talent and intellect than people think. Please, CR, reserve your admiration for somebody who truly deserves it.
-- sglover

9/22/2006 11:36 AM  
Blogger chris_from_boca said...

hate to dispute your sentiments but they miss he mark. we will be at war with Iran in October 2006. The die is already cast. they make their own reality, remember?

9/22/2006 12:11 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Supplant "may be worse than Iraq" with "shall be worse than Iraq".

We are going to attack Iran next year. And when we have a mess of an insurgency all across the Middle East, Andrew Sullivan can blame poor leadership -- it must be so nice, to advocate a war from behind one's desk and then find someone to blame.

9/22/2006 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

answer may rest more in who he writes for than what he thinks...

9/22/2006 1:02 PM  
Anonymous JWC said...

I too would like to know your opinion on the "compromise" (i.e. sellout) by McCain and all on the torture bill.

And I would not be surprise at all if we attack Iran. I just haven't figured out whether they will go the whole nine yards and use nuclear, or just bomb them and destroy the infrastructure. I you want to read someone who makes sense, don't read Sully, but go over to Billmon and read him today. He doesn't post every day, but when he does it is awesome.

Want to be scared about Iran, go read Billmon.

9/22/2006 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 1947, there was another dictator on the bring of building a nuclear bomb - his name was Joseph Stalin. He was much more powerful, and much more evil that Ahmadinejad will ever be, and at the time, we had a monopoly on nukes. There were lots of Americans, including the Sec. of Defense, who wanted to pre-emptively attack Stalin, but Truman was able to see that a pre-emptive attack would backfire against the US. Doesn't everyone can see that an attack against Iran will backfire disastrously?

9/22/2006 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen re: Billmon
judyo

9/22/2006 2:35 PM  
Blogger Anon. said...

I ussually read Andrew Sullivan for reasonably sane conservative perspective, but there have been occasions when he has been unthoughful and alarmist. He seems to be an astute watchdog for any political incorrectness regarding homosexuality, unfortunately without such a overt personal stake in other issues, he seems to revert to the typical hyperbole of popular punditry.

9/22/2006 2:35 PM  
Blogger David Studhalter said...

I don't give anyone who supported the Iraq war a pass. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who were wrong then are probably more likely to be wrong now. You have to go with the track record, since there's no absolute way to know the future.

9/22/2006 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: the above comment: "He seems to be an astute watchdog for any political incorrectness regarding homosexuality, unfortunately without such a overt personal stake in other issues" . .

That's an entirely nonsensical and slightly homophobic comment. What makes you think Sullivan doesn't have an "overt personal stake" in the issues about which he writes? Does the fact that he's gay mean that he has less of a "stake" in issues other than his commentary on gay-specific topics? Do you have more of a "stake"?

9/22/2006 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Andrew Sullivan, but what is "political incorrectness regarding homosexuality"? Sounds like a bullshit phrase to me.

9/22/2006 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is my prediction:

We attack Iran after the elections. A major insurgency erupts across the middle east. The US and it's coalition of the willing has no choice but to put it down. We wipe out half the middle east.

Sounds impractacle?

Not really. Everything the neocons have done has resulted in choas. That is by design. They are smart guys with control on lots of the important things and influence on the variables.

Mark my words. The middle east will belong to corporate America by the end of Bush's third term.

9/22/2006 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a dictator on the brink of nukes...

Uh, hello, Musharraf?

9/22/2006 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mark my words. The middle east will belong to corporate America by the end of Bush's third term."...

but the powers that be may try to buy it instead of use soldiers for a bit...but think you are right...the neocons are pressing hard for a strike before november in case diebold doesnt deliver...

guessing karl's 'october surprise' will be troops or some of them coming home after the victory there...this will make a november victory in congress believable...

9/23/2006 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any pinter fans around?...

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15049.htm

9/23/2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

"I think the plan's been picked: bomb the nuclear sites in Iran," says Gardiner. "It's a terrible idea, it's against US law and it's against international law, but I think they've decided to do it." Gardiner says that while the United States has the capability to hit those sites with its cruise missiles, "the Iranians have many more options than we do: They can activate Hezbollah; they can organize riots all over the Islamic world, including Pakistan, which could bring down the Musharraf government, putting nuclear weapons into terrorist hands; they can encourage the Shia militias in Iraq to attack US troops; they can blow up oil pipelines and shut the Persian Gulf." Most of the major oil-producing states in the Middle East have substantial Shiite populations, which has long been a concern of their own Sunni leaders and of Washington policy-makers, given the sometimes close connection of Shiite populations to Iran's religious rulers."

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20061009/lindorff

9/23/2006 2:06 PM  
Blogger Anon. said...

to a previous poster, im sure its easy an easy rebutal to call my point nonsensical. I don't think it needs clarification but I feel that he pays more attention to being on "high alert" for any type of slight on homosexuality then he does on other issues. That is not a homophobic comment, it's similar to saying that I am more aware of Egyptian political missteps because I am Egyptian. I don't think that by pointing that out you would be considered anti-Egyptian. Im sure that if I had been critical of Israel you would call me an anti-semite.

9/25/2006 9:50 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Hedley,

This has been the problem with Bush. He refuses to hold discussions with Iran, North Korea, Syria, Hezzbolah, Hamas, and anybody else who doesn't bow at the feet of the American masters. Since he refuses to hold any discussions with those that oppose us there is no hope for peaceful resolutions. He guarantees continued conflict. The late Jude Wanniski wrote for Aljazeerah and was friends with Louis Farrakhan...not because he agrees with the newspaper's and the minister's views (like all his hate mongering detractors accused him of)...but because he believed that engaging with others in a peaceful manners helps build trust and having someone to air their grievances to will reduce tension and help resove conflicts. Our government has thrown diplomacy out the window.

9/25/2006 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

Agreed. I believe the underlying motive is war profits.

9/25/2006 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9758

9/27/2006 4:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

has andrew said anything about mark foley?

10/02/2006 12:08 AM  
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