Ethics Quote of the Week: Christiane Amanpour

“It was a very dark Strangelovian speech painting the picture of a dystopian world, raising the spectre of a genocidal nation, a genocidal regime spraying nuclear weapons to annihilate the whole world and the whole region. Now, obviously many people are very concerned about Iran and there is a deep lack of trust, but surely the same was said of the Soviet Union all those years ago.”

—-CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, commenting to Wolf Blizter on Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress.

That's funny...he doesn't LOOK Jewish...

That’s funny…he doesn’t LOOK Jewish…

This is a propitious opportunity to clear up a question I have been asked a few times, namely, “What is the distinction between the Ethics Alarms “ethics quotes” as opposed to the unethical and ethical quotes of the week or month. Sometimes, it’s a close call, like now. An ethics quote either illustrates, in a positive or negative fashion, an ethics principle or raises an ethics issue. Unethical quotes are those that are themselves harmful, dishonest, or that promote ethics misconceptions and unethical conduct. Ethical quotes are those that display ethical values or accomplish something that is objectively good.

Amanpour’s quote is, not to be overly blunt, stupid, ignorant, and disturbingly lacking in historical perspective. It raises ethics issues, but does not rise to the level, quite, of an unethical quote. It does raise the ethics issues of incompetence in the media, political bias robbing us all of IQ points, irresponsible journalism, and what happens when one is incapable of placing oneself behind another individual’s eyeball.  She is trying to be descriptive, so I would not term the quote itself unethical, just shocking. She has long been respected as a reporter on international events, but this statement is so devoid of its proper context that I think her credentials need to be reconsidered.

“Dr. Strangelove” is a paranoid satire, a very funny one. What is satirical or paranoid about describing Iran’s regime’s intent as genocidal? When Iranian officials talk in terms of wiping the only Jewish state off the map, that isn’t fiction, nor is the genocidal nature of Iran, or radical Islam, a “specter.”  Can Amanpour really be claiming that Netanyahu’s concerns are overblown, and that he’s getting all upset over nothing? Is she really saying that he’s confusing the actual threat to Israel of a nuclear armed Iran with the doomsday warning of a Cold War black comedy? Is this the attitude that the Obama administration has? “You know those Jews—they always expect the worst case scenario!”

Gee, Christiane, I wonder why!

Her last sentence is really beyond belief:

“Now, obviously many people are very concerned about Iran…”

Many people?” She isn’t ? Amanpour supposedly knows the region, knows the degree to which Iran has been fueling unrest, knows its rhetoric, knows that it is a sponsor of terrorism, and talks as if concern about Iran is just a fad?

“…and there is a deep lack of trust…”

Ya think?

“…but surely the same was said of the Soviet Union all those years ago.”

Be still my erupting head! And because the Soviets didn’t start World War III, as we feared, that means that Iran won’t. This is the quality of analysis we get from CNN. The reasons, we now know, that the Soviets did not start a nuclear war were  1) moral luck; 2) in the end, their leaders were more rational than we thought; 3) we had a plurality of Presidents—Ike, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Bush— who they knew would go to the brink of war and over if necessary; and 4) their nation was run by bureaucrats and ideologues, but not religious zealots.

The true screaming, neon, flashing flaw of Amanpour’s statement, however, is that she seems completely unaware of what people Netanyahu speaks for, and their history. How can anyone have the lack of empathy, commonsense and historical perspective to say of Israel, “Why are they so distrustful of those who say they want to destroy them? It’s all bluff and bluster! Nobody ever means that! That would be crazy! Come on! Have some faith!”

105 thoughts on “Ethics Quote of the Week: Christiane Amanpour

  1. Christiane Amanpour is a highly-respected veteran foreign journalist, who has undoubtedly forgotten more about the region than you will ever know. She was born in Tehran, and educated in a Catholic school in England. She covered the Iran-Iraq war, the fall of European communism, and Gulf War I, and unlike Bill Oh,Really?, her boots were on the ground.

    Your hero Netanyahu was caught out as a liar,, according to leaked cables from Mossad (the Iranians have enough U-204 to make a few bombs, but are neither ready to nor apparently interested in taking the next step). His apparent self-interest is in his own political future, and maintaining control over American foreign policy. And of course, he would overlook facts that do not suit him. But Amanpour knows the facts, and Bibi’s game.

    The cost of yet another needless conflict in the Middle East would be Saudi oil, as one shore of the Strait of Hormuz is in Iran. Worse yet, continuance of the status quo strengthens Iranian hard-liners, whose grip becomes more tenuous with every passing year owing to demographic changes (remember the Green Revolution?). Moreover, the Iranians could build a nuke in a few years, especially with Pakistan’s help (don’t forget that they have nukes, and are only a little less crazy). And can we even AFFORD another multi-trillion dollar boondoggle in the Middle East?

    The same thing WAS said of the Soviet Union. Have you seen the video of Nikita Khruschev, banging his shoe?

    The art of negotiation is in knowing when to take half a loaf. This might be one of those times. Hysteria is Bibi’s stock in trade, and his speech should be seen in that light. Amanpour knows of what she speaks, and deserves to be taken seriously.

    • Ok, a prize for the best takedown of Monica’s historically jaw-dropping, ad hominem appeal to authority, defense of Amanpour’s bizarre take! A CD of a film, ethics classic, my choice.

          • I watched it as a High Schooler at my best friends house. We’d have movie viewings with his dad (probably one of the wisest men I knew, next to my dad). At the end of the movie, he’d give a 30 minute break down of the moral / ethical lessons of the movie.

            The Caine Mutiny did a great job convincing this High School viewer that hey, the Captain really is NUTSO, those guys NEEDED to Mutiny….

            Then the final speech about loyalty to your commander and your duty to the unit trumps any personal distaste you may have for your chain of command. What a great eye opening bombshell.

            Worked wonders for my view of my chain of command and various foibles all leaders may succumb to on occasion that warrant junior personnel being extra loyal at times.

            • Yeah, but Jose was out of line. The testimony of the sailor who said that there was no difference between the XO and the Captain during the storm was just wrong. The ship would have been lost; Queeg froze.

