Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 20, 2006

Ahmadinejad Eats Children + WB: Protocols of the Elders of Persia



Protocols of the Elders of Persia


Earlier post by b:

The Canadian National Post had a news story yesterday, alleging that the Iranian parliament approved a law that would require Jews to wear "yellow ribbons". The brain-dead in the blogsphere were up in flames over this with a collective "Nazis" scream.

The story was based on a column in the same paper by one Amir Taheri. He claims:

The law mandates the government to make sure that all Iranians wear "standard Islamic garments" designed to remove ethnic and class distinctions reflected in clothing, and to eliminate "the influence of the infidel" on the way Iranians, especially, the young dress. It also envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public

It is obvious where this comes from. Like Richard Perle, Michael Leeden and other fellow neocons, you can book Mr. Taheri for speeches through Benador Associates

As Juan Cole points out the story is false. The sole Jewish member of the Iranian parliament says:

"This report is a complete fabrication and is totally false," Maurice Motammed said in Tehran. "It is a lie, and the people who invented it wanted to make political gain" by doing so.
Mr Motammed said he had been present in parliament when a bill to promote "an Iranian and Islamic style of dress for women" was voted. "In the law, there is no mention of religious minorities," he added.

MPs representing Iran's Jewish, Christian and Zoroastrian minorities sit on all parliamentary committees, particularly the cultural one, he said.

"This is an insult to the Iranian people and to religious minorities in Iran," he said.

The National Post has replaced the original piece with a kind of retraction. Anyhow, the intended damage is done. The moonies UPI picked it up. The New York Post puts it into a cover headline and we will see the lie returning again and again.

Next on the propaganda list is a story about religious food in Iran. Headline: "Ahmadinejad Eats Children".

Posted by b on May 20, 2006 at 09:56 AM | Permalink


Ever since Ahmadinejad was elected last year, we have been hearing week after week so much anti-Iran propaganda so as to justify an upcoming war. Well, Ahmadinejad does not tally with the West's view of him:

The West says: Ahmadinejad is hardline, religious fanatic, hates Israel, believes in the 12th Imam, and wants war at all costs.

The reality: Ahmadinejad's views on Israel ain't any different to those of any other Middle Eastern premier inclusive of US allies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan or any previous Iranian President. The nuclear issue was well underway in Khatami's tenure as President. Ahmadinejad has not implemented a Taliban-style regime in Iran, has even allowed women attend soccer matches, has spoken out against police brutality, and has called for dialog with the West. He is willing to talk but does not want to be bullied. Due to his education (he holds a Masters and a PhD, and went to school and did his BSc under the Shah's regime), I find it hard to believe he is as religious as he is portrayed by the West. Rather, he is an educated religious and obviously saw no problems with women attending soccer. He is a soccer fanatic and has done more for non-religious things like soccer than most have. He is a young man and is not a cleric.

On the other hand, George Bush and his supporters are fanatics. They have proved it. Iraq was a disaster, 9/11 was an excuse to launch some kind of US-lead war on "the rest of the world that doesn't agree with us" and al Qaeda and bin Laden and the rest are still out there. Neither Iraq nor Iran nor North Korea have any affection for al Qaeda. Bin Laden's Sunni fanaticism is against all that Shiite Iran (Shiites are heretics according to al Qaeda), secular Iraq (Saddam was among the Arab leaders al Qaeda condemned as standing in the way of fanatic Sunni Islam) and communist North Korea (communists are the ultimate infidel as they are non-believers) stand for.

It is pretty embarrassing that in 1979, Russia invades Afghanistan to help a communist government against religious nutcases and the US supports the religious fanatics who are more repressive than the communists. Then, America is attacked by al Qaeda and have to invade Afghanistan for similar reasons as Russia did. America have for too long worked on "because they are both our enemies, that makes us friends" thing. Only America seems to always pick the wrong enemies and the wrong friends.

Iran and America would be natural allies for many reasons: Iran is Shiite and a counterweight to Sunni fanaticism (the actual thing that did 9/11). Iran separates the fanatic tribes of Pakistan from the insurgents in Iraq. A war on Iran would produce a fanatic new breakaway nations called Baluchistan and Arabistan and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia could fall into the hands of al Qaeda. Then, the US would really have to cope with what they most fear: the nuclear bomb in the hands of al Qaeda. This is why Bush must stop now. He is, by acting the way he does, fast-tracking to the things he does not want: a nuclear bomb in the hands of a fanatic who would use it. An Iranian-American alliance is the only thing that will really cement al Qaeda's demise and division: and it's up to the Americans.

Posted by: JP Power-Usher | May 20, 2006 11:21:38 AM | 1

ahmadinejad is a loon. whatever apologetics juan cole et al. find to reduce the scope of ahmadinejad's lunacy--apologetics never used to justify the similar lunatic religiosity of our own "leaders"--he's still a loon w/ no business leading an emerging m.e. nuclear-capable state.

Posted by: slothrop | May 20, 2006 11:43:09 AM | 2

It's a good indication of how desperate the propaganda is becoming. Yellow ribbons as opposed to yellow stars; you'd have thunk that they'd have chosen a different colour at least!

Naturally, the story was prominently displayed on Drudge for a large part of yesterday - and it's instructive to sequence some of his notable Iran headlines: "Iran could make nukes in a couple of months according to El Baradei" to "Iran could make nukes in 16 days" to the monstrosity of yesterday, where the Iran=Nazi Germany theme is played, thereby providing an automatic and inviolable justification for bombing. This suggests that the nuclear threat angle is losing traction, big time.

These things don't appear by accident, so it's worth looking at the timing and if we can tease any significance out of it.

The last 4-6 weeks have been little short of disastrous for US "diplomacy" on Iran, but would likewise seem to offer little comfort to the warhawks. The stage-managed insults of Hu at his White House debut were bizarre, but the pattern continued with Cheney's insults of Putin a few days prior to Condi's dinner for the UNSC+German FM's in NY to discuss the impending Chapter 7 resolution. UK press accounts of Lavrov spitting blood and going postal are hilarious. Needless to say the Chapter 7 resolution that was in the offing has now ceased to be; attempts to rescucitate it are encountering difficulties, as there is now some very clear blue water between the EU-3 and the US - and it's notable that the Chapter 7 language now being touted is offering Iran substantive incentives, which the Bush administration won't accept. El Baradei is reportedly now working on the US to send the dossier back to the IAEA, and get the whole issue of Iran out of the UNSC, in the hopes of getting the Iranians to resume their fairly substantive cooperation on no-notice inspections at undeclared sites. Clearly there's a poison pill there - El Baradei is still declaring that he can find no traces of a weapons programme, and is certifying that there has been no diversion of materials; if allowed continued unfettered access, he is eventually going to produce a report that absolves Iran of any serious infractions. This must be the neocon nightmare scenario.

Gareth Porter is reporting that the mooted US-Iran talks on Iraq were spiked back in March by Cheney, quite possibly without the knowledge of Condi, who seems to be getting the rug pulled from under her on a regular basis these days. Now it looks like there is a lot of confusion in Washington, which suggests that there is no policy, as the administration cannot resolve any of the issues that are splitting the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bolton axis from just about everyone else. The axis has enough bureaucratic power to block any "positive" steps by Rice and Co. with regards to diplomatic initiatives, but seemingly lacks the muscle to get its war plans out of the silos.

And the whole while that this is going on senior Republican political, military and foreign affairs specialists, in concert with a wide variety of allies, are pushing at the Bush administration to get them to sit down at the negotiating table for some good old one-on-one talks with the Iranians, as well as getting directly involved in the bilateral tracks. The "yellow ribbon" story strikes me as an attempt at getting some of them to shut up.

The key date in the near term is June 15th, when Iran formally becomes a member of the SCO. Any guesses on the agreed text that will be delivered to close the summit? I bet it's going to make a few jaws drop in neocon circles.

