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April 15, 2008

Incoherent Iran
Posted by Patrick Barry

I'm not going to dole out judgment on whether supporting proxy groups against Iran is a good tactic for the United States - it may be that shadowy organizations like the PEJAK or the Mujahedin Khalq are vital to our interests, if our objective is to simply exercise a deleterious influence on the Iranian government.  But, if our aim is to moderate the regime, or bolster moderate elements within Iranian society, then supporting Marxist, or terrorist elements may not be the best tact for us to take.  What would be nice, would be if we were to actually define for ourselves what we hope to accomplish vi´sive Iran, rather than the current approach, which seems to be some form of ill-defined maximalism. 


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It's quite obvious that the US goal is not to moderate the Iranian government -- quite the opposite. Every empire must have enemies and Iran serves the purpose well, along with some other countries. As Randolph Bourne wrote years ago, war is the health of the state. The US is dedicated not to moderation but to eternal war. All the major current presidential candidates have promised to expand the military -- just to play poker in the barracks? No, they will used, for what good is the world's finest military (despite its poor record) if it's not used.

Back to Iran and the PEJAK -- Jacob Hornberger said it best in his "Fable of the Hornets."

Once upon a time in a faraway land there was a happy and prosperous village filled with industrious and fun-loving people. To protect the villagers from occasional thieves and marauders, the village council had hired a policeman named Oscar.

One day Oscar got bored and took a long walk into the woods, where he discovered some of the biggest hornets’ nests he had ever seen. The next day and every day thereafter, Oscar returned to the nests and took to poking at them with a big stick. That angered the hornets and caused them to attack Oscar, but their stingers could not penetrate the brand new suit of armor that he was now wearing.

A few days later, however, a terrible thing happened. Several hornets flew into the village and stung some of the villagers, who were understandably outraged. The village council immediately called an emergency meeting. "The hornets have attacked us," one man cried. "We must destroy them all!" After several hours of discussion, everyone agreed that the village had no choice but to wage war on the hornets.

At that point, however, a young boy arose and said, "Maybe if Oscar stops poking the hornets’ nests, the hornets will no longer attack the village."

A gasp and a hush immediately swept across the room. Suddenly, one man screamed, "The boy is supporting the hornets!" Another yelled, "He’s saying that they were justified in attacking the village." A woman weighed in: "He’s suggesting that we got what we deserved!" "Unpatriotic!" "Treason!"

The boy slunk down into his seat and did not say another word, and the villagers turned their attention back to the upcoming war on hornets.


Seconding what Don said, I think it's perfectly clear by now that the long-term Bush policy is to change the Iranian regime in some fairly dramatic way, not just moderate it.

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