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 2007-09-25, 03:12 #1 Xyzzy     Aug 2002 207B16 Posts Iran? There have been a lot of articles about Iran in the news over the last few days. Today we spent a few hours watching various videos of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We're not educated enough to fully understand what is going on, but we have made the following simple observations: He does not appear to be a raving lunatic. (Maybe we watched the wrong videos?) He is very articulate, polite, patient and highly educated. He raises a lot of interesting questions about our government's conduct. We're curious what you all are thinking right now about this situation.
 2007-09-25, 03:44 #2 Zeta-Flux     May 2003 60B16 Posts Republican answer: Nuke them! Nuke them all!!! Democrat answer: Let's send them money, and plans for nuclear bombs, so that we can all get along. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Okay, I admit I haven't watched any videos of him. I also admit that my only source of infomation about his statements on Israel come from newspaper reports, and I don't trust newspapers to be entirely accurate. I imagine he is a posturing politician, who speaks to his crowds, as most do. However, if any of his statements about Israel or the Holocaust are somewhat accurate, it shows both a deep lack of value for human life and a strong hint that the development of nuclear weapons in his country is not a good thing for the world. Now, to completely get this thread going, I will throw out my own opinion, without any intention of ever returning here to defend it (although I may peek in from time to time). I do not believe pre-emptive war is morally justified. However, I also view the creation of atomic weapons and/or refusing to let in inspectors, as an act of war. I imagine that Israel will not allow them to get to that point.
2007-09-25, 11:17   #3
Mini-Geek
Account Deleted

"Tim Sorbera"
Aug 2006
San Antonio, TX USA

3×1,423 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux Republican answer: Nuke them! Nuke them all!!! Democrat answer: Let's send them money, and plans for nuclear bombs, so that we can all get along.

 2007-09-25, 12:57 #4 rogue     "Mark" Apr 2003 Between here and the 3×19×113 Posts He is certainly an interesting character. He is not like Chavez, Castro, or Musharref. I think that he speaks mainly to keep himself in power. He tends to speak in line with the Supreme Council. As the Council becomes more conservative, so does he. As it becomes more moderate, so does he. Although he speaks for revisionist history regarding the Holocaust, he is allowing the airing of "Zero Degree Turn". I suggest that you Google it if you haven't heard of it.
2007-09-25, 14:12   #5
garo

Aug 2002
Termonfeckin, IE

22·691 Posts

Quote:
 However, I also view the creation of atomic weapons and/or refusing to let in inspectors, as an act of war. I imagine that Israel will not allow them to get to that point.
This statement strikes me as somewhat contradictory. I imagine you are aware of the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons and has not allowed any inspectors in. Iran on the other hand has allowed tons of inspections in the last few years. Also, the US has atomic weapons. Is that an act of war? Against whom, precisely?

To get back to Xyzzy's point. No, he is not a raving lunatic. The American press is trying desperately to portray him as one in an attempt to soften up public opinion for a war. Witness the NY Daily News' hysterical reaction to his visit. People are much more likely to support a war against someone whom they perceive as a raving lunatic who is a threat to the world as opposed to someone who appears calm, collected and polite. I would argue that the current US government has been far more lunatic in it's conduct viz a viz Iran than Ahmadinejad in his conduct with the US.

Yes he has issues with gays but then so do most Republican politicians. Yes he has issues with Israel but not what the media has been portraying. He has been mistranslated and misinterpreted as calling for the destruction of Israel. He said nothing of the sort. Do a search on google for the actual speech text and grab an Iranian friend to do the translation. Regarding the Holocaust I agree that his views are just plain wrong and insulting to the memory of the dead.

Finally, I think it is incredibly rude (and inaccurate) for the Columbia dean to call him a "petty and cruel dictator" after his university invited him to speak on campus. You just don't invite someone as a guest speaker and insult them this way even before they have had a chance to speak. It's just bad manners.

Last fiddled with by garo on 2007-09-25 at 14:19 Reason: Added stuff about the Columbia dean

2007-09-25, 14:42   #6
davieddy

"Lucan"
Dec 2006
England

2·3·13·83 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by garo Finally, I think it is incredibly rude (and inaccurate) for the Columbia dean to call him a "petty and cruel dictator" after his university invited him to speak on campus. You just don't invite someone as a guest speaker and insult them this way even before they have had a chance to speak. It's just bad manners.
I agree completely, and was going to post to the same effect.

2007-09-25, 17:15   #7
Zeta-Flux

May 2003

154710 Posts

Quote:
 This statement strikes me as somewhat contradictory.
It is somewhat contradictory. Such is the way of the real world.

