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Video: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Discusses WikiLeaks’ DiploDocuDump

November 29, 2010

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SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. Do we have enough room in here? I want to take a moment to discuss the recent news reports of classified documents that were illegally provided from United States Government computers. In my conversations with counterparts from around the world over the past few days, and in my meeting earlier today with Foreign Minister Davutoglu of Turkey, I have had very productive discussions on this issue.

The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems. This Administration is advancing a robust foreign policy that is focused on advancing America’s national interests and leading the world in solving the most complex challenges of our time, from fixing the global economy, to thwarting international terrorism, to stopping the spread of catastrophic weapons, to advancing human rights and universal values. In every country and in every region of the world, we are working with partners to pursue these aims.

So let’s be clear: this disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.

I am confident that the partnerships that the Obama Administration has worked so hard to build will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority – and we are proud of the progress that they have helped achieve – and they will remain at the center of our efforts.

I will not comment on or confirm what are alleged to be stolen State Department cables. But I can say that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential, including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations. I want to make clear that our official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but here in Washington. Our policy is a matter of public record, as reflected in our statements and our actions around the world.

I would also add that to the American people and to our friends and partners, I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information. I have directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department, in addition to new security safeguards at the Department of Defense and elsewhere to protect State Department information so that this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again.

Relations between governments aren’t the only concern created by the publication of this material. U.S. diplomats meet with local human rights workers, journalists, religious leaders, and others outside of governments who offer their own candid insights. These conversations also depend on trust and confidence. For example, if an anti-corruption activist shares information about official misconduct, or a social worker passes along documentation of sexual violence, revealing that person’s identity could have serious repercussions: imprisonment, torture, even death.

So whatever are the motives in disseminating these documents, it is clear that releasing them poses real risks to real people, and often to the very people who have dedicated their own lives to protecting others.

Now, I am aware that some may mistakenly applaud those responsible, so I want to set the record straight: There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends.

There have been examples in history in which official conduct has been made public in the name of exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds. This is not one of those cases. In contrast, what is being put on display in this cache of documents is the fact that American diplomats are doing the work we expect them to do. They are helping identify and prevent conflicts before they start. They are working hard every day to solve serious practical problems – to secure dangerous materials, to fight international crime, to assist human rights defenders, to restore our alliances, to ensure global economic stability. This is the role that America plays in the world. This is the role our diplomats play in serving America. And it should make every one of us proud.

The work of our diplomats doesn’t just benefit Americans, but also billions of others around the globe. In addition to endangering particular individuals, disclosures like these tear at the fabric of the proper function of responsible government.

People of good faith understand the need for sensitive diplomatic communications, both to protect the national interest and the global common interest. Every country, including the United States, must be able to have candid conversations about the people and nations with whom they deal. And every country, including the United States, must be able to have honest, private dialogue with other countries about issues of common concern. I know that diplomats around the world share this view – but this is not unique to diplomacy. In almost every profession – whether it’s law or journalism, finance or medicine or academia or running a small business – people rely on confidential communications to do their jobs. We count on the space of trust that confidentiality provides. When someone breaches that trust, we are all worse off for it. And so despite some of the rhetoric we’ve heard these past few days, confidential communications do not run counter to the public interest. They are fundamental to our ability to serve the public interest.

In America, we welcome genuine debates about pressing questions of public policy. We have elections about them. That is one of the greatest strengths of our democracy. It is part of who we are and it is a priority for this Administration. But stealing confidential documents and then releasing them without regard for the consequences does not serve the public good, and it is not the way to engage in a healthy debate.

In the past few days, I have spoken with many of my counterparts around the world, and we have all agreed that we will continue to focus on the issues and tasks at hand. In that spirit, President Obama and I remain committed to productive cooperation with our partners as we seek to build a better, more prosperous world for all.

Thank you, and I’d be glad to take a few questions.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll begin with Charlie Wolfson of CBS in his last week here covering the State Department.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Where are you going, Charlie?

QUESTION: I’ll (inaudible) into the sunset, but let me get to a question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, sir. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, are you embarrassed by these leaks personally, professionally? And what harm have the leaks done to the U.S. so far that you can determine from talking to your colleagues?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Charlie, as I said in my statement, and based on the many conversations that I’ve had with my counterparts, I am confident that the partnerships and relationships that we have built in this Administration will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority, a real centerpiece of our foreign policy, and we’re proud of the progress that we have made over the last 22 months.

