Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Vienna Agreement: A Victory for Diplomacy

Our differences are real, and the difficult history between our nations cannot be ignored. But it is possible to change. The path of violence and rigid ideology, a foreign policy based on threats to attack your neighbors or eradicate Israel – that’s a dead end. A different path, one of tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict, leads to more integration into the global economy, more engagement with the international community, and the ability of the Iranian people to prosper and thrive. – President Barack Obama, July 14, 2015
For most of my life the world has been divided between hawks and doves, between those who believe superior force and military power are the only means to achieve a desired goal, and those who believe negotiation and compromise are essential to genuine peace and understanding. Hawks love to throw out terms like appeasement and capitulation whenever anything less than complete surrender is achieved, while doves believe that one-sided victories are mostly an illusion and are achieved, if at all, at extreme costs in blood and treasure.

In affairs of state, leaders of great nations must balance and weigh competing interests, assess risks, consider short-term gains and long-term objectives, examine past history and project future behavior. There is no pre-determined road map to resolving difficult conflicts. The noise of the chattering class, of media outlets and opinion makers, of politicians and pundits, must not be allowed to distract from the actual work being done by our diplomats and Foreign Service Officers around the world. A good leader must remain focused at all times on two key questions: What outcome is in the best interests of our nation? What result will make the world safer and more peaceful?

Ideology and political division often cloud the true nature of international complexities. In 1964, Richard Nixon declared on a trip to Asia that “it would be disastrous to the cause of freedom” for the United States to recognize Red China. It was a nice talking point. But eight years later, as President, when the interests of the nation and future prospects of world peace were more directly in his hands, Nixon changed course and restored diplomatic relations with China. The non-governing ideologues that opposed this move predicted doom and gloom. They believed China and communism must be defeated at all costs and that to “engage” with the Chinese would only legitimize and strengthen them.

More than four decades later, China and the world have been transformed for the better. China is not a model of democracy and liberty, but it is a legitimate member of the world of nations and the reform elements in that country have made gradual strides in loosening the oppressive nature of Chinese society. Through trade, academic exchanges, and diplomacy, China has become more open, a genuine trading partner, and a country the West can deal with. The world today is a better and safer place because of our willingness to engage in diplomacy with the Chinese, to trade with them, talk to them, and exert our influence through the positive forces of economics, art, technology, and social exchange.

Similarly, the arms control agreements between the United States and the former Soviet Union, including those entered into by Presidents Nixon, Carter, and Reagan in the 1970s and 1980s, made the world safer and helped transform relations between two of the world’s most formidable adversaries. Although mutual suspicion and hostility remain, the degree of cooperation and engagement between the United States and Russia on a host of issues is a source of hope after fifty years of Cold War hostility and a policy of mutually assured destruction.

I have been thinking of these things lately as I have reviewed the parameters of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program (“the Vienna agreement”), that was reached earlier this month between Iran and the six world powers known as the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany). No deal is perfect and this one does not contain everything I would have liked. But I am persuaded that implementation of the Vienna agreement is in the long-term interests of the United States, our European allies, Israel and the nations of the Middle East.

The agreement should be assessed on what it aims to do – prevent Iran from obtaining or developing a nuclear weapon. The agreement requires a substantial rollback of Iran’s nuclear enrichment capabilities, reduces Iran’s nuclear (low-enriched uranium) stockpile by 98 percent, limits Iran’s ability to research and develop nuclear weapons, stops all uranium enrichment activities at Iran’s deep underground facility at Fordow, and disables Iran’s ability to produce bomb-grade plutonium at Iran’s only heavy-water reactor at Arak. The agreement imposes a stringent system of inspections and monitoring that allows for on-site inspections and installation of the most advanced surveillance technology. Meanwhile, Iran remains a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is permanently subject to its requirements. The Vienna agreement is a responsible first step to peacefully and permanently stopping the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and the Republicans running for president contend that the P5+1 partners should have insisted on a better deal. But these critics do not suggest what that better deal looks like or how we obtain it. Most of the critics seem to prefer no deal to the present one. But rejecting the present agreement and achieving no agreement would ensure only that Iran escalates its nuclear program and develops nuclear weapon capabilities. Threats of war simply lend support to Iranian hard-liners, who themselves oppose the deal.

