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March 27, 2006

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Oh, and Gina. Iran already HAS democracy. Democracy does not mean "they vote like I want them to....".

Besides, what is this prattling on about "democracy". I thought you people were republicans....

They aren't synonymous, you know.

A: "Nations that only want to flex muscles may announce their plans in advance, but nations that are determined to inflict the maximum number of casualties on innocent civilians do not announce their plans before they strike."

B: "Are you aware that Iran shouted "Death to America!" in its parliament on the day that it voted to resume uranium enrichment?"

A: "In America, in a democracy, words sometimes have an impact. In Iran, words get you killed."

B: "But I don't want Iran's words. I want Iran disarmed. "

Anadakos, some of your comments were fairly reasonable but there are also more than a few inaccurate assumptions sprinkled throughout your post. If you think Iran "already HAS democracy," I don't know how you define democracy, but it's not remotely the republican form of democracy that America and other civilized nations have. It does not include freedom of speech or freedom to engage in political protest, freedom to listen to the media and music of one's own choice, freedom of the press, or freedom of religion, just to name a few. So I'm not sure why you're calling Iran a "democracy" except as window dressing to make it sound less ruthless than it actually is.

I particularly question your notion that we can wait or should wait until an American city is nuked and then retaliate against Iran.

If you are attempting to argue that Iran will not nuke an American or other Western city based on fear of retaliation, I am not confident of that at all. Based on his own public statements, Iran's president genuinely believes that the end of the world is near and that Iran's role is to help bring about the final conflict.

A: "Nations that only want to flex muscles may announce their plans in advance, but nations that are determined to inflict the maximum number of casualties on innocent civilians do not announce their plans before they strike."

B: "Are you aware that Iran shouted "Death to America!" in its parliament on the day that it voted to resume uranium enrichment?"

Pretty good matchup of two points railroadstone. But just because Iran has announced its general intent to destroy the U.S. does not mean that it is going to send you a memo before it nukes the large city nearest to you. Some who have commented here seem to think that we have endless time to delay and will get further warnings. Don't count on it. Terrorist plans are usually hatched in secrecy to maximize their chances of success.

A: "In America, in a democracy, words sometimes have an impact. In Iran, words get you killed."

B: "But I don't want Iran's words. I want Iran disarmed. "

This is not an inconsistency. As I made clear, we cannot rely on Iran's empty promises that it won't use nuclear weapons against us. (It's not making any such promises anyway; if anything, it is directly threatening the opposite.) Such promises are useless from nations run by despots like North Korea and Iran. That's exactly why we will be safe only when Iran is disarmed, not if we can get Iran to "promise" to play nice. Iran will happily promise not to use nuclear weapons -- just long enough to get the civilized world to look the other way while it finishes centrifuging mass quantities of uranium. Iran's words mean nothing. Now as for the words of Iran's own people, they do mean something to Iran, because Iran routinely executes its own people for thought and speech crimes such as promoting another religion or questioning Iran's government.

Yeah, there's a lot at stake, and I don't need a miserable failure like Charles Krauthammer to tell me so, or how to get it right.

The facts are, there's pretty much nothing we, or any other country can do about Iran having nukes at this point.

The only certain way to ensure failure is to give up. In this case, failure means living with nuclear armageddon looming over our heads.

Just as the Soviet Union fell, as impossible at it seemed at a time when it was one of the world's major superpowers -- just as the cold war standoff of mutually assured destruction ended -- Iran's murderous nuclear weapons program can fall.

Impossible? No. Very difficult? Yes.

That's one of the reasons why all citizens of the United States from all parts of the political spectrum and all decent nations of the world need to make a concerted effort to set aside partisan politics and work together when it comes to matters of national security.

While we bicker, the centrifuges are spinning in Iran enriching uranium, and more centrifuges are being constructed to speed up the process. At the instigation of the mad mullahs of Iran, the Iranians are still shouting "Death to America!" everytime they gather together.

Failure is not an option. Failure means needless death and suffering -- our own.

