Iran

Why Won't Iran Act Like Our Enemy?

What's a war party to do when the Official Enemy won't act like it?

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hapal/Flcikr

What a bad week for the war party. Darn you, Iran! The country that the armchair warriors most love to hate refuses to play the villain's role assigned by the neoconservatives, "humanitarian" interventionists, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the establishment media.

First Iran quickly released 10 U.S. sailors whose armed boats had violated Iran's territorial waters near the militarily sensitive Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf. (Never mind why the boats were there; the official explanation keeps changing, but don't dare suggest the reason was anything but innocent.) Next Iran was found in full compliance with the nuclear agreement, killing its nonexistent nuclear-weapons program. Then it released five Americans held in Iran in exchange for seven Iranians held in American prisons. (None of the 12 should have been jailed.)

What's a war party to do when the Official Enemy won't act like it? Where are militarists who seek the presidency to turn if they can't count on their tacit allies, Iran's hardliners, to sabotage the constructive actions of the reasonable Iranian president and foreign minister?

The U.S. government and its closest ally, Israel, have threatened to attack Iran for decades. Meanwhile they have conducted covert, proxy, and cyber war against the Islamic Republic. But Iran wouldn't take the bait. George W. Bush hoped to bomb Iran into regime-change before he left office, but the U.S. intelligence apparatus documented that Iran was not building a nuclear weapon, leaving Bush's plans in tatters.

The warmongers just can't catch a break, but Iran's un-enemy-like conduct doesn't deter them. As true-believers, they are unfazed by facts.

Hillary Clinton is to be included in this group. In one of her presidential debates she listed Iran among the enemies she's most proud to have made—odd coming from a former secretary of state who says she helped prepare for the nuclear talks. In the midst of the good news last weekend, she called for new sanctions because Iran had tested a long-range allegedly nuclear-capable missile in supposed violation of a UN resolution. (The Obama administration obliged, although Iran protests that the missile is not nuclear-capable.)

It unclear why the arms-merchant United States and its Mideast allies are allowed to have long-range missiles, but Iran is not. It's also unclear why that UN resolution is so special when the U.S. government has no problem with Israel's 50-year-old defiance of UN resolutions regarding the oppressed Palestinians. Israel, of course, is the Middle East's nuclear monopolist, refuses (unlike Iran) to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and thus is not subject to inspections, as Iran long has been. One also wonders what Iran could do with a long-range missile armed with a conventional warhead except to perhaps deter the long-threatened U.S. attack. Iran has a small military budget and no offensive capability.

The Republican presidential contenders saw aggression in everything the Iranians did last week and appeasement in everything President Obama did. We should be accustomed to such nonsense by now. You'd have thought Iran crossed into American waters or repeatedly threatened the United States. If under similar circumstances an American president did what the Republicans apparently think Iran should have done—presumably, ignore the intruding boats—they'd be screaming for impeachment. If, as they say, Turkey was justified in shooting down Russian military jets that briefly violated its airspace (it wasn't), why are they upset when Iran peacefully apprehends armed U.S. naval craft in their waters?

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio all struck tough-guy poses, demonstrating once more why they and Clinton must be kept far from U.S. military power. Against Iran, the Republicans expressed their support for the barbaric theocratic Saudi Arabia, although it subsidizes bin Ladenites and commits genocide with U.S. support in Yemen.

Contrary to the hawks, Iran is the aggrieved party in the relationship with the United States. It tried to cooperate with America many times, including after 9/11, but was rebuffed consistently.

To be sure, Iran's regime is an authoritarian theocracy, but Saudi Arabia is worse. Tehran, not Riyadh, has churches and synagogues, and Iranian women have far more freedom than Saudi women. Iran's regime, an unfortunate reaction to CIA subversion of Iranian secular democracy in 1953, is no threat to Americans.

It's past time for detente. If Israeli and Saudi Arabia don't like it, too bad.

This piece originally appeared at Richman's "Free Association" blog. 

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  1. “To be sure, Iran’s regime is an authoritarian theocracy, but Saudi Arabia is worse.” True and true, but they are still an evil regime, and not much better. The ‘Guardian Council’ just disqualified a whole raft of reformer candidates. They have been on their best behavior lately but don’t be fooled – they are still very much an enemy.

  2. The argument that our support of the disgusting Saudi regime negates any criticism we may have of Iran is sophistry at its worst. Then again, I’m sure if we cozy up to Iran enough, their regime will be able to put aside their pastimes of arresting innocent American citizens and executing innocent Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and homosexuals long enough to love us.

    1. The nicest thing about the Saudi regime is that they don’t arrest Americans, innocent or otherwise. And same goes for Americans not arresting Saudis. That’s what partnership is all about.