Netanyahu believes we should continue the sanctions regime, or impose even greater sanctions, until Iran capitulates and agrees to entirely dismantle all nuclear capabilities, military and civilian. He also insists that any deal require Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist and stop supporting Hezbollah and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. That would be wonderful, but it is wishful, unrealistic thinking. It would be nice if the Iranians baked Bibi a delicious peach pie as well. But it was not going to happen during these negotiations. To have insisted on addressing and resolving issues unrelated to the Iranian nuclear program would have been a non-starter. And no one understands that fact better than Netanyahu.

Effective negotiation requires narrowly focused goals and objectives. Although America and its allies were united on the need for sanctions to pressure Iran to come to the bargaining table, no such consensus exists that Iran must refrain from developing a civilian nuclear energy program. In the absence of a deal, we would lose our ability to sustain the existing sanctions regime, for the sanctions have not only hurt Iran’s economy, but have cost Japan, South Korea, Europe, India, Russia and China billions of dollars in trade and commerce. These nations all have closer trade ties with Iran and will not accede to continued sanctions, especially if America walks away from an agreement that Iran is willing to sign and which accomplishes most of the objectives initially sought by the West.

What the Vienna agreement does is to greatly reduce Iran’s uranium enrichment capabilities. It prevents the design and construction of any new facilities for fifteen years and extends the time it would theoretically take for Iran to acquire enough fissile materials to create a single nuclear weapon from the existing two to three months to at least one year. The agreement does not trust the Iranians to comply, but imposes strict inspection and transparency measures. Respected nuclear experts and inspectors with years of experience who have examined the deal agree it is the most intensive inspections regime in history. The agreement requires the International Atomic Energy Agency to strictly monitor Iran’s nuclear program at every level, including mining, procurement, production, and enrichment. By enabling the international community to verify compliance at every stage of the nuclear supply chain, it ensures that we can effectively detect, deter, and prevent cheating.

The deal does not address the long list of grievances Americans and others have with Iran, but is instead designed only to prevent Iran from joining the nuclear weapons club. Although the agreement has the potential to reform and improve relations between Iran and the West and to transform the Middle East, no one is counting on it.

The administration and the other P5+1 partners have taken a practical and common sense position that strongly increases the likelihood that Iran will not obtain a nuclear capability, while allowing Iran an opportunity to shed its isolated status and to re-engage with the world community in business and commerce and other ways mutually beneficial. If Iran is stupid enough to cheat, the United States retains all options, from re-imposing sanctions to the use of military force. Those options will always remain in our arsenal.

The hard-liners in Iran are invested in the status quo and fear this deal for all of the reasons the reformers have praised it. Those within Iran who would most benefit from international legitimacy and improved relations with the West, Iranian citizens who engage in business and commerce and look favorably upon western democracies, may help eventually change how Iranians think about the costs and benefits of the regime’s destabilizing activities and regional trouble making.

As Roger Cohen of The New York Times contends, the Iran nuclear deal “must be judged on what it set out to do – stop Iran going nuclear – not on whether Iran has a likable regime (it does not) or does bad things (it does).” The deal is an impressive American diplomatic achievement that “increases the distance between Iran and a bomb as it reduces the distance between Iran and the world.” The accord essentially forces America and Iran into a relationship. As Cohen notes:
Iran is finely poised between a tough old guard forged in revolution and its aspirational, Westward-looking youth. A decade is a long time in societies in transition. It is far better to have deep American-Iranian differences – over Hezbollah, over Syria, over regional Shiite irredentism, over Iran’s vile anti-Israel outbursts – addressed through dialogue rather than have Iran do its worst as pariah.
If recent history is any guide, we should remember the state of our relations with the former Soviet Union and China during the height of the Cold War. Presidents Nixon and Reagan moved boldly with hostile and far more dangerous regimes in Beijing and Moscow. Despite much bellowing about the decline of American power, weakness and appeasement, our engagement with those long-time enemies proved transformational for bilateral relations and the world at large.

There will always be voices – chest-thumping American hardliners – who think negotiation is a sign of weakness and that military force is decisive in a way that diplomacy is not. It is an attractive position for politicians in search of cheap ways to appear tough. But it ignores the hard work of peace and non-proliferation, the complexities of the real world, and the psychology of nation states mired in historic mistrust. The Vienna agreement presents an alternative vision of American power that stresses the importance of U.S. global leadership in addressing shared problems. Congress would be remiss if it recklessly condemns a deal that advances American interests and has the potential to reduce tensions in a part of the world that desperately needs it.

