he’s drinking

it’s that whole “failure to intuit other people’s boundaries” aspect of all this that tipped me off.

Drinking… or doing blow.

Cokeheads think EVERYBODY wants a little grip and grin from the most charming motherfucker in the room…..

Keeerist what an arrogant shitheel.

World War Three starting in the Gulf and he’s doddering around making pig jokes, talking shit with his mouth full and generally being Your Worst Nightmare.

Mr. Nero, do you know “Orange Blossom Express Special”? (thanks, Gordon. -p.)

I hardly know what to say about this

But even if you’re dead, it’s gonna cost you to get out of Beirut.

I called up the State Department to ask about the policy. “We are not standing there with a cash box asking people to pay before they get on the boat,” spokeswoman Janelle Hironimus told me. But if they don’t pay (by check, no cash or credit cards accepted), or sign a form promising to pay, they don’t go. It’s the law: “Reasonable commercial air fare” shall be charged to all evacuees.

What if they’re dead?

Same deal, she said. No freebies, even if you’re not around to enjoy it.

I am with Juan Cole on this

I know you’re shocked, but I am with Juan Cole exactly on this.

I watched in horror as this maniacal speech unfolded in which Nasrallah [of Hezbollah. More info here] actually threatened the Israelis with releasing chemical gas from local factories on civilians in Haifa. Despite fighting them for all those years, he clearly does not understand the Israelis’ psyche or the trauma of the Holocaust. A threat like that. The Israelis don’t like being caught in a quagmire any more than the next person, which is why Nasrallah could get them to leave southern Lebanon. But his victory appears to have given him megalomania, and he has now gone too far.

Hizbullah’s attacks on Israeli civilians are war crimes. The killing of the civilians in Haifa at the train station was a war crime. And threatening to release chemicals from factories on civilian populations is probably a war crime in itself, much less the doing of it.

Obviously, I do not accept that Hizbullah’s actions justify the wholesale indiscriminate destruction and slaughter in which the Israelis have been engaged against the Lebanese in general. But they do have every right to defend themselves against Nasrallah and his mad bombers.

hat tip to my old friend Bedouina, who is Lebanese-American and married to a Jewish husband. An even hand (if there is one) in this discussion.

Hey, isn’t that one of those ‘Cedar Babes’?

In a perfect world, distilling foreign policy analysis down to “Dude, she’s hot” would reap the appropriate amount of shame and “Holy shit, were we fucking dumb…” mea culpas when it all comes crashing down.

Somehow, I suspect it will just be met with more tub thumping for the glory of Israel’s Righteous Violence.

Never mind that there’s no such thing as a smart bomb.

::UPDATE:: Totten has a moment of clarity. And his commenters set upon him like dogs. So severely, that he, in fact, was forced to close the comments.

I give you the face of Neoconservatism, ladies and gentlemen. Scared shitless, low and mean.

Justin Raimondo and I are on the same page

He just got to it three months before i did:

The Israeli offensive against Iran – until now, purely polemical – morphed into military action the moment the IDF crossed the border into Lebanon and took on Hezbollah. As our regular readers know, this turn of events was predicted in this space three months ago:

“War with Iran will probably not begin with a frontal assault by the U.S. and/or Israel on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons facilities, or even a skirmish along the Iraq-Iran border. Look to Lebanon and Syria for the first battlegrounds of this developing regional war. The Israelis know perfectly well that Iran’s nuclear ambitions, if they ever materialize, are not an immediate threat: their real concern is their volatile northern border, where their deadly enemies – Hezbollah – are an effective obstacle to Israeli influence. The Israelis are also looking to exploit growing opportunities to make trouble in Syria, where the restive Kurds are their reliable allies, and the brittleness of the Ba’athist dictatorship is an invitation to regime change.”

Which is essentially what I have been saying since this whole things started. This is about Iran, I suspect, from top to bottom.

Some case scenario considerations on the invasion of Lebanon

Just sand-tabling this over IM with eponymous, we are considering possible outcomes, actions and motivations.

Juan Cole considers the implications for the US in Iraq in light of recent events.

I continue to worry that this outbreak of war in the Levant will exacerbate tensions in Iraq and get more US troops killed. Iraqi Sunnis generally sympathize with the Palestinians. And hard line Shiites like the Sadr Movement and the Mahdi Army are close to Hizbullah. Israel’s wars could tip Iraq over into an unstoppable downward spiral.

So… Israel has escalated conflict with two factions in the region who have allies on opposite sides of the brewing Iraqi civil war. Since the perception of the US in the region (despite what Fox News may have told you) is as the bumbling but massive older brother of Israel- to be used as a cudgel or catspaw as the situation warrants- this will almost certainly bring more US troops into harm’s way.

Eponymous notes- “Sunni sympathy to the Palestinians is mostly a propaganda ploy, save for a few devoted ideologues who take up jihad against the Israelis or, by extension, the US…” though I am considering the past few days more than the past few years, and I am suspicious that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” sort of alliances are being hardened by the Israeli aggression.

