rfmcdonald: (Default)
With luck, [livejournal.com profile] mollpeartree is right to suggest, in the comments to my previous post regarding the Bush Administration's plans for Iran, that Hersh's revelations might not be gospel but, instead, anything ranging from an effort to intimidate the Iranian leadership to an effort to undercut the Bush Administration. This makes me feel somewhat less concerned.

Even so. In 1998, Clinton was impeached for cheating on his wife. Bush is considering nuking Iran, but is he going to be impeached any time soon? Proportion matters, as always; politics needs a theory of aesthetics even if it rejects morality.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
Seymour Hersh's recent article in The New Yorker, "The Iran Plans", is exceptionally disturbing.

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that "a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government." He added, "I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’"

Hersh goes on to describe the Bush Administration's intent to insert tactical nuclear weapons into the campaign in attacks against Iran's nuclear infrastructure, the nuclear attacks being only part of a broader air strike aimed against Iran's military and scientific infrastructure, this air strike (in turn) being part of an effort to dismantle the Iranian nation-state.

Again, I say that this must not happen.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
Abdul Rahman, the Christian convert in Afghanistan who was threatened with death for his conversion, has been freed. He's expected to seek and be given asylum in a foreign country, since death threats continue to be made towards him.

This says rather bad things about the state of civil society, and religious tolerance, and the rule of law, in Afghanistan. It's quite right to see this as proof that not very much has changed in Afghanistan between the Taliban era and the present, official American rhetoric aside. To no small extent I have to agree with Noel, who implicitly suggests that Bush had no choice but to do what he did. This is true. To no small extent, this is also begging the question. If there's one individual anywhere on the Earth who bears responsibility for the state that Afghanistan finds itself in now, it's him. The American president is the man who ordered the retaliatory conquest of Afghanistan back in 2001, after all, and the man who has done the most thorough job of articulating an ideology of forced modernization in the Muslim world via the conquest of hostile regimes. Why shouldn't he be held directly accountable? That same responsibility is shared, to some extent, with all of the other citizens of all of the countries involved in Afghanistan, but he's a central figure.

The more that is said about an Iraq that, as [livejournal.com profile] springheel_jack pointed out, is nominally run by a government that isn't altogether sure if it's in fact running death squads or not, the better. I can only imagine what would happen to Iranians in the case of war with the United States.

Why the lies of omission? Sometimes I wonder how I'd react if the Bush administration was simply honest and admitted that it didn't care particularly about the fate of non-Americans.
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