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The Race for Iran

Iran and the “Mad Mullah Myth”: Leveretts’ Forthcoming Book Excerpted in Harper’s

Our new book, Going to Tehran:  Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, will be published by Henry Holt’s Metropolitan Books imprint on January 8, 2013.  We are very gratified that Harper’s published an excerpt from Going to Tehran in its November issue, see here, entitled “The Mad Mullah Myth:  The Dangers of Misunderstanding Iran’s Strategy.”

One of the main themes in Going to Tehran is that America’s Iran debate is fundamentally distorted by a series of myths—namely, that the Islamic Republic is irrational, illegitimate, and can easily be isolated in its regional environment and, ultimately, undermined by the United States.  The Harper’s excerpt lays out some of the main points in our critique of the irrationality myth.  It opens by noting that

“In the more than thirty years since the Iranian Revolution, Western analysts have routinely depicted the Islamic Republic as an ideologically driven, illegitimate, and deeply unstable state.  From their perspective, Iran displayed its fanatical character early on, first in the hostage crisis of 1979-81, and shortly afterward with the deployment of teenage soldiers in ‘human wave’ attacks against Iraqi forces during the 1980s.  Supposedly the same Shi’a ‘cult of martyrdom’ and indifference of casualties persist in a deep attachment to suicide terrorism that would, if Iran acquired nuclear weapons, end in catastrophe.  Allegations of the Iranian government’s ‘irrationality’ are inevitably linked to assertions that it is out to export its revolution across the Middle East by force, is hell-bent on the destruction of Israel, and is too dependent for its domestic legitimacy on anti-Americanism to contemplate improving relations with the United States.”

Of course, the veteran diplomat Chas Freeman has pointed out that “to dismiss a foreign government, policy, or circumstance as ‘irrational’ is to confess that one does not understand its motivations, causes, or calculus, has no idea how to deal with it short of the use of force, and has no intention of making the effort to discover how to do so.”  And we point out that

if Western political elites were to make an effort to understand Iran and its motivations, they would discover that the Islamic Republic has shown itself to be a highly rational actor in the conduct of its foreign policy.  The Iranian government did not launch a holy war against Iraq in the 1980s; rather, it struggled to defend the Iranian people against a brutal Iraqi invasion that was directly supported by many of Iran’s neighbors as well as by Western power, including the United States.  When in the course of that was Iran was subjected to years of chemical-weapons attacks, Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s founding father, and his associates chose not to weaponize Iran’s stockpiles of chemical agents, a move that would have enabled it to respond in kind.  And for years now the Islamic Republic’s most senior political and religious leaders have rejected the acquisition and use of nuclear weapons, both on strategic grounds and because, in their view, nuclear weapons violate Islamic morality.”

We go on to debunk Western conventional wisdom about Tehran’s “support for terrorism.”  We describe how, “if Westerns looked soberly at the record, they would discover that Iran is not aggressively exporting revolution.”  Likewise, we explain that, while Iranian policymakers believe that Israel is an illegitimate state, “Iran is not out to destroy” it—and has never threatened to do so, contrary to Western mythology.  Iranian leaders “take a long view of their standoff with Israel, expecting that the unsustainability in the twenty-first century of apartheid-like arrangements will lead to the fall of Israel’s current political structure—not to the annihilation of the Jewish people.  Such an expectation, although disturbing to many Israelis, does not constitute a threat to liquidate Israel’s Jewish inhabitants.”  Furthermore,

The record also shows that Iran has not been stubbornly antagonistic toward the United StatesOver the past two decades, Tehran has consistently cooperated on issues when Washington has requested its assistance, and it has frequently explored the possibilities for improved American-Iranian relationsIt is the United States that has repeatedly terminated these episodes of bilateral cooperation and rebuffed Iranian overtures, reinforcing Iranian leaders’ suspicion that Washington will never accept the Islamic Republic.”

The Islamic Republic continues to frame its foreign policy around principles that reflect its religious and revolutionary roots.  But for many years now it has defined its diplomatic and national-security strategies in largely nonideological terms, on the basis of national interests that are perfectly legitimate:  to be free from the threat of attack and from interference in its internal affairs; to have its government accepted by its neighbors and by the world’s most militarily powerful stateFor more than twenty years, the Islamic Republic has shown itself to be capable of acting rationally to defend and advance these interestsAmericans may not like Tehran’s strategic and tactical choices—its links to political factions and their associated militias in Afghanistan and Iraq, its support for Hamas and Hezbollah, its pursuit of nuclear-fuel-cycle capabilitiesBut these choices are far from irrational, particularly in the face of continuing animosity from Washington.”

As America enters a period of perhaps decisive choices in its Iran policy during President Obama’s second term, we offer Going to Tehran (as we write in the Introduction) as “a challenge to our fellow Americans and others to reconsider what they think they know about the Islamic Republic.”  We hope that it has an impact.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett 

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101 Responses to “Iran and the “Mad Mullah Myth”: Leveretts’ Forthcoming Book Excerpted in Harper’s”

  1. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Tony Blair claims he backed the US invasion of Iraq because Britain could not have blocked it.

    Blair wanted US pressure on Israel, to resolve Israel/Palestine problem. Bush agreed, but said it would happen after Saddam Hussein was removed.

    Blair shared the quasi-religious delusions of G W Bush, regarding “democracy” in Iraq etc etc etc.

  2. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    You think the better course for Britain would have been to allow Germany to defeat France, annex half of Belgium, and to annex the Russian part of Poland (and perhaps the Baltics too)?

  3. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    Iran has sufficient 20% U at hand to fuel TRR for many years. ZERO need to produce more. So, in your view, Iran must refuse China’s wishes in order to pressure the US into accepting Iranian enrichment to 5%.

    Did US officials actually believe Iran could not enrich to 20% and manufacture fuel rods/plates to refuel the TRR? Or did they pretend to believe this, to give themselves cover for their utter imbecility in blocking Iran’s IAEA application to buy replacement nuclear fuel for the TRR?

    Ask yourself whether Iran was intentionally provoked into enriching to 20 percent.

  4. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm
    I agree

  5. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm
    Without a reciprocal agreement from the west ie sanctions relief it would surely be seen by the west as an iranian capitulation and proof that the wests policies of threats and sanctio0ns were working and would only lead to further demands thats the way it works with bullies and blackmailers.The great irony of course was that it was the wests attempt to blackmail iran by denying it fuel for the trr and its underestimation of iran technical prowess that led to iran enriching to 20% in the first place.If iran did as you suggested it would only further weaken its position,against enemies like this appeasement does not work it only makes conflict more likely.Until the west abandons its demand of zero enrichment there can be no deal on anything

  6. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm
    The british could have easily stayed out of it had they chosen,they did not face the threat of an invasion,in the end it was two things that decided it,they din`t like the idea of a europe in which germny probably would have been dominant and the thought of the plunder from the captured german colonies was too tempting to ignore and indeed that was how both sides tried to tempt the neutrals to their causes by offering them a share in the plundering of the losers empires

  7. Castellio says:

    James writes: “I suggest you read up about the Office of Special Plans (in the Pentagon).”

    I agree with you that there is no understanding of how the Iraq war came to be without an understanding of the Office of Special Plans, and before that of the PNAC. The origins of that can be taken quite far back, actually… the co-ordination of interests that we group with the label “Neoconservative”. They are still very much an active force, and now behind the anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian initiatives.

    But tell me, why was Blair so eager to go along with what he then knew was illegal, as well as a betrayal of his own country’s democratic desires and best interests?