Every single day, U.S. Government representatives from the entire government, not just from the State Department, engage with hundreds if not thousands of government representatives and members of civil society from around the world. They carry out the goals and the interests and the values of the United States. And it is imperative that we have candid reporting from those who are in the field working with their counterparts in order to inform our decision-making back here in Washington.

I can tell you that in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, “Well, don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.” (Laughter.) So I think that this is well understood in the diplomatic community as part of the give-and-take. And I would hope that we will be able to move beyond this and back to the business of working together on behalf of our common goals.

MR. CROWLEY: Kim Ghattas of BBC.


QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I was wondering whether you could tell us what you think your upcoming trip is going to look like. Presumably, a lot of the people who have been mentioned in those alleged cables are going to have conversations with you. Do you think it’s going to cause you discomfort over the coming week as you engage in conversations with those leaders?

And I know you don’t want to comment on the particulars of the cables, but one issue that has been brought up into the daylight is the debate about Iran. What do you think the impact is going to be of those documents on the debate about Iran in the coming weeks and months?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Kim, you’re right. And I don’t know if you’re going on this trip or not, but we will be seeing dozens of my counterparts in Astana, and then as I go on from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and then ending up in Bahrain for the Manama dialogue. And I will continue the conversations that I have started with some in person and over the phone over the last days, and I will seek out others because I want personally to impress upon them the importance that I place on the kind of open, productive discussions that we have had to date and my intention to continue working closely with them.

Obviously, this is a matter of great concern, because we don’t want anyone in any of the countries that could be affected by these alleged leaks here to have any doubts about our intentions and our about commitments. That’s why I stressed in my remarks that policy is made in Washington. The President and I have been very clear about our goals and objectives in dealing with the full range of global challenges that we face. And we will continue to be so and we will continue to look for every opportunity to work with our friends and partners and allies around the world and to deal in a very clear-eyed way with those with whom we have differences, which of course brings me to Iran.

I think that it should not be a surprise to anyone that Iran is a source of great concern not only in the United States, that what comes through in every meeting that I have anywhere in the world is a concern about Iranian actions and intentions. So if anything, any of the comments that are being reported on allegedly from the cables confirm the fact that Iran poses a very serious threat in the eyes of many of her neighbors, and a serious concern far beyond her region.

That is why the international community came together to pass the strongest possible sanctions against Iran. It did not happen because the United States went out and said, “Please do this for us.” It happened because countries, once they evaluated the evidence concerning Iran’s actions and intentions, reached the same conclusion that the United States reached – that we must do whatever we can to muster the international community to take action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.

So if anyone reading the stories about these alleged cables thinks carefully, what they will conclude is that the concern about Iran is well founded, widely shared, and will continue to be at the source of the policy that we pursue with likeminded nations to try to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ve got to let the Secretary get to her airplane and get to her trip. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will leave you in P.J.’s very good hands. Thank you.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, did you talk to anyone in Pakistan or India?


QUESTION: Thank you, Madam. (Inaudible).

MR. CROWLEY: What we’ll do is we’ll take, say, a 30-minute filing break, and then we’ll reconvene in the Briefing Room and continue our discussion.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. PYW permalink
    November 29, 2010 6:37 pm

    She’s handling this well, as usual. If anyone can weather this, it’s Hillary.

  2. KMF permalink
    November 29, 2010 7:05 pm

    If you want a more in depth look at the types of information in the cables, don’t rely on the NY Times, which is picking and choosing what it thinks is important (ie. Iran being a terrible threat) while ignoring stories that show Israel is playing a very dangerous game. How can we condemn Iran for doing certain things when Israel and the US rely on the very same illegal and violent tactics of the people we oppose? Oh yeah, special rules for us and Israel. Don’t expect the Hasbara Times to focus on the specifics of this:

    “Dagan began the meeting by thanking the US for its support of Israel, as well as for a recent $30 billion aid package.

    The Mossad chief then conceded that US analysis of Iran’s alleged nuclear capabilities differed from Israel’s, but remarked that such differences were essentially irrelevant and that if need be Israel would take action alone.