Quote:
 I imagine you are aware of the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons and has not allowed any inspectors in.
Yes. We [in the US] also have nuclear bombs and don't let inspectors in (afaik). I was speaking from the viewpoint of safety for American citizens. It is too late for us to prevent Israel from acquiring atomic weapons. Further, they are currently our allies, so there isn't much we should do at this time.

Quote:
 Iran on the other hand has allowed tons of inspections in the last few years.
Googling "Iran inspectors" gives a different picture. Again, whether or not this is accurate is an entirely different question.

Quote:
 Also, the US has atomic weapons. Is that an act of war? Against whom, precisely?
I was speaking as an American citizen who views other countries developing nuclear weapons as a highly undesirable circumstance. But most especially when we are on unfriendly terms.

-------------

By the way, I agree that once he was invited, it was in poor taste and rude to do what the dean did.

-------------

Iran's government could be friendly with us, if they so desired. They could open up diplomatic relations, and cease their nuclear ambitions, and all of the warmongering Americans wouldn't have a leg to stand on. But they do not. It isn't just an issue of "mistranslation" (although that happens too--as I said, I don't trust the newspapers' accuracy).

2007-09-25, 17:37   #8
ewmayer
2ω=0

Sep 2002
República de California

2×73×17 Posts

A few observations and opinions of my own:
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Xyzzy ]He does not appear to be a raving lunatic. (Maybe we watched the wrong videos?)
Throughout history, the most dangerous lunatics have been the non-raving ones. Even Hitler, while coming to and consolidating power throughout the 1930s was considered "someone one could deal with" - authoritarian, yes, somewhat ruthless, yes, but raving - no. [And don't judge his apparent sanity by applying modern standards to his bombastic speeches - bombast was quite common in those days.] In person, he was allegedly very charming, intelligent, charismatic, etc - all those qualities that are wonderful in a sane, non-power-mad person, but oh so dangerous in someone with a hidden political or criminal agenda.
Quote:
 He is very articulate, polite, patient and highly educated.
Yes, he is. Again, great qualities, if he really is a man of peace, and really does wish to live side-by-side [so to speak] with Israel, and tolerant of dissent in his own country, and free of religiously-based zealotry, and Iran is not really actively engaged in destabilizing Iraq and helping insurgents there kill US soldiers, and Iran's nuclear ambitions really are purely peaceful - none of which I believe to be the case.
Quote:
 He raises a lot of interesting questions about our government's conduct.
None of which have not already been raised [in most cases numerous times, and often at very high levels] by our own citizens, media and politicians - a right which Ahmadinejad's own people lack, by the way, at least in a practical you-may-criticize-the-government-without-fearing-for-your-life sense.

Also, usually the best way to divert attention from one's own misbehavior is to assail the crusading US imperialist jackals - far and away the most popular pastime in most of the Middle East.

So, let me pose 4 questions to the folks reading this:
• Do you really believe Iran is not actively supporting the Shiite factions among the Iraqi isurgency, and wants to have a stable, secular Iraq as a neighbor, with all ethnic and religious factions having an equal voice?
• Do you really believe the Iranian nuclear program has no weapons ambitions?
• Do you really believe the Middle East [and the world] would be safer with a nuclear-armed Iran?
• Do you really believe Ahmadinejad is fine with Israel pretty much as it is, and would be willing to live peacefully with that country?

Now by way of contrast with our president: yes, GWB is more or less a C-student rube with political connections, an intellectual lightweight who started a war in Iraq on extremely flimsy [and to no small extent falsified, though who-lied-about-what is difficult to completely unravel] pretenses and much horrendous misjudgment and bad decision-making along the whole sorry way. But, incompetently run as the war has been, the US is at least *trying* to lay the groundwork for a pluralistic, democratic Iraq. [Whether the Iraqis are up to such a radical deviation from their historical behavior of factional strife and dictatorial rulership is a somewhat orthogonal question.] Which leads me to a somewhat-analogous set of questions about the US, of the same kind Mr. Ahmadinejad apparently so much wants everyone to ponder:
• Do you really believe the US is interested in exploiting Iraqi oil wealth first, and in having a stable, secular Iraq second, or not at all?
• Do you really believe "well, the US has nuclear weapons" should be carte blanche for any country that also wants them to have them?
• Do you really believe "well, Israel has nuclear weapons" should be carte blanche for any Middle Eastern country that also wants them to have them?
• Do you really believe the US wants a war with Iran, perhaps to divert attention from its missteps in Iraq?
• Knowing that Israel is not going to sit idly by as long as it takes the Iranians to produce a working A-bomb, do you believe it is in the best interests of all involved to dither and engage in endless "negotiations" while Iran does just that, and effectively forces Israel's hand in the matter? [I'm not saying Israel would be *justified* in taking out the Iranian nuclear facilities - like they did with Iraq's Osirak reactor back in the 1980s - I'm just saying that's what they *will* do if the West doesn't manage to curb Iran's nuclear-weapons ambitions.]

