Wednesday, October 24, 2007

To war or not to war

I was walking in the park with an Iranian friend who prefers to remain anonymous, so let’s call him Reza. Reza just returned from several years in Iran. We argued about the benefits of war. “Things are just getting worse. People have all the hope sucked right out of them. You just cannot believe the corruption and the government – what government? – can you really call it a government? – they are just a bunch of criminals. Sometimes I think the only thing to do is bomb them.”

Reza is serious. We have argued this point so many times. Reza wants the US to attack Iran. I think it is a mistake. Reza has family in Iran. He loves them. But he is just so fed up with what he sees as the destruction of Iranian culture and society. Reza thinks it’s worse and getting worse. “It’s not that I think that Iran will actually use a bomb,” he tells me. “I think they’ll just use it as blackmail.” He goes on to tell me that anyone who thinks that the current government of Iran is not pursuing a bomb is living in a dream world.

We argue a bit. I tell him that while Iranians may not greet war as an attack on Islam the rest of the world will. I argue that it will lead to increased radicalization and terror. “Maybe,” he admits. Then he goes on:

“What if you had a husband who beat you? You try to reason with him. For a while he stops. You think things are better. You have children. He beats you again. You try to do things his way, get him to stop. Then he beats your children too. Now this is too far, so you go to his family and friends to get them to help you, but they do not want to hear this about your husband. They don’t want to believe it. You take him to court. The court tells him to leave you alone, but he follows you. He threatens you. He threatens your children. What would you do?”

“Kill him.”

“Write that in your blog,” Reza says.

“Iran is different.”

“How? These guys now, if they get anymore power, they are like Stalin.” Reza speculates that the opposition in Iran will get completely shut down. “They are even arresting mullahs,” he says. The reformists are going to find themselves harassed, arrested, dead: that’s how little opposition the hardliners will tolerate. Reza tells me.

It’s hard not to believe him. It’s hard not to despair.

For more on war and propaganda read:

Zakaria in Newsweek:

In a speech last week, Rudy Giuliani said that while the Soviet Union and China could be deterred during the cold war, Iran can't be. The Soviet and Chinese regimes had a "residual rationality," he explained. Hmm. Stalin and Mao—who casually ordered the deaths of millions of their own people, fomented insurgencies and revolutions, and starved whole regions that opposed them—were rational folk. But not Ahmadinejad, who has done what that compares? One of the bizarre twists of the current Iran hysteria is that conservatives have become surprisingly charitable about two of history's greatest mass murderers.

Jahanshah Rashidianon the roots of the current problems on campuses all over Iran:

Under the IRI, nobody is allowed to claim that students’ rights should override any religious and ideological considerations. Actually, the issue of whether Iranian students have the right to have modern and secular universities stands against the Islamic philosophy of IRI’s constitution.


Anonymous said...

As an unbeliever Iranaian who lives in iran ,If any attack occurs I will go for defend my
country agianst violators and
I don't be ashamed of killing
transgressor soldiers

Tori said...

I am sure you will.

Stan said...

Regarding the use of nuclear weapons, the difference between the Iranian government on the one hand and Stalin and Mao on the other, is that Iran has the option of giving atomic weapons to non-state surrogates, like Hezbollah or al Qaeda to smuggle into the US or other countries. Then it can deny complicity. After all, Pakistan or North Korea, or even Russia, could have been the source. It is not entirely crazy to think that America might fail to retaliate under such circumstances. This encourages the regime to think it could actually win a nuclear war, something China and the Soviet Union could never convince themselves of during the Cold War. Bombing Iranian nuclear facilities now would eliminate the risk.

Marie said...

Years ago, in the year following the revolution, I encountered Iranians who would ask me, in all seriousness, "Why aren't the Americans doing anything? When are they going to send in the Marines?" My heart goes out to Reza and all the Iranians suffering, but this is a problem that Iranians, as a people, need to confront. I watched as they fled and the ones remaining gave away their power. Don't look to the U.S. to fix anything, which is also being run by a bunch of incompetent, power hungry and ruthless people. I seriously doubt Iran wants to be in the same situation as Iraq. So much can be destroyed in an eyeblink.