Should the World Help Iran Protesters?


What do your heart and head tell you as you look at pictures, videos, and other kinds of stories from Iran? Should the world help the protesters--and how?

Posted by David Ignatius and Lauren Keane on June 24, 2009 11:10 AM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (79)

blund Author Profile Page :

Farklol,

I thought for a second I might have written something I didn't intend, but I went back over it and made no moral arguments for or against China's policies. My conclusion was it was a rational policy for their circumstances. I concur with your assessment it is a fool's game to interject morality into this discussion although at some point it has to be dealt with because of religous intervention over the issue. It is a real fools game to to talk about meaningful population control on one hand and have organizations with power pushing abstience as the only acceptable means to this end.

As far as world population goes I do believe an argument can be made that countries who can't now or have no reasonable expectation in the future of being able to provide basic needs to their citizens are acting irresponsibly and shouldn't be rewarded for it. I even took it a step further and basically said they should have aid withheld from them for letting their societies go unchecked in this area. Hence, while there is a very loose relationship with moral arguments (since I think there is a better way to live) I tried hard not to interject morality into the discussion.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

farklol:

Sorry I mistook your idea on mral issue to mean human rights.

farklol Author Profile Page :

Yeolds:

There's nothing in my post, or anything I've wrote in this dicussion, that makes ANY mention of what you just said. If you wish to start a discussion with me on the merits of my previous post then bring up SPECIFIC points of that post. The last thing I want is to debate with you on what you thought I said or implied. I'm fine with you using my post as a talking point, but it takes two to have a serious discussion.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

farklol:

With respect to human rights and one child issue in China, the question that arises, does Chinese Culture [about 5000 years old continuous] subscribe to the Enlightment's Human Rights tenets.

My take form history is that China has never had the notion of individual human rights involvement. The building stone of Chiona always was first the family, next society, and at the end nothing else.

Please indicate your reading of Chinese History, philosophy etc which would indicate that Enlightment type individual rights have aver been part of the Chinese Ethos.

Barring such clear exp[lanation the issue of Western Human Rights and China is putting lipstick opn a pig, totally untenable in the real world.

farklol Author Profile Page :

Blund:

I'm usually the first to respond to anti-China rhetoric, but arguing from a position of moral authority on China's One-Child policy is a fool's endeavor. I don't think even the Politburo in Beijing would make that sort of argument (more or less, they probably see it as a neccessary, and temporary, evil to get as many starving rurals out of the poverty trap as fast as possible).

Play moral tag with China and the US seem kinda silly, because in the end you're comparing apples and oranges. Let's see what China and the US really are: two nations with interdependent economies but at different stages of development and thus different needs. The problems facing China and US are vastly different which explains the difference in their respective policies.

Speaking of morality-based interventionism using the Chinese/American relationship is moot point considering that China has no interest in inverventionism and every administration since Nixon have been, at best, accommodating towards Beijing, and at worst, some finger-wagging from the sidelines then business-as-usual. I don't think that it's going to change any time soon, because the cost of intervening in China's domestic policies outweighs the benefits (for the US at least). If you ignore the rhetoric on both sides and look at actions taken, you'll see that this is true.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

Forced abortions in China.

In a country of over 1 billion people I would assume you would be able to come up with maybe 50 such cases. That doesn't constitute government supported public policy of forced abortions. All that says we have a guy in jail for trying to bring a particular offical to justice for a crime he may or may not have been guilty of.

We recently had an inmate in Prince Georges County, borders DC on the east side, probably killed in custody (jail) by police officers. That doesn't give me license to state this was a sponsored act by either the county, state or governments.

I would be shocked if abuses to China's policy didn't take place. My original post left open what I assumed to be when thousands of people are in charge of implementing any policy a certain number of abuses from being over zealous to just plain stupid will take place. The question is how many and how often. Nothing I've read or seen indicates these abuses are anything more then isolated cases. Now should China abandon it's attempts at population control because of a few bad apples? If you think this is the case I will accuse you of throwing out the baby with the bath water.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

You asked so I'll answer with a smile on my face. You wrote:

"Is there anything quite like the lying and hypocritical left? "I was for torture before I was against it."

There sure is. We call it "the morally and intellectually bankrupt republican party where truth and reality will never see the light of day."

There's been so much recently written and reported about republican's lately I've actually felt bad for you. Between Palin and Sanford Saturday Night Live should have enough material for a few years. On one hand we have a governor who had voted not only to impeach Clinton, but openly called for his resignation over the Lewinsky affair while a congressman. Then he abandons his position as governor to run down to Argentina for a little hanky panky. Lies about it. Lies about it again. Then tells a partial truth. Tries to claify that and sticks his foot so far down his throat he'll be choking for years to come. Now he feels he deserves another chance. Sure he does in an alternative universe maybe. Of course this is a sad event and I don't have any doubt mental stability is a real concern for him so I don't want to pick on him too much, but I had to laugh at his statement that he might have fooled around with a few other women, but didn't have sex with them. All I could think of was Clinton not inhaling. On to Palin. At least Tina Fey was the first to understand this woman is nothing but comic relief. Most of the D's I know are universal in believing Palin's resignation made sense to her. After all, when you are 3 IQ points below the moose you hunt your concept of making sense is different from most normal peoples concept of common sense. I sincerely wish this intellectual midget would just become a footnote in the history books, but I'm afraid the brain-dead christian right will pay her a lot of money to keep saying stupid things.

I'm sorry, this started out about Pelosi. The current speaker of the house. The one who didn't quit and is actually making an attempt at governing. Does she have a bad memory, a selective memory, did she lie or did the CIA mislead her? I sincerely doubt we'll ever know or by the time we do it won't even be newsworthy any longer. In the mean time two of the latest big time republicans will either be trying to explain to their wife why they found a soul mate in another woman, but needs to reconcile with her for the sake of the kids or be sitting in moose head staring out across the bearing sea in the direction of Russia thus padding her foreign policy experience and waiting for neocon money to roll in. Darn, this was supposed be about Pelosi.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:

Read the UDHR -- you will see that no state has any rights!!

If you find any citation which gives any state any right, I will apologize for mis-statement, of course, the converse must be true, too.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob

Amnesty International report, 2009

"...Chen Guangcheng, blind activist and legal adviser, continued to suffer ill-treatment in prison. He is serving a prison sentence of four years and three months after he tried to hold local officials in Shandong accountable for conducting forced abortions and sterilizations in order to enforce birth quotas...."

Government sanctioned FAAS.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

Let's take forced sterlizations and abortions off the table. Only a tiny fraction of nuts believe in these concepts and I am not one of them.

Let's also dispel any misunderstanding about China. It is illegal in China to force an abortion or force a sterlization. It is a criminal act punishable by up to 10 years in jail. Should a couple have more then 1 child they pay a fine and are looked down on. Has this policy been abused? Sure, but not to a meaningful degree. The major unintended consequence of the policy was infanticide of too many baby girls so the couple could try again and have a boy. When you look at China 40-50 years ago starvation was a real concern. Estimates of people starving to death in China in the early 60's go as high as 25 million. And we wonder why they took an aggressive approach to population growth? Seems rather rational to me.

Iran, which is obviously one of the most conservative religous countries on this planet, is the only country that mandates contraceptive classes prior to marriage. (I'm sure this has the Pope muttering obscenities under his breath).

Opening a can of moral worms? Absolutely not. Offending most religions? Absolutely. There is nothing moral about the Catholic Church's stance on this issue. For them it is better for people to starve to death or go to bed hungry every night and put all of us at risk then use a condom. That's not a morality I want any part of.

I am a firm believer in rewarding positive actions (acting responsibly) and not rewarding negative actions (acting irresponsibly). Positve actions should be met with positive consequences and negative actions with negative consequences. Countries with the breeding habits of rabbits should be made aware that foreign aid is contingent on putting policies and practices in place to stop their population explosions.

I also apply this reasoning to welfare in this country. Any system that rewards irresponsible behavior is wrong. The welfare mother syndrome where producing babies is tantamount to a publicly funded job needs to cease.

As you know I am not a big believer in interferring with other countries practices. Frankly, if they think it's their human right, God given right or just moral right to bop like bunnies let them do it. However, this doesn't mean I have to reward them with aid for their irresponsible behavior. Virtually every person on this planet requires various forms of energy to survive. Both food and fuels come to mind. Countries that can afford very little of these have a responsibility to live within their means and population policies seem like a good place to start.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

“…Please indicate how the population vs carrying capacity is to be resolved under your acceptance of UDHR as a universally accaptable axiom based system - you note I deny that UDHR is axiom based, it is a creation of spin-master lawyers, to be interpreted to the advantage opf spin-master lawyesrs, by other spin-master lawyers, a.k.a. as Judges, Justices, etc…”

Then quit citing the UDHR only when its convenient for spinning your opposition to the “Jewish state”. Its completely baseless anyway.

Bogdan_in_Chicago Author Profile Page :

Lobbyists have said "It’s Iran first, it’s not the Palestinians first”. Couldn't we just take a public opinion survey on who should go first. Or maybe instead we need a global referendum on the issue. The strong call for a 'true world political authority' is also worth noting.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob

From the Wall Street Journal, this morning, “Pelosi v. CIA”:

“…The last time the CIA and Nancy Pelosi were in the news together, the House Speaker was accusing the agency of lying about its briefings to Congress on the interrogation of al Qaeda detainees. This week, the Speaker's fellow Democrats are set to block public disclosure of what Ms. Pelosi was really told and when.
Democrats recently marked up the 2010 intelligence bill, and Republican Pete Hoekstra offered an amendment in committee to require the CIA to make public an unclassified version of its records on Congressional briefings. It also would have required the CIA to disclose the information gleaned from those interrogations.
Democrats have spent years demanding a "truth commission" into interrogations, so you'd think such public disclosure would be welcome. Ah, that was when a different guy was in the White House and before Mrs. Pelosi had made her own veracity an issue. Suddenly, she's all for secrecy. And sure enough, Intelligence Committee Democrats lined up to protect their leader and defeated the Hoekstra amendment on a party line vote. This follows Democratic rejection of a resolution by Utah Republican Rob Bishop to initiate a bipartisan investigation of Mrs. Pelosi's accusation….”

Is there anything quite like the lying and hypocritical left? "I was for torture before I was against it."

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob, Salamon

Controlling population growth doesn’t exactly excite me considering all that is going on around the world, but I have a few thoughts on the matter:

1. Forced abortion and sterilization (FAAS) is a grotesque method of population control. Anyone who supports this method would do well to apply for a job at the Joseph Mengele’s medical facility. No one who claims to be a liberal and supports human rights could possibly support FAAS.

2. In the 1960s-70s, the liberal establishment advocated zero population growth (ZPG). It worked. Most western societies are below ZPG now. Others, including Japan and Russia, are not replacing their populations either. This has become a major problem. For example, who is going to pay for social security in the US? Today, some countries are offering incentives to produce more children. I support that effort. As far as western democratic societies go, too much population is not the problem (except for uncontrolled immigration).

People from third world countries are migrating toward economic opportunity i.e., western societies. This is a natural move for poor people looking for opportunity. In the US, immigrants, both legal and illegal, are putting a large burden on our welfare system, hospitals, schools and social programs. Mexican immigrants generally have large families. In addition, Mexican immigrants are largely uneducated and unskilled.

