Cultural Sites Are No Crime

 

It should not be surprising that even commenters on Fox News would miss the obvious. President Trump tweeted about having 52 targets to match the 52 American hostages seized and held by the Khomeinist regime at its founding. He included the word “cultural” to describe at least one of the targets. Why is no one seeing the obvious here?

The US military does not develop target lists of international cultural treasures to smash. Who does not get this? President Trump is no LBJ, picking tactical targets. Surely everyone understands this. So, you can go with the obstinate position of someone like Ben Shapiro, certain that President Trump has no coherent foreign policy thoughts, and keep writing off every success as fortuitous and no thanks to The Great Big Ugly Man. On the other hand, you might just think for yourself for a moment.

President Trump took a briefing from Secretary of Defense Esper, General Milley, and Secretary of State Pompeo. We know this because they told us directly, in a short joint statement to the cameras. This was when the US military struck several Hezbollah targets in Iraq. Then Hezbollah attacked our embassy, under IRGC Quds Force orders, hearkening back to the 1979 attack in Iran. Then the leader of the IRGC Quds Force was allowed to fly into Iraq by the Iraqi Hezbollah officer who runs the Baghdad International Airport! That is the claim made by Oliver North on the Jim Bohannon Show on January 3.

So the American military killed him as a terrorist organization leader and as a foreign military officer coordinating attacks on our people.* See al Baghdadi and Admiral Yamamoto. This strike was certainly part of the options and capabilities our real national security experts briefed to President Trump, and it is reasonable to conclude that the “52” plan was also presented as part of the “and then what?”

So, given the particular set of lovelies in the Middle East, what do we all already know about sensitive or cultural sites? If I say “hospital, school, Hamas,” what comes to mind? If I say “Iraq, mosque, weapons” what comes to mind? We all kind of know that there are forces in the region that use the cover of innocent, non-military sites to store weapons, to plan, and even to launch attacks. In part, this tactic is defensive, a shield made of our own ethics, and in part it is offensive, seeking to draw an armed response that their co-belligerents in our society can use to damage European and American domestic public opinion.

A light goes on. President Trump is getting a threefer here: trolling domestic opposition, showing reasonable people he cares more for American lives than foreign buildings, and letting the ayatollahs know he knows they have bad stuff stashed in or under “cultural” sites. The president has to be loving the Democrats’ outraged response, and just wishing the next Democratic presidential primary debate was this week so they couldn’t get their heads on straight in front of the American people.

[UPDATE: 7 January 2020] Consider how Secretary of State Pompeo exposes Andrea Mitchel, who had just come back

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo Remarks to the Press [Excerpt]

PRESS BRIEFING ROOM

WASHINGTON, DC

JANUARY 7, 2020

…In Afghanistan, there was an aspect of that conflict that deserves more attention, and that is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s involvement there. Iran has refused to join the regional and international consensus for peace and is, in fact, today actively working to undermine the peace process by continuing its long global efforts to support militant groups there. Most people know about Iran’s proxy networks in the Arab world, but the regime also has a relationship with the Taliban and related groups, such as the Haqqanis, the Tora Bora, and the Mullah Dadullah group. The Taliban’s entanglement in Iran’s dirty work will only harm the Afghanistan peace process.

…QUESTION: So just to be clear, the Soleimani strike was part of the administration’s maximum pressure campaign, and going forward, the Iranians should understand, as they develop their calculus, that similar actions such as the Soleimani strike could well continue to be a feature of this maximum pressure campaign?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I think the President’s been unambiguous in his – both the remarks he made down in Florida as well as the tweets that he’s put out – about the seriousness with which we take this, the risk attendant that we are deeply aware of, and the preparations we’ve made to prevent those risks, as well as our determination that in the event the Iranians make another bad choice, that the President will respond in a way that he did last week, which was decisive, serious, and messaged Iran about the constraints that we are going to place on that regime so that it doesn’t continue to put American lives at risk.

At the end, our Iran policy is about protecting and defending the homeland and securing American lives. I know that the efforts that we have taken not only last week with the strike against Soleimani, but the strategy that we’ve employed, has saved American lives. I’m highly confident in that.

