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27 March 2015

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Jack

Sir

I have read your essay and the comments by SST correspondents several times as I find it very thought provoking. If I understand you correctly - those that dominate policy are idealists driven by a fervent belief in their rightness to form a just and good society every where. In pursuit of this utopia they have created much destruction in those lands that they seek to reform.

I became an adult after the fall of the Berlin Wall and have no direct appreciation for the Cold War. During the lead up to the invasion of Iraq what I felt was the naked use of power by our political leaders as well as a campaign to spread fear among Americans that we must act preemptively. To me it seemed that they were basically saying "we're gonna kick ass because we are powerful and we want to show everyone how badly we can do it" so don't mess with us, do exactly what we say.

Sir, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld were idealists wanting to build an utopia. I felt they were like Mafia bosses, ruthless in dealing with someone that crossed them. At least that's the way they came across to me then. I know I am missing something from your essay.

Mark Logan

Charles I,

"A man's got to know his limitations." -Eastwood

MRW

"We will have to disagree - I do not believe the story of "Dark Ages" - I think that was Renaissance propaganda."

You can refuse to believe it all you want. There are myriad books that say you are wrong. Not to mention Christian monk reports and Jewish scribes.

Patrick Bahzad

Mark,

I understand your point. Wanting to help a starving people is certainly a noble cause. However, I don't think the "Restore Hope" operation was conceived as a humanitarian aid operation only, it was meant to be part of a wider US policy and involved nation building as well, which was not something the Somalis - at least a significant part of them had asked for.
The way the whole thing was planned and organised - that means, very poorly from a military point of view - also showed that the US military and political leadership lacked the knowledge and cultural understanding for a country such as Somalia.
The way the Marines conducted patrols in Mogadishu right from the start had us wonder not just about if, but when they would be attacked ... "Restore Hope" should have been another warning signal about the consequences of poor planning and poor "regional alignment" (as we call it today). Fortunately for the US, they were part of a UN operation in Somalia, so they were able to leave without being singled out as the main party responsible for the desolate state Somalia is now.
But nonetheless, the US played a significant role in letting the country be taken over and run (down) by warlords and clan structures... Which is not to say however that the end-state would have been any different had the US and the UN not intervened in such heavy handed manner.
The counter-factual narrative as to what would have happened if the UN had opted for a more civilian based help mission will remain unknown.
As for the standards to be held accountable against, I believe that it would indeed have been morally indefensible not to go and help, but militarizing an operation that should have been a humanitarian relief intervention was a big mistake (the UN's mistake in the first place, true).
We killed lots of locals and some of our men lost their lives because of it. That should not have happened. And the state Somalia is in today should make us think twice about the nature of any Western intervention in foreign countries. Unfortunately, I can't say it's lessons learnt, as the West - and in particular the US - seems keen on doing it over and over again.

Patrick Bahzad

Sorry to barge in your one-on-one but two things to throw into the discussion:
1. the fate of Al Andalus was sealed much earlier than 1492, actually it was all over more or less in the aftermath of the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, when the Christian Kingdoms of the North inflicted a decisive defeat upon the Almohade Caliphs of Al Andalus, which broke up into smaller kingdoms (Taifas) that were conquered one by one by the Spaniards. The Emir of Cordoba even became a vasal to Spanish kings.
2. the "Dark Ages" are a period in the history of medieval Europe that extends approximately from the fall of the (Western) Roman Empire to the reign of Charlemagne. Anything after the 11th century would definitely not qualify as part of the "Dark Ages" anymore. It has long been overstated, including by Western historians. Fact and historical truth is, the period from the early 12th to mid-14th century was one of intellectual, spriritual and economic growth and expansion in Western Europe. At that period in time, the balance between East and West (talking here about Muslim and Christian civilization) has already started to shift consistently in favour of the West.
3. the contribution of Al Andalus to modern (Western) civilization is not negligible, but shouldnt be idealized, as Al Andalus itself is only one element in a larger civilizational and cultural development dating back to Ancient Greek.

Patrick Bahzad

What are they racially then in your view ?
Personally, I don't like the "concept" of race except in anthropological context, but let's leave that aside. To me Iranians are part of the Indo-European branch of humankind, which is synonymous to "aryan", although that concept as an unpleasant ring to it.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

I only shared my observations.

What term would you use instead of "own"?

Babak Makkinejad

please take the time to look at:


The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution by James Hannam

and

Science of Mechanics in the Middle Ages by Marshall Clagett

Middle Ages were Dark Ages but not in Western Europe - certainly not between the 9-th to 13-th centuries.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, definitely "Godfather" and not Saint Francis or Mother Teresa.