              I also fault the director for just ending the trial while Queeg is sitting in the chair. EG would have tried to rehabilitate him. His meltdown there didn’t prove he freaked during the storm, and if it did, then Ferrer was full of beans.

              • And I cringe here…. because that’s the whole rub of the final speech.

                I may channel some hyper R.A.Heinlein at this point.

                If that ship had sunk, with every man on board, because people followed the Captain’s order, then so be it. That is better than seeding the notion throughout the armed forces that subordinates can start second-guessing or even countermanding their commander’s during tight spots.

                Because ALL the critical decisions made by commanders are in tight spots. Just because Lieutenant-Doesn’t-Trust-The-Commander gets skiddish is no reason to countermand the Captain’s order.

                I’ll take 1% losses to Frozen Commanders over 25% losses because we have to re-do entire battles because 2nds-in-Command suddenly got cold feet at the decisive point every day.

                • So much of military “prowess” hinges on moral luck also…

                  My good friend’s dad, served in the Taiwanese military. He recalled a story they were taught about a commander during the Chinese civil war or revolution or whatever that mess was, who was surrounded on a hill. Sure to be annihilated. Turns out the Communist force hadn’t fully surrounded him, he didn’t know that though. He made a horribly reckless decision to just march his guys off the field…in an extremely low security posture of 2 files down the sides of a road.

                  Managed to hit the one road the communist forces hadn’t cut off and weren’t watching.

                  Hailed as a hero and brilliant decision maker.

                  Really, just lucky.

                • Except that the regs acknowledge the exceptional situation. If the rule is never, then don’t have the rule. Queeg was a borderline call, and it took guts to make it. I have no problem with CMing Van, but he still was making a judgment call that the service acknowledges may have to be made.

                  You’ll recall that Burnside ordered a fourth hopeless charge up the hill at Fredericksburg, and his officers restrained him., physically—he was going to lead it himself.

                  • Arg. No doubt. And I get what you are saying.

                    Hence my cringe.

                    But in an era in which questioning authority on probably the reckless side of continuum was rife (and still is), I’d say the movie’s message about loyalty to a commander, specifically a commander who acknowledged he needs some assistance in some areas, trumps the counter message of “hey question authority” (which is still a valid message).

                    • The kid’s “then we really were guilty” ticks me off. What were they supposed to do after the Captain’s mauldlin speech? Help him how? The strawberry key nonsense was certifiable…if he was that irrational, what would have helped? When he ran out on the invasion force, surely it was noticed. Wouldn’t putting soldiers at risk justify taking action?

                      This was my dad’s weird specialty in WWII—confronting superiors who gave illegal or insane orders. Three times he told a superior that he would risk a CM and challenged the superior to show he was wrong. Three times they backed down, and once he was commended for it. My father believed that it wasn’t done enough, but as he told me—“You better be right, and not just right, damn right.”

                    • Well, tons of that is just Hollywoodism. Someone that looney doesn’t ask for help. But this character did…so he must not be that looney. I’ll have to re-watch the movie now. Many lessons can be gleaned from the movie, many more can be gleaned when putting a stark razor of reality to evaluate the movie.

      • This is why I am so reluctant to participate in these sites. There is plenty of heat, and precious little light.

        Jack, you have done nothing to refute the proposition that Ms Amanpour is an expert. Nor have you done anything to address bothersome facts, like Netanyahu’s apparently deliberate misrepresentation of the current state of Iran’s nuclear programme, or the demographically-driven changes in Iran that an expert like Ms Amanpour would be privy to and you would not. All you have done is engage in ad hominem attacks of your own.

        For instance, “the genocidal nature of Iran?” Iran hasn’t invaded any other country in a century, and there are nearly 10,000 openly practicing Jews in the country, even after thirty-five years of Islamic rule. No genocide there. Unlike America, which has invaded so many other countries that I’ve lost count, they appear to be behaving themselves, especially when compared to their counterparts in the region. And when compared to the rhetoric of our own Right, Ahmadinejad seems almost tame. When he said that Israel was created to solve the problem of European anti-semitism, he was correct. In the Crusades, Jerusalem’s Jews fought alongside the caliphs until the Christians committed genocide against them.

        Lawyers use expert witnesses all the time. Her CV is impressive. Why is she not entitled to the measure of deference experts are normally entitled to? Because the all-knowing, all-seeing Jack Marshall disagrees? Armchair quarterbacks like you are entitled to your opinions, but we are also entitled to give them the microscopic weight they deserve.

        • I just did debunk her, Monica. Read this:
          Short version: anyone who says or thinks this–

          “There are some situations one simply cannot be neutral about, because when you are neutral you are an accomplice. Objectivity doesn’t mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing.”

 no journalist. She admits to bias, and is biased. She’s a pundit. And your contention is ridiculous, and that IS light. Iran is funding killers all over the region…the argument that it has been peaceful as a lamb is offensive. Moreover, CA cheerily ignores the central fact that when a nation’s leaders repeatedly say “We’re going to destroy you” they should be taken seriously. Again, CA’s argument that the Soviets didn’t bury us (although that doesn’t prove that it easily could have gone the other way) so that means Israel is safe isn’t expertise. It’s logically and historically inert, especially to the Jews. “Come, on, the Germans have no record of genocide!”

          “There is plenty of heat, and precious little light.” Oh, balderdash. There is no light to a blind woman—the responses were substantive, and all you do is appeal to authority: “She’s an expert.” Well, so am I, except I work very hard at being objective, and she thinks it’s professional not to be. Ding.

          • And of course, YOU are the best arbiter of whether you have succeeded? Come again???

            If you want to see a REAL professional take-down, watch Jon Stewart’s show of March 3. He takes clean shots at everyone: Boehner, Obama, Biden, and of course, Netanyahu. He points out that we’ve heard that Bibi cry wolf before — in 1996, when “time was running out,” and in 2002, when he guaranteed that taking out Saddam would not destabilize the region. Bibi has lost all credibility, which is why professionals like Ms Amanpour, cognizant of all pertinent facts, could say what she said. Professionals like her (How many Peabodys do you have? Murrow awards?) generally know what they are talking about, and pundits like you with no CV are clueless.