  8. Fiorangela says:

    Hillary Clinton’s State Department policy to activate NATO arming of Turkey is playing out exactly as Ellen Tauscher said it would, back in July 2011 http://www.raceforiran.com/can-rep-ron-paul-influence-america%E2%80%99s-iran-debate#comment-53998

    The narrative, as Tauscher stated it, goes like this:
    -Turkey is a NATO ally to the US
    -Iran is a threat Turkey
    -A threat to a NATO ally activates US requirement to defend against that attack
    -Thus, a threat to Turkey is a threat to the United States {nb. this morning, C-Span’s Nancy Calo managed to keep a straight face as she announced that North Korea’s missile tests were a threat to the United States.}

    -Therefore, upon Tauscher’s recommendation, US hopes to/intends to place anti-missile batteries in Europe AND IN TURKEY to protect the United States against the Iranian threat which, Tauscher conceded, Iran did not yet have the capability to pose.

    Syria’s scary (read, non-existent) chemical weapons threat is the “Pearl Harbor” event that Tauscher and her girlie club** require to activate the next step in US Shock and Awe destruction of Syria.

    Mona Yacoubian, with credentials from Harvard Univ. and the US Institute for Peace, was a guest on C Span on Sunday, where she did her level best to rev up the fear that Basher Assad would, “in desperation,” use chemical weapons on his own people. After all, his father was a brute, was he not? And years of Harvard education surely teach one “like father like son.” (Except that the senior Assad never used chemical weapons. Ooops.) Yacoubian’s inability to suppress smiles as her curriculum vitae was announced marked her as a candidate for the unprofessional girlie club, along with Ellen Tauscher. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/DevelopmentsinSy

    **in the course of her responses to audience questions at the Commonwealth Club event in 2011, Tauscher recounted a conversation in which she referred to Sec’y of State Hillary Clinton as “girlfriend,” and that Clinton responded to Tauscher’s report that an arms control treaty had achieved ratification with the exclamation, “Wrearry? [really]“

  9. BiBiJon says:

    Oh Bummer! the bomb just bombed
    =================================

    On that Julian Borger report at the Guardian
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/10/israel-suspected-iran-nuclear-programme-leaks

    Julian, I’m sure, would not have written about the now infamous Jahn AP scarey diagram if it hadn’t caused a lot of ripples in diplomatic circles. Questions are being asked. Fingers are being pointed. A lot of red faces all around.

    Of course the real point is not who leaked the diagram. Jahn had spelled it out already, in code. But rather what the leaked document represented, is the question burning out there, and Julian noticed diplomats with their hair on fire, and so wrote his article.

    I won’t rehash what I’ve written before about how Jahn’s original ‘exclusive’ and follow up mea culpa did tremendous damage to IAEA’s credibility. I just want to point to a couple of passages in Julian’s article.

    Quote:
    “This is just one small snapshot of what the IAEA is working on, and part of a much broader collection of data from multiple sources,” the diplomat said.

    “The particular document turns out to have a huge error but the IAEA was aware of it and saw it in the context of everything it has. It paints a convincing case.”
    End Quote
    ——–

    If the IAEA was aware of it, then why did the IAEA not throw it in the bin, and rely on the rest of the “much broader collection of data from multiple sources?” The error is of a factor of a 100,000. With that size error the Iranians might have been concerned their bomb might jettison planet earth out of the Milky Way. Was IAEA’s a strategy of guilt by the kilo? Was it the ‘padding’ that made all sooooo convincing? “Overall credible”, “multiple sources”, etc. say nothing about the individual documents comprising the whole. “Overall credible” suddenly loses its luster when you’re presented with such absolute garbage being part of the overall, because if the rest of the docs were of such persuasive high quality, why would anyone risk keeping this piece of crap in the folder?

    Furthermore, why was this particular document leaked? Did someone stick their hand in the folder and pulled out a document at random? Was this deemed the most persuasive, the scariest, the most comprehensible? On any of those counts, the rest of the “much broader collection of data from multiple sources” are but the company they keep. The whole thing now must be put out in the open for verification. Olli Heinonen said so, no longer is good enough. Also “protecting sources and methods” is no longer a good enough excuse. Unless proven otherwise the whole caboodle can be safely assumed to be sloppily manufactured in Israel.

    Quote:
    There is widespread belief among western governments, Russia, China and most independent experts that evidence is substantial for an Iranian nuclear weapons programme until 2003. ”
    End Quote
    ——–

    News to elBaradai, Lavrov and Putin who have repeatedly denied seeing so much as a shred of evidence.

    Quote:
    David Albright said “Whoever did this has undermined the IAEA’s credibility and made it harder for it to do its work.”
    End Quote
    ——–
    It was only a matter of time before Albright would utter something factual.

    —————

    Bottom line, Borger is reporting on the ripples, but what has engulfed IAEA’s credibility is a tsunami of effluence.

  10. James Canning says:

    Julian Borger at the Guardian reports that Israel apparently leaked the IAEA documents that figured in the apparent hoax recently (duping of the AP).

  11. James Canning says:

    “Iran offers comprehensive plan to end Syria crisis”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/12/10/277224/iran-calls-for-dialog-in-syria-bahrain/

  12. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    British military advisers were sent to Persia a number of times during the 19th Century, with a view toward helping the Persians to resist encroachment by the Russian Empire.

    Russia would have occupied Constantinople in 1877-78 if Britain had not blocked it. Russia of course wanted to annex the Straits.

    Would Russia have occupied Persia if Britain had not blocked it?

  13. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Are you claiming that Iran would die, if Iran stopped enriching uranium to 20 percent?
    Can it make sense for Iran to fail to accede to very strong wishes of China?

  14. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    And yes, George W. Bush was the “decider”. This allowed him to inflate his ego to dangerous proportions, in order to conceal even to himself his gross ignorance about the Middle East, Iraq, etc etc etc etc. And why was Bush so ignorant? Partly, simply because he was lazy, and he very foolishly had appointed a National Security Advisor (Condi Rice) who was very good at flattering him but who know little about the Middle East.

  15. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    I don’t know how I could be stronger in my denunciations of George W. Bush and Tony Blair for setting up the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Condemn them for their foolishness, stupidity, etc etc, but don’t deflect attention from the conspiracy that enabled the programme to move forward. This conspiracy was centered in the neocons, allied with certain “pro-Israel” groups.

    You seem to lack interest in how Bush was duped and manipulated by the liar neocons.
    I suggest you read up about the Office of Special Plans (in the Pentagon).

  16. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    Britain was in it (First World War) from the beginning, but for a few days. The Ottoman Empire came in several months later, by attacking Russia by surprise. The famine in Mount Lebanon clearly was a regrettable event caused or made possible by the Turkish intervention in the war.

    What do you think Britain could and should have done to avoid war?

  17. Rehmat says:

    Richard Falk slams Israel again

    Dr. Falk who describes himself “an American Jew” – had visited the Islamic Republic in January 1979 along with Ramsey Clark and Philip Luce. The three met Ayatullah Mahmoud Taleghani and Ayatullah Shariat Maderi in Tehran. On their way back home, they made a stop in Paris and met Imam Khomeini still living in exile. This Iranian visit became a ‘black mark’ on his ‘Jewishness’ when Falk was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for the Palestinian Territories on March 26, 2008 to a six year term. Since then, Dr. Falk has been called “anti-Israel”, a “self-hating Jew” and “Arab lover” by Israeli leaders and their Zionist cheer-leader in the West….

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/12/10/richard-falk-slams-israel-again/

  18. Kiterunner says:

    Only 2 more days to raise $10,000; please support

    Manufactured Crisis: A History of the Iranian Nuclear Scare
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1549675470/manufactured-crisis-a-history-of-the-iranian-nucle

  19. Empty says:

    Goli,

    RE: “….seemingly contradictory statements and appear to simultaneously deny and promote violence…”

    I am familiar with Quran. I am yet to see one part that contradicts another part (unless the reader is: a) unfamiliar with the Arabic language; b) extracts lines without the surrounding texts; c) quotes from interpretations and secondary sources). Your use of the words “seemingly” and “appear to” is quite unhelpful. Please do bring one example from Quran (simply because that’s the book I am most familiar with) that contradicts the verses I quoted. My request is decidedly a literally challenge to you.

