Mar

27

Fifty Foot Phallus Parked on Low Plaza

Written by

As if the fountains on Low Plaza didn’t provide enough innuendo for passersby, a fifty foot “rocket” suddenly materialized between them this morning. Who, you may ask, felt starved for such salacious symbolism? Why, the College Dems, Repubicans, and LionPAC, who teamed up to inflate what’s supposed to be, according to their press release, a “long nuclear bomb”, placed in order to raise awareness about the dangers of a nuclear Iran, and to advertise a Thursday evening panel on the subject. According to Bwog’s ever-vigilant staff, some of the organizers attempted to place the word “IRAN” on the missle itself, but had (for what reason, we’re not sure) to take it down.

Those interested in the panel should note it will take place at 7:30 PM Thursday in Hamilton 602. Columbia professor Paul Richards, Paul Bracken of Yale, and one Herbert London of the Hudson Institute will be present, along with perennial Bwog favorite Richard Bulliet. The massive missile will remain afront the steps until 2 this afternoon.

-CJS, Photo by Sara Vogel 

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80 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    An absolutely disgusting display of xenophobic tensions and Islamophobia. The phallic resembles more an incoming cruise missile than any Iranian nuclear threat. If I were leader of a country receiving veiled (and unveiled) threats from both political parties in a stronger country, I'd start a nuclear program and try to get the bomb ASAP.

    Let's face it, we all know that the threat of invasion, of conditional sovereignty, of becoming the next Iraq or Afghanistan is exactly what encourages developing countries to drop social projects and devote needed resources to developing unusable weapons.

    • Proper Nitpicking...  

      First off, cruise missiles have fins. And its "phallus". Phallic is an adjective, not a noun. If you're going to nitpick, nitpick correctly.

      Secondly, why in the world would threats induce someone to start a nuclear bomb program...unless thats what they are intending to do in the first place.

      Don't just throw the general all-purpose blanket of xenophobia and islamophobia on a situation. Its not as black and white as anyone would have.

      • huh?  

        haven't you heard of the concept of "deterrence"? when a country is threatened, it makes sense to deveop a nuclear weapon in order to suggest that it could be used if that country is attacked - and hence deter said threats.

        on the flip side, "intending to do so in the first place" invites unwelcome criticism and negative attention.

        defensive deterrence is a far more rational reason to develop a nuclear weapon, especially in iran's case. it's surrounded by US occupations (in iraq and afghanistan) and has been subject to hostile US rhetoric (and action) since 1979.

    • Sakib is  

      an Iranian apologist. Rather then argue with facts, he plays the "race" card with blathering nonsense and accusations of "xenophobic tensions and Islamophobia." Iran is a corrupt and tyrannical regime that not only abuses its citizens but threatens its neighbors.

      Better question: Had these folks hosted the same event 5+ years earlier and about North Korea, would Sakib play the "Race" card?
      No, it was a mistake allowing NK to get the bomb, and we can't let it happen again. But in Sakib's world, who really cares - it's always blame America first.

    • Wow.

      God what an embarrassing comment. Nothing to say here that hasn't already been said by other commenters but damn...humiliating.

    • Libya  

      While not the primary reason for Libya ending its weapons program (the deal had been in the works for years), the threat of "becoming the next Iraq" is reported to have been on Qaddafi's mind. Point being, threats can also work the other way around.

      I'd agree that the US military threat has influenced Iran's actions with respect to nuclear weapons. But they've also been trying to reconstitute their WMD program since the Iran-Iraq War ended in 1988. They also had a nuclear program before the 1979 revolution, when it was suspended. It's unclear, though, how much work was done on it since then (until recently, obviously).

  2. Robert Walpole  

    What a pointless activity.

    I don't understand the correlation between the "nuclear threats" of Middle Eastern states, and giant balloons in front of Low Library.

    If anything, a display of Iran's actual nunclear arsenal would have been a more effective advertising tactic.

  3. George Kennan  

    I would like to deter you from posting anymore on bwog.net, even if it means I have to develop my own nuclear arsenal.

  4. hey  

    at least sexiled might get a idea/prop for their next show

  5. TRUTH  

    Is it true that Muslims are uncircumcised? This display seems to suggest it.

