Comments for en-gb 30 Sat 20 Dec 2014 21:41:30 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at MarcusAureliusII Xie_MingYour flattery of Ariel Sharon is undeserved. He's not nearly as good as you say he is. How could a small country like Israel possibly invade and occupy a far larger and more populous nation like Iran...unless of course they became a lot less populous all of a sudden first. Anyway, I've guessed your secret, you are Jewish. I just knew it. Fess up. Nothing more exotic than an ordinary self hating Canadian Jew. Fri 25 Jul 2008 01:01:55 GMT+1 Xie_Ming #119Sharon was not shy.He executed his invasion of Lebanon just as he told Avnery long before as he had planned to. (Did you get the URL?).He also showed Avnery his plans for the invasion and occupation of Iran- he took those to Washington, but the Pentagon did not want to go along. (Do you need the URL again?)The Mearsheimer and Walt report (available for downloading) backs up the truth of Sharon's claim concerning control of the Congress.[And, the recent visits of US politicians to the Knesset tend to confirm it] Thu 24 Jul 2008 01:38:00 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII allmymarbles"113, Marcus.This is the last of your posts that I will ever answer."Promises, promises. Thu 24 Jul 2008 01:37:11 GMT+1 allmymarbles 109, Ed.The comment by Sharon is either delusion or propaganda.The unfortunate thing is that people may believe it. That is not good public relations for the Jewish People. Wed 23 Jul 2008 21:09:33 GMT+1 allmymarbles 113, Marcus.Your postings are always outrageous, so much so that I wonder if you are mentally unhinged.But I think I have figured you out. You want to get a rise out of us and will go to any lengths to get it.Well now you must find a new game. This is the last of your posts that I will ever answer. Wed 23 Jul 2008 18:11:30 GMT+1 allmymarbles 114, Xie.Yes, you are right. The US was playing games with Iran and Iraq for a long time - first supporting one and then the other. Probably a means of control. Wed 23 Jul 2008 18:05:42 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII It's hard to say who fired the first shot but it might have been Iraq. Saddam Hussein saw Iran as a great threat because he and his secular Baathist Party of Sunnis based in Tikrit ruled over a nation that was 60% Shia. The Islamic Revolution in Iran presented a real threat to his regime. As a result he bought weapons wherever he could find them. Some from the US, proably a lot more from the USSR. He certainly got his Mirage jets from France and they built his nuclear reactor he was using to develop nuclear weapons as well. That's the one the Israelis destroyed. Where did he get the chemical and biological weapons from? Maybe the US shipped some with the expectations that he would use them against the Iranians. More likely China or Russia. I think there was a German company which was supposed to be helping him build some sort of super gun, an artillery piece that could fire shells that would reach Israel. All he had at the time in the way of missiles were Scuds. The Iranians struck in human wave attacks sending millions of young boys to their deaths. It seemed no matter how many of them the Iraqis killed, more kept coming. About the same as the way the Soviets sent their soldiers to fight the Nazis. It was in the US interest to keep these two monstrous nations fighting each other just so long as the oil kept flowing out to Europe. The US supplied arms to Iran as well. They were sold to them illegally against the explicit orders of Congress to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. In the end, the war ended in a stalemate. Nobody won. Perhaps one way the US knew that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons was because...they had sold him some themselves. Now they are probably in Syrian hands. Wed 23 Jul 2008 14:10:12 GMT+1 Xie_Ming Iraq attacked Iran. Iran's role was defensive.(That was when the USA, with Rumsfeld's help, was arming Saddam Hussein.)It is a bit disconcerting to see how the context of history so quickly disappears- I do wish our journalists could help more in this. Wed 23 Jul 2008 12:14:39 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII allmymarbles, the tally of dead Iraqis reached 600,000 a few months ago? Funny, the Lancet said it was 650,000 back in 2006. Now who do you suppose was right, the Lancet, Johns Hopkins, or neither? Considering that there is still resistance, the figure clearly isn't high enough. We'll just have to keep fighting on until we win or are foolish enough to leave and see all of our fine work go for naught. So with the Shia and Sunnis and al Qaeda in Iraq bombing each other every day, you think it was American troops who killed most of these people? Well then that means just one thing....time to reload. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:46:17 GMT+1 allmymarbles 110, EdWell Iran did have that stupid war with Iraq that lasted forever. Must have been a strange war since neither the Iraqis nor the Iranians make good soldiers.As to who is more dangerous -- no contest. Us, of course. We talk of losing 3,000 in the Twin Towers, and losing 4,000 in Iraq. How can that compare with the massive loss of life of Iraqis?Iraqi deaths soared above 600,000 (as of a few months ago) according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins. Yes, some could be accounted for by sunni-shieh attacks, but we were responsible for the vast majority. When you consider that we instigated the civil war, then we were responsible for all of it. Talk about Sadham Hossein! He was an amateur next to us. Wed 23 Jul 2008 04:56:02 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII Ed Iglehart #110Who is more dangerous? The US. It has desmonstrated for 50 years that it is prepared to burn down the whole world and kill every human being if its demands are not met. It's has the will and the means to do it. It is still ready, willing and able. That's also the only reason Europe is not part of a Soviet slave empire today. Wed 23 Jul 2008 03:09:19 GMT+1 Ed Iglehart Xie and Marbles, and all,We must never forget that Iran hasn't attacked or invaded anyone in at least a century. Israel and the good ole USA have done so almost as a matter of course every couple of years.Who is more dangerous?Salaam, etc.ed Wed 23 Jul 2008 00:29:14 GMT+1 Ed Iglehart Ms Marbles,"(Anyone who thinks Israel acts independently is on Mars.) ""Every time we do something you tell meAmerica will do this and will do that . . . I want totell you something very clear: Don't worry aboutAmerican pressure on Israel. We, the Jewishpeople, control America, and the Americansknow it." Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.xxed Wed 23 Jul 2008 00:17:05 GMT+1 allmymarbles 107Whoops. I think that was supposed to be a cherry tree. In any case, it never happened. Tue 22 Jul 2008 23:20:12 GMT+1 allmymarbles 106, ZieThe last I heard (admittedly sometime ago) was that the Masada events were questionable. There was one obscure reference, but no confirmation anywhere.It might be like Washington chopping down the apple tree, or it might be real. Tue 22 Jul 2008 22:13:28 GMT+1 Xie_Ming #105It is not valid to jump from "what" to "why".Speculating: the violent 6%-15% would be violent from psychological predisposition.Among the Israelis, the Gush Emunim are probably 7% of the population.The tradion of violence and terrorist murderdates at least back to the Sicarii and Masada.Your Bible (without even looking at the Talmud commentaries) teaches the extermination of the "other". The Orthodox take this literally.The Shoa confirmed in everyone's mind the need to stick together in mutual defense against extermination by the "other".The Reform and secular majority do not share the indoctrination, but have a fear of their neighbors.You may recall the adage of the Old West settlers: "the only good Injun is a dead Injun". Tue 22 Jul 2008 21:25:46 GMT+1 allmymarbles 102, XieVery interesting figures. Do you think we can ascribe the Middle East violence attitude to hatred of the West and the Isreal atttitude to fear of their neighbors? Tue 22 Jul 2008 18:47:23 GMT+1 allmymarbles 98, MarcusYou are a victim of propaganda. Tue 22 Jul 2008 17:54:02 GMT+1 aquarizonagal #102XiemingI give you First Prize for this post! How can we get the nut groups out? Very good question, indeed! Tue 22 Jul 