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June 17, 2009



Mousavi was also hand-picked by the mullahs before he was allowed to stand for election.

So really no point in getting too excited. The whole Iran thing is rather sad. Too many misguided liberals helped to toss the Shah, only to be disappointed to find out they were putting in place a worse tyrant, but they woke up too late. It happened in Maoist China as well. And hopefully, it has not happened here in Obamerica.


Well, Fisk has some record for probity--Does he still claim the Americans were never in Baghdad?

Still, I hope his account of the military is true and that it represents the professional soldiers' determination to longer support the thugs.
IMO the military will support the folks in the street only when it is apparent that they represent the majority view.


Or when he said the translation of the 9/11 hijackers wasn't good because it was Maronite Christians doing the translating. Not to mention the Geraldo Rivera moment in Afghanistan, that gave the word 'fisking; its meaning. But maybe a blind squirrel gets the acorn even by accident.

I have more confidence in Danielle Pletka's conclusions, which are sadly more sobering


Well those Eyranians better not mess with President Oninja


** to NO longer support the thugs***


It's curious in the same 'blind squirrel' motif, that Katharine Parker, who I don't have any respect for, and Melanie Phillips who I do, all concur that it was Zahravand,
Mousavi's wife, that seems to be the impetus
behind this movement. Daddy, pointed out a Prager interview with Amir Taheri, who concur on this same point

Captain Hate

Mousavi was also hand-picked by the mullahs before he was allowed to stand for election.

Kind of like my having to vote for McCain instead of Obastard?

Captain Hate

Too many misguided liberals helped to toss the Shah, only to be disappointed to find out they were putting in place a worse tyrant, but they woke up too late.

Don't get too carried away with sympathy for the "misguided liberals"; they entered into a faustian bargain with the islamothugs to depose the Shah and then got their heads cut off when they ceased to be of any use. They were just lacking the bloodthirsty calculations of their hero, Lenin, to pull it off. Well that and being stupid to not realize that Iran isn't Russia or any other place with a European flavor, at least in part.

Parking Lot

Peter UK

barack obama's teleprompter blog

((Big Guy having the fly he killed during TV interview stuffed and mounted to remind staff what he's capable of when annoyed. #BOTeleprompter))


Matt Cooper's back now at the Atlantic, decrying neocons, and apparently supporting
the suppression of the posters; should have followed Rick Ballard's advice

Danube of Thought

I rank Fisk's judgment up there with that of Ramsey "long live the revolution! Long live Ayatollah Khomeini!" Clark. A buffoon of the first water.

Narciso, could you elaborate on Fisk's Geraldo moment?


He was beat up by some villagers in Kabul or Kandahar, and he excused their behavior
because he was the national of an Imperial power; hence the word 'fisking'


"We warn the few elements controlled by foreigners who try to disrupt domestic security by inciting individuals to destroy and to commit arson that the Islamic penal code for such individuals waging war against God is execution,” Mr. Habibi said, according to the Fars news agency. It was not clear if his warning applied only to Isfahan, where there have been violent clashes, or the country as a whole, Reuters said."

So Ahmadinejad has been promoted to God.
So now


"Mousavi was also hand-picked by the mullahs before he was allowed to stand for election."

Here Obama was hand picked by Soros, Wright and Ayers.

John Thacker
"But I think the Islamic republic's regime here wanted to humiliate the opponent and so fiddle the figures, even if Ahmadinejad had won. "

But honestly, what would be the point of that? Obviously biasing the figures just to achieve humiliation would be stupider than I can give the Iranian government credit for.

Don't Lookup

I didn't realize Fiskie spoke Farsi, and therefore understood what was being said by the woman to the troops.

Here is a defintion of fisking:

The term fisking, or to fisk, is blogosphere slang describing a point-by-point criticism that highlights perceived errors, or disputes the analysis in a statement, article, or essay.[1] Eric S. Raymond, in the Jargon File, defined the term as:
A point-by-point refutation of a blog entry or (especially) news story. A really stylish fisking is witty, logical, sarcastic and ruthlessly factual; flaming or handwaving is considered poor form. Named after Robert Fisk, a British journalist who was a frequent early target of such treatment.[2]

Old Lurker

"So Ahmadinejad has been promoted to God."

Don't tell Evan Thomas.

Danube of Thought

I remember that incident when he got beat up. I thought he was the prototype of the liberal who's been mugged but steadfastly remains a liberal. Of course, this crazily anti-Western kook is way beyond liberal.

