Argo and the Foreign Policy Benefits of Remembering the Past

As the hit movie Argo shows, American presidents don’t decide when the story begins.

Argo was number one at the box office in its third week of release. The film, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, dramatizes the complicated CIA scam that rescued six hostages from Iran in 1980, while the rest of the United States’ embassy’s employees were held captive by Islamic radicals.

The very successful film can be read as a fable of embattled but resourceful Americans fighting, and being terrorized by, mad, dangerous, radicalized Middle Easterners. This message is likely to resonate, whether consciously or unconsciously, in these post-Benghazi days, with American diplomats again under attack. With war with Iran now seen as a looming necessity by many, it's a suitable time for Americans to relive what most of us probably see as the roots of our current Iranian troubles. While Americans flocked to Argo, U.S. military officials were just this week warning Israel that the biggest problem with that nation trying to destroy Iran’s nuclear program is that it will weaken the U.S.’s ability to do the same by annoying our Gulf allies.

At Argo’s beginning, though, we see a more complicated political point, one more valuable to America this election season. It’s a documentary-style sequence, before the actual story begins, and easy to forget once embroiled in the comedy and drama of the rescue scheme.

We see that the scary and violent actions of the Iranian rabble against our brave consular officers had motives: U.S. complicity in the overthrow of an elected leader in 1953 and decades of propping up a hated dictator, the Shah.

The hit film thus has a useful lesson for our two major party presidential candidates, one that they were sure to miss. In their October foreign policy debate, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney both took the position that America is an indispensable nation with a mission and responsibility to manage and bring workable and democratic civil society to the world. (While we were not defending “democracy” in propping up the Shah of Iran, we were defending the true underlying principal of American foreign policy since World War II: that what we say goes.)

They both think it’s unthinkable that Iran should have a nuclear weapon. Both believe the outcome of the Syrian unrest is a matter of vital import to us. Americans are nearly half in agreement that we should mind our own business internationally. Still, our major parties offer merely tonal variations of a long, endless, annoying song of eternal meddling for eternal democracy and “safety,” sung by people who don’t understand that every supposed threat facing us is a result of our own past meddling, and that next-level, “sophisticated” ways of waging Middle Eastern war such as through drone strikes is making tomorrow’s enemy, today.

Anne Applebaum noted in Slate that “this election has received less serious coverage abroad than any I can ever remember.” It’s not hard to figure out why: No matter the outcome of the election, the basic thrust of America against the rest of the world will remain the same. We rule, the rest of the world drools, as long as such drooling does not represent a likely or apparent danger to the security of the United States, as decided by people who have never internalized the lessons of the boy who cried wolf.

Applebaum also believes that “The myth of America as an all-seeing, all-knowing superpower does persist in a few places—ironically, one hears it most often in the Arab world—but most everywhere else it’s long gone." It also persists is in the minds of American presidential candidates. They believe that the futures of Iran, Syria, Libya, even the buying and selling decisions of the entire nation of China depend to a vital degree on our will, our toughness, and when it comes down to it, the expenditure of our life and treasure.

Neither candidate wants to grapple with the fact that, like our Iranian policy from the 1950s and 1960s, our actions today are creating the foreign policy crises of tomorrow. There is a very strong possibility that our increasingly desperate attempts to gin up a rebel army America can love in Syria after over $130 million in support, and after nearly a decade of trying to strangle the nation and its people with sanctions, will complicate Syrian attitudes toward us in the future in a way we won’t relish. Some Syrians will hate us for not helping now more openly or militarily; some may grow to hate us for helping a faction they hate. Depending on what faction ends up on top, the Syria of 2013 may be as unsafe for America as was the Libya of October 2012.

