Home > Security and Violence > War, part 6: Iran

War, part 6: Iran

“Many in the United States have a rampant, untreated case of enemy dependency. Politicians love enemies because bashing them helps stir up public sentiment and distract attention from problems at home. The defense industry loves enemies because enemies help them make money. Pundits and their publications love enemies because enemies sell papers and lead eyeballs to cable-news food fights.” – David Rothkopf

“Here’s your enemy for this week, the government says. And some gullible Americans click their heels and salute – often without knowing who or even where the enemy of the week is.” – Charley Reese

Axis of Evil

The war drums are now beating for Iran. Politicians in the US and Israel are screaming about the need to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities before Iran attacks the countries with the two most dangerous militaries in the world. Iran is an example of the desire to create new enemies from non-existent threats since the fall of the Soviet Union. The think tanks, the ones who said before the Iraq invasion that US troops would be treated as liberators and that the oil would pay for the war, and media commentators, the ones who did not question the government’s assessments of the threat from Iraq, are helping bring public opinion in line once again. Clarity is needed on this crucial issue.

The Islamic Republic has not always been anti-American. Those with good memories know that, before Ahmadinejad, Iran had two moderate, “reformist” presidents in power: Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Seyed Mohammad Khatami. They urged cooperation with the West, reconciliation with the US and domestic freedoms. Rafsanjani spoke in July 2009 in support of Iranian pro-democracy activists; Khatami won the 2009 Global Dialogue Prize, and officially repudiated the fatwa on Salman Rushdie.

During the 1990s, Iran’s governments were interested in improving relations with the US, but the Clinton administration pushed Iran away. Iran offered the American oil firm Conoco a contract, chosen over other foreign oil companies in order to improve ties with the US, and the Clinton administration imposed sanctions on Iran in 1995.

Oil producers do not control the US government in quite the way most people imagine. War and sanctions are not in many oilmen’s interest. Sanctions prevent the development of oil fields by American companies and award them to rival companies from rival countries that do not participate in the sanctions regime. While security and stability are necessary to pump and transport oil, war produces instability. Whenever the US imposes sanctions on countries such as Iran, Iraq and Libya, or goes to war with countries like Iraq, it does so in line with some US oil interests, but counter to others. As could have been expected, Conoco’s parent company, DuPont, lobbied against hurting its business.

But the sanctions came along anyway. In fact, the sanctions on Iran came at the behest of the Israel lobby, the collection of hardline-Zionist pressure groups in the US whose actions have led to numerous strategic blunders for the US, including the subject at hand. In 1994, the US’s second most powerful lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), circulated a paper called “Comprehensive US sanctions against Iran: a plan for action”. It sought to close all of the loopholes American companies squeezed through to do business with Iran. Bill Clinton, under pressure from the Israel lobby, scuttled the Conoco deal, and banned all American oil companies from helping Iran develop its oil fields.

In Autumn 2001, Iran helped facilitate the toppling of the Taliban regime and its replacement with the friendly government of Hamid Karzai. Iranians even held candlelight vigils to commemorate those who died on 9/11. President Khatami took these moves in hopes that relations with the US would improve. Instead, in 2002, George Bush placed Iran in the Axis of Evil, indicating he was keen on regime change there as well.

In 2003, after the US invaded Iraq, Bush publicly pressured Syria and Iran. Neocons and the Israel lobby, apparently under the delusion that they could rearrange the entire Middle East, began pushing for a zero tolerance policy against Iran. Neocons accused Tehran of harbouring al-Qaeda operatives, though the CIA and the State Department thought it unlikely. Norman Podhoretz, part of the Israel lobby, wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal in 2007 entitled “The Case for Bombing Iran: I hope and pray that President Bush will do it.” John Hagee of Christians United for Israel told AIPAC “it is 1938; Iran is Germany and Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler.” Retired general Wesley Clark, when asked why he was worried the US would go to war with Iran, said “[y]ou just have to read what’s in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers.” He was, predictably, lambasted as an anti-Semite. But as Matthew Yglesias wrote at the time, “everyone knows [what Clark said was] true.”

It was at this time that the Iranian government proposed a peace treaty to Washington. It was making a final effort, after helping with Afghanistan, to reach out. In it, the reformist government put everything on the table: support for terrorism, the nuclear program, its hostility to Israel; and in return they asked not to be attacked. They never received a reply.

Along with the Israel lobby and Pentagon hawks, heads of the influential House of Saud and other Middle Eastern governments have repeatedly urged the US government to go to war with Iran. Iran poses them no real threat, but they have no qualms about having someone else pay to wipe out a rival for dominance of the region.

George Bush said his administration was willing to go to war with Iran to protect Israel. (The Israel lobby’s leaders were quick to distance themselves from Bush’s statements, as they did not want to seem like the cause of the US’s unilateral belligerence.) All the 2008 presidential candidates echoed Bush’s remarks. While campaigning, Barack Obama said

There is no greater threat to Israel, or to the peace and stability of the region, than Iran… Let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel… I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon… everything.

Hype

In 2003, the US led an invasion of Iraq based partly on the testimony of a few exiled Iraqis and orientalist scholars who assured Americans they would be treated as liberators. Their Iranian counterparts and many of the same “experts” are providing Americans with the same lies in an attempt to lead the US into yet another foolish foreign adventure. Christopher Hitchens, for instance, who backed the invasion of Iraq, warned with his dispensable eloquence that Iran’s leaders might follow through on Ayatollah Kharrazi’s threat to establish a Greater Iran in Bahrain and the UAE. Such people have some difficulty in understanding people in other parts of the world because they are not able to put themselves in the shoes of those from other cultures. They believe that all the world’s people want democracy, which to them means political parties and a constitution. But Juan Cole, who has lived in and studied the Muslim world for many years, says in Engaging the Muslim World that among Muslims he has met, democracy means freedom from foreign oppression. (That should not be surprising, as most or all of the Muslim world has been subject to foreign occupation and humiliation for hundreds of years.) As ironic as it may seem, this revelation means that dictatorship would be viewed more favourably by Muslims than American-backed political competition. Iran, having suffered all manner of foreign intervention over its history, is no exception.

I believe it is unlikely that the Iranian government will be easily induced to give up its development of nuclear weapons (assuming, if we should, it is indeed attempting to produce them). Nukes are good for regimes who face an existential threat. It is understandable to prepare for war with a country like the US, which has started two wars with Iran’s immediate neighbours, and Israel, which publishes daily headlines that scream of the colossal threat posed by Tehran’s nuclear bomb and the necessity of preventing them from acquiring one.  Barack talked about eliminating them, presumably to shape the Iran agenda, but doing so would require extremely costly incentives (eg. lots of money and security guarantees for countries like North Korea) or disincentives (eg. war). And if possessing the bomb is the best way to win a prize, what is to stop everyone from having them?

