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  #301  
Old 06-26-2019, 10:30 AM
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Yep.

Here's the thing - catch a spy plane/drone unequivocally DEEP in your air space and you can shoot it down and come out of it fine. The international community will back you and the intruder might huff and puff a bit, but there is very little they can say to justify a retaliation. They're in the wrong by anyone's definition. Doesn't mean they won't, but the political cost is much higher.

Shoot down a spy on the edge of your territory and the intruder has plausible deniability and the political cover for armed retaliation. Especially if the intruder is a super-belligerent 800 lb gorilla called the United States. In this circumstance it is provocative, dangerous and dumb. Mostly the latter two, because the balance of power is so hugely asymmetrical. There is literally 0% chance Iran can come out ahead in an armed confrontation and its civilian populace is a lot more likely to suffer.

So what do you do when the U.S. is bullying you( and I disagree with Ravenman here, "bully" is perfectly appropriate ). Keep your goddamn head down and avoid being drawn into a fight you cannot win. Quietly work to circumvent sanctions as best you can by being the "good guy" in the scenario and get other countries to ignore them. Play the long game. Yeah, it's a shitty choice and you're going to suffer. But not as much as you will if a couple hundred Tomahawk missiles hit key installations.

That is not likely happen though, because Iran isn't much of a good guy. They're in fact a pretty shitty theocracy, with a big diplomatic chip on their shoulder. So we get this unfortunate situation instead.
Absolutely. Iran could be playing the downtrodden and wronged party to the hilt, basically playing up to the other signatories and demonstrating that they, at least, are the grown ups and will continue to honor the deal even if that snake America backed out. Sure, the US pulling out hurt them economically, and would hurt them more if Trump upped the stakes and started to go after other countries who are still abiding by the agreement, but the US can't go after everyone...not at the same time we are in a tense trade war with China. The worst thing Iran could do is what seemingly most posters in this thread say they should do...which is a stupid, futile and meaningless attack on a US drone, further upping the stakes. And this, after they have already been suspected in several attacks on oil tankers in the region. Attacking that US drone basically hurt them for no real gain...in fact, it hurt them AND they lost a lot internationally by doing so. Not only does it do nothing to the US's ability to monitor the area (unless anyone thinks that's the only recon asset we have in the region?), but it basically upped the hostility, and probably brought them to the brink of at least military retaliation from the US. Trump COULD have ordered something like the Syrian air field attacks...all he had to do was say the word and it would have happened.

Of course, I think the real reason they did this was more internal than external. They need to show the people, especially those under the boot but also the faithful, that they are in control and aren't going to take shit from hated America. This whole thing was a golden opportunity for the fundamentalist hardliners in the government to push back the more moderate (for Iran) elements who had struck this deal. The problem is, I don't think those hardliner types really think that they could push the US to strikes. They might feel, as Saddam did, that in the end the US would always back down. They don't realize that we have an idiot at the helm, and that he could use any pretext to lash out. I seriously doubt they understand how close they came to getting a few hundred tomahawks hitting their radar sites in the area and what that might have meant going forward...or how having the US do that would have put them in a corner with respect to their own internal politics and how they have riled up their own people. It could have (still could) take on a life of it's own, and they would have no choice but to hit back...which almost certainly would have made it even worse for them and their country. Hell, the worst thing that could happen is they actually manage to hurt the US by sinking one of our warships or, gods forbid, a carrier. THAT would be truly terrible, as the US would have no choice but to hit them with everything we have.

We are walking a tightrope in all of this, and we have an orange haired idiot on one balance point and a shitty, totalitarian regime driven by fundamentalist hardliners on the other, and both are doing their best to rock the boat and see if they can make the other one blink first. What a cluster fuck.
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  #302  
Old 06-26-2019, 10:33 AM
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I admit I don't recall seeing you, Bo, Dibble, or a few other of the participants saying anything that would come across as a condemnation of Iran attacking the Japanese tanker etc. In general, I've seen long lectures of how if any of us were in Iran's shoes, we'd be doing the same thing (or something like that).

Was there a condemnation that I have missed? Or do you oppose it? Because when I've posted it's a stupid and dangerous thing to do, I haven't seen many people agree with that, other than Tamerlane.