So, why do you think Iran hates you so much?

Any explanation for Iran's anti-Americanism must date back to the 1979 Iranian Revolution that transformed Iran from a pro-western constitutional monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to an Islamic, populist theocratic republic under the rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The Shah of Iran was heavyhanded in his rule, but so are the current Islamic rulers of Iran. The current leaders have executed approximately 10,000 of their own people for "crimes" such as accepting a non-Islamic religion, political protest, homosexuality, or wearing a bathing suit at home.

Iran's open hostility toward the U.S. began when radical Muslims took power in Iran in 1979. These Islamists despised and continue to despise America and Israel for religious and political reasons. The religious reason is a radical interpretation of Islam that is completely intolerant of Christianity. That reason has not changed and will not change. There have been thousands of terrorist attacks since the 1970s launched by Muslims against Christians, Jews and Hindus around the world. U.S. citizens have been targeted in many of these attacks, but Americans took little notice of the overall pattern of Islamic terrorism until September 11, 2001. The political reason for Iran's dislike of the U.S. was the United States' support for the former Shah. That reason is ancient history, since the Shah has been dead for over 25 years.

On November 4, 1979, Islamic students stormed the U.S. embassy and took 66 people, mostly Americans, hostage. The students claimed that this was retaliation for the U.S. having admitted the Shah of Iran into the U.S. for cancer treatments.

The hostages were held for 444 days until the day Ronald Reagan was inagurated and replaced Jimmy Carter as president of the United States.

Former hostages Dr. William Daugherty (who worked for the CIA in Iran), Kevin Hermening, David Roeder, US Army Col. Charles Scott (Ret.), and US Navy Capt. Donald Sharer (Ret.)recognize Iran's current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as one of the Iranians who held them hostage beginning in 1979.

Saddam Hussein launched the Iran-Iraq war in 1980. After Iran had held its citizens hostage for 444 days, the U.S. was understandably wary of the Iranian regime, and supported Saddam Hussen's Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. Hussein's Iraq was then viewed as the lesser of two evils in the Iran-Iraq war.

These are the predominant historical reasons and excuses underlying thehatred of the United States by the current radical Islamic regime.

Added to these stated reasons is probably a large dose of good old-fashioned envy and wounded pride. Iran would dearly love to trade some of its vast oil wealth for cultural, religious, and political dominance in the world.

One step in that quest for dominance is to tear down whichever superpowers happen to be in the leadership. America's success makes it a target of simple envy for as long as America's leadership lasts.

Now you have a brief historical overview. You can fine-tune the details if you like; if I've missed anything, feel free to chime in. I have prepared this in a hurry and corrections are welcome.

Meanwhile, Iran has given America plenty of reasons to hate Iran, including holding Americans hostage for 444 days and publicly chanting "Death to America" on a regular basis, including the parliamentary session in which Iran voted to resume uranium enrichment. Iran is probably also supplying arms to terrorists to use against U.S. troops in Iraq based on recent reports; is threatening to manipulate the U.S. oil markets to America's detriment as a member of OPEC; and actively supports Palestinian terrorists whose goal is to destroy another American ally, Israel.

So Iran perceives itself as having cause to hate America, although its reasons include religous intolerance and political grievances that are by now about a quarter of a century old. And America has plenty of good reasons -- current ones -- to hate Iran. Where does that leave us?

It leaves us with same bottom line: America cannot afford to allow Iran to menace it with nuclear weapons. And Iran is doing just that, quite deliberately.

Meanwhile, Iran has given America plenty of reasons to hate Iran, including holding Americans hostage for 444 days and publicly chanting "Death to America" on a regular basis, including the parliamentary session in which Iran voted to resume uranium enrichment. Iran is probably also supplying arms to terrorists to use against U.S. troops in Iraq based on recent reports; is threatening to manipulate the U.S. oil markets to America's detriment as a member of OPEC; and actively supports Palestinian terrorists whose goal is to destroy another American ally, Israel.