    “The threat is obvious, even if we have a different timetable,” he said. “If we want to postpone their acquisition of a nuclear capability, then we have to invest time and effort ourselves.”

    Philip Giraldi, a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and the Central Intelligence Agency, who served for eighteen years in Turkey, believes Dagan’s comment that Israel will have to “invest time and effort ourselves” in dealing with Iran was, in essence, a veiled threat.

    “It is essentially setting up a situation in which the threat of Israel acting alone becomes a wedge issue to force the US to do something so that it will be able to manage the situation rather than respond to Israeli initiatives,” Giraldi told Raw Story on Sunday. “It pushes Washington into planning a military strike to force the Israelis to stand down on their own plans.”

    Robert Baer — a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who spent his career stationed in the Middle East, including in Iraqi Kurdistan and on whom the Academy Award winning movie Syriana is based — interprets Dagan’s suggestion as a violent one.

    When asked what he thought forced regime change meant in this context with respect to support for the Azeris, Kurds, and Baluchs, Baer told Raw Story, “it means give them money so they can set off bombs – the Mad Max approach.”

    Dagan suggested that all five pillars be enacted simultaneously, including regime change, implying there was no need to allow time for the other pillars to work, including economic sanctions and political pressure. This would have put the U.S in a difficult position, given its history in Iran.

    Those clandestine efforts continued over the next year, amid widespread reports that the CIA was behind “a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials.”

    Any softening, however, was short-lived. On July 21, 2007, Burns and Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams met with representatives of Iranian ethnic groups in the US to discuss (pdf) Iran’s nuclear policies. And in August, Burns joined the Israeli foreign minister in Jerusalem to sign a new military aid package amounting to $30 billion over ten years — an increase of 25% from previous levels.

    • Thain permalink
      November 29, 2010 7:25 pm

      Oh, come on KMF- terrorism is something only OTHER countries do. If we start a coup, violently overthrow a government, kill tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians in a war based on lies, if we take part in targeted assassinations of Iranians or blow up nuclear scientists that’s not terrorism! That’s the greater good. It’s terrorism if Hezbollah does it. If Israel does it, it’s justified because if you say it’s not then you obviously don’t understand how vulnerable Israel is and how all Jewish people are threatened with extinction because Iran wants to wipe them off the map even though they have no nukes and even if they did they would be stupid to use them because Israel has over 200 nukes!

      Shhh…but don’t tell the NYT. They are having a LOT of fun creating their own little narrative over there in Manhattan.

  3. KMF permalink
    November 29, 2010 7:10 pm

    And what is with this psychobabble micromanagement on the part of Secretary Clinton? Do we really care if Kirchner is overly anxious or is our problem that she’s the POTUS of a leftist country that DARES to stand up to the US on occassion. Hillary ought to be a little more concerned with that nutjob Karzai that we are throwing money at knowing damn well he’s snorting it up his nose and stuffing it in private international bank accounts.

    Seems like Hillary has a personal interest in this one. Maybe it hits a little too close to home:

    • filipino-american4hrc permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:44 pm

      “And what is with this psychobabble micromanagement on the part of Secretary Clinton? Do we really care if Kirchner is overly anxious”

      I think the questions in her cable are generally legitimate, whether from the standpoint of “knowing the enemy” or simply “knowing the other” — understanding personalities/behavior is standard procedure in organizational management (a lot of psychologists made money out of advising CEOs on human resource management and organizational psychology), and if you’re a negotiator who has to play mental and emotional games, you have to know these things so that you will know how to behave and respond accordingly. It sounds dirty and invasive, but we know it’s not unique to diplomacy and espionage. Hillary herself had been subjected to 20 years of “psycho-babble” — legitimate or not — and I bet during Bill’s presidency and her own presidential campaign, powers around the world were trying to figure her out and whether Bill would be the real power behind the presidential seal.

      What I’m more interested in is the National HUMINT that was the basis for her cable to collect a wide range of private information on UN diplomats, and was apparently hatched in the first 200 days or so of the Obama administration. There was an initial report in CNN International that the practice had been in place since Condoleeza Rice’s SoS stint, but that little factoid was dropped in subsequent reporting.