            Your lame attempt to impeach her smacks of flailing. You can’t be neutral about genocide, and she admits it. And to be a half-Iranian does not mean that you endorse their brand of radical Islam. If that is the best you have, you have nothing at all.

            The debate is over which path to take, and war is ALWAYS Bibi’s formula. You really need to burp him.

            • You’re hopeless, Monica. Your definition of “an expert” is whether or not they track with your opinion. Then you cite awards, Yes, Bill O’Reilly has a Peabody Award too. You know what a person who believe the best actor are the ones with the most awards is called? Gullible. The same is true of all awards. The Nobel Peace Prize is more prestigious than a Peabody.

              Your mind is closed, and you don’t address the substantive points made by anybody—but cite…Jon Stewart. You do a better job of dismantling your argument than anyone. Thanks for that.

              Now you’re ranting, and off topic. Unless its on a another issue, or a substantive, non-fallacy ridden comment on this one, your next comment gets spammed. Don’t waste my time.

              • Jack, you can accept Steve-O’s position and admit that you are not an expert in the field of ethics, or concede my point. Your call.

                I’m not citing Jon Stewart, so much as pointing out that (as you know) he has this habit of playing excerpts from people’s speeches, showing their hypocrisy to tremendous comedic effect. Bibi has been crying “wolf” for a quarter-century, and following his advice has had lousy consequences.

                • You can jump in a lake or take your face off with a potato peeler. Your choice. You don’t dictate choices to me—you’re the guest here, or were. Get lost. Bye. I appreciate intelligent dissent and interesting theories. Idiots, however, who are adamant without cause are not appreciated or welcome

                  This is an asinine comment. You have no “point.” Your “point” has swung wildly from appeals to authority, to apeals to comedians, to mistaken definitions. Showing that a leader’s warning was not, in fact, prescient in one or a thousand instances does not make that leader a hypocrite. That’s a cheap shot, and comedians can take cheap shots. People who think cheap shots are actually valid arguments and policy analysis are called “dolts” or perhaps “children.”

        • No Monica, a lot of heat and very little light is when we touch a “trigger” issue and start resorting to cluster-eff campaigns and name calling. There is no value and plenty of destructive potential in that. I am an attorney and I know something about retaining experts. Christiane is no expert in any field, she has no advanced degrees and has contributed really nothing to the scholarly literature. She’s frankly an opinionated celebrity masquerading as some kind of jack of all trades and master of many.

          Iran hasn’t invaded any other country in a century, they only fought the longest conventional war of the 20th century and used human wave attacks to try to beat Iraq for six years, while enforcing mandatory veiling and other crushing human rights violations at home. Who on the right sounds worse than Ahmadinejad? Not even Ted Cruz or Ron Paul are that crazy, and saying he sounds tame compared to our religious right is totally off the reservation unless you’re talking about the Westboro Baptists. How is trying to build a weapon that can wipe Israel off the map and bandying rhetoric about doing just that “behaving themselves?”

          You appear to know bits and pieces of the history of the Crusades, but not the whole picture, and bits and pieces of the history of Judaism, but nowhere near the whole picture. It’s pretty easy for the left to tut-tut the Crusades as a barbarian attack on the civilized Muslim world and pretty easy for the left to condemn the whole Zionist movement as land-stealing. It’s easy because most average folks don’t know the history and don’t care to learn it, just let them return the latest text message and check what time the Kardashians are on. The Crusades came about in response to a three-century Islamic assault (and about a century’s worth of Zoroastarian assault) on Europe, and, I am sorry to say, the Jews, already in a tough spot from the invading (non-Christian) Romans, twice made some bad choices about who to back and who to fight. The Zionist movement came about to provide a national homeland for the Jewish people, where they would be the majority, which existed nowhere else in the world due to what had gone on in the past, by powers who no longer existed. The alternative was what, have them continue to be a crushed minority everywhere in the world?

          Christiane Amanpour has shown herself to be worthy of no deference other than you would give any other pundit spewing overblown opinions on cable news. That you come back here and look down your nose at those of us who don’t agree and pronounce our opinions to be of “microscopic worth” just shows you to be the intellectual and ethical lightweight we already know you are. Get lost before you embarrass yourself further.

          • The “heat vs. light” gauntlet was thrown with 1) Monica’s “your pal” crack, as if I have to be a Bibi fan to fairly identify his leadership abilities and the core legitimacy of his argument from Israel’s point of view, and he should have no other. That’s a snide attack, accusing my of a bias that doesn’t exist. Then there’s the Zinnish crack about the U.S., which forfeits any right to b taken seriously. If you are going to throw insults around, Monica, they better be accompanied by a better argument than “This gal is real smart ya’ll, so you should agree with her no matter how dumb she sounds.”

            • Hey.

              If “y’all” was thrown I there as a denigration of Monica, I take umbrage.

              English, having the foolhardy development of dumping the second person plural out of usage, a pronoun which carries considerable usefulness, needed to be corrected. Southerners and especially Texans led the way in rectifying this problem by reintroducing a practical 2nd person plural in the form of y’all.

              It’s a symbol of erudition.

              In my opinion.

            • If you are going to quote me, quote me accurately. It is the ethical thing to do. I used the word “hero,” not “pal.”

              Your comments betray admiration for Netanyahu. Read the definition of the word in the dictionary. How have I used it improperly?

              Don’t forget that the U.S. overthrew the West-leaning democratic regime of Mohammed Mossadegh because he tried to nationalize Iraq’s oil reserves, installing the brutal Shah. Kindly explain the ethics of that action for me.

              • 1. Monica, I’m sorry, but you are just broadcasting ignorance. If one praises an individual’s conduct in a particular instance, that does not translate into a belief that the individual is a “hero.” The man is doing his job. That’s admirable, but it does not make me an admirer of Netanyahu.