So Iran perceives itself as having cause to hate America, although its reasons include religous intolerance and political grievances that are by now about a quarter of a century old. And America has plenty of good reasons -- current ones -- to hate Iran.

Well played, Ms. Cobb... "political grievances that are by now a quarter of a century old." How disingenuous of you to blithely dismiss a QUARTER-CENTURY of the brutal oppression of Iranians, carried out by the USA-installed Shah, one of the most vicious dictators of the 20th century, as a "grievance."

Here's your history lesson, Gina. Much good may it do you.

"In 1953, Iran was the newly created CIA's first big takedown. The democratically appointed Prime Minister Mossadegh had to be dealt with for the unforgivable crime of making plans to nationalize Iran's oil supply. A CIA-sponsored coup drives Mossadegh into permanent exile and installs Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as Shah. Iran's oil is returned to its rightful owners, the Americans and British. The CIA-trained SAVAK - the Iranian secret police - launches a 25-year reign of terror on the civilian population. In 1976, Amnesty International noted that SAVAK had the worst human rights record on the planet, their CIA-textbook torture techniques 'beyond belief.' This was later made abundantly clear by the discovery of a CIA film, made for SAVAK, of instructions on how to torture women. All this, of course, sets the stage for a radical Islamic revolution in 1979..."

But how could such a trivial Iranian grudge (geez, can't they just GET OVER that silly Shah business, already?) compare to - taking Americans hostage! And saying mean things about us! And maybe even helping terrorists! And possibly even (gasp) manipulating oil prices! Hmmm... that wouldn't be the same oil we foisted the Shah on Iran to get our mitts on, would it?

The very fact that you seem nonplussed at the very IDEA of the Iranians having a legitimate beef with the USA (not to mention your position that WE are by far the most wronged of the two nations) embodies the Ugly American at its, well, ugliest. And it's why the rest of the world takes such a dim view of us. Hell, it's why so many Americans take a dim view of us.

Lard Lad (is that your real name?), you argue your side of the issue about as well as it can be argued. I question some of your factual claims, but you lay out the case as well as it can be laid out, so I commend you for your argumentation skills at least.

I grant you that 25-year old grievances can still be nursed if someone is determined to keep them alive.

Odd, however, that you make no mention of the brutality with which Iran treats its own population today. Does it bother you that about 10,000 have been murdered in recent years by the Islamic regime for "crimes" such as blasphemy, political protest, swimming at home alone in a bathing suit, homosexuality, protesting censorship, adultery, and photographing people inquiring about their loved ones? (Details at http://www.abfiran.org/english/memorial.php).

Apparently it doesn't bother you a bit, because otherwise we'd be hearing about it from you.

So I respectfully submit that the real agenda of those nursing 25-year-old grievances of Iran and ignoring the fresh graves of the latest victims of the current brutal Iranian Islamic regime is anti-Americanism.

That may not be your agenda. You may not be anti-American. You may just be unaware of how brutal is Iran's current regime. But the claims you are making have curious anti-American gaps and go out of their way to accept every allegation against the U.S. as true while ignoring all mitigating factors. Why?

Why are you silent when it comes to the current horrific abuses by Iran? Why do you dismiss Iran's CURRENT death threats to America as illegitimate grounds for concern, while attempting to fan 25-year old flames on behalf of Iran? Why?

Oh, so now Iran is the big threat. I thought it was Iraq. No, North Korea. Wait, Afghanistan. Granada? El Salvador? Or any one of the other 25 countries the United States has bombed since the end of WWII. And you wonder why other countries want to go nuclear? Why no discussion on America getting rid of its nuclear weapons? After all, the USA is the ONLY country to have used nuclear weapons on a civilian population (twice). If you can step outside of yourselves (I know that's hard), you might just realize that to most of this planet the United States is the biggest threat to international peace and security. No, Iran should not have nuclear weapons and nor should North Korea. AND NEITHER SHOULD YOU!

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GINA COBB

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