What does this mean for US policy in Iraq? Israel may be pursuing the same “Confront, Conquer, and Occupy” strategy that led to the two-decade occupation of Lebanon. Neither Syria nor Iran can afford a head-on confrontation with Israel and the US, which is why these proxy guerilla movements exist. However, the fact that the US is bogged down in Iraq keeps the US from responding in strength, presuming current policies and methods in Iraq do not change. However, if the US was to open hostilities with Iran, I could see a profound shift in tactics- the sort of thing that could make only a neocon smile.

I can imagine a scenario where the drawdown plan is reversed in favor of pouring men and materiel into Iraq to create a stable platform from which to fight the New Iranian Threat to Our Interests in the Region. I realize that it seems far-fetched to start talking about a draft and another endless war, but if Israel drags Iran into a shooting war, what do you think the US reaction will be?

But, how to pacify Iraq? The place is a complete fucking mess. Our current policy, where we attempt to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible, has not prevented the civil war from continuing to escalate. Tactically, this is no way to establish a rear echelon from which to fight Iran. However…

as Atrios points out, there has been a turn in the rhetoric from some of the neocons, lately:

This is not Lawrence Kaplan admitting “the whole idea and concept and program was upside-down-wrong in its essence.” This is Kaplan saying the only option is to exterminate the brutes.

So, there’s a possibility that some of what we are seeing, I suppose, is that Israeli hardliners have noticed that the US was making noises like maybe we were ready to fold. This invasion of Lebanon may be a gambit to force us to play the hand we’re holding. At the risk of being pelted with rocks and garbage for saying it, it would not surprise me if there was a corresponding shift in the rhetoric of the conflict, essentially tearing a page from the Shelby Steele script as we have discussed here in the past

Carpet bombings all around. As Curtis “Bombs Away” LeMay used to suggest, “Bomb ’em back to the Stone Age.”

My concern is that a violent pacification of Iraq might be deemed necessary in order to provide an expeditious platform for the destruction of Iran’s nuclear capability and subsequent threat to Israel.

This is my worst case scenario. It’s making me very uptight.

Discuss. Please.

I don’t think this Israeli attack on Lebanon is a simple reaction

I have a feeling there’s more to it, but I could just be drawing circles in the smoke. This is not the first time an Israeli soldier has been kidnapped. This is, however, the first time the reaction has been to attack Lebanon.

The US recently climbed down from the “Let’s attack Iran before their nukes are ready to attack us NOW NOW NOW…” rhetoric. I think that this is, in part, due to a lack of popular support in the US for another war. Also, I think that cooler heads at State and in the Pentagon were saying “Are you nuts? Hello? I got two words for you about our current commitments: Operation Quagmire…ring a bell?”

Handing the Iranian nuclear problem over to the EU and the UN, I am guessing, did not sit well with the hawks who were pushing for preemptive strikes against strategic targets in Iran.

Is there a possibility that what we are witnessing is a gambit to provoke Syria (and after, Iran) to react to the invasion of Lebanon? Word comes down today that the Israelis are blockading Lebanese ports. The last time the Israelis forced a siege of Beirut was 1982. This was in response to PLO rocket attacks on Israel. This time it’s Hezbollah.

If the Syrians are drawn into this fight, in order to prevent another eighteen year occupation of Lebanon, will the Iranians be drawn in as well?

Iran and Syria are already being discussed in this. From the WaPo:

A common thread in the three crises is Iran — for its support of the two Islamist groups, its alleged funding and arming of Iraqi militias and extremist groups, and its refusal to give a final response to the Western package of incentives designed to prevent it from converting a peaceful energy program into one to develop nuclear weapons.

“There seems to be a hand in each one of these — Iran’s and Syria’s,” Assistant Secretary of State C. David Welch said in a telephone interview from Amman, Jordan.

The State Department maintains that the escalation into Lebanon by Israel is exactly what Hezbollah intended. I have no opinion on that, but it does seem to be an unfortunate consequence for the United States that we may be dragged by this invasion into some sort of confrontation with Iran, despite our recent attempt to hand it off to the EU.

Perhaps I am grievously overreaching here, but it seems like a fortunate outcome for Israel that the US would be forced back into the Iran discussion on hostile terms. If I want to go deep into tinfoil hat territory, then I could further speculate that it was pro-Israel elements at State and in the White House and the Defense Department who were pushing for preemptive strikes against Iranian’s nuclear capabilities just a few months ago. Looks like they may get their wish one way or another.

I’m just saying.

Your thoughts?

BTW- Bravo, WordPress

WordPress handles spam like no other blogging software that I have ever used. It just sails right into the spam folder and I never see it. Every now and then I peek in there to see what sort of crap is accumulating on the filter, but other than that, it’s totally transparent.

Who wouldn’t love that?