…SECRETARY POMPEO: Andrea, yes, ma’am. How are you?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much. A question about the issue of cultural sites, because the President said on Air Force One coming back, after you had been on the Sunday talk shows, that “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites. It doesn’t work that way.”

Defense Secretary Esper has made it clear that he would not follow an order to hit a cultural site, would – would be a war crime. I’m wondering whether you would also push back in your advice or in your role. And secondly —

SECRETARY POMPEO: You’re not really wondering, Andrea. You’re not really wondering.

QUESTION: Well, the President is saying this repeatedly —

SECRETARY POMPEO: I was unambiguous on Sunday. It is completely consistent with what the President has said.

QUESTION: No, but the President has —

SECRETARY POMPEO: We will take – every action we take will be consistent with the international rule of law. And you – the American people can rest assured that that’s the case.

QUESTION: But are cultural sites ruled out, sir?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Let me tell you who’s done damage to the Persian culture. It’s not the United States of America; it’s the ayatollah. If you want to look at who has denied religious freedom, if you want to know who has denied – the Persian culture is rich and steeped in history and intellect and they’ve denied the capacity for that culture to continue. If you go back and look at the holidays around Cyrus and Nowruz, they’ve not permitted people to celebrate. They’ve not allowed people that they’ve killed – that Qasem Soleimani killed – they’ve not allowed them to go mourn their family members. The real risk to Persian culture does not come from the United States of America.

QUESTION: Can I ask a —

QUESTION: Sir, could I follow up? And so —

SECRETARY POMPEO: That – there is no mistake about that.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, all. Everybody have a good day.

Secretary Esper bungled the “cultural” question, to the extent that he grants the hostile questioner’s Orange Man Bad premise instead of rejecting it, like Secretary Pompeo, and then answering:

Press Gaggle With Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley
JAN. 6, 2020

…SEC. ESPER: By the way, let me – let me elaborate on his answer because I know there’s another question floating around out there. We didn’t put any option on the table that we didn’t believe in and that we – we knew that – that we couldn’t execute.

And with each option we present the pros and cons, the cost and benefits. That’s what we do all the time. That’s my duty, my obligation. That’s his duty and obligation as well.

Q: And you talk about de-escalate with Iran. Well, you just killed one of their two-star generals. They clearly want to take revenge on that. How do you expect them to de-escalate when you kill one of their senior officers?

SEC. ESPER: How – how do you expect us not to respond after they’ve been killing our people for 20 years? Sulimani alone has the blood of hundreds of Americans. He’s wounded thousands of Americans and coalition partners.

So somehow them turning this around, he is a terrorist, a leader of terrorist organization who’s been killing and attacking Americans for 20 some years. And the blood is on his hands. He was planning attacks on American forces.

He was there on the ground with the leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, met him on the ground at the airplane, welcomed him so they can further coordinate attacks. This whole narrative that’s being turned around is – is – is just – is silly.

GEN. MILLEY: So you’ve got a very long history here of a guy. We know his history. Importantly we knew his future. I’m not going to go into the details of that, and I know that a lot of people are out there – I’ve seen words like, oh, the intel was razor thin. Very, very few people saw that intelligence. He and I saw that intelligence. And I will be happy, when the appropriate time comes in front of the proper committees and anybody else, through history and every – I’ll stand by the intelligence I saw, that – that was compelling, it was imminent, and it was very, very clear in scale, scope.

Did it exactly say who, what, when, where? No. But he was planning, coordinating, and synchronizing significant combat operations against U.S. military forces in the region and it was imminent.

…Q: For both of you if possible. The president has twice now, not hypothetical, said he is willing to strike cultural sites. Truly cultural sights not with weapons that makes them military targets. [This qualifying sentence is a lie, which Esper should have challenged.] So straight-up could you both say whether you are willing to target cultural sites?

SEC. ESPER: We will follow the laws of armed conflict.

Q: And that means no because targeting a cultural sight is a war crime?

SEC. ESPER: That’s – that’s the laws of armed conflict. [If the other guy hasn’t turned the cultural site into a shield for legitimate targets.]