While Obama’s foes would rather conjecture about how resolute he was in the unfolding Benghazi crisis, the important truth is that our help to Libyan rebels laid the groundwork for the still confused and macabre troubles in Benghazi and left a political situation continuously violent and chaotic. We face, after a decade and 2,000 dead soldiers and half a trillion spent, an Afghanistan occupation that will never end in the way we pretend to want, with a functioning internal Afghan security force to our liking. We have put in all those costs and years and lives merely to create undoubted future problems, problems that every likely future president will feel it is a necessary duty to manage, while the (always tiny anyway) problem of international terror merely moved to another location.

Still, in the face of a record of chaotic and unpredictable and expensive past interventions, Romney said in the October foreign policy debate that we “have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the—the world of Islam.” What about a comprehensive and robust strategy to leave that world alone? 

The world does have a past, and the U.S. is alas all too present in leaving that past indelibly marked with our choices. As hegemon, we should make those marks with care, cognizant that the sunk costs of our past mistakes limit our choices now in unpleasant ways. Our past interventions have created messes, undoubtedly; but a policy of eternal intervention for eternal mess-cleaning stopped being tenable a few wars and a trillion borrowed dollars ago. As with planting trees, the best time to not intervene in foreign affairs is 50 years ago. The second best time is now. Three generations of Middle Easterners resenting our meddling is enough.

It was smart for storytelling purposes that Argo reminded its viewers that even the villains had motives, that the scene for today's problems was logically rooted in the past. It’s a simple and true storytelling principle, one that the fantasists running for the presidency are sadly set on ignoring.

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  • ||

    The end of Argo had a similar unrecognized message, the part where it briefly recognizes that all the hostages were released on January 20, 1981, without acknowledging the significance of that day -- Reagan's inauguration.

    Followed by a Carter voiceover talking about how "we" got the hostages out safely.

    It was fears of Reagan bombing Tehran that got the hostages freed, J. Carter.

  • Suki||

    Yes, but it took an Islamic revolution in Iran to bring the true civil/human rights of the variety that Brian values. No more mean old Shah.

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah Suki, cause that's totally what Brian was saying. You either support giving money and arms to the Shah or you support the radical Islamists, right?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    No, they released the hostages because we gave them $8 billion dollars to release them. The fact the hand over was delayed until after the inauguration was due to personal animosity toward Carter. That is, they didn't care who was coming in; they just wanted to give Carter one last FU before releasing them.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Sadly, Reagan acquiesced to Iranian aggression against America. Arguably his biggest failure.

  • IceTrey||

    " And now, friends and countrymen, if the wise and learned philosophers of the elder world, the first observers of nutation and aberration, the discoverers of maddening ether and invisible planets, the inventors of Congreve rockets and Shrapnel shells, should find their hearts disposed to enquire what has America done for the benefit of mankind?

    Let our answer be this: America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government. America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity.

    She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights.

    She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own.

    She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart.

    She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right.

  • IceTrey||

    Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.

    But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

    She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

    She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

    She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

    She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

    The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force....

    She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit....

    [America's] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice."

    John Quincy Adams
    1821

  • NeonCat||

    Sure, but how did he feel about "free" birth control for women?

    JQ Adams: UNELECTABLE

  • ||

    The libertarian republicanism of old doesn't seem a very popular ideology nowadays. What a fucking tragedy.

  • Lisa||

    "While Americans flocked to Argo, U.S. military officials were just this week warning Israel that the biggest problem with that nation trying to destroy Iran’s nuclear program is that it will weaken the U.S.’s ability to do the same by annoying our Gulf allies."

    Who in the Gulf would be annoyed by Iran not having a nuclear program besides Iran? And they're not our ally.

  • ||

    As I've pointed out before, the overthrow of Mossagdeh really has to be seen in the context of the early stages of the Cold War. We were Eight years out of WWII where Persion Gulf oil supplies were a major strategic resource. The Soviets had just gotten the atomic bomb. The "Iron Curtain" had fallen. The Berlin blockade and airlift had taken place just a few years earlier. Everyone thought we were going to be at war with the USSR in the near future.