    If you can, please do bring them. If not, your most honest statement in cases such as these would be, “my knowledge of Quran (or other holy books) are not deep enough to judge whether the seemingly contradictory statements are real or false.” Saying that you and humanist are both right (in this specific instance) is unnecessary and ambiguous, and aims to (needlessly) circumvent.

  20. Sineva says:

    fyi says:
    December 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm
    I tend to agree with most of what you`ve said,the only thing that might alter the status quo would be some kind of grand bargain and that does not seem likely

  21. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm
    The british and the ottomans were latecomers to the war but nonetheless they both still got involved even when they could have stayed out of it,as for who started it I think all the governments involved share the guilt for that,Gavrilo Princip may have struck the match but it was the european empires that built the powder keg

  22. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm
    It seems to me that by blaming it all on the neocons you seek to absolve of excuse the ultimate responsibility of the western leaders,bush and blair,who started this war,as the respective heads of their nations governments they bare the ultimate responsibility because the decision to start the war was theirs and theirs alone,you seem totally unable to understand this most simple and basic of facts james.The neocons may have influenced bush and thus do share some of the guilt but in the end the decision and responsibility are his because only he could give the order to start the war

  23. fyi says:

    Neo says:

    December 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    This is part of the Axis Powers propaganda war; the other story being that Russia and them are on the verge of an agreement.

    It seems to me that Axis Powers planners have some sort schedule/time frame in mind for defeatibg the Resistance Alliance in Syria and in Iran; 3 to 6 months.

    You see, as the sanctions remain in place and no agreement is reached with Iran, their value will diminish and Axis Powers leverage erodes.

    That is why they are also floating this idea of direct Iran-US Talks – confined to the nuclear file.

    A non-starter for Iranians.

    In Syria, everytime that the Syrian Government has succeeded in destroying the anti-government military formations, more have been sent in.

    The estimated number of fighters is now 15,000 – many of them foreigners.

    It is imperative for Axis States to defeat Syria now, as soon as possible, and get concessions out of Iran.

    I should expect all of this is understood by Iranians and their allies.

    My sense of it is that now the war in Syria is going to be a long one and the Siege War against Iran equally long as there will be no surrender and no retreat for the Resistance Alliance; they have no place to retreat to which would not hasten their defeat and demise.

  24. Neo says:

    Another case of lies and more damned western media lies.

    Robert Fisk on who really used chemical weapons on civilians in the middle east. Neither Hafez nor Bashar ever did or intended to:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/bashar-alassad-syria-and-the-truth-about-chemical-weapons-8393539.html?origin=internalSearch

  25. James Canning says:

    Humanist,

    What is your opinion of the famines in Turkestan, 1917-21? About one-sixth of the population died. Whom to blame? The Bolsheviks?

  26. fyi says:

    nahid says:

    December 9, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Everything that Dr. Mojtahedzadeh has stated in his interview regarding the historical events is true; his opinions, for example in the last 2 paragraphs is subject to debate – in my opinion.

    The English did not have the power to occupy Iran and turn her into a colony in order to prevent Russian penetration of the Iranian plateau and thus threat to their most valued possession – India.

    Thus they fished around for anyone within the Iranian state that could do something, anything, to strengthen the Iranian state in the face of the Russian Empire; Amir Kabir was one such man for the Qajar Monarchy was unable to produce capable monarchs.

    [I mean look at the late Naser Al Din Shah, the man had to be put to sleep by listening to the Amir Arsalan story!]

    In this policy, the English resembled the late Richard Nixon and his doctrine of local pillars of security – the role that Iran under the Shah was supposed to play.

    And Japan initially took the same approach in Korea late in the 19-th Century and reformed that miserable country. Later, since they could, they colonized Korea.

    Later, the English supported the Constitutional Movement since they perceived it as another step that could strengthen Iran against the incursion of the Russian Empire.

    His point about stubbornness of the late Dr. Mossadeq is correct and his “tak-ravi”, common to people from central Iran.

    His comments about oil-nationalization is also consistent with those expressed in خواب آشفته نفت. [Which implied that Iranian government must privative the oil industry - which it is actually trying to do.]

    His comments about the late Sattar Khan, the late Baqer Khan, the late Mirza Taqi Khan are also accurate.

    Like the rest of us, these men were mixtures of private and public ambitions and aspirations, that does not denigrate from their achievements. The late Ahmad Kasravi depiction of Tabriz under siege gives a good picture of what these men did.

    One has to understand, nevertheless, all countries have a need of their heroes.

    In the United States, for example, those heroes are their so-called “Founding Fathers”, followed by the late Abraham Lincoln. These characters, in the United States, are every thirty years or so, are attacked or criticized – usually quite reliably and accurately – but to no avail. The myths persist.

    Look at India – the man most responsible for the Partition of India and the resulting millions of dead – the late Mr. Gandhi is revered both inside and outside of India.

    So it is in Iran with Amir Kabir, Cyrus the Great etc.

    But the most important men of Iranian history, men without whom the current Iranian state would not have existed are not part of these myths: Zoroaster, Ardeshir Pabakan, Sheikh Safi-al Din Ardebili, Aqa Mohammad Khan Qajar.

    Dr. Mojtabazadeh’s comments on the art and science of historical research is also accurate. I saw history graduate students spending 3 days without much sleep writing answers to the questions posed to them for their preliminary examinations here in US.

    But bear in mind that Dr. Mojtabazadeh’s opinions on these historical events are interpretations, even though they are based on years of delving into archival materials. In the normal course of events, scholars with equal qualifications might study the same original materials and come to different conclusions. One may then hope that a more accurate description of historical reality could be obtained in that matter.

    In France, historians still write books on Napoleon’s reign and come to often contradictory conclusions.

    This because the nature of historical sciences is always one of partial understandings based on personal interpretations of the events and extant documents – there is no God’ View of the flow of events available to humans.

    I think such debates are useful, it might actually get some people in Iran to think beyond their most cherished myths – people everywhere are not mis-informed, they are myth-informed.

  27. Goli says:

    Neo says: December 9, 2012 at 8:54 am

    On a lighter note, I know your reference to “minaret noise” was figurative. But I do have to say that I actually enjoy the sound of Azan. It is a part of my heritage and I think it’s beautiful. I see no reason to deny my Islamic heritage or to alienate my Muslim brothers and sisters. I wish they felt the same way and had a little more respect for diversity of opinions.

  28. James Canning says:

    Goli,

    What is your viewpoint on the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya? Black Africans killed about 100,000 other black Africans. Was this Britains’s fault?

  29. James Canning says:

    Goli & Sineva,

    It is worth bearing in mind that Britain did not start the First World War, and that tens of millions of people died as a result of that war. Perhaps you should blame the Ottomans, or Enver Pasha.

  30. James Canning says:

    Goli,

    Do I take it you agree that the great starvation in Mount Lebanon during the First World War, when a third of the population died, was the fault of the Ottomans for intervening in that war?

    Do I also take it you agree that Britain had no desire to starve large numbers of Persians during that war and immediately after?

  31. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    I try to “justify” the “crimes”? When I say that liar neocons conspired to set uo the illegal invasion of Iraq, you see this as my attempt to “justify” their criminal conspiracy?

    Or perhaps you think I support the counter-productive sanctions against Iran?

  32. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Goli,
    I fully understood your point, but apparently you didn’t understand mine. Whatever we might know about frontal love development or not today, 15 year olds have been acting like “responsible adults” for millennia when treated as such by their elders and community. Do you get it?