Secretary Esper seemed a bit flustered at this point in the press gaggle. He had just had to deal with a subordinate command on the ground leaking or improperly circulating an unsigned memo advising the Iraqi government of full American military withdrawal. This was immediately in the usual suspects’ hands, as they quizzed the Secretary of Defense who had never seen or approved even a draft withdrawal statement. After that green-on-green bureaucratic friendly-fire incident, he was just a bit off message. He should have said something like:

“We have briefed the President on a number of contingency targets, and every one of them is a legitimate target, consistent with the laws of armed conflict as recognized in US law and treaties. The president has never asked me for any illegitimate targets. So, what I am telling you now is consistent with what President Trump has actually said, not what you say he said.”

However, what he did say reinforces that the Department of Defense is not ginning up illegitimate target sets. President Trump didn’t latch on to “culture” out of the blue; he got it from a briefing. Both Pompeo and Esper insist they comply with applicable laws. So, we are back to targets being briefed that included warnings about cultural sites. They should recommend a short phase that the president can use to clarify without giving away target identifications. Perhaps a tweet like this:

NO MORE HIDING BEHIND CULTURAL TREASURES. We know what is in, under, next door.


*It is worth noting that a strategic moment was largely unremarked, although the Washington Post and RT got the story [emphasis and comment added]:

The funeral procession for Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani began Saturday in Baghdad, where he was killed a day earlier by a U.S. drone strike. The next stops for Soleimani’s body were the Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala, sites that are holy for Shiite Muslims. Soleimani’s burial was scheduled for Tuesday in Kerman, his hometown in southeastern Iran, state media in Iran reported….

“In Najaf’s dusty warrens, Iran has bankrolled schools and charities, built elaborate mosques and nurtured links with religious scholars in a bid to undermine the local clergy, who have long been fiercely independent,” they wrote. “Clerics tied to Iran are promoting its particular brand of state-sponsored Shiite theology in the city’s seminaries and have been maneuvering to install one of their own as Iraq’s ‘marja,’ or supreme religious authority, Iraqi political operatives say.

That position is currently held by 89-year-old Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric who has opposed some of Iran’s core teachings around religious oversight of state affairs. [The full truth is that Sistani has the most senior voice, period, and has denounced the Khomenist regime for corrupting the faith. So, the Washington Post is lying by omission here.]

In November, during the height of protests against Iraq’s political establishment — including its links to Iran — protesters set fire to the Iranian Consulate in Najaf. [In other words, Iraqi Shiite faithful are rejecting the well-financed bully boys from Iran.]

So, this immediate response shows the level of penetration of Iraqi society by Iranians, who these same Iraqi Shiites fought to the death in the Iran-Iraq War. The Iranian regime exploited the most sacred sites in the Shia faith to advance their political objectives in the wake of the killing of their top general. It is the fecklessness of Bush the Second and Obama that allowed this bad turn of events after we ousted Saddam Hussein, a secular dictator who aligned himself with Sunni extremists after Desert Storm.

Published in Foreign Policy
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 96 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    The threat is a problem for any nation who is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, which clearly prohibit such attacks. When you violate the protocols, you will lose a lot of friends.

    You keep jumping past the several comments made here that point out the tendency of some countries to hide military forces and supply dumps inside those same “cultural” centers, or to place military targets next to such centers intentionally. Iranian-backed forces and their heavily-funded allies have the habit of placing “command centers” inside mosques and schools, for example.

    Trump’s strategy would NOT be a war crime, under the “military necessity” part of the Geneva Conventions, in those cases.

    On the other hand, Iran’s entire military strategy since the late 1970s has been “violate the Geneva Conventions early and often, while demanding that everyone else follow them to the letter.”

     

    • #61
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Hey, y’all, remember when the Ottoman Turks used the Parthenon as a gunpowder magazine and it blew up? Good times. Good times.

    • #62
  3. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):
    It is extremely important to fight wars in an ethical manner, but fighting ethically against an enemy that doesn’t fight ethically…well, that stuff looks good in cowboy movies.

    Once you abandon all principles, what are you left with? You are left with being as bad as the other guy.

