Bad news Monday

posted at 12:18 pm on June 19, 2006 by Allahpundit

1. Hearing that the jihadis had captured two U.S. soldiers was like hearing the words, “Mom found a lump”: it might turn out OK but you’re pretty sure it won’t, and until you know one way or another you’re just going to have to deal with that sinking feeling. Eight thousand troops are searching by land, sea, and air for the two Pfcs, identified this morning by the Pentagon as Thomas Lowell Tucker and Kristian Menchaca. Given what they’ve done to civilian hostages, god only knows what special terror the mujahedeen have in store for true-blue American crusaders.

2. Two reactions to the cable sent from the American embassy in Baghdad on June 6th to the State Department and leaked to WaPo this weekend. First, as much as I love him, Steyn needs to temper the cheerfulness a bit. Things might be going “swell” by historical standards, but when kids can’t wear shorts outside without risking execution, such adjectives come off as a bit cavalier. Second, which end of the cable, do you suppose, leaked it to the Post? State Department malcontents can always be counted on to undermine the administration with a well-placed leak, but given the nature of the cable, I have to believe the disgruntled party came from within the embassy. Don’t be surprised if WaPo has more scoops in this vein from the same source in the next few weeks.

3. WaPo strikes again with news that Bush could have brought Iran to the table on his terms — including cooperation on terrorism and limited recognition of Israel — in 2003 after we knocked over Saddam, but declined because he thought the Iranian mullahocracy was ready to fall. Nice timing on this one:

While the Iranian approach has been previously reported, the actual document making the offer has surfaced only in recent weeks. Trita Parsi, a Middle East expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said he obtained it from Iranian sources. The Washington Post confirmed its authenticity with Iranian and former U.S. officials.

This leak is the mullahs’ way of reestablishing their good faith in the court of international public opinion while they stonewall on negotiations over their nuke program. If WaPo hadn’t run the story someone else would have, but it’s still depressing to see a major American newspaper used so transparently for propaganda by an enemy regime.

Jon Henke thinks we should have taken Iran up on their offer. I’d love to give him the righteous slapdown about propping up internally weak terrorist governments by legitimizing them through negotiations — but I can’t anymore, now can I?

Or can I? WaPo sells the ’03 offer as having placed “everything” on the table, but that’s not true. There’s nothing in it about domestic reform, particularly the democratic kind upon which the Bush doctrine insists. It’s a naked attempt by the mullahs to preserve their own power by compromising on the more belligerent points of their foreign policy. If you believe, as Bush and Natan Sharansky do, that democracy is the long-term solution to the problems of the Middle East, then it makes sense to reject it. If you don’t, or if you think we’re better off with the incremental approach of short-term security gains and diplomatic nudges towards free elections, then you accept it. Either way, I don’t think grudging negotiation on the narrow point of nuclear disarmament as we’re doing now legitimizes Iran the way a “grand bargain” would have.

I also think Jon’s entirely too credulous about this statement from Trita Parsi, the source of the Iranian document, which he quotes in his post:

The incident “strengthened the hands of those in Iran who believe the only way to compel the United States to talk or deal with Iran is not by sending peace offers but by being a nuisance,” Parsi said.

That comes dangerously close to suggesting that the Iranians wouldn’t be meddling in Iraq if only we’d negotiated with them back when. Given how forthright and honest they’ve been in the current round of negotiations, anyone else believe they’d have kept their promises like good boys and girls if we’d struck a bargain in ’03 — particularly when they saw the Sunni insurgency start to draw blood? If so, please see “Korea, North” in your CIA handbook.

Update: It’s not all bad news, though. McQ looks at the security situation in Iraq and circles Summer 2007 on his calendar. Lots of charts, too!

Update: Dan Riehl‘s got some good news too, involving troops, Okinawa, and Iraq.

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….cue the Stones indeed

james hooker on June 19, 2006 at 12:29 PM

Allah: “That comes dangerously close to suggesting that the Iranians wouldn’t be meddling in Iraq if only we’d negotiated with them back and when.”

Actually, the Iranians wouldn’t be meddling in Iraq at all if Jimmy Carter dealt with them when he should have instead of playing chicken until Ronald Reagan decided to run, and then crashing a few of our helicopters in a symbolic gesture in an Iranian desert sandstorm. Jimmy Carter was a politically correct incompetent! Carter’s website claims that HE brought “freedom for the hostages.” JIMMY CARTER IS A LIAR! Carter’s lies and distortions are repulsive, and can be read at

When Iran took American hostages from our embassy and held them for 444 days, Carter should have met that act of war (the embassy is “U.S. soil,” remember!) with an ultimatum and immediate military response. Instead, we got the usual liberal idiotic drivel, leading us to have to deal with a far stronger, more organized and FAR more dangerous Iran.