I think understanding the POV of the other party is the starting point for negotiations. Empathizing means not only understanding, but sharing the feelings of another. I do not share the feelings that Iran should blow up things.
Well for starters, I'm opposed to their development of nuclear weapons. Beyond that, I think Iran is a destabilizing force in the region, and they've taken advantage of power vacuums in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere to spread their influence (of course our wise foreign policy has helped make that happen, but I'll save that for another post). Sure, I oppose Iran's attacking the Japanese tanker in the strict sense that I don't like to see military activity carried out against civilian vessels. But I refuse to view this as black and white. Iran's behavior in this context is inextricably tied to:

a) a stated American policy of regime change that was without any clearly precipitated provocation;
b) economic and military activity that indicated the policy of regime change is already being carried into effect;
c) economic and political coercion of Japan and other countries that force countries to assist us in delivering and economic and political hammer to Iran; and,
d) a constant reminder just across their border of the value of restraint and hoping other countries will intervene on their behalf

Sorry, bud, but not every country is just gonna let us take over the way we want them to.

Last edited by asahi; 06-26-2019 at 10:34 AM.
  #303  
Old 06-26-2019, 10:45 AM
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I disagree with the characterization. "Punching back" is not the same as "punching" and in the Iranians eyes, they have only ever been punching back. The US has been punching Iran since 1953. Why is it so hard to understand that someone would punch back?
"Since"? The west's actions in 1953 were utterly reprehensible, no argument there, but other than that, how has the U.S ever "punched" Iran? And don't say by supporting the Shah's government - it was the Cold War. Virtually every government in the world was supported either by the U.S., or by the Soviet Union. Iran's position was hardly unique.

If anything, the U.S. has been Iran's biggest ally in recent years. After all, it handed them Iraq on a silver platter.
  #304  
Old 06-26-2019, 10:52 AM
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"Since"? The west's actions in 1953 were utterly reprehensible, no argument there, but other than that, how has the U.S ever "punched" Iran? And don't say by supporting the Shah's government - it was the Cold War. Virtually every government in the world was supported either by the U.S., or by the Soviet Union. Iran's position was hardly unique.

...That's kind of a terrible argument. "The US fucked with you but come on. They fucked with *everyone*, so that makes it OK and you have no right to be salty about it" ?
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  #305  
Old 06-26-2019, 10:55 AM
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...That's kind of a terrible argument. "The US fucked with you but come on. They fucked with *everyone*, so that makes it OK and you have no right to be salty about it" ?
Well, in fairness to Alessan, I think what he's saying (if I read him right) is that it's not just that the US fucked with everyone but so did the USSR. We both had client states, and yeah, backed the wrong horse.
  #306  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:21 AM
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...That's kind of a terrible argument. "The US fucked with you but come on. They fucked with *everyone*, so that makes it OK and you have no right to be salty about it" ?
But there's truth to it. Focusing on who started it isn't terribly productive in terms of avoiding or ending conflict. Look at the JCPOA, which I strongly support: talks on that could have focused on whether the US forced Iran's hand in seeking nuclear capabilities, or whether Iran just decided to be very evil and embark upon a plan to nuke Israel at the first opportunity.

As it happened, talks progressed on how to make a deal that met the different interests of all parties.

So now, in the context of the tensions today, you all can focus on what happened in 1953 or 1983; I'd rather concentrate on how we get out of this mess. Or, if you prefer, how about you distract your attention to just blaming everything on Trump so we can move forward.

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...how has the U.S ever "punched" Iran?
I would add that the Vincennes shooting down a civilian airliner was pretty bad. Really bad.

Last edited by Ravenman; 06-26-2019 at 11:22 AM.
  #307  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:30 AM
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In this context, would you assert that the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing was a defensible thing for Iran to sponsor?
Holy crap, again we're stoppered by communication difficulties. I would not use the word "defensible" in describing anything here; the word I would use is "understandable".

Yes, in the context of the larger conflict between Iran & the US perhaps, it is understandable that Iran would sponsor a bombing against a common enemy in an attempt to help their allies. Do you disagree?

Labeling this as a mutually-aggressive relationship is just wrong, tho, IMO. The US keeps poking Iran; Iran finds a way to poke back.
  #308  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:34 AM
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So now, in the context of the tensions today, you all can focus on what happened in 1953 or 1983; I'd rather concentrate on how we get out of this mess.
IMO you will not achieve this because you do not understand the mess. And you don't want to, apparently.

Because what you write is "I don't care what has happened to Iran; I don't care about their perspective; I don't care about their lives, their hopes, their dreams; they are not important."

Which is exactly why they keep fighting the US.