    Of course you didn’t answer the question I posed to you. What should be the cut-off age for full personal criminal responsibility? 18, 25, 30? Whatever age the neuroscientists tell us about frontal lobes? What if they change their opinion in 5 years? What’s the standard and who decides?

  33. fyi says:

    All:

    Certain ancient peoples, including the people of the Iranian plateau, believed in a periodisfication of human life span as multiples of 7.

    So, for example, the fourteen-year old girl was supposed to be at the height of female desirability (it is still a proverb in Persian) and the age 49 (7 x 7) was considered the age at which it was appropriate to begin delving into esoteric mysteries.

    [All of this was based on some sort of Babylonian Esotericism and magic - think - just like the seven-day week.]

    The “age 15″ was likely derived from the “age 14″ by appending it to the period of gestation prior to birth – a practice common in India and in East Asia.

    Most people’s grand-mothers’ were around 15 years of age all over the world.

    People had to reproduce quickly lest they die before that.

    Of course, God does not seem to have seen fit for the human female to deliver her baby without risking her own life; so many died at child-bed or died shortky afterwards.

    It was thanks to the advances made by European physicians over 5 generations that God’s burden on human females have been lessened world-wide.

  34. Goli says:

    Karl, fyi,

    Israel’s “frantic objection” to the Palestinian bid for status upgrade means nothing. Israel throws a tantrum every time anybody mentions its name.

    Mahmud Abbas and the PA were becoming obsolete in the eyes of the Palestinian people. (Except for their function to receive Israeli bribes and to administer the West Bank on Israel’s behalf.) Hamas was left with no choice but to jump on the bandwagon. I doubt the PA has what it takes to take Israel to the ICC.

    Israel would have proceeded with the settlements in Jerusalem with or without a UNGA resolution. Now they have an excuse for them. I haven’t been following the updates on this, but I don’t think the withholding of tax receipts will last too long either because the PA needs funds to carry out Israel’s bid in the territories under its “rule.”

  35. Goli says:

    BIB,

    Do you truly believe that I don’t know about the “history” of marrying off 15-year-old girls or for that matter 9-year-old ones? Marrying off 14-year-olds was practiced all over the world, including in Europe. Even in my lifetime, I have come across people in the US whose parents or grandparents married at the age of 14. So certainly this practice was not confined to the Muslim domain either.

    My question was rhetorical trying to get you think about whether attaching the same level of criminal responsibility to a 15-year-old as that of an adult is acceptable in light of what we know today about the frontal lobes development in teenage brains and various other studies. Now, if that was not obvious to you I don’t know what to say.

  36. Neo says:

    Goli says:December 9, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Goli, it’s not the first time. I’ve stepped over the red line here. But ‘re. the Shah, I agree with you. Had he been less of an incompetent lackey of the West and Israel, we wouldn’t perhaps be even talking about Hussein in political terms and the minarets’ noise would be less intrusive and irritating to the unbelievers… He cost us atheists and agnostics dearly. In truth he caused all of this. It’s what I dislike about him hugely.

    Real point: dictatorship was the cause of the revolution. Hussein et al were mere ideological tools. Any ideology would have done. The Marxist fedaiyan were just as if not even more instrumental in getting it all started anyhow. Pity they too were too Hussein like. It’s in their name I guess… takes us back to the harsh comments I made earlier about our culture.

  37. Neo says:

    BiBiJon says: December 9, 2012 at 6:17

    “…your “logic” of surrender”.

    Insults aside bibijon (how’s life in US of Ace, btw?), how on earth did u jump to such a ‘surrender’ conclusion? I didn’t think supporting the idea of a winning strategy was akin to surrender?

  38. BiBiJon says:

    Neo says:
    December 8, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    kesafat was inappropriate; it was way too kind. Try and find a way of making your inane miniscule points less insultingly to millions of strangers next time you get the urge to regale us with your “logic” of surrender.

  39. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Goli,
    It’s a very recent development even in the west that we consider a 15 year old as a child. Please read some history.

    If you want we can extend childhood to 30-35 years, OK? Anything you do before that doesn’t count, OK? Murder, rape, manslaughter, whatever doesn’t count cause you were a “child”? OK?

    Don’t forget that we recently experienced miracles of courage and humanity by “little” 13, 14 and 15 year old “boys” that would put most 60 year old “adult” to shame. Who is the “adult” and who the “underdeveloped child” here?

    Not to mention Goli-jan that the majority of Iranians today have grandmothers that had numerous children and were “responsible adults” deftly managing multi-generational families at age 15, 16, and 17. Who is the “underdeveloped child” in this picture?

    The fact that we don’t hold 15 years responsible for their actions is the actual problem. We assume that we can’t give a 15 year old responsibilities and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    If you treat a 15 year like an adult- with all the expectations one has of an adult but also the all the respect you would show an adult- then most 15 year olds will also act like adults- again, which they are in the first place.

    Where do I get the age of 15? From millennia of human history- for God’s sake!

  40. M. Ali says:

    “By the way, why there are so few women commenters here? Perhaps because at times testosterone runs so high on part of some of you that women find it a bit intimidating?”

    Well, I don’t want to open a new can on worms (heated political and religious disagreements, now add gender ones to the mix), but I think men are just more interested in geopolitics. I think generally the female gender sees the small details and looks for ways to fix that, we men ignore that, and see the big, large picture and aim for that.

    Just look at the posts in this site. All us men want to solve USA, the Middle East Situation, Iran, and all religious conflicts for the last thousands of years, and if you include FYI, we always want to tackle the state of Man.

    It sounds a bit presumptous of us now that I think about it.

  41. Sineva says:

    Goli says:
    December 8, 2012 at 9:29 pm
    Well said,tho` james does not try to deny he just tries to justify or excuse these crimes
    personally I think that the attitude of the empires towards the suffering of the subjugated can be best summed up by a certain Ms Albright when asked about the death and suffering that sanctions had caused in iraq,you remember that quote don`t you james?,you know the one were she said “we think the price is worth it”

  42. Goli says:

    Neo,

    What ritual would you prefer to Ashura? I can think of hundreds of rituals in the West that are far more “pointless” as Ashura. Are you on a mission to rid the world of these “rituals” as well?

    I for one have a great deal of respect for Imam Hussein for his pivotal role in the Iranian revolution which rid the Iranian nation of that merciless and murderous megalomaniac and his cronies. Further, Imam Hussein continues to symbolize the historic struggle between the forces of good and evil and the eventual triumph of justice over tyranny and oppression. The world needs all of this kind of energy it can get.

    I do wish, however, that Nahid could shed some of her religious zeal to allow you to speak your mind without being called names, and that you refrain from insulting people’s religious beliefs because it is counterproductive.

  43. Goli says:

    My previous post should read “condemn and promote” not “deny and promote.”

  44. Goli says:

    Empty,

    The “holy books” are full of seemingly contradictory statements and appear to simultaneously deny and promote violence, and not always in a way that can easily be rationalized. So, you and Humanists are both right, or wrong, in your interpretation.

    Humanist,

    But I take issue with you because you seem to want to reduce all pronouncements on this by the “holy books” to your interpretation which seems to contradict your own warning against “absolute truth.”

  45. Goli says:

    M.Ali December 8, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Amazing, the popping out of the chemical weapons concerns, isn’t it? All part of the pre-intervention propaganda build-up. But why are so many people buying it?

  46. Goli says:

    James,

    You are wrong and Humanist is right.

    Colonial powers did not always set out to starve their subjects. If they had, it could have at times seriously backfired to their disadvantage. But starvation, along with other forms of misery and oppression, was often a consequence of their actions. And yes, at times, they did intentionally starve their subjects for tactical reasons, as a means of collective punishment or to achieve some other nefarious objective. Colonial history is full of examples of this and there is simply no denying it.