2008 17:11:48 GMT+1 Xie_Ming One minor leitmotif on this blog:The vast majority of people are peaceful, family types who just want to get on with their own lives.From 1999 data, only 6% of Middle East Muslims strongly favored violence for religious groups, with another 9% favoring it. Total 15%.For Israel, the figure was 17%.The problem. then, is political, not military: how to get the nut groups out of government and the moderates in. Tue 22 Jul 2008 15:29:08 GMT+1 maj1c #29 MarcusAureliusIIFirstly, I don't know what you are doing on this BBC blog, you'd be a lot happier spending time with like minded people on FOX!.As for attacking anyone and everyone.... the Amercian right and the radical islamists are making this a much less safer world for the vast majority, who are moderate people. Oh yes lets all compare it to Hitler and start WW3 makes sense... Tue 22 Jul 2008 14:15:25 GMT+1 Xie_Ming Israel is controlled by fundamentalist religious extremists, although they are in a minority.The big difference is that Iran can quickly be brought into the status of an ally- a useful and helpful one with lots of oil and a great strategic position.Only if the news media go to Iran and start reporting therefrom can the public become aware of the real facts. Tue 22 Jul 2008 13:08:14 GMT+1 allmymarbles This post has been Removed Tue 22 Jul 2008 06:02:02 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII allmymarbles, you must have very close ties to Iranians if you are not an Iranian yourself as you say so your views are highly prejudiced however the reality is, Iran is not run as a democracy but as a brutal theocratic tyrannical dictatorship. Whatever its middle class or lower class may or may want, the Clerics are in control and calling the shots. Their insane policies are putting that nation on a collision course with destiny. They don't operate in the real world. Gordon Brown just told the Israeli Knesset what Sarkozy and President Bush said, that Iran will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons but who will see to it that this dictum is carried out? If not the US then certainly Israel itself. The price Iran will pay will be horrific. Tue 22 Jul 2008 05:02:34 GMT+1 OldSouth 'Considering Barack qualified is the equivalent of putting a first year intern in charge of surgery at John Hopkins'Amen, and amen again. Being attractive, personalbe, and adept in front of a crowd, is not the same thing as possessing the judgement and maturity to serve in an executive role anywhere, much less the Presidency.And, to forestall the floods of snide remarks about our current President, let's remember why it was necessary to change the carpets in the bathroom off the Oval Office in January of 2001, or where the previous Democrat resident left us, economically and internationally, in January of 1980. Tue 22 Jul 2008 03:32:17 GMT+1 allmymarbles #81, Aqua. I don't think the world has changed that much. I think as a people we have become more sophisticated. As for our politicians, it is best not to assume they share the emotions and morals of the world at large. You or I, for instance, could not contemplate going to war for the sake of winning an election. Tue 22 Jul 2008 03:20:26 GMT+1 allmymarbles #86, kecsmar.Yes, all people criticize the the government. It is a question of degree. Iranians are extremely independent and don't like to be controlled. They take it for granted that all governments exploit their people. And they don't always take that lying down. When the Iranian government recently riased the price of gas, people burned down the gas stations. Gas prices were returned to ttheir former level. (Oh, how tempting!) This is not always a convenient trait. Rules and regulations are flaunted, even when they serve the common the common good. Iranians have a tribal history and close family ties. It is a very personal society. Not only don't they trust governments, they are also suspicious of benevolent organizations such as the Red Lion and Sun (their version of the Red Cross). Yet they will readily dig down in the pockets to give directly to those in needSo glad you mentioned the food. The Iranians (and the Turks), in my opinion, are the best cooks in the world. Not only is the food delicious, it is healthy too. As part of a program we had an expert analyze the nutritional value of the common diet. It was found to greatly exceed requirements the for a healthy diet. Tue 22 Jul 2008 03:13:43 GMT+1 MagicKirin , DominickVila wrote:Ref #82The Carter Center was a stooge for election fraud in Venezuela because Carter has an hatred of Bush.I spent 12 years in Venezuela in the 1940s and 50s, and I still have friends and some relatives in that country. Some of them like Chavez, others despise him, but they all agree on one thing: he was elected and re-elected by a huge majority with no evidence of fraud. Incidentally, those elections were monitored by several international observers, not just the Carter Center. And not all agreed with terrorist appeaser Carter. That is why Chavez has restricted freedom of the press because it was reported by independent news sources.Carter would have validated Mugabe too if he had been an obsevor Tue 22 Jul 2008 01:39:56 GMT+1 tucsonmike Justin, in the great scheme of things, it really does not matter. If he wants to play JFK without being elected, fine. McCain's people were upset that the anchors were giving Obama unfair coverage, but he will be speaking to people who CANNOT VOTE FOR HIM!! Unless there is something sinister like overseas money being funneled and laundered into Obama's campaign, it does not matter. Tue 22 Jul 2008 01:09:57 GMT+1 Xie_Ming The reference for Sharon's plans to attack Lebanon should have been: plans to attack and occupy IRAN were documented correctly above. Tue 22 Jul 2008 00:32:12 GMT+1 SaintDominick Ref #82The Carter Center was a stooge for election fraud in Venezuela because Carter has an hatred of Bush.I spent 12 years in Venezuela in the 1940s and 50s, and I still have friends and some relatives in that country. Some of them like Chavez, others despise him, but they all agree on one thing: he was elected and re-elected by a huge majority with no evidence of fraud. Incidentally, those elections were monitored by several international observers, not just the Carter Center. While it is certainly fair to question the judgment of the masses that put Chavez in office, I think it is wrong to insinuate that a former U.S. President enabled a fraudulent election in a foreign country, without basis to corroborate such assertion.Carter was a victim of circumstances. In my opinion, his altruism and honesty should serve as a model for other former presidents - Republicans and Democrats alike - who seem more interested in spending their time playing golf, jumping off airplanes, and making millions of dollars than helping their fellow man.BTW, did you hear that New Hampshire has joined other states and agreed to receive free heating oil from Venezuela for poor citizens who can not afford the high prices of fuel? To be very candid with you, I find that decision embarrassing! Tue 22 Jul 2008 00:05:47 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII Xie_Ming, there is no such thing as a right to have nuclear weapons. The NPT was developed to allow nations who wanted to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to prove to others that they are no threat. Iran among other nations no longer follows that regime. One can only surmise that it wants to develop nuclear weapons. Fine. Only it shouldn't cry if it is struck pre-emptively by those who feel threatened by it...including with nuclear weapons of their own. Aquagirl, President Bush certainly doesn't listen to me. I sent him two e-mail letters begging him to nuke Iran and he has not complied. I see what you mean. If Barack Obama gets elected, perhaps I'll send him a letter urging him to nuke Pakistan. He seems predisposed to and may just need a little nudge in the right direction. Perhaps he just wants to prove once and for all he is not Barack Osama. Mon 21 Jul 2008 23:30:34 GMT+1 Xie_Ming The threats of the USA and Israel have been aggressive, those of Iran, defensive. The USA made an attempt to pretend that rubber boats were threatening to attack US warships- this was exposed as a hoax.The US President claims that US Special Forces now operating within Iran are engaged in a war and thus under