JM Hanes

"It is only one incident, of course, but it does fly against this guest piece in the Times which argued that Ahmadinejad, a former officer in the Revolutionary Guard had remade the Iranian government as a military dictatorship>"

I'm not sure why you think there is a conflict here. Fisk could easily be talking about the regular army/special forces -- who are believed to have taken the position that their job is to deal with external enemies and not to take action against Iranians internally -- something that has apparently come as a relief to the protesters.

The Revolutionary Guards/Basij militias are the internal forces upon whom Khameini and Ahmadinegad rely for power. In the current upheaval, they are also rumored to be supplemented by Arabs/Palestinians imports. It's my impression -- and this is only an impression -- that the ordinary police forces are somewhere in the middle being pulled in multiple directions.


Mine, too, JMH.
I wondered when you would show up--A badly sprained knee has given me the opportunity to read those books you recommended ages ago and that I bought. (A World Lit Only By Fire and Poison..Finished the first and almost done with the second, very well written novel.) Hope all is well.


Maybe Mr. Fisk will get beaten up again because he deserved it?

Have to admire the guy who's reporting that required the need for 'Fisking' to be invented, who then goes on to continue demonstrating that there is a reason for the term...


If I were the govt he'd be the guy I'd let wander about doing al that crack reporting.


One woman went up to the special forces men, who normally are very brutal with Mr Mousavi's supporters, and said 'can you protect us from the Basij?' He said 'with God's help'.

Yeah, isn't this just a little bit questionable? Does Fisk speak Farsi? He gives the impression that he's just walking around among the opposing sides, but maybe his bodyguard/translator had a camera with him. Let's see the pics. I wouldn't mind seeing some evidence that he's even there.

JM Hanes

Hi, Clarice:

I've been off trying to keep up with events on the ground in Iran. I'm afraid that a lot of blood is going to be spilled -- unless Khameini decides dumping Ahmadinejad overboard is the better part of wisdom.

I'm sorry to hear about the bum knee! Hope you have a doctor who is generous with pain medications. World Lit Only by Fire was one of the best popular studies of that period I had ever read, and I'm glad to hear you've enjoyed it. I'm not much of a novel reader any more, but I also thought Poison was about as good as it gets in historical fiction - an original story line in a richly detailed setting.


--Well, I have no doubt Fisk saw what he saw.--

In the same way that Walter Durante saw what he saw, no doubt.

JM Hanes


I wouldn't be surprised if Fisk knew Farsi; he may look at events through a very distorted lens, but that whole part of the world has been his baliwick for a very long time. It's also the Basij who have been primarily responsible for the most violent internal repression.

There have been a fair number of stories not unlike the one Fisk reported, and occasional pictures of protesters actually assisting wounded policemen off to the sidelines, as well as reports of police who are less than enthusiastic about brutalizing the protesters.

Nico Pitney's live updates over at Huffpo are a good place to start, and Michael Totten has been commenting pretty continuously over at Contentions, although I think he'll be back posting to his own blog tomorrow. Here's one of the now famous Twitter feeds. I believe it's around 4am in Iran right now, which is about the only time you might actually be able to keep up incoming messages (though mostly from outside of Iran at this hour) -- which they've been doing by the hundreds/per minute during the day. People post links to others sites, and to photographs from all over the map -- along with disinfo now being fed into the web well.


Well what do you know. He speaks vernacular Arabic, and has lived in Beirut since 1976, which I also didn't know. Not that I know very much.


Iranian Police. The JOM Babes could take this lot any day.


Farsi isn't Arabic.


I am not taking anything but ibuprofen,JMH--and I stayed away from the doctor after the orthopedic surgeon my husband golkf with told him it most likely was a bad sprain for which they could do little more than I already was doing. Today in the drizzle I hauled all my parts to the pool for some limbering up and a few laps because limping as you might have guessed plays havoc with all the other muscles and I needed to get them all working together a bit for as long as possible.


I remember his first book was a 700+ psgr argument on why Ireland was neutral vis a vis the Nazis in WW2, his second about the Lebanese war, "Pity the Nation" strongly took the PLO and later the Hezbollah.Syrian line.


Pray for the poor people of Iran. It's going to get far worse unless the army decides it's time to join the protestors.


They say it's phonetically closer to Italian
without the glottal stop, but seeing the level of Iranian influence in Lebanon in the 90s, maybe he picked up some Farsi. It would seem that Fisk is on the right side
this time; has hell frozen over? over on Pitney's Huff Po,they took sharp exception
to Pletka's less optimistic view of the protests

Ran into a Lebanese Druze at the dentist office, no there's no punchline there, who was going back to Beirut for vacation, seemed pleased with the results of the recent local elections, was cautiously hopeful about the events in Iran.