For the US, I support the Canadian system of immigration - on an as need basis (skilled and unskilled). Controlling our southern border is necessary. I support the immigration of skilled and educated immigrants from eastern Europe, India and China, etc. - on an as need basis as well. Western societies have the ability to control population growth.

3. The world’s population is increasing unsustainably(?) mainly in third world countries. Populations are being ravaged by disease and starvation. How many people can the world feed? I don’t know the answer to that question, but clearly the third world needs democratic change, economic liberalization (as in China) and education to feed their growing populations. We would be better off spending the wasted money trying to contain global warming by investing in the development of third world countries. Its not an east task as we have found out over time.

"...Hence, if having as many children as someone wants is a human right I think it's time we started a debate on why irresponsible behavior is a human right...."

Its not that you aren't right, Bob, but you are opening a can of worms morally. Can you imagine if the GOP suggested that a person must be able to prove that they can support two or three or four children? How about the charge of racism? Or discrimination against the poor? How would forced abortion and sterilization fit in this scenario?

Welfare, of course, only encourages irresponsible behavior.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

BOB:
your last point is well taken! Wonder what Tom has to say on the subject?

Bogdan_in_Chicago Author Profile Page :

Obama, Zbig and Cohen should let us know if Putin and Medvedev want Palestine or Iran to negotiate first.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom & YEOLDS,

Unlike 2000 years ago when it took 1500 years for the world's population to double we are now seeing that happen approximately every 50 years. In 1927 the estimates are 2 billion people. In 1975 we reached 4 billion. We are on track to top 8 billion by 2025. If we don't do something we'll have 16 billion by 2075.

We are also very aware of the fact this population explosion isn't taking place in the industrialized west or China. Nope, the countries that can least afford a population explosion are having them. Pundits who warn of massive famines and starvation in the future draw their conclusions from these numbers. If these numbers turn out to be correct they probably have a legitimate point.

To bad we won't still be alive by then. Otherwise we could take a poll and ask billions of malnourished and starving people would they rather have food or human rights. I suspect since food is a human requirement and human rights is an ideal they'd overwhelming take food.

Unlike my republican counterparts I'm a big believer in responsibility. I firmly believe it is not responsible to have more children (or any children) if you can't afford to feed them, cloth them, educate them and give them medical care when needed. Hence, if having as many children as someone wants is a human right I think it's time we started a debate on why irresponsible behavior is a human right.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:

Please re-read my last comment again, SLOWLY, so you can see the distinction between INDIVIDUALS, and STATES [Sovereign or otherwise - as no doubt you are aware, some of the 48 states which ORIGINALLY ratified the UDHR were not sovereign, some were old colonies/dominions/politically created entities out of the Ottoman Empire, etc].

YOU WILL NOTE:

No state has any rights under UDHR

ANY AND ALL HUMAN BEINGS [but only human beings] has any and all rigthts enlisted in UDHR.

the rest is self-explanatory.

NEXT PLEASE JUSTIFY the existence of UDEHR from first principles, being fully aware if the principle used is not a universal [as in e3pistomology], then there is no justificatoion thereto.

Finally with respect to the Earth's Carrying Capacity, there are too many people for the Earth's civilization to survive under the present conditions of ecological destruction, shortage of available cheap energy etc.

Please indicate how the population vs carrying capacity is to be resolved under your acceptance of UDHR as a universally accaptable axiom based system - you note I deny that UDHR is axiom based, it is a creation of spin-master lawyers, to be interpreted to the advantage opf spin-master lawyesrs, by other spin-master lawyers, a.k.a. as Judges, Justices, etc

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

There is nothing in the UDHR that indicates a “Jewish state” violates the document - thus your singling out Israel is discriminatory. As I’ve pointed out, Muslim countries, in general, don’t even recognize the UDHR.

You cannot purport to support the UDHR while commending China on their one child policy which involved (and still does to a certain degree) the vile use of forced abortion and sterilization to accomplish their goal. The so-called “collective” good for society in no way excuses this inhumane way of reducing their population.

A person that is truly a human rights activist will criticize all human rights abuses regardless of the parties and politics involved, thus Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch necessarily try (although they are not always successful) to put aside politics in the name of human rights. This is done for the obvious reason that their accusations will lose credibility if they are viewed as politically motivated.

After reading your posts for the past two years, you are probably the most politically motivated poster on this site. You didn’t even condemn the killing of the protesters in Iran. In fact, you blamed Israel and the US. What about the UDHR in this case?

Your singling out Israel in the name of human rights is politically motivated - plain and simple. Calling a “Jewish state” a violation of the UDHR is politically motivated. In my opinion, you have zero credibility regarding human rights. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care about human rights - only its difficult (for me) to decide when human rights is really the issue for you, or you’re just motivated politically. Most (if not all) of the time, you are clearly politically motivated.

With Israel, I don’t buy for a second that you care about any violations of the UDHR when you oppose a “Jewish state”.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

Sorry, but I'll never stop saying, "Remember the Bush." It doesn't matter to me what Obama accomplishes or doesn't accomplish when it comes to my disgust for Bush. I'll rate Obama on his merits or lack thereof once sufficient time has passed to make a reasonable assessment of his performance.

I can honestly say I'm estatic that we currrently have a president who doesn't believe in forced regime change without cause. A foreign concept to someone who just said, "Only regime change by FORCE has worked." Since there is no reasonable expectation in the next 100 years or more that one country or another on this planet won't act badly I can only assume you are advocating a perpetual state of war and destruction ad infinitum. Nice to see you have come out of the closet and admitted you're just another war monger.

You really need to rethink your continued attacks on the D's as anti-Israel. As I have pointed out to you on a number of occasions the vast majority of Jews in the US back the D's. Not only do they back them they vote for them about 75% in presidential elections. This can only mean two things. Either the Jews in the US are really stupid if you are correct or you are just dead wrong. I'll go with the later as I don't think the Jews in the US are too stupid to understand their best interests. So you go right on telling us the D's are anti-Israel and I'll keep shaking my head and muttering, "Earth to Tom."

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob

“…You can and have gone after Bill Clinton for having sex with Monica and his inability to tell the truth about sex even under oath….”

You’ll have to cite where I’ve criticized Clinton for Lewinsky, however, he did lie under oath which is serious. I’ll bet I haven’t mentioned it more than one or two times (lieing under oath) - at most (because I don‘t care, Bob). However, Clinton had (has) a major problem with women - and women’s groups like NOW hypocritically overlooked his record.

The real reason that you keep bringing up Bush is because there is nothing for you to support that Obama has accomplished yet. He has (will) quadruple the debt to 3-4 trillion dollars. Now he wants a new stimulus. They are following the failed policies of the Japanese in which Krugman said the Japanese didn’t spend enough on their stimulus packages. God help us. Cap and Trade is idiotic (and watered down tremendously).

Obama missfired on the Iranian protest and hypocritically demanded that Israel stop construction in the West Bank (he meddled). He has supported many Bush Policies including in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The most recent was carried in the Washington Post (“…White House Weighs Order on Detention…”):

“…Obama administration officials, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, are crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.
Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war…”

And there are many other controversial Bush policies that Obama has latched onto which I've brought up before.

He supports the leftist removed from power by the Honduras military (meddling again, Bob?). He is in lock-step with his new found buddy in South America, Chavez, who threatened to invade Honduras to restore the “leftist”, Zelaya, to power.

I’ll know when Obama finally accomplishes something when you quit attacking Bush. Finally, how did that lying Grandma Pelosi get off so easily? The media, Bob. They let the story die - purposely.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob

“…I do remember thinking we were in big trouble when Bush & Co. told us the Iraqi's would welcome us with open arms. I thought then, as I do now, we apparently learned nothing from Vietnam. We are guilty of looking through US colored glasses at the rest of the world and normally this isn't very smart….”

Regardless of how badly Bush predicted the occupation - and the occupation was a disaster - Iraq is a relatively peaceful country in the Middle East today, whereas we have been negotiating with North Korea for twenty years, and (the EU) with Iran for the last 6 years or so - and negotiations have failed. Two of the three rogue nations are still rogue. The two remaining “evil” countries have not changed their behavior. Iraq - through regime change - has changed for the better. Only regime change by FORCE has worked.  Of course, regime change in Iran through an internal revolution similar to 1979 would be ideal for the US and Israel. Getting rid of Ahmadinejad and Khamenei could soften the Iranian postion on nuclear weapons.

Now, we are at the crossroads. Within the next year or so, Israel may decide to attack Iran. It does no good to whine that Israel has nuclear weapons, why can’t Iran? This is the reality of the Middle East today. It’s also the reality of the UN which imposed sanctions on the terrorist state. Its also the reality of Russia and China which voted for sanctions.

Obama has tried, and will continue to exhaust diplomacy to solve the problem, and if the diplomacy fails, then he must be very persuasive - especially with the Europeans - to apply sanctions - possibly a gas embargo. If this fails, then he must make a decision whether or not to give the green light to Israel. Biden, who can be a real dunce at times, suggested that Israel had the green light, but a great deal is at stake including US troops in harm’s way, destabilization of Iraq, the possibility of a wider Middle East war, surging gas prices etc. Of course, this would, effectively, put the Palestinian negotiations on hold indefinitely.

Obomba, or Obambi?

In my opinion, the answer is Obambi. How can Obama spend a year laying out a policy of change and reconciliation - and then approve a mission by an ally to attack Iran which could cause a huge amount of destabilization in the ME and, indeed, the world (Gas prices, for example). Besides, the cornerstone of the Obama ME strategy is solving the Palestinian-Israel conflict which they believe will bring peace to the ME - and a war would surely undercut his plan. Finally, Obama would jepardize his new-found friendship - and alliance - with Chavez....

Common sense indicates that Israel will get no help from the Obama administration.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM

Your Q: Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Israel and or a Jewish State [your preference]

Neither Israel nor a Jewish State, has a right under UDHR; nor do any of the other 191+ sovereign states on Earth.

ONLY INDIVIDUALS of the species homo sapiens have right, be they resident of Israel, the USA or any other of the 191+ sovereign nations.

As to the very question of the existance of Human Rights, the answer is problmatic:

If Human rights are sourced from NOTHING, as in God created the Earth from nothing, then there is no ontological justification for the concept.

If Human Rights are applicable only in democratic societies, then it has no ontological justification for its existence, for thee are societies which do not underwrite democracy [versus sdection 29 2 UDHR]

If the rights ascribed in UDHR can be interpreted by judiciary in such a way that rights are given to legal entities, and then these rights are used to supercede individual's human right, then UDHR has no ontologicaljustification for existence [USA, Canada - religious right of a drugstore, lol],

Now it is noticable that the UDHR does indeed refer to morality - but neglects to clarify the term - is it chinese morality where socisty is over the individual, or is it wester where the individual is over society.

Without doubt I can go through every article and subarticle and show that almost all of them are transgressed against by Canada, or the USA, or UK, or indeed most other countries.

It is without doubt that the laudest advocates of human rights are USA and UK, who have among the worst records in this respect in the last 10 or so years.

The international conventions which refer to states are the Laws of War, the Hague Convention, the Geneva Convention and others. These apply to all sovereign States, including Israel, the USA, etc. It however does not apply to a Jewish State, for under international laws and conventions there is no such animal. Under these laws high officials of USA, UK, Isrel and the coalition of the willing [re Iraq] are all wqar criminals.

GL

blund Author Profile Page :

YEOLDS,

McNamara was a republican who originally was appointed by JFK to show he wanted a bi-partisan cabinet. Kennedy also wanted someone with outstanding organizational skills and McNamara fit the bill. Much has been written about how his background was of little value and probably a determent to his being SECDEF. You simply can't run a war like a corporation. He came to learn this and by the time he did it was too late.