  6. bullshit  

    you all have deterrence exactly wrong. the us would leave iran alone if iran left it alone. instead, they rose to power in 1979 chanting death to America--a main platform of Khomeini's party is this--and their first move was to take American hostages. then they start Hezbollah, which exports terror throughout the MidEast, South America and elsewhere. the question of who has been attacking\antagonizing whom for years is not as you represent it. this is either blindness or revisionism, or flatout refusal to see anyone as 'bad' except the US.

    • sure  

      but none of this takes away from the fact that iran wants to protect itself. think about it: they could continue to engage in (very profitable) low level violence and infiltration without the high political drama of a nuclear confrontation. so why resort to it? defense!

    • "bullshit" yourself  

      Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 started Hezbollah. It didn't pop full grown out of Khomeini's forehead. And the 1979 Iranian revolutionaries chanted "death to America" because the US was backing the brutal dictatorship which they were in the process of overthrowing. Do you not know these rather basic things? Or do you think we're all the idiots?

  7. sooo

    The US and Israel just have penis envy of Iran?

  8. no country

    has threatened iran except as a last resort for stopping the iranian nuclear program.

    • except  

      all the rhetoric surrounding "iranian influence" in iraq. or chastising the same in afghanistan- both including language referencing "consequences". or, consider the violent "freedom fighters" in the country sponsored by daniel pipes. or the consignment of the country to the "axis of evil," which had been seemingly earmarked for across-the-board regime change.

  9. let's not be stupid  

    Iran "rose to power" in 1979 with a popular revolution against a corrupt, US-supported dictatorship. If you really want to make the argument that "they started it", you're going to have to go back further than 1979. How about 1953? We haven't been "leaving Iran alone" for far too long, now, for Iran to want to leave us alone.

  10. Is this  

    the sort of display Diamond had in mind when she cited the need for more cooperation between the Dems and Reps?

    Because, if so, bring it on!

  11. rhetoric??  

    Oh no! RHETORIC! That's AWFUL! That must be so painful.

    PS I'm Iranian and completely oppose Iran having nuclear weapons. Anyone who thinks that the issue is about the right to having or not having nukes is a total moron. The issue is about who benefits from Iran having a nuclear weapon and the answer is: nobody. It makes the Iranian people an international target, Israelis potential victims, and Americans the potential carriers of the burden of another war.

    • fool  

      everything in diplomacy, geostrategy, and such is based on "rhetoric". you think countries really wait until shots are fired across their bow to read the signs pointing toward hostility against them? the US certainly doesn't...

      • you idiot  

        If America's rhetoric is bad, don't you think Iran's rhetoric is bad? Calling for the wiping of countries off the earth isn't agressive rhetoric to you? The US has learned its lesson about pre-emptive attacks. This one's in Israel's hands. They'll handle it as they handled Osirak.

        #11 is right. Nobody has threatened to, or is going to invade Iran unless Iran is dangerously close to actually having nukes, similar to the Osirak situation years back.

        Listen up leftists: Iranians don't like their current government. I know you guys dream of an authoritarian government that hates America and all, but Iranians don't appreciate your support of their awful government. Go be thankful that you're not under Sharia law and wear shorts and a t-shirt on this beautiful day.

    • iran  

      is a target whether it has a nuclear weapon or not. as other posters stated before, iran may or may not be engaged in activities such as actively supporting aggressive action by hezbollah and such, but even the perception that it is constitutes grounds for some to advocate direct action against iran in some capacity. and with the us army in position to strike against iran from two fronts, you'd better believe iran sees the potential for some kind of incursion it needs to protect against.

      • dear god  

        This is such bullshit, seriously. Iran IS engaged in support of Hezbollah and others, this is not a question at all. Nobody is attacking Iran under "perceptions" of bad behavior. There IS bad behavior at play. Iran takes money away from its own poor people to give to terrorists to blow up Jews. I thought you fools were against human rights violations.

        • hah

          no, no, they are against human rights violations when its hip and cool and LIBERAL to be. don't worry, these people are going to go through their lives continuing their pseudo-liberal, kaffiya clad, self-righteous ways and ACCOMPLISH NOTHING EXCEPT A LOT OF TALKING.