Moreover, why would they give up the bomb for some financial inducements to make themselves more dependent on outside powers? Aid can be sneakily withdrawn by governments at any time; a nuclear weapon is the only real deterrent against invasion.

Will Iran use nuclear weapons against Israel or the US? I doubt it. If an Iranian missile landed on the US or Israel, those two countries together would walk all over Iran. Let them have a nuclear weapon. It protects against invasion.

In spite of its president’s posturing, Iran’s military budget is smaller per capita than any other state in the Gulf beside the UAE (an ally of the US). To whom does it pose a threat?

To Israel? To the Israeli Defense Forces, one of the best trained militaries in the world, with its nuclear arsenal and its ability to crush any military in the Middle East? I have discussed the infinitesimal likelihood Iran will attack Israel elsewhere. In my opinion, Israel is far more likely to use nuclear weapons on Iran than vice versa. Israel has been involved in numerous wars, large and small, since its founding in 1948. Iran has spent most of the last hundred and fifty years fighting colonialist oppression, and has not once in that time invaded a neighbour. Given their records (and the strengths of their militaries), who is more likely to fire on whom?

Iran’s government is often accused of funding and supplying arms to Hamas. This support is then employed as an excuse not to talk to Iran, or Hamas as the case may be. However, former senior British diplomat Sir Jeremy Greenstock said in an interview with the BBC that Hamas is not politically tied to Iran. On a logical level, if Iran is supplying Hamas with arms, it is a sign of Iran’s weakness, not its strength. Hamas has no tanks, no aircraft, no ships, no artillery, no missiles besides Qassam rockets, which are so weak that of the nearly 10,000 fired at Israel in the past decade, just over 20 have actually killed anyone. It is well known that Iran supports Hezbollah (though that support recently came in the form of reconstruction aid, as Iran helped rebuild Lebanon after the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war), but like Hamas, Hezbollah poses little threat to Israel’s existence.

Meanwhile, the Badr Corps, a key US ally in Iraq, was once part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The US government has designated the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organisation (even though it has never engaged in terrorism) and the Badr Corps a pillar of Iraq’s democracy. Iran probably provided money or weapons to militias that killed US soldiers in Iraq; like the acquisition of nuclear weapons, this action is rational. The idea is, given that the US invaded two of Iran’s neighbours, and that its bases surround Iran like noose, tying the military down as best it can makes it harder for the US to invade yet again.

But to listen to the mainstream media, one would think Iran’s hand is in every terrorist plot in the world. In October 2011, the FBI alleged that Iran had hired a Mexican drug gang to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US. We have strong evidence, asserted the FBI, but we can’t show it to you. Bombs went off in Thailand and the Israeli government accused Iran of attempting to kill its diplomats. Meanwhile, agents murdered an Iranian nuclear scientist and the world said “he had it coming”.

Iran might be developing a nuclear weapon (though no one seems to have any hard evidence), and its leaders will probably continue to promise violence. (Presumably, few people know that the US gave some encouragement to its ally the Shah to build a nuclear weapon back before Iran was ruled by Bad Guys.) But a look at the evidence says there is little reason to worry that Iran’s leaders’ threats are worth heeding. What are we so afraid of? Listening to an adversary? (Please do not believe that the Barack administration has extended a diplomatic hand to Iran. It has done no such thing.) Fortunately, the truth is available to all of us, waiting to be found, ready to disprove any of the fears that could warrant war with Iran.

Will it give nukes to terrorists who will use them on everyone? This is an unrealistic prospect. First, Iran wants to keep its foes on their toes, but does not want to destroy the world. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric is just posturing. Men love to strut and posture and look tough. Men build big guns and missiles and hold military parades to feel good about themselves. Some men will always talk tough, even if, behind the scenes, they are actually hoping they will not have to carry through. Moreover, Ahmadinejad does not have power over the government, and certainly not over the deployment of heavy weapons. But unless one pulls back the curtain, one could be led to believe he is an imperialist warmonger.

Second, most terrorists have no ability to detonate a nuclear weapon. As John Mueller explains, a nuclear bomb is not a toy. It is very hard to assemble and use, and will not simply blow up the world if tapped with a hammer. Moreover, if Iran supplied terrorists with weapons, intelligence agencies would find out and governments would fiercely punish Iran.

Like all governments, the people running Iran want to remain in power. The idea that Iran is a “martyr state” is little more than a myth. Once-respectable historian Benny Morris said Iran is Nazi Germany. I hope such cheap, populist rhetoric destroys his reputation for thoroughgoing research, as he has clearly outgrown it.

But they continue to refer to Iran as the most dangerous country in the world. Gallup polls indicate that the percentage of Americans who believe Iran is their greatest enemy has increased every year since 2001. The reason might be that rhetoric on Iran has gone up concurrently. US and Israeli warmongerers want us to believe it to buoy support for military action. They believe that, by eliminating all enemies, they can be secure. But when we attempt to destroy all enemies, we imperil our own security most, because everyone will mistrust us, and most will defend themselves.

Have Americans already forgotten how they were duped into supporting the war against Saddam? All the same transparent words are being used: evil, irrational, radical, WMDs and so on. Have those pages of history already been rewritten? Yet, aside from interfering with American wars on its borders, a rational act given that tying down the US in Iraq and Afghanistan makes it less able to attack Iran, Iran has never attacked the US or Israel. Why would it do so now?

Are we afraid because Iran’s government is a pack of religious fanatics with an apocalyptic worldview that puts them on a collision course with civilisation? People who take this view tend also to see everyone an American newspaper might call “jihadists” in the same light: ready to kill themselves and everyone else to bring on the end of the world. The differences among these groups are significant and often ignored. Iran’s Islamic revolution was a nationalist one, and though it supports other Shia groups in the Middle East against Western interests, this has been largely in reaction to isolation and demonisation by America and Israel, not to spread holy war. It does not support groups like al-Qaeda, though I am sure that if they get desperate, the Israel lobby and neocons will fabricate evidence that they do.

Being religious does not mean being stupid. Everyone responds to carrots and sticks. Iran’s leaders have shown they can be reasonable and even friendly to foreign interests, including those of the Great Satan, and may be again. Besides, if religious fanatics could not be negotiated with, no one would ever have approached the Bush White House.

