Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Iran and U.S. Relations 102: Accountability

I hadn't planned on doing another Iran post, but the best friend I've never met and one of my favorite long-time commenters, "I Travel for JOOLS" left a comment that deserved a larger response.

Here is her comment:

"After reading all this, I guess I'd sum it up as saying the reason for Iran's behavior is what America has done to them. Sort of "God damn America", to quote a well known preacher. So, that must be why they hate Israel and threaten to wipe them off the face of the earth. So that's why they are in defiance of the U.N. with uranium enrichment. So that's why the 12th IMAM is returning.

"The 12th Imam: Why Is This Especially Important Now?
While Christians look for Jesus’ 2nd coming, the Jews await the Messiah and Muslims await the 12th Imam. Mr. Ahmadinejad, and his cabinet, say they have a ‘signed contract’ with al Mahdi in which they pledge themselves to his work. What does this work involve? In light of concerns over Iran’s nuclear capabilities, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly stated Israel should be wiped off the map. He spoke to the United Nations in September ’05. During that speech he claims to have been in an aura of light and felt a change in the atmosphere during which time no one present could blink their eyes. Iran’s PM is also said to have spoken in apocalyptic terms and seems to relish conflict with the West whom he calls the Great Satan. This is while he proclaims he must prepare the world for the coming Mahdi by way of a world totally under Muslim control. He is working hard to bring about the world-wide horrors that must be in place for their al Mahdi to bring peace."

It doesn't matter what we do or say. It is enough we exist."

Let me address the 12th Imam references first. I'm well aware that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a fucking nut job who thinks it is his destiny to speed the return of the 12th Imam. Because I blogged about it back in 2006.

I found it every bit as frightening as the neo-conservatives surrounding Bush who believed that it was THEIR destiny to speed the return of Jesus.

It's always scary when people who are capable of believing in a bunch of supernatural, apocalyptic bullshit are allowed to assume a position of power. Because I'm here to tell ya, ain't none of that shit ever gonna happen.

Jesus ain't coming back and neither is the 12th Imam. That's all fairy tales and nursery rhythms.

What is very, very real is that actions have consequences.

Let me ask you a question. Why do you view Iran as an enemy of the United States and why are you so afraid that they will develop nuclear weapons?

Do you view them as our enemy just because they exist? Do you view them as our enemy because you are jealous of them and you want what they have?

Because I know a little bit about you I'm going to take the liberty of saying "No", that's not why you view them as an enemy. You are a rational person. You view them as our enemy because they openly threaten us and our friends!

You're a smart lady. You see where I'm going here. Do you really think that Iran and other nations who oppose us and threaten us do so just because we exist? Because, as Bush used to be fond of saying "They hate us because of our freedom!".

No. It's not that simple.

Iran views us an an enemy because we have behaved as their enemy. We facilitated a coup of their democratically elected Prime Minister, replaced him with a ruthless dictator and helped install a Secret Police organization that tortured and imprisoned Iranian citizens! Figuring out why they don't like us isn't rocket science. It doesn't require invoking Jesus and Imams.

As far as Iran wanting to wipe Israel from the face of the Earth, Israel's neighbors have been vowing to do that since it came into existence. That's not unique to Iran. And I'm not talking about the post Holocaust creation of modern Israel in 1948.

I'm talking about the ORIGINAL Israel. The one that used to be the Land of Canaan. The one populated by the Canaanites.

In the Old Testament Yahweh told the Jewish people that he was giving them the Land of Canaan and they should go in and take it from the Canaanites.

That was their "legal claim". God gave it to us so it's ours. Needless to say this didn't sit well with the Canaanites and their neighbors.

Fast forward to 1948. Replace "Yahweh" with "The United Nations" and Canaan with Palestine.

The names have changed, but the political and emotional dynamics are exactly the same.

Now, forcible land grabs are not unique to Israel. Forcible land grabs are what define the world we live in. Every nation on the planet is either the beneficiary or victim of multiple forcible land grabs. If you are reading this from anywhere within the United States, you are the beneficiary of forcible land grabs.

So it's a legitimate question to ask why this one particular land grab by the Jewish people should be such a long lasting source of hostility.