Clarice, since I probably went overboard in the medical consultation at the JOM clinic back in January; better than the Mayo Clinic
website. I wonder how you are doing.

Danube of Thought

As usual, Rasmussen gives the leading indicator. Now the others are catching on:

"Public approval of President Obama's job performance has dropped slightly this spring as Americans have grown increasingly concerned about unemployment and the federal budget deficit, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The poll shows that 56 percent of Americans give Obama a thumbs-up on his performance as president, down from 61 percent percent in April. The proportion expressing disapproval rose to 34 percent from 30 percent."

Danube of Thought

"In the same way that Walter Durante saw what he saw, no doubt."

And let us not forget Herbert Matthews and Castro's agrarian reformers.


Clarice & JMH -

Love A world lit Only by Fire.

Have you read The Glory and the Dream by the same author? It's a social history about the US between 1932 - 1972.

I was so sad the day William Manchester died.


Plodding along, narciso..each day the pain diminishes considerably more..
rse, I did not read that..


I read both of his Churchill volumes, and American Caesar, which has probably been the most balanced look at MacArthur. My
ex Philly cop friend absolutely hates MacArthur, but doesn't have a kind word for
Omar Bradley either. The most amusing account was of his Marine corps training in the American Heritage, involving his poorly skilled company, and a fellow who put himself out as a Japanese linguist, but he actually turned out to be a con man

Melinda Romanoff


"pool time" is the best for knee rehabs, unless it's meniscus related, where you get the blessing of exercise, but the return of pain as soon as you stand. Try Tylenol, as an alternative. If it's an irritated nerve, you'll know in ten minutes. Ibuprofen and aspirin just mask it.

Hope you feel better. And I hope your husband doesn't have home-cooked withdrawals.

All the best.


Thanks Melinda..actually, I have been well enough to cook beginning on Sunday and he hasn't missed out at all. I promise you that..

Danube of Thought

"Unable to distinguish between our friends and our enemies, he has adopted our enemies' view of the world."

--Daniel Patrick Moynihan on Jimmy Carter, 1980

Time to dust that one off again.

Melinda Romanoff

I'm jealous, I mean, happy for him, of course. Now if I can just figure a way out of Chicago...


Clarice: You're getting a little of my world. Get well soon and keep those Cuban spy updates coming. Blast those leftist academic types.


DOT: Pat Moynihan was the last Dem I voted for while he was still a NY senator. The last of the true statesman.

Danube of Thought

Clarice--how horrible. I've got a foot that's been bothering me for a long time, and seemed to be getting worse. Thought it must be arthritis; went to the doc last week. He ordered an MRI and lo and behold I've got a torn ligament in my ankle. He asked me how I did it and I had to tell him I had not a clue. (Probably one night after a few Martinis.) Maybe just sheer age. As my old man used to say, gettin' old ain't for sissies.

Get well, babe. Catch up on the reading and try a bit of wine now and then. Or Martinis, but in that case walk carefully.


Rich Lowry has an excellent post at The Corner:

Obama throughout History [Rich Lowry]

On the Sack of Rome: "Any time a major urban area is plundered so quickly, it is concerning to us. We are sure the Gauls and Chieftain Brennus understand Roman worries about the utter devastation of their city."

On the Blitz: "Any time a city is bombed for 57 straight nights, we take notice. That is something that interests us. We hope all national air forces involved in this dismaying conflict behave responsibly."

On the creation of the Berlin Wall: "Any time a barrier divides people we get worried, and perhaps even chagrined. We hope all Germans can work this out amicably, and agree on construction standards and building materials going forward. We, as Americans, stand ready to observe closely."

On the boat-people exodus from Vietnam: "Any time people resort to watercraft in such numbers that is certainly notable. I'm sure the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam will work with its duly constituted maritime authorities to resolve this matter in a manner satisfactory to all parties.”


I'm afraid Lowry has it all wrong. Where is "first non-Italian Roman emperor" on that list for example? (Unless of course one wishes to cast him as Valerian, whose fate should provide a cautionary example for those advocating negotiation with Persia's rulers.) Where is Peter Abelard calling him more of a colleague than a student?

hit and run

He asked me how I did it and I had to tell him I had not a clue.

Heh, I've lost most of the flexibility in my right elbow. If my arm is outstretched, I can't flex it more than 90 degrees toward my shoulder and can't extend it to try and straighten it more than 20 degrees from there. It's not only serious pain to try and flex it more -- the elbow simply won't bend any further.