    Look. WWII in the pacific was savage. The Japanese brutalized American bodies, and some of our guys returned the favor. But at no time did we resort to treating POWs in the same way. And the German POWs that were sent to the US actually had it quite good. They often were allowed to work in various areas (farming mostly) and many stayed or returned and married American girls.

    So we target, very specifically, a bad guy. I don’t think we want to start lobbing mortar shells into neighborhoods where the Iranian militias operate. Nor do we want to bomb these cultural sites. Ever.

    Here are some of these places.

    Please point to the part where I said we should abandon all principle. 

    • #63
  4. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):
    It is extremely important to fight wars in an ethical manner, but fighting ethically against an enemy that doesn’t fight ethically…well, that stuff looks good in cowboy movies.

    Once you abandon all principles, what are you left with? You are left with being as bad as the other guy.

    Look. WWII in the pacific was savage. The Japanese brutalized American bodies, and some of our guys returned the favor. But at no time did we resort to treating POWs in the same way. And the German POWs that were sent to the US actually had it quite good. They often were allowed to work in various areas (farming mostly) and many stayed or returned and married American girls.

    So we target, very specifically, a bad guy. I don’t think we want to start lobbing mortar shells into neighborhoods where the Iranian militias operate. Nor do we want to bomb these cultural sites. Ever.

    Here are some of these places.

     

    We just firebombed their cities.

    We took war to children. 

    Have you read Culture and Carnage?

    • #64
  5. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

     

    The source of my criticism is my deeply held conservative beliefs (slightly to the right of Attila the Hun).

    That’s offensive, Bill.   There is nothing conservative about Attila the Hun.  One doubts he has much sympathy for the individual rights and liberties of the people he conquered.

    • #65
  6. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Here is a cultural site in Iran:

    And another:

    Yes. And if the Khomenist regime has a part of their nuclear program under either one, it is a legitimate target. The risk, the blame, is entirely on the regime.

    • #66
  7. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Stina (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Important to their culture can mean a lot of things. I’m betting at least one of their oil refineries is called something like the Glory of Allah Oil Refinery.

    I’ll take it that we are talking actual architectural treasures, real religious sites, even places UNESCO might recognize as part of “world heritage.”

    I’d genuinely hate to see that, but after what happened in Syria with ISIS (that’s where the ancient statues were that ISIS destroyed, right?), I might be made not to care.

    Wait. The Taliban did it in Afghanistan, outside Pashtun homelands, and ISIS trashed Syrian history, so we should do the same because..? And that will really show….? This is completely missing the point of this post. President Trump will not let the Khomenist regime use classic Persian and second tier Shia sites as cover for strategic programs. Second tier? Yup. Pay the smallest attention to the story of Shia Islam and you find the most sacred ground is in the modern state of Iraq. This is why Iranian ayatollahs are the second tier theologically. Of course, our Ivy League foreign policy and military elite are trained into complete ignorance of this.

    I don’t get it. If it’s a bluff, you can’t reveal it’s a bluff or the bluff doesn’t work.

    I think there should be a priority list with the most sacred at the very bottom of that list. I hate Islam and think it is the devil’s own (no offense, Zafar :p), but I absolutely would hate to see that stuff laid to waste. And the Hagia Sophia shouldn’t even be on it (being originally a Christian site).

    But if this is just a bluff then it needs to be a convincing one and that requires following up on items 1-30 if 31 is a cultural site.

    No. Not a bluff, AND not a list of targets selected because of religious/cultural significance. Rather, a list of military/economic targets that include one or more sites using religious/cultural architecture as cover for military (likely nuclear program) activity.

    • #67
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):
    obvious

    It is obvious from the past three years that President Trump operates inside the law. It is obvious the military does not develop lists of cultural sites to destroy. It is obvious that people like the ayatollahs in Iran use non-combatant sites as cover (hospital/school/mosque). So, President Trump got a briefing on 52 legit high value targets, and was warned that one or more was co-located with a known cultural site.

    • #68
  9. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: …targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself….

    The President’s ignorance is simply stunning. Of this was actually true (and it is not) why would you ever say anything. And yes, targeting “cultural sites” is a war crime. The bombing of Dresden during WWII is still debated to this day.