  47. Goli says:

    For God’s sake BIB, where does the age of 15 come from? The Quran, Hadith and prophetic traditions, or the most advanced studies in human brain development?

    And Neo, how could you defend blood money when you yourself recognize its inherently unjust ramifications, among which is letting the rich murderer evade justice but not the poor one?

    fyi, December 6, 2012 at 11:01 pm, very nicely stated.

    ToivoS, They won their revolution by alienating the world’s ‘hegemons,” not by alienating the “rest of the world.” We need to use phrases like the “rest of the world” and the “international community” more judiciously.

    Fiorangela December 7, 2012 at 7:19 am, point well taken.

    Regarding the “mad mullah/irrational” characterization, since its very inception and throughout its history, America has demonized and dehumanized those it designates as its enemies in similar ways. It serves its purpose and is part of its psych ops.

    By the way, why there are so few women commenters here? Perhaps because at times testosterone runs so high on part of some of you that women find it a bit intimidating?

  48. Neo says:

    nahid says: December 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Nahid khanum,

    I see you are badly offended. My apologies to you and all others of the same conviction.

    Yet you must also allow those of us with a distaste for all the Hussein myths to express our disapproval of the romantic nonsense surrounding this clear loser . In the end Hussein was a power hungry rebel who badly miscalculated his chances, had no support and was not then wise enough to withdraw before he unnecessarily sacrificed all his good men. Who in their right mind would battle thousands with 70 or so? This is not a useful strategy however you look at it. And suicide is not even condoned by any respectable ideology.

    More so, what’s the big fuss 1500 years later? History is littered with poor military leaders. What makes this one so special? I just can’t see it. Can you help me understand?

    I’m afraid the whole game is ludicrous to me. You see, god himself is a complete myth. So who exactly is Hussein other than a power hungry and inept leader of 15 centuries ago? And isn’t it sad that a grown up stranger calls me ‘kessafat’ for my desire to rid our culture and our daily lives of such pointless, depressing and unproductive rituals?

  49. nahid says:

    Neo says:

    December 8, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Shame on you, for “ashura garbage.” You just insulted shieeh all over the word. It take one to say such stupid thing, really shame on you, kesafat.

  50. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Speaking o9 famines, the famine in Mount Lebanon during the First World War killed about a third of the population. Who should be blamed for it? The Ottomans, for intervening in the war on behalf of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires?

  51. James Canning says:

    humanist,

    The British government owned a large stake in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and that oil was vital for supply of the Royal Navy during the First World War. The owners of the oil company, and the British government, had an obvious incentive to skew the contract in favor of themselves. But Britain had no wish to see huge numbers of Persians starve to death.

    Some colonial administrators were rapacious. Many were dedicated civil servants who did a great deal of good service for the country in which they worked.

  52. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Wasn’t the “potato famine” in Poland (Russian Empire) in the 1840s worse than the potato famine in Ireland? Britain’s fault, in your view?

  53. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I agree with you that Israel’s frantic objections to Palestine’s status upgrade at the UN, in itself indicates Palestine has a future.

  54. James Canning says:

    M. Ali,

    I too could not but notice all the noise in the media of late, regarding Syrian chemical weapons. The Syrian government has made clear those weapons would not be deployed in Syria against Syrians, by the Syrian government. Obviously keeping those weapons out of the hands of terrorist groups is a good idea.

  55. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    A key factor in undermining the Shah was the presence of tens of thousands of Americans in Iran, connected with various arms (and civilian) sales to that country. Their lifetyle(s) inflamed the Muslim clerics.

  56. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Yes, I wholly agree with you that the US helped to bring down the Shah, by selling so many unnecessary weapons etc to Iran. A number of Americans tried to warn the Shah he was blundering badly, but the Shah did not like to listen to advice.

    The Shah clearly did his best to get the highest possible price for oil. Even if this annoyed some American politicians.

  57. fyi says:

    Empty says:

    December 8, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Also in Talmud; Sanhedrin 37a states:

    “…THAT WHOSOEVER DESTROYS A SINGLE SOUL… SCRIPTURE IMPUTES [GUILT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD DESTROYED A COMPLETE WORLD; AND WHOSOEVER PRESERVES A SINGLE SOUL…, SCRIPTURE ASCRIBES [MERIT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD PRESERVED A COMPLETE WORLD.”

  58. Neo says:

    Castellio says: December 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Castellio,

    Seems I’ve given the wrong impression. I certainly don’t think they would agree with me. They consider themselves highly moral. But then again, who doesn’t!

  59. Photi says:

    I meant to say this earlier in the thread: Congratulations to the Leveretts on the completion of their new book. I look forward to reading it.

  60. Neo says:

    Bussed-in Basiji says: December 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    BiB,

    One of the few things that I admire about Islamic law is that it actually allows for forgiveness and gives this right to the victims of crimes. The concept of bloodmoney is laudable. I know it ends up being the poor that does most of the forgiving, but it’s important for the right to be there as justice is not and should not be about retribution. In fact we should decide for ourselves what constitutes justice. It’s not the state’s function, at least not exclusively.

    Btw, I regularly visit Iran and was almost there this week but decided I couldn’t put up with the ashura garbage.

  61. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    humanist,
    The fact the Norwegian terrorist is still alive and received a jail term that potentially allows him to walk free one day is the very definition of barbarism. It’s worse than barbarism and the opposite of humanism. Chew on that for a while.

    You see I don’t agree with you that human beings are essentially different today then 50-100K years ago when homo sapiens sapiens appeared in its current form. Whether it was back then or whether it’s today- some tribal member in Papua New Guinea or some sophisticate in Prague or whatever- no difference, humans are essentially the same always. When you murder- or worse mass murder- you lose your right to live among other human beings. That’s it.

    When you are above 15 years old and you kill another human being without just cause and after you have been found guilty through a legal process which includes a right to appeal- off to the gallows, pronto.

    Worse than that are cases when you are a traitor and you join an invading foreign army. In that case “military” justice is sufficient due process.

    Remember that many of the people that were executed in the time you are referring to were not simply- “people with whom you have a political difference of opinion”- they were traitors who had joined an invading foreign army. Do you understand the difference? Honestly, do you?

    Of course the propaganda they are going to tell you is that it was because of “political differences”, of course they are not going to say that they were executed because they were a fifth column of Saddam in Iran.

    And yes it’s true that some of them might have been innocent, but that doesn’t negate or nullify the correctness of the general path. Individual cases can be redressed legally as in any legal system, but remember my dear humanist that if they begin a legal process their entire rotten existence will be open for everyone to see. Better to fool well-intentioned people with things like “political differences” instead revealing of the truth. You might want to talk to some people who were able to leave this personality cult to get a glimpse of the truth of the matter.

  62. M. Ali says:

    Whats with the media’s recent reports on Syria’s chemical weapons. Every news article is about their chemical weapons, how they shouldn’t use it, what happens if they use it, how they will use it, etc. No official in Syria has even talked using chemical weapons but suddenly its all the news.

  63. Karl... says:

    fyi,

    continued from other article.

    Iran should make use of the international court because symbolically it will be a great success when the court rule to Iran’s favor which they surely will. Just look how scared Israel and US were on palestinian UN-bid, meaning palestinians are free to use international court themselves on Israel. Basically its not a lost cause.

  64. fyi says:

    All:

    This is a detailed report on the British Government’s economic war against Iran under Mr. Cameron’s government.

    http://www.haaretz.com/britain-s-quiet-war-on-iran-1.448456

    I believe that we can safely state that UK, just like US, is an enemy of Iran.

    [Herr Hitler also desired good relations with Great Britain; most certainly even during the Blitz - when he thought he was gaining leverage.]

