Time Running Out to Stop Iran

Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran

Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran, photo by AP
Barak Ravid reports for Haaretz that Iran is closer than we thought to getting nuclear weapons:

“New intelligence information obtained by Israel and four Western countries indicates that Iran has made greater progress on developing components for its nuclear weapons program than the West had previously realized, according to Western diplomats and Israeli officials who are closely involved in efforts to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

“A Western diplomat who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to discuss intelligence information said the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Israel agree on that assessment.”

Mitt and the GOP have faulted Obama for not being tough enough on Iran’s nuclear quest.  If something happens militarily before the election, they won’t be able to criticize him without looking hypocritical and wimpy.  Hypocritical doesn’t faze them, hypocritical is GOP default mode, but they can’t risk looking wimpy.

When in Trouble, Lie

In trouble for what he said about the Palestinians, Mitt is behaving like a five-year-old who ate the forbidden candy, and lying his tush off.  Now he’s claiming that he “did not speak about the Palestinian culture,” when he clearly did, negatively and explicitly contrasting their culture with that of the Israelis in terms of their per capita GDP.

How he thinks denying that he said what he said is going to help him is beyond me.  It prolongs the controversy and adds another dimension to it.   It makes him look even more strange, untrustworthy, and unfit for the Oval Office.

His staff continues to be bush league.  His traveling press secretary had a nasty encounter with reporters in Poland, telling them to “shove it” and “kiss my ass.”

Except for his hefty fundraising, the trip was a disaster, and Mitt was an embarrassment to the GOP and the country.


Another Clean-Up on Aisle Mitt

Mitt seems to be morphing into Triumph the Insult Dog.  Someone needs to lock him in a kennel, strap the kennel to the roof of a plane, and fly him home.

It’s one think to insult the British, who won’t stop being BFF’s with us.  I can imagine President Obama and David Cameron having a good laugh about Mitt “Middle of Nowhere” Romney.

But now Mitt has insulted the Palestinians, and they’re not going to laugh it off.  In a speech in Israel, he basically called them lazy and stupid because they lag Israel economically and said the Israelis were “culturally” superior.  Cause we don’t already have enough problems in the Arab world.

And once again, Mitt’s crack staff got their facts wrong.  In his speech, Mitt said that per capita GDP is $21,000 in Israel, compared to $10,000 in the West Bank and Gaza.  He got that hugely wrong.  Israel has a per capita GDP of $31,000, while it’s $1,500 for the Palestinians.

Mitt runs around saying this offensive stuff, but the Obama Administration, which actually has to govern and not just cram their mouths full of feet, has to clean up his mess.



Mitt Offers a Little Irony on Health Care

Mitt lavishly praised the Israeli health care system for providing great care to all its citizens, while spending only 8% of its GDP on health care, compared to almost 18% in the U. S.

Israel has a European-style system with far more government control than Obamacare.  Everyone has to buy insurance from one of a few competing non-profit insurance companies.  Those companies must agree to take everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions and to include benefits specified by the government.

So Mitt expressed great enthusiasm for  a system that is much more government-run than Obamacare,  while promising to repeal Obamacare because it gives too much power to the government.

Mitt, are you listening to yourself?


On the Same Page?

Mitt in Israel today:  “We should employ any and all measure to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course, and it is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today:  “We have to be honest and say that all the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota.”

Bibi, Obama has guts and Mitt does not.  When it comes to Iran, you’re really better off not changing horses in mid-stream.  Because you need a war horse, not a dressage horse.

Mitt the Milquetoast

Well, this has the Iranians shaking in their boots (or shaking with laughter).  Here’s Mittens in Israel today being his usual milquetoast-y self:

“I respect the right of Israel to defend itself, and we stand with Israel in peace.”

He sounded more concerned about, and critical of, British preparation for the Olympics than Iranian preparation for nuclear weapons.

Whatever the issue, the right words and tone seem to elude him.


October Surprise?

Report: US sees Israeli strike on Iran in October

Will this election season’s “October Surprise” come from Israel?  From “Report:  US sees Israeli strike on Iran in October,” Ryan Jones, Israel Today:

“A senior and widely respected analyst with Israel’s Channel 2 News said in Friday’s pre-Shabbat newscast that top American officials have become convinced that Israel will launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities in October, just one month before the US presidential election.

Ehud Yaari had just returned from a trip to Washington, where he told viewers that he had met with “the people one needs to talk with about this matter,” and that “my impression is that the Americans are convinced that there is very high chance that Israel will decide to attack in Iran before the elections in the US.”

According to Yaari, American officials see an Israeli strike on Iran as almost a foregone conclusion, and are focusing on their response to the possible outcomes of such an action.”  Emphasis added.

If we are engaged in military operations related to such an attack close to the election, such as protecting the world’s oil supplies or defending Israel from retaliation, the Republicans will have to shut up and support the President.  And I just don’t see voters kicking him out under those circumstances.

Running Out of Options on Iran

The latest talks with Iran about their nuclear program ended so badly that no more high-level talks were even scheduled.

Dennis Ross, who advised President Obama on Iran until his resignation last December, calls the talks a “trap.” * He says it’s time to forget the step-by-step negotiations and offer Iran a limited, monitored civilian nuclear program.  If they reject this offer, we know it’s time to fish or cut bait.

I don’t believe sanctions will change Iran’s mind or behavior.  They seem not to care about the tougher sanctions that will take effect next month.  Our efforts, along with the Israelis, to sabotage their nuclear program through computer viruses and other means have had some success, but they’re not enough.

At some point, we can’t buy any more time, and we have to take military action.  If that time isn’t now, it’s fast approaching.

The Iranians believe they are untouchable until after the election.  I hope Obama proves them wrong.  And McCain and Mitt as well.

* “U. S. Urged to Confront Iran on Nuclear Work,” Mark Landler, NYT

Mitt Lies on Obama, Iran, Israel

Mitt is lying about President Obama and his policy towards Iran’s nuclear program.  Addressing Evangelicals today, Mitt said Obama is more afraid that Israel will attack Iran than of Iran’s getting nuclear weapons.

Mitt said that if he were president, he would “make it very clear that…it is unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear nation and that we’re prepared to take any and all action to keep that from happening.”  Which happens to be President Obama’s exact position, which he has explicitly stated over and over again.