Talk of war tends to push the potential victims of that war into the hands of tough-talking governments. Shame, really, as Iranians are among the most pro-American people in the region. They may not like the US government—few around the world do—but they like the ideals the US used to stand for. Iranian-American author Hooman Majd explains that “Chants of ‘Death to America’ are meaningless–the phrase refers to US foreign policy, hegemony, and imperialism; not the American dream or the people.”

Threats

But the absence of a threat does not mean no march to war. The US and its allies are encircling Iran.

Thousands of US troops deployed to Israel recently. The Israeli military announced it as a major missile defense exercise with its ally. The reason for this “defense” preparation is the big, scary country on the other side of the Middle East. It is also being encircled by US and UK aircraft carriers.

CBS news reported the Israeli military as saying the drill had been long anticipated and was unrelated to recent events. The article explained the drill would take place “as tension between Iran and the international community escalates”, as if Iran is defiantly taking on the world, rather than being pummeled into submission. If we are still not sure who the aggressor is in this conflict, let us review the facts.

  • Iran is, at present, surrounded by US military bases. If everyone in your neighbourhood were armed to the teeth and yelling about how dangerous you were, would you feel threatened?
  • In recent years, the US has invaded and occupied two of those neighbours, Afghanistan and Iraq, for all the same reasons it may want to occupy Iran. Iran has oil; it is strategically located; it is a manufactured enemy; Americans do not know anything about the country except that it’s evil, and will thus give the green light to their politicians.
  • Israelis have been subjected for years to media bombardment about the perils of an Ahmadinejad-led, nuclear-armed Iran. There seems to be broad consensus in the Israeli right wing and other circles that the Islamic Republic cannot wait to “wipe Israel off the map”. Again, the enemy is largely manufactured and sold by elites who want to send more people to die.

John Tirman of the MIT Center for International Studies points out the “peculiar” time for the march to war: the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Is it time for Operation Iranian Liberation? The foolishness with which the US stumbled into Iraq in 2003 is repeating itself.

Sanctions

The US and the EU (“the international community”) are ramping up economic sanctions unnecessarily. EU politicians have willingly endangered the European economy by moving toward choking Mediterranean countries’ oil supplies. Paul Stevens of Dundee University in Scotland says that Greece, which imports 30 percent of its oil from Iran, would be pushed off the cliff on which it is already perched. “It would utterly destroy the Greek economy.” Tough sanctions on Iran will not stop it from producing a nuclear weapon, which is, in fact, a very rational exercise for a state expecting to be attacked. (In fact, Iran has been under attack for thirty years.) They may, however, repeat the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, as the sanctions on Iraq did to that country during the 1990s.

The sanctions have been painful, and will get worse. The price of imports and consumer goods, including food, is rising. The value of the currency is dropping, making it harder to export goods. Juan Cole calls them “the most crippling sanctions that have been placed on any country since the case of Iraq in the 1990s. It’s no longer a matter of just sanctions. I think the US is now engaged in a blockade of Iranian petroleum. It’s trying to prevent Iran from selling its major export.”

Sanctions, much like interstate wars, exemplify the punishment of civilians that inevitably results from interegovernmental disputes. The pain of sanctions is not an unintended consequence, however. The hoped-for effect is to turn locals against the regime. But the locals are not stupid. At least as many who oppose their local oppressors understand that it is foreign oppressors who are making them suffer now. The sanctions applied to Iraq during the 1990s resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and no uprising. Madeleine Albright, whose policy it was, continues to say those deaths were justified.

Reasons

The US has threatened India for violating the sanctions. Why? India, you see, is one of the countries that buys Iranian oil and does not use the dollar to do so. It cannot be allowed to slip out of Washington’s grip, so it will be punished.

Iran is a major oil source, and it is trying to ditch US dollars. The endless printing of money by the Federal Reserve has led to a serious devaluation of the USD. More and more countries are seeking to divest themselves of it. The US government will threaten those it can not to leave. If enough states stop using US dollars for international trade, the value of the USD drops, and the ability of the US government to print its way out of deficits goes away. It also gives the US government less leverage over foreign states, because they do not have to bow to its dictates regarding currency and foreign exchange. If the petrodollar is no longer the all-purpose medium of exchange for the oil market, the power of the US government over that market deteriorates. In September 2000, Saddam Hussein dropped the petrodollar as the currency for Iraqi oil, opting for the euro. By following the money, we can see the true nature of the desire for war with Iran. History repeats.

But fear of the evaporating petrodollar is not the only reason for aggression against Iran. It is presumed in Washington that Israel should have the monopoly on nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Though a nuclear weapon would probably never be used against Israel (and plenty of top Israeli intelligence and military men know that), one cannot attack a country with nuclear weapons. Israel wants to retain the power to attack anyone. The Israel lobby in the US and its hawkish supporters in Israel would love to see the destruction of their rival, just as some of them are (prematurely) rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of Syria’s fragmentation.

Finally, the very existence of a “national enemy” is of enormous benefit to a state. It is a distraction from local problems, which the US government has in abundance at the moment, as people rally round the flag. It is a chance to curb civil liberties and enlarge the state. It is a way to give publicly-funded handouts to pressure groups.

Needless to say, full-blown war with Iran would be devastating. The war on Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of people and rendered the country intractably unstable for a long time to come for no other reason than to please the Washington power elite. And what is the desired outcome? National security? Can national security ever be achieved by waging endless wars? No, suggest the history of Israel and the 9/11 attacks. The entire Middle East and Central Asia could be engulfed in war.

Warmakers are not merely shortsighted, though. They understand the consequences. More devastation, more instability, more religious extremism, more terrorism, more pain: these are all foreseen and desired outcomes. More instability in western Asia will mean two things that keep the powerful happy: higher oil and gas prices, and more enemies to fight and justify more military intervention. If the elites can benefit, the war with Iran will no longer be clandestine, and millions of people could die as a result.

  1. June 29, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I simply hate the encirclement argument. Most of those bases have nothing to do with Iran. The only American troops and infrastructure meant to confront Iran is located in the Arabian peninsula.

    You also don’t mention that attacking Iran makes sense if one believes liberating Kuwait was logical.

    The main reason is not that Iran would use its nuclear weapons but rather that WMDs would make it invulnerable to conventional deterrence.
    I simply cannot agree with this article. It is just too partisan …

    Read this: http://westphalianpost.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/who-is-whos-proxy/

    • June 30, 2012 at 10:27 am

      If by “partisan” you mean ideological, then yes. I would say it is just as ideological to consider aggressive war a legitimate tool of policy. Iran does not need to be deterred. It is not attacking anyone and has every reason not to do so. So no, I do not think attacking Iran has any merit whatsoever. People who do not value the lives of innocent people are free to disagree with me.