Posted by: dan | May 20, 2006 12:18:53 PM | 3

ahmadinejad is a loon. whatever apologetics juan cole et al. find to reduce the scope of ahmadinejad's lunacy--apologetics never used to justify the similar lunatic religiosity of our own "leaders"--he's still a loon w/ no business leading an emerging m.e. nuclear-capable state.

On what facts is that judgement based on?

Posted by: b | May 20, 2006 12:51:04 PM | 4

his fanatic, eschatological religiosity.

I point out the contradiction of some apologetics, like cole's, that ineptly or tendentiously exclude the same appraisal of bush's religious madness.

of course, it would be exciting if ahmadinejad, like bush, doesn't mean what he seems to say. but we've had too many lessons served by too many religious leaders to search for the inchoate "truth" in every statement made by these vultures that they do not mean what they seem to say.

and, like you b, the persians I know inside and outside of iran tend to distrust and even despise the mullahs for what they are: venal hypocrites w/ god in their pockets.

Posted by: slothrop | May 20, 2006 1:37:13 PM | 5

but, saying all this, I do not desire any vindication for "regime change" in iran according to the malevolent stupidities of bush.

Posted by: slothrop | May 20, 2006 1:41:46 PM | 6

it seems comrade slothrop has bought into the empire's demonisation

i would point out that for time immemorial empires have described their enemies thus

i simply do not accept it

slothhrop wants at once for me to believe that capitalism is at once borgesian, infinitely complicated, with inextricable links everywhere - but that the enemies of the empire are crazy, stupid, fundamentalist, cruel, thoughtless....whatever

this absence of understanding of the humanity of your enemy is your fanaticism

simply because someone teaches at georgetown slothrop & who have written a book or two about policy does not mean they are any less 'crazy' any less brutal in their cosmologies

i know iranians too & they are a mixed bag like we all are - but they are united on one question - if the empire attacks - they will return the favour tenfold

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 20, 2006 2:46:50 PM | 7


I can only agree with those who maintain that Ahmadijihad does not deserve the benefit of anybody's doubt in the light of his statements about Israel and the Holocaust. He does does not need a smnear campaign, he is standing up to his neck in his own filth already.

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 20, 2006 2:53:59 PM | 8


whatever apologetics juan cole et al. find to reduce the scope of ahmadinejad's lunacy

Cole on Ahmadinejad:

I should again underline that I personally despise everything Ahmadinejad stands for, not to mention the odious Khomeini, who had personal friends of mine killed so thoroughly that we have never recovered their bodies.

apologetics never used to justify the similar lunatic religiosity of our own "leaders"

I think Bush just fakes to be religious as does Ahmadinejad. The later one has an education with a Bc, Master and PhD in engineering. If anything - that doesn´t make you religious but calculating.

Cole on Bush:

Some people warn that because Sistani wants religious law and clerical influence, he is a Trojan Horse for theocracy. If so, then so are Tom Delay and George W. Bush and their allies among the evangelical Protestant ayatollahs.

w/ no business leading an emerging m.e. nuclear-capable state

Why, if not for swallowing the "Iran gets nukes" propaganda, do you assume that Iran is an "emerging m.e. nuclear-capable state"??? Facts?

For "no business in leading" - link:

Summary of the 17 and 24 June 2005 Iranian Presidential election results Candidates Votes 2nd round:
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani 10,046,701 35.93%
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 17,284,782 61.69%
The turnout was for the vote was 60%. Higher than the US turnout in 2004.

As for "loon", again - show me some proof. Ahmadinejad tried to allow women into football stadiums. A small step, but in Iran a "liberal" one. He was turned down on this by the Ajatollahs in power.

I do not desire any vindication for "regime change" in iran according to the malevolent stupidities of bush.

As Bill Scheer correctly states:

[T]he argument over whether Iran is rational or irrational is "the ballgame," between persuading the American public that either direct talks are worthwhile or we have no choice but to launch a military strike.

So what is your site?

Posted by: b | May 20, 2006 3:01:11 PM | 9

@ralphieboy - in the light of his statements about Israel and the Holocaust

So what did he say? Please explain why you have reason to differ with this analysis: Does Iran's President Want Israel Wiped Off The Map - Does He Deny The Holocaust?

An independent translation of the original yields that Ahmadinejad does not use the term 'map'. He quotes Ayatollah Khomeini's assertion that the occupation regime must vanish from this world - literally translated: from the arena of times.
The assertion that Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust thus is wrong in more than one aspect. He does not deny the Holocaust, but speaks of denial itself. And he does not speak of denial of the Holocaust, but of denial of the Myth of Holocaust. This is something totally different.

Posted by: b | May 20, 2006 3:11:29 PM | 10

Added Billmon's take to the post.

Posted by: b | May 20, 2006 3:27:04 PM | 11

>>Next on the propaganda list is a story about religious food in Iran. Headline: "Ahmadinejad Eats Children".<<

They better hurry up and get this out, because its about the only thing left that the U.S. has'nt already done in Iraq -- like civilian murder, slavery, torture, sexual sadism, religious desecration -- and I'd hate to see the U.S. get preemted by a luntatic like ahmadinejad.

Posted by: anna missed | May 20, 2006 3:42:59 PM | 12

when the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable

Noam Chomsky

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 20, 2006 5:10:16 PM | 13

make this issue into any abstraction you want. whether or not someone's words are the map of future action is nothing either of us can prove a priori. my position is far more tenable than yours, b, because I don't require a sophisticated interpellation of ahmadinejad's rhetoric to be sufficiently alarmed by his religiosity. he is a religious nut.

I have never said here I am certain iran has the bomb, or even wants one. even in the interest of attaining regional detente, wouldn't you make a bomb if you were the shah of all persia? I suppose you would. about these "facts," b, I am as sceptical as you. I have only claimed elsewhere the bush doctrine, but really american foreign policy, will not permit the attempt.

and the testimonies of persian colleagues and acquaintances compels me to think the way I now do about iran's oligarchy.

Posted by: slothrop | May 20, 2006 6:20:53 PM | 14

but that the enemies of the empire are crazy, stupid, fundamentalist, cruel, thoughtless....whatever

oh yes. the resistance to occupation is a travesty of bad faith, a fragmentation of will and intentions. "two iraqis, three parties," as the proverb goes.

but, you'll be happy to know you're lucky not to live among the idiot semblances of our "opposition." in the place where the only opposition that can ever really exist, among workers, among those who almost never make money while they sleep, the people have found each other to destroy; and only in the protest of one, official language, by god.

Posted by: slothrop | May 20, 2006 6:34:02 PM | 15

Ever since Ahmadijihad was elected he has been subjected to a vicious and premeditated smear campaign. Remember the day the results were announced 'certain US-based sites' were claiming that Ahmadijihad was one of the hostage takers at the US embassy in Tehran 30-odd years ago?

The claim was repeated for over a week each time being picked up by more and more mainstream US controlled publications, until finally it was accepted as a truth. Only then belatedly and with much less fanfare did anyone properly check the claim out. Certain anonymous US officials admitted that the claim might not be true, but even then it was done in a grudging fashion. Sort of "well he would have been if he could have been" backhanded accusation without any foundation whatsoever.

Having witnessed the way this works on those who choose to remain ignorant, I have no doubt that a sizeable chunk of the world's population particularly in the US still believe he was the man who led the attack on 'their' Embassy. I won't digress here but I'm sure that the same emotions will be aroused when Iraqis chase the corrupt maggots out of the 100 + acre torture and mis-information centre mushrooming out of shit on the banks of the Tigris.

So since the day that Ahmadijihad was elected, something which caught that great oxymoron, US Intelligence Agencies, completely by surprise, there has been nothing published about him in the west that wasn't lies, half truths, and smears.

Remember the time CNN changed 'nuclear energy' into nuclear weapons' when translating his speech?