    • not to mention  

      using nuclear fuel for bombs takes away from the benefits of nuclear energy that Iranians could enjoy.

  12. cat

    im on ur campus, blowin up teh nukez

  13. moron  

    Have you ever been to Iran? Do you know what kind of Brutal Dictatorship it is now? You can be beaten in the streets for misbehaving, showing public displays of affection to a significant other you're not married to, drinking alcohol, and speaking out against the government. It's amazing that the American left has somehow aligned with the Muslim right. American leftists forget that they're supposed to be supporting things like civil liberties, so they overlook Iran's treatment of women etc while claiming America is the bad guy.

    • RIGHT ON

      I couldn't have said it better myself. You stupid Americans need to STFU (and SAKIB UR INCLUDED). The "Brutal dictatorship" under the shah was without a doubt a much better place to live than the Iran of today. Sakib, this is not about "xenophobia" and "islamophobia" - stop using such words as your defense whenever you are affronted with a situation that makes you uncomfortable- this is a sitution revolving around a DANGERSOUS COUNTRY HAVING ACCESS TO DANGEROUS WEAPONS. We should not allow this to happen!

      • thanks  

        We could even just take the focus off dangerous countries/dangerous weapons and demand that leftists remain consistent in their cries to help the victims of human rights violations. Iranians need help, but nobody seems to care about Iranians.

      • and also, exactly  

        what makes Iran so dangerous, or DANGEROUS? they haven't invaded anyone recently, but what's the US count now? if Ahmadinejad did get nuclear weapons, which even the CIA says is 10 years away, why the fuck would he use them on Israel, and be wiped off the map himself by the massive Israeli, not to mention American, nuclear arsenals? i don't want to put words in your mouth, but the usual answer about his crazy twelth-imam shi'ism is, in fact, straightforwardly islamophobic.

        (not Sakib, btw...)

        • i'm sorry  

          but it has to be said. ahmadinejad is just not the sanest guy.

        • haha

          do you even realize what you sound like? why would Ahmadinejad use them on Israel? Yes, I wonder this daily. You need to take the common person's logic out of the equation and realize that Ahmadinejad regularly makes statements suggesting that he wants to wipe israel off the planet.

          I pity you. And I am not islamophobic --- this has nothing to do with the religion. This has to do with a country's actions.

    • where exactly  

      did you get the idea that I'm aligned with the present government of Iran?

      is it because I have some idea why that government is hostile to the US?

      is it because - although I didn't even say this explicitly - I don't think a war on Iran is, like, a good idea?

      it really is deja vu, Iraq all over again. it's amazing that people can be so blind a second time. "they need help" - they need a revolution, but do they need the US bombing their country? what help does it provide them for a bunch of college students to bluster about how "we can't allow" their government to get nuclear weapons?

      • no trolls here  

        Where did you get the idea that I support the US bombing Iran? I don't. I support Israel doing it if Iran gets that close. By the way, if anyone were to bomb Iran, it'd be because Iran actually has Weapons of Mass Destruction. Iran actually supports major terrorist organizations. It is in no way Iraq all over again for those reasons. Iran would have been the right place to go in the first place.

        This is Israel's problem. The US is spread too thin right now and doesn't need another country to worry about. Let Israel handle the problem as they handled Osirak.

        What I do not like is the bullshit support for "helping" Darfur (which would require a military invasion and would result in deaths) on the premise of Human Rights, but not being consistent regarding Human Rights in other countries. Also I don't support blaming the US for every little thing because it's pointless and proves nothing.

        I don't want Iran to have nuclear weapons because it is not in the best interest of the Iranian people. The leaders of Iran do not care how many Iranians die. You are absolutely blind if you do not see that. Consider that before you start claiming that they have a right to nuclear weapons.

        • Darfur comparison  

          "What I do not like is the bullshit support for "helping" Darfur (which would require a military invasion and would result in deaths) on the premise of Human Rights, but not being consistent regarding Human Rights in other countries."

          I don't think that's a fair comparison. Genocide is occuring in Darfur, not in Iran.