Babak Makkinejad

Iranians are for the most part the indigenous pre-Aryan inhabitants of the Iranian plateau - descendants of the what went by the name of Elam and other indigenous and unknown cultures.

In Europe, there are many people whose noses or eyebrows or other physical features are individually similar to the individual physical features of Iranians but no one who has all the features of Iranians in combination.

In remote parts of Sicily you may find someone.

The only people I have met that resembled some Iranians - but not all - have been some Brazilians.

Babak Makkinejad

I think this response ought to be addressed to MRW rather than I; for I am in general agreement with your points with minor quibbles.

Croesus

Thank you LeaNder.
By using "Germanic" I was trying to reflect that Germany was (like Italy) just a geographic expression, not a unified culture or state.

--

I take my view of "Aryan" from what I believed to be accurate histories of the origins of the Persian people. Everything I know I learn either from Teaching Company lectures or C Span or books from the library (!) I believe it was a TC lecture series that informed that ancient Persians originated in Sythian steppes, where they were called Aryans. They migrated to the lands now in Iran, around the lands of the Medes, conquered those peoples and merged with their culture as well as the cultures of the peoples around the Mesopotamian rivers. I could be wrong and I could mis-remember; that is what I think I learned.

Regarding "aryanism," I rely on Karen Armstrong's assessment of that religion-cultural tradition. (Please excuse me if the quotation is lengthy. My brain is wired to think every detail is important -- it's a terrible disability)--

"The Avestan Aryans called their gods daevas ("the shining ones") and amesha ("the immortals") . . .These gods were not omnipotent and had no ultimate control over the cosmos. . . . they had to submit to the sacred order [called asha or rita] that held the universe together . . . produced crops . . . and rainfall in due course . . . This order made life possible, keeping everything in its proper place and defining what was true and correct.

"Human society also depended upon this sacred order. People had to make firm binding agreements about grazing rights . . .the exchange of goods [etc]. Translated into social terms, asha/rita meant loyalty, truth, and respect . . . The gods [Varuna and Mithra] supervised all covenant agreements . . .

***The Aryans took the spoken word very seriously. . . . speech was a god, a deva . . Aryans found that the act of listening brought them closer to the sacred. Quite apart from its meaning, the very sound of a chant was holy; even a single syllable could encapsulate the divine. Similarly, a vow, once uttered, was eternally binding, and a lie was absolutely evil because it perverted the holy power inherent in the spoken word.(4) The Aryans would never lose this passion for absolute truthfulness."

(4) Mary Boyce, The Zoroastrians, p. 8

---
I have been to the Zoroastrian fire temple in Yazd, and also climbed the Tower of Silence. I have spent time, in silence, in shrines in Mashad where light is refracted from the thousands of mirrors and people kneel or sit or stand in silence to touch the divine (I had to figure out what those mirrors were all about -- a really bad interior design choice??? Or a path to transcendence.) All were powerful experiences.

When I hear the statement relentlessly repeated, "Iran cannot be trusted," (a theme that C Span cannot seem to get enough of, by the way -- check out John McCardle this morning -- an odious young man whose mother should be ashamed) I want to scream, or at least have equal time to try to undo the terrible disinformation and demonization. They do not know what they are talking about. That relentless campaign of demonization, and of conditioning the American people to normalize war and genocide is itself a violation of UN conventions and intentions.

And yes, genocide is what the US & the Netanyahu faction contemplate -- nothing less than destroying the culture and a lot of people in Iran, as they did in Iraq, in order to impose a model that is more compliant with so-called western so-called values. As we know from Iraq (among other instances) those actions were based on lies. As Armstrong explained, the Aryan value set abhors lying, from its ancient roots until this day.

This is Col. Lang's territory which I respect, so I will not expand on parallels between Hitler as Aryan and Iran as Aryan except to say, with respect, LeaNder, I think you have been over-conditioned.


re Babak Makkinejad's comment that "Racially, Iranians are not Aryans," the comments quoted above refer to cultural traditions.

From my very brief travels in Iran I learned and experienced that Iran is home to numerous groups -- Turks, Persians, Lors, Baluchis, Berbers, Mongols and more-- are they races or cultures? I don't know. I defer to Babak.

Croesus

Intriguing that Cesare Borgia was Machiavelli's superstar-hero.

Croesus

In my opinion it is this sort of cultural eradication that today's Iranian leaders are seeking to prevent.

I wish them godspeed.

In his infamous comments before a Congressional subcommittee on Sept 12, 2002, when he urged Congress to support Bush in his plan to invade Iraq, Netanyahu proposed another plan for Iran.

