God's Politics

God's Politics


Iran’s Lame Duck, Our Lame Political Script (by Elizabeth Palmberg)

posted by God's Politics

With all the fuss around Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to New York, you’d think that he had political power, command of the military, or at least strong popular support in his homeland. Actually, he has none of the above, as Stephen Zunes argues in a recent Foreign Policy in Focus article:



Why…is all this attention being given to a relatively powerless lame duck president of a Third World country? …The emphasis and even exaggeration of Ahmadinejad’s more bizarre and provocative statements … makes it politically easier for the United States to refuse to engage in dialogue or enter into negotiations, such as those that led to an end of Libya’s nuclear program in 2003.


What’s really going on, Zunes argues, is an attempt to put the Iranian figurehead into a very familiar role – “the Saddam niche” – which offers people in the U.S. a sense of righteous superiority and a justification for the U.S.’s over-militarized Middle East policy.


Elizabeth Palmberg is an assistant editor for Sojourners.



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kevin s.

posted October 3, 2007 at 10:51 am


The people who have the real power aren’t any better, and they hand selected Ahmadinejad for a reason, presumably.



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Don

posted October 3, 2007 at 2:10 pm


“What’s really going on, Zunes argues, is an attempt to put the Iranian figurehead into a very familiar role – “the Saddam niche” – which offers people in the U.S. a sense of righteous superiority and a justification for the U.S.’s over-militarized Middle East policy.”
Elizabeth, you couldn’t have said this any better.
Peace!



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Anonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 3:30 pm


If he was “hand-picked,” how is it that he got about 20% on the first vote, among seven candidates, and then won with 60% in the run-off?
Whatever his failings – and as is popularly lamented, and biblically confirmed, people seeking the highest of human offices are often the lowest of men – it seems not really a genuine discussion to use a loaded and dismissive term like “hand-picked” in order not to have to engage in real discussion.
In the same way, saying “America at its best would not give such a person a forum to speak” is just the same kind of sham dialog that folks like Bill O’Reilly practice when they shout over others’ opinions, shut off their microphones and then give soliloquys about how those they disagree with don’t deserve to be heard while all the time posturing as “fair and balanced.”
Attack dog politics is entertainment, but with a high price – exacerbating tensions and fomenting intentional misunderstanding in service of agendas already formed.



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Anonymous

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:01 pm


Elizabeth ,
Interesting you can take a nut job like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and twist it around as our fault for being concerned about leaders that believe in the things he does .
I thought the speech by the Columbia University President was quite forthright and clearly showed he was not someone promoting peace, human rights for his own people , or having the capacity to do so .
Sometimes you just might have to concede , not every terrible person in this world is an American .



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Hali

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:20 pm


An anonymous person wrote,
“Interesting you can take a nut job like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and twist it around as our fault for being concerned about leaders that believe in the things he does .”
You missed the entire point. Mr. Ahmadinejad has a big mouth but little political power. He’s less dangerous to the world than, say, Pat Robertson – although his mindset is eerily similar.



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bill

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:36 pm


“Sometimes you just might have to concede , not every terrible person in this world is an American . ”
That is not fair to Elizabeth. She would conced that some of the terrible people of the world are Israeli and the reason for Iran to be armed as much as possible.



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bill

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:37 pm


“Sometimes you just might have to concede , not every terrible person in this world is an American . ”
That is not fair to Elizabeth. She would conced that some of the terrible people of the world are Israeli and the reason for Iran to be armed as much as possible.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:45 pm


Last I looked, all have fallen short of the glory of God and are sinners.
Even Christians.
He who says he is without sin is a liar.
Only aliens – as in extraterrestrials – might be an exception.



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Philip

posted October 3, 2007 at 6:54 pm


This is actually extremely interesting to me, and it makes a lot of sense. It’s good to be able to see through some things that are built up. Nice post.