          And just because I don't know the answer, do you know if the Iranian regime is actually slaughtering people by the thousands or anything like that? As far as I know they're repressive, but they aren't murdering innocents.

          Anyway, it's a bad comparison because, like Rwanda, the genocide in Sudan needs to be stopped and deserved a military response. There are a lot of human rights abuses worldwide, yes, but not a lot of genocide.

      • twelth-imam shi'ism  

        Can you explain why it is Islamophobic to say "twelth-imam shi'ism" would motivate MA to use the bomb? I'm curious because, if he really buys into that (which I don't think he or the Supreme Leader does), then that's pretty scary, no?

        • (not Sakib)  

          Because the vast majority of Shi'a believe in the return of the 12th Imam at some point; it's analogous to messianism in other religions, Judaism or Christianity. There are sects of kooks who think that it's right around the corner, again just like Christianity, but they're actually persecuted in Iran because the doctrine implies you can't have a legitimate Islamic Republic before the return. People make attempts to link Ahmadinejad to that point of view by taking out of context quotes and relying on most people's ignorance of Shi'i doctrine, its ridiculous. It only has any public plausibility because of the prevalence of Islamophobia.

  14. fact  

    The Iranian nuclear program actually dates back to the time of the Shah.

  15. fishy  

    I smell conservative blogosphere trolls...

  16. rhetoric  

    putting iran in the "axis of evil" in his 2002 State of the Union along with iraq and n. korea and then invading iraq is very strong rhetoric.

    • ummm  

      Yeah so I guess Iran has the right to nuke Israel because Bush hurt Iran's feelings.

      Idiot. Iran has been supporting terrorist organizations like Hezbollah for years. That makes the "axis of evil" title accurate. How about Iran proves it's NOT an axis of evil rather than try even harder to live up to the title?

  17. Anonymous  

    Going nuclear paid dividends for Musharraf's regime in Pakistan - Americans don't seem to care about human rights abuses there or bin Laden's whereabouts. It only makes sense for Iran to pursue its own program. I would think even the Bush administration knows there's no military solution, but it's still disappointing to see the Dems participate in the saber-rattling. Great advertising, though.

  18. Anonymous  

    Terrorism apologist. Brilliant. BTW- the race card is totally applicable here. American fear of Iran is totally overblown by over aggressive Washington politicos and Arlington defenseniks.

    Calling me anti-American just doesn't cut it here. I think our country made a mistake in Afghanistan, a mistake in Iraq and will soon make another mistake in Iran. Just as Iran would be better served devoting resources to social programs than nuclear weapons, the US would be far better served devoting our tax dollars to health care, education, and the enfranchisement of the disenfranchised than Humvee-ing around Arabia Bush style, or jetting around Clinton style.

    To call that American is to make the essence of our nationhood a miserable desire to continue the unfinished colonial projects of the British Empire. Ironic for a country founded on revolt against the King.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again, promoting aggression in the Middle East (or anywhere else in the world) is like leaving our children to play in the street. Someone else will hit them, but we created the liability.

    Regards,

    Sakib Khan
    Class of 2007
    Her Majesty's School of Engineering
    New York, NY, UK

    • Dear Sakib  

      The world was so much simpler and quieter and stabler and less idiotic when the entire Middle East just said "BRITISH EMPIRE" on a map.

    • HYPOCRITE

      Sakib--- I too believe that "Iran would be better served devoting resources to social programs than nuclear weapons" --

      then why do you simultaneously support Iran's nuclear program?

      Do you have any idea how rich Iran is? Do you have any idea, if they reallocated their resources (read: away from Hezbollah and towards human capital, away from nuclear program and towards beneficial medical, scientific research) how well-off the people of that country could be?

      • Anonymous  

        I already stated that I believe Iran would build a nuke (they insist they have no weapons program just nuclear energy plans, that merits mention) the only purpose it would serve would be a deterrent purpose. Nuclear weapons are thoroughly unusable. That's what we learned in the Cold War. Mutually-assured destruction doesn't happen. (Unless of course you're going to argue that white assholes--Nixon, Kruschev, etc.--are more "responsible" than their colored equivalents.)