  4. pondskipper permalink
    November 29, 2010 8:37 pm

    I think most people with half a brain will understand that what is said in public is not always the same as what is said behind closed doors. That is, true, as Secretary Clinton said of many professional relationships and especially in the delicate minefield of international relationships. That said I would guess there are a number of countries who will not be happy that this has come to light. Saudi Arabia has certainly been playing one role in public for its Islamist population and another behind the scenes encouraging the US to bomb Iran. Whilst it surely no surprise that many ME countries are as worried about Iran’s nuclear programme upsetting the balance of power in the region as Israel, having their duplicity exposed will be uncomfortable for them. Personally I mistrust SA as much if not more than Israel. Israel at least has the excuse of it defence needs to explain its paranoia. SA seeks to play both sides off against the middle, get someone else (USA) to do the dirty deed and make more money as the price of oil rises. Much as I despise these leaks I do guiltily enjoy seeing the Saudis caught out for once. Still there are probably other cables amongst the thousands that contradict this impression. Papers such as the Guardian are cherry picking the ones that support their own agendas.

  5. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    November 29, 2010 11:43 pm

    I asked a journalist friend, Peter Shaplan, his reactions to the NY Times decision to publish WikiLeaks and thought I’d share his reply:

    • November 30, 2010 6:45 am

      I agree in part, disagree in part. I’m conflicted about this- I really am- and I try to pretend that Hillary Clinton isn’t part of this at all so that I can be more objective.

      I think a lot of what was dumped was unnecessary gossip and doesn’t inform the public. I also feel that a lot of this stuff was meant to be kept confidential. But I can’t help but escape the feeling that our foreign policy in public is very different than our foreign policy in private. We say one thing and do another. Do we have a right to know that our tax dollars are being blown by Hamid Karzai’s corrupt brother and the US just keeps throwing money at him in the hopes of reigning him in? Do we have a right to know that the State Dept. seemed to know all along that the Chinese politburo was behind the Google hacking attack? Does the US public have a right to know that its diplomatic corp may be breaking the law with respect to spying on UN officials and blurring the line between the work done by the State Dept. and the work done by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, even if this is the way it’s “always been done?” Does the US public have a right to know that some of our allies are funding and supporting terrorism while we obsessively focus on Iran because it’s politically convenient? Does the public have the right to know if we’ve been funding Turkish extremist groups we publicly condemn or that we may be considering a possibly violent regime change in Iran? I honestly don’t know. And I mean that.

      I’m not naive, I do realize there is a sort of “this happens all the time, everyone does it” aspect to this and that is in fact probably the case. At the same time I get nervous when journalists defend government secrecy. With each WikiLeaks document release (including the Iraq and Afghan war docs) I can’t help but feel like “national security” is being used as an excuse by our leaders to justify things that they know we would never support and I think that’s problematic. I also get the feeling that our leaders aren’t being honest with us about what is really going on in these wars we seem to be fighting everywhere. Is it ok for Obama to be bombing Yemen without the authorization of Congress? Clearly he did it with some sort of executive authority. I’m worried about the ever-expanding use of “state secrets” and executive power at the expense of democratic debate over policies.

      I generally feel like whistleblowers are justified when they feel they have no choice because they are uncovering govt or organizational wrongdoing. I’m not yet sure if that is the case here. This just seems like one big document dump irrespective of its worth or whether it truly falls under “whistleblowing”- and I’m not completely sure it does.

      That said, I get nervous when journalists become beholden to those in power and try to protect the government from accountability and embarrassment, b/c that’s problematic too.

      • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
        November 30, 2010 11:17 am