  65. Empty says:

    Fiorangela,

    Re: [Note the phenomenon of projection in this conclusion: Given its miniscule defense budget, it is difficult to argue that Iran's leaders hold on to power by means of hyper-militarization; it is equally hard to argue that Israel does not rely on hyper-militarization, including the requirement that ALL Israeli Jews serve in Israel's military -- to sustain its power advantage.]

    Very well said. Also, in 2009 for example, the US military expenditure (that which they are open about it at least) of 1.4 trillion dollar exceeded the combined total of that of China, Russia, Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, India, Brazil, Italy, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, and the Netherlands.

  66. Empty says:

    Humanist,

    RE: With today’s norms bloody beheading or hanging of your opponents (as advocated by old holy books)….

    “As advocated by old holy books”? Which holy books? Would you mind bringing in direct and correct evidence with complete citations?

    Meanwhile, please note the direct quote below from Quran (an old holy book) on the subject:

    «من قتل نفساً بغیر نفس او فساد فی الارض فکانما قتل الناس جمیعا و من احیاها بکانما احیا الناس جمیعا….. “Quran, Chapter 5, verse 32

    Translation/interpretation*…All translations are interpretation by design*:

    “…the killing of one person, who did not commit murder or vast corruption, is the same as killing all people; and sparing of one life is the same as sparing the lives of all the people….”

  67. fyi says:

    humanist says:

    December 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Famine in Ireland, Famine in Bengal (twice) and Famine in Iran; I see a pattern in here, do you not?

    In a way, they are like the Japanese before their defeat by US; an insular and undefeated people who have little concern for others.

  68. humanist says:

    James,

    I noticed on your Dec 3, 1:57pm message you had asked me “Do you actually think Britain welcomed the starvation of many Persians during the First World War?”

    You are asking an important question that deserves some elaboration.

    First of all I try hard to be as rational as a mortal can be, thus I try hard to base my opinions on facts and factual analyses alone.

    If you also want to be impartial read this first:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_major_famines_in_India_during_British_rule

    There you’ll read that, in a period of about 175 years nearly 60 million [East] Indians suffered the excruciating pain of starvation. You might question “was there really any starvation in India in that perid?” If your answer to that question is “No” or “Yes but if they were Britain had nothing to do with them” then there is no need to discuss this further.

    However if you become curious and want to continue your research further you might come across studies that show, at very least 4 million of those deaths were deliberate and were due to reasons such as collectively punishing the population or intentional mismanagement or something similar to what Churchill did in Iraq, annihilating the Iraqi resistance by deliberately using chemical weapons.

    James, I am sure you know not all British rulers were men of honor and integrity. In my view many of them, by today’s ethical standards were ruthless, racist, remorseless nationalist and at times appallingly psychopathic criminals.

    The Great Famine and Genocide in Persia 1917-1919 is a book written by a respectable Iranian-American scholar and is mainly based on declassified American archives. From what I know about the history of intervention of British Imperialists in Iran and awful plunder of Iranian wealth Majd’s findings sound quite reliable.

    I have also read (in Farsi) Abdollah Shahbazi’s interview with M.G. Majd about the book. Additional info Majd provided there are more appalling and match to the [ugly]ruling style of British Imperialists especially in Persia.

    Thus my answer to any question regarding the guilt or deliberate criminality of British colonialists during that famine (similar to what you are asking me) can not be anything but affirmative.

    I have to rush to say that such a judgement by no means implies that I hate English for what they have done around the world. Quite a few Eastern thinkers believed hatred is a primitive destructive instinct that can poison the soul and has no place in the minds of those who desire to live in a peaceful world.

    I too deeply adhere to that profound and very ‘beautiful’ idea, an idea that, as old thinkers say, can brighten our minds and can feel our hearts with joy.

  69. humanist says:

    Bussed in Bassiji

    Re Your Dec 4, 5:47am comment

    1- In my view, in any civilized society (such as the one at the time of Velcek in Chechoslavakia) you don’t cut the throat of anyone who opposes your beliefs. With today’s norms bloody beheading or hanging of your opponents (as advocated by old holy books) is an appalling, primitive and barbaric course of action that surely, in future times will instigate activities that are detrimental to both sides of the conflict.

    Most of the executed political prisoners were young men and women. In political struggles, even if you are sure ‘they’ are wrong and have committed abhorrent acts of treason or murder you don’t just hang them … you gradually alter their brain circuits by benevolent humanely, fatherly, brotherly or sisterly advice converting them to what you think is a civilized way. That is what Norwegians are going to do with their grossest terrorist who, last year, murdered so many of his political opponents.

    Do you know how many of those who were hanged were charged with the crime of being ‘mortad’and there was no record of any type of violence in their files? I have heard of a young ‘godless’ man who came back from the front (where he fought courageously with Saddam’s forces)…he was arrested and imprisoned….and since, at the time of prison massacres he refused to denounce his convictions he was hanged.

    Think about it, try to envision what happened then and find out how can anyone justify hanging such a great person of honor and Integrity.

    Fortunately that dark period of Khomeini’s absolute incontestable power came to a timely end after he died.

    I am sure you will change as the time goes by as you will find out before the age of 20, 21, our mind can easily be indoctrinated to accept ideas that are utterly absurd such as the idea of someone residing in the 7th sky who is watching everyone and he is making notes of everything he/she does so that when he/shee dies will be sent to either hell or heaven….or the idea ‘my nation’ is superior…or ‘I am always right and you are always wrong’…or the ideas about benefits of war or ‘you have to kill your enemies before they kill you’…etc etc.

    2- You didn’t read my post carefully. The persons I saluted were all IRI men. By Marandi I was talking about Dr. Mohammed Marandi who so articulately argues against the propaganda by the psychopathic warmongers.

    3- As I implied at the beginning of my comment this is not the time to discuss issues that cause disunity among the Iranians….now we are all in the same boat facing a very determined blood-thirsty enemy…we have to wait until the danger of war has dissipated….we have to wait until the time is ripe. So I avoid dated discussions about those who, in late 70s, had infiltrated the Revolutionary Council. We have a much bigger task in front of us.

    4- If you think I consider myself above anyone or I am trying to lecture anyone read my comments carefully. I consider myself as a student who is eager to learn from anyone who, in her/his arguments, presents compelling facts….and when expressing my thoughts I alarm readers that those are only “my views”. Also in the comments I often use the phrase of ‘in my amateurish view’ especially when I do not have any distinctive fact to support my assertion.

    This is because I am convinced , after couple of centuries, some of the assertions scientists of today are proving to be ‘right’ have the chance of being proven to be ‘wrong’.

    Absolute Turth is a very uncertain proposition.

  70. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You appear to argue that Britain, and William Hague, should not have responded to Iran’s June 2011 announcement it would treble production of 20% U?

  71. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I take it you agree that Iran’s trebling of enrichment to 20 percent can reasonably be taken as an indication some of Iran’s leaders want to be able to build nukes quickly.

    You appear to argue that there was no need for Saddam Hussein to advertise the fact Iraq destroyed its WMD after the Gulf War, when the gross ignorance of the American people is what enabled the conspiracy (to set up a war based on knowingly false pretenses)to proceed. Tony Blair was a willing accomplice, clearly. He and G W Bush had quasi-religious delusions driving them forward.

  72. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 7, 2012 at 1:38
    Or what?,The west will slap on more sanctions?.The only deal the west is interested in is iranian capitulation.I imagine your suggestion would be appeasement of one sort or another

  73. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning says:
    December 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    see my comment on Dec 7 at 7:19 am. US arms merchants and Pentagon were some of the Shah’s most eager and ablest enablers. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The US defense industry, therefore a large sector of the US economy, prospered by selling the Shah weapons he did not need.