Blame religion.

In His Infinite, Infallible Wisdom, the God of Abram convinced him that there was only One True God. Abram accepted this God and became Abraham.

Abraham had 2 sons, Isaac and Ishmael.

Yahweh ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son to prove his devotion to Him.

According to scripture, Abraham acted in good faith, took his son to the mountain, tied him up and was ready to kill him when Yahweh produced a magical lamb, told Abraham he had proved himself, he could sacrifice the lamb instead of his son and that Abraham and Yahweh would be eternal pals. Yahweh would bless Abraham's descendants and make them a Great Nation.

Jews and Christians claim descent from Isaac through his son Jacob (also known as Israel).

Muslims claim descent from Ishmael.

Jews and Christians say it was Isaac who was bound on the rock and about to be sacrificed.

Muslims claim it was Ishmael whom God spared.

Thus began the most violent and epic real estate battle known to man.

My contention has always been that if The Land of Canaan is the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the true birthplace of humanity's 3 greatest monotheistic religions, and if that One True God is real, shouldn't this be the most blissful, peaceful and awe inspiring place on the planet? If God is All Powerful, shouldn't His/Her Holy Land be a place where all hatred is rendered powerless and every Pilgrim feels at peace?

How does an All Powerful God allow the Holiest Place on the planet to be up for grabs to whoever has the least holiest intentions?

Sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me.

So, back to the Iranian situation.

Iran wants to wipe Israel from the face of the Earth because as Muslims (descendants of Ishmael), they think God gave Canaan to them and view the modern Jewish state as thieves and usurpers.

The Jews (descendants of Isaac), they think God gave Canaan to them and they were able to use the post-Holocaust environment to rally world support to give it to them as a permanent homeland to prevent another Holocaust.

Christians, especially American fundamentalist Christians, back the Jewish claim because Christians are basically a Jewish sect twice removed. They have an entire eschatology based on the fate of Israel.

So the God of Abraham is responsible for this mess. He promised the same thing to three different groups and watched them all fight over the spoils in His name.

I suspect that "Yahweh/Jesus/Allah" may in fact be a Trickster.

Like Loki.

"In Norse mythology, Loki is known as a trickster. He is described in the Prose Edda as a "contriver of fraud". Although he doesn’t appear often in the Eddas, he is generally described as a member of the family of Odin. Despite his divine or demi-god status, there's little evidence to show that Loki had a following of worshippers of his own; in other words, his job was mostly to make trouble for other gods, men, and the rest of the world."

I don't know of any other explanation of The God of Abraham that makes any sense. If he exists at all (which I deny), he must be a Trickster.

Actions have consequences.

Every actor is accountable for their actions.


Nick said...

"...nursery rhythms."

And here, Thor help me, Barry Manilow in all his Liberace-lite glory flashed through my head:

"At the Copa (Co!), Copacabana (Copacabana)
The hottest spot north of Havana
At the Copa (CO!), Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the Copa....they fell in looooove"

But that's probably just me.

m.v. said...

Sorry you lost me at the god/israel ramblings so I skipped, but to answer Jools:yes,United States together with the rest of the big world players like the USSR, France, Spain, Portugal etc. screwed up the 3rd world big time. South America,Africa,Middle East - nobody gave a crap about people who live there,as long as oil was coming in, or diamonds, or bananas.In recent history,incompetent CIA actions like the one in Iran were a big reason for what we are seeing today.There is not really a way to undo this.Would it be different if no one interfered? Who knows, and the fact that Iranian president was democratically elected doesn't mean that he was a nice guy,but it was none of the US business to get him out.

Kanga said...

Mr. deity has a devastating take on the whole conquering Canaan thing. It's here: http://www.youtube.com/user/misterdeity#p/a/u/1/i6sdpc8stqI

Kanga said...

Last semester I took a course in the history of the Modern Middle East. From everything I've studied, XO is dead on right on this historically, and he didn't even take the class. Good work, HSWG!

Keith Sader said...

As a nit-picker, I have to take issue with the Israel invasion hypothesis. There's a slight problem - it never happened. However the conflicts between two regional powers are well documented and attested to in the archaeological and written records

オテモヤン said...