        To put this in the starkest possible terms, some of the more interesting and relevant cables were about Arab leaders, notably Saudi Arabia, calling for the US to “cut off the head of the snake” (Iran). This was actually news to me and oddly reassuring — not because I think we should go to war wirh Iran, G-d forbid, but because it appears we are not uniformally vilified and completely isolated among Arab countries (no matter what they feel obliged to say publically). But was it wise to make this public? Call them cowards, but Saudi Arabia and others clearly have no interest in making themselves new targets of terrorist attacks. I can understand that. And I think the document dump has done just that — created a list of new targets for terrorists. Is it realistic to expect the State Dept/DOD to issue public memos detailing that the US has known all along about Israel’s systematic assasination of Iranian nuclear scientists or Stuxnet (this is pure speculation on my part, but not
        ludicrous)? Does making public Hillary’s qualms about Cristina Kirchner’s mental stability help our shaky alliance with Argentina? I think my friend’s point was that the DocuDump has mostly ignited the predictable outcries from the left about the evils of our government and from the right about treason without inspiring real debate about whether the decision to publish was legal, advisable, or should become accepted standard operating procedure. Do we really want Assante deciding what should or shouldn’t be released? What are his criteria? Can he possibly know the broader context for making such decisions? Or if his
        stance is to release everything without
        using an edit button, is THAT truly in the best interest of the proverbial
        “people”? Personally, while I am uneasy about some of the covert operations our government engages in to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power (and I’m sure we don’t know the half of it), do I think world peace would be preserved by preventing it? I do, and apparently so
        do many of Iran’s neighbors. Do you advocaye TOTAL transparency or some redacted version of total transparency? Who decides on the redactions? I certainly don’t want
        Assante (or the NY Times for that matter) dictating what the public
        needs or doesn’t need to know about
        our foreign policy.

  6. KMF permalink
    November 30, 2010 8:33 am

    It’s ok for Jews to be intolerant racists but imagine if over 50% of anybody said Jews should be encouraged to leave Israel or any country for that matter or that Arabs should receive more funding than Jews or if anyone said they would be uncomfortable with Jewish neighbors etc. etc. There’s sort of a double standard when it comes to Jewish people expressing intolerant views. When those same views are expressed about them however, watch out!

    Over 50% say Arabs and Jews should have equal rights but then every other statistic in the study negates that by saying that Jews should basically be favored over Arabs in most every aspect of life in Israel.

    But it’s all ok because it’s Israel.

  7. AmericanPatriot permalink
    November 30, 2010 8:55 am

    KMF is clearly an Arabist who hates Israel.

    Thain is a traitor who should be hung from a post in the village square, with his friend Julian Assange at his side.

    Stacey is just a tool for covering up the wrongdoing of Secretary Clinton. This site is nothing but propaganda and she’s a dimwit liberal which makes it all the more hilarious.

    There’s a reason Hillary was so close to Dick Morris for all those years- they both played dirty and loved to destroy opponents using any means necessary. The fact that Morris left in disgrace and is now a political opportunist doesnt really change that. Had he not gone on his toe-sucking binge the two would probably still be as thick as thieves. He’s spot on in his analysis of Hillary although I dont expect any of you tools to admit it:

    • November 30, 2010 10:15 am

      I wouldn’t take anything Dick Morris says seriously. The guy has shame. He’d auction off himself to the highest bidder and he seems motivated to bring down Democrats, and the Clintons in particular, based upon his own bitterness and desire for revenge although the Clintons didn’t do anything to him, he seemed to get into his own mess.

  8. November 30, 2010 10:19 am

    Back to the cables- I want to watch this segment of Olbermann (something you will usually never hear me say):

    I respect Col. Wilkerson a lot and he makes an interesting point at the end about how foreign leaders and their spokespeople may be telling the American diplomats things in order to confuse and obfuscate. Espionage and political brinkmanship goes both ways, after all.

    It also references something the MSM never wants to touch- the potential of Iran obtaining WMD’s isn’t really an imminent existential threat to Israel because Israel has nukes which are SUPPOSED to be a deterrent. What Iran’s nuclear ambitions do do is throw the geopolitical power balance off kilter and also presents a potential DEMOGRAPHIC problem for Israel. But those are not necessarily great reasons to engage in preemptive war. So that’s why we get all the “hey look over there” distractions and saber rattling.

  9. November 30, 2010 11:56 am

    @Carolyn- I find nothing surprising about some Arab states’ reaction to Iran the only thing interesting is the bluntness – anyone who knows the history of the region should hardly be surprised.

    Do I support TOTAL transparency about every single thing our government is doing? No, of course not. Are there things that absolutely should remain a government secret. Of course. Do I expect a public memo from the DoD or state dept. about assassinations of other leaders or scientists or computer viruses being used against our enemies? No, of course not. But that’s sort of another issu7e.

    As I said several times in my comment above, I am REALLY conflicted about this and much of what was published seems like confidential gossip and not really our need to know. I also believe I said over and over again that I didn’t really know whether we have a right to know some of what was contained in those documents. I certainly don’t have all the answers. While I certainly don’t think government is “bad” I do worry about government abuse of power and abuse of secrecy particularly after 9/11 because quite frankly, we KNOW for a FACT that our govt HAS engaged in illegal actions and lied to us- quite a few times. So I tend to think they have to earn my trust.

