My thanks to Serendip for giving a pointer to an article by Mohammad Alireza at Iranian on 18 SEP 2007: What will you do after America destroys Iran?
One thing that seems to be pretty well endemic across the Middle East is conspiracy-mania! The joys of everything being a part of some larger conspiracy, if only you could figure it out and if you CAN'T then you make one up. In the more authoritarian and dictatorial societies this is an outgrowth of trying to explain the whimsies of such regimes and give them any context whatsoever. Unfortunately that means that something simple, such as someone in the power structure not particularly liking you for some reason and having you, as an individual or family, harassed gets pinned on various things. If your cousin does something vaguely wrong and illegal, but that most folks get away with and *he* gets thrown in jail, then *you* will pin that on... well, lets see, the list usually starts: the United States, Israel, Europe, the oil companies, a minor deific being, economics, a religious conspiracy out to get you, a power conspiracy out to get you, or, indeed, any conspiracy at all.
And it if is actually just some minor functionary harassing you anonymously via the power structure of the State?
Ah, yes, if you try to say *that* and actually hold anyone in power accountable, then you will be visiting your brother in jail or possibly just find out where all those 'disappeared' people go to. Must be UFOs! It's a conspiracy!
Now, when you are a Leftist and have roots in the Middle East, then the absolute conspiracy realm starts to knock out all the 'lesser conspiracies' as they just aren't powerful enough to get you. That means that all local activities by local powers-that-be are put aside because you really don't want to talk about them and if you blame them... well, see above. Instead you can start blaming the Global Conspiracies of various sorts because they are so awesome in power that NO ONE can resist them!
With that in mind lets start in on Mr. Alireza's op-ed:
TEHRAN, IranYes, there you have the latest in grand conspiracy theories by the Western Left showing up to bolster the conspiracy theories of the paranoid Middle East. Hey! Who said the Left couldn't learn anything? They certainly picked up conspiracy-mania from the Middle East damned quickly. This is the 'Neo-Con hijack Amerika truth behind 9/11 no blood for oil' conspiracy at work!
-- What’s the connection between; the theft of the 2000 Gore-Bush
election, Cheney’s secret meeting with oil executives, September 11th
2001, the invasion of Iraq, and plans for destroying Iran’s military
defenses and setting it’s economy back 50 years?
The connection is Peak Oil.
This is what happens when you *think* that America is a 'one-man, one-vote' democracy while, instead, we have a representative democracy of equal parts in the House via population and equal State representation in the Senate. In the year 2000 the election did NOT go to the person with the most votes, but went to the person who was able to craft a majority of the district based representation system in the Electoral College to win. Of course, if you think America has one sort of system while it actually has another, you will see a conspiracy at work. In the end this great and grand conspiracy came down to 500 or so voters in Florida, as the rest of Nation had left neither candidate with an outright majority as went Florida so went the Nation. And Florida itself was highly divided in its vote. So instead of actually knowing a bit about the Electoral College, representative democracy and the district based distribution in the Electoral College we get, instead: A Conspiracy!
A conspiracy of the willfully uneducated, apparently.
Good going to the Western Left! The US hadn't even suffered 9/11, was still undergoing the moribund foreign policy of Bill Clinton that did nothing about terrorism or holding any Nation accountable to anything, and he did not even try to enforce the laws of the land to protect the Nation. From that and the lax attitude of the 1990's and the strange notion that 'history had ended', why no one could see a dime's worth of difference between a lack-luster Vice President and a Texas Governor who's main claim to fame is his family name. And you need a conspiracy for this?
A conspiracy of stupidity, possibly...
Then there is Cheney's 'secret meetings with oil executives'! Tell you what, can we swap that for President Clinton's 'secret meetings with Charlie Trie' and the movement of defense technology to Red China? Because, on the scale of pure nastiness, oil men looking to make money selling oil and individuals looking to undermine the global balance of power directly by giving Red China a leg-up on technology to thwart the US are not even roughly equivalent as the way the world turns. It is about on level with Hillary Clinton's 'secret meetings on health care', which looks to impoverish this Nation, then and now, faster than anything the poor oil men can do. Heck, they just want us to drive more while these others are looking to harm the US directly via empowering a Nation not-so-friendly to the US and, with Ms. Clinton, to do the Soviet equivalent of economics to US health care to make everyone equally sick and poor.