It is right to worry about the Iranians and the mischief they cause in the Middle East, its hostility to Israel, its support of Assad, and its proxy wars with Saudi Arabia. But isolating Iran and treating it as a pariah did little to discourage its bad behavior. While the Vienna agreement may not change Iranian behavior for the better, there are elements of hope. As a recent editorial in The Economist suggests, although the agreement enables Iran to become a more influential player in the Middle East,
…it will also lead the country to become more open. As in China, the Iranian theocracy rules over a population that long ago lost its revolutionary zeal. . . Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, decided that being a pariah was worse for his regime than rejoining the world.  
That choice only makes sense if Iran can now attract trade and investment. The more Iran trades with the rest of the world, the more susceptible it will grow to international pressure. As the country becomes enmeshed in the global economy, interest groups will emerge within Iran’s complex, factional politics who will argue that the country’s future is better served by decent relations with foreigners than by bad ones. The more Iranians benefit from ties with the outside world, the stronger those moderating voices will become.
The Vienna agreement provides a modest glimmer of hope for a brighter future. With full membership in the international community comes implicit and subtle pressure to abide by certain norms. And although Iran will benefit economically, there will be opportunities for greater cooperation between Iran and the United States in the fight against ISIS and other regional stabilizing measures. The agreement proves that Iran and the West can coexist on terms of mutual respect, a notion that greatly undermines the position of Islamic terror organizations and strengthens reformers across the region.

But even if Iran does not shift course in an attempt to become a more responsible member of the world community, an Iran with no nuclear weapons and a greatly reduced enrichment capacity is far better than the alternative. The status quo, or no agreement, would almost guarantee that Iran has a nuclear weapon in the short term. There are no risk free options available to us. We can choose the path of diplomacy and engagement backed by strict compliance measures, or we can choose the path of bellicosity and war. The Vienna agreement is a victory for diplomacy, a better vision of foreign policy, and the hope for a brighter and safer future. If war is someday necessary, it will not be because we failed to give peace a chance.


  1. Mark,

    The downside to this blog is that you are stuck forever with the ownership of your thoughts. Fearing this post, I sent you emails outlining the lunacy of this agreement, hoping to nip in the bud this very essay, sparing you from future embarrassment when evil does what it must do. At that point, you will have two choices: work the delete key furiously while everyone else is distracted by the mushroom cloud, or, deny what you said while blaming others for not sufficiently supporting the wisdom of our enlightened leader.

    And so you begin this essay on a false premise by quoting a man that is either blind to evil, or more terrifying to contemplate, understands it completely and is feeding it. He states that it is possible for Iran to change. There really is no need to go further than that, is there? We will, of course, but when an educated man who presumably has read one history book in his lifetime states that his foreign policy is based on the belief that evil can be rehabilitated, then the game is over before it’s begun. And the arrogance of this man telling deeply religious men that their “calling” is a “dead end” further demonstrates his lack of understanding of the world outside his bubble, while playing into the hands of those he deems less civilized. He puts the cherry on the top of his ignorance by lecturing the Iranian leaders that they are in need of a different path; that what the ayatollahs REALLY want, deep down in their shriveled hearts that only the president is perceptive enough to see, is a country that tolerates its neighbors and creates conditions so that its people can prosper and thrive. In other words, what the Iranian madmen really, really, really, desire is exactly opposite of what they have spent a lifetime pursuing, and if they would only listen to the last president the United States will ever need they will have an epiphany. [1]

    That you buy this nonsense on face value is troubling and it is down hill from here.

    “For most of my life the world has been divided between hawks and doves…”

    Look at the construction of this sentence. Hawks believe ONLY in military force while doves understand what truly achieves peace and understanding. There wasn’t a more fair way to describe the two? I would love the names of three “hawks” who believe force is the only way to achieve a necessary goal. I suspect a little research would reveal their thoughts to be more nuanced. Hell, I’ll settle for one hawk that matches your description. And then a list of treaties that were honored by murdering maniacs would also be appreciated.

    “Hawks love to throw out terms like appeasement and capitulation…”

    As bad as the last. It would be nice for an example or two but going back just before the Era of Mark, history has recorded times when complete surrender has worked out wonderfully for both the victor and the vanquished. In fact, a much better argument can be made that complete surrender was the cause for a lasting peace after World War II, while settling for less gave us the loons in North Korea and the complete communist takeover of Vietnam.