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Kian Kiani

posted October 3, 2007 at 8:35 pm


Voice of America and Fiasco at Persian Service.
There is no need to attack Iran IF the Bush administration pays attention:
Millions of dollars are spent in Persian Service of Voice of America but the end result is nothing but scandalous way of cockamamie management and programming.
It is hard to believe but the Persian Service which supposed to be an organization to convey the policy of the U.S. has become a free platform for hard-line terrorist group of communists who attack the United Sates!
I have the documents in writings to prove that these were done with the full knowledge of the management.
I used to work there and as I said before, I have all the documents in writings.
The manager is a woman called Sheila Gandji who can not read and write Persian. Therefore, in order to hide this shortcoming from the higher management, she has hired an eighty something man called Kambiz Mahmoudi who has a lengthy background as crook and in charlatanism.
You expect a doctor to be in charge of a medical clinic. You expect an engineer to be in charge of an engineering department. You expect a plumber to fix your plumbing.
So why do you expect a person who has no education in Iran and doesn’t know the language of that country should be in charge of publicity, literature or politic for such position?
Sheila Gandji falsely pretended and presented herself as educated with background in journalism. These are absolute fabrications. Nobody in Iranian communities inside of the country or outside has any knowledge about her being a journalist, then and now.
Her partner, Kambiz Mahmoudi is a hateful and despicable person whose activities as crook are widely known through out Iran. Can’t the U.S. government appoint somebody without such shameful background and baggage?
Don’t think that this is a personal vendetta.
Let me quote you a view from another media:
“The Iran Steering group concluded that much of the anti-American perspective that is broadcast is the result of decisions made by station managers in Washington D.C. and Prague. Sheila Gandji, the manager of Persian service has faced sharp criticism, particularly for her decision to stop VOA shortwave radio program in July, 2006 in order to focus on television broadcasts, which are more susceptible to censorship, since the government regularly confiscates satellites dishes in order to prevent the infiltration of foreign broadcasts.”
And this is not the only one. The mismanagement at the Persian Service of Voice of America is the subject of hundreds of web sites and articles in newspapers indicative of disgusts and ridicules in the world about VOA.
The bizarre situation at the Persian Service of Voice of America caused even the Republican Senator Coburn to write a long letter to President Bush about the fiasco there.
It is only in America where the government pays to be insulted. Really, why Voice of America is doing this harm to our nation?



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Mike Hayes

posted October 3, 2007 at 9:22 pm


“What’s really going on, Zunes argues, is an attempt to put the Iranian figurehead into a very familiar role – “the Saddam niche” – which offers people in the U.S. a sense of righteous superiority and a justification for the U.S.’s over-militarized Middle East policy.”
Yes. “… people in the US…” who view the US in a “strict father” mentality.
Mike Hayes



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 4, 2007 at 5:46 am


You missed the entire point. Mr. Ahmadinejad has a big mouth but little political power. He’s less dangerous to the world than, say, Pat Robertson – although his mindset is eerily similar.
Posted by: Hali
I suggest you mindest is more dangerour then that of a Pat Robertson , but of course less influential . .
Not to worry about the terorist from Iran , or understand the danger of others. Better to judge another another , huh Hali ?
Please just makes your opinion known in the mass media and a spokesperson for the religious left and the democratic party , you see your voice they are afraid of at election time . Shhhh .
Your un concern about safety , peace , and care for those who can not defend themselves is what makes the democrats concerned in the coming elections . Please speak out Hali , not here , where it counts . so we can all hear ! Lives depend on it .



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kevin s.

posted October 4, 2007 at 10:45 am


” it seems not really a genuine discussion to use a loaded and dismissive term like “hand-picked” in order not to have to engage in real discussion.”
You can’t run for office unless the Ayatollah allow it. This renders Democratic elections a sham, and they Ayatollah clearly wanted him.
“In the same way, saying “America at its best would not give such a person a forum to speak” is just the same kind of sham dialog that folks like Bill O’Reilly practice when they shout over others’ opinions”
I thought it was a violation of the first amendment. I stand by may statement, whether O’Relliy agrees with it or not. American institutions should not provide a forum for tyrants, whether they are influential tyrants or not.
“He’s less dangerous to the world than, say, Pat Robertson – although his mindset is eerily similar.”
That’s ridiculous.



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Don

posted October 4, 2007 at 12:07 pm


“He’s less dangerous to the world than, say, Pat Robertson – although his mindset is eerily similar.”
“That’s ridiculous.”
I’m not too sure about that. Don’t forget who wanted to assassinate Hugo Chávez. How is that much different from wanting to wipe Israel off the map?
D



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N.M. Rod

posted October 4, 2007 at 3:36 pm


Maybe Pat Robertson could veer a hurricane Hugo’s way, instead, of, say, to New Orleans? That could be between him and God, instead of using the government for covert assassinations which eventually come to light.
Hard to condemn Putin and Russia for doing what some of our own prominent polito-religious leaders advocate. And which I’ve heard supported by some here.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread!



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N.M. Rod

posted October 4, 2007 at 3:42 pm


It’s astounding that those who favor “original intent” strict constitutionalist interpretations have come up with one that actually has the First Amendment being violated when someone expresses unpopular opinions.
Kind of reminds me of how Paul Robeson was written out of American history completely, became a non-person, a la Orwell’s 1984 revisionism, when he expressed unpopular political opinions.
Twain’s sarcasm about how sacred free speech and free expression really are in practice, despite their holy place in the words of the nation, was prescient then and it’s apt now.
It’s not only Marx and Engles who stood Kant on his head!
I never realised that the Bill of Rights was an ironical document.