The 101st amerikan greed and theft brigade imagined they had the issue of 'their' oil in Iran sewn up long term when they succeeded in bribing a couple of the previous Iranian political leaders to perform a few tricks for them. They actually imagined that they were going to succeed in staging an 'orange revolution' in Iran!

But the Iranian people had become bored with these alleged liberals which like democratic liberals everywhere were only really 'liberal' with the people's assets so they voted them out.

This caused an immediate reaction amongst the washington bullies who began tossing their toys around their playpens in typical spoilt child fashion. Ever since they have been displaying that other most unattractive trait of the overindulged infant, they have been making stories up about Ahmadijihad, and 'telling' on him.

Anyone who claims that they oppose the notion of the US interfering in the internal business of yet another sovereign state going about it's business would be wise to consider that the moment they concede that yes there is something wrong with Ahmadijihad, their concession really reduces the Iraqification of Iran to a question of 'when', not if.

THere is no way anyone who isn't fully conversant with Farsi and who wasn't present in person when Ahmadijihad spoke could possibly know what his real position on anything is. Given that he is a politician, probably not even then.

Ahmadijihad hasn't invaded any other sovereign nation or even looked like doing so. That should be the end of it. If he is a madman the Iranians are perfectly capable of voting him out. They certainly don't need a bunch of mis-informed racists motivated solely by greed anywhere near their private internal business.

Those seeking to 'right' wrongs would be far better engaged much closer to home overthrowing a corrupt regime who evil repression has now spread far beyond it's own borders. One where 'elections' have become such a farce that few apart from the foolish or the cynical self-serving party members vote in them. In fact it's system appears not unlike the old Soviet era ersatz democracy where only party members can vote in the most decisive polls, that is the primaries.

Posted by: | May 20, 2006 6:35:05 PM | 16

What Ahmadinejad said about Israel and how exactly it should be translated has been much discussed.

In any case, whatever he said, whether delicate or gross, he either sincerely or in a calculated pol fashion expressed what about three quarters or more of the world thinks.

That is from a pol pov a smart thing to do. - No denying that!

While the Anglo-Sax press have blasted him and pulled on all the stops of the usual anti- anti- semitism rants, the rest of the world thinks, hey the man spoke truth to power. That realised state of affairs was so horrific that some spitting nasty jokers had to exagerate the meme, and lo and behold, competely made up rumors are published .. about tagging Jews or whatever nonsense.

Babies thrashed on the floor from incubators, care of actress Ambassador’s daughter? Palestinians dancing after 9/11, care of E. Buba who turned over the false yellowcake docs to the US embassy?

Garbage. All of it.

Designed to distract, thrill, rile; provoke ersatz horror, vociferous disdain..

Posted by: Noisette | May 20, 2006 6:45:08 PM | 17

but yes, b, I'd be happy to oblige you with some "facts" warranting a concern about ahmadinejad's fragile eggshell mind, constructed as it is by the strange belief in the apocalyptic return of the mahdi.

but, that's less scary than the run of the mill protestantism.

Posted by: slothrop | May 20, 2006 6:45:14 PM | 18

btw, rgiap, I'm surprised you accuse me for announcing over and over a leading verity of marxism: no revolution is possible w/out class consciousness. in iran as elswhere, w/out class consciousness we are doomed by contemptible stupidity.

Posted by: slothrop | May 20, 2006 7:27:01 PM | 19

as always, slothrop, this is a fight amongst allies - tho residing on different continents & thru differing 'lived' realities - we approach marxism & the national question differently, sometimes very differently

what i do oppose however is the implied complexity of the methodologies of capital - that for me is pure mystification & it should be every thinker's duty to demystify the constructs that make the empire 'liveable' only for beasts

& i also oppose your inferences, my friend, in the way you treat those oppossing the empire because sometimes from opposing positions you repeat some of the soliloquys of dominant ideology

it is going to get a great deal farker before there is any light so i hope in that struggle for light our arguments are resolved thru the necessary exigences of struggle

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 20, 2006 7:51:14 PM | 20

Surely we can all debate issues better if we don't allow ourselves to fall back on fallacious accepted truths be they xtian islam or marxist all have been tested and found wanting, all are little more than pious pronouncements used by self serving main chancers to flummox those around them into accepting the world view that best advances the interests of the self same self serving main chancers.

Relying on the anecdotes of Iranian exiles to form one's opinions on Iran is committing the same error as those who dutifully accepted the tales of Castro's alleged foul deads made by Cuban 'exiles' to determine what Cuba's future 'ought' to be, or more recently the the stories of Iraqi exiles such as Ahmed Chalabi's stooges to determine the truth of the life and aspirations of Iraqis (eg committed to levelling the playing field and the world with weapons of mass destruction).

Yes there are oligarchies in control of much of Iran's economic and political machinery but, no; Ahmadinejad doesn't belong to them. In fact he was elected by the ordinary Iranians because he was seen as being independent of the oligarchies who were pushing for an eventual rapprochment with Big brother Uncle Sam.

Who knows whether any of it is true or not? The only thing we can be sure of is it no one but Iranian resident's business who or what Ahmadinejad stands for right up until the time he orders Iran into an aggressive act against another sovereign state, and that act is carried out.

Even then outside interference should only be countenenced if it is the result of a multi-lateral decision made by all other nations, made without the spectre of totally undemocratic and self-serving veto powers coming in to play.

Posted by: | May 20, 2006 8:11:18 PM | 21

in the way you treat those oppossing the empire because sometimes from opposing positions you repeat some of the soliloquys of dominant ideology

nah. what I point out is false-consciousness as evil as any. and I have always pointed out the uselessness of any detour into false-consciousness masquerading as "opposition to the hegemon." it's easy to find such dissimulation; in iran, it's the quite moribund claim that the content of struggle is the ambition to worship god the right way, or that america is satan, or other nonsense abstractions.
It'd be cool if for once oppressed people could know what the hegemon is. but, this is not easy and I don't envy the task needed to convince even someone as sage as you, rgiap.

like I said several weeks before b decried claims never made by me, you'd almost think ahmadinejad is on the cia payroll.

Posted by: slothrop | May 20, 2006 8:32:46 PM | 22

,"This report is a complete fabrication and is totally false," Maurice Motammed said in Tehran. "It is a lie, and the people who invented it wanted to make political gain" by doing so.
Mr Motammed said he had been present in parliament when a bill to promote "an Iranian and Islamic style of dress for women" was voted. "In the law, there is no mention of religious minorities," he added.

Apparently legally mandated dress codes are only objectionable to Iranians/Juan Cole/above posters when it is done to Jewish/Christian/Zoroastrian/religious minorities who are men. When it is done to women, nobody blinks.

Must be a cultural thing.

Posted by: gylangirl | May 20, 2006 9:12:11 PM | 23

Well, everyone talks about Nazi Germany as the evil power that all evil powers are compared to. However, this is typical of the one sided West. While it is fine to denounce Hitler, we must worship Admiral Nelson, Winston Churchill, Tony Blair, George W Bush and so many more tyrants as gods. Hitler ain't no saint. There are current Iranian ministers who ain't saints. Damn it, Saddam was evil. But there are also evil men in the West. And it is in the West the most powerful evil men now exist.

