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09/15/15

RECKLESS HYPOCRISY: The Folly of Self-Righteous Indignation

By Kam Zarrabi

cartoon by Ali Romani, Iranian daily Etemaad

I have been mulling the futility of critiquing America’s tragically misguided foreign policy toward the Islamic world, the Middle East, and particularly in dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Of course I would like to believe, and sometimes do even pretend, that my articles or lectures, like those of many other observers and analysts who have similar views, have had an impact, however minute, in bringing about some detectable change of attitude in the public domain. But quite sadly, there seems to be no sign of that where it might count the most - in the broader public domain. Preaching to the chorus of like-minded people is no more than self-gratification.

I watched with fully anticipated disgust the Senate and the House proceedings where the tag-team of Republicans spared no effort in blasting the Iran nuclear deal. A few Democratic members who spoke in favor of the agreement were no less supportive of the basic theme that defines the prevailing public mindset about Iran. After all, if you are an elected official and presumably representing your constituents, you must at the very least appear to uphold their deeply engrained views that approach religious convictions, which means beliefs that do not stand on reasoned logic! It has been said that lies that are repeated often enough and remain unchallenged do gradually gain the status of metaphysical certainty in peoples’ minds.

When it comes to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the general opinion shared by perhaps eighty to ninety percent of the population here, and expressed by the people’s representatives, Democrat or Republican (or even the Independent), is as follows:

  1. Iran is run by a gang of Medieval-minded, religious fundamentalists.
  2. Iran is the world’s Number-One state sponsor of international terrorism.
  3. Iran is determined to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for its aggressive agendas.
  4. Iran wants to wipe Israel off the face of the map.
  5. Iran threatens America’s vital interests in the region and ultimately the security of America’s homeland.
  6. Iran is totally untrustworthy and cannot be expected to adhere to any agreement.
  7. Iran has been the primary cause of regional turmoil and instability.
  8. Iran has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American servicemen in the Middle East stage.

Of course, to formulate such opinions, the American public must have taken as an undisputed fact based purely on blind faith in the propaganda media that Iranian leaders are so ideologically motivated that they would be willing to sacrifice themselves and the lives of tens of millions of Iranians by attempting a suicidal attack, with or without nuclear weapons, against the heavily defended and nuclear armed Israel; they are just that crazy!

While listening to the comments by our congressional leaders, my attention was drawn to three significant, but often glossed over, points: One was the inordinate number of times Israel was mentioned. It was as though the main concern was, first and foremost, Israel’s security and interests above and beyond American, European or other regional concerns. Sadly, no surprise there! I have often challenged the proponents of the claim that Israel is America’s foremost friend and ally deserving of all that America could do in its support, to offer one, only one, example of what this friendship and alliance has ever done for America. We know the cost of this passionate attachment in money, lives (both American and foreign), reputation, strategic calamities, etc., to America; but what about a single solitary advantage to America’s interests? Well, let’s not go there!

Second point was the ambiguity of a highly significant phrase describing the purpose of the P1+5/Iran nuclear negotiations. Some thought that the purpose of the deal was to stop Iran’s entire nuclear programs, whether legal, peaceful or otherwise. Some interpreted the purpose of the negotiations as preventing Iran from developing the capacity or capability to create nuclear weapons. That, of course, would entail closing down physical sciences departments at the universities and, as has already been done by our Israeli “friends”, the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists and other forms of sabotage. Finally, there were very few who actually understood the true stated purpose of the negotiations, which was to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons in violation of its obligations as a signed member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The third point, which irritated me the most, was the barrage of unsubstantiated allegations aimed at discrediting Iran as even a potentially cooperative country acceptable by the international community, and a country that the United States could deal with in the future.

The overtly vulgar remarks recklessly spewed against Iran and the Iranians by the members of America’s congressional leaders and emphatically repeated by the Republican presidential hopefuls, as well as certain cavalier characterizations by even the Democratic presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, in the same breath that they were all dutifully paying their homage to Israel, showed the power and influence of the Zionist lobbies that control America’s electoral process and foreign policies. While the American public is generally oblivious to and sometimes even accepting of this fact, this lobbying influence is anything but a secret in the rest of the world, especially in the Middle East, and particularly in Iran, where a heavy price continues to be paid for it.

Some of the accusations against Iran that are parroted over and over again in speeches by the members of the Congress, whether Republican or Democrat, are that Iran is the world’s #1 state sponsor of terrorism, is the primary source of regional instability by meddling in the affairs of other regional states, and that Iran is in violation of human and civil rights inside its own borders.

Of course we all know that there are two kinds of violations of civil rights; those committed by regimes we do not like and criticize, and those by our friends and allies, which we choose to ignore. In the case of sponsorship of terrorism, we must first define who the “terrorists” are who are being supported and sponsored. Again, there are two kinds of groups: those who oppose us and our friendly allies are classified as terrorists, and those whom we and our regional allies support are either classified as “opposition” groups or are conveniently glossed over.