                2. Your “expert” argument is beyond incompetent. The issue is trust and leadership. Read the post. Amanpour has no expertise whatsoever in leadership. She has never led a nation, or any complex organization. Neither has Jon Stewart. Neither has a claim to trust, either. Stewart slants his “analysis” to what he thinks his audience will find funny. Amanpour, as I just wrote, has admitted that she does not believe in objective reporting.

                3. You show your substitution of ignorance for logic by being in the evident embrace of consequentialism. The fact that other actions and policies and warning based on Netanyahu’s legitimate distrust of Iran or others did not prove prescient in no way indicates that those were unwise or inappropriate. That is what you don’t comprehend about the existential explanation that should have enlightened you, but apparently didn’t. Were the measures taken in anticipation of Y2K or Swine Flu “crying wolf”? Of course not (well, you don’t get the “Of course,” but its appropriate.)

                4. It would have been negligent, foolish, insane and indeed criminal for leaders not to take those threats seriously, just as it would be all of those for a leader to allow another nation with a miserable record of backing down in international confrontations and making bad decisions negotiate for the life of his nation without alarm and suspicion.

                5. You haven’t made a coherent argument, or dealt with the real issues. Again, arguing you is a waste of time, as your “position,” such as it is, is not interesting, valid or relevant, just inadequate.If you can’t tell that that arguing “expertise” and then using Jon Stewart riffs as authority makes you look desperate, then you are, as I said earlier, hopeless.

                6. “Don’t forget that the U.S. overthrew the West-leaning democratic regime of Mohammed Mossadegh because he tried to nationalize Iraq’s oil reserves, installing the brutal Shah. Kindly explain the ethics of that action for me.”

                7. This, of course, is more flailing, and has nothing to do with the issue at hand. WHY Iran has the regime it does is of absolutely no interest to Israel at this point, none at all. I would ask you to explain the tortured theory whereby you raise this irrelevant fact of history—yup, the U.S. wiped out a lot of Native American tribes too—to explain why a news pundit’s biased and addled theory of why Israel shouldn’t fear a nation that keeps saying it wants to flatten it, but I really don’t care. This is like arguing about environmental policy with a 13 year old.

          • I think when Jack takes his first read of this page of the blog today you will have no choice but to. This post is not only ridiculous and mocking (“why don’t you give them Long Island?”. Seriously?), but it crosses the line into an attack on Jack. Those don’t tend to end well. If I had to guess, I’d say you are probably a student who has not yet completed her degree, who else would take her cues on serious topics from pop culture? You, miss, are a would-be Helen Thomas (I can’t say that name without bile coming into my mouth), thinking you know it all and the rest of the unsophisticated world needs to hurry up and catch up with you, because you are getting impatient. There’s a word for that: insufferable. As it is I don’t suffer fools gladly. I suffer the insufferable not at all.

              • (sound of basketball being slamdunked) $10 says that Monica still thinks she “schooled” or “owned” you and everyone else she clashed with. People like her just talk at you, not to you.

                  • With someone who just rants? I have to say it kind of depends on the situation. If it’s just ranting in an online forum that really is nothing but a time waster, your best bet is to just disengage, or just surf right by, there is no benefit and you’ll just give yourself a headache. If it’s in an employment setting, you have your remedies. If it’s in a friendship or even familial situation, you sometimes have to tell whoever that “this is a conversation we can’t have” or that “we have to agree to disagree.” If they are wise they will disengage.

              • Awwww . . . I enjoyed the knee-jerk touchy-feely, let’s all get along analysis. It was refreshing and . . . Oh, forget it. I tried to be diplomatic but I just couldn’t keep it up.


                • I do have to say, though, that Monica and Christiane represent the modern thought among Leftists and Progressives. How else can you explain the numbers of Democrats in Congress participating in the boycott of his speech? How else can you explain the responses of Obama (Speaking in the Oval Office alongside Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Obama said he didn’t watch the speech, but had skimmed over Netanyahu’s remarks and found “there was nothing new.) and Pelosi (“I almost cried over his horribly insulting speech.”) to his speech? That is pretty damaging commentary, if you ask me. Are we really to believe that Obama didn’t watch the speech? If so, then how in the name of Mike, can he state with any seriousness that the speech didn’t offer anything new? Oh . . . Wait. . . We’ve heard that before: “I don’t know the facts . . . but police officer acted stupidly.” Will we see a Gefilte Fish Summit in the near future featuring Obama, Netanyahu, Abbas, The Supreme Ayatollah of Iran, and Biden enjoying Middle Eastern cuisine, discussing Israeli – Palestinian – Iranian relations? Heaven help us.

                  Did Boehner breach protocol by inviting him without White House notice? Maybe. There is some debate about whether Boehner advised the White House much earlier on a ‘negative notice’ type basis (“We want Netanyahu to address Congress. Let us know if you object . . .”). The White House’s objection seemed pretty silly to me: “He is trailing in the polls and we don’t want to appear biased in a way that would have an impact on Israel’s elections (especially to reelect him . . .)”


                  • 1. I don’t think Monica is smart or informed enough to represent anyone except dumb, biased, ignorant people who aren’t sufficiently self aware.

                    2. I don’t know why anyone hasn’t pointed this out, but if Netanyahu had the perfect proposal, he would have rendered it hopeless by issuing it from his own mouth. Is Obama really, really so clueless that he doesn’t comprehend this? (oh, sure he is.)

                    3. I really think Pelosi may be senile.

                    4. I can excuse the walkout as symbolic protest over disrespect to POTUS.

          • ALL: Maureen is banned. I banned her even before I read the earlier comment that I in fact spammed to ban her, where she decided to apply her ignorance to insult my credentials without having in fact seen my credentials. I’m not dignifying her idiotic analysis of whether I am an ethics expert or not with a rebuttal, except to point out that my CV, which she has not read (it’s not on line) includes reference to more than 200 ethics courses and seminars, many given multiple times, that I have created and delivered to Fortune 500 companies, bar associations, law firms, professional associations, accountants, students and more. I am, in fact, giving such a seminar today. I have been accepted as an ethics expert in legal proceedings, and hired to teach ethics for a respected law school. There is usually no “certification” in the field of ethics and compliance. I know one legal ethicist who acquired a Masters degree in legal ethics, and he is one of about ten in the country, if that. Expertise does not require a degree. It requires hard work, passion, study, and demonstrable success.