2007-09-25, 19:21   #9
Mr. P-1

Jun 2003

49116 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux Republican answer: Nuke them! Nuke them all!!! Democrat answer: Let's send them money, and plans for nuclear bombs, so that we can all get along.
Actually it's Republicans who have a history of giving money to murderous psychopaths.

Disclaimer: I don't know for certain that any of this money has ended up in the hands of terrorists or insurgents. It's possible, I suppose, that the Iraqi branch of the Women's Institute got it all. But I doubt it.

And when have Democrats ever advocated giving other nations nuclear weapons technology?

 2007-09-25, 21:16 #10 ewmayer ∂2ω=0     Sep 2002 República de California 2·73·17 Posts p.s.: I did think Lee Bollinger [Columbia's president] opening the festivities with a 10-minute insult-fest aimed at Ahmadinejad was in very poor taste - you don't do that to someone *you* invited [in the institutional sense], especially not by way of "introduction" - that's just beyond the pale of civilized discourse. [And it creates sympathy for him in the Middle East - "look how brave this man must be, to venture into the veritable lion's den that is an American Infidel University campus..."]. Take him to task all you want in an open debate, or simply don't invite him, if you think he's that loathsome, but don't abuse your position as University head and MC like that. Funniest moment of the talk was a bit that reminded me of the famous former Iraqi Information Minister: "There are no homosexuals in Iran! Never!"
 2007-09-26, 12:04 #11 garo     Aug 2002 Termonfeckin, IE 22·691 Posts Actually, if you go by what appears in the non-American media, Iran has made serious overtures to peace. Ahmadinejad wrote a long letter to Bush to which he never got a response. They suspended enrichment for two years in the hope that the US and western Europeans would make an effort towards serious negotiation. Instead all they got was warmongering and plainly provocative behaviour. Iranians have every reason to believe that the US is not negotiating in good faith. US actions have been provocative and certainly not conducive to dialogue and peaceful settlement. The IAEA chairman has called them on this several times. This is a complete repeat of what happened in 2002 and early 2003 before the Iraq invasion. The US and UK kept upping the ante for Saddam and kept engaging in provocative behavior which made it very clear to any neutral observer that they were not serious about negotiated settlement. Ernst, you and Zeta-Flux are falling into the familiar trap. You are not applying the same standards of conduct to different countries and people. Why should GWB not be tried on war crimes? I mean he presided over horrendous atrocities resulting from an illegal war. You guys actually went ahead and re-elected him instead of throwing him in the slammer. Through his action he has killed far more people than the Iranian president, yet you are happy to label A. as a dangerous lunatic and G. as a C-grade student. That's a double standard. A. has not significantly impaired tolerance of dissent in his own country. Granted it was in a very poor state before he came to power but has he really made it that much worse? G. most certainly has. The US is a far less free, less tolerant and more fearful country than it was before he came to power. Finally, I find Ernst's claim that the US is trying to lay the groundwork for a stable democratic Iraq, utterly laughable. If the US was so concerned about democracy in Iraq it would have respected the wishes of Iraqi people. Survey after survey has shown that anything from 77% to 98% of Iraqis want the US out immediately. However, the US insists on not "cutting and running". What a diversionary tactic. There is a long, established, historical record of the US using democracy as an excuse to install pliable regimes in other countries and to happily disrupt democracy when it suits their purpose. Take a sample list (by no means exhaustive) below of US/CIA supported coups and dictatorships: 1953: Iran coup that ousted Mossadeq. 1954: Guatemala coup that ousted the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán. 1961: The assassination of Patrice Lumumba of Congo and the subsequent coup that brought Mobutu to power. 1962: Cuba, Bay of Pigs. 1963: Coup in Iraq backed by the CIA. 1968: Coup in Iraq again that brought Saddam Hussein to power. 1973: Coup in Chile by Pinochet leading to the assassination of Allende. Subsequent records show Kissinger and Nixon's support for Pinochet's murder of dissidents. 1976: Military coup in Argentina leading to the US supported dirty war. 1979-1992: US support for murderous regime in El Salvador that kills an estimated 75,000 people. $6 billion are given to the regime there. 1980: Military coup in Liberia and subsequent government given$500 million by the US. 1980's: US support for genocidal regime in Guatemala that kills about 200,000. 1983: Invasion of Grenada and overthrow of the government of Bernard Coard. 1991-1994 Haiti U.S. backs armed group FRAPH which oust democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in a military coup d'état in September, 1991 he is replaced with a military junta led by Raoul Cédras. 2002: US support for coup that overthrows Chavez in Venezuela. 2004: Another coup in Haiti against Aristide. US military forces him into exile. So forgive me if I barf at your claims of the US interested in a stable democratic Iraq.

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