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America's Secret War
October 23, 2008 8:55 AM   Subscribe

America's Secret War: charming Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to the Iraq-Iran border to investigate claims that the United States is supporting militant groups that are attacking Iran.
posted by Surfin' Bird (31 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for this. I've been waiting to find out who the secret wars of this administration were against. See also this covert activity.
posted by Rykey at 9:09 AM on October 23, 2008


My career goal was always to be named Senior Charming Correspondent in a warzone. Where do I apply?

I see I've already lost the job competition for my second-choice vocation, Online Patronizing Label Dispenser.
posted by bicyclefish at 9:17 AM on October 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


This kind of destabilization effort has been going on for decades now. Part of the reason they needed Saddam out is that he stopped playing ball with the covert war to fracture the Iranian Republics hold on the majority minority groups inside their borders. I'm surprized anyone would be suddenly shocked by this some 30 or so years later.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:24 AM on October 23, 2008


the whole time I was watching this video of a dedicated journalist exposing the startling confrontation we seem to be engineering at the iraq/iran border, I kept thinking "my, she's charming!"
posted by shmegegge at 9:38 AM on October 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


yeah, so whats up with the charming?
posted by yonation at 9:52 AM on October 23, 2008


This is, what, Americans umpteenth supposedly "secret" war? Yeah. So. Howz that been working out for us? Not so great? Thought so.
posted by tkchrist at 9:57 AM on October 23, 2008


Is 'charming' some code for "I'd hit it?" Because that would be wrong.
posted by fixedgear at 10:00 AM on October 23, 2008


This is, what, Americans umpteenth supposedly "secret" war? Yeah. So. Howz that been working out for us? Not so great? Thought so.

i suppose this depends on who you mean when you say "us." it's sure as hell not working out so great for you and me, but i bet it's working incredibly well for messieurs Lockheed, Martin and Grumman.
posted by shmegegge at 10:00 AM on October 23, 2008


Re: "charming"
Sorry folks, I am not a dry rss feed, but a human being, and that kind of influences the way I write my posts.
posted by Surfin' Bird at 10:00 AM on October 23, 2008


yeah, so whats up with the charming?

Coupla obvious options: a) Surfin' Bird is the said Mariana van Zeller (or a colleague) or
b) Surfin' Bird finds Mariana van Zeller sexually attractive. In any event, with 15 FPPs over the last 4 months of membership, there have only been 4 comments, so don't expect an answer.
posted by spock at 10:04 AM on October 23, 2008


Sorry folks, I am not a dry rss feed, but a human being, and that kind of influences the way I write my posts.

i can't tell if this is him acknowledging that it might have been a little insensitive to refer to her as charming, or if this is him telling the rest of us to fuck off if we don't like it.
posted by shmegegge at 10:08 AM on October 23, 2008


don't derail. if you have a problem with the charming comment, take it to meta.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:12 AM on October 23, 2008


there have only been 4 comments

make that 5.

This was a very interesting video. The style was a refreshing change from The Evening News. Thanks for the post.
posted by TrinaSelwyn at 10:35 AM on October 23, 2008


On the char: "Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to the Iraq-Iran border etc etc"
sop it was the comment added to the post. Ah, well. It would be nice to think we remain free of such influences when males deal with women, but this is simply not the case. a good example: there is a very fine piece in the current issue of the New Yorker:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/10/27/081027fa_fact_mayer
on how Palin is a clever lady who leveraged her way to the VP slot and how a number of GOP advisors in fact made reference a number of times to her :"charms," ie, a hottie...so even among our very solid and serious conservbatives with all their gravitas, sex somehow manages to play a role.
posted by Postroad at 10:41 AM on October 23, 2008


The Saudi Secret
posted by hortense at 10:58 AM on October 23, 2008


Thanks for the post, decent bit of journalism. This article at Jamestown on the PJAK which also quotes Baer and notes "Whether the United States supports PJAK or not, the relationship between the two parties has been generally good so far." Interesting about the accusations that the U.S. supplied information to Turkey that allowed it to target attacks on the PJAK though.
posted by Abiezer at 11:00 AM on October 23, 2008


Skrulls!
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on October 23, 2008


Seymour Hersh in July this year.
posted by adamvasco at 11:02 AM on October 23, 2008


i suppose this depends on who you mean when you say "us." it's sure as hell not working out so great for you and me, but i bet it's working incredibly well for messieurs Lockheed, Martin and Grumman.

