Stunningly Naive?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Trip_Wire, Aug 26, 2006.

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  1. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP


    I agree here with what LTC North, USMC (Ret.) has to say.

    'Stunningly Naive'

    Oliver North | August 24, 2006


    Athens, Greece -- While changing planes here in this ancient capital, I arranged to meet with an old friend who has long experience in the Middle East. Fluent in many Mediterranean and Persian Gulf languages and intimately familiar with the long, sad history of enmity in the region, he worked quietly with Americans for decades. I first met him in the 1980s during sensitive -- but ultimately fruitless -- efforts to elicit help from Arab governments in obtaining the release of American hostages being held in Lebanon. Throughout his personal triumphs and failures, successes and frustrations, I've always found him optimistic, his affection and admiration for the U.S. undimmed. But not this time; now he is nearly despondent about the current course of events and prospects for the future.

    "Does anyone in the United States understand what's happening today?" he asked as we sat down over cups of strong coffee. "Look at this," he said, gesturing to headlines in the stack of newspapers he had placed on the table. "The world is at the brink of a cataclysm with radical Islam, and no one in the U.S. government seems to know it. Washington is stunningly naïve."

    Our conversation eventually turned to family and friends, but after we parted, his "stunningly naïve" comment proved haunting. And here, on the pages of a half-dozen English-language, European newspapers he left behind, are the reasons why:

    *"Iran gives 'positive' response to U.S. -- European Nuclear Offer." Near-identical headlines, were in every paper. Each article, based on "news" services, quoted Iranian "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khameni saying that Iran would "forcefully" pursue nuclear enrichment. European Union foreign policy spokesman Javier Solana observed that Tehran's "official" 20-page reply, provided by Ali Larijani of the Iranian foreign ministry, requires "detailed and careful analysis." President Bush and U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, the only American officials cited in any of the pieces, referred the matter back to the U.N. Security Council.

    * "Hezbollah gives immediate relief to help Lebanese rebuild." An accompanying photograph shows a "Hezbollah official" dispensing $12,000 in brand new U.S. fifty and hundred dollar bills to "victims of Israeli destruction." Another article observed that Hezbollah was handing out "dollars for Lebanese reconstruction faster than the American government can help those made homeless by hurricanes." It's remarkably effective propaganda -- apparently unchallenged by any media outlet or U.S. official. "Doesn't anyone in Washington remember that the Iranians have printed millions in high quality counterfeit U.S. currency -- and made duplicate plates and paper for their friends in Pyongyang?" asked my friend. An inquiry to the State and Treasury Departments about whether anyone knew whether the "Hezbollah reconstruction aid dollars" were counterfeit produced what amounts to a shrug of the shoulders.

    * "Iranian military unit seizes Romanian oil rig in Persian Gulf." According to this report, an Iranian Navy patrol boat "destroyed a crane aboard, strafed the legs and accommodation areas with machine-gun fire and then detained the 26-man crew aboard the rig." Though news items pointed out that this is the first time an oil rig has been "occupied by force in peacetime," no western government has charged the Iranians with piracy. An inquiry to the Department of State resulted in the observation that this is a "matter to be resolved" between the Romanian and Iranian governments. Apparently it has not occurred to the nice folks at Foggy Bottom that the Romanians don't have a naval presence in the Persian Gulf. We do.

    * "German train-bombing plot tied to Lebanese-Iranian terror network." This story, "compiled from wire service reports," states that German authorities believe that the attempt by two Lebanese men to plant "very sophisticated, highly lethal bombs aboard two trains was inspired by Hezbollah." None of the articles about the attempted train-bombing mention Hezbollah's well-established connections with Tehran.

    * "Shiite militias arming for civil war in Iraq." Though this is hardly news, the lead was followed by "analysis" that prognosticated a "significant increase in Shia 'military activity' as U.S. elections near." The piece went on to suggest that "...the war in Iraq is likely to be the defining issue for the American electorate this November."

    Unmentioned by those who prepared the article is the stark parallel to another war: Vietnam. It was this piece -- viewed in the light of all the others showing Iranian complicity and intention -- that that so perturbed my aging friend here at the airport in Athens.

    In 1974, "we the people" elected a majority in the U.S. Congress who decided that the Vietnam War was un-winnable. The Congress proceeded to "de-fund" U.S. military and logistics support for the South Vietnamese. By April of '75 the disaster was foregone. This time the outcome -- a nuclear-armed Iran with client-states in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon -- would be catastrophic.

