The “Noxious” Moderate Alternative

9 May

The noxious Thomas Friedman praised Obama as the most pro-Israel president ever in the New York Times on 3/7.  He supported Obama’s supposed moderate line (giving “sanctions” time to work on Iran before blowing it to kingdom come).

I confess to my shame that I once took that position.  It was 1991 and the US was preparing to make war on Iraq for what it did to Kuwait .  I took the positions that as an alternative to war we should allow (some) sanctions  to continue.  Of course, what Bush the First had in mind was quite different: horrendous sanctions to weaken Iraq and then war and then more sanctions.  The sanctions continued till 2003 killing a million plus people.

Now we have the George W. Bush-Obama sanctions under even less justification  (Saddam, after all, had invaded Kuwait .  Iran is an “existential threat” to Israel only in the demented brains of Judeo-Fascists and their enablers)  They are not biting as hard yet.  One could argue that they’ve already killed Iranians (lack of spare parts for planes have most likely contributed to Iran ‘s woeful air safety record), but certainly not anything on the scale of genocided Iraq .  Not yet anyway.


One clear similarity though is the matter of what the shackled country had to do to “comply” and get rid of the sanctions.  With Iraq activists pointed out the demands kept changing and getting more severe.  Whenever one goal was almost reached the goalposts would be move many yards to the rear.

Look at the case of Iran   In an excellent January article in Foreign Policy magazine Yousaf Bott talks about the impossible series of hoops Iran would have to jump through to supposedly get relief.

The many rounds of sanctions put in place against Iran over the past several years go far beyond anything related to its nuclear program. To satisfy the conditions that would allow sanctions to be lifted, Iran would not only have to abandon its nuclear program but basically dismantle the current regime. The sanctions legislation passed last year demands that Iran release all political prisoners and detainees, cease violent repression against peaceful Iranian protesters, conduct a transparent investigation into the killings of Iranian protesters, and make progress toward establishing an independent judiciary. Just in case those conditions are insufficiently implausible, the president must certify further that the Iranian government “has ceased supporting acts of international terrorism.” Even if Iran miraculously did this, it is unlikely that the president could certify it.


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