    That said, I would turn the question on you (and your friend) and ask “are you at all concerned with government wrongdoing/illegality or are you just willing to trust that everybody does it or in the alternative, that so long as it’s being done supposedlywith our best interests in mind, it’s all ok?” Are you at all worried about the ever-growing govt secrecy and lack of accountability regarding what may be being done in our (US citizens) names? You seem to be imply that because Iran’s program would be a threat to world peace, we are justified in doing anything to stop it. What about Noth Korea’s program, or China’s or Pakistan’s nukes? Are they justified in doing anything to stop us, or to stop Israel or Great Britain? We should try to look at some of these things from the perspective of other people and nations at times- maybe then we’d understand why people at times don’t trust us or why they have lost faith in us.

    What about US legitimacy? How can we condemn hamas for using violence when Israel and the US use violence and break international and domestic law to achieve our goals? Do international laws count for anything or is that just naive? Do they apply to us or just to “them?” So long as its the US and our allies breaking the laws and blowing people up and assassinating leaders, it’s ok, but as soon as Iran or someone we don’t like does it, they are a threat to world peace?

    We may not even notice the hypocrisy but you can bet the rest of the world does- while we demonize Iran and talk about democracy and human rights we ignore Saudi Arabia’s support for terrorists. Same goes for Turkey and bunch of African states and of course our clients in Afghanistan. Should the State Dept. be spying on UN officials? Should we be planning the overthrow of governments and paying off despots? Is any of that our business? Again, I don’t know. But I find the utter lack of discussion of those questions to be troubling. It’s not just about whether the NYT or the Guardian were right to publish but how about this- were some of the underlying actions of the government an abuse of power and thus perhaps they make themselves more open to public scrutiny?

    Again, I DON’T KNOW the answers to these things but I am concerned about some of it. I do worry about the US abusing its power and losing its legitimacy to be a force for good in the world.

    • Thain permalink
      November 30, 2010 12:02 pm

      Stacy- why are you even bothering? Of course Carolyn is only interested in Iran because “G-d forbid” Israel had to stand alone! Never mind North Korea or Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or Yemen or international laws- Iran is a threat to World Peace! Of course, if North Korea bordered Israel we’d be more focused on them, as would Carolyne.

      What do you expect when all people do is gobble up the NYT version of events at the expense of other stuff in the cables? We wouldn’t want to look at international news would we? Or maybe go directly to the cables themselves, even ones that don’t discuss *gasp* Iran!

      • November 30, 2010 2:49 pm

        B/c this is a BLOG Thain and we discuss things here. Everyone has their particular interests and viewpoints and just because someone disagrees with you (or me) doesn’t mean they are wrong. Everybody’s observations are valid.

        I shouldn’t even have to say that.

      • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
        November 30, 2010 3:53 pm

        @ Thain – I actually do bother to read and digest your posts and go to the links you provide to get the broader picture. Apparently, you “don’t bother” to do the same with mine, having made up your mind about where to pidgeonhole me. If you had read my post and the link I provided (as stacy did), you would have realized that, in fact, I don’t accept the NY Times’ redactions as gospel truth. I also don’t trust Mr. Assante to provide us with the context needed to understand this mass of material that has been dumped on us. As my journalist friend wrote: The absence of real reporting from so many world capitals makes this all the more alarming. As news organizations have retrenched in the new world economics there are fewer feet on the ground and eyes balls on the scenes to report (and analyze) world and political events, offer perspective and interpretation based on a series of observations, variables and reportage.”

        I was opening a debate nit about the content of the cables but the fact that they were published

    • Steve permalink
      November 30, 2010 1:22 pm

      @stacy- I agree with a lot of what you said. You seem conflicted and I actually am too.

      Some people love authority though and they think that if the US is doing something wrong its better to just not know about it so long as we’re going after the bad guys.

      I am stunned at the naivete of some people regarding the whole Iran thing. Hello? There’s nothing new here in that Saudi Arabia and several other key states hate Iran and wants us to clean up the mess so THEY don’t have to. But SA is also funding terrorists so there’s the rub.

