10.04.2009

A dangerous sort of idiocy

This is appallingly, dangerously stupid:
War with Iran is now inevitable. The only question is: Will it happen sooner or later? Tehran's recent missile tests and war games suggest that the apocalyptic mullahs have reached the same conclusion.

Leaving aside the grammatical nitpick that the mullahs probably haven't decided to stage wargames to attack themselves, this blithering asshattery needs to be swatted down, and quickly. So let's take this sucker apart.

Iran is on the march. Their medium-range Shahab-3 and Sajjil missiles can reach Israel, the entire Middle East and parts of Europe. Tehran is slowing expanding its regional sphere of influence. It has backed insurgency groups in Iraq, which have killed U.S. soldiers. It sponsors Hamas and Hezbollah. It has transformed Syria into a political vassal. It has forged an alliance with Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. It has purchased key air defense systems from Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Well, yes. Iran's government is made up of rational actors who would like to go on ruling their country, but are willing to undermine the goals of other countries that seek to influence their region. This is quite natural for a government of rational actors, in fact -- they'd like to preserve influence in their spheres.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust-denier and virulent anti-Semite. He is a Persian Nazi strongman who vows to wipe Israel "off the map." He is a revolutionary Shi'ite. He believes the Jews must be extinguished in order to usher the coming of the Shi'ite Messiah, the so-called "Hidden Imam."

Russia still has issues with admitting its responsibility for World War Two. Japan still doesn't admit to atrocities in China. There are many governments who deny bad actions, and although Holocaust denial is especially repugnant, it doesn't mean anything beyond that. We never seemed overly worried about going to war with Fascist Spain, either, so the "Nazi" accusation is mostly meaningless, too.

...Why does a country with the world's second-largest natural gas reserves and third-largest oil supply need domestic nuclear power?

Maybe because the price of gas and oil have been going down. Maybe because Iran doesn't want to have to depend purely on limited resources. Maybe they want more resources available for export. This is the least pressing question about Iran possible, beyond what Ahmadinejad ate for breakfast yesterday.

Since establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, Iran has been engaged in an ideological struggle against the West. Its two main enemies have been the United States ("the Great Satan") and Israel ("the Little Satan"). From its inception, Tehran has sought to erect a world Muslim empire; to restore medieval Islamic civilization to its former dominance. The regime is reactionary and - in a twisted manner - even utopian. Nuclear weapons are about more than attaining great-power status. They are the means to achieve the final triumph of messianic Shi'ism.

Um, no. There have been plenty of reactionary utopian regimes in the past, and there certainly will be in the future. And the simple fact is that deterrence works. It's the reason the US and the USSR (another prime reactionary utopian regime) didn't go to war. It's the reason India and Pakistan won't go to war. And it's the reason that Iran won't go to war, even if it gets nuclear weapons.

...Israel - the country that has to live in that dangerous part of the world - believes the mullahs are six to nine months away from getting it.

And other countries, including the US, think the country is rather farther away than that. So.

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The rest is apocalyptic visions of what would happen if there were to be a war with Iran. It's not wrong, but it has no real bearing on anything. And it completely ignores the fact that Iran has take real steps to indicate a willingness to cooperate. The neocon response is predictable, but saddening nonetheless.