    Will we elect an "anti-war-get-out-now" Congress in November? It all depends on whether those who cast ballots this autumn are wise enough to understand what we are up against or are instead, as my friend put it, "stunningly naïve."
  2. I think we would mostly all agree that the US Government is "stunningly naive". That naivity might only have been surpassed by Tony Bliar and his mong politicos for trusting in a second "bright shining lie" perpetrated by the "stunningly naive" US.
  3. The Iranian nuclear programme is almost an irrelevance. If sanctions don't work I foresee a number of very large and near simultaneous 'nuclear accidents' taking place at various locations in the Iranian desert. Well - enriched uranium's tricky stuff to handle you know.

    Despite this, from listening to American commentators, the impression I have is that the U.S. government thinks it's facing the apocalypse. I heard a former civil servant state that his government confidently expects a nuclear explosion in an American city within the next five to ten years. The perceived threat is from small atomic or dirty bombs delivered by small groups of terrorists. All you can really do in these circumstances is spend money on civil defence, secure your borders as well as possible and hope for the best.
  4. Seems 'Trip' is starting the election campaign early....
  5. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    I take it this is the same Colonel Ollie North(USMC retd) who was persuaded that by assisting his boss Ronnie Raygun to GIFT Hawk missiles to Iran that he was helping win the war in Nicaragua for the Right Wing Contras?

    Gee - some track record.....kettle, this is pot..over ?

    as it happens, I think the soundbite is correct as applied to the current US Administration - but not in relation to Iran.

    I see the US has just cleared the sale of F16s to go with their Perry class frigates and covert ops assistance to the Pak Inter Services Intelligence service....let's talk about naivety and short sightedness shall we ? Uh, and which military officers are now and will be shortly gracing the boardrooms of which US companies as Veeps ...what a crock.....

    Lee Shaver
  6. Well, Trip, it's not as if Plan (and use the term loosely) A is yielding the desired results, is it? There has been no cogent diplomatic effort to dissuade Iran or co-opt the usual suspects/allies, and the military options are completely unfeasable. The Iranians are smart enough to know that sabre-rattling that has been done by the US is essentially meaningless. All it is doing is reinforcing Ahmadinejad's hand domestically. His government was a house of cards when he first set out- because of amateur hour at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave he's in a much stronger position.

    Another way to look at the US loss in Vietnam is to say that the American people had come to the conclusion that Vietnam literally wasn't worth dying in a ditch over. As history has shown, they were right. You ought to have more faith in the decision of the people, Grandpa- it's all that deliniates a conservative from a fascist.
  7. I won't dispute that he has points, and I believe that whatever new administration we get will have to have some sort of appreciation for the very real threats in the world and the importance of supporting the Armed forces.

    However, we also need an Administration that can tackle issues more delicately, and with more thought to the future as Goatman and crabtastic suggest.
  8. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Nice thought CJ but you get what you asked for :cry:
  9. I thought Musharraf backed down bying these after he whinged about the lack of foreign aid they had recently following the earthquakes... someone then rather pointedly questioned him on the spending of $200m on f16s at that time !
  10. I didn't ask for anything, it was far from my call, no being elligable to vote and all
  11. I don't believe for a second that the US government is naive, neither is ours, nor is any other major government.

    I believe that Ollie North has an opinion but his decided lack of on the spot intelligence is going to make that opinion flawed.

    Same as ever other opinion in here is flawed - including mine. Because we don't know the full picture, only what we are exposed to through the media and heresay.
  12. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Hmmm.....Yeah...back in 2005, Musharref postponed the purchase.

    This from the Beeb Thursday, 29 June 2006, 23:57 GMT 00:57 UK
    Or indeed this from the notorious tree-hugger's International :
    Have they subsequently put it on the back burner again then ?

    Lee Shaver
  13. Ahhh, Fawn Hall.

    AIUI, the thing that really irritated Pakistan is that they had paid a lot of cash for several F-16s some years before, only to have an export ban placed on the aircraft. The US then refused either to give the money back, or to give them the aircraft.
  14. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Convicted felon, Peer of the Realm or just insane ?
    [These being some of the reasons for denying the suffrage Over Here ?] :-D

    Le Chevre
  15. My thoughts exactly, did lift that from FOX News?