Interestingly, none of the issues mentioned above have anything to do with the subject of the debate and discussion in the US Congress over the merits of the agreement signed between Iran and the group of 5+1, which is dealing exclusively with preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for related sanctions’ reliefs.

We all know by now that the agreement stays in effect in spite of the purely politically motivated objections by the Republican dominated Congress. But this victory by the Obama administration, for which the Democratic presidential candidate(s) will also claim credit, carries the same burden of politically correct grandstanding that should be accepted as a prerequisite in claiming credibility by any American politician.

While the naysayers to the Iran nuclear deal claim that the agreement does not prevent, but instead enables and emboldens Iran to pose a danger to the region (read Israel) and the United States, the supporters of the agreement claim the opposite, that it makes it increasingly more difficult for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb. The politically correct implication by both sides, however, is that Iran is, in fact, a potential nuclear threat and a danger to the security of the region and the world.

I cannot even imagine a scenario where Obama, his replacement, or any candidate for any political office in the United States would proclaim, for example, that he or she is an atheist, a communist, or confess that America’s support for Israel and the animosity toward Iran have been ill-conceived and detrimental to America’s best interests.

Could we expect President Obama to confess that Iran’s nuclear ambitions to develop a bomb has been a politically motivated fictional narrative serving other purposes? Could he advocate the idea that replacing Israel with Iran would be the most “advantageous” step to pursue America’s true strategic interests in the Middle East? No, not in this lifetime!

Therefore, the hardline, even sounding like a born again neoconservative, rhetoric by Hillary Clinton that the United States under her presidency would take an extremely hawkish position against any Iranian intransigence is as genuine a threat as threatening to nuke Iran if the Supreme Leader jumps over the moon!! Iran has not been and is not intending to build a nuclear arsenal; but who can admit that fact - Obama, Clinton, Kerry?

In the face of all the public rhetoric flying all over the place against Iran by even the supporters of the nuclear deal, is it intelligent to expect for the Iranian leadership to remain calm and not to react in kind? There also exists a public in the Islamic Republic of Iran that has long been the victim of Zionist-driven American policies, which recently prompted Iran’s Supreme Leader to express the opinion that “God willing, there will be no Zionist regime in 25 years.” Of course the local media began the time-tested process of fabricating their own translation of that statement by implying that Iran intends to wipe Israel off the face of the map! If that was truly the case, why did the Ayatollah not say outright that Iran will attempt to destroy Israel (or the Zionist entity) in 25 years’ time? Just think, would wishing the Nazi regime in Germany under Hitler’s rule to not exist have been the same as wanting to wipe Germany off the face of the map? As a side note, Iran’s President just issued his New Year’s greetings to the Jewish people worldwide on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah.

Just for fun, let us try to answer the following questions mostly for the benefit of our hawkish, and totally “patriotic” members of Congress; people like Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Robert Menendez, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and even the brave Junior Senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton:

  1. Which state supported the then Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, and provided him with weapons and strategic cover to invade Iran in 1980, which resulted in the deaths of over a million Iranian and Iraqis during eight years of that war of attrition, which the Iranians call the Imposed War? Imposed by whom, I wonder?
  2. Under which state’s flag was an Iranian passenger airliner shut down killing 290 mostly women and children over the Persian Gulf in 1988, for which Iran never received an apology?
  3. Which state or states are responsible, directly or through their proxies, for the assassinations of Iranian scientists, as well as Iranian border guards?
  4. Which state has for nearly thirty years expressed its intentions to bring about a regime change in Iran, something that is clearly in violation of the United Nations Charter?
  5. Which state has been continuously threatening to attack Iran militarily?
  6. Which state was most responsible for creating unrest in the Middle East by invading and continuing to maintain military activities in the Middle East since 1990?
  7. Which state has been and remains the world’s Number-One supplier of arms to the turbulent region of the Middle East?
  8. The actions of which state have been responsible for the creation of groups such the Taliban, Al Qa’eda, Da’esh (IS), and others now considered as terrorists?
  9. Which state is now most actively engaged in fighting these same groups, as they do present the greatest danger to its security?
  10. Finally, name one (or more, if you are a creative thinker) benefit to America’s strategic interests that America’s financial, military, and diplomatic support for Israel has provided?

In case there are any doubts, the answers to the above questions are: 1, 2, 4, 6 , 7 and 8; The United States. 3; Israel and the United States. 5; Israel. 9; Iran. Question #10 has absolutely no answer!

 

About the author:

Kam Zarrabi is the author of In Zarathushtra's Shadow and Necessary Illusion.He has conducted lectures and seminars on international affairs, particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues. Zarrabi's latest book is Iran, Back in Context.

 

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