Saturday, June 27, 2009

No Matter Who Is President of the US, They Would Bomb Afghanistan

The libertarian blogger Will Wilkinson's latest post is on Iran, mostly drawing on an article by an Iranian exile, Lila Ghobady. Wilkinson allows that he doesn't know much about Iran, and so defers to Ghobady. That's a good idea, but unfortunately Ghobady doesn't know much about countries outside of Iran. Like these United States.

One commenter beat me to pointing out that Ghobady didn't go far enough when she declared that "Iran has not had a democratic, free election for the past 30 years." The reality is that Iran hasn't had a democratic, free election for the past 55 years, since 1953. The extra quarter century of repression is courtesy of the United States and Britain, which objected to the free, democratic election of Mohammad Mossedegh and sponsored a coup, followed by the accession of the Shah Rezi Pahlevi. The Shah ruled Iran harshly, with murder and torture, until he was finally overthrown in 1979.

Ghobady also wrote, correctly, that
There has been no real election. Candidates are all hand-picked and cleared by a central religious committee. It is a farcical imitation of the free nomination/ election process that we have pictured in the free world. There is no possibility that a secular, pluralistic, freedom-loving democratic person who loves his or her country can become a candidate to run for president (or any other office) in Iran.
True enough. But by these criteria, there hasn't been a free election in the US for a long time either. (Notice that in his day, the Shah's regime was numbered among those of the free world, along with many other brutal but non-Communist dictatorships.) Candidates for the Presidency of the US must pass muster by corporate elites and their allies in the two major parties, and a pro-corporate press genuflecting to a narrow caricature of religion, which effectively rules out the possibility of a secular, pluralistic, freedom-loving democratic person becoming a candidate for president, or any other major office, in the United States. When the Republicans stole the 2000 election, they bused in thugs to intimidate the vote counters in Florida, with no response from the Democrats and no popular response in the streets. But then, mass dissent in the US is reviled, penned in, and subject to state violence no less than in Iran -- I have the right to say such things as an individual, but getting together with others would subject us all to surveillance and eventual repression.

That doesn't mean things aren't worse in Iran, only that the posturing of the US media and some media figures is tiresome in its hypocrisy. The saddest part is that many of the protesters in Iran may have believed that the "free world" was watching their struggle, when our leaders were only interested in what political hay they could make of it.