Big in Iran

Press TV (Iran’s Russia Today/Fox News official 24-hour propaganda channel) profiles John McCain. They’re not impressed:

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley who was subject to McCain’s “I’m calling you a f****** jerk!” said in an interview that he was so upset by the tirade that he did not speak to him for two years.

Many say Americans should be worried that if he becomes president and turns his temper on the Secretaries, and they refuse to speak with him not for two years but merely a few weeks, what will become of America amid the subsequent political chaos.

“F*** you,” McCain shouted at Texas Senator John Cornyn last year.

“Only an a****** would put together a budget like this,” the Arizona senator told the former Budget Committee chairman, Senator Pete Domenici, in 1999.

Grassley, Cornyn, and Domenici? I’d say McCain has them pegged. Throw in Coburn, and I’m sold.

The piece is headlined “Load up on guns and bring your friends.” Ahmadinejad is flying the flannel. (But he really needs to update his blog.)

Not-so-strange bedfellows

In defense of John McCain’s addlemindedness

I don’t know what McCain does or doesn’t know about Iran, Iraq, or Islam, or whether he misspoke on Iran and al-Qaeda. But it is not preposterous on its face that they would be in league, as Hilzoy contends, and plenty of officials and journalists have made the same claim.

For instance:

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Eugene Volokh on assassination and academic freedom

Eugene Volokh argues:

1. War is sometimes justified.

2. Assassination is sometimes more humane than war.

3. Therefore assassination is sometimes justified.

4. If assassination is sometimes justified, then advocating assassination is sometimes justified.

5. Even if the assassinations argued for would be criminal under current domestic or international law, those laws could be changed.

6. Thus advocacy of assassination is not a crime.

7. Since academic freedom includes, within wide limits, the right to advocate for unpopular or wrong positions, academic institutions should not sanction faculty members for such advocacy.

It would be possible to quarrel with some of the logical steps here:

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I can’t vouch for this …

… but I’m told that Bush is head-faking his threats against Iran in order to keep the Israelis from striking on their own.

… but someone in some position to know, and no particular reason to lie, tells me that the Bushoid saber-rattling about Iran is mostly designed to keep the Israelis from striking out on their own. Apparently the current Israeli government is strongly tempted to try to do to Iran what it did to Iraq over the Osirak reactor in 1981, and we’re trying to convince them that it isn’t necessary.

Going to do another war to prove we won the first one?

This is sounding uncomfortably familiar. The Bush team is motivating a war with Iran with the kind of hard-headed intelligence and open-eyed analysis it perfected for the Iraq disaster, but not planning for the war, with the same insouciance with which it made no particular plans for the Iraq war.

Not planning for a war is not at all the same as planning not to have a war, as the arrival of another carrier group in the Persian Gulf makes clear. Anyway, the Iranians are almost all Shi’a, so what could go wrong?