Empathize with your enemy, eh.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 06-26-2019 at 11:35 AM.
  #309  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:38 AM
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... Was there a condemnation that I have missed? Or do you oppose it? Because when I've posted it's a stupid and dangerous thing to do, I haven't seen many people agree with that, other than Tamerlane. ...
Just for the record, I agree with that too.
  #310  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:40 AM
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IMO you will not achieve this because you do not understand the mess. And you don't want to, apparently.

Because what you write is "I don't care what has happened to Iran; I don't care about their perspective; I don't care about their lives, their hopes, their dreams; they are not important."

Which is exactly why they keep fighting the US.

Empathize with your enemy.
Um...you do know there are many factions in Iran, yes? You basically want Ravenman to empathize with the hardliner fundamentalists. Why is that? Do you really think that Iranian's are in lock step on this? That the people are in lock step with their government...which is, as noted, a bunch of different factions?

Basically, I also don't give a rats ass what the fundamentalist hardliners want or feel they need to keep the boot on the necks of their nation. Fuck them. I don't care about their hopes and dreams of power. I do understand the historical context of how we got where we are. It's not nearly as one sided as you seem to think, and it's not just about the US poking them and the helpless Iranian's having to poke back. What you should be concerned with is how between our idiot president and those hardliners a lot of Iranian's who aren't in lockstep, as well as Americans and folks from other countries in the region or just trying to do trade in the region could be put in harms way because of the actions of a few.
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  #311  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:41 AM
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ETA: this is directed at Bo.

Actually, I've posted several times how I don't think Iranians should be killed in a war. So once again, your facile arguments are based on putting words in the mouths of people you don't agree with. Do you do this intentionally? Do you not understand that you do this? Or perhaps it's a compulsion you cannot control?

As I said before, I fully endorse understanding one's opponent. Even putting yourself in their shoes to understand their motivations. Empathizing -- as in taking on their feelings as your own -- is not needed, and sometimes can be abhorrent. How much do you, personally, empathize with Donald Trump?

Last edited by Ravenman; 06-26-2019 at 11:45 AM.
  #312  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:42 AM
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What you should be concerned with is how between our idiot president and those hardliners a lot of Iranian's who aren't in lockstep, as well as Americans and folks from other countries in the region or just trying to do trade in the region could be put in harms way because of the actions of a few.
I am very concerned by that; it's why I've been posting in these threads.
  #313  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:48 AM
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ETA: this is directed at Bo.

Actually, I've posted several times how I don't think Iranians should be killed in a war. So once again, your facile arguments are based on putting words in the mouths of people you don't agree with. Do you do this intentionally? Do you not understand that you do this? Or perhaps it's a compulsion you cannot control?
No, I don't do this. What happens is that you try and paint any attempt at getting you to clarify your poorly thought out and poorly written posts as "putting words in your mouth". It's a tiresome gaslighting tactic but it's also massively ineffective, so knock yourself out.

Good luck with that.
  #314  
Old 06-26-2019, 12:02 PM
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No, I don't do this. What happens is that you try and paint any attempt at getting you to clarify your poorly thought out and poorly written posts as "putting words in your mouth". It's a tiresome gaslighting tactic but it's also massively ineffective, so knock yourself out.

Good luck with that.
Me: I don't want anyone getting killed in a stupid war in the Middle East.
You: That's so unclear! You're saying that you don't care about Iranian lives! Just say it, "Iranian lives matter!"
Me: Iranian lives matter.
You: That's so unclear! Why do you want war?
Me: ....
  #315  
Old 06-26-2019, 12:47 PM
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...That's kind of a terrible argument. "The US fucked with you but come on. They fucked with *everyone*, so that makes it OK and you have no right to be salty about it" ?
The point is, Iran doesn't have some sort of special beef against the United States. Yes, America suppressed democracy there. Once. In 1953. For 20 minutes. But it's had plenty of opportunities to restore it since then, especially in the 40 years since the Shah was kicked out. The fact that they haven't done it since then means that it was never all that important to them in the first place.

If we were talking about, say, Vietnam, I'd understand why they would hate the U.S. But Iran? Sure, they might have some valid complaints, but most of their resentment and paranoia is of their own making.
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Old 06-26-2019, 01:04 PM
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Labeling this as a mutually-aggressive relationship is just wrong, tho, IMO. The US keeps poking Iran; Iran finds a way to poke back.
Mutually aggressive is perfectly appropriate, because Iran has not been practicing tit-for-tat defensive measures. You can substitute escalated for started if you like, but escalation is aggressive and Iran has not been a shrinking violet on the international stage. They haven't turned inwards since the revolution and tried to have a live and let live attitude towards their neighbors and the rest of the world. Like virtually all Persian regimes throughout history( and late Shah was absolutely no exception, with active U.S. backing and massive military sales he was looking to dominate the Gulf before he went down )they have striven for regional hegemony, quite aggressively so and with some success.