        Iran is a well resourced country that stands to be a destroyed country if the US bombs/invades. That's the logic behind them getting a nuke. I don't care how bad Iran's government is, the people are better off than Iraqis and Afghanis. Or at least better off than the dead Iraqis and dead Afghanis. If Iran sacrifices a few years of development to avoid the bloody decades needed to rebuild it after a war (like Iraq), then maybe that's a trade-off that's good for Iran and good for the US.

        Ahmedinejad's administration benefits politically from the perception of external threat in the exact same way the Bush administration does. Ahmedinejad's also seemed to have lost a screw or two; David Duke and entertaining Holocaust denial is thoroughly abhorrent. But we'll all be better served to worry more about Harlem and less about Tehran.

        • Sakib/nukes  

          Sakib, you said: "Nuclear weapons are thoroughly unusable."

          But let's not forget the threat of a) nukes getting lost/stolen; and b) nukes getting into the hands of terrorists (probably sold to them). The latter is a lot more likely, and it's something to be afraid of. We MAY be able to trace a nuclear weapon back to Iran, but it's as big uncertainty if that's true. As technology gets better and more countries join the nuclear club, it'll be less easy to point the finger at Iran (as opposed to North Korea, for instance).

          I agree that MAD works. But there are new (or at least more visible) terrorist threats in this era than the Cold War years. This is one of the many reasons I worry about a nuclear Iran.

        • Technically speaking

          Iranians = White.

          Just for your information.

          So don't pull the "colored" card on this one.

    • only a true idiot  

      or a shameless demagogue would take this to be "sabre-rattling" or warmongering. THEY WERE PROMOTING A PANEL FOR CHRISSAKE! WITH RICHARD BULLIET, WHO SPOKE AT THE ANTI WAR TEACH-IN! Do you ever just read your comments sometimes and reflect on their sheer stupidity?!?! Promoting an event with Richard Bulliet is in no way warmongering. Period.

    • Dear Sakib  

      First. No one called you a terror apologist, only an Iran apologist. You associated Iran with terror, and rightly so. Second, no one called you anti-American, just idiotic. Feel free to complain about the Iraq invasion, but your arguments are baseless when you criticize America's actions in removing Afghanistan's religious tyrants. If you can't comprehend why America intervened in a nation were men were shot for shaving their beards and terrorists were given safe haven, it's really pointless to argue with you. And yes, while Iran "would be better served" promoting internal development, the stark reality is that they are not. When a leader walks around in well tailored western suits promising to destroy America and her allies, the first reaction is not "I hate him because he's Muslim," but "he's a crazy SOB." We failed to prevent North Korea from getting the bomb. As a result, millions of people have been condemned to a hellish tyranny. Amazingly, progressives will host all night "1984 readings" and criticize an "illiberal" America, but when it comes down to an oppressive and brutal regime & the United States - the US is always at fault.

      Moral relativism is a scary thing.

      • Anonymous

        I'm pretty sure I saw a post saying "Sakib is not an Iranian apologist, he's a terrorist apologist" or something to that effect. Bwog editors, did you take down such a comment? I didn't make the equation. (Unless of course I hallucinated it, in which case I guess I'm liable for y'all to go Freudian.)

        I'm opposed to the war in Afghanistan because the Taliban, as oppressive as they were, offered to extradite Bin Laden. The US did not pursue any extradition, or even discuss it. http://www.zmag.org/Sustainers/Content/2004-10/13rai.cfm

        Al Qaeda has been undoubtedly driven out of Afghanistan, yet US occupation continues, as what can only be described as a decolonization process occurs with the US establishing a functionally non-sovereign state. Why are US troops still in Afghanistan? Bin Laden has not been found, and will not be found. His extradition has been rendered almost impossible and the prospect of a trial is no less fictional than the conspiracy theories a trial would dispell.

        I don't really understand Shia Islam so I'll let the Shia speak for themselves.

        Re: Non-state actors using nukes
        Let's be clear, I don't want to see Iran develop nukes. I want to see Iran feed the poor. But I'd rather see Iran develop nukes than another Iraq War. Another Iraq War means hundreds of thousands more dead. How is that any different from the detonation of a thermonuclear weapon?

        We invaded Iraq because Iraq might have had a weapon of mass destruction. We've managed to kill more people in the Iraq War than a weapon of mass destruction would have killed.