    2. Same argument as “Hamas is killing civilians? BUT WHAT ABOUT WHAT ISRAEL IS DOING??” Very weak.

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  4. Why won’t Iran act like our enemy? I can give you a hundred and ten billion reasons why they are playing extra nice at this particular moment. We’ll see how it goes after they get their money back.

    I have a concern that one day within a few years they’ll have completed the work and they’ll have nukes, you know, they’d been working on it covertly the whole time. I can’t blame them for wanting to — when you’re nuclear it really limits the amount of fucking with you by other countries like, say, ours. I’m not arguing about whether it ought to be OK for them to have them but if they build them it will have been in violation of their promise not to (as North Korea did) and then what, sanctions I guess.

    I do think we should stop all the warring including not war on them, so from there the only non-war/non-covert-war options for stopping them are diplomatic, so I hope it works.

    Even if it does work, our government is still crazy, which is a bigger problem for us IMO than Iran is.

    1. “Even if it does work, our government is still crazy, which is a bigger problem for us IMO than Iran is.” So true, our government is by far the biggest problem the U.S. citizen faces.

    2. “you know, they’d been working on it covertly the whole time”

      I don’t know that and I doubt your government knows that. Instead of wasting your time here, why not contact your local authorities with this information you have.

      1. “I don’t know that and I doubt your government knows that. Instead of wasting your time here, why not contact your local authorities with this information you have.”

        You took the subjunctive mood clause off my sentence so you could criticize it as having said something it didn’t say. My point was that if they cheat we’ll find out about it when they are nuclear and it will be too late to do anything about it.

  5. The Iranian government is evil, of course–they’re a government! To me it’s a tautology. But that’s not sufficient reason for war. And yes, I do believe war is what the neocons want. Fuck, why wouldn’t they? It’s not like they’ll be volunteering for service in said war.

    1. There’s a Muslim under your bed

      (Runs off, arms waving over head)

  6. As a Former NSA analyst, I can say your Right on ALL accounts. I have even professionally met with Iranians nearly all have a favorable opinion of the US. Many call themselves Persian as they know the US governments has worked hard to make Iranian a toxic term. We should be far more worried about Israeli doing something stupid than Iran.

    1. Yeah, let’s just embrace a nation that can’t go five minutes without throwing tantrums about how badly they want to eradicate us and instead focus more hatred on the Jews because you’re a pathological liar and an Islamofascist Useful Idiot (though you sound very typical of their sock puppet tactics).

    2. You aren’t jack shit. Let alone a ‘former NSA analyst’. Go peddle your phony anti-Israel bullshit elsewhere. Maybe you and Sheldon can give each other Reacharounds (Named for it’s inventor, Jim Reacharound).

    3. Bullshit, you are a troll.

  7. This piece is written in propaganda lingo, appealing to emotions and without a single though-provoking idea. Not sure why Reason keeps reprinting Richman, other then his past libertarian credentials.

    1. Always amazes me how Richman cites almost nothing in any of his articles (except that ridiculous book about Iran). Makes you wonder.

      1. Citing internal delusions brought on by acute psychosis, and likely an additional neurological degradation, is difficult in a published article.

  8. Of course, to believe any of that nonsensical idiocy, you’d have to deliberately ignore the fact that Iran’s theocracy is the leading funder of Islamic terror in the world, that it does things like issue worldwide hits on Western authors for writing books, illegally marches military contingents across its neighboring borders in order to kidnap America hitchhikers, and can’t go five fucking minutes without throwing some Islamofascist temper tantrum whereby they either promise to make our streets run red with infidel blood (they never tire of that one) or reiterate their intention to bathe the world in atomic fire to enact their 12th Imam doomsday prophecies.

    Congrats, Richman. I didn’t think you could, but you’ve set yourself a new all-time low. I eagerly await your next commentary on how Americans have given such an unfair rap to our Uncle Jo Stalin.

    1. “Iran’s theocracy is the leading funder of Islamic terror in the world”

      You have any figures on Iran’s terror budget? Or are you just parroting something you heard on TV?

      1. Hamas, Hezbollah both funded by Iran to carry out the mission of attacking a sworn enemy of Iran, Israel. Iran is complicit in their terrorist actions.

        1. “Hezbollah both funded by Iran to carry out the mission of attacking a sworn enemy of Iran, Israel. Iran is complicit in their terrorist actions.”

          Hez & Ham are not too bad when when it comes to terrorism, In their recent bouts with Israel they manage to kill more fighters than Israeli civilians. Israel can’t make the same claim. Maybe if H&H armed themsekves with heavy artillery and aircraft they would rack up their civilian casualties to Israeli levels. But for the moment they have to satisfy themselves with AKs, improvised rockets, cunning and stealth.