His advice, in my opinion, is both solid and comes from experience. Some people believe he spent his years after he left the Johnson adminstration trying to make up for his mistakes. I'm not sure that is true as he never apologized.

I do remember thinking we were in big trouble when Bush & Co. told us the Iraqi's would welcome us with open arms. I thought then, as I do now, we apparently learned nothing from Vietnam. We are guilty of looking through US colored glasses at the rest of the world and normally this isn't very smart. If you've never seen the Fog of War I highly recommend it.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

BOB and TOM:

a very intersting historical note, as applicable to Iraq and Afganistan, with view to Iran:

Robert McNamara's Memo To The Bush/Obama Hawks
By Steve Hynd

Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam conflict, has died aged 93. Over at Hullabaloo, D-Day reminds us of McNamara's cautionary message for future U.S. leaders, comprising eleven causes and lessons he listed coming out of Vietnam.

We misjudged then — and we have since — the geopolitical intentions of our adversaries … and we exaggerated the dangers to the United States of their actions.

We viewed the people and leaders of South Vietnam in terms of our own experience. We saw in them a thirst for – and a determination to fight for — freedom and democracy. We totally misjudged the political forces within the country.

We underestimated the power of nationalism to motivate a people to fight and die for their beliefs and values….

Our misjudgments of friend and foe alike reflected our profound ignorance of the history, culture, and politics of the people in the area, and the personalities and habits of their leaders….No Southeast Asian [experts] existed for senior officials to consult when making decisions on Vietnam.

We failed then — and have since — to recognize the limitations of modern, high-technology military equipment, forces and doctrine in confronting unconventional, highly motivated people’s movements. We failed as well to adapt our military tactics to …winning the hearts and minds of people from a totally different culture.

We failed to draw Congress and the American people into a full and frank discussion and debate of the pros and cons of a large-scale military involvement … before we initiated the action.

After the action got under way and unanticipated events forced us off our planned course … we did not fully explain what was happening and why we were doing what we did….We had not prepared the public to understand the complex events we faced…confront[ing] uncharted seas and an alien environment. A nation’s deepest strength lies not in its military prowess, bur rather in the unity of its people. We failed to maintain it.

We did not recognize that neither our people nor our leaders are omniscient. Our judgment of what is in another people’s or country’s best interest should be put to the test of open discussion in international forums. We do not have the God-given right to shape every nation in our image or as we choose.

We did not hold to the principle that U.S. military action — other than in response to direct threats to our own national security – should be carried out only in conjunction with multinational forces supported fully (and not merely cosmetically) by the international community.

We failed to recognize that in international affairs, as in other aspects of life, there may be problems for which there are no immediate solutions … At times, we may have to live with an imperfect, untidy world.

…We thus failed to analyze and debate our actions in Southeast Asia - our objectives, the risks and costs of alternative ways of dealing with them, and the necessity of changing course when failure was clear….

D-Day writes:

If this isn't an accusatory note toward the practitioners of American foreign policy during the entire post-war period up through today, I don't know what is... I find these cautions from McNamara to be crucially important, but even in my most optimistic moments I don't believe America is even wired to live up to them.

Certainly in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan - and in their determination to pursue "strategic ambiguity" in the region over Iran - modern U.S. leaders seem hell-bent upon ignoring McNamara's hard-won wisdom.

Back in 2004, Douglas Saunders interviewed McNamara and asked him for his views on the Iraq invasion. The former SecDef was sure it was yet another massive mistake ignoring those 11 cautionary lessons.

"We're misusing our influence," he said in a staccato voice that had lost none of its rapid-fire engagement. "It's just wrong what we're doing. It's morally wrong, it's politically wrong, it's economically wrong."

While he did not want to talk on the record about specific military decisions made Mr. Rumsfeld, he said the United States is fighting a war that he believes is totally unnecessary and has managed to destroy important relationships with potential allies. "There have been times in the last year when I was just utterly disgusted by our position, the United States' position vis-à-vis the other nations of the world."

On Monday night, we heard the United States at its very worst with George W. Bush's caustic State of the Union address, in which he declared, over and over, that America is serving God's will directly and does not need "a permission slip" from other nations since "the cause we serve is right, because it is the cause of all mankind."

Obama's people are too busy reading Ricks, Nagl and Kilcullen to read Revelations, but the unshakeable certainty that America has the right and duty - the White Man's Burden by either divine mandate or through simple technocratic superiority - to re-shape other nations is still omnipresent.

teganmcdonough Author Profile Page :

The World can help the Protesters, by our admission that they Have cause, to protest. Iran is not a true Democracy, but neither is America. Change will come slowly there, as here, but change WILL come!
They don't want outside intervention, just support.

blund Author Profile Page :

YEOLDS,

I think you are correct. It is virtually impossible to a legitimate discussion about energy without also having a discussion about population control along with it. It's a very simple equation. People require energy to live. The more people the more energy use. Since these are currently finite resources increases in populations will deplete these resources quicker.

However, now you run head long into religous superstition and myth. Reason takes a vacation and emotional arguments are invoked to let you know it's God's plan. Yuck! Whatever you do, don't argue with God no matter how stupid God's plan, as interrupted by nuts, is supposed to be. (and anyone wonders why Marx said religion was the opiate of the masses?)

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

You give the media way too much credit. The only thing the media is invested in is ratings/sales and dollar signs. It is true they enjoy interacting with Obama more then they did with Bush, but this is primarily because Obama can actually speak in sentences that are coherent. It is also because he will actually talk to them. Unlike Bush who refused to talk to anyone who didn't have Fox credentials. You can believe there is some liberal media conspiracy in this country if you want or need to, but it is delusional.

I sincerely doubt it possible for anyone to be happier then I am Bush is no longer president. I counted the days. I bought tickets to a ball and danced the night away in a euphoric state the evening Obama was sworn in. I am gleefully aware Bush is no longer president and actually look forward to waking up in the mornings now. My first waking thoughts no longer center around what will that moron do today in his attempt at destroying America.

You can and have gone after Bill Clinton for having sex with Monica and his inability to tell the truth about sex even under oath. I concur you are correct. Now you are going to have to come to the realization the Bush legacy won't magically disappear either. Many of us who have no doubts Bush was the worst thing ever to happen to this country will continue to remind you and others of his dismal record until our dying days. Hence, I'm giddy he's no longer president, but I'm not about to forget about the pain he caused.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

And the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which seems only applicable to a Jewish state)?

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:

The answer to your question on sterilization, abortion et al with view to limit EFFECTIVE fertility rate within Cina with respect to human rights is a two sided issue:

Side one, the enlightment's result: INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS OVER THE NEEDS OF GENERAL POPULATION {USA, UK, etc, Universal Declaration of Human Rights enacted essentially by USA and European states - many still imperialistic - e.g. USA, UK, France, USSR, et al -- WHRE THE EMPIRE by itself denied the very document these powers professed to believe in]

Side two: the Chinese concept that sociaty's harmonious existence is more important than individual rights - where extreme individual rights regime WILL WITHOUT DOUBT to great existential danger to the whole society [eg. masss starvation for years on end] Do recall that in the history of China, mass starvation occured time and time again, to the effect that the seed storage buildings were never used as feed, for experience has shown that such action is self-destructive.

When you have 1.3 billion poeple jammed into very little farmable land, then seciurity of the nation demands controls, lest the whole society collapse for lack of food and lack of energy.

Unfortunately for the world, Malthuse's theory is applicable when the degradation of farm land, the degradation of ocean fisheries, the coming shortage of oil/gas with respect to farming is taken into account with respect to the sustainable carrying capacity of the world.

You are aware that all European nations including Japoan and the USA, sans Hispanic cohort, has negative fertitlity rate. In Africa we have genocide wide spread where the population pressure is greater than the available food supply [Rwanda, Sudan, Congo, Somalia, etc].

You will also recall that in the past eskimoes, Den etc often sacrificed the oldests [setting them adrift without food] when the food supply was needed for the productive people and the youngest one of the tribe. This type of action was again enacted in the interest of society over individual's benefit, same as the Chinese one shild rule [applicable only to HAN - as far as
I know].

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

"...Without doubt you ahve read opinions how China's one child strategy [for over 30 years] is an abuse, or worse. That the effect is that there are 400 million less Chinese on Earth is completely escapes these do-gooders/critics...."

I guess it depends on if you believe that forced abortion and sterilization are abusive to human rights, Salamon.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob

"...This point can be illustrated with the continual snippets run in the media about positive economic news. We're still falling, but nobody wants to hear that so we're bombarded with every positive meaningless snippet available. We want people to feel good today. We don't want to upset them and tell them the truth....."

The MEDIA is politically invested in the current administration, Bob. The media hype for the improvement in the economy is MEDIA driven for OBAMA. If Bush was still President (and sometimes I think you believe he still is), the media would be highlighting the increasing unemployment and poor outlook for the near future (say at least until the 2010 mid term elections). Obama is just too big to fail.

Bernanke predicted that unemployment would rise through the end of this year. Maybe mid 2010, we might start to see an improvement in the economy?

The cap and trade tax will not help Obama in the mid terms. That's for certain. People will see this for what it is - a new tax that will not put a significant dent in carbon production from global warming. The largest producer in the world as well as many third world rising economies will more than offset any reductions from this boondoggle of a bill.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

BOB:

The present or near future central problems are resources, cheap energy, global warming and as you said population.

Without Capital cheap energy shortages are insurmountable, without cheap energy resource shortages are insurmountable [electrolysis of sea water would supply all minerals, but energy demanding] - global warming eats wealth [whether through taxation or inflation of goods with high energy input] and the population problem is contrary to natural will of man to reproduce.

Without doubt you ahve read opinions how China's one child strategy [for over 30 years] is an abuse, or worse. That the effect is that there are 400 million less Chinese on Earth is completely escapes these do-gooders/critics.

The Earth has to re-adjust to sustainable economy, which demands at least no population growth, preferably population reduction.

If the global warming and cheap energy issues are not resolved in an economic manner in the next few years, then we will not have the time for voluntary population stabilization /reduction; for NATURE will impose that as we run out of funding for medicare, Social security, etc world wide [whether these are supplied by state ofr otherwise, the energy input necessary will be missing, thus no dfelivery].

blund Author Profile Page :

YEOLDS,

There is no doubt we are in a serious economic recession that will probably last for several more years. However, this is nothing new for capitalistic or even non-capitalistic economies. Economies have always been cyclical. Whether that will be true in the future nobody knows, but a good guess is nobody has figured out how to not make them so. The US alone has had 22 recessions/depressions in it's 220 year history so this one, while bad, isn't anything new per se. Since we've come out of the last 21 of them there is a reasonable expectation we'll come out of this one as well. By nature I'm more of a problem solver then a doom and gloomer. If it's broke fix it. When it breaks again, fix it again and so on. No fix is permanant.

There is no doubt MSM isn't interested in this issue in depth. In order for them to be interested the politicans have to be interested. Al Gore, love him or hate him, has done more to publicize renewable energy and global warming then just about everyone else put together. He might not of created the internet, but his service in bringing these issues to light has been praise worthy. MSM will become more involved in covering these issues as politicans and newsmakers start speaking out about them more.