RONALD REAGAN “rescued” the hostages, who were released because the Iranians knew that Reagan would act. They were freed by Reagan merely running against Carter!

ForYourEdification on June 19, 2006 at 12:37 PM

Ronald Reagan DID give them the ultimatum after he was elected.

He said in essence “if I do not see the hostage safely released by the time I am inaugurated, I shall have the entire US armed forces onto Iran.” or something in that nature.

He won by a land slide was a mandate to declare war on IRAN. In fact, the country saved the hostage by electing Reagan.

easy87us on June 19, 2006 at 1:07 PM

1) Murtha,you traitor, NOW is when you get pissed off. Now is when you scream FOR our soldiers. Now is when we demand those two brave Americans are brought back to us Safe and Unharmed!
Now is when you use that unmedicated tirade, against our ENEMY.
2)Sounds like desperation tactics to me. If they can defend themselves and have a democracy to vote on many things, including the clothes they wear, all w/in a few years, thats huge progress in my eyes.
3) EVERYONE has 20/20 hindsight. This is Iran we’re talking about. Caution is the watch word here, experience and caution.

shooter on June 19, 2006 at 1:13 PM


shooter on June 19, 2006 at 1:17 PM

Regarding the hostages: 1) thank goodness Jimmy Carter is not in charge; 2) it re-ignites genuine support for our troops; 3) we all pray for an Entebbe-like outcome.

Regarding Murtha: he HAS BEEN a supporter of the military. Emphasize HAS BEEN. He’s completely lost it.

Regarding Iran: even the possible reconciliation were true in 2003, it’s irrelevant now. Ahmandinijad is now in control.

dman on June 19, 2006 at 1:26 PM

Yeah. Right. Like the Iranians were begging for negotiations in 2003, which would have solved everything! Sheesh. The Iranians are always pro-negotiation because it’s a great way to keep the folks on the other side of table from bothering you till it’s too late to keep you from doing whatever it is you’re trying to do. Upon discovery, negotiations break off, and then you let them entice you back for another round. Whether or not Michael Ledeen is right about the Zarq memo being an Iranian fake out, it was clear that Iran had embarked on a serious disinformation campaign from the first presidential communiqué to Bush.

JM Hanes on June 19, 2006 at 1:50 PM

Allah: “That comes dangerously close to suggesting that the Iranians wouldn’t be meddling in Iraq if only we’d negotiated with them back and when.”

Actually, the Iranians wouldn’t be meddling in Iraq if only we hadn’t invaded Iraq. That pesky law of unintended consequences……Saddam was a major counterpoint to the radical mullahs. Oh irony. We (at least tacitly) backed Iraq against Iran–successfully defusing, or at least containing, a Shiite revolution without firing a gun.

Yeah, this is LOTS better.

honora on June 19, 2006 at 2:44 PM

Considering the recent Zarqawi “memos” about the poor state of the insurgency are beginning to have their legitimacy questioned, I believe it’s highly probable that this “cable” could be a put up job. It paints a bleaker portrait of conditions there than the embeds and soldiers do. Now of course these embassy types could be cowed by anything not resembling a shining fairy land of diplomatic balls and photo ops with the “natives.” Anything reflecting the rough and tumble of an area under threat of violence makes their knees knock.

Who knows the actual identity of the sender or the receiver? As the State Department is full of holdovers and foreign sympathizers, I have no problem believing that a Clintonite wrote this fake cable and sent it to another Clintonite to “leak” to the press. Yes, my opinion of the workers in State is that low.

However, I don’t minimize the possible danger these employees may face. I don’t think that these people who offer “friendly advice” are truely people looking out for their safety. The women have reported they can’t identify their “friends.” This tells me that they are not from the area these women frequent, therefore likely members of the so-called insurgency. They come in to say “I’m not telling you to do this, but….” That gives them cover. They then disappear. If anyone of these “friends” can be apprehended, it would be interesting to find out what connections they have to areas or people associated with the enemy.

ScottG on June 19, 2006 at 2:46 PM

Thought #2: sad to say, everyone, everywhere needs to realize that secrecy is a relic of the past. You don’t want to see it on the evening news, don’t write it down. While this may eliminate a lot of hypocrisy and mendacity, it sure complicates life for diplomats.

honora on June 19, 2006 at 2:47 PM

I felt for a long time that Iraq would be a stepping stone towards finally dealing successfully with Iran. Time will tell.

For anyone looking for good news, below is the link to a recent CNN poll which shows libs losing ground in the upcomming elections…

As a great man once said, “Don’t let the bastids get you down”. ;o)

DannoJyd on June 19, 2006 at 8:29 PM