his command and immune from Congressional oversight. It would be well for the press to pick up on the facts in Iran and query the attitude of the US Congress and the British Parliament. Mon 21 Jul 2008 23:06:33 GMT+1 Xie_Ming The argument concerning "irresponsibility" ignores the control over Israeli politics exercised by Orthodox fundamentalist extremists, the "Sampson Option" of World destruction should Israel be in danger, and the constant threats of Israeli officials concerning the "inevitability" of an attack against Iran. If one considers actions apart from talk, Israel has demonstrated its repeated aggression in the Middle East and Iran has never done so. A previous entry discusses the Israeli plans for an attack on Iran. For the attack on Lebanon, see this: Mon 21 Jul 2008 23:03:52 GMT+1 Xie_Ming Politicians making have cited statements by Amadadinijad that the state of Israel should disappear from the map as demonstrating the "irresponsibility" of Iran to have nuclear weapons. Gordon Brown repeated before the Knesset today the line mentioned in above. Amadadinijad is unpopular, and on his way out. The Supreme Leader in Iran has issued a religious edict that nuclear weapons are neither to be developed nor used. He explained his fatwah in very reasoned and logical terms. Mon 21 Jul 2008 22:59:22 GMT+1 kecsmar #70 all...."...Iranians love to say that it is dangerous to talk against the government. Yet all they do is talk. Everybody talks. Were it so dangerous they would all be dead. The fact is they don't like government and will talk against whoever is in power to anyone who will listen..."The people i spoke to didn't say it was dangerous, they were just cognisant of the fact that if an "official" overheard the conversation it may not be looked upon favourably.Everywhere i go, people talk, not just Iran. I must say, the country that has the most "talkers" in my opinion, is the US. And as you have noted many will dislike the incumbent Govt. no matter who is in. But again, this can be laid at any nation too....with the exception of China, every country i have been to, everyone criticises their Govt.One of the reasons why i attributed their "love" of talk was because they have been starved of "new news" and "ideas" and what other people think, without editing!The country has stagnated for 20~30years, owing to the US and its aggressive stance to them and other countries wishing to deal with Iran.Shame it is a lovely country and bloody excellent food; i think for the first time, i put on weight! Mon 21 Jul 2008 22:55:45 GMT+1 Xie_Ming There were some questions earlier concerning inconsistency. It is essentially this: although Iran has every right to nuclear weapons, the Supreme Leader has issued a religious edict saying that they shall not be developed. Here is a reprise of the Iran nuclear situation:1. As any sovereign nation, Iran may withdraw from any treaty and has every legal right to develop nuclear weapons. 2. Even within the non-Proliferation Treaty, there is a clause which says that a nation under threat to its national interests may immediately withdraw.3. Iran has American forces on three sides and is under constant verbal threat and gestures from two nuclear powers, the USA and Israel. 4. Thus, not only does Iran have every legal right to nuclear weapons, but, in self-defense, it has the duty to develop them as rapidly as possible. Mon 21 Jul 2008 22:27:19 GMT+1 Xie_Ming This article is by an Israeli expert (Uri Avnery) on the prospects of an attack on Iran. It is very worth saving. It also shows that Sharon had plans for INVADING AND OCCUPYING IRAN! Mon 21 Jul 2008 22:10:53 GMT+1 aquarizonagal Jimmy Carter is an old man. His judgment may not be as good as it once was but I think he is a good, decent human being. It is time that he stayed home and played with his grandchildren rather then mixing himself into world politics but please do not call him a "disgrace to America." I'm not sure anyone takes him seriously anymore. Mon 21 Jul 2008 21:56:51 GMT+1 MagicKirin DominickVila wrote:Ref #63The reason I mentioned Bush qualifications when he ran for President was to establish a contrast between the concerns voiced by many about Obama's qualifications while the same was ignored when President Bush, and other former Presidents, ran for Office. from being the biggest disaster in the history of the USA, George W. Bush has that distinction. Carter, a devout Christian and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, inherited an economic mess and a credibility crisis when he was elected, and has done an outstanding job since he left office. I disagree with you there. Except for building houses.Carter has been an embarssment.The Carter Center was a stooge for election fraud in Venezuela because Carter has an hatred of Bush. He has sided with terrorists against Israel. His book about Israel caused mass resignation from the Carter center.Jimmy Carter is a disgrace to America!! Mon 21 Jul 2008 21:43:41 GMT+1 aquarizonagal Referring to my post #78 Allmymarbles...Do you think that any of our so called leaders and politicians listen to us any more? Our voices may be too small and our influence too inconsequential for any to pay attention.I don't know. Maybe the world has changed too muchI keep hoping in a better future, that someone will truly listen. Mon 21 Jul 2008 21:38:56 GMT+1 aquarizonagal #79AllmymarblesToo horrifying to contemplate but I put absolutely nothing past any politician determined to win power!Is there any hope? I try to believe so. Mon 21 Jul 2008 21:26:51 GMT+1 allmymarbles #78, Aqua.What is most horrifying is that a politician would start a war to win an election. Mon 21 Jul 2008 21:14:59 GMT+1 aquarizonagal #71Allmymarbles'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.' (Isaac Asimov, I think)The thought of another war is so repugnant to me that I have no words to describe my feelings on this. We seem to have a poster(s) who consider war as some kind of video game. Perhaps, if our leaders had to risk their own precious blood in personal hand to hand combat, war would not seem so attractive. It is so easy to send our over-stressed National Guard and our standing military to repeated deployments. It would be different if the WARMONGER had to personally face combat himself.I have been following all the hype about Iran, as well. It is all hype! What I have been able to find out on my own is that most Iranians are very much like us and want much the same as we do. I am sure certain factions would like to see another war. Is it total self-destruction? Where is the sanity? Sorry, stupid question.I am in full agreement that speaking out as loudly and as much as possible may have some effect toward stopping the MADNESS! Mon 21 Jul 2008 19:45:32 GMT+1 DougTexan cheekyDominick, Granted Jimmy Carter had inherited a bad situation and with the qualifications you speak of he still had a hard time. I'm saying like I did in #66 with the quote from Shoup, written in 1980:"What Carter had that his opponents did not was the acceptance and support of elite sectors of the mass communications media. It was their favorable coverage of Carter and his campaign that gave him an edge, propelling him rocket-like to the top of the opinion polls. This helped Carter win key primary election victories, enabling him to rise from an obscure public figure to President-elect in the short space of 9 months."The qualifications and the media bias are similar, but not the same. Carter didn't have a Rev. Wright or any other negative. (other than Billy)sweet internet Mon 21 Jul 2008 19:42:49 GMT+1 SaintDominick Ref #63The reason I mentioned Bush qualifications when he ran for President was to establish a contrast between the concerns voiced by many about Obama's qualifications while the same was ignored when President Bush, and other former Presidents, ran for Office. I realize that intellectual qualifications have never been a major factor when we choose a President, but perhaps they ought to be. When it comes to experience, only incumbents running for re-election have relevant experience.Jimmy Carter was far from being the biggest disaster in the history of the USA, George W. Bush has that distinction. Carter, a devout Christian and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, inherited an economic mess and a credibility crisis when he was elected, and has done an outstanding job