        The fewer deaths the better. Iran should do what it takes to deter invasion. It's better for all of us.

        • response to sakib  

          First, I find it problematic that you think the war in Afghanistan was just about bin Laden. There was an entire organization based in that country, not to mention a government that supported it. Add to that the brutal human rights abuses and you have the basis for a war worth waging. The "War on Terror" (not an endorsement of that phrase) will go on long after bin Laden is dead, because the fight is larger than one man.

          On the nuke issue: OK, so your position is, effectively, that you would rather have a nuclear Iran than a war in Iran. Fair enough - that's an entirely debatable point. But if the US, Israel, or someone else is able to bomb an Iranian reactor (and not all of them can be hit with typical bombs), that might make sense. Take the approach we took to Iraq in 1998 (which I'm sure you disagreed with) and avoid a conventional war - that sounds good to me. However, if Iran becomes a state that either provides weapons to terrorists or is willing to use nukes themselves (a remote but nevertheless possible scenario), then the world cannot sit idly by. For one, it would set a bad precedent for allowing nuclear misbehavior to go unchecked. Two, it's dangerous!

          You described how sad it is that Iran isn't governing in a way that cares for social and economic justice. Well then, perhaps a war, or at least pressuring Iran to get rid of its weapons program, will make it possible for the country to address those concerns. I don't know that war or any form of regime change will necessarily by good (it could turn out to be a disaster like Iraq), but it is also possible that war with Iran in a decade or so will be more successful than the present war (especially if we learn from our strategic mistakes).

          Anyway, this is obviously a controversial view, and I'd hate for it to take away from the debate on Afghanistan, where you're taking an indefensible and incorrect position, in my opinion.

          • Anonymous  

            reply to anonymous bwogger:

            But the Afghanistan War was about 9/11. 9/11 happened and our government had reason to believe that Bin Laden was a suspect. The Taliban did not make an effort to hide or defend Bin Laden, the US's chief suspect. They offered to capture him and negotiate extradition, as they should have. That is fact. That our government did not pursue this avenue before proceeding with a war is, in my opinion, one of the sadder days in our government's history (mind you, the populous had absolutely nothing to do with that decision). There should have been prosecutions of 9/11 conspirators; there should have been fair and public trials. There should not have been military occupation.

            The problem with the US exercising military actions in Iran is that it makes Iran's sovereignty conditional to US hegemony again. Conditional sovereignty is a clear violation of a people's rights to self determination and self governance and is an aggressive action against a state. I'm advocating that the US not militarily provoke Iran (or any other country in the world). That kind of action just further makes the case that these neo-colonial conditional states need greater deterrence to secure their sovereignty.

            Nuclear misbehavior???? (holding back on the Hiroshima sarcasm) Use of nuclear weapons is not a misbehavior. It's a crime that is functionally punishable by death (to the state using such weapons). "Nuclear misbehavior to go unchecked"? What does that even mean?

            My argument is that war and the threat of war militarizes nations and the lack of threat of invasion or threat to sovereignty de-militarizes nations. The second important note here is that war creates orphans and widows and orphans and widows create resentment and resentment leads to revenge, and that revenge is something I pray I never have to face. Let's not kill people's mothers and fathers today, so we're not haunted with Enigo Montoyas tomorrow.

          • Reply to Sakib  

            First of all, I'm stunned that you're singing the praises of sovereignty and self-determination, but don't give a shit about human rights. It's ridiculous and I'm not sure you even realize it.

            Onto Afghanistan. 9/11 was orchestrated by a terrorist organization, not just bin Laden. Are you opposed to military action meant to disrupt those groups? I'm afraid of what you're answer will be.

            By the way, ZNet/Zmag has a bias, and I'm not sure how valid or clear the claim is that we could have had bin Laden. My sense is that while an extradition may have been offered, the reasons for turning it down (and the people who turned it down) are less transparent. Nevertheless, even if I grant it to you that extradition was offered, I'm still right because the Afghanistan war was never about one man, it was about an entire state-supported terrorist group.



