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View Diary: Noam Chomsky on U.S. policy towards Iran (223 comments)

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  •  Move beyond Bush and Cheney (43+ / 0-)

    The US Congress is shot through with Hate Iran firsters.
    Gary Ackerman, Democrat congressman from NY, is chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. On Oct. 23, 2007, Ackerman led a hearing on "Iran Sanctions and Regional Security."

    Here's how Ackerman introduced our representatives to the issue:

    ....I don’t know when Iran will have enough special nuclear material to make a nuclear weapon, but I will predict that unless we stop them soon, that day is sure to come....I don’t know when Iran will test its first nuclear weapon, but I will predict that on that on that day we’ll look back and ask why such a horrific seed was not only allowed to take root, but worse, and most inexplicably, to come to full flower.

               I know we will rue that day. I know the American people will look back and wonder how such a malevolent, disruptive and, yes, weak state was allowed to thumb its nose at the world and proliferate in plain sight. People around the world will ask how a state entirely dependent on foreign trade was allowed by the international community to acquire the means to put the whole world in danger.

               And I’ll make one more prediction: on that awful day of reckoning we will wish mightily that we could have another chance to stop Iran’s mad mullahs from getting nuclear weapons. But there will be no second chance, only regret and for many, an enduring and sleepless fear.

    The only thing wrong with Ackerman's hyperbolic rhetoric is that none of it has a basis in fact.  

    Ackerman is a master of propaganda:  of spinning facts and dialog to favor his preconceived position.

    Malevolent Iran? Show your evidence, Mr. Ackerman.  Malevolence is in the eye of the beholder.

    Disruptive Iran? Disruptive of what, Mr. Ackerman: Israel's ongoing attempts to wipe out Palestinian Arabs?

    Weak Iran? You wish, Mr. Ackerman. To ensure that it will 'never again' suffer a chemical holocaust as it did in the war waged on it by Iraq, Iran has a 450,000-strong military force.
    Iran WAS mightily weakened by 8 years of US-endorsed war declared on Iran by Iraq, in which Iran was subjected the most devastating series of chemical attacks since WWI, Iran's chemical holocaust.  Iran has absorbed those assaults to her people and attempts to moves on to develop its people and its economy, in spite of the persistent and pernicious efforts of the US to prevent it from doing so-- a kind of 'reverse Marshall plan.'

    Mad mullash rule Iran, Mr. Ackerman?  Would they be the same "mad mullahs" to whom Israel sold millions of dollars of weapons in the 1980s and 1990s?    

    Ah well, that's politics, you say.

    But when war is in the balance, is it safe to allow an obviously prejudiced ideologue to shape the legislation that determines the fate of 70 million Iranians, whose voice was NOT heard and the reality of whose situation was NOT given a hearing in the subcommittee room of the Honorable Gary Ackerman?

    And if you're not concerned about 70million Iranians, who love Americans and are, by the way, the last nation of friends the US still has in the Middle East (consider this sidebar: Saudis & Pakistanis educate their children in madrasas where anti-Americanism is routinely taught; Iranians do not: the Iranian education system is the equal of the liberal education Americans used to enjoy in their public schools), then consider the world your children will inhabit if Gary Ackerman has his way and the US destroys Iran.

    When a coward sees a man he thinks he can beat he becomes hungry for a fight. -Chinhua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.

    by BughouseWW on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 04:08:48 AM PST

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    •  Right on! (10+ / 0-)

      ....beautifully written.

      -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

      by sunbro on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 04:12:35 AM PST

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    •  One thing we need to consider is that (15+ / 0-)

      there are some of our Dems. who have bought into the PNAC. There are some of our Dems. who have not researched on their own and are just buying the Repub. line due to lack of knowledge. Those are the Dems. we need to target in future years.

      "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

      by Owllwoman on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 04:32:20 AM PST

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    •  too bad Hillary won't read it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irate, LaFajita

      but good stuff.

      fouls, excesses and immoderate behaviors will not be ignored at Over the line, Smokey!.

      by seesdifferent on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 04:57:55 AM PST

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    •  Lost nuance. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Surely you are joking when you say, "The Iranian education system is equal of the liberal education Americans used to enjoy in their public schools".  