    The military has multiple lists or prioritized targets, and the list depends on what you want to do (damage war production capability, damage their nuclear capability, prepare for a ground assault, etc..). And there is no fixed number. A friend of mine was an F-16 fighter pilot, and when he was stationed in Europe pre-1990, he had an assigned target in the USSR. It was a 3rd or 4th level target, a grass emergency airfield, but it was his (and he was quite proud of that).

    Trump’s threat will not be a deterrent for the Iran mullahs, possibly the opposite. So, Mr. President, just shut up.

    The question is this: what is the strategic plan in place to actually prevent Iranian retaliation?

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Why can’t the president, if he must make a threat, simply threaten to eliminate Iran’s ability to make war, proxy wars, export terrorism, etc.? Is that not enough? Better yet, why can’t he simply allow the actions he has taken so far speak for themselves and otherwise shut up? 

     

    As I explained, in the Middle East you can expect military/terror nodes/stuff to be co-located with “cultural” sites. See again “Hamas, hospital, school” and “Iraq, mosque, weapons.” See again “Qum, nuclear.”

    • #69
  10. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Hey, y’all, remember when the Ottoman Turks used the Parthenon as a gunpowder magazine and it blew up? Good times. Good times.

    Yup.

    • #70
  11. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    The “threat” to cultural centers is only a problem for the allies if they want it to be.

    The threat is a problem for any nation who is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, which clearly prohibit such attacks. When you violate the protocols, you will lose a lot of friends.

     

    You are choosing to ignore the sentences that follow. If you did not read them, then I invite you to do so. I you did but decided to exclude them from the quote above, then I think your eliding them for purposes of rebuttal is unfair.

    I did read the sentences following that which I quoted, and did not address them as they are false.  Hamas and Hezbollah do this, no evidence that Iran does so, in fact, their nuclear sites are not hidden in any cultural areas. And the cultural areas are open to tourists. I doubt that Rump knows the content of any of the Geneva protocols, nor cares. He simply spouted off a threat that he cannot legally act on. And the military would refuse such an order.

    Following D-Day, in France, the allies quickly learned that German snipers loved to be in the steeples of the Norman churches. Quite soon the allies took out the steeples as soon as they came upon a church. But they did so after ample evidence that the church was being used as such.

     

     

    • #71
  12. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    The source of my criticism is my deeply held conservative beliefs (slightly to the right of Attila the Hun).

    I knew Attila the Hun, Bill. I rode the plains with Attila the Hun. I burned towns with Attila the Hun, Bill, and trust me, you’re no Attila the Hun. 😉

    Got my touch fired up!

    But the pillaging has to be toned down.

    • #72
  13. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Clifford A. Brown: It is the fecklessness of Bush the Second and Obama that allowed this bad turn of events after we ousted Saddam Hussein, a secular dictator who aligned himself with Sunni extremists after Desert Storm.

    Saddam was a Sunni Muslim. The al Tikriti family/clan was Sunni. Saddam committed many atrocities against his Shiite countrymen. There was a Shiite revolt in 1991, after Desert Storm, and again in 1999. It would be expected that these groups would receive funding and support from Iran. al Qaeda in Iraq was headed by a Shiite, and these people opposed ISIS whose leader Baghdadi was Sunni. Saddam was a murdering no good SOB who deserved his fate, but he was not “secular”.

    The policy of the US was to continually push the Iraqi government to make concessions for Iraqi Shiites.

    Saddam murdered at least 1 million Iraqis. The number of people killed in his war with Iran is unknown (blame on both sides). I have no patience for anyone who says we should have left him alone. And no, we did not support Iraq during their war.

    • #73
  14. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    I doubt that Rump knows…

    Well, I don’t think I need to know any of your opinions about “Rump”. Have a blessed life.

    • #74
  15. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chris Cam… Coolidge
    MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chris Cam…
    @ChrisCampion

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I was unhappy with Bush, because he let his critics have a free pass without response.

    Somewhat dignified, was it not? This is not a school ground where taunts must be answered, and we teach our children not to behave this way.

     

    It’s not a taunt when you get punched in the face.

    Backing down invites more aggression.  Out here, anyway, in the real world.

    • #75
  16. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    The President’s ignorance is simply stunning.

