Friday, September 19, 2008

Taheri analyizes the Obama/Zebari scandal

This is an excellent article by Amir Taheri. He has suffered a good deal of abuse from the Left. He didn’t say that; I say it. Since I received a good deal of angry irrationality for repeating what Zebari said, I became more and more interested in the matter. Zebari said “Obama asked me why, in view of a change of administration we were hurrying the signing of this special agreement, and why we did not wait until the coming of a new administration next year to agree on some issues and matters.” Taheri reported it and drew some obvious conclusions – inescapable conclusions; so what did the Left do? Did they call Zebari a liar? Did they say that Taheri misinterpreted what Zebari told him. No, they attacked Taheri. I participated in that in a small way by writing about it: Look at what Obama did, I wrote. It was wrong. It involved negotiations with a Foreign Country.

What was the Left’s response to me? It was to attack me. All pretense of rationality was abandoned and they resorted to that favorite Leftist tactic, verbal abuse. I checked the blogs. Most understood the significance of what Zebari said. Most agreed with Taheri’s analyses. As to the one’s that didn’t you could tell what was in their blog from their titles, titles such as “Taheri Smears Obama.”

I have this knee-jerk need to convert arguments into syllogistic logic. Here’s an article I attempted to do that with, an article by Zachery Roth entitled “Noted Bamboozler Behind Latest Obama Smear.” I read his article with interest. Roth wrote, here’s what Taheri wrote, and quoted it; then said, but here’s the truth, and quoted what the Obama staff provided; which confirmed what Taheri wrote. Roth, like the Obama staff, seems not able to grasp the logic of the matter. The Obama staff claimed that Taheri confused “a long-term Status of Forces agreement with negations over a shorter-term drawdown”; which he didn’t, but even if he did, Obama admits to trying to get Zebari to delay approving the Status of Forces agreement until after the election. That’s negotiation with a foreign government, Zach.

Roth then abandons the issues and devotes the rest of his article to abusing Taheri for his past sins. Roth isn’t as forgiving as Obama who forgave the past sins of Bill Ayers and declared him rock solid establishment, even though a recent You Tube of Ayers speaking at an SDS reunion shows him to retain his revolutionary ideals.

I did a cursory check of these Leftist criticisms of Taheri by the way. They are he said/she said sorts of criticisms for the most part. The Iranian-born Taheri said someone who is now over in the U.S. [and presumably as respectable as Bill Ayers] was involved in the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran. This fellow denied it. Case close. I haven’t taken more than a cursory look at the allegations against Taheri, but I did notice that he is respected by major news outlets. They think his reputation is intact. And in a he/said, she/said situation, why does the Left assume Taheri is wrong and the fellow who denies being part of the 1979 Hostage crisis innocent? Why jump to that conclusion?

However, I didn’t spend much time reading that stuff because it is not relevant to the current situation. Taheri reported something and since Zebari didn’t contradict him, the report stands. We should move away from a “Taheri said / Zebari said / Obama said” construct and move ahead to a “Zebari said / Obama said” construct.

Taheri speaks of experienced democrats such as Edward Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Hillary Clinton who knew better than to speak with a foreign government about ongoing negotiations. Taheri wrote, “I first learned about that rule from Senator Edward Kennedy more than 30 years ago. During a visit to Tehran, Kennedy received a few Iranian reporters for a poolside chat. The big question at the time was negotiations between Washington and Tehran about massive arms contracts. When we asked Kennedy what he thought of those negotiations, his answer was simple: He would not comment on negotiations between his government and a foreign power, especially when abroad. That, he said, was one of the golden rules of American politics.”

What Obama was doing amounted to abrogating the negotiations of a sitting president. He said that not even the Iraqi government, which hated Saddam Hussein, abrogated the estimated $100 billion in foreign debt. What Obama did wasn’t quite that, “what Obama was attempting, however, was more original. It amounted to preemptive diplomacy used against one’s own government: opposing an agreement not yet negotiated and of the content of which he knew nothing. A neophyte in matters of politics and diplomacy, the young senator is certainly not wanting for originality.”

I received the most rabid, irrational frothing from the Left when I suggest that Obama was a neophyte, inexperienced and, unfortunately, possessing an overweening self-confidence. No experienced politician would do what he did, I wrote. I have read nothing to change that opinion.

Lawrence Helm

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