    For Israel’s part — in The Secret War with Iran, The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle Against the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Power (!), author Ronen Bergman devotes most of Chapter 3, “Operation Seashell: How Israel Secretly Armed Iran,” to the ways Israel swindled Iran while it enmeshed itself in Iran’s governmental affairs in order to maintain access to Iranian secrets — and treasure. The practices were rife throughout the reign of the Shah, but also continued after the Revolution and throughout Iraq’s war on Iran. Bergman writes:

    QUOTE: “There were four main reasons why Operation Seashell went forward. First, Israel could not come to terms with the military, intelligence, and diplomatic losses that it had sustained with the disruption of relations with Iran after the revolution. Arms exports would at least give it a foothold in Tehran. In Israel’s defense establishment, the lesson had been learned from many cases over the years that swiftly supplying weaponry and military know-how to a totalitarian state will bring the supplier as close as possible to the rulers, because the weapons are their means of holding on to power.”

    [Note the phenomenon of projection in this conclusion: Given its miniscule defense budget, it is difficult to argue that Iran's leaders hold on to power by means of hyper-militarization; it is equally hard to argue that Israel does not rely on hyper-militarization, including the requirement that ALL Israeli Jews serve in Israel's military -- to sustain its power advantage.]

    “Second, it was hoped that the infusion of weaponry would intensify the Iran-Iraq War and lead to the mutual destruction or, at least weakening, of two enemies.”

    [Israel presented itself as a friend of Iran, and even counted Iran as essential to Israel's peripheral doctrine -- i.e., its security guarantor. If, all along, Israel actually thought of Iran as its enemy, while Israel was deeply inside and involved in Iranian decision-making, what lessons should American policy makers, who pledge to guarantee Israel's security, take from this revelation of Bergman's?]

    “. . .Finally, more than anything else, the weapons industry wanted to make money. As one Israeli Defense Ministry official, a key figure in Operation Seashell, recalls, “I do not remember even one discussion about the ethics of the matter. All that interested us was to sell, sell, sell more and more Israeli weapons, and let them kill each other with them.” “ END QUOTE

    nb. Ronen Bergman is the same Israeli journalist who stated in an MSNBC interview that “Israel has used assassination since its inception, and perhaps more than any other nation, has used assassination to shape the course of history.” http://video.msnbc.msn.com/rock-center/46318982

    In short, James, your repeated, inane assertions that Saddam mishandled the PR, therefore brought about the US destruction of Iraq (a meme you repeat in the case of Qaddafi) have the repugnant quality of blaming the victim/target, and fail to pass a robust confrontation with the facts of the situation.

  74. Castellio says:

    Dan Cooper at 11.18 am.

    I concur.

  75. Castellio says:

    Neo writes: “A man without any morality is as good as dead inside. The US’ political leadership is largely made up of such soulless, immoral men and women of all creeds and colour, in collective bondage to the ‘personhood’ of corporations. Hence their love for domination, war and loot. A barbaric culture in need of growth and maturity.”

    None of the people you describe actually think that about themselves. We may think that about them, but don’t make the mistake of concluding they agree.

  76. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    When you refer to America’s “piracy of Iran’s oil wealth”, are you referring to the excessive weapons purchases made by the late Shah of Iran? He did all he could to keep oil prices as high as possible.

  77. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Iran needs to make a deal, before too much longer. Partial deal obviously is better than no deal.

  78. James Canning says:

    Bravo. Liar neocons and other “pro-Israel” groups in the US have done their best to deceive the American public about Iran and its government. Year in and year out.

  79. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says: prev thread
    December 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    “Saddam Hussein needed to do good PR in the US. Grossly ignorant American public needs to be fed continuously with “sound bites” and tiny factoids. Saddam failed to do this.”

    I get it now. PNAC, and General Wesley Clark saying Wars Were Planned – Seven Countries In Five Years, was really all a marketing ploy by a consortium of public relations firms to drum up some new business. Thanks James, you’ve solved the puzzle.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

    “I underline the fact there was a neocon conspiracy in Washington to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq on false pretenses. Saddam, sadly, helped the conspirators.”

    In case you forgot, it was Tony Blair, not Saddam, who gave a speech to the joint houses of congress to help the “conspirators.”

    “Why didn’t Saddam shout from the rooftops the fact he ordered the destruction of Iraq’s WMD after the Gulf War?”

    We have already established that Iraq produced a voluminous report detailing the destruction of WMD after the first gulf war. We have also established that according to UNSCOM’s Blix, Iraq was beyond active in her cooperation, it was being proactive, as in volunteering information that hadn’t been asked for.

    Saddam didn’t shout from roof tops for the same reason that Iran will not ask for William Hague to shout from the roof tops: Britain would be a 3rd rate country in global affairs if she didn’t deliberately cause havoc in the mid east for the US, and generate so much anti-Americanism as to paralyze the US and then present herself as experienced enough to put the pieces together for the US and stay relevant while having a stooge blame neoconservatives and Israeli Lobby, etc. You see, there are things that Saddam and Hague won’t do no matter what. It’s pointless dwelling on why Saddam or Hague won’t prostrate themselves for the sake of mercy. Even despicables have some sense of pride.

    “William Hague saw Iran’s trebling of production of 20 percent uranium as an indication that some Iranian leaders wanted to make it easier for Iran to build nuke quickly. Do you think Hague was correct in his assessment?”

    Let Hague explain that to the British people lining up at soup kitchens.

  80. Nasser says:

    fyi says: December 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    “There is a Shia Vatical-in-the-making consisting of the 2 cities of Najaf and Qum.

    And with that goes a combined and enlarged spiritual authority.”

    - Can you expand on this please?

  81. Photi says:

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/IransH

    that’s the CSPAN video of the panel i am speaking to in the previous post.

  82. Photi says:

    Foundation for the Defense of Democracy:

    Anyone can tell listening to your presentation on Thursday (see C-SPAN) that the FDD organization supports a violent overthrow of the sovereign Iranian government. The FDD is purposely using heart-wrenching stories to emotionally blackmail the American public into supporting another multi-trillion dollar war, which will undoubtedly lead to the early deaths of multiple millions of people.

    The FDD is also trying to mislead the American public into believing there is some sort of organized opposition in Iran that will be greeting American soldiers with open arms when they arrive. This is absurdly untrue. If the opposition had any sort of large popular support, why are they begging for the Americans to deliver them their revolution?

    Revolutions, when they are genuine, do not need outside interference to ignite. Revolutions happen when a critical mass in society decides to revolt. Anything else is a manufactured coup. There is no large , thus your panel, begging for American support.

    To Marina, your story sounds heart breaking and i don’t know how to begin empathizing with the trauma you must have felt. No one deserves to be treated like that, and then at such a young age. How anyone not sympathize with you? But you said it yourself in your talk, the victim is the torturer and the torturer is the victim. The cycle goes and goes until something happens to stop it. What you advocate, the violent overthrow of your own peoples’ government, will certainly lead to the deaths of multiple millions of Iranians, of this you can be certain.

    Americans do not know how to fight a small war. If you get the US military directly involved, unspeakable things happen. Do you need any reminders or is the Iraq war adequate to demonstrate this truth?

    What you advocate will lead the creation of so many more cycles of violence, the same violence you are trying to escape from. Stopping the cycle is the only healthy way forward.

    Security, and then reform. There can be no other way if peace and justice is what you desire.

  83. fyi says:

    kooshy says:

    December 6, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    The interesting thing have been the speech by Mr. Khamenei in Northern Khorasan where he depicted the United States as enemy of Iran and Iranian people by pointing to the overthrow of the nationalist and liberal government of the late Dr. Mossadeq.