    Now along comes a socialist leader, gets elected President of Iran, and the first thing he does is nationalize our oil interests.
    Contratry to how the film portrays this, they did not nationalize our oil supplies to "return Iran's oil to it's people". Many Marxist historians have advanced that agenda because, as they generally believe, nationalizing industries is always "for the people", and anyway, the USSR is full of wonderful people who just want to bring about a socialist worker's paradise. (Particularly this was true of the left in 1953, for sure). But when you look at this in the context of the geopolitical situation at the time, this whole thing: Mossagdeh's election, the seizing of our oil supplies is pretty obviously a strategic move by the USSR (which after all is Iran's immediate neighbor), to take control of the Persian Gulf.

    And in 1953 at the height of the Cold War, with war with the USSR on the horizon, the was no fucking way we were going to allow a Soviet puppet state to control the Persian Gulf.

  • Calidissident||

    If you're going to argue that things be put in context, then you should probably put the oil nationalization in context. Right or wrong, British domination of Iran's oil industry was a major affront to Iranian pride. This was amplified by the fact that unlike Saudi Arabia, Iran wasn't getting a 50-50 deal out of it. The country was also invaded in WWII by the UK and USSR.

    Again, I'm not saying oil nationalization was a good idea. But despite his support for oil nationalization, Mossadegh was far from a Marxist. Iran was not a Soviet puppet state. If they were, do you think the Soviets would have given the country up so easily? The Soviets were despised by most people in Iran due to the invasion during WWII. How was Mossadegh's election a strategic move by the USSR? Do you have any proof he wasn't actually elected, or that the USSR was responsible? And as I've said, oil nationalization, regardless of its wisdom, was popular amongst the Iranian people, not just communists. The National Front wasn't all that socialist in a broader sense, any more than the European Social Democrats and Labor parties are/were. Mossadegh wasn't Salvador Allende.

  • Calidissident||

    In any case, as a libertarian, I cannot justify subjecting a country to a dictatorship just to secure oil resources for the US. And what percentage of US oil came from Iran in 1953 btw? You make it seem like the country would have collapsed without it. The British were pissed at the AIOC getting kicked out, and wanted payback. Eisenhower stupidly went along with it. Regardless, what does the merit of the operation have to do with its consequences? Whether it was right or wrong, the results are what they are

  • ||

    It's not really the oil resources per se. But what appeared to be a very strong likelihood that we would need them to fight a major war.

    When you are in a war, not only do you want to make sure that you control the oil supply, you also want to make sure that your enemy does NOT. Whether or not we could have gotten our oil elsewhere, we definitely wanted to make sure that the USSR did NOT get control of Iran's oil.

    Plus, if they'd had the Iranian coast, they would have been in a position to bomb the shipping lanes out of the Persion Gulf, effectively shutting off all Persian Gulf oil.

    Basically, for multiple totally legitimate strategic military reasons, we could not allow Iran to fall into the Soviet sphere of influence.

  • Calidissident||

    "Basically, for multiple totally legitimate strategic military reasons, we could not allow Iran to fall into the Soviet sphere of influence."

    Yeah, I just don't agree with this. Even if we assume Iran was going to fall into the Soviet sphere of influence. When two sides have nuclear weapons, and both sides of lots of oil (let's be real, neither the US or the USSR was lacking oil in 1953) war is a) pretty unlikely and b) Persian Gulf oil is of secondary importance

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Cali, we came very close to nuclear war on several occasions, and MAD was far from a pat observation in 1953.

    As for oil, you tell me how much oil the USSR and the US had access to in the early 50s and how long a protracted war on the scale of WWII can last without oil. Iran was a strategically important country for several reasons, and in fact many of our listening stations and counterespionage efforts in the USSR during the Cold War were based out of the Shah's Iran.

  • Calidissident||

    The Cold War was largely a bunch of bullshit and posturing. I don't know why you think you're going to convince me by arguing "It was the Cold War so it was okay!"

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    There are millions of people in Asia and Europe who would disagree with you on that point; millions more all over the world who never had to experience living under a communist dictatorship or fighting one in a conventional war. For them, the Cold War was very real. For the "lucky" few who got to live under the shadow of a nuclear umbrella, its effects were real enough. And you should be very glad that it never got past the "bullshit posturing" phase.