            Monica’s not qualified by temperment, experience or intelligence to contend here, and she’s gone. If any of her silly blatherings sneak through my spam wall, bear with me—they won’t be up long.

            However, the contest is still on until the end of the week!!!

        • My suggestion to you, Monica, if you do not like Jack’s analysis, which is spot on, by the way, is LEAVE. DON’T COME BACK. I am not usurping Jack’s right to ban people from this site, but outright stupidity deserves comment and suggestion.

        • Uh about a half dozen people have debunked her. Substantively.

          Don’t show up if you can’t handle a spirited discussion. He’ll, don’t show up if your feathers are ruffled that easily. We weren’t even hard on you.

    • Well, this isn’t going to win any prizes, but…sorry…she’s also an idiot.

      “Genocidal…dystopian regime” exactly describes the Soviet Union “all those years ago.” And the only reason they didn’t get to “spray nuclear weapons all over the region” is because the United States had more of them. She’s acting as if the entire Communist nightmare of the 20th century didn’t actually kill 100 million people; it was all just some red herring cooked up by McCarthy. People who aren’t idiots don’t say things like that.

      Iran may not be a superpower like the USSR was, but they’re dangerous enough if your country is the size of New Jersey and they want you dead.

    • My entry for the movie: 😉
      When it comes to national survival, there is no such thing as “half a loaf” – are we saying that it would be okay if Iran wiped out only 49.99999% of Israel? Netanyahu knows that is a foolhardy notion at best, as should most any rational person.

      Incidentally, why did the Soviets become more reasonable? Because Reagan was building up the American military – and making it a priority. He also put tons of pressure on the Soviets in other ways, like getting the Saudis to ramp up production (which killed Soviet oil exports).

      Read the book Victory by Peter Schweizer for some of the real history behind the Reagan strategy that won the Cold War. Many of Obama’s political persuasion back then said the Soviet Union couldn’t be taken down. Yet Reagan did it without firing a shot in anger.

      So why is it that Obama’s defenders on this react to strongly to efforts to replicate that strategy against Iran, which is no Soviet Union? Granted, this theocratic regime’s leadership may be less mentally stable/sane, but Iran presently has far less that can hurt the United States or its allies.

      So, why can’t they do the responsible thing and take down this regime?

    • “Christiane Amanpour is a highly-respected veteran foreign journalist”

      Brian Williams is was a highly-respected journalist. Highly respected, honestly, in those types of circles, doesn’t really mean much. It just means, you’ve done your time, shmoozed with the right people, and said the right America/Western Culture denigrating things to the right people. Great. By those standards, half the Sandimas High School Theater Club are highly-respected journalists…

      “who has undoubtedly forgotten more about the region than you will ever know.”

      So, probably not qualified to speak on the topic?

      I’m guessing…

      But either way, this is hardly a qualifier either, and if anything reveals a likely bias. Something a journalist should fight, which no doubt she doesn’t. Remember, she’s highly-respected, and in modern journalism, you have to grossly biased to be respected. And trust me, in her circles, anti-Israel bias is the norm.

      “She was born in Tehran,”


      “and educated in a Catholic school in England.”

      Wasn’t the author of the James Bond novels also educated in one? That’s a pretty cool factoid. I wonder if she had to wear one of those short plaid skirts…retch.

      “She covered the Iran-Iraq war, the fall of European communism, and Gulf War I,”

      Nifty resume. But all rounding out your appeal to authority.

      “and unlike Bill Oh,Really?, her boots were on the ground.”

      Bill O’Reilly has something to do with this?

      “Your hero Netanyahu was caught out as a liar,, according to leaked cables from Mossad (the Iranians have enough U-204 to make a few bombs, but are neither ready to nor apparently interested in taking the next step). His apparent self-interest is in his own political future, and maintaining control over American foreign policy. And of course, he would overlook facts that do not suit him. But Amanpour knows the facts, and Bibi’s game.”

      You should probably educate yourself on the nuances of Geopolitics. These little things called Geopolitical Imperatives hinge exclusively on Survival. They follow a very rigid pattern, followed by EVERY SINGLE NATION, customized of course by the constraints of geography. Rule Number 1 of Geopolitics: When facing an Existential Threat, the only appropriate option is to overreact.

      Let me say that again:

      The 1st Rule of Geopolitics: When facing an Existential Threat, the ONLY appropriate option is to OVERREACT.

      Just for Effect:

      When facing an Existential Threat, the ONLY appropriate option is to OVERREACT.

      When Iran says they want to wipe Israel off the map, that isn’t a joke. WORLD LEADERS do not joke. What they say is their Vision for the world. Only fools discount what World Leaders say….

      Wait, let me clarify, Only fools discount what *Serious* World Leaders say…and there is no reason, none whatsoever, to believe the Iranian leadership isn’t serious. Now, in case you aren’t familiar with what an existential threat is, a nation with the capability to destroy you that declares an intent to destroy you is what we call an “existential threat”. You’ll note the root word for “existential” is “existence”.

      Now, right now, Iran doesn’t possess the capability to destroy Israel. But that is Obviously what is in question. Isn’t it?

      So IF Iran gains the ability to destroy Israel, what must Israel do? Refer to Rule #1. Overreact. The only option.

      Well, in a game of nuclear holocaust, overreaction means that if Iran can get a bomb in 20 years, Israel has to act like it can get a bomb tomorrow. Plain and simple. He may have “lied”, but that is part of his overreaction. And he must. It is that cut and dry. It is that serious.

      The one variable in all of this that can change? Iran’s hatred of Israel. Stop indicating a sincere desire to destroy every last Jew on the face of the planet (as Iran’s proxy communicated), then perhaps Israel won’t have to overreact to your desire to become a nuclear power. Funny how getting over genocidal hatred can really lead to more world peace.