since he left office. Fairly or unfairly, he will be remembered for the 16% interest rate that the Fed imposed to control inflation, as the President that was in office during the hostage crisis, and he will be held responsible for the pathetic rescue attempt that ended in disaster and further embarrassed our country, even though it was not his doing. Mon 21 Jul 2008 19:13:16 GMT+1 allmymarbles #74,Xie.The "after ekection day" is the most recent talk. I think they have had to draw back because the public is catching on. But you still hear comments about more immediate action. The "after election day" shows that we are effective. Mon 21 Jul 2008 19:06:02 GMT+1 Xie_Ming #71The discussed scenario is AFTER election day, but before inauguration.The Congress could withdraw its authorization for military action against Iranand demand the withdrawal of the US Special Forces ALREADY operating thereas Bush says "on a war footing" and therefore under his command.The Congress COULD act now, but would it? Mon 21 Jul 2008 18:47:39 GMT+1 Old-Man-Mike Have a heart Justin, what can Obama talk to you about. If he wins in November it will still be February next year before he can sit in the Oval Office as President and Commander-in-Chief. I presume the President Elect gets to see at least some of the relevent papers before inorination but that is not the same asbeing responsible for Government. At this point in time it is a bit like asking a runner in a relay rice a lap before he takes over the baton what his tactics will be. The key question will be what leadership qualities he displays and not a detailed knowledge of any particular sphere of Government.George Bush and his team are going to be in charge for the next seven months, like it or lump it, as granny would have said. As far as foreign policy is concerned on July 19 the BBC gave us this bit of puff which tells us McCain an Obana are neck and neck on most issues meaning, I guess, that most votes will on Party lines and/or domestic issues. A truism that could be applied to most democratic electorates all over the world. Vote USA 2008 Issues: Foreign policy. Mon 21 Jul 2008 18:41:25 GMT+1 DougTexan AllMyMarblesThough I feel the same fear, I hope the start of WWIV will never happen. I can't see that the population of the US jumping in mass to any new war.I actually worry that Iran might try shutting down the straits to make a point of thier independence and causing an oil war. Add Israel, China, India and U.S. all jumping at once, add first strike stupiddity and we would have whirld peas.Isolation from the world would be impossible even with a unified scream of the people. No more war, please! Mon 21 Jul 2008 18:24:33 GMT+1 allmymarbles To Marcus, Xie, and Kecarnar.You have all been following the revving up of sentiment against Iran. My great fear is that Israel will make an aggrssive move against that country. Such a move would have to have the stamp of approval of Bush. (Anyone who thinks Israel acts independently is on Mars.) America then, "out of loyalty", would have to go to aid of its ally. Voila! War. Ideally for the republicans this would be arranged before election day, and McCain, who touts himself as being able to win a war, would have an advantage at the polls. But not if we keep talking and writing. With enough of us blabbing, Bush will be less likely to try this stunt. I wonder if he hasn't already given up. The internet is wonderful. Mon 21 Jul 2008 17:54:48 GMT+1 allmymarbles #50, Kecarnar.I would say your view is pretty much correct. Just a couple of comments....Iranians love to say that it is dangerous to talk against the government. Yet all they do is talk. Everybody talks. Were it so dangerous they would all be dead. The fact is they don't like government and will talk against whoever is in power to anyone who will listen.As to absolute control over the whole country, ask them about Baluchistan. Ask them about the Kurds.It is refreshing to read a response that is not politically scripted. Mon 21 Jul 2008 17:14:21 GMT+1 Xie_Ming This is an interesting piece about Bush, Obama and the US approach to the Mid-East: case it is lost, it is from today's Mon 21 Jul 2008 17:04:29 GMT+1 allmymarbles #43, Xie.By and large I agree with you. As to Ahmadinejad being unpopular, anyone who ran Iran would be unpopular. The Iranians don't trust any government.As to my discussion of Iran (#34) readers have assumed I was an Iranian. I am not. I am American who early in life became fascinated with the Middle East, and ultimately adjusted her profession to accommodate that interest. Mon 21 Jul 2008 17:00:55 GMT+1 allmymarbles #37, Marcus.I read your first paragraph and read no further, because you erroneously assumed I was Iranian and that probably colored your response. I am Iranian. Nor are my parents. Nor is my husband. I am an American. And, no, I am not Moslem either.Now you may want to read my entry again with the eyes of a fellow American. I hope you will respond.Yes, Virginia, Americans can master foreign languages. Mon 21 Jul 2008 16:48:10 GMT+1 DougTexan Magic,I couldn't agree more, Carter analogy is right on. Obamas economic plan of stimulation through taxation is exactly what Carter did in 1977, and the recession follwed. True he didn't get a strong economy to start with, but neither will our next president.The increase in INCOME TAX with Obama reverts to pre-Bush tax cuts which is about $3800 more for single making 30 grand yearly ($4500 to $8400), an increase of $7,800.00 for married earning $60,000 yearly ($9000.00 to $16,800.00)Just read his bio and you'll he did so many good things from an Energy policy that worked and a hugh ammount of land for parks and the future. Here is the direct comparison by one quote by Lawrence Shoup from his 1980 book 'The Carter Presidency and Beyond':"What Carter had that his opponents did not was the acceptance and support of elite sectors of the mass communications media. It was their favorable coverage of Carter and his campaign that gave him an edge, propelling him rocket-like to the top of the opinion polls. This helped Carter win key primary election victories, enabling him to rise from an obscure public figure to President-elect in the short space of 9 months."shame on me Mon 21 Jul 2008 16:14:53 GMT+1 Andy Post "I think it is more accurate to refer to Obama as Carter term 2.And Jimmy Carter was the biggest disaster as President in the last 100 years and a disgrace to our country."Yeah, I've seen bumper stickers to this effect, and I don't think this is going to stick. Senator Obama appeals to younger people many of whom weren't alive when Carter was in office. Also, while America felt especially impotent during his administration, he's mostly remembered for his work after leaving office. Even his latest insistence that Israel is partly to blame for the situation in the Mideast didn't cause all that much of an uproar, really.It also is a denial of what most Americans believe which is that the Bush is the worst ever (which is clearly inaccurate -- Tyler has that distinction). It's always dangerous to tell the electorate they're wrong.I think the Republicans need to keep looking for something to hang their hat on. I don't think this is going to get much traction, especially with moderate and young voters. Mon 21 Jul 2008 15:54:54 GMT+1 Andy Post "By comparison, the best American interviewers are far more skilled."Hmm, not sure I buy that one. American journalists are a little too fond of the soft pitch in my opinion. That weren't always that way. When the American people allowed the politicians the "gotcha game" defense, we sent a clear signal to the press that we didn't want them to be confrontational. Our press corps has subsequently become milquetoast as a rule. The BBC has retained their aggressive interviewing style, and I find it refreshing.I don't think either country, though, can claim to have clearly superior interviewers. It's a mixed bag on both sides.The thing that strikes me when I watch BBC interviewers is the difference in their perspectives and mine. Often times they seem to hammer away at issues that to my way of thinking are valid but seem somehow to miss the point.Justin's take in his last blog is a case in point. Missing the chance to be different? Well, yes, I guess Obama is missing that opportunity, but that ignores the fact that Americans don't want their presidential candidates (or any of them, really) to appeal to foreigners. They're applying to _us_ for the job. We're the hiring managers, so to speak. It's like someone interviewing with Microsoft when they're applying to Google.This "Leader of the Free World" stuff is nice and all, but Americans see our presidents as leaders of the U.S. and the U.S. only. They work for us, nobody else. Mon 21 Jul 2008 15:43:48 GMT+1 MagicKirin ref #42Excuse me Bush is not running again but if you want to use givt service and experience his is far great than Obamas.And considering the current state of college academia I am not sure that is much of a recomendation.I think it is risking alot to have someone with as limited resume as Obama.People talk about McCain being Bush term 3there are many differences.but I think it is more accurate to refer to Obama as Carter term 2.And Jimmy Carter was the biggest disaster as President in the last 100 years and a disgrace to our country. Mon 21 Jul 2008 15:15:22 GMT+1 kecsmar #60If you transpose your thoughts on Lebanon et al, for Iran, you wont be far off the mark. Was a real joy being there, such a fascinating country....just ignore those waging war for their own egos and ignorance, like Bush and the world is a safer place. Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:59:25 GMT+1 DougTexan Justin, welcome home.To the point of opportunity, I think Obama is taking it. I read the BBC daily and the take on our country is informative and needed at this time in Barachs campaign. He may have missed the boat, so to say in direct communication, but the coverage from the BBC is extensive. Thankfully without bias and fairly equal time but not equal coverage for McCain.I'm registared republican but I'm told I'm a RINO. I know so little of McCain as far as negative or positive, and to much of both for Obama.feels like a losing battle Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:38:46 GMT+1 Young-Mr-Grace Post 50 Kecsmar.I can't comment on conditions in Iran as you have since I have never been there (althought it sounds fascinating). I can, however, mention my own vacation in Lebabon and Syria a few years ago, about 6 months before the invasion of Iraq. I still find it amazing to think of walking along the harbour of Byblos from, the original of which, the cedars of lebanon sailed down the coast for the temple of Solomon and the palaces of the Pharohs. Even being of obbiously Norhtern European decent I found the people welcoming and helpful and experienced no hostility. Baalbek, Lebanon is an important town for Hezbollah and when I was there there were plenty of posters and billboards in support of them but I was able to walk the streets without a problem. People all over the world are pretty much the same and alas there always seems to be a few nutters no matter where you are. You're all doing very well !! Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:36:04 GMT+1 jacksforge leave the dog alone Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:35:10 GMT+1 jacksforge 41 well said. the insight ful press of the US thought promoting the war was good for... what?they did little to bring reality to events. Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:32:31 GMT+1 jacksforge to give clinton some credit midle east peace talks were on the way, only when GW was shoehorned in(great bit o democracy there.No paper trails etc,(a bit 3 rd world voting practices) and sheron followed did that fall apart. Ireland, brilliant start of peace , good on him. but the WTO?that's the bit that really let the world down. Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:30:54 GMT+1 Xie_Ming # 34 #50 #43Your observations coincide the reports from Iran published in the Christian Science Monitor.One of the phrases I remember was to the effect: "We like Americans, but hate George Bush and his policies".The opportunity to enjoy a rich exchange with that land is also the the opportunity to popularly change the regime to a less theocratic one.The policy of threat and boycott is exactly wrong and strengthens the mullahs.Bringing these facts to light must be done in the face of intense opposition from Israel and its helpers here. Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:24:45 GMT+1 threnodio #53 - Xie_MingNothing that you have said so far has confused me except possibly para one above. I assume that any resemblance between it and the English language is purely coincidental. Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:23:37 GMT+1 jacksforge I am a o supporter. NOW. it took some but not a lot of time. he is the only one (we are being offered) that shows intelligence as opposed to"experience".then for me inteligence means more than being able to read, it includes a word i use a lot here.COMPREHENSION .and that is why he will get my vote. Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:21:57 GMT+1 Xie_Ming # 49Ad hominemism is non-responsive.The poster has also confused the Israeli population with the Iraian urban population. Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:07:49 GMT+1 Xie_Ming It is reported that only this week has the 90 year-old Nelson Mandela and the ANC been taken off the list of terrorists denied admission to the USA.Is this true?If so, do the authorities have any explanation to offer? Mon 21 Jul 2008 14:01:59 GMT+1 SaintDominick Ref #48Time will tell, if he is elected. Obviously, there is no guarantee that Obama's policies will work, some may others may not, but at least he recognizes the need to change course and address the serious problems that are threatening the economic and social security of our nation.I agree with your opinion about McCain's campaign; it is pathetic and, like you, I don't think it is a reflection of McCain's qualifications but the ineptitude of his campaign team. Mon 21 Jul 2008 13:55:46 GMT+1 kecsmar #47Your comments make academic sense. Yet I have just returned from a business trip to Iran, where i visited several parts, including the interior.Those "masses" whilst not as educated as the "elite" have the same aspirations. Almost all i came across had something to say about their leaders, but in hushed voices; just in case.It is just a very small minority within Iran that holds absolute power but it controls the entire country.I experienced no "religious and cultural fanaticism" anywhere. The people i met, from all walks of life, were very kind polite honest and "ordinary" by western standards. No flag burning or thumping chests and death to "whom ever.." as choreographed for the small press that is present for western outlets.If i didn't know i was in Iran (save for the half built and run down appearance - owing to the US's sanction preventing one dealing with Iran), i could have been almost anywhere.I felt 100% safe walking around the streets and cities. Which is more than can be said for many western cities...Just ignore the saber rattling of the politicians from both sides and "my penis is larger than yours...." and all will be ok. Mon 21 Jul 2008 13:55:35 GMT+1 threnodio 43 - Xie_MingYou and I had an exchange on the World Tonight blog a while back during which you wrote the following #1"(1) Iran has every legal right to nuclear weapons.