Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hillary Threatening Genocide?

Good Morning America does not seem to me to be the most apt platform from which to threaten nations with "total obliteration." American's aren't ready for that sort of saber rattling until at least mid-day. But presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton thought it prudent to bid America a good morning with a threat to "obliterate" Iran if it were to attack Israel with nuclear weapons. Now for those not comprehending what "total obliteration" would mean for Iran, let me inform you: it would entail the mass murder of 71 million Iranian civilians.
Beside the magnitude of her provocation, her statement is disturbing on many levels. Firstly, her hypothetical scenario of Iran striking Israel with nuclear weapons is based on facts that are tenuous at best. Who said Iran is even building nuclear weapons? Sure many nations suspect the Iranian regime of coveting a nuclear bomb, but there is also general agreement that such a weapon is a long way of. Hell, even the the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran suspended their nuclear weapons development in 2003 (see here). Secondly, where did the idea of a belligerent Iran, willing to unilaterally attack other nations without direct provocation come from? There is little historical evidence for such claims. The reality is that Iran has been incredibly peaceful in the international arena compared to other nations. They have never invaded another country. In fact, it has been the Iranian people who have been brutalized by foreign powers, most notably by the west's support for Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in 1980. Lastly, why is it prudent to suppose that Iran would even consider using a nuclear weapon against Israel? Like other Middle East nations, Iran's support for the Palestinians is used mainly as a way to curry favor from the Muslim street, and does not directly translate into actions that would eventually benefit the Palestinians. A nuclear strike against Israel would be foolish, and the Iranians are not so ideologically demented to try it. In fact, their foreign policy is remarkably rational. Even their supposed development of weapons makes good sense. They have the warmongering United States on both their East and West borders; do we expect the Iranian regime to take their safety on faith alone, especially with the recent history of the Middle East as a reminder of how willing the U.S. is to go to war? They realize that a nuclear weapon is one very good way to guarantee their safety.
Hillary's comments, when taken with the aforementioned context, seem incredibly demented. But that's U.S. politics. Her playing along with the Bush administration anti-Iran narrative, clearly laid out and documented (see the recent New York Times investigation of Bush administration strategy to sell the war, here) is not just stupid, it's worrisome. If her comments are just fear-mongering as usual, than we ought to be perturbed; if her comments are indicative of her foreign policy, than we ought to be outraged.

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