      I wonder what is taught in their sex education classes?  I wonder if their biology classes have good discussions of the theory of evolution?
      I wonder if the girls are given the same opportunities and expected to excel in the same areas of expertise as the boys.  I'm sure that if a girl decided to wear a Metallica t-shirt and jeans, her right to freedom of expression would be accepted.  Maybe the newspaper articles I read about people being imprisoned for wearing the wrong kind of clothes, getting abused when a man and women are together who aren't married, homosexuals getting hung, rape victims getting lashed aren't true.

      "Malevolence" - of course malevolence is in the eye of the beholder but that doesn't explain anything.    Hitler, Stalin thought what they were doing was for the good of the whole.  There has to be some objective basis for what is good and bad.  I think that Iran's threats to wipe out Israel and the fact that Hezbollah is widely regarded as Iran's foreign army, indicates some malevolent intent.  Not enough for war mind you, but malevolence indeed.  

      "Disruptive" - It is quite hyperbolic to say that the reason Israel is fighting Palestinians is because they want to wipe them off the map.  Even though Israel has committed some atrocities, it at least has something to do with self-defense.  

      "Weak" - You are exactly correct.  A war with Iran would be bloody, neverending and costly.  Not worth it.  

      •  You really shd learn about Iran, not yr prejudice (9+ / 0-)
        1. Billboard at main airport in Tehran: "Respect yourself:  1. Abstinence; 2. Faithfulness; 3. Use Condoms.  
        1. 60% of college students in Iran are women. Almost everybody in Iran writes and reads poetry, even men; men and women are equally enrolled in sciences and engineering.  Ahmadinejad's wife has a post-grad degree in engineering; Ahmadinejad's daughter has a post-grad degree in Mechanical engineering from the finest university in Iran (she didn't get there on her father's creds:  university education is paid for by the state but admission to college is outcome of rigorous testing process.)
        1. Take a look at one of these sites to see Iranian female bicycling teams -- yes, they wear scarves; some choose to wear full chadors, but that's not required; women are expected to cover their heads & wear a mantau -- mid-thigh length jacket or coat or shawl or something.  It was not all that long ago that American women were expected to cover their ankles and arms lest they give scandal.
        1. I'm not going to do all your research for you -- I don't remember the name of the US institution that named the University of Tehran the best in category in doctoral studies in electrical engineering.
        1.  It's becoming tiresome to repeatedly refute the Hasbara that "Ahmadinejad said Israel should be wiped off the map."  a. What he said was, in effect, zionism is an untenable situation and should and will disappear from the pages of history.

        b. Israel has had Iran in its sights well before anybody heard of Ahmadinejad.  Yossi Melman writes in "Nuclear Sphinx" that Mossad and MI5 & CIA knew little of Ahmad before his election in 2005.  Yet, according to Abe Foxman, speaking at B&N in NYC in mid-Sept 2007, in the runup to Iraq invasion, Israelis urged the Bush admin NOT to invade Iraq, arguing that IRAN was the problem.  

        c. It's really difficult to understand how bulldozing children, taking a chunk out of a kid's head because he threw stones at an 2-ton bulldozer driven by an IDF soldier in the process of destroying a Palestinian orange grove can be defended.  I believe in the principle of proportionality; Israel responds with wild disproportionality -- and genuine barbarity -- to Palestinian acts attempting to gain return of lands stolen from them.  Destroying half of Lebanon to gain the return of 3 IDF soldiers is disproportionate; dropping millions of cluster bombs on civilian lands is disproportionate, illegal, and barbaric.

        Nobody but Likud and Likud's American cohort want a war with Iran.  Iranians do not want war, they want respect.  

        When a coward sees a man he thinks he can beat he becomes hungry for a fight. -Chinhua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.

        by BughouseWW on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 07:38:43 AM PST

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        •  Response (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          varro, Absit invidia

          From (Butterflies and wheels, BBC News, The Chronicle of Higher education, Guardian Unlimited and Reporters without borders).  Not such a rosy picture.