    Accept that this is a frame that will keep you from considering any other alternative.

    I pray daily for any evidence that I am wrong.

    Trump said (in a tweet):

    “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites,” he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”

    Well, yes it does work that way. He is telling the Iranian people that he is not going to attack their military, he is not going after the Mullahs, he is coming after the people and what they care for.

    Where did he say that he is not going to attack their military/not going after the Mullahs? 

    • #76
  17. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):
    It is extremely important to fight wars in an ethical manner, but fighting ethically against an enemy that doesn’t fight ethically…well, that stuff looks good in cowboy movies.

    Once you abandon all principles, what are you left with? You are left with being as bad as the other guy.

    Look. WWII in the pacific was savage. The Japanese brutalized American bodies, and some of our guys returned the favor. But at no time did we resort to treating POWs in the same way. And the German POWs that were sent to the US actually had it quite good. They often were allowed to work in various areas (farming mostly) and many stayed or returned and married American girls.

    So we target, very specifically, a bad guy. I don’t think we want to start lobbing mortar shells into neighborhoods where the Iranian militias operate. Nor do we want to bomb these cultural sites. Ever.

    Here are some of these places.

     

    Man wasn’t made for the law, the law was made for man.

    In other words, mankind isn’t created to pay service to principle. Principle is put in place to protect or do good for mankind. If your principles mean many Americans Soldiers losing their lives fighting an endless war, and countless American Civilians losing their lives to terrorist attacks, then your principles be damned, because you’ve lost sight of what the principles were meant to protect.

    • #77
  18. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    No. Not a bluff, AND not a list of targets selected because of religious/cultural significance. Rather, a list of military/economic targets that include one or more sites using religious/cultural architecture as cover for military (likely nuclear program) activity.

    That wasn’t quite so clear to me at first. After reading much of what is being posted here, that part is now very obvious and i’m not feeling very queasy about it. I’d still hate to see one go, but thems the breaks.

    Wasn’t the original presidential house in the US burned in 1812? Or is that just an American Myth?

    • #78
  19. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    To consider:

    Fox News co-hosts Pete Hegseth and Ainsley Earhardt suggested on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s previous threat to target cultural sites may be justified, as the locations could be used to hide weapons, without citing evidence for the claim…

    Holly Dagres, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and editor of IranSource, told Newsweek that the claims were “utter nonsense.”

    “Iran’s cultural sites are visited by hundreds of thousands of Iranians annually and even by the few westerners that visit Iran,” Dagres noted. “Where would Iranian officials keep such weapons out of view?”

     

     

    • #79
  20. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Zafar (View Comment):
    “Iran’s cultural sites are visited by hundreds of thousands of Iranians annually and even by the few westerners that visit Iran,” Dagres noted. “Where would Iranian officials keep such weapons out of view?”

    Aren’t there secret rooms in the Vatican Library?

    And seriously – I doubt visitors have run of the entire site. There’s rooms in my own tiny church I have never been in and I’ve been there for 18 months.

    • #80
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Stina (View Comment):
    Wasn’t the original presidential house in the US burned in 1812? Or is that just an American Myth?

    Yes, burned by the British. Not a myth.

    • #81
  22. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Zafar (View Comment):

    To consider:

    Fox News co-hosts Pete Hegseth and Ainsley Earhardt suggested on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s previous threat to target cultural sites may be justified, as the locations could be used to hide weapons, without citing evidence for the claim…

    Holly Dagres, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and editor of IranSource, told Newsweek that the claims were “utter nonsense.”

    “Iran’s cultural sites are visited by hundreds of thousands of Iranians annually and even by the few westerners that visit Iran,” Dagres noted. “Where would Iranian officials keep such weapons out of view?”

    Way down a mile beneath the ground.

    • #82
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Zafar (View Comment):

    To consider:

    Fox News co-hosts Pete Hegseth and Ainsley Earhardt suggested on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s previous threat to target cultural sites may be justified, as the locations could be used to hide weapons, without citing evidence for the claim…

    Holly Dagres, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and editor of IranSource, told Newsweek that the claims were “utter nonsense.”

