17 June 2009

The best comment yet on the situation in Iran

Much of the same faction now claiming such concern for the welfare of The Iranian People are the same people who have long been advocating a military attack on Iran and the dropping of large numbers of bombs on their country -- actions which would result in the slaughter of many of those very same Iranian People...

Imagine how many of the people protesting this week would be dead if any of these bombing advocates had their way... Hopefully, one of the principal benefits of the turmoil in Iran is that it humanizes whoever the latest Enemy is. Advocating a so-called "attack on Iran" or "bombing Iran" in fact means slaughtering huge numbers of the very same people who are on the streets of Tehran inspiring so many -- obliterating their homes and workplaces, destroying their communities, shattering the infrastructure of their society and their lives. The same is true every time we start mulling the prospect of attacking and bombing another country as though it's some abstract decision in a video game.
Kudos to Glenn Greenwald for expressing these thoughts so cogently. Relevant citations and further discussion rebutting counterarguments at his column.

All three photos via The Daily Dish, which has the the most active and detailed coverage of ongoing events in Iran.


  1. "Imagine how many of the people protesting this week would be dead if any of these bombing advocates had their way"

    Probably a very very small number. As far as I know no one was promoting carpet bombing Tehran. The tragedy would be for dozens of Iranian nuclear scientists at their enrichment facilities outside of Natanz

  2. Greenwald writes, addressing the issue raised by A. Fischer:

    "It's delusional to claim that these desired bombing attacks would be 'targeted' and thus wouldn't result in substantial civilian deaths.

    "Even the limited version of the standard neocon bombing plan envisions at least 1,500 targets. Many of their attack plans were far more elaborate than that.... Virutally [sic] no experts believe we could meaningfully impede Iran's nuclear capabilities without massive bombing campaigns, and even the CIA recognized as absurd the claim that you could drop bombs on Iran's nuclear facilities without causing widespread, uncontrollable devastation...."

  3. right which he says with no citation other than "the CIA says" and apparently the "neocons" all got together and published their plan for bombing Iran.

  4. Fischer, you maybe remember that our precision bombing when we invaded Iraq didn't kill any civilians, and our computer-guided surgical strikes with Predators in Afghanistan have been similarly successful in not causing collateral deaths, much to the joy of the people of Afghanistan.

  5. He refers to multiple neocon bombing plans, actually, not just one. He links to two of them:


    The second of these (from Commentary magazine) is particularly horrifying.

    He also has a cite to the remark about the CIA:

    "The U.S. capability to make a mess of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is formidable,’ says veteran Mideast analyst Geoffrey Kemp. ‘The question is, what then?’ NEWSWEEK has learned that the CIA and DIA have war-gamed the likely consequences of a U.S. pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. No one liked the outcome. As an Air Force source tells it, ‘The war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating."


  6. I hate to ask this, but does not a people of a country bear some responsibility for what their leadership does? I realize that the Iranian people have little to no say over what they're government/religion says, as evidenced by this election, but just as the American people must bear responsibility for our governments actions, so must the Iranian people for their government.

    Lastly, while I accept the possibility that some citizens would be killed in a bombing attack designed to target nuclear materials processing sites, that number is will be small, and while regretful, necessary to prevent wider bloodshed.

    Imagine what would have happened in Lord of the Rings if Elrond had just pushed Isildur into the fires of Mount Doom, rather than letting the be-spelled prince walk away with the Ring.

    War is hell. Innocent people sometimes get hurt. But living by the ideal of "Let's all put down our guns and live in peace...I'll go first" just gets you dead.

  7. To the second Anonymous - "Lastly, while I accept the possibility that some citizens would be killed in a bombing attack designed to target nuclear materials processing sites, that number is will be small, and while regretful, necessary to prevent wider bloodshed."

    The United States has sites for processing nuclear materials. So does Israel. And India. And Pakistan. And... so on.

    Is it o.k. with you for those sites to be pre-emptively targeted by for example North Korea, China etc. It might be justified as "necessary to prevent wider bloodshed." Probably wouldn't kill many people either since the sites tend to be in remote areas.

    What could possibly go wrong. You are obviously right.

  8. Well, India, Israel, and Pakistan have, so far, demonstrated a policy of "not nuking anybody, ever". The US has demonstrated a policy of "Okay, we did nuke somebody once (with two bombs, yes)". On the other hand, the US is also the only country to have proven that it has both the ability and resolve to drop an atomic bomb, AND YET has refrained from doing so for 64 (almost) years.

    What does this mean? Well, it does indicate that a "preemptive strike" against the US is kinda BS, since the US has shown rather surprising restraint.

    The problem is that, even at the height of the Bush administration (which I detested) the US didn't turn into an extremist, fundamentalist theocracy (coulda fooled me!). But even if it had, it might (might!) not have dropped The Bomb. A truly fundamentalist Islam theocracy will drop the bomb if it can. It will. Period. No doubt about it. Because Islamic fundamentalists are at least as insane as other fundamentalists, and have a theology that sanctifies martyrdom, thus eliminating any and all deterrents to using WMDs in general.

    Does this mean we should bomb Iran? I don't honestly know. But I'm inclined to say no, at least for the moment. But that's the pussy, pacifist, liberal in me. :-P

  9. I think Pirate Dan handled that response nicely. But to put it bluntly, no it is not okay for North Korea to preemptively strike our nuclear weapons caches. Peace through strength.

  10. Two years ago, according to Michael Ledeen who is an expert on Iran, Iranians were polled and agreed they were against bombings to end their nuclear program but in favor of bombings that would bring down the regime.


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