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Thursday, May 24, 2007

 
Educate Me, Please

by tristero

In the post below about the sheer idiocy of Bush's stealth Iran policy: a commenter wrote:
Sorry, I see nothing wrong with taking actions to put pressure on an avowed adversary.
After a few moments' thought, I realized that I had no idea what this statement means within the context of Iran/US relations except through the filter of the reality-warping propaganda of the Bush administration. So, acting under the assumption that there may be readers among you as confused as I was, I'd like to ask some basic (or if you prefer, stupid) questions of the more Iran-knoweledgeable people out there. Please provide links, if you know them.

Who exactly avows that Iran is an "adversary" of the United States? And on what grounds? Please be specific and please make sure you define exactly what is meant by "adversary." I take the word to mean something close to "intractable foe committed to launching violent attacks on the United States and/or its immediate interests."

(Or might the commenter mean that the United States is perceived by Iran as an adversary? If this is the case, I know enough about Iranian history since the Shah days to understand perfectly well why Iran would perceive the US as an adversary, but perhaps other readers might benefit.)

In the past 10 years, please remind me: How, exactly, has Iran concretely and significantly harmed United States' interests? I don't mean dopey speeches accusing us of Satanosity - hell, the mayor of London made similar speeches and no one's suggesting nuking Big Ben. I mean actual actions against the United States. And to be crystal clear: not actions against Israel's interests, or Lebanon's, or Palau's, but the United States'. And not merely poorly sourced acts against American troops in Iraq but clear evidence of actual high Iranian state involvement in such attacks.

How has Iran acted not simply in its own interests when it came to its foreign policy, oil production, and/or procurement of nuclear power, but acted in such a fashion as to pose unequivocally any level of existential threat to the United States (and please specify the level)? Again, to clarify, not simply against "global peace and security," whatever the hell that is, but deliberately against the United States?

Specifically in regards to nuclear, does anyone know of any reputable experts that predict that Iran is an imminent threat, ie, will obtain and test a nuclear device within, say, 2 years?

I'm not very knowledgeable about Iran but I do think that I follow the news well enough to be aware of most truly serious dangers to the United States. Oddly enough, what Iran has actually done to harm the United States somehow seems to have slipped under my radar although I assume what happened must be Very Serious Indeed if plans to undermine, if not attack, Iran are in the works. I guess the media and the powers that be assume we know that is so so no one bothers going into the details. But somehow, I've missed it; it seems to me that there is much more imminent danger from America's own homegrown nutjobs than from Iran.

Attention, all you Wolfowitzes-in-training: I'm not saying Iran's just Norway with hijabs. I know it has a dreadful government and there is much that's troublesome internationally about many of the people running Iran. But the purpose of the United States military and security services is quite clear: to defend American interests, not somehow make the world a better place. What's in it for the U.S. to go to such effort to destabilize Iran, let alone nuke them? Not a thing, as far as I know.

Of course, a nuclear Iran is cause for serious concern - all countries with nuclear arms are cause for serious concern (and yes, that means Israel and the US, not just NoKo, Pakistan, India, etc.) - but from what I've studied, a nuclear-armed Iran is years away from becoming a reality. There is ample time to address that by forceful, intelligent, and hard-nosed negotiations.

So again, I ask: What has the Iranian government done in the past ten years that directly harmed, and is still harming the United States?

[Revised slightly after initial posting.]


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