    “In 1964, Richard Nixon declared on a trip to Asia…”

    Bad analogy. A better analogy would be when we began trading with Japan after they attacked Pearl Harbor… wait, bad example. Better would be when we exerted positive influences against Nazi Germany when they invaded Poland. . . wait, bad example.

    Of course China has been “legitimized and strengthened” and only pro-abortion, government-knows-best liberals would think that that is a positive thing. It would be enlightening to know exactly what improvements you are referring to in a country still ruled with an iron fist by the oppressive People’s Republic of China. Still ruled and still oppressed after 45 years of our positive influence. And of course using China as an example now, after they declared war on the U.S. with their cyber attack of the OPM, demonstrates a bit of bad timing on your part.

  2. And furthermore, let’s return for a moment to the simplicity of your earlier statement, by recalling a time when China was being brutalized by Japan and what happened when nothing less than “complete surrender” was demanded of the Japanese barbarians: Japan was transformed into a staunch ally, while the coddled China became a dire threat to the world and especially to her neighboring countries.

    Interesting side note: Many of the improvements in China that you vaguely refer to can be credited to the growth of Christianity in that country, despite the government’s best efforts to suppress it. [2]

    “Similarly, the arms control agreements between the United States and the former Soviet Union…”

    Reagan is the last person liberals should mention in discussion of the Iran deal. Reagan, a hawk’s hawk, somehow managed to bring down the Evil Empire without firing a shot and without demanding “complete surrender.” He also knew how to negotiate and had Kerry read more and cycled less, he might have grasped a few fundamentals from the man liberals feared would start a nuclear war. [3] First and foremost, before negotiations begin, figure out those things you are unwilling to compromise on and those you are and then stick to your guns (no offense!) no matter how many people in and out of your administration pressure you to give in to achieve an historic agreement. For Reagan it was the Strategic Defense Initiative, derided by liberals as a fanciful waste of money and slandered as “Star Wars,” which is, at this very moment, on a smaller scale, protecting Israel from Iranian rockets (I swear you just cannot make this stuff up!). [4] And so Reagan walked away from Gorbachev at Reykjavik and in doing so ended up negotiating from a position of strength that saved SDI, and later, our favorite little country surrounded by Jew-hating fanatics, and furthered along the bankruptcy of the Soviet Empire by forcing them to match a program they knew could work even if their “useful idiots” in the Democratic Party did not.

    And, like China, bringing up Russia at a time when they sense weakness in the White House and feel free to do what evil empires do, might be bad timing. Oh yeah, and MAD worked with the Commies because they liked life and conquest more than death.

    “The agreement should be assessed on what it aims to do – prevent Iran from obtaining or developing a nuclear weapon…”

    The magic ink on the sacred parchment says this expires in 10 to 15 years, enough time for an Israeli child to graduate college, get married and have one or two children before. . . [5]

    “The agreement imposes a stringent system of inspections…”

    Of course the inspectors will have to make an appointment more than three weeks in advance before they can conduct any surprise inspections. [6]

    “Netanyahu believes we should continue the sanctions regime…”

    This is an amazing paragraph because you acknowledge that the Iranians will continue their evil actions of threatening Israel, and supporting Hezbollah terrorists and a genocidal tyrant, yet you champion an agreement that frees up over 100 billion dollars for the Iranians to do just that. Any guess on how many additional Jews can be liquidated with an extra 100 bill? And offensively, you dismiss “Bibi’s” concerns with a sarcastic barb; a man who risks his life every day to protect his people from monsters. But you know best, safe and warm behind an “entire fleet of battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and a nest of submarines.” [7] And the president is no better, saying of the defender of Israel, “It’s no secret that the Israeli prime minister and I don’t agree about whether the United States should move forward with a peaceful resolution to the Iranian issue.” [8] I pray you find that despicable since the Prime Minister is on record as wanting a “better deal,” and has outlined what this better deal would look like, as well as asking ten questions someone like you should be able to answer. [9] [10]