    Not everything that we did in preventing that conflict from getting hot was justified, but some of it sure as hell was and it wasn't all posturing. It's good that you have the sense not to buy everything the government sells as gospel, but try exercising that scepticism when it comes to claims made by your ideological kin, as well.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The Cold War was largely a bunch of bullshit and posturing.

    Note to self: Cali is an ignorant twat.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    "Mossadegh was far from a Marxist."

    Jury's still out on that one, but in any case the possibility of Mossadegh's moderation wasn't widely known outside of British intelligence until recently.

  • Calidissident||

    "Jury's still out on that one, but in any case the possibility of Mossadegh's moderation wasn't widely known outside of British intelligence until recently."

    Huh? Mossadegh was never a Marxist unless you think oil nationalization alone makes someone Marxist. The National Front was a secular nationalist, social democrat party. It was never a radical leftist party. The Tupeh Party, which was communist, supported Mossadegh in his oil nationalization efforts, but they often clashed with him at other times. There is no evidence that Mossadegh or the rest of the Iranian government was communist

  • Cytotoxic||

    The pro-Soviet Tudeh party was ascendent while Mossy was weak. Between the Soviet occupation of northern Iran and Tudah's massive rallies, there was very good reason to fear Iran falling into the Soviet camp. That would've been catastrophic. Replacing him with the Shah-a relatively enlightened ruler-was clearly the right thing to do.

    Contrary to the propaganda spread by many, Mossy was an autocrat. A very weak crappy autocrat. He got rid of the anonymous ballot. He was nutty. And most of all, unpopular. It was NOT the failed coup that ousted him but masses of people in the street. American involvement at this phase is highly ambiguous as well.

  • Calidissident||

    Define "ascendent." Mossadegh was actually becoming unpopular, as you said, but the communists were not on verge of toppling him. There was plenty of legitimate opposition. Mossadegh had assumed broad powers, partly in a (stated) attempt to finally turn the Shah into a mere figurehead. Perhaps he was sincere, perhaps he wasn't, but in either case he was probably on his way out of power soon. But there's no proof of an imminent communist revolution. The USSR was not popular in Iran after WWII.

    "Replacing him with the Shah-a relatively enlightened ruler-was clearly the right thing to do."

    Really? It's clearly the right thing for the US govt to install and support a dictator in a foreign country? So much for letting people govern themselves. Oh yeah, the US government was more "rights-protecting" domestically, so I guess they had the right to do whatever the fuck they wanted in Iran? Btw, enlightened despot?

    "It was NOT the failed coup that ousted him but masses of people in the street. American involvement at this phase is highly ambiguous as well."

    Yeah, that's just not true. And in any case, we supported the shah for 25 years after that. With far more catastrophic consequences than anything that could have happened if we didn't intervene

  • ||

    Not to mention that the Iranians hated the Shah so much they had ALREADY thrown him out before we reinstalled him - and several years later threw him out for a SECOND time, for some pretty good reasons I might add. Like putting political opposition in prison, and throwing lavish parties while economic conditions deteriorated. Not exactly the "enlighted" ruler Cyto makes him out to be.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Let's be clear on what material support the US provided:

    * A safe haven for pro-Shah forces.
    * Help from American legal experts to ensure that the Shah's royal decree ousting Mossadegh would hold up to Iranian judicial scrutiny and avoid offense.
    * Safety for the Shah in Italy during hostilities and notification of when it was safe to return.
    * Intelligence on the composition of pro-Mossadegh paramilitaries and elements of the military loyal to Mossy.
    * Political intermediation between the UK and the Shah which ended the AIOC monopoly in Iran.