'Secret meetings' are the stuff of conspiracies as they are 'secret'. If VP Cheney was so smart, then how come no real energy legislation has been passed to wipe out all these other forms of fuel and get rid of the percent or so of US energy that comes from 'renewables'? Oh, wait, the stuff was marginal to begin with! So sorry! As to them hampering the expansion of such, well, look no further than Sen. Kennedy and the wind-farm he is blocking and you can get an idea of what sort of problems 'alternative energy sources' have. Can't have that, so it must be a grand conspiracy for economic gain by oil companies... companies also willing to invest in bio-fuels and such as PR just in case anything comes of them.
Call this the conspiracy of the 'economically challenged'.
Then there are the 'Truthers' out to show, once and for all, that skilled engineers and scientists at Popular Mechanics are far smarter and more capable than a bunch of folks wanting to have a conspiracy of the US Government to kill its own people. And, what really gets me, is that 9/11 was, indeed, a conspiracy. Started by Ramzi Binalshibh to make up for his lacks in the 1993 WTC attacks, working with a close friend to get some better ideas, going to his uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and then having the plot passed over as a whole slew of ideas to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. That, in turn, spun up cells to start casing the US, getting together folks who could guide aircraft after a hijacking, funding same, and blending in with US culture. Suddenly 19 men were taking over four aircraft and inflicting nearly 3,000 casualties on US soil. That was not only a 'conspiracy' it was a 'plot' by those using 'predatory warfare' to attack the US without warrant.
Unfortunately that is a KNOWN conspiracy and an UNKNOWN conspiracy always wins over a known one hands-down, each and every single time. And if it can be a nebulous unknown government conspiracy? Well, that is perfect! No need to go through obvious reasons from a known group, like the fact the US isn't Muslim, doesn't practice sharia law, actually believes that each individual is created equal and can figure out their own destiny in life... no need for someone who wants to destroy the Nation because it upholds those things! Far better a conspiracy of some sort to finally prove.... well, I am sure those peddling this would like to prove something, but their own cluelessness is what comes across.
Call this the conspiracy of the clueless.
Then there is the War in Iraq and the 'no blood for oil' folks. I spent some time a couple of posts back dealing with this in The Worst Wars of All, but let me re-cap: under the law of nations the US was absolutely justified in attacking Iraq which would keep its word on no agreements signed during wartime, and continued to threaten Nations and undermine the sanctions on it by stalling. Those are absolutely good and necessary reasons for Nations to pick up a war that went into a cease-fire as one side was showing ZERO commitment to keep its word.
On the 'no blood for oil' side, I will point out that the very first President to make that calculus was President James Earl Carter and the 'Carter Doctrine'. He was and is on the political Left. He put down that the US would fight for its economic interests in the Middle East so as to not be blackmailed. He was willing to send force of arms to back that up. That IS 'blood for oil'. If the Left has a problem with that, they can look in the god damned mirror.
Call that a conspiracy of the unenlightened enlightened.
Then there are the bits about Iran... Apparently those in Iran actually need something to explain some pretty simple things, and if you want to find out who is destroying the Iranian economy, you need throw one stone no further than inside the borders of Iran itself. Yes, I do have some bad news for Iranians: you folks have got an oil problem! The regime in power is so utterly clueless, utterly hateful and utterly destructive, that they are willing to sacrifice the 'cash cow' of Iran, being its oil exports, in order to fund a worldwide network of Transnational Terrorists known as Hezbollah, and to NOT re-invest in their own petroleum infrastructure. One does not need the US to step in and destroy the economy of Iran... so sorry, the regime is doing that just fine on its own.
How else do you explain not being able to meet OPEC oil export quotas for... what is it now.... two years?
How else do you explain not being able to even PAY government employees, like teachers, for six months? Actually with factories closing, unemployment climbing and strikes galore, Iran has a HUGE problem in its industrial sector.
How else do you explain the growing decay of the refineries to produce gasoline, which is now causing shortages to the point where traffic on the streets has noticeably decreased? In Tehran!
Then there are the working conditions as seen by Iran's own workers that they report on, including lack of pay, arrests, torture, harassment... you don't need the United States of America to NOT PAY YOUR OWN PEOPLE! The regime is doing that just fine and dandy on its OWN! Don't try to pre-blame America for the internal lacks of the Iranian regime. That little tail gets pinned absolutely and squarely in one place: the People of Iran.