          "A new series of executions has started in Iran. On 22 July 2007, in the notorious Evin Prison, the Islamic authorities hanged in one day twelve "thugs" accused of homosexuality, drug smuggling, theft, and violation of Islamic morality." - These executions are public and are designed with a crane in a manner that ensures more pain.

          "Ms Ali, 24, joined a protest last year calling for greater legal rights for Iranian women.  She has been ordered to begin her sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison and a flogging on Saturday."

          "When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran addressed faculty members and students at Columbia University last month, he invited everyone present to visit Iran and to engage the faculty members and students at its 400 universities. He failed to mention that Iran's academics refrain from accepting invitations to attend conferences abroad, for fear of being arrested and accused of belonging to networks recruited to bring about regime change in their country.  The Ahmadinejad government's broad crackdown on Iran's civil society, described by some observers as a cultural revolution, has essentially criminalized the activities of academics, journalists, and activists for women's rights and human rights."

          "Four bookshops in Tehran this week closed their coffee shops after receiving a 72-hour ultimatum from Amaken-e Omoomi, a state body governing the retail trade. The order has led to the closure of the cafe in one of the city's best-known bookshops, Nashr-e Sales.  Amaken justified the closures by declaring that the coffee shops constituted an illegal "mixing of trades". However, critics suspect the move is aimed at restricting the gathering of intellectuals and educated young people."

          Iran is number 166 out of 169 in a ratings of how free their press is.

          •  Quite right, Cassdog (7+ / 0-)

            Iran has very serious internal issues that the Iranian people are attempting to resolve on their own terms.

            The top line and the bottom line is this: Iran has serious problems; Iranians know this; Iranians are working to solve them; US interference is making resolution of Iran's internal problems more difficult, not more likely.

            The Iranian people are courageous enough, smart enough, and energetic enough to solve their problems in their way.

            US intervention in Iran is making the situation for reform-minded moderates in Iran worse, not better.

            Iranian Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi is pleading with the US Congress NOT to renew its appropriation of $75million to 'promote democracy' in Iran. Ebadi was Haleh Esfandiari's attorney in gaining Esfandiari's release from Evin Prison where she was held on charges of treason- participating with American interests in attempting to create a 'velvet revolution' in Iran. Esfandiari is an Iranian and a scholar at the Wilson Institute who was held by Iranian authorities while she was visiting her elderly mother in Iran.

            The Iranian government is touchy about outsiders -- particularly Americans -- attempting to tell it what to do.  The Bush admin HAS stated its intention to change the regime in Iran, so it's not an irrational reaction.

            Iran may be 166 of 169 in the freedom of its press, but it's number 2 in the number of bloggers and Internet communications.

            When a coward sees a man he thinks he can beat he becomes hungry for a fight. -Chinhua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.

            by BughouseWW on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 08:24:53 AM PST

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            •  BughouseWW, I enjoy debating but... (0+ / 0-)

              I agree that US intervention, particularly from the federal government, could make things worse but the humanitarian in me wants to believe that some international organization can help.

              The reason that I brought up these problems was to show that the leaders of Iran are fanatics and their governmental organization is not up to par.  The thought of them getting a nuclear bomb is scary.  I think GW Bush is crazy but he wouldn't advocate executing gay people, or nuking another country and other checks and balances would limit him if he did.  I'm not so sure about the government of Iran.        

              Anyhow, you must admit that your rosy picture of an intellectually free and democratic society that you painted in your first post, wasn't quite honest.  When I put the above quotes, it appears you may have backed off from this initial statement that you made here and in a lower post.  I definitely learned something from your posts and hopefully you learned something from mine.      

              •  Bush gives this guy your tax $ to infiltrate Iran (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Thanks for a rational response, cassdog.
                I suppose I do paint a rosier picture than is warranted. I'm trying to counterbalance the demonization that is far more negative than the facts support.