    In return for this, we got what would turn out to be the most pro-Western third world government that we would have in the Middle East for the next 25 years -- one which allowed us to set up listening posts and which played a crucial role in our later counterespionage efforts.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    BTW, Shah Reza Pahlavi was not hated -- his father was (and for his tyranny was deposed), but the Shah was relatively well liked and respected prior to the oil controversies (though certainly not as popular as Mossy). What the Shah was, was relatively powerless in domestic affairs -- this was by choice, since the Shah fashioned himself an enlightened figurehead monarch of the European mold, and since he had fresh memories of his father's deposal. His beef with Mossy was that Mossy was a radical center thug who wanted direct control of the military, that he was anti-Western, and that he threatened an oil racket which was quite lucrative for the monarchy. Mossy was democratically elected, but he did not govern democratically or keep company with people who cared about democracy, freedom of speech, or other political rights. He had a paramilitary, shut down newspapers that disagreed with him on a regular basis, and acted in the fashion of an autocrat.

  • Calidissident||

    "In return for this, we got what would turn out to be the most pro-Western third world government that we would have in the Middle East for the next 25 years -- one which allowed us to set up listening posts and which played a crucial role in our later counterespionage efforts."

    Not to mention an Islamic revolution that's probably going to ultimately result in Obamney sending in the troops, costing us thousands of lives and them tens or hundreds of thousands of lives. But it's okay man, cause the Soviet Union was totally gonna destroy us! (And once again, this coup did not go down the way you describe. Britain spearheaded it, but couldn't pull it off till Eisenhower finally agreed to the operation. This was not a US thought up mission for "national security")

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Um, where did I say it was justified, or that the US made an informed decision vis a vis Iran? Seems to me that I said just the opposite on this very thread. Point me to a place where I said the intervention was justified or good.

    To make an honest tally, one must have all of the data. The hoary myths about this particular incident just happen to be such that they don't tell the whole tale -- recounting the tale in full is by no means a justification for what happened. Fact is, some of our interventions were wildly successful in spite of our best efforts. This was one of them (for a little while). And nowhere is it written that we must invade Iran in the near future or that it was even a forseeable consequence for the folks who planned Operation Ajax. It is a separate issue.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The Tudeh party was very powerful rallies with tens of thousands of people. They'd a been the ones replacing Mossy.

    "It was NOT the failed coup that ousted him but masses of people in the street. American involvement at this phase is highly ambiguous as well."

    Yeah, that's just not true.

    Sorry but it fucking is. Mossy's overthrow was very popular.

  • Cytotoxic||

    With far more catastrophic consequences than anything that could have happened if we didn't intervene

    A solid ally against the USSR is hardly 'catastrophic'. The current situation is a result of allowing the Islamic Republic of Iran to exist, a failure people like you are responsible for. An invasion in 1980 and the world would be a much better place.

  • ||

    The thing is that the popular mythology about this period largely is rooted in an interpretation of history that's been popularized by Noam Chomsky. His history of US foreign policy minimizes the role of the USSR and the Cold War and interprets everything as if the Soviet threat never existed and all US actions are explained by sinister business interests rather than by an ideological conflict over communism.

    And it's sad to see libertarians buying into it.

  • ||

    Also, you know the Tudeh party was probabyl funded by the USSR, and it would hardly be the first time that the Soviets financed a communist revolution to move a country into the communist camp.

    Also worth pointing out what had just happened all over Eastern Europe in the aftermath of WWII, where the USSR installed communist puppet governments. (Often following democratic elections). And Iran had been halfway occupied by the USSR during WWII for the explicit purpose of controlling their oil fields.

    Essentially, viewed in a larger context the USSR was everywhere moving to consolidate control of the territory it had occupied at the end of WWII.
    That is the whole gist of what the "Iron Curtain" was.
    Whether Iran would end up behind the Iran Curtain was of vital strategic importance.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    You're forgetting that in NeoCon world, "democratically elected" == "puts the desires of the US government before the desires of the voters in their own country". Since Mossadegh wasn't doing what the US and UK wanted him to do, he by definition must not have been democratically elected.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Unfortunately, this isn't true. The blind Neocon quest for Panacea in the form of Democracy led to the election of Hamas in the Palestinian territories of Israel.

