Quote of the Day

“We have no interest because we have no ability to assess what is good for us regarding the future regime.”

Tzachi Hanegbi, prominent Israeli legislator, who is close to Netanyahu

Hanegbi was commenting that Israel’s airstrikes in Syria are intended to stop missile shipments from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon and are not intended to influence the ongoing Syrian civil war.

It seems to me that what’s true for Israel is also true for us — we can’t really support either side, given that Assad is a brutal dictator, but the leading rebels are Islamist extremists, some with ties to Al Qaeda.  We’d certainly like Assad to go, but not with the cast of characters who seem poised to replace him.

Hagel Haters Couldn’t Take — or Recognize — a Joke

We in the reality-based community know that the group “Friends of Hamas” doesn’t exist except in the fevered imaginations of those who hate the President and his pick for DoD, Chuck Hagel.

Today we learned the origin of the bizarre “Friends” trope.  Dan Friedman of the New York Daily News explains* how he made up the name and threw it out jokingly — or so he thought! — in a conversation with a GOP aide on the Hill.  He also mentioned the “Junior League of Hezbollah” for good measure.  Friedman writes:

“The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically.  No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them.  Or so I thought.”

Dan Friedman, you  obviously thought wrong.  First of all, these folks have no sense of humor, they are self-righteously grim.  Second, they believe the president is determined to destroy our way of life, so it stands to reason his cabinet picks must be evil too, especially in the second term when the president doesn’t have to run again and can show his true Kenyan Muslim Communist colors.

Anyway, next thing Friedman knew, Breitbart.com had a “Friends of Hamas” story and the rest of the neocon/Tea Party world picked it up and ran with it.

This preposterous and pathetic little story tells you everything you need you know about our politics right now.  The “Friends of Stupid” have way too much power.

* “‘Friends of Hamas’:  My role in the birth of a rumor”

Our Frenemy Iraq

We freed the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein, and they pay us back by letting Iran fly over their territory to arm the Syrians.  Thank you, George W. Bush.

Under Hussein, the minority Sunnis ruled Iran.  Now the majority Shiites have taken over to form a powerful coalition with Shiite Iran, a major supporter not just of the brutal Assad regime but of terrorists like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Not the outcome we were looking for, but one we should have seen coming once Hussein was gone.

Syria Is Putin’s Call

As we watch atrocities unfold in Syria, some are asking why we don’t intervene there as we did in Libya.  Part of the answer is that there isn’t a rebel group in control of territory whom we could support with airstrikes.  The Syrian military is much better armed than the Libyan military was because of the Russians.

And that’s the big difference and the real story here — Russia.  Syria has been consistently and closely allied with Russia going all the way back to 1955, when Russia was part of the Soviet Union.  So that relationship of Syria as Soviet/Russian client state and major arms recipient predates the rise of the Assad family to power, which began with Hafez al-Assad in 1971.

Right now, Syria is Russia’s main source of influence in the Middle East.  Putin is going to do everything he can to maintain that power, and as long as he thinks Bashar al-Assad is good for Russia, Putin will support him and keep sending him weapons.

This isn’t a situation where Russia is on our side or is neutral, they are on the other side, and they don’t want anyone messing with their 67-year alliance.

Iran is also involved here.  Syria is Iran’s only Arab ally.  In general, the Arabs don’t like the Persian Iranians.  Iran uses Syria to provide support for Hamas and Hezbollah.

We wanted to get rid of Qaddafi?  Russia and Iran said, Knock yourself out.  We want to get rid of al-Assad?  Different story.

Time to Give Michele Bachmann the Hook

By her insane prattling on everything from the HPV vaccine causing mental retardation to a re-play of the Cuban Missile Crisis starring Hezbollah, Michele Bachmann hurts not just herself, but the entire wing of the GOP she aspires to represent.

You can be a social conservative without being crazy.  You can be an economic conservative without being crazy.  You can be a national-security conservative without being crazy.

But the more rabid nonsense the country hears from Bachmann, the more she taints the non-establishment side of the party.  The sooner they get her to drop out, the less credibility they lose.