Backtalk, February 27, 2006

America and Iran: At the Brink of the Abyss

Day after day, I get more and more appalled by the prospect of an imminent nuclear attack on Iran; not only because I was raised in Iran and I do not want to see my 2,500-year-old country be destroyed by nukes, but also because the aftermath of such an attack would be disastrous for all humanity.

The more Americans know about such an attack, the better. Weblogs and e-mail provide an easy and fast way for doing that. Also an op-ed in the NY Times could be very helpful. Jorge Hirsch in his article “America and Iran: At the Brink of the Abyss” describes the situation in an excellent way. It is very easy for us, using cyberspace, to bring this article to the attention of as many Americans as possible and to let them know we are at a very decisive time in human history.

~ Reza Rezazade

Jorge Hirsch replies:

Yes, it is very important to make people aware. Getting an op-ed in the NY Times is nearly impossible, I think (I certainly tried), but if many people write letters and op-eds to newspapers, especially their local ones, the word will spread. Calling radio talk shows can also help.

“Witness the current uproar over cartoons and try to imagine the resulting upheaval in the Muslim world after the U.S. nukes Iran.”

Dear Dr. Hirsch:

Sunnis make up the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world. Tragically, I do not believe Sunni Muslims will particularly care if Iran is attacked.

Of course, the Bush regime is psychotic and those who seriously support it are insane. I appreciate your ratiocinative focus on the U.S. nuclear threat. We should present your suggested bill (from the previous article) to our senators and representatives in person, not just write letters. The madness must stop, now!

~ Arnold Elishewitz

Jorge Hirsch replies:

Perhaps, but I think America using nuclear weapons against Iran can easily unite Muslims in outrage beyond their sectarian differences, and in fact non-Muslims, too. To present the bill to members of Congress in person would be great, but how do you do that?


Arianna Huffington, Racial Profiler

I agree with Justin Raimondo regarding the Dubai port deal, but it seems like a fruitless argument to point out that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia sent ambassadors to Afghanistan. Even though Pakistan and Saudi Arabia might be our staunchest allies in the region, you can be certain that if they attempted to lease a major U.S. port, the reaction would be the same.

A better argument would be to point out that just prior to 9/11, the U.S. approved $43 million in aid to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan. (See this L.A. Times piece, dated May 22, 2001: “Bush’s Faustian Deal With the Taliban.”) Maybe we didn’t “officially” recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan like Dubai did, but if we were funneling aid through the Taliban, then we were treating them as the de facto government of Afghanistan.

~ Rick Tucker

I think the remarks by Huffington show how ignorant she really is, as are some U.S. politicians. Dubai not only is the regional hub where multinational companies have established their local headquarters, it’s a place where a large European population lives quite comfortably and unharmed. There is an American and an Australian university. It’s frequented by U.S. naval vessels and where U.S. armed forces personnel involved in the war in Iraq go for rest and recreation. The reason that Saudis don’t have to get a visa for visiting he UAE is the same reason that European citizens don’t need a visa to visit other European countries. Both are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional organization similar to the EU. It’s not only sad but dangerous for a superpower such as the USA to be led (or misled) by ignorant politicians and journalists.

~ Guru Mandir


Conservatives Endorse the Fuhrer Principle

Our beloved country is in great jeopardy. We are clearly headed for national bankruptcy – the financial kind. We are already morally bankrupt, killing, maiming, and torturing mostly innocent Iraqis. Nearly $2 billion a day is being borrowed from real, potential enemies such as China. Our leadership is arrogant and ignorant (president and vice president) and craven (Congress). Can we afford to wait till the next elections when grounds for impeachment are in full view?

~ R.T. Carpenter, Lynn Haven, Fla.

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

If the Congress is not sufficiently altered in the November election to produce people’s representatives who will impeach Bush and Cheney, U.S. democracy will have morphed into a dictatorship.