  3. “If Iran is stupid enough to cheat…” How many lives have been lost, not just during the Era of Mark, but even before, by such naive and foolish thinking? “If the Soviets are stupid enough to violate their treaty with the Georgian Republic…” “If Hitler is stupid enough to cheat on the Versailles Treaty…” “If Hitler is stupid enough to cheat on his nonaggression pact with Poland…” “If Hitler is stupid enough to cheat on the Munich Agreement…” “If Hitler is stupid enough to cheat on his nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union…” “If Iran is stupid enough to cheat on the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons…” “If the North Vietnamese are stupid enough to cheat on the Paris Peace Accords…” “If Russia is stupid enough to cheat on the ABM Treaty…” “If Iraq is stupid enough to cheat on its peace treaty with Iran…” “If Iran is stupid enough to cheat on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons…” “If North Korea is stupid enough to cheat on the Agreed Framework…” “If Iran is stupid enough to cheat on the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages…” “If Russia is stupid enough to cheat on the United Nations charter…” “If France is stupid enough to cheat on the Moon Treaty they were stupid enough to sign in the first place…”

    You’d think magic ink on sacred parchment would be more binding. You know what IS binding? Land mines. North and South Korea are technically still at war; no peace treaty have they signed, but South Korea is safe and prosperous because of the millions of land mines they have so lovingly planted in the demilitarized zone. [11]

    “The hard-liners in Iran are invested in the status quo and fear this deal for all of the reasons the reformers have praised it…”

    It’s inconceivable to you that there are people who think differently than you and that they expect YOU to come around to their way of thinking. Actually, it’s incomprehensible to you that there are leaders of countries that simply want you to die and will lie to your face to buy the necessary time to accomplish that very goal. And of course the very Iranian citizens you hope will change the minds of the monsters are the exact people the president has already thrown under an already crowded bus. [12] [13]

    “If recent history is any guide, we should remember the state of our relations with the former Soviet Union and China during the height of the Cold War. . .”

    Libs, being kissing cousins to socialists and communists, [14] will never understand the nature of evil and/or madness. Communist leaders, while evil, are not mad in a suicidal fashion, meaning they want power not martyrdom. They will attack the weak, but not the strong because they do not want to lose, or lose what they have. In dealing with evil that is not mad, strength works because it makes M.A.D. work. In dealing with the evil and religiously insane leaders, the M.A.D. scenario loses its punch because the evildoers love death more than we love life. [15] [16] Their goal is exactly opposite of what we want, which is why, facing a desperate diplomat attempting to appear relevant, the crazies hold all the cards.

    “There will always be voices – chest-thumping American hardliners…”

    Name them. I challenge you to name the “American hardliners” who think “negotiation is a sign of weakness and that military force is decisive in a way that diplomacy is not.” I suspect that you will find that they object to negotiating from a position of weakness, an altogether different thing. And, of course, military force that leads to complete victory is often decisive as World War II proved. The Vienna agreement certainly does present an alternate vision of American power in that it has the monsters giddy with astonishment that it was as easy to fool the Great Satan now as it was Britain, France and Germany years before. [17]

    “But isolating Iran and treating it as a pariah did little to discourage its bad behavior.”

  4. Um, isolating Iran was what brought them to the negotiating table. Isolating Iran is what reduced their ability to do evil things.

    “The agreement proves that Iran and the West can coexist on terms of mutual respect…”

    What about Iran do you respect? Should we respect a country that wants to finish what Nazi Germany started? Shouldn’t you practice first by showing respect toward the Tea Party? What do you think they respect about us? How, exactly, are Islamic terror organizations undermined by the West and Iran respecting each other? We have relations with other repressive Muslim countries and that does not seem to undermine the bad Muslims.

    “We can choose the path of diplomacy and engagement backed by strict compliance measures, or we can choose the path of bellicosity and war.”

    Why are you and the administration framing the Iran situation as a choice between weak negotiation and all-out war? Why did effective sanctions suddenly disappear from the equation? Why would the president say something as dangerous as, “Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation, or it’s resolved through force, through war”? [18] Can you imagine the liberal hissy fits had Reagan said that of the USSR? Do you really believe the agreement provides for “strict compliance measures”? Kerry and company are allowing the Iranians three and a half weeks before any surprise inspections can take place and no Americans will be on the inspection teams. [19] The White House’s promise of inspections “anytime, anywhere,” now turns out to be “rhetorical,” in the same vein, apparently, as the promise of keeping your healthcare coverage. [20] A side deal between Iran and the IAEA reportedly limits inspections and allows for Iran to “take its own environmental samples from suspect nuclear sites.” [21] The tough negotiators at the White House do not have a copy of this agreement, but it is unlikely that they would protest anyway. Which brings us to the French and the sorry state the US finds herself when a Frenchman leads by example, telling Congress that rejecting the deal, playing from a position of strength, would not resort in the sky falling, as Kerry suggests, but would eventually result in a much better agreement. [22] Being French, of course, means being flexible, but even when pressure was applied from the White House, not even the French diplomat could make himself flexible enough to completely walk back what he said. [23]