It's not just education that is the problem. It's the live for today mindset. This point can be illustrated with the continual snippets run in the media about positive economic news. We're still falling, but nobody wants to hear that so we're bombarded with every positive meaningless snippet available. We want people to feel good today. We don't want to upset them and tell them the truth. Bush did this with Iraq. He stated the cost would be 50 billion and we would recoup that cost with oil from Iraq. Hmmmm, color me dumb, but I said at the time it would be at least 5 times that much and we'd be lucky to see 1 penny in oil revenue. Well I was wrong about how much it cost us. It's cost us more then I thought, but I was right about never seeing a dime. Bush didn't want to go to the American public and tell them it would cost 2-3 trillion and we'd never see a penny as the opposition would have crushed his agenda. It's about making the masses feel good today and then shrug it off tomorrow when it doesn't work out. Sound familiar?

As far as mindsets go a few years a bunch of African nations got together in Rome for a conference. One of their agreed upon proclamations was African people have the right to have as many babies as they want and it's up to the rest of the world to feed them. Outside of being socially and economically irresponsible it was just plain ignorant. Population control has to be an intergal part of energy planning for the future.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

Blund:

The greatest and gravest Q is whether the west will use the remaining years of available cheap energy to remodel society to sustainable alternative energy sources or not.

1., Some problems are AVAILABLE capital [the last 10-15 were GDP mirage - financed by stealing from the future, then the crash].

2., Some problems are scracety [and concentration] of rare earth metals China/ Litium Bolivia, without which most high capacity magnets [wind farms/solar power] and electric cars are not possible.

3., Major problem is MSM and their hosts [for the symboite relationship], the political class whose attantion span is the next election.

4., Social mileau of extremely poor education in matters of science, thus the great masses can not conceive of the problems due to mankind in the next 10 years. The ploticos and the masses think Iran, Israel, Iraq creationism etc are big problems, they can not conceive of anything beyond these minor [in relative terms] issues.

The controversy between neo-cons and the rest has very little consequence, except that all wars and armament races destroy at times irreplaceble natural resources/energy, thus neo-con win will just accelerate the collapse.

blund Author Profile Page :

YEOLDS,

I would be very hard to argue standard of living and energy consumption don't go hand in hand. Without cheap energy economies are in real trouble down the road. I think we all agree on this. I think most people (unfortunately not all) would also agree the fossil fuels we've inherited will run out. These fuels will become more expensive to extract which will cause prices to go up. At the same time the vast majority of fossil fuels are controlled by countries that aren't exactly West friendly. They can and have manipulated prices and there is no reason to believe they won't continue doing the same. This also drives up prices. Volatility in prices has already been the trend with higher costs the norm.

So far, I think we are in complete agreement. Any long term plan that requires fossil fuels is going to fail. Any medium range plan that requires large amounts of fossil fuels will be a bumpy ride at best. Hence, it seems only logical to lower our dependence on fossil fuels to the point where we wean ourselves off them altogether. I know, easier said then done and really expensive to do. However, what's the choice? World wide depression, famines, uprisings and revolutions? Not exactly a sight I want my grandchildren to witness in their life times.

I have believed since the oil embargoes of 1973 energy was the most pressing issue of our civilization. I still believe this today. Without adequate and relatively cheap energy economies can not thrive. Energy grows our food, ships everything and allows us to commute to work in industrialized nations. Virtually every facet of life today is connected to energy.

Now for the sad truth. Western societies are reactionary. They let things pile up and don't address them until they are a crisis. Once the crisis passes so do the responses. It doesn't matter if we just push the crisis off a few years as we'll deal with it again later if need be. Energy is no different. Everyone with a quarter of a brain knows it's a problem, but no substantial effort has been made to solve it yet. To illustrate this point while we all know we have a problem in the last 6 to 8 years we've been building McMansions (energy hogs) and producing one SUV after another. When times are good people forget about the problem. In the case of Maryland it has already come home to roost. Maryland deregulated utilities 3 years ago. What has happened is the average home that used to receive a monthly energy bill of $250 per month is now up to $750 per month. The idiots who bought the McMansions went from $500 to $1500 per month. This just comes right back to the point as energy prices increase the standard of living goes down.

I wish this discussion was as sexy as rigging elections in Iran, but alas it's not. It's just seems to be more fun to demonize Muslims and wave nukes around then dealing with our own pressing issues. It would seem to me if the US wanted to be a role model they would be much better served by becoming energy self sufficient then by sending troops around the world.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM & BOB:

the article below is somewhat more pessimistic then ones I seen before on the same line of analysis. This one and the others clearly indicate that war mongering and actual war making is going to be greatly constrained in the near future. Depending on the action of the next few years re alternate energy [note all take LOT longer than 10 years to be effective] the possibility of war will be negligible, for all avaible energies will be required for sustinance [farming and food distribution].

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5419

It was fopr similar views that I stated that Israel has only a few years of 2 state solution, thereafter, it is survival for all, sans war.

najafizadeh Author Profile Page :

the question suggests that some mistakes or crimes have effectively happened. I wouldn't limit my judgment to the post-election events. nobody could have any objective understanding of the events, without bearing in mind the chain of events which led to the tragic events. those who have been ruling the country for more than 16 years, opened suddenly their eyes to a new phenomena four years ago. An outsider won the election. for the first time after the end of war with Iraq, Iranians were seeing a man, who was like no other politician. this time the man consecrate his efforts to those who had never had electricity, water or road. very quickly they learned that this man is one who effectively would change their life. others in the cities, including the prosperous ones, could receive nothing more from him. they decided to overthrow him by any means. Mohammad Khatami, now believes that a velvet coup d'etat is gaining the terrain against the democracy. that is right. the putsch is against those who during 16 years did nothing for the rural population. 25 million votes indicate the contribution of these peoples. those who had signed to the regulations of democracy in Iran opened their eyes for the second time and found themselves losers, losers. the desperate situation was no more to tolerate. election was rigged. the keyword to any protest. the losers should do any thing excepted to address to the law. they were trying to win the election by street protests. sorry for our beloved putschists. to find a way out of the situation, they should now speak of velvet coup d'etat against the republic.

mibrooks27 Author Profile Page :

Neither party represents us, any more than the Iranian government represent the average Iranian. The official unemployment number in the U.S. today is 9.5. The real number, of course, people looking for work who have lost their unemployment benefits, is closer to 20%. If we tracked unemployment the way we did in 1982, the Europe does today, somewhere around 20% would be number published in this newspaper. That's a record, the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. This tragedy, this horror show, is owned by the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress. They could end it tomorrow by enacting laws that make corporate treason unprofitable... but they wont. In the face of 80% of voters calling for an end to outsourcing and guest workers, ending the H1-B visas right now, using punitive taxes and fees to end offshoring jobs and factories, using that taxes and fees to *force* companies that have outsourced jobs to return those jobs here or forgo doing business here. Congress even has the power to remove patents, trademarks, and copyrights from companies that even threaten to relocate offshore, as Microsoft has threatened. Our government did precisely this in the past. Where is the courage to forgo corporate money and stand for this country now? in the face of this they have ponied up to the Wall Street feed trough and drown in the slop provided by Wall Street. Until every guest worker visa program is ended and all outstanding visas terminated, until we put an end to outsourcing, this government has no business doing anything else. Impeach Obama, vote out your incumbent! We are ill served by our government.

Zolko Author Profile Page :

Tom, try "anarchist".

I've come to think that what is called "democracy" is a lie, and all those referring to it are mislead. I don't care to have the right to choose my master, and I refuse the freedom given to me about what side I choose my master from : "left" or "right". As I told, I think there are many questions on which I want to give my opinion, others of which I don't care, therefore choosing people on promises they make even though they also know that they won't be able to hold them is a waste of time. The important decisions, and lack thereof, are taken by the banksters and the media, not any political parties.

Conservatives are all those who wish to maintain the current system, so social-democrats are conservatives. Leftists are conservatives also, but they pretend to fight for the unionized workers.

I believe now in a new system where citizens would participate directly in their affairs, either through referendum or by being randomly chosen for an assembly.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

No need to apologize on my account. I'm a liberal and proud of it. Am I a leftist? Depends on your definition. I'd argue not really. When I think of leftists I think of Marxists. Socialists being less left. By the time you get to this country Democrats are just slightly left of center.

You're a conservative and for whatever reason I assume proud to be one. I've struggled with this concept (proud conservative) for some time. The only 2 explanations I can come up with are a. dropped on head at birth b. genetic deficiency. I'm leaning towards the latter explanation as the odds of dropping that many new borns on their heads is improbable.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Zolko

I didn't invent the terms left, right, liberal, conservative, centrist etc. They are used to describe political philosophies. I don't mind calling myself a right winger - even a neoconservative.

It seems like people from the left hate to be pigeon-holed into something as narrow sounding as "leftist". Maybe it doesn't sound open-minded enough. Maybe it sounds too much like "Marxist", but clearly "leftist" are offended when called a "leftist".

Maybe a better answer to me would be "I'm a leftist because I believe in social justice, or capitalism is unfair to the masses", or something like that. Why not defend your political beliefs?

Of course, you might not be just a "leftist". You might be a leftist conservative, or a Marxist neocon. In that case, I was dead wrong calling you a "leftist". At any rate, I apologize for labeling you a "leftist". I admit. I wouldn't want to be called that.

I'll be gone this weekend, so I'll try to think of something to call you that's less offensive - like "progressive social market capitalist" (PSMC), or something like that. Something that really sounds "fair" and "just" - something that is more befitting a liberal or leftist.

The same goes for the rest of you. Bob. I'm sorry. JRLR - I apologize. Salamon. Sorry - again.

Zolko Author Profile Page :

Tom:

"Read Zolko's comment. Just another leftist."

As it happens, I pretend that my analysis of the world is more subtle than only "left-right". I believe that there are far more political opinions than 2. Thinking that I - or anyone - can be classified as "leftist" (or "liberal" or whatever) only shows how limited you are in your world-view.

This is, btw, mainly an American problem, so you won't be able to understand it unless you travel a lot in other countries.

Political opinions can be placed along many axes (state-run or private economy, imperialist or neutral foreign policy, repressive or preventive police action, elitist or egalitarian education... to name a few). For example, in France now, Sarkozy pretends to be from the "right" whereas his actions are exactly the opposite as those of de Gaulle 1/2 century ago who was labeled "right" too. So your "leftist" label, I propose you shove it up your ******

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

I don't mean to imply by being anti Israel that you are an anti Semite. I admit that sometimes (as in this case) its very difficult to discern (for you) when I mean anti-Semitic versus just opposing their policies. Sorry.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

Yes, I read your posts very carefully. How else would I have known you are a danger to yourself and others?

Your real issue you can't separate truth from dogma. Your continued assertion the left is anti-Israel is such a claim. Obviously, not in the Jewish community in the US is the left anti-Israel, but that simply doesn't matter to you. You are bound and determined to tell just about everyone who isn't a neocon what's in their best interests whether they agree with you or not. My responses to your posts are not meant to convince you of anything. They are simply to counter balance your dangerous view on the world. We've just lived through your view of the world. What do we have to show for it? Two wars we can't get out of, a wrecked economy and to top it all off a world that is more dangerous then when you inherited it. No thanks, I've seen enough harm perpetuated on the general public via the neocons to last me a life time.