Posted by: shak | May 20, 2006 10:43:49 PM | 24

Ahmadinejad has been described as everything from anti-American to a CIA agent, from communist to right wing fanatic, from atheist to religious. Who the hell is this guy really? Well, that is Iran for you and I'm from there. A country of alcoholics who hate booze, of religious fanatics who do not believe in Allah, of educated peasants, of rural citydwellers, of old young people, of European Asians. Iran is full of so many contradictions (our law is common law and Shariah law mixed is another example) no one knows what is really the real way. It ain't the repressive place the West like to tell us we are, it ain't perfect either, and no place is. And just because Iranians do not approve of their government does not mean we want to kill them. All countries that vote vote and are disappointed and then vote for someone else. For the record, Ahmadinejad is better for our people than Khatami was and that's why I voted for him.
Best wishes and peace to the world god willing,

Posted by: Lumphammer | May 20, 2006 10:54:18 PM | 25

Someone said that Ahmadinejad has been subjected to a constant smear campaign. I agree 100%. Iran is accused of all kinds of deeds it hasn't even committed or does not intend do by (who): the Americans and British. Well, Iran has never invaded anyone in recent times: be that under the Pahlavi Shahs, Ayatollah Khomeini, or post-Khomeini. In the same are:

Britain repressed India, Ireland and Africa and ruled with an iron fist. It killed 250 thousand German civilians in WW2 deliberately to "lower war moral" (the figure speaks for itself: that is almost 1000 times more deliberate civilian deaths as 9/11).

If the Brits were bad, they pale compared to the Americans: the only (yes, only) country to use nukes was the US. They would use them again and chances are they did. America invaded Iraq for no reason at all and Iranian overtures to make peace with the US have always been rejected. Ahmadinejad may say he will talk to all but Israel, but the US will not respond (have they an excuse? No. Well, they may say that Iran hates our ally Israel .. but Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc. hate Israel even more than Iran does but America turns a blind eye there!).

America better get real and start dealing with the real issues. Iran is problem that could have been solved 25 years back but Reagan fucked up (he had Rumsfeld, too!!). Bush has the same problems as Reagan only Reagan had Altzeimers to fall back on!

Posted by: Emma | May 20, 2006 11:10:50 PM | 26

@gylangirl acceptance of laws instructing minorities what to wear isn't just a gender issue, although that is a substantial part of it, condemnation of those types of laws by 'western nations' is also determined by whether the nation doing the dress code legislation is a member of the International Association for the Advancement of WhiteFellas (IAAWF).
When France passed laws prohibiting people from wearing religious symbols to school initially it applied to all but when the Sikhs pointed out this would impact negatively on their males right to wear turbans; turbans as worn by Sikhs were defined as 'cultural' symbols not religious symbols. That left those blokes alone. Then when the catholic xtians got upset about female students and teachers (such as nuns) not being able to wear crucifixes it was amended to say something like prominent or large 'religious' symbols and crucifixes were defined as not being prominent or large. That left only Islam females in the frame which was the original intent.

No other western nation's government let out a peep which can only be because France is a member of the IAAWF.

This must be so and I suspect Israel has been granted honorary membership of the IAAWF in deference to the great european misunderstanding about the status of Jewish people 1933-45. Romany people still get the same sort of deal throughout Europe from Ireland west to Russia and Turkey that they copped prior to their mass slaughter by the Nazis, but the same can't be said for the deferential guilt-ridden way the bulk of Europe relates with Jewish people.

Israel's IAAWF status is confirmed by the way the west dutifully ignores it's treatment of Xtian Israeli and Palestinian people. This is something rarely tolerated in other IAAWF nations let alone non-IAAWF countries such as China.

China is currently being excoriated for having the gall to insist that the Chinese Catholic church pick it's own leaders, 'bishops or cardinals', rather than have some old Austrian closet case who knows Sweet F A about the aims and aspirations of Chinese catholics impose bishops upon them.

The only consistent factors discernable amongst this inconstancy are gender (bishops are blokes) and ethnicity, as the recent kerfuffle over the treatment of chinese catholics reveals. Chinese xtians may cop some oppression from their state but that is nothing in comparison to what is meted out to the xtians of Jerusalem.

Yet when was the last time the big media outlets cranked up citizens about the treatment of xtians in Israel and/or occupied Palestine?

Posted by: | May 21, 2006 1:29:29 AM | 27

to kind of piggyback on debs' comments above, I found this story on the Zoroastrians web site that paints an entirely different picture from what corporate media gives us.

Iran's parliament approved a bill Sunday that will provide equal compensation in "blood money" to non-Muslim crime victims, a move aimed at protecting the rights of religious minorities.

The move sets new rules in an area of Islamic legislation where guidelines rarely are modernized. Non-Muslims are considered infidels by many fundamentalists, and Iran's effort to recognize them as equally deserving of compensation was welcomed by minorities.

"Blood money" is the compensation a convicted attacker must pay the victim or the victim's relatives. The average compensation now paid to relatives of a Muslim man killed is $18,750. The payment is about half that if the victim was Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian or a woman, regardless of her religion.

Conservative lawmaker Mohammad Qomi said the 290-seat legislature approved the bill in an open session of the parliament.

This is not new news, it happened in November 2002.

Posted by: dan of steele | May 21, 2006 4:25:44 AM | 28

Now they are trotting out the "tortured exciled":

London Times: Fugitive pleads with US to 'liberate' Iran

FOR almost eight months, Amir Abbas Fakhravar was held in solitary confinement in a soundproof cell in Iran.
Fakhravar, a 30-year-old writer and leader of the dissident Iranian student movement, who has been repeatedly jailed, emerged in Washington last week after spending 10 months on the run inside Iran.
He surfaced at the end of last month in Dubai, where 24 hours later he was met by the leading American neoconservative, Richard Perle. Fakhravar was whisked to America last weekend and has already met congressmen and Bush officials. He said he was in Washington to spread one message only: “Regime change,” he said, breaking from Farsi into English to deliver it.

In Iran, Bush is regarded as a liberator, Fakhravar said. “People are afraid to express what is in their hearts, but in small, private gatherings, they see him as a saviour.”

Fakhravar believes dialogue with Iran is useless. “The regime wants to have a nuclear bomb so it can wipe out a country it doesn’t like,” he said. “We don’t understand why the rest of the world doesn’t understand this.”
Ehud Olmert, the new Israeli prime minister, arrives in Washington tomorrow for his first summit with Bush. “Olmert will try to get Bush’s approval for an Israeli military strike on Iran in the event that the West backs down,” a well-informed Israeli source said. If diplomacy fails, however, the view inside the Pentagon is that American airstrikes would be quicker and more effective than anything the Israelis could muster.

Posted by: b | May 21, 2006 4:39:31 AM | 29

I have a Canuckistanian (being played for saps) perspective on this business at my place.

It is not good.

Posted by: RossK | May 21, 2006 3:16:01 PM | 30

It has too often been mentioned that Amir Taheri, the slanderous article's writer, is a member of Benador Associates and has written for this or that newspaper. But you need to go much further back in his career to understand who he is. As executive editor-in-chief of Iran's main daily newspaper, Kayhan, between 1972 and 1979, he was very close to the Shah. The Revolution deprived him of his high position, and he has been taking revenge by writing lies and slanders ever since. His Wikipedia biography is here:

Posted by: Al S E | May 21, 2006 3:34:45 PM | 31

From the NYRB's Mearsheimer, Walt, and AIPAC pointed out by Groucho in the OT:

Any discussion of AIPAC's activities must begin with the policy conference it sponsors each year in Washington, a combination of trade show, party convention, and Hollywood extravaganza that seems designed to show AIPAC's national power. On Sunday, March 5, 2006, the start of this year's gathering, five thousand pro-Israel activists from around the country crowded into the Washington Convention Center.
On several giant screens around the hall there flashed alternating clips of Adolf Hitler denouncing the Jews and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowing to destroy Israel. The show ended with a fade-out to the post-Holocaust vow "Never Again."

Posted by: PeeDee | May 22, 2006 5:49:36 AM | 32


You're going to be told lots of things.
You get told things every day that don't happen.

It doesn't seem to bother people, they don't—
It's printed in the press.
The world thinks all these things happen.
They never happened.

Everyone's so eager to get the story
Before in fact the story's there
That the world is constantly being fed
Things that haven't happened.

All I can tell you is,
It hasn't happened.
It's going to happen.