  9. sure, they captured the soldiers and took the American hostages but that’s just what friends do.

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  11. “Iran’s regime, an unfortunate reaction to CIA subversion of Iranian secular democracy in 1953…”

    So the “reaction” to the “subversion” of a “secular democracy” is to wait twenty-six years and install a Shia theocracy? Really?

    By the way, was this the “secular democracy” under which the Prime Minister suspended elections when he realized his party was losing, ruled by decree, and pushed a referendum to dissolve Parliament and allow him to create his own laws?

  12. I read the title of this article and thought “Richman”?

    Coming up next, “Why Israel is our mortal enemy”.

  13. killing its nonexistent nuclear-weapons program

    You just shot your credibility (assuming you had any) all to hell. You have no way of knowing if they have a nuclear weapons program or not. This is at best wishful thinking.

    1. But he links to a book on Amazon that I can’t read unless I buy it! He must be telling the truth!

  14. Wow, this is really stupid.

    Iran acted like our enemy when they seized our boats and held our sailors hostage without talking first to the nation they had negotiated with. They used the sailors (for all intents and purposes) for a propaganda video. Our brave SOS John Kerry excused this by pointing our that since they weren’t prisoners of war, the Geneva convention didn’t apply. The military officers openly mocked the sailors and dared for more acts of aggression. Some friends.

    The Iran deal is not a treaty. Neither government passed it and signed off on it. The Iranians made some amendment s on their own and are already interpreting it on their own. They pick and choose what they can show us. They can get nuclear weapons after 15 years. And even John Kerry admitted that they’re likely to use the incoming money to fund terror proxies.

    Any objective analysis of the deal would reveal that its as shoddily thought out and executed as Obamacare. Only this time, it involves a known terror state. The notion that if you’re for war if you’re against this deal is as illogical as lefties who insist cutting spending or opposing single payer is tantamount to letting kids die on the streets. It’s unfit to be printed, to be honest.

    1. Obama and Kerry should be executed for treason based on the Iran deal.

  15. If Iran were our friends why then did our Sailors have their hands up when they were “rescued” from the high seas? Why were they paraded around on TV – In Violation of Geneva Conventions? Iran is practicing their aim with Ballistic Missiles. Running operations in Iraq and Syria with its Ally Russia.

    The problem for the left- is this President is trading relationships with these nations (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey) in for another -IRAN. A great way to win over the hearts and minds of the Middle East.

    That’s why there’s a persistent belief across the Middle East that OBAMA IS A SHIITE! But Sheldon doesn’t really care what happens in the Middle East or to our Allies – his enemy are the very people trying to protect him from it.

    1. “His enemy are the very people trying to protect him from it.”

      This is true of every progressive. Possibly the worst thing about them is that they enable our enemies and do everything they can to prevent us from protecting ourselves.

    2. “In Violation of Geneva Conventions”

      These are conventions that govern the conduct of war. However much you may regret it, US and Iran are not in a state of war.

      “is this President is trading relationships with these nations (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey) ”

      Let me know when any of these countries stop spending their lavish arms budgets on American weaponry. Then we can talk about switching sides.

  16. “Iran’s regime is an authoritarian theocracy, but Saudi Arabia is worse.”

    Sheldon is Iran’s new PR man. “Yeah, we’re Theocratic Totalitarians, but Saudi Arabia is worse!”

    Mr. Libertarian Pure can’t cozy up fast enough to theocratic totalitarians.

    “It unclear why the arms-merchant United States and its Mideast allies are allowed to have long-range missiles, but Iran is not. ”

    ICBMs and Nukes for apocalyptic theocratic totalitarians aching for “martyrdom” and shouting “Death to America! Death to Da Joos!”
    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. In what passes for Sheldon’s mind, it is probably more just for Iran to have nukes than the US. As they are far more nobel than the Great Satan.

  17. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

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  18. Mr. Richman is a perfect exemplar of the type of libertarian who ensures that the American people will never trust any libertarian with foreign policy. He’s a useful idiot for regimes around the world who don’t share his principled regard for peace and liberty.

    1. “He’s a useful idiot for regimes around the world who don’t share his principled regard for peace and liberty.”

      I think you are misconstruing Richman. He’s a libertarian and he views all regimes with extreme scepticism. Here, in particular, he is questioning America’s chief partners in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    2. Sheldon is no libertarian. He is a Chomsky-ish progressive wacko with a few libertarian leanings. Like a guy I know at my gym who is pro-Obama, but also extremely pro-2A, and libertarianism on a few other issues.

  19. We realize you are a fucking dolt, so there is that.

    I’ll double down…fuck off dolt.

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