Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A callow fellow

Alternate titles: It's a dirty job, part 3, or Wendy wanks again

This is the third in a series of posts in a blog-wide effort to unearth some of the best wing-nuttery from the time of the Iraq invasion in 2003. Spot has been concentrating on his homies over at Never Never Land.

Here’s another bit of wisdom from Wendy, excreted about the time of the US invasion of Iraq:
In the Middle East, no good deed goes unpunished

Last night, in a series of blogs, I tried to explain the folly of basing, even in part, our policy decisions in the war on terrorism on their effects on the "hearts and minds" of Arabs. I argued that the populations in question view the world through a prism so distorted by hatred and irrationality that efforts to win them over are, in the short term, futile. Some might object that I am painting a cartoonish picture of Arabs. There are, of course, many sophisticated, well-educated, and even relatively moderate citizens of Arab countries. Isn't it possible to make these people kindly disposed to us through policy choices that are consistent with our national interests?

Perhaps the best way for me to answer this question is by describing my experiences with Iranians. My wife spent many years living in Iran, and I have met many Iranians, nearly all of whom are well-educated. Incredibly, I found a consensus among Iranians of a certain age that the British were behind everything of consequence that happened in Iran through the 1979 revolution and even into the 1990s. This belief stems from the massive influence that the British exercised in the region up through World War II. By the 1950s, the Americans were pulling the strings in Iran, and continued to do so until the revolution, after which, of course, no western country had any real influence. Nonetheless, smart, well-educated, and pro-western Iranians remained convinced that the British were controlling events. This was true, I found out, even of the most influential figures of the Shah's regime. My old law firm represented the Shah's son during the 1990s. The lead attorney in the representation, who had gotten to know most of the inner circle, told me that, almost to a person, they were obsessed with the British.

To several generation (sic) of Arabs, we are "the British." If we withdrew from the region completely, we would still be blamed for everything adverse that occurs in the Middle East for the next 30, or perhaps even 50, years. It is tempting, and very American, to believe that by doing good deeds in the Middle East, we can improve perceptions of us there. Liberals and conservatives share this view. For liberals, the good deed is resolving the Israeli-Arab view. For conservatives, it is liberating Iraq and making it a successful, prosperous democracy. These happy scenarios are not beyond the realm of possibility (sic). In my view, however, we should not count on them. [italics are Spot’s]

Posted by Paul at 09:37 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0) 3/31/03

Well Wendy, if you hung around Iranians, you sure didn’t learn a helluva lot.

Yo Wendy! Although both Arabs and Persians tend to be brown, Iranians are not Arabs. You could look it up. In fact, you probably should. Putz.

As to the silly notion that the British and the US had interfered with affairs in Iran up through the revolution in 1979, of course it’s true. The Brits were much better at the imperial interference business than the US, of course, up until recently. In fact, Iran is a touching case of the torch being passed from one hegemon to another. Spot speaks, of course, of the joint British – US assistance (to put it charitably) in the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Iran under Prime Minister Mossadegh and the return of the exiled Shah to the Peacock Throne.

You see, Mossadegh had the temerity to question how the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was keeping its books. In other words, we engineered the coup for oil. And the Shah was our boy until the Islamic revolution in 1979. So, the Iranians (and probably the Arabs, too!) have plenty of justification for suspicion of US motives in the region, even up to today.

Finally, Spot has to ask, Wendy, do you really think that engineering the 1953 coup in Iran was a “good deed”?

Tags: more musings about the

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