—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 22, 2006 1:36:12 PM | 33

I couldn't find one of the excellent articles backing up my claim of ahmadinejad's religious extremism. I couldn't remember the author's name, but found it: tom petreous 'reading iran' published in prospect. unfortunately, the 4500 word essay is only available on lexis.

I reread the essay this morning. ahmadinejad's association w/ cleric yazdi and the weird twelver cult 'hojjatieh' are, well, weirdly apocalyptic.

just sayin'.

Posted by: slothrop | May 22, 2006 4:44:17 PM | 34

also>this from atimes.

Posted by: slothrop | May 22, 2006 4:54:52 PM | 35

ahmadinejad's association w/ rightwing groups like hojjatie would be similar to the association of david duke w/ the klan.

a bahai friend from iran says the antagonism against minorities has never been less congenial.

ahmadinejad's a "last days" (read the>letter to bush)religious nut.

Posted by: slothrop | May 22, 2006 5:04:59 PM | 36

ahmadinejad is a loon. whatever apologetics juan cole et al. find to reduce the scope of ahmadinejad's lunacy

Small point, but "apologist" Juan Cole has called Ahmadinejad a "crank", and a "non-entity", and has stated:

I should again underline that I personally despise everything Ahmadinejad stands for, not to mention the odious Khomeini, who had personal friends of mine killed so thoroughly that we have never recovered their bodies.

You can call Cole many things, but let's not give any time to this "apologist" meme from Hitchens et al.

Posted by: Old Fart!! | May 23, 2006 4:53:07 AM | 37


From your Asia Times article written by "special correspondent":

Ahmadinejad himself is said to have sympathies with the Hojjatieh, if he was not a member outright at some point in his career.

That is a typical "guilt by association" attempt without any backing.

When I am "said to have association with Opus Dei", that doesn´t make it so.

Anyhow this not about defending Ahmadinejad, it is about falling to propaganda. Something got you.

Posted by: b | May 23, 2006 6:15:26 AM | 38

whoever the fuck Ahmadinejad is, whatever the fuck he believes in, is the business of iranians living in Iran.

Ahmadinejad is their business no one else's and has absolutely nothing to with a bunch of sticky-beaked, judgemental and poorly informed foreigners who are ruled by corrupt self-serving and warmongering ignoramuses.

Instead of playing "I actually know more about a chap who was democratically elected by his citizens in a process far more 'democratic'than the one that selected my half-witted, xtian, fundie head of state, who is a dangerous and stupid man who acts out his beliefs on innocents in other countries in a bloodthirsty, vengeful, and callous pandering to his citizens worst instincts" it would be more useful if those people recognised that it is exactly this 'holier than thou; I know what every other nation needs better than they do because I'm whitefella, english speaking and probably amerikan' attitude that allows and encourages the likes of Dubya and all his predeceessors to commit their massacres.

The only time Ahmadinejad's act should be of any concern to anyone outside Iran would be in the extremely unlikely occurrence that he precipitates some form of aggression against another nation.

Non-whitefella english speaking nations' heads of state frequently say all sorts of things to their population, things that they rarely if ever act out on. They know when they make their speech that they won't. as does their audience.

This is particularly true of Islam states for some reason. Indonesian and Malaysian prez's have been pinging at Australia for 50 years and it took a long time for diplomats to convince Oz heads of state not to take it seriously.

That was one of the most obvious blowback effects of the colonial era of imperialism. Australians were close by, white and frequently behaved badly especially after consuming too much alcohol. Therefore any south east asian head of state could lift themselves in the polls, (newsflash even dictators can't stay in power without the support of a sizeable chunk of the community, however tacit that suport may seem) by having a ping at the obviously decadent infidel whitefellas a latitude away.

None of us can honestly know what Ahmadinejad really stands for, or believes in, but if we look at recent middle eastern history we can see that the occasions where middle eastern states have attacked or gone to war with another nation are as rare as the proverbial hen's teeth.

Remember that before Saddam tried to recover Iraq's former province, a province that had been torn off the end of the country like a square of toilet paper, by the brits, he went to the US to make sure they had no problem with Iraq reclaiming Kuwait.

His mistake was in expecting the US to act honestly and say what they meant.

It's too late for Saddam now but one thing is for sure all of the other ME leaders now know that US prez's lie like a pig in shit.

Posted by: | May 23, 2006 7:00:26 AM | 39

I don't disagree with any particular point you make above, Debs. I'd maybe tone down the white=evil if you want people to get on board, but it sounds like otherwise we're coming from the same place.

Posted by: Monolycus | May 23, 2006 7:49:38 AM | 40

b, your comment I have been seduced by propaganda, based on your preferred reading of one artimes article is disingenuous.

I do take back my cole-as-"apologist" complaint, inferring a respect by me of hitchens' boorish attacks on the professor, which is far from the truth. but, cole's position on ahmadinejad is "apologetic" when the critique fails to acknowledge when the intersection of twelver messianism and nuclear technology poses an unacceptable threat to the region.

Cole, today:

If the Iranians were smart, they would dump that buffoon Ahmadinejad and get themselves a less inflammatory president. Ahmadinejad's antics are giving the warmongers in the West all kinds of pretexts to talk war on Tehran.

a more serious matter is omitted from cole's attack. what threshold is crossed by ahmadinejad to warrant international intervention in the affairs of iran's ostensibly "peaceful" nuclear program? given cole's knowledge about shia millenarian fantasies tied to ahmadinejad, should the accumulation of evidence concerning the apocalypticism of ahmadinejad's faith preclude his possession of even a professed "peaceful" nuclear program? I'd also point out that cole himself in his book Sacred Spaces pp. 202-04, expresses doubts of such "peaceful" intentions. so, what I respectfully perceive as an oscillation in cole's analysis between condemnation of ahmadinejad's "bufoonery" and the concerns about iran's nuclear ambitions, seems like an apologetics because his analysis as yet benefits from an offer about what to do w/ a bufoon w/ the bomb. but, also, perhaps I haven't yet seen this normative detail in his work.

maybe I ask too much of cole who is trying to move too quickly and too often between his vocation as historian and his developing ambition to be a public intellectual.

Posted by: slothrop | May 23, 2006 12:49:05 PM | 41

also, my interest here in raising the question of ahmadinejad's fanaticism is inspired by the pragmatic issue of the need for international intervention in the affairs of countries whose leadership is deliterious. I'm aware as anyone here the need to do something about the madness of american leadership. so, I agree (w/out the somewhat embarassing stridency of anonymous above) the u.s. has no moral authority to confront rogues. however, such threats are real and persistent mark of modernity. just ask kant. my challenge here is to seriously ask whether iran's leadership deserves international sanction. if not, why not? but the answer: "cuz whitey has no biz telling me how to treat my people," is no answer, just as, "leave saddam alone" was always an unacceptable confirmation of a status quo of tyranny.

Posted by: slothrop | May 23, 2006 1:02:59 PM | 42


Posted by: slothrop | May 23, 2006 1:06:31 PM | 43

Monolycus said:

I don't disagree with any particular point you make above, Debs. I'd maybe tone down the white=evil if you want people to get on board, but it sounds like otherwise we're coming from the same place.

Debs doesn't want to get people on board, imo. He wants to spew bile on this site because, as his comments make clear, he despises most everyone here, tho I probably have a special place in his bile because I will lob some back from time to time.

Most people on this site display ample courtesy and do not call him on this, for reasons that have nothing to do with what he says.

and debs said-

if we look at recent middle eastern history we can see that the occasions where middle eastern states have attacked or gone to war with another nation are as rare as the proverbial hen's teeth.

I guess all those people killed during the Iran/Iraq war don't count --and how long did that war last? All those children sent out to be living land mine detectors on the Iranian side? Oh, forget it. The U.S. helped to arm both sides, so of course they had no responsibility for their own actions.

