That'll Teach the Mullahs!

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Some news that slipped under the radar last week: Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi and her American literary agent has sued the U.S. government for violating the First Amendment via the Treasury Dept.'s onerous new restrictions on publishing work emanating from countries under economic embargo. (I've written about these idiotic, illiberal and counter-productive regulations, in order, here, here, and here.)

As a Scripps-Howard editorial puts it, "It isn't helping America's image in the world that the U.S. government is being sued by a Nobel Prize-winning Iranian human-rights activist, lauded by President Bush, in a lawsuit that alleges censorship." More importantly, it's actually hurting the important cause of Iranian freedom, and violating our own, without producing any tangible benefit that I can fathom.

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  1. Matt, don’t you understand? If Nobel Peace Prize winners are allowed to publish their works in the United States then the terrorists will have won!

  2. without producing any tangible benefit that I can fathom.

    I could tell you what that benefit is but then I’d have to send you to Gitmo. Don’t you realize we’re at war?

  3. But if Americans read her book they might view Iranians as people, which will make it harder to drum up support for our eventual invasion of their country.

  4. I know I am hopelessly naive but what part about “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” don’t these people understand? It’s disgusting.

    I had a fantasy during the conventions that instead of looking and acting like spoilt children, protesters would dress up in their Sunday best, carry placards with the first amendment printed on them, and march to the convention hall to the tune of patriotic music.

    That would have impressed me, but I am afraid, few else.

  5. If the “axis of evil” wants to score some PR points over the US gov’t, the Iranian gov’t should allow this woman to publish her book. It can be a one-time relaxation of censorship based on the prestige of her prize, but it would totally humiliate the Bush administration.

    Oh, wait, they have no shame. And no sense of irony. Never mind.

  6. Jennifer, I am sure the 16 year-old girl the Iranian regime hanged for “acts incompatible with chastity” would have appreciated your recognition of her humanity. But allow me to speculate that her and the women the regime has put to death by literally bashing their brains in with rocks just might have preferred rescue from their torturers to your understanding.

    This is not to argue that it is a practical or prudent use of our military to rescue them from such terror, but simply to point out that viewing Iranians as people does not make a very good argument against intervention. It should only serve to further reinforce our understanding of the abysmal treatment of women under, and the totalitarian nature of, Islamic rule throughout the Middle-East. Perhaps we should leave them to their fate, but if that is your position, don’t pretend it is out of concern for their humanity.

  7. It can be a one-time relaxation of censorship based on the prestige of her prize, but it would totally humiliate the Bush administration. Oh, wait, they have no shame. And no sense of irony. Never mind.

    Um… if Iran decided to react to the US trade embargo by relaxing its restrictions on human rights, wouldn’t that pretty much be a win for the United States government?

    That would be like Castro suddenly holding democratic elections and then sending Bush a nasty note — “Hah! You said Cuba would never be free while I lived but I sure showed YOU!”. I guess it might be a teeny little bitty bit embarassing, but…

  8. Dan,

    No, it wouldn’t be a win for the U.S. government since the U.S. government isn’t particularly interested in Iranian human rights. The U.S. government is interested in Iran because Iran appears to want to develop nuclear weapons.

  9. Dan-

    I see your point, but a one-time relaxation of censorship laws would hardly satisfy all of the objections that led to the embargo in the first place. It would, however, allow the Ayatollahs to claim that Shirin Ebadi enjoys more freedom of speech in Iran than in the US. It wouldn’t be a very honest claim given all of the other restrictions that she faces (along with all other Iranians) but it would be an embarassment all the same.

  10. Brian-
    If and when we invade, the Iranians would rally behind their government in support of their invader. Iraqis hated Hussein, but that wasn’t enough for them to like us, especially after we dropped all those bombs on ’em.

  11. Make that, “rally behind their government AGAINST their invader.”

  12. No one talks about the Kurds. For the most part, they love the U.S. and Bush. They’re glad we invaded. I guess they’re not people.

  13. Voice of God-
    Thanks to the no-fly zones, we had more influence over the Kurdish sections of Iraq BEFORE the invasion than we do now.

  14. It would, however, allow the Ayatollahs to claim that Shirin Ebadi enjoys more freedom of speech in Iran than in the US. It wouldn’t be a very honest claim given all of the other restrictions that she faces (along with all other Iranians) but it would be an embarassment all the same.

    It would primarily be an embarassment to the people who took ayatollahs’ claim seriously, don’t you think?

    If and when we invade, the Iranians would rally behind their government in support of their invader. Iraqis hated Hussein, but that wasn’t enough for them to like us, especially after we dropped all those bombs on ’em.

    The Iraqis didn’t rally behind the Hussein government before, during, or after the invasion. A small portion of them have fought the occupation, but during the invasion itself they were nowhere to be seen. Iranians might well rally behind their government if we invaded, but Iraq isn’t an example of that sort of thing. Iraq is an argument against trying to occupy Iran and build a new nation there.

    This is all moot, of course, since we’re not going to be invading Iran.

  15. Dan-
    I sincerely hope you are right, but we can only wait and see.

  16. Does anyone know if this book is published in Canada? If so I could sneak it down here and sell it on the black market.

  17. Bruce-

    Good luck with it. It would be the height of irony if you get in trouble for doing it, especially if the charges were related to terrorism. The irony wouldn’t be much comfort for you, of course. You’d be in Gitmo with the Gitmo equivalent of Lyndie England shoving something up your rectum.

    And everybody on this forum would be only too happy to explain to you that it was really no big deal, and that what you did was bad anyway ;->

  18. “You’d be in Gitmo with the Gitmo equivalent of Lyndie England shoving something up your rectum”

    Oh, Puu-leaz! Are you people really going to become even more unhinged and shrill than BEFORE those f..king elections?

  19. ernest-

    I forgot to include some smiley faces in my post. I hope I didn’t drive your blood pressure up too high, I’d hate to be sued for causing injury.

    😉

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