I'm neither a fan or opponent of Rep. Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, per se, but I know a hit piece
when I see one.
You know everything you need to know about
the essay below that appeared in Wednesday's
LA Times when you discover that author
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's "associated" with
some group called Campaign Against Sanctions
and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII),
So why is that NOT mentioned at the bottom of the
LA Times Guest Op-Ed, when a quick five-second
Google Search tells you that?
You know, since it actually has something
to do with the subject of the essay, sanctions?
Just more proof, as if needed, that the LA Times
isn't nearly what it used to be when I read their
great D.C. edition almost daily in the '90's, which
was nothing but news articles, opinions and essays,
with no ads -for a dollar.
It was fantastic for news junkies readers, even if it
was a loss-leader for Times-Mirror in their efforts
to have more influence in official Washington.
(I had a couple of friends in their DC bureau,
above the Farragut West Metro station.)
Their separate Foreign Policy section on Tuesdays,
usually with something insightful and original by
then-foreign affairs correspondent Robin Wright,
now at the Washington Post, was always
MUST READING for me and my friends
interested in foreign policy and strategy.
See also: http://robinwrightblog.blogspot.com/
Her latest column in the WaPo, on her being
underwhelmed by Obama's West Point speech,
was this one from Dec. 10th appropriately titled
The real stakes in Afghanistan
That column includes the following about Iran:
Obama's strategy will deeply affect India, the world's largest democracy. Long-standing tensions between Pakistan and India have taken the world closer to the brink of nuclear war than any conflict has since World War II -- and still could, since Pakistan has failed to contain extremists responsible for terrorist atrocities in India, including the Mumbai attacks last year. U.S. failure to help nuclear Pakistan expand or shift its military focus from India to the more immediate threat from its internal extremists risks allowing those tensions to deepen.
Just as worrisome are the stakes with Iran, which borders both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Afghanistan has become for Iran what Iraq once was: a surrogate battlefield with the United States. Once Afghanistan's rival, Shiite-dominated Iran has reportedly supplied the same weapons and explosives to Sunni Taliban fighters that it provided Shiite militias in Iraq, on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend -- at least for now.
Iran manipulated (and often fueled) the problems that ensued after the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In the process, it has become a regional superpower rivaled only by Israel. U.S. failures in Afghanistan and Pakistan would further strengthen Iran's position as its increasingly authoritarian government cracks down on a legitimate opposition movement and threatens to expand its nuclear program.Since those of you who have always lived
in South Florida or the East Coast may not
be too familiar with it, that the Times Op-Ed
author is a grad of the USC Annenberg
School for Communication is nothing
to be impressed by, esp. if you've ever met
some of the grads I met in D.C.
It's no SAIS, that's for sure,
http://www.sais-jhu.edu/ which is apparent if
you've ever met some of the Annenberg
grads in Washington that I have, who seemed
to specialize in sounding-off at public policy
forums, bars and coffee shops by repeating
things smarter people once said and wrote.
And getting it wrong.
Remember that pompous ass of a Harvard
grad student that Matt Damon's character
in Good Will Hunting made mincemeat of
in his verbal barrage in the bar, about the
evolution of the 18th Century market economy
in the Southern Colonies?
If you forgot it, it's here:
That's what I'm talking about!
(Somewhat unexpectedly, I actually had to play
the Matt Damon role a few times while I lived
in the D.C. area in order to put some Ivy-Ivy
wannbe grads who thought they were all that,
in their place.
That usually involved both politics, history and,
Characterized by a real lack of intellectual honesty
and heft to say the least, regardless of what they
-or their anxious parents- paid for USC tuition.
Growing-up in South Florida in the '70's, I often
marched with my Iranian friends and their families
in the late '70's in anti-Shah rallies near the
Freedom Torch on Biscayne Blvd.
-back before that had been thoroughly rendered
into a tired South Florida media cliche, like the
Versailles Restaurant- and we were positive
that there were Savak agents taking photos of
everyone, since they were a little too obvious and
we could sometimes hear the cameras whirring.
That's why my friends and their relatives
Many of my friends' parents and relatives had
been unlawfully imprisoned by the Shah, and
had the permanent scars and injuries to
Iran as a modern, secular democratic country
wasn't an abstract idea to them, certainly not
the same way it seems to have been for so many
of the apologists of the Shah, or the current crew
of well-dressed apologists who shop at
The Beverly Center in LA.
I realize that my circumstances are unique
in that I know a LOT more about Iran
and its people and history than the average
American, have many friends who have
Iranian-born spouses, so when I come
across this sort of agitprop in the LA Times,
an intellectually dishonest effort that will
hurt not help the likelihood of that secular
democratic Iran from ever coming into
being, you understand that I really don't
need to hear yet another round of verbal
intellectual gymnastics from the newest hip
crowd of Iranian regime apologists wearing
Sometimes, things are exactly what they
appear to be.