    In 1981, Israel bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq, which led, of course, to all-out war between the two… Sorry, my mistake, the attack only left Saddam Hussein pissed off and in no mood to enjoy that evening’s hanging of homosexuals. In 2007, Israel bombed the nuclear reactor in Syria setting off World War III… Sorry, my bad again, the attack only left Bashar al-Assad despondent and unable to enjoy the planned weekend barrel bombing of a nursery school. Seems there are a few options, after all, between appeasement through weak negotiations and Armageddon.

    Negotiating with bad guys is one thing, but when the good guys doing the negotiating talk such nonsense about either/or scenarios, it’s a clear sign that the grown-ups are not in charge and that evil will have its way. A even clearer sign is the man in charge, John Kerry, who began his career smearing our military with damnable lies of atrocities committed in the Vietnam war.

  5. Kerry’s charges, other than his admission that he himself was a war criminal, came from peers who were never in combat. It would be nice to give Kerry the benefit of the doubt and assume he was just lying to kickstart his political career, but more likely he simply parroted what he had been told by these pathetic creatures. In other words, Kerry was a willing political patsy, unable to detect lies spewed by opportunists. A gullible fool (or liar) is not the sort we should have negotiating over nuclear weapons. Kerry was a puppet of the communists and their anti-war propaganda efforts back then and he is a puppet now. The only question remaining is will the Iranians honor him, as the Vietnamese Communists did, with his picture on a wall of heroes of the revolution? [24]

    It’s hard not to think of the American hostages currently in Iran and the American prisoners of war in Vietnam in 1969. In Vietnam, between torture sessions, the POWs were shown pictures of Kerry and news clippings reporting Kerry’s vile statements accusing the POWs of atrocities and the torturers, before starting again, told the POWs that, “Everyone knows you are a war criminal.” [25] It’s not hard to imagine that the Iranians are doing the exact same thing to their guests, showing them pictures of Kerry at the negotiating table and telling their prisoners, before the torture begins again, that America knows they are guilty and that is why Kerry negotiates without even mentioning their names, let alone demanding their release. Perhaps they are asking a variation of a question asked by POW Marine First Lieutenant Jim Warner: "What kind of ghoul would exploit my mother and family to claim I was a war criminal while I was in a North Vietnamese prison? How could someone do something like this for political advantage?” [25]

    The morally rudderless do it instinctually, while the naive idealists follow blindly. Eventually, the clear-eyed realists will be ordered to get their guns and clean up the mess, regardless the cost in blood and treasure. Initially, this will be the brave Israeli men and women fighting an increase in terrorism that an Iran flush with cash will finance. This is not a guess; this will happen, and I think you know it.

    Rich R.





    [5] [6]













  6. [19]






    [25] John E. O’Neil and Jerome R. Corsi, “Unfit for Command” (Regnery Publishing, 2004), 117.

  7. Rich - Let's just say we disagree. Your comments were so lengthy I barely had time to skim them until yesterday. This is not a place for your counter-blog. A single comment is fine. An entire counter-essay is not. If you feel an obsessive compulsive need to do so, please start your own blog -- you can call it, "Why Ehlers is Wrong on Everything" -- and write to your heart's content. But when you bloviate with such predictable attacks, you serve only to pollute my space. I hope and pray that your views remain in the minority, because if they do not, this country and the world is in grave danger.

  8. Mark,

    Fair enough. And it’s fitting we end in typical fashion, with insults, bloviate-predictable-pollute, serving as rebuttal to evidence, facts and history.

    And Mark, this country as well as the world IS in grave danger (“Is there another kind?”!). That’s why I have fought so hard to wake you up.

    Best wishes and please try to live up to your claim of being passionately curious. It’s never too late for a Mamet Moment.