      Now Iran isn’t completely irrational. It probably wouldn’t nuke Israel. But one of Iran’s challenges is keeping control over it’s wildly diverse interior…one of those methods of control is Islam, what better way to inspire the faithful than to hate Jews. So they popped off about annihilating Israel. Well, Israel has ZERO reason to assume that whatever Iran says to keep control over it’s interior shouldn’t be taken seriously.

      As long as Iran does not backtrack on it’s commentary about Israel’s existence, Israel must take all action to forestall or stop Iranian capability.

      “The cost of yet another needless conflict in the Middle East would be Saudi oil, as one shore of the Strait of Hormuz is in Iran.”

      Are you serious? Are you f-ing serious? You’re entire tone on this topic derives straight from Leftist talking points and now you are going to say we need to worry about our sources of oil? Geez… here I thought we hated wars over oil…

      You have noticed, that as of late, the Saudis aren’t our primary source of oil, right?

      “Worse yet, continuance of the status quo strengthens Iranian hard-liners, whose grip becomes more tenuous with every passing year owing to demographic changes (remember the Green Revolution?).”

      Geopolitical rules apply just as much internally as externally. Dying creatures become desperate and do desperate things. A dying vicious creature that doesn’t want to die should be trusted even less than while it was thriving. Your comment only undermines your conclusion.

      “Moreover, the Iranians could build a nuke in a few years, especially with Pakistan’s help (don’t forget that they have nukes, and are only a little less crazy).”

      Does this not undermine your previous commentary about Netanyahu not needing to worry about how quickly Iran can get a nuke?

      “And can we even AFFORD another multi-trillion dollar boondoggle in the Middle East?”

      1) I’m not sure invasion of Iran is necessary. So this is a fallacious argument.

      2) I’m not sure the invasion of Iraq was a boondoggle…well at least not until Obama royally screwed the pooch.

      “The same thing WAS said of the Soviet Union. Have you seen the video of Nikita Khruschev, banging his shoe?”

      Hindsight bias. Back to Geopolitics. We had no reason not to believe the Soviets when they stated their vision for the world and we had no reason to wait until they had the capacity to fulfill that vision. Another rule of Geopolitics: Wait until it is too late to act, and it will be too late to act. Therefore you must act when it may seem to early.

      “The art of negotiation is in knowing when to take half a loaf. This might be one of those times.”

      There’s no reason to negotiate. The West still has MIGHT…if it would just friggin care. But it doesn’t. So between War or Dishonor, it picks Dishonor. Only it will still get War.

      “Hysteria is Bibi’s stock in trade, and his speech should be seen in that light.”

      Geopolitical Rule #1.

      “Amanpour knows of what she speaks, and deserves to be taken seriously.”

      And yet, you still haven’t made a single argument for why she is right other than saying she is Christiane Amanpour.

        • I should clarify, when I say “WORLD LEADERS do not joke.” I mean when they are communicating to foreign powers or to their people. World Leaders do joke when they think their remarks are private or obviously intended as a joke.

          Reagan gets a pass on “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

      • “The cost of yet another needless conflict in the Middle East would be Saudi oil, as one shore of the Strait of Hormuz is in Iran.”

        Are you serious? Are you f-ing serious? You’re entire tone on this topic derives straight from Leftist talking points and now you are going to say we need to worry about our sources of oil? Geez… here I thought we hated wars over oil…

        You have noticed, that as of late, the Saudis aren’t our primary source of oil, right?”

        I am not happy with that commentary by me. Ugh. It makes it out like Saudi oil *should* be a factor in decision making. Even though it probably is, strategically, it *shouldn’t be*.

        Even if Saudi oil was our overwhelming source, the threat of losing access or increasing the cost of access to it IS NOT an ethical consideration when it comes to protecting Israel.

      • I would respond in detail, but Jack doesn’t seem to countenance dissent, and has already advised me that I have worn out my welcome. All I will say in response is that you have justified Kim Jong-Un’s pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons (“the ONLY appropriate option is to OVERREACT”). After all, who gets to decide what is or is not an “existential threat”?

        • And if he was facing an existential threat, I wouldn’t put him past using nukes…

          Fortunately, despite how we cast most world leaders, they are generally rational and can weigh which conduct will secure their existence, and which conduct will hasten it’s end. Kim Jong Un, using nukes, would hasten his demise.

          But, don’t let that confuse you, many leaders teeter on irrationality… Kim Jong Un being one of them, Ahmadenijad isn’t far behind…

          Which is precisely why they must be watched, countered, and contained.

    • Christiane Amanpour’s credentials as a “highly respected” journalist were tarnished years ago in Bosnia when she said, when accused of being pro-Muslim (and overly emotional in her delivery) that it wasn’t important to be neutral because when you are neutral you become an accomplice. No, Christiane, when you are neutral you become a fact and truth teller, which is the job of the journalist, not to be some kind of adventurer trying to sensationalize one side or the other in a fight, whichever you might think is right. She’s also half-Iranian, hmmmmm, does anyone else here think that might at least give the appearance of bias to the point where she should be extra careful NOT to appear biased, not the other way around? The mention of her credentials vs. Bill O’Reilly’s is irrelevant to this discussion and a cheap shot to blunt or silence expected conservative criticism.

      Netanyahu, a twice-wounded and decorated Special Forces captain, whose brother was killed in Operation Thunderbolt, might also know something about having boots on the ground. He also authored “Terrorism: How the West Can Win,” in or before 1988, which touched on every single issue that came to the forefront here only after 9/11. In other words, he was out ahead of the curve on Islamic terror. He also has access to a fair amount of classified material, both from the Mossad and probably other agencies, that Amanpour will never get near. Saying she knows the facts, implying she knows them better than the prime minister of one of only two democracies in the region is bare idiocy. “Control over American foreign policy?” That verges dangerously close to the old chestnut “that all the problems in the region are because of the JOOOOOOS!” Do you really want to go there?

