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Jan 29, 2006


Phil Snyder

I suggest that we show our respect for the leaders of Iran by taking their statements seriously instead of performing a post modern deconstruction on them.

The people of Iran may want peaceful relations with Israel, but the leaders - the Mullahs and their political appointees - want Israel destoyed and want the means to do it.

We have two very bad outcomes.
1. Iran armed with nuclear weapons and giving aid and support to anti-western terrorists.

2. A much weakend US presence in Iraq as a result of our or Israel's attack on the nuclear facilities of Iran to prevent outcome #1.

Imagine what would happen if Iran decided that a nuclear weapon in Tel Aviv would be all it takes to "wipe Israel from the face of the earth" (their stated goal). Israel would see itself as forced to respond in kind and would probably launch against Tehran and possibly other places in Iran. Because of the anti-Israel sentiment, the whole middle east might get involved and Pakistand and India may also become involved - growing the number of nuclear armed beligerents to 4. China may decide that this is a good time to reassert its territorial claims over Taiwan and the US has pledged military support to Taiwan.

Trusting to the Iranian people's good intention toward Israel and their legacy with Cyrus is a little naive, don't you think? After all, the largest population of Jews before 1948 was in Baghdad and you see how well Saddam treated the Jews after their return to the Jewish Homeland? (Yes, I know that Saddam did not come to power in 1948, but he did pay a "bounty" of $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers for several years.)

Phil Snyder

John Wilkins

I'm not sure what you mean by "post-modern deconstruction" phil. In the US, politicians do one thing and say another all the time.

I wonder why you have decided to believe Iran on this? This requires a little more consideration then you are giving. In a world where Iranian mullahs are simply evil, then your view makes perfect sense, because evil people want terrible things. It's the end of story. It's not an interesting one, but convenient for people who want a quick regime change in Iran, and want to start a fight. As I said, it probably isn't an accurate story, and it won't have the consequences we desire. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if Iran never creates a "holocaust inquiry." The president is merely standing up to the US. And it plays well in Tehran and in Muslim countries. That's who its for. It's not for us. He could care less. And if anything, he might be enjoying being the center of attention for the West.

But lets place the "evil mullah" with the "rational mullah." Why would a rational mullah say things that will obviously result in disaster for his own country. There is simply no logical reason for us to assume that this is anything except rhetoric. It might be that he is trying to get our attention for other reasons. It's much more likely - after all, we're living in a time where no Iranian OR American politician can be caught speaking rationally to the other side. So we have to talk to each other with codes and threats.

Iranians play politics like other countries, Phil.

My point on bringing up Cyrus, Phil, is to complicate things. The media ries to simplify. We tend to lump in Iran with other countries, which simply limits our understanding.

Its interesting you mention Saddam here, but I don't find you've analyzed it. In the Arab world, the Palestinians are used as a way of shoring up internal support and distracting people from local suffering. Saddam could always point to his support of Palestinian extremists - which, as expected, benefitted himself far more than it helped Palestinians.

Phil Snyder

We didn't take BinLaden seriously when he said he wanted to destroy the US and was at war with the US. We saw the results over the last decade and more. We didn't take the Iranians seriously in 1979 when they said they wanted to create a theocracy and we saw the results.

In security work, you do well to pay attention to what people who say they want you dead are saying to their own people and to plan for any contingency. I am not saying that the Iranian Mullahs are evil but that their stated goals are.

In short, when someone says that they want to kill you and have taken steps to do so in the past, it behooves you to listen to them and to take precautions so that they cannot kill you.

Let me give you an anology. If a man has a history of saying that he want to kill cops and is constantly saying so (which is not illegal), but then confronts police with something that looks like a gun saying: "I'm going to kill you SOBs", are the police justified in using what ever measures are necessary to ensure that they are not injured? I submit that they are. I also submit that the man's actions are suicidal and bespeak "evolution in action."

Phil Snyder

John Wilkins

I think you're shifting the argument a bit here, conceptually. Bin Laden isn't a state. He's not a president. Nor is Al-Quaeda properly an institution. It is more like an ideology.

But I think people are a bit more complicated. Sometimes they tell you exactly what they want. Sometimes it's rhetoric. For example, Ann Coulter wants to convert all Arabs into Christians. Do we take her seriously? Hm. Maybe she's talking out of her ass? Is it policy? Or is she talking to conservatives and getting them riled up?

Bin Laden was very clear about what he saw, and what he wants to do. He's calculated, what he things, is the cost of American Aggression - four million innocent lives. And he wants us to pay for them. Is he right? No. But is it rational? well, he's not the only person who's believed in an eye for an eye. He's also said, very clearly, he wants us out of Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, lets examine what Saddam did. One convincing analysis says that Saddam was bluffing, and we called his bluff. He did everything he could to make us think he had WMD - why? Because we would be less likely to attack if we thought he would use them. It fits in right with Saddam's psychology.

Of course, you mention "contingency" and this is rational. It does not, however, mean that we should invade - for that is exactly what IRAN is planning for. Iran has every expectation we will invade - in fact, some of our security forces have rumored to have crossed. And they are saying to the Islamic world - warning them - that the US is an aggressive power that will stop at nothing to get oil and prevent Iran from being economically independent. I'll remind you that what they have been saying publically [well - should we respect them when they say they only want nuclear energy?] is that they just want nuclear energy. So what happens when we invade? We simply continue to fan the flames of their anger towards us, makeing us, in fact, less safe in the long run.

You might disagree, but it was our interventionism that began the sequence of events in the first place. We were the ones who over threw the secular regime of Mossadeq; and we were the ones who first armed Bin Laden. It's time for us to start thinking better than we have been.

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