Mike,

Sorry, I have to agree with Citizen. You need to go back and look at your numbers again. They simply don't stand up to scrutiny in any way, shape or form.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:

Your mindset is unshakable in admitting errors. To be against ZIONIST government policy of Israel is not anti-israel, nor anti-semitism, but reflerction on INTERNATIONAL LAW. Now if you think all contributors to HAARETZ {???} in Israel are anti-semites, anti-israelis, then your eyes and your mind is totally closed to REALITY.


To be against neo-con attampts at hegemony on the point of a bayonet [or Predator, or 11 carrier groups, or 700+ foreign forward bases] is not being anti-anerican, for many devoted USA citizens also maintain this notion. Realistically recounting the bloody history of USA agression is not being antoi-american, similarly as recounting the bloody past of Hungary is not being anti-hungarian, but realist.

The standard of truth is its commesurability to facts on earth. That you do not agree with this definition of truth, demands that you define the term TRUTH so we can analyse your position.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Bob

“…Whether one supports Israel, is neutral towards Israel or doesn't support Israel has nothing to do with being pro-American so I'm not sure why you used anti-American and anti-Israel in the same sentence….”

Good God, Bob, do you ever remember anything I write, or is your head perpetually in the sand or other locations? Do you read at all? Can you put one and one together? How many times have I stated the obvious? The left is anti Israel, anti US. Its that simple, Bob. Do you think that its just coincidence that two of the most vehemently anti American people on this site (JRJR and Salamon) are also anti Israel? The two go hand in hand. And you, my friend, are not neutral on the I/P conflict - as you like to state. I’ve never once heard you defend Israel under any circumstance. Not once that I can remember. How can you call yourself neutral on this issue? Maybe you used to be?

But, you’ll notice, and I’ve mentioned this also, leftist could care less about the thousands of civilians killed in Sri Lanka. Why? Because the US isn’t involved. No Exxon. No oil. No US support. No US ties to Sri Lanka. Therefore, no interest by the left in the conflict. None. Zero. Zip. The Tamils couldn’t generate any interest in the left wing media. They were doomed. Had the US been involved, the left would have come out of the woodwork. So you have to realize that the left could care less about human rights in cases where the US isn’t involved, and in cases where the US is involved, they care more about US involvement than the human rights of the people - although they’ll deny it. Iran is a classic example. The US and Israel meddled. The US and Israel inflamed the protesters - not the “fixed” elections in Iran. The US is responsible for the murdered protesters - not Iranian gunmen. You even made the absurd statement to hold the Republicans responsible. Didn’t you read Shiveh’s posts? He is right on the money. He might be the only one of us truly concerned with human rights in this small forum. The rest of us are ideologues - driven by US policy, one way or another.

Now, of course, I’m not stating that ALL leftist are anti American, anti Israel, but I’m saying that a good portion are. The further to the left, the greater the possibility. The far left considers the US and Israel their “axis of evil” - the biggest threat to world peace.

“…NEOCON HEGEMONY and ZIONIST SRAEL UBER ALLES…”

Read (maybe interpret is more accurate): anti US. Anti Israel. Salamon is not atypical of the far left. He’s the norm. The sites he reads (and cites) are quite naturally the same. Foreign Policy Journal is the blog of Jeremy R. Hammond who wrote “The 5 Lies About the Israel Assault on Gaza”

Here’s lie #1:

“…Lie #1) Israel is only targeting legitimate military sites and is seeking to protect innocent lives. Israel never targets civilians….”

Anti American, Anti Israel. Are you getting the connection? By the way, two-thirds of what Bush labeled the “axis of evil”? Still evil.

Read Zolko's comment. Just another leftist.

Zolko Author Profile Page :

This discussion looks more and more like coming from the question:

"What do your heart and head tell you as you look at pictures, videos, and other kinds of stories from Gaza ? Should the world help the Palestinians--and how?"

Well, what my heart says is that we are witnessing a crime against humanity on a big scale. The minimum the "world" should do is to bloc any arms shipment to Israel/Palestine, issue international arrest against all political and military responsible. Jew/Muslim/Christian questions cannot be let interfere when millions of people live in concentration camps, are bombed with radioactive material, are attacked with phosphorous gaz, when hospitals, schools and ambulances are targeted...

What my heart sees in the Iranian election disputes is a blatant attempt to get the world's eyes off Israel's atrocities, and to prepare the public opinion for a war against Iran. This is very aptly demonstrated by the Honduras military coup, that receives much less coverage and indignation than the supposedly rigged elections.

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page :

Mike,

Four points:

1. UN -- QUESTION OF PALESTINE

"During the years of the Palestine Mandate, from 1922 to 1947, large-scale Jewish immigration from abroad, mainly from Eastern Europe took place, the numbers swelling in the 1930s with the notorious Nazi persecution of Jewish populations. Palestinian ... resistance to Jewish immigration led to a rebellion in 1937, followed by continuing terrorism and violence... "

http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/ngo/history.html

2. When the British insisted on preventing immigration of Jewish Holocaust survivors to Palestine following World War II, the Jewish community began to wage an uprising and guerrilla war. This warfare and United States pressure to end the anti-immigration policy led to the establishment of The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in 1946. It was a joint British and American attempt to agree on a policy regarding the admission of Jews to Palestine. In April, the Committee reported that its members had arrived at a unanimous decision. The Committee approved the American condition of the immediate acceptance of 100,000 Jewish refugees from Europe into Palestine.

(American Jewish History: A Eight-volume Series By Jeffrey S Gurock, American Jewish Historical Society, page 243)

3. "Demographics, 1920

In 1920, the majority of the approximately 750,000 people in this multi-ethnic region were Arabic-speaking Muslims...

While British census reports are available from this time period, they cannot account at all for the illegal immigration... nor do they provide sufficient information to provide estimates for those numbers....

* 1922, First British census of Palestine shows population of 757,182, with 78% Muslim, 11% Jewish and 9.6% Christian.

* 1931, Second British census of Palestine shows total population of 1,035,154 with 73.4% Muslim, 16.9% Jewish and 8.6% Christian.

There were no further censuses but statistics were maintained by counting births, deaths and migration. Some components such as illegal immigration could only be estimated approximately. The White Paper of 1939, which placed immigration restrictions on Jews, stated that the Jewish population "has risen to some 450,000" and was "approaching a third of the entire population of the country". In 1945, a demographic study showed that the population had grown to 1,764,520, comprising 1,061,270 Muslims, 553,600 Jews, 135,550 Christians and 14,100 people of other groups."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Mandate_of_Palestine#Demographics.2C_1920

4. You first wrote: "The Jews have always been the majority population in what became Israel right up until the anti-Jewish pogroms of the Ottoman's after WWI.... The Palestinian's are the illegal immigrants of the Middle East...The lesson ought not be lost on us with the hordes of illegals on our Southern border."

The "arguments" you have presented so far are vacuous, pitiful at best. Even your own preferred reference proves you wrong.

The least I can say, Mike, is that I am not impressed. Nor am I convinced you are the best person to suggest that others "need to do a little reading!".

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

JRLR

I didn't think you had time for debate? You know, you're getting old.....

mibrooks27 Author Profile Page :

BLUND, The reference by "CITIZENOFTHEPOST-AMERICANWORLD" provides a classic case study of what I wrote about. Take a look at the steep increase of Jewish population in "Palestine" between 1946 and 1948 and compare that with the total figure. Something a bit wrong? Of course, it;s utter nonsense, invested claptrap. And, as for this being a Jewish source, I have no idea. I have seen Pro-Israeli we sites that "prove" that he Arabic percentage of the Palestinian population was as low as 10%. All any of this tells us is that Mark Twain's remarks about liars, damn lars and statisticians was right on the money. From all available evidence, I think about 1/3 of the traditional population of what became Israel was Jewish, about 1/3 was Arabic, and about 1/3 was Christian.

mibrooks27 Author Profile Page :

BLUND - Even the Ottoman "census" has a Jewish population of 389,000 in the 1920's, 37% of the population, so I figure you get 13,000 from some discredited web site lpalestineisraelpopulation.blogspot.com
The method used by most of these sites is to expand the geographical area counted as "Palestine" until the Jews become a minority. At the same time, they do not even consider areas in the region that did have large Jewish populations. Using the same methodology I could "prove" that (say) Montana was 96% Native American or that France has a majority Arabic population. This sort of sloppy pseudo-scientific nonsense only works if people are gullible enough to accept it.

Also, left out, I think purposefully, from every study is the Christian population, which was at least one-third. The most reliable data for what became Israel can be found in the British studies. Now, there are no good, untainted sources of information about any of this, but this article yields a good starting point for research -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_mandate_of_Palestine

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page :

mibrooks27 writes: "The Jews have always been the majority population in what became Israel right up until the anti-Jewish pogroms of the Ottoman's after WWI...."

Mike, I would appreciate that you reconcile with the following.

Here is what I get, not from the United Nations, but from the Jewish Virtual Library, a division of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2009, with source given as "Israel in the Middle East: Documents and Readings on Society, Politics, and Foreign Relations, Pre-1948 to the Present", Ed. by Itamar Rabinovich and Jehuda Reinharz, Brandeis University Press, Waltham, Mass., 2008. (pp.571-572) SORRY, PRESENTATION IS BEST POSSIBLE (just use the link provided):


Year/ Gr Total/ Jews/ Non-Jews/ Non-Jewish%

1517/ 300,000est./ 5,000/ 295,000/ 98.3

1882/ 300,000/ 24,000/ 276,000/ 92.0

1918/ 660,000/ 60,000/ 600,000/ 90.9

1936/ 1,366,692/ 384,078/ 982,614/ 71.9

1946/ 1,810,037/ 543,000/ 1,267,037/ 70.0

1948*/ 872,700/ 716,700/ 156,000/ 17.9


* Majority Arab [non-Jewish] population displaced by Israel's establishment. (I understand that "displaced" is what is known as a euphemism)

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/israel_palestine_pop.html

blund Author Profile Page :

Mike,

You've seen statistics I've never seen and I'd love to know the source. Even around 1850 the Jewish population of what constitutes Israel/Palestine today was only around 13,000 according to one source I just read. It wasn't until after 1948 the Jewish communities exceeded the Arab population in that area.

I would love to see your sources as everything I've ever read has been exactly the opposite.

mibrooks27 Author Profile Page :

YEOLDS - You need to do a little reading! The Jews have always been the majority population in what became Israel right up until the anti-Jewish pogroms of the Ottoman's after WWI. Jewish homes and businesses and land were forcibly taken from Jews and they were slaughtered and driven out. Israel was nothing more than a response, reclaiming the traditional Jewish homeland. The Arabs are *invaders*. They never traditionally lived in Palestine. Virtually all of the Arab population is due to wars of conquest, fought by their armies, as a part of the Muslim crusade. The Palestinian's are the illegal immigrants of the Middle East, left over from this, mostly outcasts from their own society. These are a mix of criminals and the desperately poor, uneducated, ignorant, envious. The lesson ought not be lost on us with the hordes of illegals on our Southern border.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:

Do not try to shoot the messenger, foreign policy journal, but attempt to refute the messege. As the messege is unrefutable [as it concerns public knowledge, as in government funding etc] then perhaps you should explain what the messege means to you.

Iran has never threatened Israel, just remarked that the ZIONIST Government will cease to be sooner or later. Israel can exist without Zioniost Government, if they so choose. It is possible that they will eventually decide that sane government might give them more security than in the past 60 years or so, especially if IDF funding wrecks the rest of their economy

You base attempt to call me names, rather than refuting my words, is indicative of your frustration in trying to defend something which is almost fatally broken: NEOCON HEGEMONY and ZIONIST SRAEL UBER ALLES.

blund Author Profile Page :

Tom,

"Dedicated to US foreign policy? Oh boy, Salamon, we know what that means. Anti American - anti Israel as their core mission statement."

