What You Do Not Know

13 thoughts on “What You Do Not Know

  1. Uh, I don’t see what do you want to mean with this movie. And how it is related to the title and the comment about Iraq war?

  2. I really like this. Bob, I got the impression that it was supposed to make us think about how similar Iran looks to parts of the US, and how dumb it would be to go to war. It would be dumb to go to war against Iran even if Iran looked very different from the U.S., but it’s easier when Iran just gets seen as “Middle-East-terrorist-evil-Arab.” This slideshow counters that stereotype.

  3. Yusuf Islam, FKA Cat Stevens, is IIRC a supporter of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. He’s as illiberal as they come at this point, and I consider it ironic that Western liberals are willing to sacrifice all liberal traditions in order to support such extremists.

    I realize that I’m playing the Godwin card, but a similar montage could just as easily have been constructed around Germany in the 1930s. The major difference is that color photography is more widespread today.

    I don’t want anything bad to happen to innocent Iranians, but the best way they can avoid armed conflict is to replace their government themselves, without relying on external intervention. If they continue to do nothing more than plea for restraint from the international community until their apocalyptic leaders gain and use nuclear weapons, it will be too late.

  4. Mark:

    I am aware of Cat Stevens/Yusef Islam’s beliefs. I assume “Peacetrain” was part of a long-term Islamist deep-cover operation designed to lure America into complacency before the final blow.

    Actually, referencing the Nazis means I get to play the Goodwin card. It is also nothing but a red herring. The Iranian government is not (AFAIK) making noises about the re-emergence of the Persian Empire, or sending troops into the Shiite areas of Iraq (and if you belief Bush about anything related to Iraq, you’re suckering yourself).

    I don’t want anything bad to happen to innocent Americans either, but the best way they can avoid armed conflict is to replace their government themselves, without relying on external intervention. If they continue to do nothing more than plea for restraint from the world community until their apocalyptic leaders use nuclear weapons, it will be too late.

  5. I suspect “Peace Train” was included in an attempt to construct an artificial bridge between militant Islam and pacifism. Really, the mullahs are all a bunch of peaceniks! Don’t fall for it.

    The Iranian government is both sponsoring denial that the Holocaust took place and making moves towards a second Holocaust. They’re effectively trying to pick up the baton that was dropped in 1945. Godwin’s Law is a prediction (given enough time, someone will draw an analogy), but it’s not a valid reason to end discussion, and the comparisons are sometimes valid.

    Dubya has had the bomb for six years. He hasn’t used it. Ahmadinejad hasn’t yet had the opportunity. I hope he doesn’t. Time will tell, it seems. If he launches a second Holocaust, will you have any regrets? Are people living in Tel Aviv and Haifa less innocent than those in this video?

    Based on what happened in November, one can argue that the US population has already replaced much of the previous government. I’ll be a bit surprised if a Republican is in the White House in two years. Then again, I’m not convinced replacing Dubya will prevent armed conflict, though I expect it will effectively end US involvement in Iraq, regardless of who wins in ’08.

  6. I’m not foolish enough to believe that militant Islam is somehow pacifist, or even that Islam is inherently peaceful or freedom-loving. Without devolving into a Dawkins-esque, equal-opportunity-offensive rant, I’ll leave the discussion of faith at that.

    I am also not foolish enough to suspect that the mullahs who are adroit enough to have kept a tight lid on their society for 28 years are crazy enough to attack a nuclear-armed nation with a well-documented (and well-deserved) paranoia streak. The U.S.—crazy as it seems to be to me—is not crazy enough to attack a nuclear-armed North Korea, nor is India crazy enough to attack Pakistan (or visa-versa). Which brings me to a second point: Have you considered why we have not taken a side in the Pakistan-India tiff, when both of those countries are nuclear armed, run by millitant nationalists, and have a near-constant border dispute? The U.S. has persued a policy of bribing both sides, which has the side-effect of giving the U.S. a larger voice in their affairs—a voice used to keep a lid on Kashmir.

    Bush’s recent policy-shift in favor of “Nukular India” is widely (and correctly, I should add) seen as an unmitigated disaster. It was designed to be a preventative step against the radical Muslims in the Pakistani intelligence services—backing the other horse before a race has even been scheduled. It’s predicated (as is your view of Iran, I should add), on the notion that the radicals will eventually sieze control and so it makes more sense to simply abandon attempts to stop them in favor of planning for a “favorable” nuclear exchange. Of course, by betraying Musharraf, it weakens his control over his government, which makes a Muslim takeover that much easier.

    So far as the Holocaust, I’m obviously not in favor of a second Jewish Holocaust; I’m simply equally opposed to an Iranian Holocaust. And it is very, very well-understood that any attack by Iran on Israel would be met with nuclear anihilation. The “mullahs” may hate Israel. They may be anti-semites. But like most religious leaders, they love being in charge even more. Bloodying their noses will not calm them down and make them see reason, nor does the path you suggest have any alternative but an eventual genocide.

  7. The path I suggest, need I remind you, is for the Iranian people to fix the problem themselves. Preemptive military action, which I honestly and sincerely hope can be avoided, might buy some time, but it will do nothing to destabilize the Iranian government, which is the only way this problem is going to be solved in the long run. Quite the contrary, as Roozbeh has noted, it would likely only strengthen their government. Stronger economic sanctions might be more effective at undermining public support for the government. It’s possible that they’re already having an effect.

    I’m not entirely convinced of the rationality of Iran’s current leadership, especially Ahmadenijad. If the Iranian people share my view, they had best take action. I’ve heard reports that the Iranian nuclear program has been experiencing setbacks (e.g. gas centrifuges failing catastrophically), and I would not be at all surprised if their nuclear scientists are engaged in some calculated foot-dragging at the very least. I suspect that many of them don’t trust their current leadership with nuclear weapons.

  8. The path you suggest is to hope the Iranian people wage and win a revolution against their government, and attack them if they do not. If a coalition of China, Russia, and some future-militarized EU demanded the American people overthrow our government lest they be “forced to act,” the American people would (understandably) refuse—and start burrying guns and explosives in backyards and forest preserves.

    All governments are essentially concrete dams, holding back against the pressures and demands of the people within. Smart governments find ways to aleviate the pressures, dumb governments try to add more concrete; either way, all governments eventually crumble.

    What you are suggesting is applying pressure outside the government as is applied inside, and hoping it cracks. The suggestion is based on the belief that the net force applied to the structure is the key to whether it breaks, while the reality is that it is the differential force that determines whether it breaks. If people outside the reach of a government want to break it, they need to stop pushing and start pulling. In the case of Iran it would be working in the other direction, primarily by ending sanctions.

    So far as the rationality/irrationality of Iran’s currently leadership, the onus on you is to prove they are irrational, since you’re the one advocating war and revolution because they are not.

  9. “They’re effectively trying to pick up the baton that was dropped in 1945.”

    That is silly bullshit, which doesn’t merit much comment.

    “If he launches a second Holocaust, will you have any regrets?”

    And then we have the not so veiled accusation of antisemitism. Excellent.

Comments are closed.