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kevin s.

posted October 4, 2007 at 3:52 pm


“I’m not too sure about that. Don’t forget who wanted to assassinate Hugo Chávez. How is that much different from wanting to wipe Israel off the map?”
Robertson is bananas, but he has no power, does not represent an instution with more power, and does represent an instution that is actively pursuing the means to achieve his desired ends in this regard.
At any rate, in ten years nobody will think it’s crazy to have wanted to assassinate Chavez. The guy is a monster in the making.



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Don

posted October 4, 2007 at 4:23 pm


“At any rate, in ten years nobody will think it’s crazy to have wanted to assassinate Chavez. The guy is a monster in the making.”
Naaah, he’s a tin pot despot. Hardly worth the price of the ink that’s being spilled on him. (If he had more intelligence than he appears to have, it might be a different story.) Definitely not worth as much attention as Ahmadinejad, who as Elizabeth pointed out, doesn’t really control his country anyway. Both will probably self-destruct eventually, unless the US keeps them going with our sabre-rattling.
And don’t forget, the good ol’ USA sponsored and supported some far worse monsters than either of them. Pinochet, for example.
D



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neuro_nurse

posted October 4, 2007 at 6:27 pm


“And don’t forget, the good ol’ USA sponsored and supported some far worse monsters than either of them. Pinochet, for example.” Don
Don’t forget the Shah! Maybe if the C.I.A. had kept out of Iran in 1953 instead of sponsoring a coup against Mohammed Mosaddeq, we never would have heard the name Ahmadinejad.
Look this one up: SAVAK.



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Helen

posted October 4, 2007 at 9:19 pm


“…to engage in dialogue or enter into negotiations, such as those that led to an end of Libya’s nuclear program in 2003.”
The facts are that the US intelligence service caught the Libyans red handed importing nuclear equipment. It is disingenuous to say negotiations or dialog led to the Libyans surrender of its nuclear program.



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lysel

posted October 5, 2007 at 5:39 am


Mick Sheldon wrote: “Not to worry about the terorist from Iran , or understand the danger of others. Better to judge another another , huh Hali ?”
Mick, again, you too missed the point. Hali is absolutely right. The more we demonize Mr. Ahmadinejad, the more we help him. The majority of the Iranian people do not currently support him, but they will – if he is constantly attacked by the U.S. The focus shifts from their leader – who is Iranian like them, and turns to us, the “foreign power threatening Iranians” … who do you think they will trust and support?! All they have to do is read headlines from their neighbor Iraq!
Why do we get so defensive when someone makes criticisms or accusations agains US?



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Anonymous

posted October 5, 2007 at 5:51 am


kevin s wrote: “At any rate, in ten years nobody will think it’s crazy to have wanted to assassinate Chavez. The guy is a monster in the making.”
Surely you do not advocate the assassination of political leaders, duly elected by their own people! Does this mentality define “democracy”?
What do you PERSONALLY know about Mr. Chavez?
Have you EVER been to Venezuela?
Have you spoken to the POOR, who have benefitted greatly by his policies?
Those who hate him most are the rich, the ones who stole huge swathes of land, exploited the people and now have to limit their profits because he has nationalized the wealth FOR HIS OWN PEOPLE.
We support petty dictators and tyrants until they refuse to dance to our music (Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam) then eliminate them when they no longer serve our purposes (fighting our enemy Iran). This is GODLESS and deceitful! This also makes people distrust and loathe us!



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Blutenhalbmond

posted October 5, 2007 at 9:50 am


First, I must clear a common misunderstanding: that Ahmadinejad declared that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. Not quite. If you read the original statement, and something which he also tried to get it across here as well (though few bothered to hear it), you will discover what he meant. He meant that fate will destroy a system as Israel’s, based as it is on injustice, cruelty and usurpation of the fundamental rights of a people. He compared that to the desire of many at other times to “destroy” the Apartheid regime of South Africa. Now that it has been destroyed, we saw no white or even black blood drenching the streets of Capetown, Natal, Durban or Johannsburg.
Second, whatever the method by which Ahmedinaijad was elected, it was a fair election and conceded so by even the enemies of Iran. He did not get elected because his brother was a governor of an important state nor chosen to the office by the kind grace of a Supreme Court packed with sympathetic justices nominated by his own party’s past presidents.
Third, to defend by calling it “forthright”. the rudenes and outright boorishness of the Columbia president as was defended by an anonymous person on Oct 1st at 5.01pm is amazing. Ahamdinijad did not entreat Columbia U. to invite him. Hence to yourself invite a man and then to start berating him is unaccepatable even by American standards where the hospitality scale is a bit lower than it is in the Islamic lands where a guest is a sacred name. Neuro-nurse will attest to this.
What nutty things did Ahmedinijad say anyway to be called a “nutjob”? Did he advocate nuking USA as kevin s and moderateland do so often in their posts to counties they do not like?
Did this “monster in the making” even remotely suggest the destruction of any people anywhere, leave alone actually inflicting horrors on a hapless people by killing and maiming them by hundreds of thousands through extremely painful burns as Bush/Chenney have? Did he cover any land with depleted uranium that is going to bring unimaginable diseases on the populations of Iraq and Afhanistan for the next 10,000 years? Which of such horrible crimes against mankind did this “monster” commit, I ask those who call Ahmedinijad a monster?
When you are blind to the evils of your own monsters and see monsters where they are not, you are indeed in a sad shape.