Even though I think most republicans and all neocons should be institutionalized for being a danger to themselves and others I never claim they are anti-American. Whether one supports Israel, is neutral towards Israel or doesn't support Israel has nothing to do with being pro-American so I'm not sure why you used anti-American and anti-Israel in the same sentence.

In the US conservative movement if you engage in critical thought and apply it when talking about anything the US does you are anti-American. In the C movement if you use critical thought to analyze Israel you are anti-American and an anti-Semite. In the C world if you do both you should be shot or at least waterboarded frequently. You must very proud to represent a movement based on this depth of reasoning and open dialogue between people's.

It is no secret the US and Britian have meddled in Iran's affairs for years. Only a person with their head stuck in the sand would believe we haven't meddled recently. To what extent? I don't know. Maybe we'll find out in 20 years. However, anyone who thinks we haven't is naive at best. It is what we do and we have a history of doing it. However, if you're a neocon then stating the obvious is anti-American.

When it comes to Iran the nuclear argument is thrown around continually. We don't want those whacko's that run Iran to have a nuke as they are unstable pagans who can't be trusted. (did I summarize that about accurately?). Of course if one uses any logic this argument doesn' hold an ounce of water. First, it fails to take into consideration Israel is sitting on a pile of nukes. I must have failed to hear the neocon's asking Israel to give up their nukes. Nope, I didn't fail to hear it because they haven't. So it's perfectly OK for Israel to have a few hundred mega tons of nukes, but not their enemy. Second, Iran isn't the only enemy of Israel in the region. Let's see, could it possibly be every other country in the region is their enemy? It could, but since this isn't a convenient fact for the neocon's we will have to sweep this one under the rug. Third, who gets to decide who should have nukes and who shouldn't have them? While the answer is obvious. The neocon's should get to decide or be powerless to stop someone like the Soviets or China from developing their own. Fourth, is there such a thing as a good nuke? I would argue the answer is no. I would argue nobody should have them. However, for this argument to have any validity all of the countries who currently have nukes would have to agree to disarm them. Since we only trust some of the countries and not others we'd be first in line saying no to universal disarmament. Finally, all we have set up is a condition where we have told Iran they can't have nukes, but Israel can. Iran can't be trusted with nukes, but Israel, US, China, Russia, GB, France, Germany, Pakistan, India etc., can be trusted. There goes the concept of mutually assured destruction right out the window. Apparently Iran doesn't have a right to this theory.

If I thought for one minute aiding the protestors was a good I would say yes. However, I don't think this situation has anything to do with a good. I think it has everything to do with a bunch of neocons stirring the pot for their own myopic view of the world and they don't care who dies in the process.

As a side note we all know 2 American journalists (Lee and Ling) have been found guilty and imprisioned in North Korea with a sentence of 12 years. North Korea has a web site with a link to contact and I would urge everyone to send them an email urging the release of these two women on humanitarian grounds. It's the right thing to do.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

This article comes from a site that I’m certain that you, in particular, enjoy. Their mission statement:

“…Oct 20, 2008 – Jeremy R. Hammond today announced the launch of Foreign Policy Journal (http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com), an online publication offering a roundup of global news headlines as well as original analysis and opinion commentary on events and issues related to U.S. foreign policy. 

Foreign Policy Journal is dedicated to providing alternative perspectives from outside the standard framework provided by the U.S. government and mainstream corporate media and encourages discussion and debate of key issues, with a particular emphasis on the “war on terror”….”

Dedicated to US foreign policy? Oh boy, Salamon, we know what that means. Anti American - anti Israel as their core mission statement. By the way, he ends his very long article by stating:

“…Whatever the case may be, given the record of U.S. interference in the state affairs of Iran and clear policy of regime change, it certainly seems possible, even likely, that the U.S. had a significant role to play in helping to bring about the recent turmoil in an effort to undermine the government of the Islamic Republic….”

It certainly seems possible? You write nearly a book on US interference and the best you can come with is “possible”? Listen, I fully agree with that possibility, but did the CIA rig the election if favor of Ahmadinejad? Hey, wait a minute. Now, I’m beginning to get it. I’m slow, but I finally do catch on.

Yes, the CIA rigged the election so that Ahmadinejad would win; then the US could attack Iran for their oil. Wow, the folks at “Global Research” (your other favorite site) would be proud of me for figuring this plot out.

And how about Mossad? Would the cuddly little organization from Israel interfere in the affairs of Iran? If so, why?

Well, maybe because Iran has threatened to destroy Israel on numerous occasions? Maybe because the Iranians are conducting a war by proxy against Israel - supplying, training, directing and funding Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Maybe because the Iranians helped create Hezbollah, and supplied and funded this nice little terrorist organization? Don’t you believe that Iran has gone beyond meddling in the affairs of Israel?

I’ve read a couple of articles recently which have stated that the Israelis have assassinated scientists working on the Iranian nuke program, so Israeli interference is a given and can you blame them? Lets hope they are successful.

tarquinis1 Author Profile Page :

Emotional reactions to the repression of the "liberals" or reactions based upon political sensitivities in the US are all hugely counterproductive to events in Iran. The more we inject our perspectives into this cauldron, the worse it will be there, this is well known.

Here is what I think is interesting: Most of the posts on the subject of recent events in Iran are from Americans who have never been there and are venting their personal bias one way or another, or from Farsi expats who just despise the IRI and want a return to Shah time in one fashion or another.

I have traveled extensively in recent years all around Iran and have tried to dispassionately study the situation. While possessing no crystal ball, would make a few points.

It is far and away most likely that Mr. Ahmadinejad did win the election. By how much is unknown. He is best seen as a populist representing the interests of the poor, the less educated, the war veterans and their families, the more fundamental in their nationalism prideful of "standing up to the dictates of the West, and the more fervent Shiia religious of which there are many.

His big trick is going frequently to such communities (rural and remote from Tehran) and taking personal letters of request for financial or bureaucratic help directly from these people (millions of such indeed) and actually responding and frequently responding affirmatively to their requests. Old tricks are the best tricks.

But in the interests of brevity be it noted that these people are not those most needed to develop a modern nation and economy, much less in developing a major nuclear power generation system. And it is that segment of the population (the educated, the economy leaders, the wealthy, the many women now with advanced education and degrees etc.) who are most rejectionist to the whole system as it is now constituted. So what is going to happen next?

Look to the increasing dissatisfaction in the body called the "Council of Experts". While composed of course largely of conservative Mullahs, it is this body alone that can replace Khamenei, or require some fundamental structural compromise in say, the vetting of electoral candidates, or in how to count ballots, etc. It seems that the split developing in it lies between those who observe the reality of major and possibly fatal loss of legitimacy for the whole structure of the Islamic Republic, and those who believe brutal repression can serve to stabilize the situation, while the former group does not. Do not see it as a split between the "liberal" and the hard line "conservatives" because they are all conservatives. Rafsanjani is the head of this body at present, and back channel reports are that he is very active in seeking something out of the Council of Experts to either rein in Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, or to find and ram home some sort of major structural change to the current system. Rafsanjani is compromised in part because he is personally seen by the Ahmadinejad factions as corrupt, and having taken advantage of his time in power to enrich himself and his family, while there has been not a whiff of financial scandal around Ahmadinejad, who drives an old car and lives in humble circumstances. This also serves to enhance his popularity with the poor of which there many.

Google the "Council of Experts" if you are interested in such thoughts, there is lots of information on it available, and stay tuned. This could get interesting.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM et al:

Interesting analysis of USA covert involvement in Iran by a USA publication:

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2009/06/23/has-the-u-s-played-a-role-in-fomenting-unrest-during-irans-election/

Now all we need is a similar article regarding Mossad from Issrael.

mibrooks27 Author Profile Page :

Two things strike me. First, how courageous those protesters are. Their government perpetuated a fraud on them, has mistreated the Iranian people in favor of a ruling elite, and those people rose up and took to the streets. You can only shake your head and wonder where the American people are when they are being lied to by their government about everything from the genuine level of unemployment to the ruthless control exercised by lobbyists and Washington insiders to WMD's and the invasion of Iraq. There should be millions of enraged citizens on the streets right this minute. Instead, this nation of bedwetters stays home, glued to the latest news about Michael Jackson. Second, I am struck by just how impotent we are. Our President is reduced to exchanging insults with a monster that *will* develop nuclear weapons and *will* use them against Israel, can do nothing about the Iranian citizens being slaughtered in the streets, will do nothing about Iran's flat out certain use of those weapons against us some day. We are pathetic, nothing more than whining pathetic gerbils, awaiting the hawk while our "business interests", usually in the form of some multinational subsidiary, line up on Iran's doorstep, willing and wanting to sell them anything, even if it means our very survival, and we permit this. Idiots. Morons.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:

Revenge is sweet is the USA motto in Afganistan:

The bombers were Saudi, Bin Laden is not in Afganistan.

The USA is on the verge of bankrupcy, but insists on wars of revenge [Afganistan and Somalia] and wars of Choice, Iraq, and 30 odd nations since WWII.

So please wake up, my comments are not due to dislike of USA, but realistic analysis of human nature.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

“…REVENGE IS SWEET!!!…”

That’s you speaking for YOUR revenge, Salamon. That’s your own hatred. China is more pragmatic, and they heavily depend on exports to the US. How is collapsing the US dollar going to benefit China? Certainly one byproduct of selling off US dollars will be the loss of their 1-2 trillion dollar investment in the US - not to mention how exports of Chinese goods to the US would be curtailed with a collapsed US economy. In addition, what could a US boycott of Chinese goods do to the Chinese economy? The Chinese and US economies are interconnected and mutually dependent. They will remain that way for generations to come. Yep, collapsing the US dollar would have the same affect on China as the revenge of a suicide bomber.

The Chinese would be unhappy with a war in the Gulf, but their time has not arrived yet, so in my opinion, they won't be able to prevent it (other than by sanctions through the UN) Besides, this is all just speculation as I don’t believe that Obama will participate in any attacks against Iran.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:
Read up on the effect of fire bombing on Dresden, and then consider 2-3-10 magnesium loaded missiles hitting the Saudi and Kuwiati oil termninals.... consider that they will not be rebuilt for years,,,,, then consider USA economy sans 5-10Mbbl per dqay/

I have no clue about the Syrian bombing, I do not think that the USA had any available aircraft to stop it, for the distance was too short for Israel, too long [Persian Gulf] for USA.

The converse applies to Israel's attack on Iran, USA planes are available in Persian Gulf, Iraq, and all countries around Iran, also there is the Russian Airforce.
The USA has x-radar in Israel, which will pin point any plane leaving the Israeli airspace to the East. [that the USA need X-radar in E Europe to watch Iran was a joke, and still is]. Israel is closer. So are the USA bases in the Gulf area. The other point is that Syria does not have the wherewithals to inflict pain on USa, IRan has it.

With respect to China, no, I do not think that China will dump USD anytime soon, however, the situation materally changes if China's major oil suppliers are disabled [be it IRan or the Gulf]. REVENGE IS SWEET!!!

Aside from all the above, as the green shoots in USA economy are mirages and spin, I thnink the USA has to concentrate on USA economy, and makoing more wars will create more misallocation of funds, leading to collapse a la USSR and Afganistan war.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Zolko

The idea of the talks between the US and Iran is, first and foremost, to resolve Iran's nuclear weapons program. Negotiations which end without resolving that issue are a failure from the US point of view - not just the Israelis.