Went to the doc who sent me for x-rays and then to the orthopaedist today. In each case, "how did you injure it?" was met with, "I have no idea"*.

Apparently there's a bunch of fluid in there and it turns out I have a nice bone spur.

All I can do is rest it, ice it, and compress it. I am taking darvocet for the pain, but declined anything stronger...the beer and martinis helps enough not to need anything more.

I go back in a week if it hasn't gotten better.

BUT...most importantly, Clarice, get well soon!

Oh, you too, DoT, though you're a distant second. I hope you understand.

*mrs hit and run diagnosed me at the onset of the pain: "bloggers elbow". None of the doctor's would confirm her diagnosis, but she will not be dissuaded.


Have you ever had gout?

Cecil Turner

What struck me in that article was the 10k and 15k estimates of the supporters in conflict, and the implication that it vaguely represented the level of support for each candidate. It seemed to suggest the overall election results were legitimate, in a sort of fake-but-accurate way, and hence not worth disputing. Dunno how he came up with those, but they seem suspiciously convenient (and directly counter to some protestors' claims that deride the lack of visible support for Ahmadinejad).

But in any event, I'm not accepting anything from Fisk until it's backed up by a more reliable source. I find it's a lot less disruptive to a coherent world view to assume everything coming out of his mouth is a lie, and then later correcting those few points where he [inadvertently?] got something right.

hit and run

Not gout according to the doc...

JM Hanes

How nice to find somebody else lit by Fire. :-) I haven't read Glory & the Dream -- or much Manchester at all, actually -- but having wandered over to Amazon, I think it's interesting that Fire seems to be his only major work on a period outside of the 20th century. I wish I could remember if he explained that detour in an intro or preface, but, alas, my copy seems to have gone into hiding somewhere.


If he didn't stick a needle in it he's guessing. If it's not painful it's not gout, more likely a pretty, better word ugly, benign cyst, absent injury. Gout is also usually red and warm.

hit and run

Yeah, no redness or warmth, only painful when flexed (and then very painful), although if I move it around a while the pain will persist even when still.

Sleeping is the only real hard part about it, I wake myself up in pain if I roll over and bend my elbow too far.

Oh, that and picking my nose. I can't bend my arm into position to reach the nostril.

Danube of Thought

My dear bride is now suffering from shingles. I got the vaccine two months ago; she put hers off. Everyone over 60 is at risk. Trust me, you do not want it.


Oh boy, DoT. Who is going to take care of who?
Tell your wife I hope she feels better. I'm trying to think of a way to imagine you and Hit injured each other while jello wrestling.

kepa poalima

fisk's car broke down in front of a afghan refugee camp. being a white guy, a foreigner, his presence, naturally, drew the camp's inhabitants' attention. he began interacting with some of them. he allegedly made gestures or gave hand signs that indicate the user of those signs or gestures had done the haj, the pilgrimage to mecca. to poor afghan refugees with almost prospects of ever being able to make the haj, such behavior by a white foreigner would most likely stir resentment.
fisk's actions toward those muslem refugees are akin to him, an older, balding, white guy, going to an urban innercity and flashing gang hand signs or in some way acting like he was one of the locals. in either scenario the likely result would be fisk taking a beating or worse. which is just what happened to him at the refugee camp.



I think the title reflects what he found to be so fascinating about that period.

He really brought Lucrezia Borgia and her family to life.

I've always thought his works did an amazing job of making you feel as if you were there and it's not so very different from our in time in terms of what motivates people.

Narciso mentioned his Churchill biographies. You really feel like you are with Winston at boarding school.

I think one of the reasons no one pushes these books anymore is that a solid knowledge of history is a potent weapon for appreciating that it's all been tried before and the consequences are foreseeable.


hit, I am definitely getting better and hope you are, too.


Thanks, BobS, and DoT. Yes, growing old is not for sissies. In this case though, it was a flawed bit of kitchen choreography..one foot on smooth marble, the other on an unyielding rug as I swumg a heavy pot full of risotto from my right (the range) to my left (the sink).

I will survive.

hit and run

I'm trying to think of a way to imagine you and Hit injured each other while jello wrestling.

Actually it was godiva chocolate pudding shooter wrestling.

Duck Holler.

Marble is like a gorgeous........; beautiful and slippery. I'm glad the hot water didn't end up all over you. H&R, so maybe it's a sprain from unrecollected injury? If it's blogger's elbow, you need to see a Workman's Comp doctor. They do a lot of elbows.


Clarice, I hope your knee is feeling better. Don't try to overdo it now. Wish I lived close enough to bring by a nice casserole or cobbler.