      The bases were not put there because of Iran but Iran is obviously encircled, whatever else is happening. The fact that it would become immune to conventional military attacks is precisely why it SHOULD have the bomb. No one should be invading Iran! Israel is the real cause of instability in the Middle East, as everyone knows. Iran would become a USSR of the Middle East? Please.

      • June 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm

        I don’t mind ideological but this goes beyond that:

        1 – “I would say it is just as ideological to consider aggressive war a legitimate tool of policy”

        Considering aggressive war as a legitimate tool of foreign policy is not ideological, it is empirical. No state or society having rejected the prerogative of waging war has ever survived. I honestly don’t see how one can claim to govern and defend the national interest of one’s constituency without reserving the right to go to war to defend that same interest.

        2 – ” Iran does not need to be deterred. It is not attacking anyone and has every reason not to do so.”

        Iran DOES need to be deterred. It has been attacking American and western interests since 1979: I don’t understand how anyone who knows history can completely brush aside that Iran gave up a profitable partnership with the US and the West in favour of isolationism, that Iran has been interfering in the internal affairs of Lebanon in an attempt to export its own revolution, that it has moved assertively to claim oil resources in the Caspian or that its sponsored terrorists went as far as Buenos Aires just to be able to kill Jews.

        It is so hypocritical that the same Libertarians who readily accuse the US of exceptionalism and adventurism, are so blind to a completely irrational and destabilising theocracy.

        To be clear, without western presence in the Middle East one of 2 things would happen: either a protracted conflict between Iran and Turkey and instability in the oil markets for decades to come, or Iranian supremacy and extortion.

        3 – “So no, I do not think attacking Iran has any merit whatsoever”

        Here I can agree but only partly. You wouldn’t attack Iran out of principle, I wouldn’t attack out of practicality.
        That said, Iran works against western interests and it is not in the interest of the West, the Arabs or any other regional stakeholder to see Iran acquire nuclear weapons.

        I find it irresponsible to an extreme to simply dismiss the whole affair by saying that if we are peaceful so will they be. How can anyone be that naive? How can anyone actually believe that in an interconnected economy, we have no stake in what happens in the world?!…

        4 – “People who do not value the lives of innocent people are free to disagree with me”.

        There is a difference between valuing the lives of innocent people and believing everyone is innocent… the latter is but totalitarianism.

        5 – “The bases were not put there because of Iran but Iran is obviously encircled, whatever else is happening”

        NO, you cannot first say that the bases are not related to Iran and then say that Iran is encircled. This is nonsensical!
        If you deny your own logic, you cannot stick to its prior conclusion…
        The bases you speak of in Afghanistan, Turkey etc, BECAUSE they are NOT set up against Iran would be more vulnerable to an Iranian attack than they would be useful for an attack on Iran.

        Iran is not encircled and this statement shows just how much you know about the situation. Iran has continued to supply the Syrian regime for over a year now. Wouldn’t Iran make it a priority to build up its defences at home if it perceived itself to be encircled? And how is it that an economically debilitated and militarily encircled regime finds it so easy to project force and influence to countries not even its own neighbours border?…

        6 – “The fact that it would become immune to conventional military attacks is precisely why it SHOULD have the bomb”

        If that fact did not affect us, sure. But the whole point is that IT DOES.
        When there is nothing we can do to prevent our adversaries from growing in power to our detriment as it was the case with the Soviet and Chinese bombs, your statement might be correct. But if it is in our power to at least make it difficult and possibly prevent it, why allow our interests to be damaged by being passive?!…

      • June 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm

        7 – “No one should be invading Iran!”

        You obviously haven’t noticed that NO ONE advocates invading Iran. The ones who want to attack Iran mean to bomb it, not invade it…………….

        8 – “Israel is the real cause of instability in the Middle East, as everyone knows”

        WHY?!! What has Israel ever done to cause instability in the Middle East?!!
        You see this is why I’m right when I say that this post is completely biased. Iran threatens US and Arab interests and the world economy but Israel BY EXISTING is the true cause of instability in the Middle east…………….

        What has Israel ever done to damage the supply of oil to the West? Which countries has Israel ever tried to export its own values and socio-economic model to? Which countries are victims of Israeli terrorism?

        You use DOUBLE STANDARDS!

        Israel by defending itself (and ACTUALLY NEEDING A BOMB for it) causes instability but Iran, an exceptionalist, expansionist, millennial, apocalyptic, self-proclaimed anti-western, anti-liberal power, Iran is just dandy…….

        My God, how can you reconcile such blatant paradoxes?…..

        9 – “Iran would become a USSR of the Middle East? Please”

        If right now they can do what they do in Lebanon, just imagine when they will no longer have to devote as many resources to defending their homeland…

        But hey you know what, lets just trust the country that advocates genocide, that sends its own prepubescent youths to clear minefields and claims to love death and martyrdom.
        They sound like really good chaps, abiding by international law standards and keeping the region stable,

        In the words of our friends in Tehran: “Death to America!!!”

      • June 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

        Bombing Iran is not different from invading it in my book. Both are unncessary and uncalled-for aggression.

        Yes, Iran is encircled actually, and your continuing to argue that the bases are not for that purpose is meaningless. The purported reasons for the bases are irrelevant. Iran can be attacked from all sides at any moment. If you were surrounded by thugs with guns who repeatedly said you should be attacked, who were licking their lips in anticipation of the attack, but not all of them were looking in your direction at the moment, you would still be scared. Yes, Iran is economically and militarily crippled. How much force do you really think it is projecting outside its borders? Iran is a third-rate power at best, and people who are afraid it will hurt its neighbours are probably afraid of boogeymen in their closets as well.

        You talk about states and societies as if they have the same interests. You seem to be blind to the fact that they are antithetical. No society in the world has an interest in bombing Iran. It is only states, as I explain quite clearly.

        Because I can actually see the difference between people and states, I find it confusing when you say that Iran advocates genocide. Well, Ahmadinejad said something about wiping Israel off the map (though that may have been a mistranslation). But who cares? He doesn’t have the power to do that, which, again, I explained in the post. Iran sent kids to die in the battlefield? Well, Khomeini did, yes, because he was desperate because his country was under attack. But he’s dead. Claims to love death and martyrdom? Again, you’re talking about words. You are committing what I call the poli sci 101 fallacy: believing that a politician means what he says. You are also committing the realist fallacy: believing in a national interest when such “interests” are not in the interest of anyone but the state.