So, from the Israeli point of view, successful talks are in their interest.

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

Salamon

China has wined considerably in the past because the US keeps printing money - which makes inflation a real fear for their 1-2 trillion dollar “investment” in the US economy. I don’t believe for a minute that China will dump US dollars. Isn’t that kind of like shooting yourself in the foot?

While the US has a great deal of influence with the Israelis, the Israelis will act without US cooperation. The bombing of the Iraqi nuclear plant was conducted when the US was supporting the Iraqis in their war against Iran. Israel bombed the Syrian facility despite Rice favoring Israel taking their evidence to the UN (a laughable suggestion). Israel is capable of launching an attack against the Iranians without US help.

Of course, you are right, a war with Iran is a gamble with the world’s oil supply, and there is a significant chance that the war could expand regionally (Hezbollah, Hamas, US). Iranian supplies - at the least - will be halted. Obama is the unknown. What will Obama decide if talks fail? Personally, I don’t believe (at this point) that he will choose war or support Israel, but Iran (just like you and I) is guessing. Nobody really knows for sure exactly what Obama's foreign policy advisors will recommend.

Israel, however, is not an unknown. I take them at their word (and I don't blame them).

Zolko Author Profile Page :

One might question Obama's program with Iran, but there might be other organizations with their own programs. What I mean is that Obama might be genuinely interested in talking openly with Iranian leaders, even Ahmanidejad, but exactly *that* might not suit well to some other organizations that would prefer a more direct (and brutal) confrontation with Iran.

And what would such an organization do to avoid/forbid/undermine direct and open discussions between the 2 presidents ? They would try to portray the recently elected Iranian president as a thief, with whom the recently elected US president obviously can't discuss without putting his own mandate in the basket.

Therefore, what we might be witnessing is a meddling in Iran through some covert program of the late Cheney gang to continue the Cheney ME policies.

Take it from another perspective:
- the only objections the US has wrt. Iran are their nuclear program, which is only really important to Israel.
- The US has forbidden Israel to launch attacks on Iranian nuclear sites
- The new Israeli government is more hard-line than even before
- the new US president is asking real concessions from Israel
- The new US president has proposed open talks with Iran
- should these talks succeed, Israel looses it's nuclear superiority in the region
=> for Israeli zionists, it's absolutely vital that these talks fail.

yeolds Author Profile Page :

TOM:

I do not know [nor does anybody else, sans whitehouse insiders] what Mr. Obama plans are vis-a-vis Iran except for two points: his speech in Cairo, and that there is a concentrated ONGOING effort by the USA/UK/Mossad for Regime Change.

Whereas Russia, which has nuclear engineers in Iran maintains that there is no bomb making effort in Iran, we must presume that the US intelligence services are correct in agreeing with the Russians. That Mossad maintain the converse, is nothing new, they were on this route since the 1980-s always two years to Irani N-bomb.

Any military adventurism has two constraint on it:

1.,Iran is the major foreign supplier of oil to the USA's major banker. At the time of extreme fragility in USA economy, it would not be good plan to upset your banker! Israel's attack on Iran would be clearly adjudged to be a USA foreign policy agreement with Israel. With the carrier groups around Iran, it is clearly in USA's military ability to shoot any and all planes out of air in case of attempted attack on IRAN.

2., The military outcome of any war with IRan has far too many unknown unknowables for the USA to gamble with the worlds [and USA's] oil supply. The strategic reserve can not last long enough with sufficient withdrawal in case of any major disrution of Saudi/Kuwaiti supply chains [max with drawal is approx 4Mbbl, short of the 13 M bbl USa daily imports.

Europe sans UK has seen too many wars, too much destruction to back any new adventures by USA/UK/Israel.

There is no possibility of major sanction via the UN, for China needs Iran's oil and they have veto power -wherein national interest, access to oil, overcomes any USA proposed carrot. and the USA does not have sticks against either Russia or China.

Best for USA is to be quiet as a church mouse regarding Iran's interiro politics!

TomW2 Author Profile Page :

PG

This is more or less a continuation of the brawl following the last PG question, but it’s a logical question. Put up or shut up. What should the world do next to support the Iranian people, and more importantly, what should America’s next step be?

Clearly, Obama has a coherent strategy to deal with Iran. The plan began immediately after he took office. Obama has consistently fostered an environment of reconciliation with the Iranian regime and Muslims, in general. Prior to the elections in Iran, Obama sent a letter to Khamenei calling for improved relations between the US and Iran. No one can deny that US policy toward Iran - and the Arab world - has changed since Obama entered office. A policy of reconciliation is a long shot to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program, but nothing else has worked - including several years of negotiations between the Iranians and the EU-3, and threats by the Bush administration and Israel.

Obama firmly believes that the Iranians build nuclear weapons to deter US aggressive regional militarism (as most leftist believe), however, if Iran rejects US offers of recognition of the Iranian state as a major regional player (for example, the invitation for Iran to play a role in the regional approach to Afghanistan) and US guarantees of security, the Iranians only serve to show the world that their intentions go far beyond “security” - that Iran has spread regional mayhem with policies of imperialism and hegemony - and they have no intentions of changing their behavior. Isolating Iran serves this important purpose.

Painting the Iranian intentions (for what they are) then puts pressure on Russia, China and the EU to impose significant sanctions on the Iranians through the United Nations Security Council in a last attempt to avoid the looming war between Iran and Israel. Even expecting the do-nothing Europeans to impose significant sanctions on the Iranians is extremely difficult because it goes against their economic interests, but the Russians are an ally to Iran - so bringing the Russians on board is nearly an impossible task.

Unfortunately for Obama, the Iranian elections didn’t go as planned, and a mini revolution began when the Supreme leader fixed the elections in favor of the extreme policies of Ahmadinejad. Thus, Khamenei tacitly endorsed the nuclear (and regional) policies of Ahmadinejad. The teleprompter screen went blank and Obama fell flat in the days immediately following the election. Condemning the violence against the protesters while (subtly) promoting democratic change in the Middle East was the proper policy - so he initially left the average Iranian unsupported in their desire for a freer society. Protesters were thrown under the bus (so as to not appear like the US was “meddling“). Recently, Ahmadinejad demanded an apology from the US for “meddling”, but that’s a fabrication by the leader who’s “election” was a fabrication.

The world should support the people of Iran, but much of the world is no better off than the Iranians. Much of the hard "left" (especially the Europeans) supports Ahmadinejad because he stands up to the bullying of the US. The “left” considers the US and Israel the greatest threats to peace in the world. Besides, the Israelis have nuclear weapons - and that’s simply not fair to the Iranians.

Negotiations with Iran have been put on hold indefinitely now (which serves Iran). Time is of the utmost importance because of Iran’s advancing nuclear weapons program. Obama must continue to try to engage the Iranians, but also continue his belated support of protesters. Obama is the leader of the free world, and that’s an important function of the President. Robert McFarlane (Wall Street Journal) suggested a more coherent support of the Iranian opposition through broadcast over the internet and other communications. While that’s a laudable idea, Obama must remain focused on Iran’s nuclear program over the next eight to twelve months - the time remaining before Israel makes the decision to attack the Iranian nuclear facilities.

The elections indicate that negotiations are likely to fail. The time is now to actively pressure the Europeans to impose a gas embargo on the Iranians so that if negotiations fail, or engagement is not possible, they can be imposed on Iran as a last ditch effort to convince Iran to halt their nuclear weapons program. Expect the standard stall tactics by the Iranians as they fully understand that time is on their side. Will a gas embargo work? It seems that too much time has now passed, so the next logical question for the world to weigh will be: will the US support an Israeli attack against the Iranian nuclear facilities if (when) negotiations fail?

The Arab Middle East is potentially an explosive situation. Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey are democratic (at least in principal). Arab peoples must be given greater control over their political systems, yet there are risk associated with voting such as the election of Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood. Iran serves as an example of a theocratic state that promised democracy (at its inception) but delivered an oppressive dictatorship with little concern for the human rights of their own citizens. The election of more radical Islamic organizations like Hamas only promise more theocratic, non democratic states like Iran.

Zolko Author Profile Page :

What I see on pictures from Iran are protesters showing "where is my vote" panels. In english, yes. Now, isn't this strange ? Isn't this a sign that "the world" is already helping the protesters, or at least funding them. ("the world" being probably the CIA here.)

But more to the point, doesn't the WaPo never learn ? Wasn't that WMD fiasco not enough, Al-Qaeda and Gaza on top of it, you want more US involvement in the Middle-East ? What is it that PostGlobal absolutely tries to stir up the problems there ?

It is said the the FED has lost trace of 9 trillion dollars, shouldn't you be talking about that ? Or what about that mysterious suitcase transported by 2 Japanese to Switzerland but intercepted in Italy and containing 134 billion dollars, in US bonds ? Are they real or counterfeit ?

evon00123 Author Profile Page :

Chris Dawood's NotesChris's Notes|Notes about Chris|Chris's Profile
Whither the Revolution?Share
Tue at 11:14pm
As I watch the events unfolding in Iran, I am overcome by a mix of emotions: Anger, sadness, indignation, frustration, and hope. But one thought has stayed at the forefront of my mind from the very beginning of the unrest:

This is all for nothing.

The protests, the bloodshed, the reaction from overseas - it's all a waste. At least that is the case if nobody within Iran is planning on overthrowing the Ayatollah and his corrupt brand of theocratic dictatorship.

And if the Iranian people are serious about demanding democracy and freedom, someone had better be. Simply put, the notion of an Islamic Republic is not compatible with the idea of a free and democratic society- not in theory, and certainly not as its practiced in Iran. The Ayatollah knows this, and that is why he will do everything in his power to alienate, marginalize and oppress the opposition - whether that means accusing them of being puppets of the West, rigging an election, or beating and murdering them in the streets. The "Islamic Republic" is neither Islamic nor a republic. Their laws are not carried out according to what the Q'uran teaches, but rather according to what best serves the interests of the government. What is the Islamic principle behind beating grandmothers and shooting unarmed women in the street? What is the Islamic principle behind limiting who can run for President, and then stealing the election altogether?

The "republic" is a farce, as many within Iran and those of us who have studied it can tell you. Not only are the Ayatollah and the Guardian Council not elected, but they also decide who is allowed to run for President according to their own discretion. Even if Moussavi had won, his power would still be second to the Ayatollah and the Guardian Counsel, who get the final say on almost all issues, foreign and domestic. Many scholars argue that talks with the Iranian president, whoever it may be, are futile without addressing the Ayatollah and his Council as well. Iran is a "republic" only in name - there is little Plato, Jefferson, or Madison would recognize as "democratic."

And if there is anything we've learned from the events of the past week, it's that the Ayatollah, like all dictators, will stop at nothing to retain his power. Whether that means setting student dorms on fire, beating protesters, shooting unarmed women, or even bringing in thousands of Hezbollah and Hamas from outside Iran to do the government's dirty work for them, the Regime will stop at nothing to secure its power and stifle dissent.