      The hard-liners’ grip becomes more tenuous each year? How tenuous can it be when every candidate for high office must have the imprimatur of the supreme leader, himself an Islamic hard-liner, unaccountable to anyone and incapable of being removed without a coup? Even in the Communist countries the leadership wasn’t THAT untouchable, witness Nikita Krushchev being pushed out by his own party when his policies became erratic and the Cuban Missile gambit failed to net him the complete win he wanted. Pakistan and Iran cooperating to build a nuke? The Pakistanis and their leaders might be a little erratic, but they know which side the bread is buttered on, and they know the US will put up with a lot from them, but they won’t put up with that.

      Jack already got it precisely right as to the comparison with the USSR, and I’d argue Iran in some ways could be even more dangerous than Nazi Germany, which had similar policies aimed at the destruction of particular peoples. The Nazis and the Communists were both unspeakably evil, but they worshipped power only. Power is no good to anyone who is not alive to enjoy it. That’s why when the Germans were beaten, for the most part they surrendered, save Hitler, Goebbels and a few other extreme ones. That’s also why the USSR stepped back when they saw Reagan, Thatcher, and the other NATO leaders deploying cruise missiles that could whack them in 20 minutes and Trident submarines that they could never seriously hope to find at sea. Suicide was not high on their list of things to achieve. I would make a comparison with Imperial Japan, where it was all about dying for the divine emperor and going to meet your ancestors in the great beyond, whereas defeat meant eternal shame. It was this toxic brand of religious fanaticism that made Japanese soldiers make banzai charges until they were all dead, and pilots crash explosives-laden planes and even manned missiles into US aircraft carriers. The Iranian leadership is dangerously close to being this level of fanatic (I hesitate to use the word zealot because I think fanatic is more appropriate) and MIGHT be crazy enough to risk the horrible damage a nuclear attack on Israel might do for the sake of Allah and 72 virgins. Only a fool takes a chance on a roll of that level of dice.

      Of course sometimes you take half a loaf when the whole loaf can’t be had…when you’re divvying up resources or port access or something mundane like that. Israel is dealing with a potential existential threat, and there is no such thing as half existence or half sovereignty. Faced with destruction or Finlandization any nation worth its salt will fight, and rightly so.

      Monica, I don’t know you. I can’t say whether you are looking at the world through the blue lenses of the Democratic Party and therefore can’t see how anyone associated with the other side might have a point, or if you are looking through the rose-colored lenses of the pacifist and dismiss anyone who stands up to evil or tyranny as a cowboy or dangerous because he might make the tyrant angry. What I can say is that you are looking at this situation with a very incomplete set of facts, enough to be dangerous. I will also say that you are putting your faith completely in the wrong person and the wrong type of people. Journalists have their place, and it’s a very important one, but essentially scoffing at a speech from an elected national leader who’s trying to keep his nation safe while accepting a criticism from a known biased reporter with no special expertise tells me you are not looking for truth, you are looking for confirmation wherever you find it. In this case your confirmation source is dead wrong, and I am sorry to say so are you.

    • At first I wasn’t sure if this was a response from Christiane Amanpour’s PR group. I then thought about what I was taught about geopolitics during college and the comment falls right into the ‘a bad deal is better than no deal’ position in negotiations. Christiane Amanpour’s positions are striking, though not unexpected from the prevailing main stream media. The general review of Netanyahu’s speech concluded that it was over the top and full of bravado. The views expressed by Amanpour and her defenders drip with condescension and naivete. The Iranian government doesn’t care about world perceptions. In fact, the Iranian government scoffs ah the West with the highest contempt and ridicule.

      I think Texagg04 sums it up with his take down, especially considering his comment about “Rule Number 1 of Geopolitics: When facing an Existential Threat, the only appropriate option is to overreact” and Jack’s many comments that a country’s prime minister or leader has a moral and ethical obligation to protect its citizenry.

      History seems to suggest that genocidal thoughts shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed at the delusional ravings or a mad man. “Mein Kampf” outlined Hitler’s plans. What was the result? I recently saw a documentary called “Night Will Fall” on HBO, documenting the making of two World War II documentaries about Nazi genocide. Powerful and gut-wrenching imagery. I fully appreciate Israel’s hard-line stance with its adversaries in the region. Israel’s position is: “Well, we waited for the world to help the Jews in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, and look where that got us. We aren’t doing that again. If Iran, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, or other groups openly declare their intent to destroy the state of Israel, we are going to take them at face value, believe that is their intent, and respond accordingly. Proportionality is a pipe dream. We will hit them and hit them hard.” I cannot find fault with that position.


  2. Monica not withstanding, here is what is going to happen if Iran gets a nuke:

    1) They will give it to Hamas/Hezbollah and/or Al-Quaeda/ISIS. Would ANYBODY like to guess what will happen next.
    2) Iran will equip one of it’s Intermediate Range Missiles with one and toss it at Tel-Aviv. Any idea what happens next?
    No matter if one or the other of these scenarios doesn’t happen…one will, certainly. Can you say World War III? And WE are unlikely to survive it.

    Who is this woman, anyway?

    • Good analysis. But they wouldn’t give it to ISIS.

      Right after Jews, extremist Shiites (Iran) hate extremist Sunnis (ISIS), and hate them so much that they wouldn’t empower them to help them kill Jews since it involves empowering them.

      • And annoyingly so, killing the Jews has no strategic value related to Jews. Rather, it provides a nice neutral party to eliminate for Shia Iran to assert dominance over a predominantly Sunni middle east.

        For Iran to expand, it must go into Iraq – to the East is Mountains, to the south is Ocean, to the North is the Caspian sea, to the Northwest is Mountains, and to the Northeast is useless and expensive to defend Turkmenistan. So, expansion to the west is the first step. Obama has given them that opening…you’ll note their active assistance to the Iraqi military in combating ISIS. Give it a few years and Baghdad will be a puppet. So that puts Iran bordered in the West & Southwest by Sunni nations, that Iran can’t dominate. It can’t dominate Turkey, nor can it dominate Saudi Arabia, and because of those two it can’t dominate any of the lesser lights of the region. So it has to make a statement. It has to find someone in the prison yard to beat the snot out of so the others cower.