(2) Given the threats from Israel, its leaders have a duty to develop them."and at #19"The mental condition of Bush and the sociopathy of Cheney would suggest that only the capability to destroy the aggressors would deter them.One third of the Israeli population are extremist fundamentalists who believe in End Times, etc. Others speak of the "Sampson Option" of World destruction.With such mentalities among the aggressors, only the potential of mutually assured destruction could restrain them."This seems to me wildly at variance with your characterisation in this post that "The urban population is well-educated, pro-American people and anti-mullah."I really do think you have to make up your mind whether you are the voice of informed reason when posting to a blog with a predominently American readership or the vitiriolic anti-Zionist which appears elsewhere, lest you be open to the charge of hypocracy. Mon 21 Jul 2008 13:47:51 GMT+1 gunsandreligion threnodio, DominickVila, I agree with both ofyou, but Obama is a puzzle. Obama demonstrates more thanan academic grasp of real-world affairs. And,he has the charisma thing going, whereasMcCain is hopeless in that regard. McCainis badly mismanaging his campaign by relyingon dull, unimaginative people, which isunfortunate, because McCain is actuallyquite intelligent.I haven't looked at all aspects of his plans.It's hard to tell what direction Obama might headbecause he is so darn smart. But, intelligenceand charisma are only two factors in leadinga team or a country.He could be a complete fraud, or our messianicfigure. It's one or the other. Which is it? Mon 21 Jul 2008 13:41:34 GMT+1 SaintDominick Ref #43The education of the population of Iran is directly proportional to its social fabric and a consequence of the dominance exerted by the elite on the rest of the population. Members of the Iranian upper middle class and rich do get an excellent education. are very pragmatic, accept and embrace western influences; but that is not the case with the masses that constitute the majority of the population of Iran. The religious and cultural fanatism that is evident in Iran and throughout the Middle East resemble the mentality that prevailed in the Middle Ages and is completely out of touch with 21st century principles and goals. Don't confuse the educational achievements and aspirations of the elite with the beliefs and actions of those responsible for the 79 hostage crisis and bringing the Ayatollahs and Mullahs to power (our actions notwithstanding). Sadly, it is not in the best interest of the governing class to educate the masses as that would mean their eventual demise. Mon 21 Jul 2008 13:34:48 GMT+1 kecsmar JustinYou are correct Obama has missed an opportunity. Since what is the point of "going overseas"??...heck, its a big darn world out there..!!!!It is rather like a doctor visiting a patient, not looking at the chart, not talking to the patient and then making a diagnosis purely based upon an observation made from another room without actually observing the patient.Still, if this is how American candidates and its media learn about what occurs outside the US, it is no wonder the world looks upon Bush and America with such contempt.The only reason why they end up talking to foreign press is because it wants a "day off" from the humdrum boredom of pointless questions based upon spin and conjecture of its own press. All in the hope that one appears "sagacious" in the process.Had Obama spoken to or even invited an audience of press of foreigners (which they oddly enough covet later when elected for justification of their actions to the US public), that would have been different and "change" would be welcomed......alas it is same-old same-old. Mon 21 Jul 2008 13:24:52 GMT+1 Xie_Ming The Obama/McCain talk here is mostly disingenuous partisanship and not related to real issues.I wish we could leave the partisan sharpshooting aside and work more on issues. Mon 21 Jul 2008 13:16:12 GMT+1 DougTexan I think it is great BHO has taken this tour. The votes not in and even if ya'll don't think the worlds opinion counts, I say it does.In those last minutes in line before the vote, alot goes through my mind and on three occasions of voting since 1972, I did not have my mind made up prior to the vote.Mother, wife, children and now grand child, money, taxes, economy, 'foriegn' and others opinion, world politics, war, famine and catastrophie. The more I see of McCain and Obama, I honestly see bigger and more viable differences. The world is not a stage for a comedy nor tragedy to play out on.This year it seems more cut and dry than others, thought each catagory is larger, more important and needs extensive study.In my humble opinion it is the Economy, Energy and fuels, Afganistan and Iraq, Taxes, Enviroment, National Security and World Affairs.Thats alot of crap to lay on one man, ergo, he must surround himself with reliable and capable people, and to Obamas failings, that is what he lacks the known by your aquaintainces Mon 21 Jul 2008 13:15:49 GMT+1 Xie_Ming # 34 and othersThe Iran story is so much larger than the sound bytes and Israeli propaganda.Amadadinijad is unpopular and on his way out. The Supreme Leader has issued a religious fatwah against any development or use of nuclear weapons.The urban population is well-educated, pro-American people and anti-mullah.This is an opportunity to make a great strategic ally. Threats and boycotts are exactly wrong.Look at the map. Look at history. Read some of the reports in the Christian Science Monitor. Do not swallow the sound bytes! Mon 21 Jul 2008 13:11:32 GMT+1 SaintDominick Ref #39"But I don't think he has earned anything since". Teaching Consitutional Law at the University of Chicago may not rank high in your list of qualifications, but in mine it exceeds that of ownership and management of the Texas Rangers and a mediocre oil company!Obviously, the resume of a young man is not going to be as long as that of a senior citizen, but the question we should ask ourselves is the relevancy of some of the experiences that some believe is a critical qualification to be President to the actual responsibilities of the Office. Did President Bush's baseball and oil company management background produce sound economic and fiscal policies? To me, and many others, vision, honesty, character, confidence and hope for a better future are much more important than irrelevant experience. The conclusion that many of us have reached is that while John McCain has demonstrated unwavering patriotism and projects a benign grandfatherly image, he lacks the vision and stamina to do the things that need to be done to extricate our country from the economic, social, and international calamities we are in.President Reagan demonstrated that not having experience or a solid grasp on every issue is not an impediment to making the right decisions, as long as you are willing to listen to the advice of your VP, Cabinet and advisors. Obama performance and pronouncements thus far suggest a similar approach. Mon 21 Jul 2008 12:54:13 GMT+1 SaintDominick As has been said by other persons on this blog, the reason that Obama - and McCain - limit their press conferences to U.S. media has nothing to do with the intuitiveness of the questions our interviewers ask, but the fact that to most Americans foreign opinions are irrelevant and foreign commentaries on our internal affairs are often perceived as offensive. Most of my neighbors and friends never heard of the BBC or have never watched or listened to any of your programs. When I tell them that I participate often in your blogs - which I consider a privilege - most express bewilderment and don't understand why I do that. I confess, I prefer the BBC. PBS, NPR, and CNN News to the sanitized or distorted versions presented by ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. In fairness to our domestic media outlets I don't think their bland depictions of news is caused by ideology - and it certainly has nothing to do with censorship - but is the result of their efforts to avoid offending sensibilities and, to a lesser extent, the partisanship of the commentators which is no different from that of newsmen worldwide. The result are news that are so superficial that they fail to convey, pictorially and editorially, a clear and meaningful portrayal of events. Mon 21 Jul 2008 12:32:04 GMT+1 threnodio Isn't this talk about academic qualifications a bit - well, academic.I know people with doctorates from Oxbridge who couldn't run a booze up in a brewery if their lives depended on it. But by God they can wax lyrical about it. Mon 21 Jul 2008 12:30:24 GMT+1 MagicKirin DominickVila wrote:Ref #25I find it disingeneous to compare the achievements of a man that comes from a humble background and has risen to prominence because of his own efforts and merit, with one who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and can barely articulate a sentence without the aid of a prepared speech on a teleprompter.The issue is not the institutions they attended, but what they achieved in those institutions.I'll agree that Obama earned his way into Harvard. But I don't think he has earned anything since. If you look at his resume he did not even earn his Senate seat. His primary and republican opponents both imploded.Considering Barack qualified is the equivilent of putting a first year intern in charge of surgery at John Hopkins Mon 21 Jul 2008 12:13:05 GMT+1 SaintDominick Ref #25Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and the U.S. Naval Academy are, indeed, some of the finest learning institutions in the world. However, there is a major difference between attending any of those institutions and being a good student. President Bush was not admitted to Yale because of merit (his SAT score was 566/English, 640/Math) and his "C" average grades do not make him an exemplary student. He attended Yale, and later the Harvard Business School, because of his father's influence and wealth. I find it disingeneous to compare the achievements of a man that comes from a humble background and has risen to prominence because of his own efforts and merit, with one who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and can barely articulate a sentence without the aid of a prepared speech on a teleprompter.The issue is not the institutions they attended, but what they achieved in those institutions. Mon 21 Jul 2008 11:10:08 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII allmymarbles #34I can understand why you don't want to see the nation you were born in attacked and possibly destroyed by the US but that may be entirely necessary for world peace. What makes me think there is anything to the government of Iran's rhetoric when it says it want a world without America the great Satan, and wants to wipe a presumed nuclear power and a very powerful one at that, Israel the little satan off the map? Well there is a secret nuclear technology development program which much of the world is convinced has as its object the development of nuclear weapons. There is the research and constuction of missiles of increasingly greater and greater range. And there is its strong and staunch support of organizations which the US and EU have called terrorists such as Hezbollah. These actions give credence to the rhetoric.Yes I am aware of the gist of what happened to Iran in the cold war if not all of the minute details the way you undoubtedly are. The US imposed a cruel dictatorship with a monsterous secret police the Savak as part of its strategy in its war against world domination by the Soviet Union. It was part of the price the world paid for that war which lasted nearly 50 years and it is undeniable and understandable that there is anger and resentment among Iranians over what was done to Iran and the way it was done. Had Iran fallen into the Soviet sphere, we might not be alive here today to talk about it. The Islamic revolution of Ayatollah Khoumeni was not of American doiong. Possibly there was French involvement but not American. The US still supported the Shah.But we have to look at the world as it is today and that world has Iran at the center of a very dangerous and growing menace, one which must and will be stopped. The only question is how much damage will it be allowed to do before that happens. You might consider that if the US is attacked with a WMD in general and a nuclear weapon in particular, it will not only not likely know from where that attack came, it will quickly and completely annihilate every possible source of it so that it won't happen again and Iran is now at the top of that list. Far from making Iran stronger, its nuclear weapons program makes it far more vulnerable to pre-emptive and retaliatory attack. If the US is attacked with a WMD, Iran's life expectency as a nation will be reduced to hours, maybe minutes. After thousands of years of history, it will cease to exist in a flash. As for the Western media, you really can't take anything you see and hear from them at face value. The once vaunted BBC has lost its credibility and was scathed by the Hutton report which didn't really tell keen observers anything they didn't already know about its decline. Similarly the The New York Times, once regarded as the most authoritative public source of printed news in the world was reduced to the status of rag journalism by the Jason Blair fiasco. I suggest you look it up. In an effort to promote an African American to a position of prominence, it threw away its journalistic standards completely, printed obviously ficticious stories, and will likely never be able to get back on the pedistal it jumped off of. CBS was never a source I held in high esteem, especially after Walter Cronkite's humiliating interview with Alexandar Solzhenitsyn around 1979 I think. That is why the Dan Rather fiasco came as no surprise to me. What make me think Iran wants war? I think it wants to be a dominating power regionally and possibly worldwide, its deranged leaders having dreams of an empire which existed in the sixth century. What it makes clear is that if the means to that end is war, it is prepared and will continue to become more prepared until it is stopped by force. Mon 21 Jul 2008 10:04:26 GMT+1 threnodio #35 - NoRashDecisionsYes - I think we are agreed but maybe have come at this from different directions. Mon 21 Jul 2008 08:57:13 GMT+1 NoRashDecisions "I do believe as well that people who deal confidently and ably with a broad range of issues and questions (the BBC would not ask the same questions as CNN) are often better able to iron out the internal contradictions and wrinkles in their views: it makes a difference and it does so at the level of substance."I'm confused. What does this mean? Do you not think that CNN asks a broad range of tough questions in a confident manner? Just curious, what makes you think this? Why do you think it? I watch the BBC and CNN largely, and I think they're both about equal (with CNN of course, as I've stated before, needing to seriously learn some lessons from the BBC on how to report on foreign affairs!!) But why do you think CNN doesn't mesure up to the BBC? I may have overreacted a bit on the last entry, but it does really pain me to know of this fude, and not the reasons for, and specific details of it!!threnodio #4: Please read my post at #111 on the previous entry. Mon 21 Jul 2008 03:54:25 GMT+1 allmymarbles #29, Marcus.You seem very war happy. Do you know anything about Iran, except what the politicos are dishing up? What makes you think that you can believe what you read?What makes you think Iran wants war? Because it speaks agressively? Do governments ever speak honestly, or do they have hidden agendas?I notice that often people just spew back what is fed to them. Perhaps our government has a hidden agenda and is manipulating you emotionally. The fact is that you, yourself, know nothing about Iran. I read in The New York Times the other day that the standard of living in Iran fell under the Shah. I also read that economic conditions (I think it said economic conditions) resulted in the revolution. In the first place the standard of living rose under the Shah. How do I know? I was directly involved in economic development in that country. People were leaving the farms to work in factories. The was a shortage of servants and other low-level workers. To fill the gap they had to bring in Filippinos by the thousands. I could go on an on, but there is no point.As to the revolution. There are always potential revolutionaries. The revolution, however, was put into place by the western powers, under the guiding hand of American advisors. All the while that the Iranians were screaming "American devils" and "Israeli devils" they were working hand-in-glove with the Americans and trading actively with Israel. Iran, like America, has hidden agendas. If The New York Times can print such misinformation, I guess I can't blame you for being taken in. Mon 21 Jul 2008 03:22:09 GMT+1 nonfamiliar "the American nation would rather die and have all of mankind die with it than be subjected to enslavement from the outside" oh, we're using 'enslavement from outside' in place of 'the international rule of law' now, are we? i must have missed the memo. now i've just got to make sure i remember to swap the terms back around when i refer to the countries under american occupation. and one can't help but cry laughing at the irony of statements like this: "This is especially true when you are fighting an implacable enemy whose grandiose megalomaniacal goal is world domination." indeed. Mon 21 Jul 2008 02:59:57 GMT+1 aquarizonagal Children of my family have given their precious blood in this awful war. I will leave you now.Pax Vobiscum Mon 21 Jul 2008 02:51:05 GMT+1 nonfamiliar "Hello, Mr. Webb: You are so bright, but have yet to understand that Mr. Obama, like most Democrats, concentrates on manipulation of image above all." oh, thanks for setting us straight. karl rove must be working for the