Therefore, knowing that the Iranian people are seeking democracy and freedom, knowing that the Islamic Republic is incompatible with either of those notions, knowing that the Ayatollah is apathetic to the will of his people and will stop at nothing to retain his power, what good is it to protest and go on strike? The Ayatollah, like all dictators, sees civil disobedience not as a signal that he is losing public support, but as a challenge to his authority. And dictators handle challenges to their authority in only one way: squashing them. If the Iranian people think the Ayatollah is going to wake up one day and see the error of his ways and start giving them freedom out of the goodness of his heart, they are as delusional as Ahmadinejad, who literally claims to have "seen the light."

If the Iranians want democracy, they are going to have to take it. By force. There is simply no other way. History teaches us this. Can you name even ONE example of a dictatorship that was defeated by civil protest? The Tsars, the French monarchy, Saddam, Franco, Hitler, etc., all have a few things in common: They were all ruthless dictators that did unspeakable things to their own people. They were also all killed at the hands of the very people they so brutally repressed. The Tsar's familly were all brutally murdered. The French Revolution meant the heads of both the King AND his wife (like the dictators themselves, the mobs spared no one). Saddam was sold out by his own citizens and his army practically surrendered. Franco was hung by a mob of his own people. Hitler was nearly killed in an assassination attempt by one of his own commanders, before finally committing suicide.

The point is this: the Ayatollah is not going to simply "give" the Iranian people the freedoms they want and deserve. He would rather watch his country burn to the ground. And so it must be, that when justice is not delivered it must be taken by force. Yes, it will likely mean many more Iranian deaths. No, a civil war is never pretty, nor is it a good thing. But that which is necessary is not always good.

There are concerns that a revolution would mean a power vacuum in Iran, which could lead to even worse outcomes. I don't see how this is possible. A power vacuum is only a bad thing when those in line to fill the void are worse than those already in power. Such is not the case in Iran. Iran is already a rogue regime led by extremists who constantly threaten global security and aid America's enemies. What could be worse? Iran should not be confused with Iraq, which was a country with no common ethnic or cultural background that was held together by a dictator who oppressed the extremist factions within its borders. Iran is a country led by extremists with a strong, underground movement that is pro-democratic, anti-extremist, and a FAR better alternative to the regime that is currently in place. It is EXACTLY this kind of situation in which a temporary power vacuum can be exploited for the benefit of the people of Iran as well as the rest of the world. With the Islamic Republic out of the picture, the groundwork can be laid to form a government that is TRULY free, democratic, and respects the rights of both its citizens and its neighbors in the global community.

In short, anything less than an overthrow of the Ayatollah is not only a tragedy for those seeking justice and democracy in Iran, but would also waste the tremendous sacrifice that so many young Iranians have made in hopes of realizing this dream. The Iranian people owe it to themselves and to their fallen brothers and sisters to make sure their sacrifices were not in vain.


daniel12 Author Profile Page :

On this problem it seems the U.S. is subconsciously leaning toward thinking anything which challenges the current regime in Iran is good, that a division within the nation regardless of where it leads is good. Actually I should not have said the U.S. is "leaning" toward this position because if we want to speak of "leaning" we would say some Americans argue that the protesters should be supported because a change of regime will mean a clear step toward democracy and Iran opening to the U.S. Other people say no great difference should be expected from regime change. And the middle ground between the two positions seems to be any instability is good in Iran--and this is the position the U.S. seems to be subconsciously taking. And it does seem natural that this position is the best one to take--because instability in Iran cannot hurt anyone but Iran (for example Iran is not like Pakistan with nuclear weapons and therefore instability can be tolerated in Iran but not Pakistan). The real question though--and if we want to speak of morality--is how exactly does wanting instability for the sake of instability in Iran help the protesters? Of course the protesters cannot be helped directly, but they can be supported by words. But simply wanting instability in Iran is no support. What kind of friend to Iran would do that? So the U.S. should take the pretty clear position that we (the U.S.) want democracy in Iran (of course) and that we would hope the protesters are headed in that direction--but that we do not want instability in Iran for the sake of just a conflict within the nation. And of course we have to be careful in our wording...and it does seem my advice is useless here because although all around in the U.S. (up, down, left and right) an atmosphere of just wanting Iran destabilized seems to exist, Obama and his team seem to be playing this about as well as it can be played. And although I try to sympathize with the right wing in America because everybody seems to hate the right wing these days, I have to admit the right (the most out of everyone in the U.S.) is being somewhat irresponsible, ostensibly cheering on the prostesters as if believing only democracy and better relations with the U.S. can be the only outcome of challenging the current regime, but secretly at heart knowing pure disruption only within Iran can possibly ensue and not caring about such if only the current regime falls. So I think we all need to think about our true feelings and avoid all this cheering on of instability--in fact there is something quite vulgar about cheering on a nation fighting with itself, as if we are tuned into some reality show on television which promises riots and more riots and a front row seat to people getting their heads bashed in. Strange...I find myself critical of Obama in general, but in this type of situation it seems who he is (down to the bowels) is made for proceeding properly...His powers of reconciling seem to beg for precisely this situation--or rather are made just in case such occurs. I have to go with Obama and team on this one. In fact we should just say one thing only when thinking about how to deal with Iran in this situation: Obama.

yousufhashmi1 Author Profile Page :


This question is amusing. Before commenting anyting let us be hypothetical. We Know the elections in thirld world. I think in Islamic world we see the maximum democracy inIran.

We can talk about any country of middle east , south asia, south america and not to forget the continent of Africa.

We see the same story. How many places the world and the US in particular is going to intervene and how they can influence the culture and local traditions and loose governance.

We must define our borders. Let the countries choose their governance and try to learn with their mistakes themselves. Let the elections be held regularly and then only we can find the improvement in the election system.

The only way the world can promote is to wait for two or three elections. We will see more transparancy and less corruption every passing year.

Aprogressiveindependent Author Profile Page :

The death of Allison Krause had nothing to do with the end of the Vietnam war. The widespread protests over Nixon's invasion if Cambodia were among the last major public demonstrations against the war. Anti-war protests began declining in 1971 and 1972 as fewer young men were drafted and more troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, which had nothing to do with any public revulsion from the killings at Kent State Unversity.

As someone noted it is a tragedy when innocent people die standing up for their rights. Yet, as another person noted elsewhere in his/her comments to an article on this website, there were no similar pictures or videos of Palestinian women or children who were killed during the Israeli invasion of Gaza, when hundreds of civilians reportedly died. Other than a pro-Israel bias, why is this?

The human reaction of dismay and outrage by most viewers in seeing the picture of the young Iranian woman dying is understandable. However, the media's reasons for repeatedly showing such pictures, particularly while not being interested in comparable pictures of Palestinians who were killed, suggests, in addition to the usual pro-Israel bias in the media, a possible effort to foment and incite a United States confrontation with Iran. This, if true, would be reminiscent of Hearst newspapers stirring up people in this country against Spain for its repressive actions in Cuba, leading to the Spanish-American war.

Undoubtedly many people do not want to recognize this as a possibility, but some in the media in this country have a long history, going back to the 1790's, of often trying to incite confrontations and wars with other countries. Some may recall how most of the media seemed eager and sensationalistic in their coverage of events leading to the Persian Gulf war and Bush's invasion of Iraq.

chatard Author Profile Page :

Perhaps the immediate thing the world could do to support the protesters is to refuse the US Government's invitation to the Hot dog and Fireworks parties it is having at various embassies with the Iranian diplomats as the guests of honor.

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page :

I want to answer the question after referring to a post that I found profoundly moving, as part of the previous conversation on the “Iranian Election Aftermath”.

blund wrote :

“This whole thing so far seems to be a ruse to justify regime change. ( …)

Here's the only problem … At some point the powers in Iran will step on the protesters. I don't mean a couple of dozen. I mean thousands are risking death while being spurred on by the right wing. When, and if, this happens and regime change fails these dead and seriously injured people will just be collateral damage in your pursuit to meddle in Iran's internal affairs. That's sick. If there is one thing the R's don't have it's the Muslims best interests at heart. Yes, I am accusing your side of using these poor souls. The right views this as a no lose scenario. Accuse them of voter fraud without anything more then innuendo, dump money into the fray, tell them they are being supported and stir up the pot. Either two things can happen. First, regime change takes place and you'll consider that a win. Second, they step on the protesters and kill a few thousand to quell the riots and the wing nuts get to sit back and say I told you this was a repressive regime. Again, very sick minds think this stuff up with no concern to people's lives.

This whole affair has absolutely nothing to do with democracy. It has everything to do with taking out a regime the wing nuts see as bad.”

There are precedents to this: one particularly relevant one is the U.S. encouraging the Shiites to rise against Saddam Hussein, in Iraq: “During the first week ( …) civilian uprisings took shape in Shiite-majority cities such as Basra, Karbala and Najaf. (…) Delegates from two dozen Iraqi opposition groups appealed to the United States for help. But administration officials repeatedly said they would not involve U.S. troops in what they considered an internal matter for the Iraqi people. (…) The death toll during the Shiite rebellion was estimated at 30,000, with tens of thousands more fleeing to Iran.” (seattlepi.com)

Heart and head therefore say: the world ought to denounce this sick business, beginning with the “(English-language) media frenzy and its sensationalism (that) has breached the limits of reality” (Ettefagh). The world ought to demand that ends this sick business of using those poor souls, evidently with no concern for people’s lives!

yeolds Author Profile Page :

Best idea for any and all non Iranians is to let the Irani people solve their own problems. It does not appear that the wider population is behind this "revolution" or protest.

It would behoove Mr. Obambm to cancel all funding for CIA and other USA agencies who are at present working to destabilize Iran.

USA's or USA's NGO's numerous attempts at various "color revolutions" have a dismal failure rate, Georgia is mess [and lost a war], Ukraine does not work [president and PM do not talk, Cabinet Ministers are resigning, no replacement etc], Lebanon the opposition has the votes, and Israel is telling the President to drop dead [we will build our settlements on the West BAnk], and Chavez is a making deals with China and IRAn [after US tried to topple him]. Castro out lived numeropus Presidents who oppsed him, now his brother, Raul, is the leadeer.

Finally, the USA has enough economic problems to keep the nation's politicians busy for years [of course, they like to play big shots on international scene, rather than solve their own nation's probelms.

dnjake Author Profile Page :

Those readers who talk about helping the protestors should start out thinking about what that means. Certainly if someone wants to go to Iran and take their chances on being shot, that is a position that I can respect. Of course, there is no real possiblity of anyone making that choice even if they wanted to. So all the talk about helping the Iranians just turns into hot air.
The other question is what people think they would be helping. It certainly is a tragedy when random people get killed just for standing up for their beliefs. But the question of whether that death has any real meaning depends on exactly what those beliefs are and what place they have in an organized political activity that might have some chance of actually changing the way a society is governed. At this point, we have so little idea of the content of the Iranian protest movement or the Iranian power structure, that it is difficult to even make an educated guess at what one would actually be supporting by helping the protestors assuming there was some realistic way of actually doing it.

ridge509 Author Profile Page :

When I saw the photo of Neda bleeding to death on the ground, I flashed back to the same horror I felt in 1970 in response to a sickeningly identical picture. It was the bleeding body of the young student, Allison Krause, just moments after she was shot dead by National Guard troopers at Kent State University during a Vietnam war protest.
The world must react to the monstrous acts of brutality in Iran. What will be much more effective than government reactions, which will only be cynically manipulated for political gain by the Iranian government, is for all of us, as individuals, to react. We must write, protest,demonstrate,and fund organizations in and outside Iran that are working against this tyranny. Such things were the responses to the murder of Allison Krause and eventually they worked -- we left Vietnam.
We owe Neda nothing less.

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