Actually, that is a problem that Mr. Alireza does not even try to examine, this from a bit later after more multi-conspiracy theoryism:
The warmongers are planning not only on destroying Iran militarily but also economically. Iran is the only obstacle remaining between America and the energy reserves in the Middle East being controlled by the military industrial complex. America is running out of oil and gas and if it does not have a “reliable source” its vital national security will be placed in danger. Wake up people.Ah, yes, the 'warmongers' of America out to 'destroy Iran militarily' and economically. He gets the Trifecta of : Imperialism, 'military industrial complex', and 'oil'. And since the ME is obsessed about oil, let me drop a load of bricks on that.
The greatest oil reserves around are locked up in tar/oil sands and oil shales which are now economically viable because of the cost of a barrel of oil. Do you know where the greatest reserves of THAT are? The Western US and Canada. Plus the US has had a policy of not drilling on *any* of its continental slope for oil for decades, and China, Mexico and Canada have all seen that there are vast reserves out there that we have not even scratched the surface of. Congress is finally wising up and realizing that depending on foreign oil is not a 'good idea'. The US also gets a lot of petroleum from Mexico... in point of fact the places that depend on Middle Eastern oil are: Europe, China, India and Japan. Iran could be making LOTS more money if they boosted their oil exports, but their decaying petro infrastructure is now making domestic demands hard to meet. Like that gasoline problem there.
One thing that your neighbors in Iraq had to learn, right up front, is that the value of ALL known reserves of oil in Iraq are less than 10% of the US GDP and actually down into tenths of a percent economy wise. Currently that US GDP sits just a bit shy of $13 Trillion. Iran, by comparison, sits at $610 billion, or about 5% that of the US... to put that into perspective, from the Bureau of Economic Analysis GDP by State, a bit smaller than Florida $713 billion and a bit larger than Illinois $589 billion. America has spent more in Iraq than it would ever see, EVER, if it had just gone in and taken the place over. Way cheaper to deal with a tyrant in power to get oil, if only the man could have kept to his wartime agreements... more on that, later. Still, the point is that the US is spending in Iraq, about 1/6 to 1/3 the entire GDP of Iran. Or about 1.5%-2% of entire US economy which is growing, so that makes keeping track of the size of the percentage difficult as it decreases over time.
America, because it is a manufacturing nation that utilizes petroleum to leverage the skills of its working and managerial labor force, has more productivity per person than any other nation on this planet. Iran, who's oil reserves are now falling behind those of Iraq, can be a nice source of oil, but Americans prefer that people figure out how to run their own nations. After multiple wars we handed the following back to their Peoples, after WINNING: Germany, Japan, Philippines, Italy, France, South Korea (after saving it, but that war isn't over, either), and now Afghanistan and Iraq. America is the damnedest strangest 'empire' this planet has ever seen: Americans steadfastly *refuse* to take places over and run them, but have this lovely and revolutionary idea that People are able to do these things on their own, given half a chance. That is why we are helping Afghanistan and Iraq to stand up on their own, learn to pay their own way and get an accountable government in place. We prefer to send diplomats with briefcases rather than soldiers with arms, because the soldiers are just way too cheap, as these things go. A damned diplomat can get a trade agreement going that will be far larger in GAIN than any cost in arms and lives.
Of course diplomats also *lose the peace* every so often. So the cheaper means of getting a more expensive solution that wins for the most people has to be done. Really, diplomats are far more lethal than any army ever created. If you want a long, drawn out unjust peace, look no further than Versailles and the treaties just after it! Made an absolute mess of things, and caused more death than any other 'peace treaty' ever signed. That is a problem with an 'unjust peace': it is waged until the affairs between Nations becomes intolerable, and then you see warfare. Saddam was an evil, tyrannical, genocidal dictator with delusions of grandeur and hegemonic aspirations over the Middle East. He finally got so bad that the world had enough of his antics, and had to throw him out of Kuwait... and then have him agree to do things like dismantle his WMD and long range missile systems capability. Not just the artifacts of the actual bombs and missiles: the entire industries behind them, lock, stock and barrel. If he would have done THAT, he would have been able to merrily re-arm, re-stock his ammo, reinforce his armed forces, spread his influence and start to threaten folks more than he did *before* Kuwait.
And the US would have LET HIM DO THAT. He would have demonstrated that no matter how vile he was as an individual, he would be willing to be held to account for his words and agreements.