      I agree with Thain in one regard- people need to leave their NYT bubble and start questioning things- like why is the NYT so obsessively focused on Iran, hmmmm….There are literally hundreds of thousands of documents but all anyone talks about is Iran.

      The Israel-Firsters are THRILLED to hear some Arab countries want Iran dealt with because now they can claim that it’s not just poor victimized Israel pushing this impending war. The Israel-Firsters are so transparent with their mock concern about the fate of the world at the whim of Iran when the reality is North Korea and Pakistan are much larger threats. You should check out AIPAC’s tweets the last two days- they have been orgasmic because they are running around going “see Israel is right! We’re right”

      Lets talk about the cables where the Arab leaders were talking about how Israel is killing the US’ ability to do anything constructive in the Middle East and how the US is totally losing the war for the hearts and minds of Arabs throughout the world- because of our policies and because of Israel’s bratty behavior. Nah, lets not. Lets just stay buried in the NYT.

  10. Thain permalink
    November 30, 2010 11:57 am

    @rachel- of course Condi should have to.

  11. November 30, 2010 12:53 pm

    The desire of oil-rich Arab states for us to bomb Iran is not surprising. Their reasons include religion differences (the oil-rich states are dominated by Sunni dictators who propagate fundamentalist Sunni teachings, and Iran has Shia rule) and competition as energy producers.

    The US is not at all vilified by the rulers of Arab states. We prop up the dictators of these states. We sell arms, have military bases and vast complexes, and help their dictators to stay in power. Saudi Arabia’s rulers are extremely repressive. Many people in Saudi Arabia want the US out. But the royal family wants us there so they can remain and live a ridiculously luxurious life.

    The Arab states are not “new” targets for terrorists. AQ has as a founding principle the desire to get the US and royal family out of Saudi Arabia…

    • November 30, 2010 2:45 pm


    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      November 30, 2010 10:42 pm

      The relationship between al Qaeda and Iran demonstrates that Sunni-Shia divisions do not necessarily pose an insurmountable barrier to cooperation. Both insist their primary goal is to overthrow corrupt, secular, pro-Western regimes. I’ve never seen a list of which regimes they’re targetting — presumably
      Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt. But somewhere along the way, for Al Queda, the goal morphed into eliminating any American presence — civilian or military — from the Gulf Countries, and Bin Laden started making
      statements to the effect that “voices of
      opposition to the American occupation
      have begun to be heard at the level of
      the ruling families and governments of
      the Gulf countries.” Fatwahs were
      explicitly directed at the US and Israel,
      not the Gulf countries they had
      “corrupted.” It has been my impression that Iran in the mean time has way turned down it’s rhetoric against pro-Western Arab governments, and way amplified its anti-American and anti-Israeli
      rhetoric. It has become a war against Western influence. With the exception of terrorist activity in Egypt and Chechnya, I am hard-pressed to think of a single Al Quaeda sponsored or Iran-backed
      terrorist initiative directed at the corrupt regimes they wish to overthrow; some of the attacks have taken place in Saudi Arabia (like the bombings of housing complexes in Riyadh) or Kuwait (bombing of US military facility) the targets have been US troops, expat civilians, etc. And in other countries? A Jewish Center in Morocco; synogogues in Tunisia and Turkey; the British consulate in Istanbul; US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; the USS Cole in Yemen; an expat nightclub in Bali; blackhawks in Somalia; and the World Trade Center — twice. Not to mention foiled or aborted plans to assasinate Pope John Paul II and President Clinton or blow up a dozen US trasatlantic flights, the shoe bomber en route to Miami.
      So, yes, while it comes as no big surprise that Saudi Arabia still harbors a deep
      mistrust of Iran, to my knowledge neither he nor any of the other pro-Western Gulf countries has ever openly expressed a desire for us to destroy Iran. They’ve been too busy laying low and letting the other infidels take the heat.

      Time will tell what Iran’s response will be to the Saudi King’s leaked comments but I am pretty certain there will be a response in the form of a terrorist attack on Saudi soil — but this time directed at the Saudi regime. Of course, I hope I’m wrong.

  12. sf007 permalink
    December 1, 2010 12:25 am

    I believe in “greater good”. If the state dept’s actions can prevent harm, serving more people than hurting, then the actions are justified.


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