On a closed mailing list I participate in a young American woman posted a long diatribe claiming the United States and its allies are about to invade and or nuke Iran. It went on to describe the United States and Israel as the two most dangerous nations on Earth and as terrorists and to defend the right of other nations (i.e.: Iran) to develop nuclear weapons to stand against American and Israeli imperialism. This young woman went on to assert that the United States, in invading or nuking Iran would start World War IV and that financing terrorism is no justification for nuking anyone. She also claimed the U.S. and Israel and their nuclear weapons are a threat to life on earth itself!
My first instinct was to ignore such a posting but I realize that she actually believes what she wrote. Thanks to bias on university campuses across the United States and Europe added to media bias she is hardly alone in her wildly distorted views. While I certainly did not respond to all her rhetoric I did respond to her main points as follows:
Is that a sure thing? I don't think so. Sadly I do believe military action against Iran is not only justified, but necessary. First, if any preemptive military action happens at all (and it is hardly clear that it will) it won't be an invasion. No U.S. boots, or those of any other foreign nation, are likely to set foot on Iranian soil. What is likely is a series of surgical strikes carried out from the air to remove Iran's nuclear and ICBM programs.
Why do I feel it is justified to attack Iran? The Iranian situation is unique. Not only are the Iranian nuclear and ICBM programs internationally verified (in stark contrast to Iraq before the invasion of that country) but the President of Iran and a number of its other leaders have called openly for a nuclear attack on a neighboring state, Israel, which has never been in conflict with or at war with Iran or Persia in three millennia of history. Indeed, prior to the Islamic revolution of 1979 the Jewish and Persian people had 25 centuries of friendship and frequent alliances behind them.
President Ahmadenijad has admitted that Iran's nuclear program is aimed at Israel. Iran's Arab neighbors are also concerned about the nuclear program. Iran stands in defiance of a new U.N. Security Council resolution which passed unanimously. Nations that have called for Iran to end it's envrichment program include Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, Russia, Great Britain, indeed most of the western democracies. To claim concern about Iran is purely an American or American/Israeli issue is simply not true.
Albert Einstein was a pacifist prior to World War II. However, after learning what the Nazis were doing he came to the conclusion that some evils need to be fought. He was right.
Nobody in power in any government I am aware of is suggesting that nuclear weapons be used on Iran or anyone else. Indeed, financing terrorists is not the justification in Iran although Iran certainly does finance terrorists. The justification for an attack on Iran is are active nuclear and ICBM programs and oft repeated threats against Israel, Britain, the United States, and the West in general. Iran already has Shahab-3 missiles capable of striking Israel and Shahab-4 missiles capable of striking European targets. It is actively developing, in cooperation with North Korea, longer range missiles that could eventually be used to attack the United Kingdom or United States. There is also no question about Iran's nuclear program. Even IAEA chief Mohammed el-Baradei, an Egyptian and a Muslim, has described the Security Council action so far as "ineffective".
Israel has had nuclear capabilities since the early 1960s. Twice since then Israel's very existence has been threatened in war: during the first two days of the 1967 Six Day War, and more seriously during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Indeed, without U.S. aid Israel would have been destroyed by an unprovoked Arab attack in 1973. Despite this it did NOT resort to nuclear weapons it clearly had.
Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his role at Oslo, former Prime Minister of Israel, and number two in the current ruling Kadima (Forward) party, is also the father of Dimona, the prime mover in Israel's acquisition of nuclear weapons in the 1950s and 1960s. He has repeatedly stated that Israel's nuclear deterrent is his greatest accomplishment, an accomplishment that "was not so that there could be another Hiroshima, but so that there could be Oslo". His point, which is well taken, is that without Israel's nuclear capability the Arabs would have had little incentive to consider peace. Indeed, without that deterrent Israel's hostile neighbors could destroy Israel today and likely would.
When has Israel threatened even one of their neighbors? Israel has fought strictly defensive wars. Israel is surrounded by mostly hostile neighbors, some of which openly call for genocide of the Jewish people in terms not heard since World War II. I, for one, am not willing to have my family slaughtered. Israel has a right to self-defense.