                And because I truly detest Josh Muravchik, who has once again slipped his leash:


                Iran Nuclear Watch  
                AEI Scholar Says Iranian Bomb Is 'Intolerable'

                Posted: 20 Nov 2007 08:12 AM CST

                In an Op-Ed in USA Today, Joshua Muravchik, a resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute and a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion, toes the line of the Bush administration and hypes the threat of Iran's nuclear program. Muravchik writes: "Our choice is stark. Accept Iran with an atom bomb or cripple its nuclear program by force. Nothing else will stop Tehran."

                Muravchik is in favor of military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities and argues that the President alone is positioned to carry out such strikes. He states: "Only strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities can forestall these terrible scenarios. This would not require a 'declaration of war,' an antiquated concept that has not been employed since World War II and rarely before. We would send no troops, conquer no land. Rather, we would act in pre-emptive self-defense...Congress can block presidential action, but in this case, most members will be satisfied to stand clear and let the president do what must be done."

                When a coward sees a man he thinks he can beat he becomes hungry for a fight. -Chinhua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.

                by BughouseWW on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 05:31:07 PM PST

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              •  ps (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                a. I do NOT agree that Iran's leaders are fanatics.  Corrupt, perhaps, but not fanatics.  Ahmadinejad was one of the five top nominees for best mayor in the world; he's not a fool, he's far more competent than Bush, he is not financially corrupt but is using reckless rhetoric to maintain his place in a crowded government structure, loaded with moneyed cronyism that does not include him.  Ahmad plays the populist role to poor people whom he has severely disappointed.

                b. That Iran's governmental organization is not 'up to par' is really not the business of the US to solve.  Courageous Iranian reformers who have taken life-and-death chances to challenge their government to function in a different way are being marginalized by Bush.  I believe it is deliberate:  a nuclear Iran is not nearly the problem Bush makes it out to be; an Iran, reformed by Iran's own reformers rather than by Bush puppets, is what Bush-Cheney and the Likuk cannot abide.

                c. Get off the gay thing.  It's a side show.  

                If you think that sounds callous, you should have tuned in to this afternoon's Israel Policy group conference on the upcoming Annapolis Summit:  A panelist from Haaretz backed up David Wurmser in decreeing that "removing settlers from Gaza was trouble enough; Israel cannot be bothered to move any more settlers; Gaza will have to be it."  In other comments, panelists revealed that the whole settlements issue, the whole  international borders issue, the whole Jerusalem issue, from the Likud point of view, are sideshows, irrelevant.  

                Gays in Iran are a problem.  But destroying Iran's nuclear capability on the lunatic advice of a Muravchik -- an act that could devastate thousands of square miles and kill hundreds of thousands of people -- that's serious.  More serious then Iran's gay problem.

                When a coward sees a man he thinks he can beat he becomes hungry for a fight. -Chinhua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.

                by BughouseWW on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 05:46:30 PM PST

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        •  I learn about Iran... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...and what I learn about it is that Ahmadinejad is the Iranian version of George W. Bush - someone who intentionally provokes people and is beholden to the religious right in his own country.

          And THIS is what the Iranian right-wingers do - they hang gay teenagers.  The only person hung in Israel was Adolph Eichmann.

          However, the United States should not use any kind of military action against Iran.  It should do what it, unfortunately, is impotent in doing - using diplomatic skill to bring about political change and equal rights and protections for women and queers.

          9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

          by varro on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 08:59:00 AM PST

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      •  hmm... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gnat, corvo, ibonewits

        "I wonder if their biology classes have good discussions of the theory of evolution?"

        Wait - are we comparing with schools in the US or not?

        It's safe to assume that any government agency that insists on total secrecy is totally incompetent.

        by RickD on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 08:40:53 AM PST

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        •  I couldn't tell if GP was being sarcastic or not (0+ / 0-)

          One of the flaws of internet posting is that sarcasm doesn't translate well.

          NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed, but by lawful judgment of his Peers

          by aztecraingod on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 10:52:37 AM PST

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    •  Thanks for marshalling the facts. (0+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, truth means nothing to figures like Ackerman. Whether Repubs or Dems, when it comes to Iran it seems it's the Big Lie technique all the way.

      The Dutch children's chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen (= “kids for kids”): is a world cultural treasure.

      by lotlizard on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 02:24:04 AM PST

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