As for Iran, I don't know if I'd trust Fisk if he reported that the sun rises in the east. But I will give him this. I have a sinking feeling that 90% of the pro democracy support ends with the Tehran city limits.

Every Iranian friend I've ever had has always told me that the people in the countryside were as smart and sophisticated as a bag of rocks. Now, is that the Iranian form of blue state snobism? Maybe, but I'm not reading reports of demonstrations in other parts of the country.

In any case, it is in our national best interest to support them in any way we can. And I really wish that "Jesus Christ Superstar" (aka Barak Hussein Obama) would be a little more enthusiastic in his pronouncements.


Michael Totten, kind of dismisses that point, but where are the demonstrations in Tabriz, and Kermanshah and other parts of the country that are'nt Tehran

hit and run


WASHINGTON — As tens of thousands of Iranian protesters take to the streets in defiance of the government in Tehran, officials in Washington are debating whether President Obama’s response to Iran’s disputed election has been too muted.


Even while supporting the president’s approach, senior members of the administration, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, would like to strike a stronger tone in support of the protesters, administration officials said.

When you have to turn to Biden for sanity...gird your loins, it's like cleaning the augean stables, man.


Yeah Hit, How can we forget that Biden was his FoPo man. Geeeeezzzzz.


And one of the NSC advisers is Samantha Power, who urged that we go slow on Iran, that Iraq be broken up, and that US peacekeepers support the Palestinians against the Israelis. In the LUN, an AEI analysis by Pletka's coauthor, which anticipated these circumstances, although he does seem to merge the Basij and the IRGC, which doesn't seem to be happening.

Soylent Red

Firstly, get better Clarice. I'm just a short trip away and off for the next several weekends. Let me know what I can do.

although he does seem to merge the Basij and the IRGC, which doesn't seem to be happening.

JMH is right. Iranian Army/SOF is not the same as IRGC. It is my, albeit less than perfect, understanding that the IRGC actually funds the local Basij.

Not to force a metaphor, but the relationship between the groups is similar to the Wehrmacht(Army/SOF) => Waffen-SS (IRGC) => Orpo-SS (Basij).

I have a sinking feeling that 90% of the pro democracy support ends with the Tehran city limits.

I think this is correct. The educated urban intellectuals and small-l coffeehouse liberals. The rural and ethnic communities are A-jads main base.

Still, intellectuals are typically thought leaders in most societies. I think they would be more persuasive and organized if they could depend on political cover from the US, which they have never received. And aren't likely to under the current Administration.

All so sad really. All of this repression and suffering caused by Jimmy Carter dithering and then throwing the Shah under the bus thirty years ago.


If I were the govt he'd be the guy I'd let wander about doing al that crack reporting.

Exactly. Kind of like Michael Moore getting to wander around Havana and document the wonderful Cuban health care system.

All of this repression and suffering caused by Jimmy Carter dithering and then throwing the Shah under the bus thirty years ago.

Yes, Carter gets the blame he deserves, but at some point the Iranians have to step up to the plate. It seems clear that a substantial minority, if not a majority, support the concept of a theocracy, and to some extent are fighting over which master they want to enslave them. If a substantial majority really want modernity and freedom, they need to hit the streets not for Mousavi but for themselves.

Of course, it might help if there were an occupant at the White House they could count on for support.


verner and Soylent you are both quite sweet. There was a break in the rain today and I did 40 laps--it's much easier to move in the water and except that it's still a bit hard getting up and down all the steps, the exercise is a snap and needed.

Here are 10 amazing videos from Iran--IIRC they are not all from Tehran.In one, you can see the police do not interfere with the crowd and are embraced by them.

http://www.businessinsider.com/web-video-from-iran-2009-6#iran-after-election-2009-basijis-are-shooting-at-civilans--1>If the mullahs go it's probably because they were so corrupt and destroyed their economy


Mousavi himself may prove to be almost as bad as Ahmadinejad in terms of Iran's continued nuke development and Iran's policy toward Israel, but the important thing is for the Iranian people to set the precedent of a democratic election of an opposition candidate of a party that wants to change Iran to promote more freedom and democracy in open defiance of the authoritarian mullahs and their incumbent candidate.

This is the best opportunity we now have to change the status quo in the region and hopefully avoid a more destructive confrontation in the near future.

JM Hanes

Actually, I believe Ahmadinejad's support has been concentrated in urban centers. That's part of what makes the vote tallies so suspect -- Ahmadinejad winning by huge margins in Mousavi's ethnic Turkish home town is just not credible.

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