Reality is moving in on Barack Obama and the gang that can't shoot straight. The sun shines bright and the mice can't find a dark place to hide. The president continues to celebrate the remarkably awful deal he cut with Iran, but the rank and rancid details continue to leak, like something from a neighbor's overflowing toilet upstairs.
Only yesterday, the day after he lost both cool and temper when Major Garrett of CBS News asked a thoughtful, respectful and sensible question about why he let the Iranians off the hook for abusing four American hostages in Tehran, the administration confirmed because the margins for lying about it continue to shrink that the president had agreed that no Americans would be permitted to inspect suspected nuclear sites.
Only countries with "normal diplomatic relations" with Iran will be allowed to participate in the inspections organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). That "includes the Americans out," since putting American diplomats in Tehran puts them in grave danger and the United States so far brooks no relations with barbarians.
This remarkable concession was revealed by the Russians and then the Iranians, who are still celebrating what they clearly regard who can blame them? as a remarkable triumph over Mr. Obama and his crack negotiators. The concession becomes clear in the text of the agreement released in Moscow and Tehran.
"Iran will increase the number of designated IAEA inspectors to the range of 130 to 150 within nine months from the date of the implementation of the [agreement]," the text reads, "and will generally allow the designation of inspectors from nations that have diplomatic relations with Iran, consistent with its laws and regulations."
It's possible, of course, that the president and his secretary of State forgot, with all the important things they must remember, that the United States is among the nations that have no diplomatic relations with Iran. The presidency is a demanding job, as we all know, and we can't expect the president to remember every little thing, like the nations the United States has diplomatic relations with. But there's more, and maybe worse.
As part of Mr. Obama's deal, the United States will assist Iran in combating nuclear sabotage and threats to its nuclear program. This sounds like satire, something from an Evelyn Waugh novel, but it's true.
Susan Rice, President Obama's crack national security adviser, confirmed the agreement that no Americans would be allowed to inspect anything, and seemed pleased to do so. Mr. Obama's famous promise that in any agreement he would sign the Americans would inspect "anywhere, any time," has shrunk to a concession that Americans could go "nowhere at no time." He has abandoned Ronald Reagan's famous presidential caution in dealing with an enemy, to "trust, but verify." Mr. Obama trusts, and thinks it's impolite to ask questions, even of criminals.
The international inspectors, the White House insists, are "highly respected," even if the Americans are not, and will do the work that Messrs Obama and Kerry apparently think Americans cannot be trusted to do.
The more the plain folks in Washington learn about what the not-so-dynamic duo agreed to the more the incredulity level rises. How could two reasonably intelligent men agree to a deal that a jackleg lawyer from Hicksville would laugh out of the room? You might think a reasonably intelligent negotiator would insist that one of the negotiators, familiar with the negotiations, is exactly who must be on the inspections team.
"It's ironic," says Elliott Abrams, who was the director of the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration, "that after [we heard] about how Kerry and [Iranian foreign minister] Javad Zarif had tears in their eyes thinking about all they had accomplished together, we learn that the Islamic Republic won't allow one single American inspector. No member of the [negotiating team] should be barred, and this is another example of how badly the administration negotiated. We should have insisted that the 'no Americans' rule was simply unacceptable."
That conversation between Mr. Kerry and the Iranian foreign minister is said, by two persons who were there, to have brought tears to their eyes. Once the Iranian foreign minister got the sweetheart deal he wanted, enabling him to go home to Tehran without fear of losing his head to the mullahs with carving knives, he sat down with Mr. Kerry for a little reminiscing.
Mr. Kerry got all choked up talking about his heroism in Vietnam, but he didn't say anything about how he came home in 1971 to tell a Senate committee how the men he served with had "personally raped, cut off ears, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies" and "razed villages in the fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan." The diplomats in the room "were visibly moved," and "began to applaud." That's more than his countrymen will do.