    Like Stalin’s revival of Kutuzov during the Great Patriotic War, I shall not be surprised by (at least a partial) rehabilitation of the late Dr. Mossadeq by Iranian leaders as the Siege War against Iran continues.

  84. Fiorangela says:

    “”The Mad Mullah Myth” – ““In the more than thirty years since the Iranian Revolution, Western analysts have routinely depicted the Islamic Republic as an ideologically driven, illegitimate, and deeply unstable state. From their perspective, Iran displayed its fanatical character early on, first in the hostage crisis of 1979-81″ ”

    = = =

    What is the origin of the Mad Mullah myth?

    For at least several decades prior to the Revolution, thousands of Americans worked in Iran for American corporations that had substantial interests there, and many more thousands of Americans lived and worked in the United States but cashed paychecks drawn on the treasure of Iran. American corporations prospered on the basis of contracts from the Iranian government. All of the branches of the US military worked on contracts with Iran.

    Who started the myth — or propaganda — that Iran is irrational? Has the Creel Commission ever been really disbanded?

  85. Pirouz says:

    Very much looking forward to reading the book.

  86. fyi says:

    All:

    From Carnegie Institution

    http://carnegieendowment.org/globalten/?fa=50140

    Needless to say, I think that the time for the policy recommendations of this article is past.

    Axis Powers and Rsistance Axis are in the midst of a war across multiple fronts; the Iran Nuclear File is only one front.

    You cannot have a cease-fire in one front when waging war across others.

    The Leveretts are correct that Grand Bargain with Iran is the only durable path; but that is not on the table.

    May be in 2018.

  87. kooshy says:

    ToivoS says:
    December 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    If you have read enough you would know that the Iranian people have the exact same feeling toward the American government they believe the American government it’s illegitimate, why? Because of all atrocities she has inflicted on weaker people of the world, especially when she refuses to respect international law that she believes should be excluded due to her special exceptionalism. I wonder if you ever care to explore this.

  88. Neo says:

    A superb idea for a book, and a great introductory summary here. Thank you ro the authors.

    ‘Rationality’ is not exactly a fully intelligent concept in itself. And those who claim to represent or even exclusively ‘own’ it are in dangerously fascistic territory bordering on madness.

    A man without any morality is as good as dead inside. The US’ political leadership is largely made up of such soulless, immoral men and women of all creeds and colour, in collective bondage to the ‘personhood’ of corporations. Hence their love for domination, war and loot. A barbaric culture in need of growth and maturity.

  89. fyi says:

    From Previous Thread:

    BiBiJon says:

    December 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you for posting this.

    Ambassador Pickering has been an advocate of improving the relationship between the United Stated and Iran.

    As he stated in his speech in Israel (please see http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/besa/docs/PS261112.pdf) there is no possible resolution unless US takes the first alternative.

    For that, we need a regime change in US – it will not happen.

    I believe that regardless of sanctions – imposed or yet to be imposed – Iranian government will pursue her policies; in the nuclear field and elsewhere.

    Specifically about Syria – I think Iran will do all it can to help the Syrian Government destroy the anti-government forces.

    That is because in Syria, in Afghanistan, in Lebanon, in Bahrain, and in Iraq there is nothing to be gained by Iran in any form of cooperation with the Axis Powers.

    Iran, in my opinion, must do her utmost to consolidate her gains and destroy her enemies.

    Many years of struggle lies ahead.

  90. Dan Cooper says:

    ToivoS

    “They won their revolution by alienating the rest of the world ”

    Not true.

    On the contrary, it is the Zionist dominated west that has been alienating Iran because Iran wants to remain independent and does not recognize the apartheid state of Israel.

    Even if a new government in Iran develops one of the best secular democracies in the world but refuses to recognize the criminal Zionist regime in Israel and also refuses to give up its independence, the USA and Israel would cripple it exactly the same way as it has been trying to cripple the Islamic Republic.

  91. fyi says:

    Dan Cooper says:

    December 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    This is not about the BOMB.

    US, through her revolutionary act of invading Iraq and destroying the B’ath state, empowered Iran and the Shia.

    There is a Shia Vatical-in-the-making consisting of the 2 cities of Najaf and Qum.

    And with that goes a combined and enlarged spiritual authority.

    US planners know that they do not have enough soldiers to destory the Islamic Republic and occupy her.

    They cannot use nuclear weapons to kill 4 to 5 million Iranians to bring about state collapse either – it will take too long for them to kill thant many human beings otherwise.

    Thus they have settled on a policy of trying to destroy Syria and cause implosion of the Islamic Republic.

    They sanctions on Iran are so structured that they cannot be removed unless the Islamic Republic is destroyed and a new Axis-Powers friendly one is brought forth.

    The aim of US planners is not concession on nuclear enrichment or even the destruction of the Islamic Republic bit a new compliant client state like Monarchical Iran.

    That is also the reason that there are no positive inducements for Iran – the aim is not to enable Iranian leaders to prolong the life of Islamic Republic – which the unwinding of sanctions would.

    I think US planners toegther with their EU brethren have over-reached for 3 reasons: misjudgement Iran and her leaders by Axis planners, the destruction of Axis Powers finance economy in 2011, and the Arab Spring/Islamic Awakening.

    [By the way, I think EU's expectations are that - after the destruction of the Islamic Republic - the modernization of Iranian economy is going to be done by EU firms and that is how they are going to recoup their "investments" with interest.]

  92. fyi says:

    ToivoS says:

    December 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    You are wrong.

    I have seen a caricature dating to 1953, showing an Iranian, a deranged looking man with a robe and turban, driving a fuel tanker with a lighter in his left hand.

    Iranians are mad, but are Americans any saner who violated Iranian sovereignity in 1953, destroyed Freedom and Democracy, and then added insult to injury by dragging Iran into their East-West Nuclear Fetish?

    And I am not going to comment in detail about the piracy of her oil wealth.

    Islamic Republic of Iran is still the longest living continuous constitutional order of any Muslim state – ever.

    It is the best government that the Iranin people have had for the last 3000 years – you guys were in Iran for 23 years; why did you not create anything better?

    You were in Iraq for 10, in Afghanistan for 11, in Panam for 100, where are these splendid examples of Liberal Democracy that you have helped usher in?

    It is US that has alienated the rest of the world; even your own so-called allies.

    Co-eds in UAE universities and colleges were gigling coming to class immediately after 9/11 attacks.

    There were days of celeberations and jubiliations in cities across UAE at that time.

    Should God choose to chastise the United States, there would be, with metaphysical certainity, tens of millions of souls cheering Him.

  93. ToivoS says:

    The “mad mullah” stereotype of the Islamic Revolution has a rational origin. In 1979 a coalition of secular and Islamic forces drove the Shah from power. A new government was established. This was not the IRI. The “mad mullah’s” were able to completely discredit the secular leadership by seizing the American embassy, violating US sovereignty, holding diplomats as hostages and completely alienating every Western secular person who supported the overthrow of the Shah. It was a very successful tactic — the Islamist gained complete control over the government. Of course, once they gained control of the internal police forces they executed thousands of their former secular comrades not to mention many of the Bahai.

    I agree with the Leverette’s here that the IRI has been behaving in a rational manner since those early days. But please, do not expect many of us who supported the removal of the US puppet shah, to shed tears over the mad mullah’s current predicament. They won their revolution by alienating the rest of the world and now want us to be sympathetic to them. Not going to happen. I oppose the sanctions and war threats against Iran today because the Iranian people will be the victims — about their current government I could care less.

  94. Dan Cooper says:

    Ten Reasons Iran Doesn’t Want the Bomb

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33241.htm

    and possibly 10 reasons why the policy makers in Washington should heed the advice from Leverett, read the book and go to Tehran.

    The world order is changing and the American strategists must adopt a policy which is beneficial to America and not the fantasy Zionist project In Israel.