Saudi Arabia's support for the U.S. during the first Iraq invasion doesn't count? --or doesn't count because they were allies of the U.S. and, of course, no one has any accountability for their actions if the U.S. is involved in anything.

that's convenient.

is it also retroactive? The house of Saud made an arrangement with the Wahabbists to control the land mass we now call Saudi Arabia, and of course this is all America's fault, even tho that was before the "great satan" had grown enough to acquire real horns.

I've been reading these things for days and haven't bothered to respond. But it's ridiculous to claim that the ME is a paradise except for U.S. intervention.

This is the sort of talk, in fact, that totally discredits any attempts to deal with real issues by people who do not support the Bush junta. The level of hatred in these claims makes any statement subject to questions of credibility to many who might be able to see other ways to deal with problems otherwise.

but that's just my silly opinion.

now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Posted by: fauxreal | May 23, 2006 3:26:02 PM | 44

All those children sent out to be living land mine detectors on the Iranian side?

Those claims were made when the US supported Saddam. PsyOps isn´t a very recent invention.

But it's ridiculous to claim that the ME is a paradise except for U.S. intervention.

That's right, but it would probably be a more developed and less burdoned place.

Posted by: b | May 23, 2006 4:27:57 PM | 45

where can you show that the kid mine detectors was psy-ops, b? I read about it in Harpers mag from someone who had covered the region back in the late 80s/early 90s.

I'm just asking you where and how you can discount that bit of info.

and, yes, of course intervention is not my pov for the ME, etc. but again the sort of "discussion" that exists to excoriate the US without demanding anything of those who hold positions of power there, whether in the govt or the clergy is simply untenable.

Posted by: fauxreal | May 23, 2006 4:48:52 PM | 46


the buddhist tenets seem to be applicable here

i understand the fury that wells in debs as it does in outraged & many others - including myself from time to time

i understand that americans are wounded by what is happening but i also understand that the real blood is falling in afghanistan & in iraq

& i imagine there are many anti imperialists in the midst of their lives coming full face with the enemy made material by this current criminal administration

i read the press from here & italy & also from australia america england elsewhere - & i magine debs fury in relationship to the absence of information or even the blackout of information that is really part & parcel of empire & its domain

the age of melbourne & they sydney morning herald - it is true i only read the internet version - but these once readable journals are just pumped up pomposities who are in full compliance with few exceptions of the empire's dirty business

fauxreal you have brought much to the site but so too has debs -i'm neither demanding consensus or charity - merely a recognition that we are all feeling like the wheels of terror are rolling over us 24/24-7/7

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 23, 2006 7:35:43 PM | 47

r'giap- I understand at least some of the frustration. It's maddening to have people in power doing what they're doing and know they don't care about accountability.

My sincere hope is that the Bush junta ends up on trial for war crimes.

In my one and only email to the white house ever in my life, I wrote to Bush and told him that I thought an invasion of Iraq was a violation of the Nuremberg Principles and the Geneva Conventions, and if he went to war with Iraq, he would be a war criminal.

This was before any of the information about torture, white phosphorus, Fallujah, executions of women and children...

It is all much worse than I could have imagined.

I am not telling Debs not to contribute. Yes, he has many worthwhile things to contribute.

However, if someone consistently tells me that I am worthless, or whatever the adjective may be, because I am identified with a certain group, and assumes so many things not proven, after a while I will say something that may be equally as harsh. I have refrained again and again from saying anything. I will refrain yet again.


Posted by: fauxreal | May 23, 2006 11:15:51 PM | 48

where can you show that the kid mine detectors was psy-ops, b?

I can not - but where can you show me that this really happened? According to the following, there was only one anonymous report at that time and one unconfirmed/questionable one that came 10 years after the time.

Wikipedia: Iran-Iraq WarMaybe you have better sources. Please point to them.

Posted by: b | May 24, 2006 12:30:46 AM | 49


Well, here I am not disagreeing again... I'd noticed the same things and sometimes I refrain from saying and sometimes I don't. I certainly don't think it's worthwhile to hijack a thread in order to point up anyone else's personal shortcomings, but sometimes when those shortcomings keep cropping up, turning the other cheek ain't the easiest thing in the world to do.

It's a problem we on the Lefter side of things face, I've found (and mentioned... ad nauseum at times). The Left have a peculiar genius for doing two things: rationalising and exacerbating our own flaws (such as becoming insufferably arrogant about how humble we are. Good Lord, Debs, sign your friggin' name already... the "anonymous" postings are not even close to being genuinely anonymous and are just becoming the epitome of pompous self-importance), or saying things that nobody could possibly disagree with and still making everyone around us want to kick us in the teeth. This is why I think a lot of our anti-war demonstrations actually have the net effect of making more people support these wars, and I've asked for input on effective activism here before with no real payoff. Have you seen those "" television ads which are ostensibly trying to get people to quit smoking? They are so obnoxious that they make tobacco companies look like some pretty down-to-earth, sympathetic folk. While I am sure that effect is deliberate, they are a damned good parody of the activist's general approach.

The Right, on the other hand, deals with hate front and center and you're either behind it or you're not. It takes the guesswork out of things which appeals to the simpler-minded folk. Hell, the way we on the Left (with right on our side and all that) marginalise our own selves, I sometimes wonder why the Right needs such a big budget for their psyops in the first place. I sympathise with the outrage, but putting everyone off isn't going to swell the ranks of people with right on their side.

And I often wonder if this self-sabotage isn't done deliberately on some unconscious level (which is what prompted me to speculate about "outrage junkies" some time back).

Posted by: Monolycus | May 24, 2006 12:35:00 AM | 50

his possession of even a professed "peaceful" nuclear program

Ahman- wouldn't "have" anything. He's just a transitionary figurehead, who'll be long gone before they actually have nukes in a decade or so. But he sure is a convenient, hell no one's Intel Agency could have dreamed up a more perfect figurehead & whipping boy for someone no one would want to see nuclearized. But in Iran, as in America, it's always the far right that is the underlying apparatus that controls the nukes.

Anyway, the Kissinger wing of foreign policy, has formulated a new one they're running about the country trying to sell. It sure beats the current one. I heard a longtime Kissinger friend/associate/biographer, John Stoessinger - author of Kissinger: Anguish of Power, and "Why Nations go to War" - discuss it last weekend. (Unfortunately, it's only archived for 24 hrs.) It'll take another wing of the elite to derail AIPAC's agenda, so this was hopeful. This discussion was valuable precisely 'cuz it was an interview done by an AIPAC propagandist in mainstream media.

Basically his take was an updated Cold War approach. And just as the Gangsta Cabal opposed containment then, they oppose it now. At least he understood that war w/Iran would destroy xUSA - I think he used words like accelerated decline for public consumption. He said that he thght. that Iran wanted to talk. He said they could be contained. And that the Gangsta's BoogyMan, the "Terraists", which were not nation states could be dealt w/as Michael Klare indicated after 911 - via Special Forces, police actions...

It was interesting listening to elite foreign policy guy discussing bush realistically. He noted that he's dangerous 'cuz he cannot admit mistakes, or tolerate dissent. Hence, he's surrounded by cabal of yes-folks who only tell him what he wants to hear, so No, Stoessinger has not been invited to WH to discuss alternatives. (But then if you've destroyed every business that you've touched & live in a fantasy land, why should destroying the Nation worry you!! No, Stoessinger didn't say that :) )

Posted by: jj | May 24, 2006 1:00:07 AM | 51

b- the only reference I've come across is the East German journalist whose name is not given. The allegation has neither been proven nor disproven.

this same journalist must have been the source for the article I read long ago. Online it seems that articles that discuss this issue are a circle jerk going back to that one source...often third hand from another source quoting the first one, so who knows.

I will not assume this happened. Thanks for challenging me to check it out.

Posted by: fauxreal | May 24, 2006 1:25:40 AM | 52

like did sez ...