        Iran is NOT irrational, at least no more than any other state. If any force is destabilising, I think any observer without blinders on knows it is the US-Israel alliance. It is so obvious that I don’t know why anyone would say Iran is the bad guy, unless of course they are not familiar with the history of the Middle East. You have shown through your comments that you are not. Perhaps you weren’t aware of Israel’s repeated invasions of its neighbours, and the tens thousands of deaths that have resulted. How many foreigners has Iran killed since Israel has existed? 5? 10? To say I use double standards is just nonsense. I think you need to do more research, or else learn some moral philosophy (https://theruleoffreedom.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/morality-and-the-non-aggression-principle/).

        I see little justification for moralising murderers like Barack and Bibi to “deter” Iran by hurting its people. If you actually believe that Iran’s meddling in Lebanon by providing moderate support for Hezbollah is somehow worse than Israel’s repeated invading of Lebanon, your head is screwed on backwards. You don’t know it sponsored terrorists in Buenos Aires. All you are going by is reports. I don’t believe those reports. I don’t believe Iran’s regime indiscriminately kills Jews. Anyway, we know Iranians are being targeted; not just scientists but the entire population. You don’t have much to say against that, eh? That’s because your ideology is not based on morality.

        If it were, you would be able to see the inherent immorality of war (https://theruleoffreedom.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/war/), nationalism (https://theruleoffreedom.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/nationalism/) and the state. There is no national interest. There are individual interests, and there is the state’s interest, and they are nearly always opposed. I don’t expect you to recognise that, because realists tend to have trouble with that one. I don’t care about state interests and I have no respect for killing in their name.

        I have no adversaries, especially not entire countries with millions of people in them. If you want to attack Iran, feel free. I will not be paying, nor will I be joining you.

  2. June 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    superb in depth writing if people do not wake up I dread to think what will be going on in a year from now WW3 IS ON THE HORIZON WHEN WILL PEOPLE SEE?

    • June 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      Since I can no longer reply to your own comments, I assume you are not interested in a debate. Let me know if you ever wish to hear non-isolationist/ultra-pacifist arguments…

      • June 30, 2012 at 6:41 pm

        you can’t?? that’s not right. Just comment on the bottom if you have more to say.

  3. June 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    (No, I can only quote that last comment, but not reply to it. But very well, I will)

    1 – “Bombing Iran is not different from invading it in my book”

    Only a pacifist would say that and of course a pacifist would never recognise the need to defend the very entity which endows him/her with rights and safety – the state (oooh)

    The difference between the two is stark: one is financially feasible and the other is not.
    Here too lies much of the problem. “Third rate powers” can defeat first rate powers as the US learned in Vietnam – much thanks to a little thing you don’t seem to acknowledge but apparently every other person on Earth does: nationalism (ooooh)

    Interestingly, you simply dismiss Iran’s expansionism by saying that it doesn’t have the ability to do so. The problem is that it does; at great expense of the Iranian people and economy, but it does.

    2 – “The purported reasons for the bases are irrelevant”

    No, they are not. By that same reasoning, most countries in Europe could say the US was encircling them simply because they have bases nearby… Your argument is perfectly absurd.

    Not only were American bases in Turkey set up long before Iran became a problem for the US but in fact the bases in Afghanistan and central Asia were only established in response to 9/11 and most of them are logistical rather than serving as barracks for mobilised troops – as your incredibly inflammatory and conspiracy-theoretical argument would seem to convey.

    3 – ” Iran can be attacked from all sides at any moment”

    IGNORANCE

    The only bases capable of sustaining an attack on Iran are the ones in the Arabian peninsula. Most of the US outposts in Afghanistan are sustaining a war in which American troops are bogged down – only a complete ignorant would be incapable of realising these bases are much more vulnerable to an Iranian attack than vice-versa. The bases in central Asia are basically transport hubs and the US does not have the right to station aggressive formations. NATO’s bases in Turkey could be used for an attack on Iran but if Turkey didn’t authorise their use against Iraq, odds are they’d never be considered for an attack on Iran.

    But let me repeat: IGNORANCE!!

    4 – “who were licking their lips in anticipation of the attack”

    Here is where I see complete bias: there are people on both sides arguing for peace and for war but you see American policy as inherently belligerent and Iranian policy as inherently pacifist.

    America in case you’ve forgotten, had an alliance with Iran which it intended to maintain. It was Iran who unilaterally decided to break that alliance and declare “death to the great Satan” – clearly the actions of a reasonable and rational actor, no doubt…

    5 – “Yes, Iran is economically and militarily crippled”

    Agreed.

    “How much force do you really think it is projecting outside its borders?”

    Lets see, it is helping to prop up the regime in Syria, it has helped to carve out a state within a state in Lebanon (one btw which is capable of defying Israel, one of the world’s foremost military powers). I’d say plenty of projection for a “economically and militarily crippled” “third rate power”………..

    6 – “people who are afraid it will hurt its neighbours are probably afraid of boogeymen in their closets as well”

    Hey pal, it is not me who is afraid, it is the Arabs – you know those guys who are Iran’s neighbours, who provide you with the stuff that keeps your car moving and the economy you depend on, functioning; who own much of the American debt…
    It is Israel which has one of the best intelligence services in the world.
    And guess wgat? It is your own government.
    But I know, I know. There is a major conspiracy to deceive the world for no reason…

    7 – “You talk about states and societies as if they have the same interests”
    ” No society in the world has an interest in bombing Iran. It is only states”

    Well, here you’re right. For me societies cannot exist without the state. No society devoid of sovereignty ever survived for long in human history.
    Besides that which we are debating here are the actions of governments – states.
    What point is there to debate the actions or opinions of individuals? There are 7 billion of them and each has its own perspective. It is the interests of the societies our governments represent that we should discuss – or at least that is what I do…

    8 – ” I find it confusing when you say that Iran advocates genocide.”

    Interesting how in Iran only Ahmadinejad advocates genocide but in the US, it is the whole government that wants war with Iran…

    “Again, you’re talking about words.”

    Aren’t words important? They seem to be when it comes to the US government…

    Double standards, my friend, always double standards…

    Regardless, what can we discuss then? I mean, government policy doesn’t matter, words of political representatives don’t matter…
    What can we discuss, after all? What is the point of discussing policy if none of that is supposed to be under scrutiny?……

    9 – “Iran is NOT irrational, at least no more than any other state”

    Entirely in disagreement. Different governments, different policies, different levels of rationality.

    But again , this conversation is turning absolutely surreal… If all governments are the same, why bother discussing one political issue or government policy in particular?…

    You live in the twilight zone…

    10 – “If any force is destabilising, I think any observer without blinders on knows it is the US-Israel alliance.

    What has the US-Israel alliance ever done to destabilise the Middle east?!!