You left off messrs Ahmadinejad and Khomeini who reached the peak of their careers by railing against it. Congrats!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:06 AM on October 23, 2008


Burnt Offering: "How a 2003 secret overture from Tehran might have led to a deal on Iran's nuclear capacity -- if the Bush administration hadn't rebuffed it."
Within weeks, Iran, Syria, Libya, and Sudan all approached the United States through various channels to offer their help in the fight against al-Qaeda...It was the beginning of a period of extraordinary strategic cooperation between Iran and the United States... Iran offered search-and-rescue help, humanitarian assistance, and even advice on which targets to bomb in Afghanistan...The post-9-11 period was the most promising moment for a U.S. opening to Iran since the two countries cut their relations in 1979. But neoconservatives had no intention of letting the engagement initiative get off the ground, and they were well-positioned to ensure that it didn't.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:49 AM on October 23, 2008


Well at least we fucked over all the moderates.
posted by Artw at 11:59 AM on October 23, 2008


Interesting little video, but there is zero evidence in it that the US is fighting a proxy war through these groups. The PJAK fighters deny it; all we have is Ibrahim saying he was visited and refused some money, and his group isn't even conducting attacks according to the video.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:04 PM on October 23, 2008


We will neverl earn. In a few years, they'll blow us away with their US-funded weapons. Way to go!
posted by dasheekeejones at 12:07 PM on October 23, 2008


Production elements were way too slick for this to be taken seriously. Plus, this is old news.


Is 'charming' some code for "I'd hit it?"

In this case, I doubt it.
posted by Zambrano at 12:39 PM on October 23, 2008


Pollomacho - yeah, 2nd.

From “The Saudi Secret” link:

“Let us honestly answer this question: if one of the Iranian-based TV channels aired an interview with Osama bin Laden, wouldn't we see American tanks marching on the streets of Iranian cities (of course, if Washington had the power to wage such a war against Iran!)?”

Tanks march? *If* Washington had the power?
Y’know, we rolled right over Iraq without much effort. I’m not thumping the U.S. chest here. But the simple fact is if our society mobilized we could take on Iran and Pakistan with either arm and still be stomping Iraq with our feet. In WWII we went from producing 40 heavy tanks a year to producing over 2,000 a year. That’s back when production methods were primative compared to today.
If the U.S. mobilized and geared production for war it would be easy.

Of course, I could beat my dog to death in front of my kids pretty easily as well. And I think both situations roughly equal in the ‘catastrophically stupid’ category.

But again - this is to highlight the implicit point - if we could beat them so easily, why don’t we? Why keep it a secret?
Well, you’d need the broad consent of society to mobilize for war.

So what we’re doing is something other than (industrial) war.

This is the future face of conflict here. On the up side it’s nowhere near as costly in men, material, etc.
On the other hand (the far far more downside other hand) it can be done without the broad consent of the people of a given nation.

As Abiezer’s link (rightly) points out - even current allies might take aim against U.S. interests. (And maybe we’ve got it coming, we screwed the Kurds a number of times in the past)
But that’s the thing, it’s more about interests now than it is national identity or borders, etc. as it was in industrial wars.

Tanks aren’t really used in warfare.
Oh, they’re infantry support. They’ll support air ops or artillery. Or as an ersatz staging area for squads in urban ops (I’m thinking Chechnya in ‘00). But tank formations organized to fight and achieve a result, gain ground, all that? No. Not anymore.
Hell, not since the ‘70’s really (The Yom Kippur War, I’m thinking, and the Egyptian RAGs, Malyutka (Saggers) and other anti-tank weaponry really knocked the hell out of the Israelis... early on. But the Israelis adapted and took infantry in, k.o.ed their less mobile missile wielding Egyptian opponents. Granted the IDF followed up with tanks and made territorial gains - but I’d say that very roughly marked the end point of tank warfare)

I’m kind of on the fence here though - on the one hand - call it what it is, covert operations.
On the other - calling it that sort of lends to the idea that it’s the presidents ball game and congress doesn’t have a say on it.
Well, they’re ceding not only their control over the power to make war, but trying to brush off responsibility for it.
Which is just as catestrophically stupid for the U.S.
Opens us right up for a tyrant or a military coup, etc.
(foreign policy stuff aside of course)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:41 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


As always, Zambrano is on hand to project his own peculiar standards of female beauty on the rest of humanity. ;-)
posted by adamdschneider at 2:24 PM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


call it what it is, covert operations

Or an act of war, or a Gleiwitz incident.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:24 PM on October 23, 2008


"Charming" is what you get when you make the reporter the focus of the reportage. It seems to be a trend over at Current Vanguard; appearance trumps qualifications; journalists are more important than journalism. I mean, how hard would it be to find someone who actually speaks Chinese to do the reportage on Chongqing?
posted by klue at 10:39 PM on October 23, 2008


It seems to be a trend over at Current Vanguard; appearance trumps qualifications; journalists are more important than journalism. I mean, how hard would it be to find someone who actually speaks Chinese to do the reportage on Chongqing?

This is a style choice. Do you have a complaint about the quality of journalism? Do you feel current Vanguard's journalism suffers from making "the reporter the focus of the reportage?"
posted by effwerd at 8:29 AM on October 24, 2008


Bipartisanship and threats of war toward Iran
posted by homunculus at 12:59 PM on October 24, 2008


Iran Scared Of Non-Preconditions Negotiations
posted by homunculus at 3:30 PM on November 13, 2008


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