Nick said...

There's just no refuting オテモヤン's basic premise; admit it, X.O. -- you've been bested!

I Travel for JOOLS said...

The 12th IMAM may be a myth but Amadinejad's distorted vision of bringing him onto earth isn't. That much I think we may agree on, and that's some scary shit as you noted in your 2006 post. He's a crazy man, a ruthless killer of his own people, and with the growing capability of doing the world catastrophic harm. I think that's a bit different than the beliefs and desires of present day Christianity. However, I really don't want to debate the merits of which religion is right or wrong, etc. The point is we have reason to be very concerned about Iran right here and now in great part because of its leaders' crazed belief system.

I want to throw something into the pot concerning the argument about the agression of the U.S. towards other countries. As we speak, President Obama is launching drone attacks into Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. These attacks have been killing lots of innocent people as well as terrorists. I am certain President Obama has no burning desire to kill anybody, much less innocent people. Nonetheless, his actions are seen as that of an aggressor by many who live in those countries and by terrorists as well. He didn't start the war, but he is doing what he thinks he needs to do to eradicate terrorism. Once again we have a President who is an aggressor. The CIA is probably just as active in other countries as it was during previous administrations too because that's what the CIA does.

So, when it's all said and done, nothing really changes no matter who is president or what party is in charge. Thinking back, which presidents since WW II have not launched some kind of attack in a foreign country? Very few, if any, haven't. I guess we could just stop, but that's not likely. Obama himself will have no choice but to slam Iran if they attack Israel.

We are a world superpower and as long as we are, that's just not going to change.

Xavier Onassis said...

m.v. - Yeah, sorry about that. I gave my editor the night off to go score from strange.

kanga - thanks for the kudos and the link! "That's never going to happen! Who doesn't love my Chosen People?" That's some funny shit right there.

Keith Sader - Jebus dude, you're more anal than I am. And not in the good way.

Nick - I got nuthin'.

Jools - I honestly don't think Amadinejad is any crazier than Bush was.

I also don't think that his religious beliefs are any more bizarre than the beliefs and desires of present day Christianity.

You said "He didn't start the war, but he is doing what he thinks he needs to do to eradicate terrorism."

No, I don't believe he is. Because the President is a rational man who understands that terrorism cannot be eradicated.

Terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. Saying you are going to eradicate terrorism is like saying you are going to eradicate airpower. Vowing to defeat terrorists is like vowing to defeat pilots. It's a ridiculous proposition.

"Obama himself will have no choice but to slam Iran if they attack Israel."

I hope that doesn't happen. Because we cannot defeat Iran. We are so bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan that we just don't have the resources to start and win a 3rd war with yet another country.

We can't be at war with everybody all the time.

"We are a world superpower... "

Not for much longer.

The day after 9/11 the entire world was with us. Bush spent the next 8 years squandering all of that good will and influence. He spread America's power so thin and pissed off so many allies that we are weaker than we have ever been.

China and India are on the rise, we are on the decline.

Greece. Rome. France. Britain. The world is sprinkled with fallen empires and former world "super powers".

We peaked in power from 1914 - 2000. Less than 100 years.

History will judge us as an inspirational flame that burned brighter than any other, for far shorter than any other, but we were ultimately suffocated and killed by the overwhelming weight of our hubris.

The future belongs to the East, not the West.

We blew it.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

Shoot me an e-mail, will ya. I can't find your address...accidentally deleted it and now can't find it.

Xavier Onassis said...

Jools - Done!

Anonymous said...

Interesting anti Jewish propaganda rant. Oddly, I can read the same arguments about the ancient Jews...never mind that they were a former slave people fighting against EXTERMINATION by the surrounding culture...on Neo Nazi sites like Storm Front.

You dumb shit.

Raytown Legal Eagle.

Keith Sader said...

Reading comprehension FAIL for Raytown legal eagle.

The 'invasion' of the Levant by Israel never happened hence the whole 'former slave nation' is a non-starter. Israel developed, grew up, and stayed in the Levant region until the Roman diaspora.