democrats now. Mon 21 Jul 2008 02:45:07 GMT+1 aquarizonagal "Leader of the free world"That's an interesting concept. How much of the world is really 'free?' Just a thought. Mon 21 Jul 2008 02:42:57 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII Aq #22"Usually when people are talking there is some hope of an amicable resolution."History proves again and again what a dangerous and foolish notion this can be. This is especially true when you are fighting an implacable enemy whose grandiose megalomaniacal goal is world domination. Had the shooting started in Germany in 1934 instead of talking until war broke out in Poland in 1939, there would have been much less of it and far fewer dead. World War II might have been avoided or at least short and far less savage. We face the same with al Qaeda and Iran, two sides of the same coin of the political agenda of Islamic domination of the world. Understanding their points of view leads to the one possible conclusion that talk with them is pointless and merely gives them more time to become better armed and prepared for the inevitable war ahead. Even Obama sees that in relation to al Qaeda. He is far more confused about Iran. We are just wasting time and the ultimate cost will be much greater. Better to attack now and talk about what happened in future history books than risk evertyhing because our paralysis to see clearly and act forcefully will make the history of that war become our epitaph. I am particularly disgusted with some of our military leaders who have spoken out publicly against waging war against Iran. They have been provided with the most lavish military hardware and trained soldiers the world has ever seen. If they feel it is insufficient to accomplish missions critical to the defense and security of the United States, then they should tell Congress and the President what they need. It is not their place to debate their possible future missions in the press. Mon 21 Jul 2008 02:24:13 GMT+1 allmymarbles #22, Aqua.Yes. Mon 21 Jul 2008 02:00:11 GMT+1 OldSouth Hello, Mr. Webb: You are so bright, but have yet to understand that Mr. Obama, like most Democrats, concentrates on manipulation of image above all.This trip has the look and feel of a premature 'victory lap' with the breathless ABC/NBC/CBS syncophants tossing roses as he passes. He wishes to project the image of 'being Presidential', sitting with Karzai and pontificating about military strategy. Then on to the Brandenburg Gate, where he can recreate a 'Kennedy moment', and on and on. Cheering crowds to greet him in Paris and London, while he delivers his stump speech to his adoring fans!None of this erases the essential problem: His resume is that of a Chicago machine pol, with a few years in the State senate(and jolly few votes to show for it), followed by three years in the US Senate, all of it spent campaigning for President. No real scholarly output, no legislation ever written and passed, nothing anyone can hang their hat on in order to get this man's measure. One book, created as a campaign piece, sums up most of his work.And he's some 46 years old, with a degree from Harvard Law!Roosevelt believed he could charm Josef Stalin into behaving in a civil manner as the war drew to a close in 1944-45. He was tragically mistaken. BHO's ego is even more grandiose than FDR's, and times are now as dangerous than late 1945. We can't afford another tragic mistake of this magnitude.If BHO's folks do get in touch, and you do get to ask questions, it won't take long to unveil that grandiosity. I hope you expose the humbug as only the British can.And remember, you can't ask questions about:1. His mentor, the Right Reverend.2. His wife, even though she wishes to wield power with him.3. His lack of voting record.4. His early pledge about campaign finance, and his subsequent reversal. (Remember Nixon's CREEP!)5. His constant refusal to support the US's efforts against the monsters who plant car bombs, train bombs, hijack planes, commit mass murder in the name of Islam, and his subsequent pledge to prosecute the war against them all.6. Tony Rezko7. His characterization of the Iraqi surge as 'a failure', in the face of all evidence.7. Or any question that would require specificity of answer, originality of thought, or any transparency.But, please do ask him about his uncle, the lone US soldier who helped liberate Auschwitz,remembering that BHO proposes to be elected 'Leader of the Free World'.Good luck, and I hope they call you. I really do! Mon 21 Jul 2008 01:56:05 GMT+1 aquarizonagal #23DominickvilaVery well stated. Clinton's personal life was a mess but I think that history will judge him as a good leader. Mon 21 Jul 2008 01:25:36 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII DominickVilla #19"his (Obama's) education exceeds that of McCain and Bush which admittedly is not saying much."With all due respect, you don't know what the hell you are talking about. Bush is a graduate of Yale University. McCain of the United States Naval Acadamy. Yale University is one of the finest schools in the world. Along with other top tier Ivy League and non Ivy League colleges and universities in the United States, there are no educational institutions outside the US which come remotely close, not Oxford, Cambridge, or Sorbonne. That is why the wealthiest people in the world such as Saudi Sheiks send their children to be educated in colleges like these in America. And it is why when they are trying to build their own top tier schools now locally in the middle east, they are forming liasons with American top tier colleges. As for the US Naval Acadamy, it is also among the finest military colleges in the world, equal or better than any and certainly superior to those outside the US. That is one place the US is still second to none, its system of higher education. Columbia University is fine school but it is a hotbed of Communism and anti-American radicalism especially from Islamists. There is no freedom of speech there. Anyone invited to speak on that campus who does not conform to their radical thinking gets shouted down and is forced to leave. It has a horrible reputation for this. Remarkably, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thought he'd get a free pass when he was invited to speak there but the Chancellor of Columbia University himself told him what a cruel tyrannical dictator he and his theocracy were to his face and in public last fall. And let's not forget that Harvard University was the school that turned down Albert Einstein when he came to the United States because he was Jewish. That is why in the world of physics, Princeton which accepted him is one of the leading centers of the world while Harvard isn't even on the map. Mon 21 Jul 2008 01:20:14 GMT+1 aquarizonagal DomnickvillaI don't think anyone is saying that Obama is stupid. I consider him well-educated and quite accomplished. I was pointing out what his detractors have tried to do in painting him naive in regard to foreign affairs and national security. This trip was important for a variety of reasons which have been stated in several posts. Mon 21 Jul 2008 01:19:46 GMT+1 SaintDominick American politicians are generally treated gingerly during interviews, but there are exceptions. The most poignant example is the way the political opposition trapped Bill Clinton and the way the press went after him because of personal indiscretions.Historically, politicians and the press have avoided embarrassing former occupants of the White House, from Washington to Eisenhower, with charges of extra marital affairs or questionable business transactions that may have taken place before they were elected out of respect for the Office of the Presidency; the savagery of the attacks against Clinton attest to his effectiveness as President. History will judge him for his ability to balance our national budget, reduce the national debt, produce budget surpluses after years of fiscal irresponsibility, reducing the size of government, protecting the environment, improving education, and keeping America safe; not his zipper. Mon 21 Jul 2008 01:13:59 GMT+1 aquarizonagal AllmymarblesI don't really think it is possible to be completely pleased with any candidate but I am totally in agreement about TALK. Usually when people are talking there is some hope of amicable resolution. Once the shooting starts......... Mon 21 Jul 2008 01:11:42 GMT+1