    Please, give some specific examples of what you mean because poor little o’ me who knows nothing about ME history is just dying to know..

    11 – ” It is so obvious that I don’t know why anyone would say Iran is the bad guy, unless of course they are not familiar with the history of the Middle East. You have shown through your comments that you are not”

    Right… even though I confronted you with specific instances of Iranian meddling, expansionism and self-declared destabilising intentions and you were incapable of disproving any of them, AND even though you are not capable of giving 1 single example of Israeli destabilisation…

    Shame on you…

    12 – “Perhaps you weren’t aware of Israel’s repeated invasions of its neighbours, and the tens thousands of deaths that have resulted”

    Israel never invaded anyone. Every single war it fought was defensive. I have no idea what history books you’re reading…

    But of course, the fact that lets see, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, etc have ALL waged aggressive war against Israel for no apparent reason. THAT DOESN’T SHOCK YOU ………………….

    13 – “How many foreigners has Iran killed since Israel has existed? 5? 10? To say I use double standards is just nonsense”

    Iran has killed thousands! Not just in Lebanon or during the tanker war with Iraq but also by sponsoring Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorism throughout the world as well as interfering in the Balkan wars.

    Now, you tell me something: in how many foreign conflicts has Israel interfered? How many terrorist groups does Israel sponsor? How many countries or organisations has Israel attacked that had not previously declared war on it? How many peoples does Israel has declared to want to exterminate, expel, or the like? In how many countries has Israel attempted to impose its own political model?

    That’s ok, don’t bother answering. I know you don’t have an answer or a counter-argument would’ve appeared by now…

    14 – “I see little justification for moralising murderers like Barack and Bibi to “deter” Iran by hurting its people.

    My God, if you equate politicians with vulgar murderers than there is no debating with you.
    If you think there is no place for state authority, why do you bother discussing details of state action. Just say war with Iran is wrong because neither Iran nor the US should exist…

    15 – If you actually believe that Iran’s meddling in Lebanon by providing moderate support for Hezbollah is somehow worse than Israel’s repeated invading of Lebanon, your head is screwed on backwards”

    And yet, I ABSOLUTELY DO and go further to say that it is you who are completely blind to any modicum of reason.

    Israel didn’t invade Lebanon or refuse to recognise its sovereignty, THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE or didn’t you know ME History Professor?………………….

    Did you also know that while Israel allowed for no entity to use its territory to attack Lebanon, Beirut did just that?

    Israel actually has borders with Lebanon, it needs to care about what goes on in Lebanon lest it not fall victim to military invasions or terrorist raids.
    THIS IS SELF-DEFENCE!
    Interestingly, Mr righteous about leaving Iran alone because societies have no interests and only states do, seems to have little problem with Iran building up one of the most powerful terrorist organisations and guerrilla movements in the entire world, even though Iran is thousands of kms away and has no conceivable interest or need to do so.

    Now who is the biased ignorant?!…

    Shameful, absolutely shameful!

    16 – ” You don’t know it sponsored terrorists in Buenos Aires. All you are going by is reports. I don’t believe those reports”

    HAHAHAHAHA Of course, when it doesn’t suit your radical rants, the reports are unreliable or there are bad translations…

    Actually the UN, the ICJ and Argentina (who under a leftist government, had no ill feelings towards Iran) were the ones to condemn Iran for the bombings, but hey, reports right… why believe them?

    After all, the word of an extremist regime who shouts ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ is SO MUCH MORE CREDIBLE ……………………………..

    “I don’t believe Iran’s regime indiscriminately kills Jews”

    Pathetic………

    17 – “Anyway, we know Iranians are being targeted; not just scientists but the entire population. You don’t have much to say against that, eh?”

    Errr, why would I?…

    17.1 – The conflict between Iran and the West was unilaterally started by Iran. If Iran has the right to produce nuclear power, the West also has the right to declare embargoes.

    17.2 – The fact that most of the world agrees that Iran should be sanctioned seems to mean little to you… no clues there? You know about who is afraid of Iran? .. No? Nothing?…..

    Yeah….

    17.3 – It is so interesting how the Iranian government deserves absolutely no condemnation by you… It is fascinating to observe you bend over backwards to accuse Israel and the US of everything (and btw I am by no means an unconditional supporter of the 2) while Iran deserves not a single criticism.

    17.4 – and finally, I’m sure that the fact that the West is trying to pressure Iran into a compromise and Iran is and has always been intransigent has escaped you.

    the fact that Iran doesn’t even try to establish a dialogue with opponents like Israel (by the way mr nice guy, nothing to say about Iran’s antisemitic obsession?) and in fact cares only to demonize (when you refer to someone as Satan, my friend, that is demonizing!! to accuse someone of being irrational is somewhat a lower level of criticism, I’d say… but hey, what do I know) it, has escaped you.

    How many countries does Israel demonize and refuse to recognise? Yeah….

    18 – “inherent immorality of war ”

    The inherent immorality of war has allowed the world to progress until what it is today. Facts are facts.

    19 – “I have no adversaries, especially not entire countries with millions of people in them. If you want to attack Iran, feel free. I will not be paying, nor will I be joining you.”

    And yet some people consider you the devil. If it happens, your taxes will pay for it, it is up to you to argue in favour or against. I just wish that instead of wishing to be part of the twilight zone, you decide to be serious about serious matters.

    • July 1, 2012 at 1:56 am

      here here well done agree with most of what said with some minor differences.
      Its good to see people informed and discussing these issues,I just wish it were more.

    • July 1, 2012 at 8:58 am

      I see how your perspective got skewed. Your problem is that you think we live in a world of good guys and bad guys. The good guys are the people who are like “us” (not me, but people who think they represent them), like the US and Israel. Since you think nation states are good, and governments are necessary, you think the states of the US and Israel are good. I don’t.

      You are not actually going by facts in your arguments, because you are starting from that position. The case of Middle East history, for example, sure, if you read certain books from certain perspectives, you will be told that Israel fought entirely defensive wars. But when you read others, you begin to realise that Israel was not as under attack as it made everyone believe. 1956, 1978, 1982, 2006, 2008–I know Israel’s supporters will say they were all defensive wars but to look at the facts is to refute that claim. Israel also sponsored militias during the Lebanese Civil War. I think you may have been simply selective because you started from the premise that Israel was a David being attacked by a Goliath, and that of course it was a good guy.

      Vietnam beat the US on Vietnamese turf, in a war that the invader should never have let itself slide into. The same might be true of Iran, but that just means an invasion of Iran could be another Vietnam. So let’s just bomb them and assume that kills fewer people than some unlikely Iranian strike against some target in the Middle East–and maybe somehow brings democracy to Iran, too.