He noted that "there are over 200,000 satellite dishes in Iran. We should beam in Beverly Hills 90210 and [some other Hollywood dreck the name of which escapes me]. Let the young people of Iran see the big houses and swimming pools and fine clothes so they will want these things. ***That's subversive.*** " http://tinyurl.com/mefquqh

[I still can't get over the fact that the congress critters sitting there did not reflect that their children are being subverted by precisely those means. Recently, according to Hollywood Reporter, “Harvey Weinstein Urge[d] Jews to Take on Anti-Semites: ‘Kick These Guys in the Ass,’” using movies to do so. (Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter, March 24, 2015).

Hollywood ain't Andalusia.

Babak Makkinejad

"shrines in Mashad where light is refracted from the thousands of mirrors and people kneel or sit or stand in silence to touch the divine"...

Yes, it is a different religion from Sunni Islam.

Tyler

Jack,

Rummy and Cheney were true believers in Democracy Fairy Dust, and that if you held elections and gave people purple thumbs they would transform into Ohio Republicans. There is absolutely zero day light in their beliefs and the beliefs of Rice, Powers, and the rest of the Children Crusaders running the show today. They thought that Democracy Fairy Dust would turn Libya, Syria, and all the rest into coastal Democrats who couldn't wait to have Pride Parades and vote in tranny rights to use whatever bathroom they wanted to.

Much like the globalist corporations many of you rail against, the global humanists think that people are simply interchangeable and need more "education" to update their old beliefs.

The paradigms of many of you are severely lacking.

Farmer Don

A few weeks ago, a reader chided you on your mistake regarding the outcome of Libya.

As I remember, you curtly answered "I was wrong. What do you want me to do?"

Well, you HAVE done something very well, by writing this fine post.

The "Langian Creed"?

Thank you

FD

kao_hsien_chih

Tyler,

I think here's the shtick with the "corporations": they try to make money off of whatever people are trying to do. They try to make money off of warmongers, peaceniks, conservatives, neoconservatives, realists, progressives, utopians, whoever. Whoever that values their ideals or whatever more than the coin, they are willing to aid, in return for good shinies, of course--but they don't share in these "ideals." So, they are involved in every mucketty muck, but without really believing in the "cause" and "selfishly" going after their own interests, or so it would seem to the "idealists."

From the worldview of the idealists that subscribe the notion that "sincere faith" should always be rewarded by success, the lack of success has to be the fault of these "unbelievers" who are out to line their own pockets. Since they are somehow involved in every serious venture, making money off of each of them somehow, they make for perfect patsies for every failure ever. That's my nagging suspicion anyways.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, over the years, commentaries in US and elsewhere about Iran resembled more of the Cold War propaganda about USSR & Russia.

The comments often showed the depth of ignorance of these practitioners' of yellow journalism.

The sad part of it is that in many other places in the world, US is the only source of understanding - I do not think there is a single individual in Latin America that knows anything about Iran or Shia Islam outside of translation from English of US sources.

You cannot read any intelligent comments about Iran even in El Paise - the dependence on US sources is obvious and quite pathetic.

In a way, it is reminiscent of the dependence of these countries' intelligence agencies dependence on the United States - these countries have no independent capability in scholarship & analysis of Iran or the Middle East or China.

Brazil, a country of 200 million, is devoid of such niceties.

UK, France, and Italy are the only countries in EU that have retained independent capacity for analysis; in my opinion.

William R. Cumming

Respectfully disagree as to take on Russia!

Tyler

kao,

Its Stalinism all over again. Never the fault in Progressive doctrine, but those evil wreckers (red staters in the current secular faith) who are to blame.

Jack

Tyler

Is it your view the Iraq invasion was a humanist project by the Republicans and not an exercise in power to show the world that the US could do whatever it wanted in a "unipolar" world?

What I recall as the sales pitch was we need to invade to remove the threat of mushroom clouds and destroy the alliance between Saddam and OBL. Of course when Gen. Shinseki said we would need a lot more troops they said we would be greeted as liberators.

Now you are likely more in the know of what the real motivation was compared to a lay person like me.

Tyler

Jack,

And then we went about nation building and thinking we could turn Iraqis into Ohioans because....DEMOCRACY!

Patrick Bahzad

Apologies, you're right and my comment was not meant as rebuttal of your points rather the opposite. Let's say it was a general contribution to that aspect of the discussion and I subscribe to your points. Over to MRW :-)

Tyler

This republic only works with a just, wise, moral, and industrious people, which we by and large are not.

I would rather live under a military autocracy run by the Colonel, TTG, and Basilisk et al with a limited franchise versus the dog's breakfast we have now.

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