Taking Pakistan’s Temperature

Mr. Lind is way off the mark on this subject. As a Pakistani, I believe Mr. Lind reads too many Indian newspapers, as this thesis is one of their favorites. What he forgets is that President Musharraf has the support of the “silent majority” of mainstream Pakistanis. That is why Mr. Musharraf is still in power. His reluctant support of Mr. Bush after the 9/11 ultimatum (You are with us or against us!) was a pragmatic move: otherwise, Pakistan would have been rubble.

History tells us that Pakistan has had many coups against corrupt civilian governments, but not against a ruling pseudo-military government like President Musharraf’s. The military steps in to clean the Augean stable the Pakistani politicians create. Pakistanis see Mr. Musharraf as the only option (or rather the lesser of two evils) currently available against obscurantist mullahs (who have received less than 3 percent of the popular vote in almost every election, fair or rigged) or corrupt politicians like Ms. Bhutto or Mr. Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan’s strategic nuclear assets belong to its people and are in the control of a sophisticated command-and-control authority. They act as deterrence against any future conflicts or cross-border adventurism by India. On this issue, all Pakistanis agree, as they do not want to hand over power to mullahs now or ever, let alone give them the responsibility of having their sticky fingers on the nuclear trigger.

Pakistan is not Iran or Afghanistan; our culture and social values are different. Talibanization or mullahcracy has a snowball’s chance in hell. We Pakistanis take nuclear technology extremely seriously, and we know that it needs to be protected with the highest safeguards. Pakistanis developed this technology against all odds, and we are capable of protecting it.

Mr. Lind, we are not bunch of turbaned lunatics running around with scimitars and shouting “Onward, Muslim soldiers.” I ask Mr. Lind: would the U.S. ever let Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell have control over their WMD? I hope not; the same you can expect from Pakistanis!

~ Manzer Durrani, Ph.D., Pakistan Think Tank Organization


The Brutal Christ of the Armageddonites

These people give Christianity a bad name. As an Orthodox Christian, I regard Revelation as mysterious and difficult to interpret. Some of it clearly refers to the past, not the future; other parts refer to the future. We view the “1,000-year reign of Christ on Earth” as the history of the Church since Pentecost, not a future Millennium.

I have watched people drive themselves nuts trying to figure out which nation is Gog or Magog, who the Antichrist will be, and other vain speculations. These people are not fasting, giving alms, or praying much. (This is the result of a “once saved, always saved” theology, also not Orthodox.) Nobody ever speculated their way into the Kingdom of God.

Some people have too much time on their hands and not enough appreciation of the real needs out there. I am much more concerned about my own judgment day (my death) than I am about the end of the world. I pray for Jesus to have mercy on me.

If you have the money to buy Left Behind books, donate it to the poor. It will do more for your soul, and the poor will benefit.

I’m glad Antiwar.com is exposing the irrational roots of our foreign policy. It is not simply a grab for oil, as vulgar Leninists would have it. It’s an attempt to battle Gog and Magog. Lord have mercy on us!

– Tikhon Gilson


‘Leninists!’ Cries Neocon Nabob, Suing for Divorce

I lived in Amman, Jordan, in the 1970s and was part of a group of Western women who were married to Arabs and living in Amman. All but one of these women were from democratic countries (the U.S., the UK, and Sweden) and all believers in the democratic system. However, none of us wanted to see King Hussein overthrown. Just looking at the fairly recent history of the area, we feared that should the monarchy be brought down, chaos would follow, and who knew what sort of individual or group might take over then.

The area had been under 400 years of Ottoman Turkish rule, and then around 20 years of European colonialism, which had created all sorts of hard-to-resolve situations. Now, the Bush administration and the neocons have jumped into the middle of the hornet’s nest, feet first. Our previous meddling in Mideast affairs had already won us enough hostility, but at least Middle Easterners distinguished between U.S. government policies, which they hated, and the American people, whom they generally liked. I do not think that is true anymore.

~ M. Monab

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