They have also sought to 'export the revolution' since 1979, again quite aggressively. Oddball exceptions like Islamic Jihad aside, this has been to a large extent superseded by the ideology of the Sunni salafist movement, which just has a lot more appeal as a radical alternative in the greater Sunni world. But they've found their niches whether it supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon, positioning themselves as the predominant influence on the Iraqi central government, propping up the Alawite regime in Syria, providing clandestine aid to the Houthis in Yemen or agitating for regime change in Bahrain.

I'm the last person to suggest the U.S. has clean hands or even hasn't been the belligerent in this current mess or a lot of the messes. I understand why Iran did what it did and why it does what it does - in my own amateurish way I've been studying Persian history and modern Iranian geopolitics off and on for decades. But understanding isn't the same as agreeing. From a practical, realpolitik POV it really doesn't matter if Iran was provoked in this particular instance. They fucked up IMHO, because their response was dumb and dangerous. For them as much or more than anyone else.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 06-26-2019 at 01:06 PM.
  #317  
Old 06-26-2019, 01:40 PM
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...in my own amateurish way I've been studying Persian history and modern Iranian geopolitics off and on for decades...
What of the theory that the upper and middle classes of Iran supported the Shah, and this religious government is a thing of the "great unwashed masses"?
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Old 06-26-2019, 02:29 PM
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What of the theory that the upper and middle classes of Iran supported the Shah, and this religious government is a thing of the "great unwashed masses"?
Partly true. The mostly westernized upper class did largely support the Shah and you can still find some shreds of remnant royalist sentiment among certain segments of the wealthy Iranian expats in the United States ( or at least you could 10-15 years ago, don't know about now ). Iran under the Shah was very much a dynastic plutocracy and membership in the top families was the key to political and economic success.

The professional middle class not so much. Well-educated, westernized, but largely shut out from the halls of power, they tended to be the center of support for the Iranian leftist opposition.

The entrepreneurial middle-class, i.e. the bazaaris - shop-keepers and shop workers, were the real cornerstone of the religious opposition. In general they encompassed a wide range of income, from fairly wealthy to barely getting by working class. But were united by a common religious conservatism and social milieu( the bazaar ).

The urban poor of Iran became radicalized in both directions( left and conservative ), but ultimately broke towards the mullahs who were just much more successful at the propaganda war and in squeezing out the left after the revolution.

It's worth remembering that the 1979 Revolution as originally multi-headed and loosely collaborative, with a large leftist faction heavily involved in seizing power. Which is why you had such oddities as an Islamic Republic issuing celebratory May Day(International Workers Day ) stamps. It's just that the stronger and more united theocrats won the internal political struggle fairly early on and kept squeezing until they forced the left out entirely.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 06-26-2019 at 02:33 PM.
  #319  
Old 06-26-2019, 02:37 PM
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Partly true. The mostly westernized upper class did largely support the Shah and you can still find some shreds of remnant royalist sentiment among certain segments of the wealthy Iranian expats in the United States ( or at least you could 10-15 years ago, don't know about now ). Iran under the Shah was very much a dynastic plutocracy and membership in the top families was the key to political and economic success.

The professional middle class not so much. Well-educated, westernized, but largely shut out from the halls of power, they tended to be the center of support for the Iranian leftist opposition.

The entrepreneurial middle-class, i.e. the bazaaris - shop-keepers and shop workers, were the real cornerstone of the religious opposition. In general they encompassed a wide range of income, from fairly wealthy to barely getting by working class. But were united by a common religious conservatism and social milieu( the bazaar ).

The urban poor of Iran became radicalized in both directions( left and conservative ), but ultimately broke towards the mullahs who were just much more successful at the propaganda war and in squeezing out the left after the revolution.