    “Iran’s cultural sites are visited by hundreds of thousands of Iranians annually and even by the few westerners that visit Iran,” Dagres noted. “Where would Iranian officials keep such weapons out of view?”

    Underneath? 

    Behind the doors marked ‘No Admittance’? 

    Frankly, most museums are like icebergs, they have vast underground areas to store the stuff not on display because of fragility or lack of interest. 

    • #83
  24. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: It is the fecklessness of Bush the Second and Obama that allowed this bad turn of events after we ousted Saddam Hussein, a secular dictator who aligned himself with Sunni extremists after Desert Storm.

    Saddam was a Sunni Muslim. The al Tikriti family/clan was Sunni. Saddam committed many atrocities against his Shiite countrymen. There was a Shiite revolt in 1991, after Desert Storm, and again in 1999. It would be expected that these groups would receive funding and support from Iran. al Qaeda in Iraq was headed by a Shiite, and these people opposed ISIS whose leader Baghdadi was Sunni. Saddam was a murdering no good SOB who deserved his fate, but he was not “secular”.

    The policy of the US was to continually push the Iraqi government to make concessions for Iraqi Shiites.

    Saddam murdered at least 1 million Iraqis. The number of people killed in his war with Iran is unknown (blame on both sides). I have no patience for anyone who says we should have left him alone. And no, we did not support Iraq during their war.

    Saddam  was secular. He adopted a Sunni extremist front, adding Koranic text to the entirely secular flag and eventually giving blood that was used, supposedly,  to write out a copy of the Koran. He did so when Bush the First failed to finish the job and, without the excuse of no history, did an Eisenhower, encouraging revolts in the north and south. Of course, I did not say in this post that we should have left him alone.

    The Marsh Arabs, Shia, were in no way the creatures of the Persian Khomenist regime. Ayatollah Sistani has been a bitter critic of the Khomenist regime, and they are working diligently to replace him with a compliant voice pretending to speak with authority from the ancient heart of the Shia faith. 

     

    • #84
  25. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Can you imagine? First door Christmas ornaments, second door spare Cossacks, third door Papal Reactor, fourth door relics….

    • #85
  26. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Can you imagine? First door Christmas ornaments, second door spare Cossacks, third door Papal Reactor, fourth door relics….

    You don’t want to know about the fifth door.

    • #86
  27. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Can you imagine? First door Christmas ornaments, second door spare Cossacks, third door Papal Reactor, fourth door relics….

    You don’t want to know about the fifth door.

    Or the green door. 

    • #87
  28. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    TBA (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Can you imagine? First door Christmas ornaments, second door spare Cossacks, third door Papal Reactor, fourth door relics….

    You don’t want to know about the fifth door.

    Or the green door.

    You have to be of a certain age to get that.

    • #88
  29. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Zafar (View Comment):

    To consider:

    Fox News co-hosts Pete Hegseth and Ainsley Earhardt suggested on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s previous threat to target cultural sites may be justified, as the locations could be used to hide weapons, without citing evidence for the claim…

    Holly Dagres, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and editor of IranSource, told Newsweek that the claims were “utter nonsense.”

    “Iran’s cultural sites are visited by hundreds of thousands of Iranians annually and even by the few westerners that visit Iran,” Dagres noted. “Where would Iranian officials keep such weapons out of view?”

    “The Atlantic Council” … yup. We’ll take that as authoritative, right along with John Kerry.

    The willful misdirection and feigned ignorance in Holly Dagres’ straw man is telling.

    • #89
  30. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    To consider:

    Fox News co-hosts Pete Hegseth and Ainsley Earhardt suggested on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s previous threat to target cultural sites may be justified, as the locations could be used to hide weapons, without citing evidence for the claim…

    Holly Dagres, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and editor of IranSource, told Newsweek that the claims were “utter nonsense.”

    “Iran’s cultural sites are visited by hundreds of thousands of Iranians annually and even by the few westerners that visit Iran,” Dagres noted. “Where would Iranian officials keep such weapons out of view?”

    “The Atlantic Council” … yup. We’ll take that as authoritative, right along with John Kerry.

    The willful misdirection and feigned ignorance in Holly Dagres’ straw man is telling.

    Still no evidence.

    • #90
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.