She went on to call Israeli and American leadership "psychopaths".
Israel's leaders are psychopaths? The current leader [Prime Minister Ehud Olmert] was elected on a platform of unilateral withdrawal from territory with nothing in return and the handing over of that territory to Hamas, an organization with a charter that reads like Mein Kampf. Perhaps that is psychopathic, but not in the sense you describe.
Prime Minister Sharon also handed over Gaza without condition and now missiles rain down on nearby Israeli towns -- missiles launched from Gaza. These aren't just home made Qassam rockets anymore. Last week the first Katyusha fired from Gaza landed in Israel proper. Every Israeli Prime Minister since Rabin has been committed to peace and the creation of a Palestinian state.
My response to her claim that both the United States and Israel were founded as a result of genocide commited against the indigenous peoples of those lands:
I assume you mean the United States here. Holding present day Americans responsible for acts committed in the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries is a bit insane, don't you think? Nobody living today committed genocide against Native Americans.
In the case of Israel I assume you are unaware that 80% of the Palestinian Arabs were first generation in 1948, the same percentage as the Palestinian Jewish population. Most had come to work in British Palestine due to the opportunities created by Jewish immigrants.
Prior to 1948 the term Palestinian most often meant a Jewish resident. The Arabs considered themselves Syrian and their leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini (Yasser Arafat's uncle, BTW) opposed the creation of a new Arab state and instead wanted Palestine returned to Syria.
The term "Jew" is a shortened form of Judean. Jews are from Judea, which is Israel. We predate any Arab immigration into what is now Israel. The Jewish presence in what is now Israel does date back to biblical times. The Arab presence dates back only to the seventh century and most Palestinians, like their modern Israeli counterparts, are 20th century arrivals.
So.. if you mean Israel which "indigenous" peoples are you talking about? Jews come closest. The Palestinians are not descended from the original Canaanite inhabitants. The closest thing to surviving Canaanites would be the Chaldean and Assyrian minorities in Syria and Iraq.
She went on to assert that Israel and the United States violate all norms of international law and all international treaties. She further stated that no nation has the right to demand international cooperation.
No nation is bound by a treaty they do not sign. Not Iran, not Israel, and not the United States. A treaty, by definition, is an agreement.
International law, if such a thing really exists, again can only be defined by international treaty and adjudicated by a universally accepted international court. No such court exists. The ICJ, for example, is not recognized by the United States.
I could go into a long dissertation about the incredible bias and anti-Semitism at the United Nations, but what would be the point?
No, of course not. In the case of the United States, that cooperation is freely given by many nations. In the case of Iran, it is presenting a clear existential threat to one of its neighbors. That neighbor (Israel) has a right to protect it's citizens. The United States, as an ally of Israel *by choice*, with the support of an overwhelming majority of Americans, has a right to assist.
If the U.S. or Israel were destroyed by Islamists I doubt you would like the world that would follow. Are you prepared, as a woman, to give up all your rights and be treated as property under Sharia law? That is the likely result of what you advocate.
She goes on to define terrorism as support for the United States, Israel, and their "imperial agenda".
Israel has never been imperialistic in any sense of the word. It defines terrorism as an unprovoked attack on its citizens. Perhaps you approve of blowing up a teen disco, a pizza parlor filled with families, an Israeli Arab owned family restaurant in Haifa, a bus full of commuters, a holiday celebration dinner, a gas station called the "Peace Stop" owned by supporters of the peace process when schoolchildren were waiting for their bus there, a nightclub, etc.... These have all been the targets of terrorism as most sane people would define it. Is this what you are supporting?
Did she respond to my response? Yes, and her subsequent posts devolved into anti-Semitism: denying Israel's right to exist and minimizing the Holocaust. That, and the reaction of the organization who sponsored the list, will be the subject of some additional articles in the coming week.
[NOTE: This piece appeared in five parts in somewhat different form on Blogs of Zion starting on 4 April.]