      And then you play dumb when you look at the US’s record in the Middle East. Iraq deaths approaching 1m? Never mind the number injured, displaced and so on. And so Iran uses cheap roadside bombs to tie down coalition forces there and all of sudden it is an expansionist aggressor. Either that or it wants to make it hard for the people in Iraq to invade Iran.

      You don’t know why Iran broke its alliance with the US? Maybe support for the repressive Shah? And I don’t take nationalism into account? And “the West” (or “the international community”) is pressuring Iran, yes, by pummeling it into submission without having to resort to overt war. Certainly, this Iran-Western conflict was initiated by Iran in the sense that they were the ones who started using scary words like “Satan”, but most Iranians will tell you a different story; one of Western meddling in its internal affairs stretching back at least to Mossadaq. But I’m sure you know all about that. Iran is so evil for being intransigent. Well, that or it doesn’t trust the good cop bad cop routine of the people who have been antagonising Iran for decades.

      Propping up the House of Assad and helping Hezbollah–well, a little, sure. I don’t know where you get that “Iran has killed thousands” line. A little help to terrorists does not make Iran this powerhouse state in the Middle East. It makes it a typical Middle East state.

      You also seem to think I am American and living in the US. Neither of those are true.

      I will forgive your very dubious but typical claim that the state guarantees rights and markets and civil society. But your insistence on the good guy/bad guy dichotomy is not helping you understand the more relevant aggressive state/innocent bystander distinction, and morality is always clouded when we make this error.

      • July 2, 2012 at 7:35 am

        1 – “you think we live in a world of good guys and bad guys”

        I don’t. I make no moral judgements; I merely believe in defending our interests and believe therefore that some states can help our interest and others can get in the way.

        “The good guys are the people who are like “us” (not me, but people who think they represent them), like the US and Israel. Since you think nation states are good, and governments are necessary, you think the states of the US and Israel are good. I don’t.”

        You are sorely mistaken and since you called me a Realist, you should know better.

        US and Israel are ‘good’ simply because they defend our interests in the ME. No other reason.

        “You are not actually going by facts in your arguments, because you are starting from that position”

        It is a fact that both you and I are a part of the West and that therefore no other governments will defend our interests…

        2 – ” Israel was not as under attack as it made everyone believe.”

        Remember what I said about bending over backwards?…

        The Arab countries had professional armies, more troops and more money and they collectively attacked Israel with the declared intention of “expelling the Jews” – which would have amounted to genocide. But even if that was only propaganda, your extreme bias no longer allows you to see reality for what it is: in what a small and practically insignificant country was attacked purely out of prejudice by the big powers of the ME and yet is it is the small country you blame for destabilisation…

        “1956, 1978, 1982, 2006, 2008–I know Israel’s supporters will say they were all defensive wars but to look at the facts is to refute that claim”

        Quite the opposite. Israel was open to start diplomatic relations with all of its neighbours and always willing to make a compromise when it came to territory. You are so blind however that to you that means nothing. Israel didn’t conquer enemy territory, nor did it seek to eradicate any peoples and yet, to you all the aggressors advocating genocide for no apparent reason other than prejudice and expansionism, they are the victims….
        This is radically ideological and irrational. It makes a mirror opposite of the Neocons.

        “Israel also sponsored militias during the Lebanese Civil War”

        Sure, so what? Militias in a civil war are not the same as international terrorist groups and Israel’s intervention was brought about by Lebanese/Palestinian/Arab aggression towards Israel. Israel would never have interfered in Lebanon had the Lebanese government recognised Israel and refused to allow its territory to be used as a sanctuary for terrorists attacking Israel.

        “I think you may have been simply selective because you started from the premise that Israel was a David being attacked by a Goliath, and that of course it was a good guy.”

        No, unlike leftists, I don’t think the weaker side is necessarily good or I would be a vociferous supporter of Palestine – and I’m not.

        3 – “Vietnam beat the US on Vietnamese turf”

        Agreed.

        “in a war that the invader should never have let itself slide into”

        The US were not an invader, they wee merely trying to protect their ally.

        “The same might be true of Iran, but that just means an invasion of Iran could be another Vietnam”

        Agreed.

        “So let’s just bomb them and assume that kills fewer people than some unlikely Iranian strike against some target in the Middle East–and maybe somehow brings democracy to Iran, too.”

        That is the neocon mantra and I’m not a neocon.
        As I’ve told you, Iran has its fair share of aggression but the bombing of Iran is not an attempt at exporting democracy for me but rather only a means to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

        4 – “And then you play dumb when you look at the US’s record in the Middle East.”

        When did I do that?!!!

        “Iraq deaths approaching 1m? Never mind the number injured, displaced and so on”

        I never said the US was a saint nor that invading Iraq had been a good thing. That was YOUR assumption based on the fact that you still think you’re talking to a neocon.

        “And so Iran uses cheap roadside bombs to tie down coalition forces there and all of sudden it is an expansionist aggressor”

        I NEVER SAID THAT !!!

        I dare you to find the statement where I said such thing!!! I NEVER EVEN MENTIONED IRAQ …
        Are you really so desperate that your only way to argue is not to debate the facts and arguments I give you but to ascribe positions I do not have?!!!…

        I never criticised Iran’s intervention in Iraq because I think its actions there were actually rational.

        The only problem is what Iran has been doing since 79 which for you is just dandy…
        You are so blinded by your own fanaticism that you are incapable of seeing any merit in your country’s actions and only accept as reasonable the actions of regimes which do their best to hurt your interests.
        Your world is seriously twisted man…

        5 – “You don’t know why Iran broke its alliance with the US? Maybe support for the repressive Shah?”

        I don’t get your point. Yes the US was supportive of the Shah but your twisted mind makes it sound like that support was conditional on the Shah’s repression.

        The US wanted and needed an ally in the region, that was all. They didn’t care what kind of regime was in place. Besides, that argument is even more moronic given that the Islamic Republic is much worse than the Shah.

        Is it your argument then that the US should only ally with liberal democracies? Because that kind of puts you in the Neocon camp and even gives them another argument for the US to be hostile to Iran today………………………………..

        Pathetic….

        “And “the West” (or “the international community”) is pressuring Iran, yes, by pummeling it into submission without having to resort to overt war.”

        …and that’s a good thing. Problem is that any reasonable regime would have put the interests of its population first and the Ayatollahs simply care more about nuclear power they they do about feeding the population. This makes them IRRATIONAL!!!