  • ||

    First of all, I'm willing to believe the elections in Iran were legit, although it's wrong to say that Mossagdeh was elected. Iran had a parliamentary system, and Mossadegh was selected by the parliament. Nobody voted for him directly.

    I'm not arguing that the overthrow of the Iranian government and the replacement with the shah was a good thing. I'm just pointing out there there were legitimate reasons for it based in real US national security interests, not just the usual Marxist line about evil oil companies and capitalism.

    If you want to argue that the US should never seek to topple an elected government for any reason that's a totally respectable position to hold. Just don't pretend that because the US did so, it must have been purely because the US government is a tool of greedy capitalists who want to steal oil and oppress people for the fun of it.

  • Calidissident||

    I would never argue that capitalism had anything to do with it. Using government's guns against other people isn't a part of capitalism. I wasn't there, so I don't fully know anyone's motivations, but I'm not naive enough to think that it's far-fetched that the US government would have nefarious motivations when operating abroad, or that "national security interests" might not always be the most-important thing in policy making. In any case, evidence indicates that Britain was pissed over the loss of the oil, and that they convinced Eisenhower and the US to help them install the Shah

  • ||

    Well, my point is there were rather obviously some VERY important "national security interests" at stake, for both the US and Britain. We were allies for God's sake, and very close ones at that. Any threat to British oil interests is a threat to our military interests too, because we're part of the same alliance that shares resources. Any threat of Iran moving into the Soviet camp is a threat to both the US and Britain, because it means that our enemy has more oil and we have less. It's not difficult to understand why seizing British oil interests would be judged (rightly) as a threat to US national security interests.

    Given that there were HUGE and very important national security interests at stake, why do you need to find any other motive anyway? Why even go there? There's plenty of explanation for our motivations without adding in nefarious evil capitalists secretly manipulating the US government. The whole narrative seems concocted by Marxists who want to make it part of a story about global capitalism being a system of oppression that steal's oil from "the people".

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Thanks, Hazel for injecting some sanity into a discussion that is often overwrought (on both sides). Also worth noting is that prior to WWII, the US' knowledge of the Middle East was limited (and vice versa). Besides buying oil from the Saudis, we didn't do much in the region until the Cold War made it a necessity. We relied on French and British intel at the time, and there is substantial evidence that the British intentionally withheld the evidence which went against the intervention that they desired.

  • tagtann||

    Her we have a dude that just knows how to roll. Wow.

    www.u-privacy.tk

  • Cytotoxic||

    Brian's right: there is an important lesson to be learned here.

    Do not let governments or any other entities wage war on you without response or it just gets worse and worse.

  • Calidissident||

    So you're calling for a second revolution?

  • ||

    I think we need to raise the Shah from the dead in get him back into power, for his THIRD reign: and then the Iranians can oust him once again.

  • Calidissident||

    This time it will be different!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    "Third" reign? Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was only ousted the one time.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Yes. Failing that, an invasion by US forces. It would be massively successful.

  • ||

    every supposed threat facing us is a result of our own past meddling

    Only a Sith moron deals in absolutes.

    What a ridiculously shallow, ignorant statement.

  • ||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU4JYwmjfx0

    I know there are some Canadians out there that remember that...

  • buybuydandavis||

    "They both think it’s unthinkable that Iran should have a nuclear weapon."

    It's thinkable. Why don't you think about it?

    And don't just think about "a" nuclear weapon. Think about nuclear weapon*s*.

    A theocratic totalitarian regime, the world's leading state sponsor of terror, with dreams of nuclear annihilation of Jews, dreams of striking a blow against The Great Satan, and dreams of martyrdom, dancing like sugar plums in their heads, with dozens of nuclear warheads to make those dreams a reality.

    Think about undeterrable wack jobs who love Death more than we love Life, with dozens of nuclear weapons.

    If you think about it, you'll find that that scenario is unlikely to turn out well.

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