In this lovely world of ours, it is not intent that you judge people by, but their actions. Intent decides depth of commitment to those actions, but the actions themselves speak far louder than any words can do. The US has had long standing problems with the current regime in Iran, and yes Americans do know the difference between an authoritarian, dictatorial, despotic regime and the poor unfortunates being subjugated by such government. America did not like having her sovereignty violated and its embassy invaded. America did not like being attacked multiple times by Hezbollah at the behest of Iran and Syria, nor having hundreds of our Marines die who had gone to help protect Lebanon from civil war. America did not like the Khobar towers attack aimed at it in Saudi Arabia by Iranian backed Hezbollah there. And Americans are a bit fed up with Iran sending its 'Secret Cells' and Qods forces and Hezbollah into Iraq with Iranian arms and money to kill just about anyone they can set their sights on: not only Americans, but Iraqi men, women and children.
Since 1979 the American People have held in abeyance against Iran, trying to contain the uncontainable that only has a government capable of seeking domination over others to further its own view of the world. America, as a nation amongst nations that understands the law of nations, could do little to confront a regime that sends its illegitimate and predatory fighters into Bosnia, Chechnya, Algeria, Argentina, Lebanon, and the Tri-Border area of South America. We see the level of violence slowly rise as the regime in Iran sets its sights on domination and dominion for its own ends. There is one People responsible for ending this and they have not done a damned thing to do so.
The People of Iran.
Your Revolution was hijacked and then turned on you. The Shah was repressive and authoritarian, and I do wish that prior generations in the US did not look at him as 'our thug' because all such thugs are vile to America. We did not do so, but also realize that the People of Iran were unable to overcome their own internal differences and mount a coherent Revolution that would bring equality and prosperity to all. We mark 28 years of this regime and its next generation in Iran, and things, far from turning around, are getting worse in every particular just INSIDE Iran itself. As this regime now threatens other Peoples and Nations, Mr. Alireza would much prefer that the authoritarian regime goes unopposed by force of arms from the outside.
Very well, Mr. Alireza, then you must stand for the one thing that is required to ensure that other Nations do not see to their own self-protection to curb a regime that is threatening and killing the citizens of many Nations via predatory warfare. America is a Revolutionary Nation and we can point you to the exact words to use and their implications that MUST be followed by ACTIONS:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.America then spent 10% of her citizenry DYING to back those words up and did so. Another 15% fled to other colonies, unwilling to be a part of this new Nation. There is a great and grave cost to liberty and freedom, Mr. Alireza. You are saying that the evils you have are still sufferable to YOU. What about those that want nothing to do with that regime and are having unaccountable and illegitimate warfare brought to them by it? Where is THEIR JUSTICE, Mr. Alireza?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
Iran has suffered thousands dying at the hands of this regime, just to its own citizenry. More thousands have died at the hands of Hezbollah in far off lands that this regime seeks dominion over. Just because you do not want war, Mr. Alireza, because you are willing to suffer the blood of more innocents dying to support an authoritarian regime, does not mean that others cannot look to such a vile government and put forth that they have had enough of its killing, its threats and its attempts to dominate other peoples in other lands.
Mr. Alireza I can assure you the fastest way to get help in bringing this regime down is to band together with fellow Iranians, put on clothing and markings to identify yourselves and take up your own force of arms and declare REVOLUTION for the People of Iran and stand by that by saying you and those fighting want no PART in the governing afterwards, that is for the People of Iran to decide free from tyranny. You will get help from the US, its Allies and Friends, we will support you in a Revolution for liberty and freedom in Iran, if you hold yourselves accountable, stand up for your People and put forward that only the People of Iran can govern it, NOT YOU. Revolutionaries who put themselves to account by not creating government but by being held accountable to the government created by their People is DAMNED RARE in this world.
And if you are willing to suffer the depredations of this regime, then do not ask others to suffer it WITH YOU especially if they have been the targets of attacks and repression and 'disappearances' by the regime, at home and abroad.
If you don't want Iran to be attacked then overthrow the damned government YOURSELVES. Because it is the current government of the Nation of Iran and it is horrific. If you don't like it but are unwilling to do the one thing necessary to END IT, then do not complain when other folks with a lower tolerance for violence and repression seek to put an end to it so that THEY can be rid of it.
Only the People of Iran can create a Revolution to save themselves.
And to save you from your fantasy conspiracies.
But that will take time and blood and fighting for an ideal of liberty and freedom.
And doing the one thing to prove those beliefs: fighting to make them real for all the People of Iran.