        “Certainly, this Iran-Western conflict was initiated by Iran in the sense that they were the ones who started using scary words like “Satan”,

        …AND sponsored terrorism, refused to continue the alliance with the US, antagonised Israel and questioned its legitimacy out of medieval prejudice…

        “but most Iranians will tell you a different story; one of Western meddling in its internal affairs stretching back at least to Mossadaq”

        Pffff, you could say the same thing for Russia (who even tried to annex Iranian territory), and yet Iran does not try to curb Russian interests in the ME or call Russia ‘Satan’.

        Besides it is not like Iran itself did not meddle in other states too. Politics is politics but somehow it is only bad when the US does it.
        The US defended its interests and in doing so made Iran into a rich country and a regional power. Wow, I wish the US would meddle in my country’s politics…

        “But I’m sure you know all about that. Iran is so evil for being intransigent. Well, that or it doesn’t trust the good cop bad cop routine of the people who have been antagonising Iran for decades”

        I DO KNOW and because I know the history I also know that the whole West=evil line is BS. It is just an excuse to antagonise the West but in fact it is you who falls for that crap and is ignorant about ME history.

        The West has ALWAYS tried to befriend Iran. It tried to do so under the Shah and under the Khomeini (inform yourself about what Carter tried to do). The difference was that Iran under the Shah was friendly and under Khomeini was not.

        But it is not like there is something in power to do, to make things right with Iran. Iran is by default anti-western. IRRATIONALLY so.
        You speak as if we could do something to make things right and there isn’t, short of abandoning our interests in the ME and paying the political and economic price for that.

        6 – “Propping up the House of Assad and helping Hezbollah–well, a little, sure. I don’t know where you get that “Iran has killed thousands” line. ”

        A little?!! Hezbollah would not exist without Iranian money, weapons and training……………………… My God, do you even read history books?

        Well Hezbollah has killed thousands (including Americans who under the UN banner were only doing peacekeeping in Lebanon) in the Lebanese civil war alone but if you add international terrorism by both Hezbollah and Palestinians, as well as Iranian backed forces in fmr Yugoslavia and the tanker war with Iraq, that amounts to thousands as well.

        Regardless, one cannot measure a country’s negative impact by the sheer number of deaths its direct actions cause. The US and the UN coalition who expelled Iraq from Kuwait killed more Iraqis than Iraqis killed Kuwaitis but that is easily explained by the differences in technology and means available to each side. But that doesn’t mean that Kuwait should not have been liberated.

        The truth is that if Iran had more means available they would have caused even more problems than they did; and they would have caused those problems TO US…

        7 – “A little help to terrorists does not make Iran this powerhouse state in the Middle East. It makes it a typical Middle East state.”

        I never said it is their support of terrorism that makes them a powerhouse – that makes no sense. It is their sheer size and economy that makes them a regional power.
        Which would be fine if they weren’t hell-bent on fighting western interests (yours and mine) in the ME. Which would be fine if they weren’t trying to procure nuclear weapons – BTW you never did explain why it is that only after 30 years is Iran trying to procure nuclear weapons to defend itself. Afterall, hasn’t Iran been under threat from the US and the West?…. right ….

        8 – “You also seem to think I am American and living in the US. Neither of those are true.”

        Ah, apologies, I did assume that – neither am I actually. But I am not wrong in assuming you are a westerner living in a western country, am I?

        9 – “I will forgive your very dubious but typical claim that the state guarantees rights and markets and civil society”

        You simply have no argument against it. If states don’t represent societies, who does?

        10 – “But your insistence on the good guy/bad guy dichotomy is not helping you understand the more relevant aggressive state/innocent bystander distinction, and morality is always clouded when we make this error.”

        I thought I had been clear about morality. I see none, I see only rational or irrational behaviour. Unlike other manicheists, I care only about national interest and which regimes defend it (mine) better.

        “aggressive state/innocent bystander” is a weak argument because according to your definitions, all governments are sinful and all civilians are innocent. Now that is manicheism, that is totalitarian and that is absurd.

        11 – Finally, I appreciate the fact you didn’t even bother to try and counter-argue half of my points. It is a good sign.

      • July 3, 2012 at 8:13 am

        Yes, some of your points were not worth attacking. I do not need to prove you wrong on every level, nor prove myself right.

        I think it is ridiculous to think that states represent anyone, or that they look out for our interests, so we’ll need to agree to disagree. Never mind who and where I am. No one represents me but myself.

        Of course the US was the invader in Vietnam, just like in Iraq; and of course Israel has invaded its neighbours repeatedly. You said Iran is expansionist and destabilising, whereas, again, its record does not even approximate that of Israel and the US.

        You are also putting all kinds of words in my mouth, and then pretending that I am the one doing it to you. I’m getting tired of this debate. “Yes the US was supportive of the Shah but your twisted mind makes it sound like that support was conditional on the Shah’s repression.” I don’t want to talk to you if you’re going to make things up. My point was that it was not surprising Iran broke off relations with the US when the US was seen as propping up a dictator. You accuse me of not taking nationalism into account? You accuse me of not knowing the history? I don’t understand what points you are trying to prove, and why you are still here.

        The fact is, Iran is not going to use nuclear weapons on anyone, and hasn’t invaded its neighbours in hundreds of years. Feel free to continue to propose destroying Iran’s economy, bombing it, and killing innocents because you think it is in your interest.

  4. July 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    In other words, you have no response to informed arguments and just stick to your guns regardless.
    Fine, I won’t keep trying to bother confronting you with reality.

  5. khanjee
    July 10, 2012 at 8:47 am

    we pakistani behind iran against US and other allies. we must help our irani brothers and sisters.we both teach US and isreal and UK.we are one we muslim are brothers.

  6. January 2, 2013 at 12:30 am

    It’s wrong to bomb a country because that’s mass murder. It doesn’t matter the supposed transgressions of their leaders. Mass murder is wrong, period. War is a horrible idea and people who apologize for it are deluded at best, completely mental at worst.

  7. January 3, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Of course it is. People like M. Silva don’t understand that, because they see it as a legitimate tool of foreign policy. But what do you expect from someone who believes the state represents the people?

  8. maria
    January 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    This is an excellent article… thankyou for truth telling… there ought to be more… and its a breath of fresh air to finally be hearing about this situation for what it really is…not that blind freddy couldnt see already that the mainstream and official version is just a pile of crap… The taking of innocent lives is an atrocity however you look at it and the time has come for war to be a thing of the past… more compassion needed… and recognition that we are humanity not just humans and when we hurt others we truly hurt ourselves.

    • January 10, 2013 at 11:52 pm

      Yes, I couldn’t agree more. War is just a game for some people, and a nightmare for their victims.

  1. July 2, 2012 at 9:28 am

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