It's worth remembering that the 1979 Revolution as originally multi-headed and loosely collaborative, with a large leftist faction heavily involved in seizing power. Which is why you had such oddities as an Islamic Republic issuing celebratory May Day(International Workers Day ) stamps. It's just that the stronger and more united theocrats won the internal political struggle fairly early on and kept squeezing until they forced the left out entirely.
What about today? I've read some things saying that there is a fairly large resentment of the theocracy among the younger, urban professionals. Would this be the remnants of the left who was squeezed out or just people disaffected with the regime...or, perhaps they are just a small percentage of outliers? I know the regime has been trying to keep a lid on things, but not sure who that all is or how large the movement is they are trying to keep that lid on.
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  #320  
Old 06-26-2019, 02:55 PM
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What about today? I've read some things saying that there is a fairly large resentment of the theocracy among the younger, urban professionals.
My understanding as well. The mullahs do not seem to be enormously popular, it's just that the government still has some reservoirs of support. Enough that they don't seem to be particularly threatened, at least as long as the have more or less complete command of the security apparatus and control the slate of electable candidates. But there is a reason "moderate reformers" have been so popular among the electorate and it isn't just a handful of college students voting for them.

I haven't gone digging on recent developments in the opposition, but the hard socialist left of yesteryear seems to have been mostly defanged and more or less relegated to armed rebels and governments in exile. Today's political "moderates" are very much vetted by the government and armed opposition is pretty tamped down. Nonetheless the differences are real - I don't imagine the mullahs would be that happy with the results from a truly free and fair plebiscite.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 06-26-2019 at 02:57 PM.
  #321  
Old 06-27-2019, 10:42 AM
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The point is, Iran doesn't have some sort of special beef against the United States. Yes, America suppressed democracy there. Once. In 1953. For 20 minutes.

All due respect my dude (and I tend to respect you as a poster, for all the good that does you), but that's some serious whitewashing of the Shah's reign. He was, to borrow the words of a prominent modern geopolitical scholar, a bad hombre, a really bad dude, and his rule was marked by the (at the time) highest rate of death penalties in the world, no civilian courts, routinely imprisoned and tortured political opponents and a pervasive secret police on par with the Stasi - and helped directly by the CIA.
Also it lasted 20+ years, not 20 minutes.

I dunno about you, but I rather think if my country got dictator'd, my friends were jailed and my favourite teacher got tortured and shot; I would likely consider that beef-worthy towards the endictatoring party for at least a little while.

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But it's had plenty of opportunities to restore it since then, especially in the 40 years since the Shah was kicked out. The fact that they haven't done it since then means that it was never all that important to them in the first place.
Or possibly 20 years of systematic torturing, jailing, killing democratic voices and leftist leaders sort of put a lid on all that stuff. Recovering from a dictature is not easy, all the moreso that a dictatorship tends to normalize behaviours and methods anathema to democracy, both among the rulers and the rulees.
E.g. there's a reason the lofty ideals of the French Revolution rather quickly devolved back into "OK, bear with me guys : what if a Sun King, but in a spiffy uniform and a neato hat instead ?"
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  #322  
Old 06-27-2019, 11:13 AM
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Or possibly 20 years of systematic torturing, jailing, killing democratic voices and leftist leaders sort of put a lid on all that stuff. Recovering from a dictature is not easy, all the moreso that a dictatorship tends to normalize behaviours and methods anathema to democracy, both among the rulers and the rulees.
E.g. there's a reason the lofty ideals of the French Revolution rather quickly devolved back into "OK, bear with me guys : what if a Sun King, but in a spiffy uniform and a neato hat instead ?"
THIS.

It's very easy from established democracies to judge other countries and say "well if they wanted to be democratic they would be by now"
Its extremely HARD to establish a durable democracy, and is harder when you are poor, dealing with sanctions and recovering from a 20 year long reign of terror.
Also, having the self-proclaimed defender and symbol of democracy instigating a coup against your democratically elected government and then supporting the aforementioned 20 years of terror tends to discredit democracy juuuust a little bit in the eyes of the victim society, don't you think?.
  #323  
Old 06-27-2019, 12:08 PM
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I guess we can say the same about Saudi Arabia: sure, it's be great to establish basic human rights there, but it is just sooooooo hard.
  #324  
Old 06-28-2019, 04:30 AM
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I admit I don't recall seeingB]Dibble[/B] saying anything that would come across as a condemnation of Iran attacking the Japanese tanker etc.
That's because I doubt they did. And the reason I doubt they did is because America is saying they did.
I certainly condemn whoever did attack that tanker. If that does turn out to be Iran as a state actor, consider my condemnation as read.
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Old 06-28-2019, 04:41 AM
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I dunno about you, but I rather think if my country got dictator'd, my friends were jailed and my favourite teacher got tortured and shot; I would likely consider that beef-worthy towards the endictatoring party for at least a little while.
I know it's the same reason I still wouldn't piss on anyone working for the CIA if they were on fire, given what they did in South Africa.
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