Bloggers on Iran's supposed summer offensive in Iraq.

Bloggers on Iran's supposed summer offensive in Iraq.

Bloggers on Iran's supposed summer offensive in Iraq.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
May 23 2007 5:10 PM

Iran's Cruel Summer

Bloggers question the accuracy of a Guardian article that says Iran is planning a "summer offensive" against U.S. forces in Iraq. They also smell a Pharisee in John Edwards' poverty lecture fee and think vegans need to feed their babies better.

Iran's cruel summer: According to the Guardian, Iran is cultivating its ties  with virtually every Iraqi group hostile to the United States—Shiite sectarians, al-Qaida, and Sunni Baathists. This is all in the run-up to what the report suggests will be a massive "summer offensive" to try to scuttle any chances for the surge to work. Anti-war bloggers question the provenance of the Guardian's claims, allegedly based on high-level administration sources, while hawks wonder why no American papers were fed the hot scoop.

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At Informed Comment, Middle East guru Juan Cole thinks the Guardian's sources are batty: "At a time when Sunni Arab guerrillas are said to be opposing 'al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia' for its indiscriminate violence against Iraqis, including Shiites, we are now expected to believe that Shiite Iran is allying with it. And, it claims that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are shelling the Green Zone. The parliament building that was hit to day by such shelling is dominated by the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and its paramilitary, the Badr Organization. Who trained Badr? The Iranian Revolutionary Guards. And they are trying to hit their own guys ... why?"

At the Washington Monthly's Political Animal, liberal Kevin Drum also doubts the legitimacy of the article's claim but writes: "It's still telling that a senior U.S. official in Baghdad, presumably with the authorization of his superiors, decided to give a lengthy and public warning to Iran that included the possibility of 'retaliating against Iran on its own territory.' Question: who is senior enough to say stuff like that? And who is senior enough to give him the green light?"

However, conservative David Frum at the National Review suspects the timing is crucial and suggests it's foolish to think Shiites and Sunnis wouldn't collaborate: "This is especially interesting in conjunction with the signs that Iranian-funded Hamas seems determined to provoke war with Israel this summer. The friend who forwarded the Guardian story sarcastically comments: 'No, no, it's impossible for Shi'ite Iran to work with the Sunni jihadists. (Now can I work for the CIA?)' "

And righty Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters says: "In a rational world, this would pressure the war's opponents to explain again how abandoning Iraq to the Iranians improves our security. The Iranians are up to their necks in the insurgencies, hoping to drive us out of the Middle East. The rush to accommodate them would render them ascendant over the region, especially if they complete their efforts to develop nuclear weapons. No other nation could counterbalance them."

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Read more about Iran's summer offensive.

Poverty relief: Before he became a presidential candidate, John Edwards charged University of California-Davis $55,000 for a speech he delivered last January on the subject of—wait for it—poverty. Bloggers don't take kindly to what they see as Edwards' true "Two Americas" dichotomy: namely, "me and y'all."

Radiant Times is appalled: "And this university is going to raise tuition rates for the next school year by about seven percent. This would not be so obscene except that Edwards proposed that 'every financial barrier' be removed from American students who want to go to college." So is Brennan at conservative American Pundit: "First, we hear about his $400 haircuts, followed by his making large amounts of money working at a hedge fund, now this… On the haircuts, it was that he didn't have anything to do with setting up his haircut appointments. For the hedge fund, whose primary purpose is to make money for rich people, he said he worked there to learn about poverty, while taking in a good deal of money. I wonder what the excuse will be this time."

The Boring Made Dull, a right-leaning Ohioan, argues: "The only poverty he appears to be fighting is his own. I generally don't have a problem with Edwards' cashing in on his 15 minutes of fame, but there's certainly something noxious about an anti-poverty campaigner raking in the bucks. Particularly those whose idea of an anti-poverty campaign is to make more poor people by raising taxes."

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West Virginia University alum Shannon at The View from the Sidelines minutes: "Many speakers who speak on campus are paid through student fees, which are fees students pay for in their total tuition bill to cover items like health services, debt services, athletics, and other events. Actions that Edwards has shown makes it hard to take him seriously, again, as a presidential candidate."

Read more about John Edwards' speaking fee.

No-Meat is murder: An op-ed in the New York Times argues that a vegan diet is unnatural and particularly harmful to infants, a few of whom have died from malnutrition brought on by their fanatically herbivorous parents.

The vegan at Samurai Panda takes issue with the piece and points out that "humans are omnivores that can eat anything and get the nutrients needed. Meat, one of many sources of protein, is just the most convenient and in a pre-industrial, diet limited world, was the only readily available source. But in today's world we have access to foods that our grandparents wouldn't have dreamed of."

Exactly, says doctoral student Geoffrey Allan Plauche at Libertas: "Put simply, veganism is not natural. Adults may be able to get by on a vegan diet in the modern world thanks to a global market economy. Ironic, considering that many of them are probably enemies of the very thing that enables them to live their preferred lifestyle: laissez-faire capitalism. But veganism would not be viable in a more primitive non-market society, which cannot provide the food alternatives and supplements needed."

Read more about the vegan-induced infant deaths.

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.