Posted by: DM | May 24, 2006 5:57:04 AM | 53


From>Bob Cringley

Back in 1986 I talked Penthouse magazine into giving me an assignment to write the story: "How to Get a Date in Revolutionary Iran." The premise was that hormones are hormones, and those wacky kids in Tehran, most of whom could still remember the Shah, had to be finding some way to meet members of the opposite sex. So I headed off to Iran to find out the truth. If you are interested in such stuff, the only time a single man and woman not from the same family could be together in private back then was in a taxi (he being the driver), so all the teenage boys who had or could borrow cars turned them into taxis. This, of course, put all the power in the hands of the woman since she could see him but he had to take pot luck.

I eventually finished the piece and decided to go see the war since I had been in Beirut and Angola, but had never seen trench warfare, which is what I was told they had going in Iran. So I took a taxi to the front, introduced myself to the local commander, who had gone, as I recall, to Iowa State, and spent a couple days waiting for the impending human wave attack. That attack was to be conducted primarily with 11-and 12-year-old boys as troops, nearly all of them unarmed. There were several thousand kids and their job was to rise out of the trench, praising Allah, run across No Man's Land, be killed by the Iraqi machine gunners, then go directly to Paradise, do not pass GO, do not collect 200 dinars. And that's exactly what happened in a battle lasting less than 10 minutes. None of the kids fired a shot or made it all the way to the other side. And when I asked the purpose of this exercise, I was told it was to demoralize the cowardly Iraqi soldiers.

It was the most horrific event I have ever seen, and I once covered a cholera epidemic in Bangladesh that killed 40,000 people.

Posted by: Argh | May 24, 2006 8:23:59 AM | 54

@Argh - yes I did read it. Written in 2004. Why didn´t he write about it in 1986 and all the years since?

He is not a trutworthy source: Wiki

Many people claim that the Iran-Iraq conflict spawned a particularly gruesome variant of the human wave attack. The Iranian clergy, with no professional military training, were slow to adopt and apply professional military doctrine. The country at that time lacked sufficient equipment to breach Iraqi minefields and were not willing to risk their small tank force. Therefore, Pasdaran forces and Basij volunteers were often used to sweep over minefields and entrenched positions developed by the more professional Iraqi military.

There were allegations that unarmed human wave tactics involving children as young as 9 were employed. One unnamed East European journalist claims to have seen "tens of thousands of children, roped together in groups of about 20 to prevent the faint-hearted from deserting, make such an attack."[19]. There has been a suggestion that girls were more commonly used for frontline mine clearance, and boys for unarmed "assaults." Reliable firsthand accounts of the use of children in human wave attacks are rare, however. The most serious contemporary firsthand account recently surfaced at the end of an article[20] by the technology journalist Robert X. Cringely, who relates the experience of a trip to the front for an unconnected Penthouse magazine assignment. In recent years, however, Cringely's credibility has been questioned, after the San Francisco Chronicle and Stanford University revealed in 1998 that Cringely falsely claimed to hold a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Cringely also falsely claimed to be a former Stanford professor.

There were amateurs used to clear mines, but those were soldiers, just not properly trained. The "kids pushed to clear minefields with their feet" meme has been a (successfull) psyops campaign. But it didn´t happen.

The west was on Saddams side at that time, which goes a long way to explain the meme and why it has festered so much.

But it may have been an welcome exaggeration on what someone observed.

The Iran-Iraq war degenerated into a trench war like the first world war position between France and Germany

The Pasdaran, the revolutionary guard force in Iran was a parallel military. Many soldiers were 16 of age, also like in WWI.

A batallion of these soldiers jumping out of a trench and running to the enemies position only to be cut down by machine gun fire and artillery before reaching the other side of the open field was a very usual feature in WWI and in the Iran-Iraq war - brutal mass butchery.

Recommended reading: Erich Maria Remarque - All Quiet on the Western Front

But again, there is no evidence for "children clearing mine fields with their feet" just an "unnamed East European journalist" who may or may not have existed at all.

Posted by: b | May 24, 2006 9:12:09 AM | 55

@b -- thanks for the clarification and added details. My knowledge of him is as an IT commentator, but I remembered that comment--a first hand account, but only if one accepts him as a credible witness. I would imagine if he did see what he did after taking a casual taxi ride, there would be many other first-person accounts of a similar nature.

I don't know if it helps to clear one ugly story if there are tens or hundreds to go round--if there are tens or hundreds. Do we agree that children of sixteen and under were used as cannon-fodder? If so, we can agree with fauxreal's point that their commanders are responsible, as were the german and english commanders--no matter who up the food chain was telling them to do it. "I was following orders" is not acceptable.

Maybe we should have a league table of numbers of civilians (including unwitting minors) killed by Group X, measured against total population of Group X and weighted for relative power or sommat, just to find out which historical group, given their size and weaponry, really was the worst of the worst? Have expert panels and then finally decide that, yes, the Kcufeh'T-ohw were--without a doubt--the most evil bastards ever. We could do the reverse as well.

The decision to force the weak (mind, body, resources) to suffer in place of the strong; to lick the arse above and kick the face below: doesn't seem to have any sex, colour, or geographical bias. Who's in power? They'll be the bastards, then.

I notice, apropos Monolycus's comments above, that some bright people are prey to sadistic impulses. are psychically violent--I mean, they don't punch you on the nose; rather, they attack the psyche, and anyone who does that is, after a few goes in the ring, best watched, maybe admired, but all that fraternite'--- You know, if someone says "All of you Moon of Alabamians, you're just X", where X is an insult, well, hold on, I was reading Bukowski (The Captain Has Been Drinking...) where he suggested that the dinosaurs died out because they ate all the grass, then they ate each other, and the last one starved to death.

In other words, another crap post from...


Posted by: Argh | May 24, 2006 10:11:26 AM | 56


Posted by: beq | May 24, 2006 10:21:59 AM | 57

I didn't want to grammatically impugn any actual existing group of people.

Who the fuck were--without a doubt--the most evil bastards ever?

Kcufeh T'Ohw were--without a doubt....

Posted by: Argh | May 24, 2006 10:33:12 AM | 58


Not to be misunderstood. I do not defend any specific tactic. The mullahs in The Irak-Iran war were stupid as they had cleared out even the Shah's military professionals that had stayed. They could have ended the war much earlier and with much less losses if they had kept a decent higher officer corps. But they didn´t and while they learned how to wage a defensive war and how to turn the bayonets the other way around, 100,000ends died.

A defensive war, like Iran fought, makes sense. But trench warfare is senseless slaughter and no higher command should ever get into it.

Do we agree that children of sixteen and under were used as cannon-fodder? If so, we can agree with fauxreal's point that their commanders are responsible, as were the german and english commanders--no matter who up the food chain was telling them to do it. "I was following orders" is not acceptable.

For the first part I don´t know the Pasdaran had a minimum age of 16 as far as I know. The regular army 17 or 18. The minimum enlistment age in the US is 17 (with parental consent). But any age is too young to die for a dumb idea. And the youngest ones are the least experienced are therefore always the cannon fodder and to die first. In Vietnam toops didn´t even wanted to know the names of "fresh" comarades rightaway because those were the most likely to die in the next nights patrol (or so it is said - makes sense anyway).

As for commanders any measure should always start at the top. Most responsible is the person with the allover lead. There the most severe punishment should happen. Down the foodchain I find it much harder to find someone "guilty".

A for childsoldiers. The wars around Kongo have lots of them. Kidnapped at the age of 6 and fighting all their life. And the world is looking the other way ...

Posted by: b | May 24, 2006 12:23:09 PM | 59

Thanks for the added info, b.

Posted by: Argh | May 24, 2006 5:15:21 PM | 60

b- Remarque made that same observation about fresh soldiers in All Quiet on the Western Front. (that no one cared to know their names because they were most likely to die).

we do know of one documented case of the "use" of children, or children picking up guns and engaging in street battles --and that was The Battle of Berlin in WWII.