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neuro_nurse

posted October 5, 2007 at 11:40 am


“Neuro-nurse will attest to this.”
Thanks.
Yes, my experience with Muslims is quite the opposite from the ignorant opinion many people in this country seem to have.
I spent several months hitch hiking around North Africa. Algeria was one of my favorite countries in all of Africa because of the hospitality and generosity of its people. There were many times when I would get a ride, then the person who picked me up would stop and buy me a soft drink, lunch, dinner, invite me to stay the night in his home, or even shove money in my shirt pocket.
While I was in Tunisia I met a couple of Libyans – this was when Reagan was sparring with Muammar al-Gaddafi – who insisted on treating me to dinner because they wanted to generate good will between us.
Not to mention the year I lived in Iran (1978)…
Salaam alaikum



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N.M. Rod

posted October 5, 2007 at 3:13 pm


I wonder who benefits by getting populations of people stirred up and hating each other, with almost no real, first-hand information about one another or one another’s families?



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kevin s.

posted October 6, 2007 at 12:40 pm


“First, I must clear a common misunderstanding: that Ahmadinejad declared that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. Not quite”
I have gone back to his original statements, translated every which way. There is no getting around that this is what he said. At best, he could be interpreted to have said that the Jewish occupation of the land would be wiped away. Cold comfort if you happen to be Jewish, and no comfort for those who consider Israel an ally.
“He meant that fate will destroy a system as Israel’s, based as it is on injustice, cruelty and usurpation of the fundamental rights of a people. ”
Okay, and what tools do you suppose “fate” will use to bring about Israel’s destruction. He also said that Israel’s destruction will be the ultimate victory. If George W. Bush said that God would bring about the destruction of Canada, and that this would be a sign of God’s ultimate victory, would you be cool with him having nuclear weapons at his disposal?
“Second, whatever the method by which Ahmedinaijad was elected, it was a fair election and conceded so by even the enemies of Iran.”
Um, no. There is nothing fair about an election in which the candidates are pre-selected by an unelected religious entity.
“Hence to yourself invite a man and then to start berating him is unaccepatable even by American standards where the hospitality scale is a bit lower than it is in the Islamic lands where a guest is a sacred name.”
The behavior of Columbia’s president is downright schizophrenic. The real answer would have been for him to never invite Ahmadinejad to speak.
“What nutty things did Ahmedinijad say anyway to be called a “nutjob”? Did he advocate nuking USA as kevin s and moderateland do so often in their posts to counties they do not like?”
You’ve got us on this count. Moderatelad and myself strongly advocate nuking Ramsey county and stealing their hockey team. St. Paul must be wiped off the map, by which I of course mean that their economic policies and inability to attract new businesses to the city center will eventually result in decreased populations.



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kevin s.

posted October 6, 2007 at 12:59 pm


“Surely you do not advocate the assassination of political leaders, duly elected by their own people! Does this mentality define “democracy”?”
First, I don’t advocate assassinating Chavez, and I said that Robertson is bananas. I simply said that, come 2017, his statement won’t seem so crazy. That is all I said.
Second, I do no oppose the assassination of leaders simply because they are Democratically elected. Surely you do not think Democratic election grants a leader special immunity from the use of force?
“What do you PERSONALLY know about Mr. Chavez?”
For starters, I know that he doesn’t have a problem with the removal of a democratically elected leader.
I know that his referendum to have the state monitor labor union election miraculously passed at the voting booth despite support from virtually no-one.
I know that one of his first efforts in office granted him the ability to rule by decree.
I know that he is using money essentailly stolen from private industry to buy votes which, in turn, wil cripple the economy. I know that he is moving to remove term limits, demanding a governmental presence in churches, shutting down private media.
Those with a sense of history know where these corridors lead. And of course he is working to help the lower classes. This is how Marxist dictators consolidate power.
“We support petty dictators and tyrants until they refuse to dance to our music (Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam) then eliminate them when they no longer serve our purposes (fighting our enemy Iran). This is GODLESS and deceitful! This also makes people distrust and loathe us!”
We will support petty dictators and tyrants as part of a larger global effort. But Iraq is not an example of simply eliminating a country when it was no longer useful to us. To suggest this is to ignore the invasion of Kuwait entirely, among other things.



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