Archive for July, 2006


How America gave the Middle East to Iran

Posted in Opinion at 2:14 pm by jw

Iran has effectively achieved its goal of becoming a major player in the Middle East, and it’s biggest allies in attaining that goal have been time and the United States.  This may seem contrary to stated US foreign policy, but it’s emerged as a simple fact on the mishandling and misunderstanding of the politics in the region by the current US administration.  Without going into whether particular actions were necessary from a US point of view, here’s the timeline of the last 5 years from Iran’s point of view:

2001 – The US removes Iran’s primary distraction on their eastern borders in the destruction of the Taliban regime.  Prior to that time, Iran had spent a lot of effort protecting Hazaris in the west of Afghanistan from the slaughters the Taliban liked to conduct there.  Without the Taliban in power, Iran’s self imposed obligation to defend these people vanished.

2003 – The US removes Iran’s primary distraction and primary enemy on the western borders with the destruction of the Hussein regime.  Aside from the catastrophic 8 year war with Iraq in the 80s, Hussein offered aid and protection to the opposition factions operating within Iran and was continually a threat to Iran’s ambition to be the majority local player.

2004 – The US efforts in Iraq fail to quell the Sunni insurgency and the revenge culture of the nation makes the political scene ripe for the thousands of Shi’ite clerics and businessmen pouring over the border from Iran to establish themselves as leaders withing their communities.  To date, it is estimated Iran has over 40,000 trained and armed operatives within Iraq and Iran funds virtually all of the Shi’a militias who are so wantonly dragging Sunnis into open streets and shooting them in Baghdad.

2005 – Elections in Iraq push the Iranian backed Shi’ite parties into majority power.  This was a massive win for Iran in the area as they now have allies in positions of power all the way from India through to the Mediterranian.  It was nicely summed up by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, leader of the Guardian Council in Iran when he said “Iraq is now going through its election cycle. The election results are very good.”

2006 – Iran’s nuclear ambitions come under heavy fire in international politics but are all but ignored after Hezbollah (an Iranian controlled group in Lebanon) successfully taunt Israel into starting the bloodiest general attacks on Lebanon in a decade, diverting the world’s attention from Iran to the rekindled Israeli/Lebanese confrontation.

Now we find that the US has exhausted its political will for occupation of Arab nations and the world is crying against Israel’s attacks on Lebanon, and the US’s inaction on the matter.  Iran continues with its nuclear programs and continues to pour trained and armed troops in Iraq.  Iraq’s Prime Minister Malikii, a strong Hezbollah and Iranian ally, receives ovations on the floor of the US congress even as he refuses to renounce his strong condemnation of Israel.

Iran has the US right where it wants it.  Iran can ignore US threats and refusals to deal diplomatically while stretching its arm across the Middle East to spark off wars.  Iran can sit “innocently” by on an international stage condemning the Israeli government and their US allies for the loss of Lebanese life as they continue to arm and strengthen Hezbollah.  Iran can now spark fires wherever and whenever it wants to distract the world’s diplomatic process.  They took the “if you aren’t with us then you’re against us” rhetoric and drove it to the ultimate conclusion of isolating the US as it tried to cast players in black and white in the hopeless shades of grey inside the Middle East.

All I’m waiting for now is the Iranian response if and when the US decides to attack their nuclear facilities.  Given America’s rapid retreat from Beirut in 1983 when 241 Marines were killed by Hezbollah, just what will the reaction be if Katushya rockets start flying from the Shi’ite majority factions into the Baghdad Green Zone where US forces are conveninetly packed on top of each other in a nice pile for rocket targets?

Iran did nothing of note in the last 5 years.  They just let Time and America take out their enemies for them so they could establish a commanding position in the region.

Thanks to this article in the WaPo for most of this post.  Sinon and Takeyh are leading researchers at the CFR.


What the President really vetoed

Posted in Opinion at 11:08 am by jw

George W. Bush wants the public to believe that he was rescuing thousands of babies from a brutal murder at the hands of science.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Here’s the relavent part of the bill that was vetoed:

    `(b) Ethical Requirements- Human embryonic stem cells shall be eligible for use in any research conducted or supported by the Secretary if the cells meet each of the following:

    `(1) The stem cells were derived from human embryos that have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics, were created for the purposes of fertility treatment, and were in excess of the clinical need of the individuals seeking such treatment.

    `(2) Prior to the consideration of embryo donation and through consultation with the individuals seeking fertility treatment, it was determined that the embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded.

    `(3) The individuals seeking fertility treatment donated the embryos with written informed consent and without receiving any financial or other inducements to make the donation.

Note the following restrictions on which embryos could be used for science:

  • Must have been created for the express purpose of reproduction.
  • Must have been scheduled for destruction (killing) anyway.
  • Must have consent.
  • Must not be induced.

So, in short, what the President has done is ensured that the hundreds of thousands of embryos that are killed every year in the name of giving infertile couples children continue to be killed without offering any chance for giving life to someone else suffering from a disease.  The veto of this bill was the moral equivalent of preventing dying people from giving their bodies to science.  No matter which way you look at the results, George W. Bush has saved no babies and instead delayed science which may have saved lives.




Posted in General at 4:51 pm by jw

Well, not exactly slacking, but been pretty busy.  As you can probably see in my gallery we’ve been travelling up north to visit friends in Portland.  Was a fun trip, with a day and a half driving up there via I-5, four days travelling around and seeing the area and then three days returning via Mt Hood, Crater Lake, US-101 and US-1 which was a fantastic tour of the area.

While in Portland I also managed to learn a lot about MythTV while helping Dave install it for his home DVR project.  I actually like it so much I think I’ll be converting my HTPC into a MythTV box as soon as I get back to Pittsburgh and perhaps a little more settled.

Working on finishing up SiN:Emergence and HL2:Episode 1 before the next episodes come out.  Silly EQ2 raiding is taking up too much of my free time to finish all my other gaming projects!