I appreciate your background info on these subjects because your perspective includes knowledge about military issues. From the little that I have read, "human wave" trench warfare is the most awful-- from civil war battles to Gallipoli to the "Persian Gulf War." --and no doubt far into the past.

Supposedly Ceasar thought the Gallic tribes were insane because they stood and screamed like mad and then ran toward the Roman soldiers. I suppose when it was closer contact killing, it made some sort of military sense. with the weapons now, it's a suicide mission.

Posted by: fauxreal | May 24, 2006 7:21:40 PM | 61

Argh- you've obviously never heard of the deadly qwertys.

Posted by: Kcufeh T'Ohw | May 24, 2006 8:31:26 PM | 62

Just to clear up a couple of things then move without provoking any more diatribes.

Yep the Iran/Iraq war stands out as one of the few instances where a ME nation has attacked another. Hussein was weaning himself off the soviets and onto US to replace Iran at the time and while he did have some legitimate beefs with Iran vis-a-vis there theft of Iraq's seaport the Shatt al Arab, I betcha he wouldn't have gone for it without the same mob egging him on that egged Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi on to grab it in the first place, back in the early 70's when Iran where the 'good guys' and Iraq were the 'commie bastards'.

We can never really know that but we do know that even the puppet Sauds were extremely reluctant to be involved in Gulf War 1 and 2. Even though it was clearly in the House of Saud's interest both times that the USuk mob prevail; it took considerable arm twisting to get them to go along with the conflicts.

Why? Am I saying they're pacifists? No! Just muslims and muslims aren't meant to blue. And the Sauds knew damn well that whatever they thought their subjects didn't agree with being on the US side so they had to make it plain that their involvement was reluctant.

Those who found the last post a bit strong might like to reflect that I had posted twice previously in a much more mannered fashion on the subject, pointing out that it was really no-one other than Iranian residents business what their president got up to unless he actually did something which impacted on people outside Iran yet the flow of diatribes about what sort of person Ahmadinejad is flowed unabated based on no information other than second and third hand gossip rumours and deliberate provocations, apart from an Iranian bloke who politely pointed out that he may not have found Ahmadinejad perfect, but that he voted for him because he was the least worst.

No I didn't expect that everyone would sit pay attention and seal their lips just because another poster and said it was a good idea.

I did however imagine that some of those with the most virulent opinions about Ahmadinejad would at least explain why they believed they were entitled to promulgate that opinion, or maybe to debate the assertion that by judging these other countries leaders, when they have as yet done nothing to have earned our criticism (ie we haven't been effected one way or another by their governance of their nation)we are providing fuel for the flames the resource theives are so anxious to ignite.

I don't normally bother to come back to the scene of posts, because I am just as easily prey to the puerile need to 'win' an arguement as anyone else. Life's too short to be playing verbal ping pong with another person equally eager to 'prove' their point however if anyone cares one way or another which they probably don't, it is wrong to imagine I despise anyone around this board.

There are some ideas espoused here I despise but I wouldn't like to think that what people espouse totally defines them as a person, particularly in a world where people are encouraged to believe that philosophies, even ethical principles can be 'new' or 'old fashioned' or the 'current meme' or whatever.

I also despise the point of view that any of our complicity in the crimes against the bulk of the population on this planet can be alleviated by dissent.

I don't despise that idea because I regard anyone who believes that as somehow 'lesser'. I despise that p.o.v. because since dissent can be cathartic yet ineffective,it allows the cruel an easier run at committing their viciousnesses.

Posted by: | May 25, 2006 4:20:20 AM | 63

The US/West has always been very selective about the "tyrants" it denounces. It denounced/denouces peoople such as:

Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, Ayatollah Khomeini, Fidel Castro and Slobodan Milosevic.

On the other hand, the following get off scot free:

Churchill, Truman (yes, he did Hiroshima), Michelle Hughes, Margaret Thatcher, even Pol Pot .. Idi Amin, Milton Obote and the like are ignored all the time as are the likes of the Saudi Arabian regime. If brutal regimes give the West what they want, the West doesn't mind. And Blair and Bush are the true terrorists.

Ahmadinejad has gotten the worst press abuse any world leader could expect. Yet, the brutally oppressive regimes of the likes of Michelle Hughes and the actions of Bush and Blair go completely unchecked.

Posted by: Ali Shafif | Jun 18, 2006 11:34:21 PM | 64

@Ali Shafif

Hate to sound like hill-folk here, but who in the rutting hell is Michelle Hughes? I ran her name through Google and got a list of sundry doctors and professionals.

You won't hear any disagreement out of me about your basic point. The US/West does like to cherry pick their villians du jour. Just for giggles, though, can you point me to someone who doesn't?

Posted by: Monolycus | Jun 19, 2006 12:16:11 AM | 65

Certainly, Michelle Hughes doesn't seem to be the leader of any country at the moment but is much more likely to be some local politician someone on the list has a grievance against. Or else "Michelle Hughes" is a code for another name:

"Michelle" = "Michel" = the first founding father of the Baathist party.

"Hughes" sounds not too unlike "Hussein" = Saddam.

"Michelle Hughes" may be Iranian slang for the Baathists, or the current anti-Shia militias in Iraq.

Posted by: Ahmadinejacket | Jun 19, 2006 5:45:25 PM | 66

@Ahmadinejacket ,you took the words right out of my mouth

Posted by: annie | Jun 19, 2006 5:52:56 PM | 67

Almost definitely, Michelle Hughes is a code for al Qaeda and means that al Qaeda got away with Nine-Eleven without the US bothering to even try to locate Osama bin Laden. 'Michel' or 'Michelle' is a common Baathist symbol as that was the name of their founding father, who was of French/Syrian stock. If Iranians mean by "Michelle Hughes" the part of the Iraqi insurgency lead by Zarqawi and his ilk, then they did not get off scot free as Zarqawi was killed. However, most Iranians believe Saddam was responsible for 9/11 and everything bad and Iran does not like America because America once loved Saddam! Saddam was the cause of why a minor 1979 dispute between Iran and America about America harbouring the Shah became part of the more common Arab/Palestinian hating America because America backed up Israel thing. Iran saw the US backing Saddam in the Iraq/Iran war because Iranian students held Americans hostage and America was out for revenge. Iran then cashed in on the anti-Israel thing for 2 reasons: it annoyed America and it meant that Saddam was not the only person willing to fund the Palestinian cause. That's why Ahmadinejad continues with anti-Zionist policies: it means Sunni al Qaeda and Baathists are undermined and it also annoys the Americans!

Ali Shafif is, I assume, Iranian. His mention of "Michelle Hughes" probably means that at the end of the day, the Americans turn a blind eye to a lot of Sunni Muslim attrocities because the Americans need to appease the Sunnis. It can bully the Shia, because they are really only in command of one country: Iran. They are the majority population of Iraq, too. But American policy was in past to support a Sunni regime (both Saddam and Shah Pahlavi were both Sunni) in a Shia-dominated country. Many believe the US will end up doing a deal with al Qaeda once al Qaeda have their Arabian peninsula and the US its oil. al Qaeda has reshaped, regrouped and reinvented itself 1000s of times. And we should never forget that there was only one reason why al Qaeda fell out with America: America cut off funds to the group once the Cold war ended and Russia (then USSR) pulled out of Afghanistan.

Posted by: Who is Michelle Hughes | Jun 19, 2006 8:06:09 PM | 68

Read his interview with Der Spiegel done by 4 reporters grilling him for hours. He is not even close to a loon. If he is, he's quite a bit less than most and far less than Bush, Rummy, or Cheney. I'd like to see 4 real journalists interview Bush for an hour unedited. Now that would be a spectacle.

Posted by: mondo | Sep 7, 2006 12:26:31 AM | 69

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