Los Angeles Times
The hypocrisy of American bluster toward Iran
A U.S. representative who accused Tehran of sponsoring terrorism has a track record of supporting terrorists herself.
By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
December 23, 2009
By now there is little doubt that hypocrisy has become Washington's standing policy on foreign affairs. What is astounding is the lack of shame in such overt duplicity as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's (R-Fla.) accusations in the Dec. 14 Times Op-Ed article that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorists -- when she herself has a track record of supporting terrorists.
In February 1988, Orlando Bosch was arrested in Miami and implicated in the 1976 plot to blow up Cubana Flight 455, a terrorist act that killed 73 passengers. Joe D. Whitley, the associate U.S. attorney general at the time, called Bosch "a terrorist, unfettered by laws or human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims." Bosch, however, had the distinct advantage of having Ros-Lehtinen make advocating for his release one of the cornerstones of her 1989 congressional campaign. Bosch had another advantage: Ros-Lehtinen's campaign manager was Jeb Bush, President George H.W. Bush's son. In 1990, after lobbying by Jeb Bush and Ros-Lehtinen, the Bush administration went against the Justice Department's recommendation to deport Bosch and authorized his release. Since then, Bosch has become a permanent resident of the United States.
Ros-Lehtinen also supports the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a group by the State Department as a foreign terrorist group. Leading up to the Iraq war, in October 2002, Ros-Lehtinen circulated a letter in Congress expressing support for the MEK. She continues her support.
Common sense dictates that Iran would want security in its two neighboring countries given the spillover effect. By now, it is also common knowledge that the Sunni Taliban and Shiite Iran have been hostile toward each other for years (several Iranian diplomats were killed by the Taliban in 1998), and no doubt this hostility led to Iran's decision to assist the Northern Alliance and the U.S. in efforts in the overthrow of the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks -- efforts that were rewarded with the infamous "axis of evil" brand. Yet Ros-Lehtinen would insult the American public's intelligence by telling them that Iran, without mentioning any history, has a hand in Afghanistan. Does Ros-Lehtinen ever wonder if other countries simply do not welcome occupation by any foreign force?
One has to question what motivates Ros-Lehtinen in her push to put financial sanctions on foreign and domestic companies that sell refined petroleum products to Iran. Doing so could lead to more job losses in America and more hostilities between U.S. allies and Iran. This is a time when our policy makers should be thinking about America and Americans, period.
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer living in Glendale.
Meanwhile...closer to home
December 17th, 2009 Miami Herald Editorial
Getting serious with Iran -
Stronger sanctions needed to persuade regime to drop nuclear-weapons programIt should be clear by now that Iran is on a collision course with the United States and other Western nations over its quest for nuclear weapons.
Years of diplomatic engagement, proposed deals and three rounds of sanctions by the United Nations have failed to deter Iran from getting closer to acquiring the capacity to produce nukes.
In the last few weeks, it has dropped all pretense of wanting to work with U.N. inspectors and Western nations, angrily refusing to comply with a U.N. demand to cease work on a nuclear-fuel enrichment plant and vowing to construct 10 more plants as soon as it can.
The latest bad news involves reports that Iran is getting closer to solving the most difficult aspects of making nuclear weapons.
The Times of London reported that Iran appears to be working on a ''neutron initiator,'' a device that could trigger an explosion in a nuclear warhead.
This means Iran is becoming self-sufficient in nuclear weapons technology and has no intention of putting an end to its clandestine weapons program.
Since the West can clearly not do business with this regime, it is time to get serious about sanctions.
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin (412-12) approved a measure that dramatically increases the economic pressure on Iran by curtailing its ability to import refined products, such as gasoline.
Its key provision requires the president to impose sanctions on any company here or abroad that helps to supply Iran with refined petroleum.
Because Iran relies on imports for 40 percent of its refined petroleum, this would oblige the regime to consider the consequences of its continued defiance of the international community.
The effort was led by U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami, the ranking minority member of the panel. As a rule, multilateral sanctions are far preferable to unilateral moves, but it's hard to blame the House for deciding to take action.
Iran has a long record of deviousness and duplicity and the clock is ticking toward the day when it will become a nuclear power unless its leaders become convinced that the nations arrayed against it have finally lost all patience. The Obama administration has shown little enthusiasm for Congress' action, but it is working on its own set of sanctions, which officials hope will gain international support.
Both Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said in recent days that a broader package of sanctions is in the works.
As described by Mr. Gates, the point would be ''to persuade the Iranian government that they would actually be less secure with nuclear weapons'' because ''their people will suffer enormously'' from sanctions.
Clearly, the time has come to take such measures.
Reader comments at: