Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nota bene on Ahmadinejad

A couple of posts ago, I talked about Juan Cole and Virginia Tilley discussing how Iran's threat to us is far, far overblown. New J-friend S' (S prime, to distinguish from the heretofore unmentioned dear and good J-friend S) knows someone who is actually a refugee from Iran, who strongly feels the Prez IS a mad, anti-semitic all-around bad guy posing a threat to Israel, Iraq, and the US, and cites first-hand many instances of oppression against the Iranian people who, she says, are not in step with the extremist views of their leader but are kept from positive stances for the US by violent means. Even though I feel that anecdotal evidence is almost never conclusive evidence, I did want to make clear that I don't disbelieve that Pres. Ahmadinejad is an all-around scary or bad guy. I guess the two points I wanted to make were: A) I staunchly disbelieve the US media's portrayal of him, and doubt that they've taken him in context on many occasions, and B) that it seems at least possible given (A), that the characterizations of Ahmadinejad have been inaccurate. Of course, the true rulers of Iran (from what I understand), the Mullahs, certainly do not seem like nice guys or, you know, advocates of freedom or anything else I believe in. I think whatever the case, they're pulling Big A's strings (tired of spelling out his name), and whether or not he is truly so anti-semitic becomes somewhat moot seeing as how the true leadership may very well be -- and is certainly tyrannical. S' pointed this out, that even if it isn't Big A but the mullahs who are the crazy violent bad guys, does it matter in terms of Iran's threat? Thinking on this, the answer is of course no... even if Big A is actually and quietly the most liberal and open-minded person ever, but he's following their orders, well, the result's the same. BUT, as the Juan Cole article I linked to in my other post reinforces, there's not particular good reason to think that they'd pose a nuclear threat. For one thing, it's unclear if they even ARE making weapons-grade uranium rather than, as is their international treaty-ratified right, making power generation uranium (light water nuclear reactors have different enrichment needs than nuclear weapons). If they are, it seems almost certain their capacity is only such that they could make a weapon years and years from now. And even if they DID have "The Bomb," I think an important question is: are the mullahs REALLY crazier than Kim Jong-Il, the Cold War Russians, or the Pakistanis and Indians in regards to their feud with each other? I mean people said that we just didn't understand, Pakistanis and Indians hated each other so much, they were WILLING to face mutual annhilation, and so a nuclear attack WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. Just cuz it hasn't yet doesn't mean it won't, but... I simply do not believe that the mullahs, any more than Hussein, Kim, Gorbachev, Brezhnev, or Pervez care so little for their own comforts or lives that they accept mutually assured destruction, or even just the destruction of their country (where would they go to be dictator, ruler, and/or wealthy statesman?). They are, as our president calls them, irrational -- but only if you are so humanistic as to regard the intentional mistreatment and oppression of any person or peoples irrational. It is horrible and reprehensible, of course, but the fact is that they're getting material benefits -- it's not irrational. Causing (as they must know it would) the destruction of their power base, their home, their resources -- I have yet to see anything, anything that proves the mullahs or Ahmadinejad are on that road.

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