        It would slowly gain hegemony over the middle east. This the US cannot afford. This is why the US needed a unified Iraq – a unified mess of Shia, Sunni & Kurd, right smack dab in the middle of that area to keep a hegemony from every hoping to form.

        • To be clear, all isn’t lost in that arena to counter an middle eastern hegemony. Our best bets at this point are

          1) a reunified Iraq, which I don’t see happening anytime soon barring another full scale deployment.

          2) de facto or even de jure acknowledgment of a Kurdish state and bolstering the hell out of it with efforts to reconcile the factionalism between Turkey’s Kurds and Iran’s Kurds and Iraq’s Kurds withou outrigt secession from turkey or Iran.

  3. Why is she a respected reporter on foreign events? Because she has an accent and she always speaks contemptuously of the American people.

    The liberal mainstream has certain facts that must be held no matter the evidence. If you just listen to them and join the correct side of history, you too can understand the wisdom of Christiane Amanpour.

    Israel is wrong. They must be held to the same moral standard as European nations who aren’t facing constant terrorist attacks. By this standard, the Israelis are oppressors and need to be treated as a hate group.

    Muslim’s can’t be held to the same standard as Israel because they are the underdogs. No Arab nation has ever attacked Israel, all those wars were wars of conquest by a brutal Israel.

    The Israelis have no valid complaints about their Arab neighbors.None of them were ever stripped of their property and citizenship and forced to move to Israel.

    All Israel is Palestinian territory. Jews have no business in the middle east. If they would just leave or die, the Middle East can have peace.

    Iran is an ancient, civilized nation. They have a superior culture to the US and we should follow their lead in foreign affairs. They would never engage in a bitter war with a neighboring country and they super special definitely wouldn’t use any weapons of mass destruction. at their disposal (like chemical weapons). Ask the Iraqis if you doubt. They would never do anything brutal or barbaric like kidnap and hold hostage an entire embassy staff. Iran only threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the map because they are Jews and Jews deserve no better. You can always trust the Iranians to abide by any nuclear treaty. They would never build giant, secret, underground nuclear facilities that the US would be forced to disable with an advanced computer virus.

    The US is always wrong. We are the most backward, most racist, most imperialistic country in the history of the world. We have built our entire country by robbing, conquering, and oppressing other countries. That is why everyone in the world hates us and no one ever wants to immigrate to the US. We need to give other countries what they demand from us, then they will like us. This is what President Obama says and our standing on the world stage has greatly improved under his guidance.

    If you just submit to the unquestionable rightness of the points above, you too can be as correct and sophisticated as Mrs Amanpour.

      • No one has yet to explain to me how Israel’s bombing of Gaza is more of a war crime than America’s bombing of Japan in the 1940’s.

      • “Now we have a real horse race!” Seems more like three different one-horse races — The competition filly turned up early at the starting gate, left a few prancing footprints, nayed and snorted a bit, turned tail and galloped for home. The three contenders got in good workouts, though. Too bad there’s no way to make the Monicas stick around for at least one turn around the track … always at the rear.

    • If you just submit to the unquestionable rightness of the points above, you too can be as correct and sophisticated as Mrs Amanpour.
      Your post reminded me of any essay that was being passed around in email in the early 2000s.
      Although that one covered different topics of current events at the time, it was still selling the same message that America is bad.
      If I find it I will post it.

  4. My wife’s comments: “She’s French, That explains everything—her appeal to the left, her orientation toward appeasement, her lack of respect for the Jews, her fear of force.”

    • What do you expect from a nation whose best warrior was a teenage girl and whose best commander was only born French by an accident of history? (had things played differently Napoleon might have been born Genoese, and an earlier unified Italy might have become the dominant force on the continent).

  5. Jihad is not Nikita Khruschev shoe banging. Religious fanatics openly advocating blowing Israel off the Earth is not saber rattling. Couple this with the fact that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism – this point even our apologist President concedes and we all have reason to worry. But reason and logic are trumped by soundbites in the romper room of modern day political discourse. Netanyahu is a spoiled child because he concludes that once Iran has a nuclear weapon it wont be long before Hammas, Hezbollah, Al Queda or ISIS will have a nuclear weapon (credit to the prior poster). Netanyahu further reasons that once this occurs; Tel Aviv will be first in the crosshairs. The nerve of that brat!

    At the risk of waxing too dramatic, the future of our nation, and maybe the planet, depends on the ability to appreciate and address the danger of militant Islamic states possessing nuclear weapons. Israel understands the threat because they are surrounded by it – this aint their first rodeo. We should listen more and swagger less. American politicians should save the vitriol and name calling for the machete wielding murderers who deserve that and much more. We owe the Prime Minister an apology. This is no way to treat friends.

  6. There are several differences.

    Iran’s nuclear capability is limited,,

    I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops.

    Actually I think more like 1 million initially, mostly Jews and Arabs. Then an equal number of Iranians.

    The late unlamented USSR could do rather worse than that.

    As regards risk – go ask any Ukrainian as to whether the USSR’s successor state of Russia is a threat or not. The Ukraine gave up far more nuclear capability than Iran is ever likely to possess in return for a guarantee of border integrity. Lesson learnt.

    With Iran the threat is comparable.Most of the populace doesn’t like the idea of mass megadeath, theirs or anyone else’s, but they don’t get a say in it any more than the populace in Putin’s Russia.

  7. You know who deserves to be taken even more seriously than the CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour regarding the crisis in the Mideast?

    The Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei. And I think he would disagree with the idea that Netanyahu’s speech was Strangelovian or that Netanyahu was engaging in hysteria. I don’t think he would want anyone to imply that he is soft on Israel. And from what he has said, Israel has quite a bit to be worried about. I’m going to take his word for it. Even though Amanpour is a very respected reporter.

    • Hahaha. We are only fighting because we were encouraged to take down an epic ethics fail here. P.S. Those of you with ethical blind spots out there (and that includes yours truly) beware. Post an epic fail and YOU may be the prize.

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