            I apologize for being unclear about "nuclear misbehavior." What I meant by that is the kind of thing you seem to not care about - Iran giving nuclear weapons to terrorist groups. We know that the regime backs Hezbollah, for instance. And while it is unlikely such a transaction would occur, it is plausible enough that it's dangerous to rule it out. Also, you should be smart enough to not make this whole "nuclear misbehavior is a crime punishable by death" argument. Who, exactly, is going to punish Iran, especially if the nuke was used by a terrorist group? That's the point of a military strike. Were you endorsing military action when you said using nukes was punishable by death?

            Finally, the problem isn't with war creating bad people, or resentful people. The problem is that you'll get into a quagmire like Iraq and then make a country worse off. However, it isn't a universal truth that war leads to worse conditions. War can make things better. Certainly, Iran right now is a repressive state with little political or economic vigor. These are bad things - not reasons to go to war - but they are also things that can be improved if 'regime change' becomes necessary.

            A few questions for Sakib:

            1) Are you opposed to all wars? Which ones do you think were just?

            2) Was Germany's sovereignty violated in WWII? Or does violating ones sovereignty make a military response OK? And Germany declared war on the US following Pearl Harbor, but had not really violated our sovereignty. Did we have a right to violate Germany's?

            3) Would you support military action to end the genocide in Sudan? If so, how do you reconcile that with your praise of sovereignty and self-determination?

  19. Sakib

    lost my respect the day he orchestrated the lecture of Norman Finkelstein. Low point for him, for Columbia University.

  20. To Walpole  

    Did you intend to write "nunclear?" I thought that was pretty clever if you did, since one could argue that there's a lot 'unclear' about the whole thing.

    Or maybe I'm stupid.

  21. mee  

    Ugh, the Dems doing stuff like this makes me want to become a RADICAL EXTREMIST.

  22. Sakib!  

    Am I the only one who's stunned that Sakib didn't make the whole "Iran doesn't have nuclear bombs, they just want a peaceful energy program" argument?

    LOL.

  23. Sakib,  

    Why were you opposed to war in Afghanistan? Was it not a haven for Al Qaeda?

  24. rhetoric  

    the point was that after putting iran in the same "axis of evil" camp as a country that later got invaded by the US, iran must feel some threat from the U.S. i didn't mention whether bush was right or wrong in putting iran in that group, only that, in this case, rhetoric probably plays a very important role in iran's decision-making.

  25. rhetoric  

    62 was in response to 39

  26. no...  

    its post #24: "terrorism apologist"

  27. disgusted  

    I think if ppl are going to personally attack Sakib, who signs his names to his posts, they should have the guts to do so too.

  28. nope

    One of the sadder days in our government's history (and our nation's history) was when we captured the conspirators behind the 1992 WTC bombings and it didn't change a goddamn thing. Terrorism is not a law enforcement issue, and I love how left-wingers like yourself will claim it to serve some latent and even legitimate political purpose and yet argue that our response to it should not itself be political.

    Also conditional soverignty doens't violate anything so long as the conditions being imposed are reasonable, while blindly defending absolute sovereignty necessarily means defending governments that are criminal and amoral. Right now, for instance, the government of the North Korea is clearly having its soverignty violated through a pretty comprehensive sanctions regime--but its government doesn't deserve soveriegnty. And neither does Iran's so long as it continues funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorists and and developing its nuclear program.

    Soveriengty is not something worth defending at any cost. For a nation, soverignty and self-determination is a basic right. Governments shouldn't get off so easily, and if would allow them to do literally anything.

    Also I find it bizarre that you characterize Iran as a "neo-colonial conditional state" when this entire debate is over the shocking degree of latitude that Iran is giving itself. If we could extert a kind of soft imperial control over Iran (as we arguably do over say, Mexico), there would be no debate here. But we don't, and there is. Unfortunately for defenders of the third-world, colonialism (as opposed to "Colonialism) is not a factor here. What is a factor is the danger that a third-world (second-world, whatever) government poses to global stability and peace.

  29. ooops

    and if would allow them to do literally anything==and if they did it would allow them to do literally anything (refer back to Iran's UN ambassador claiming national soverignty as justificatioin for executing homosexuals and persecuting the Ba'hai during his speech here last semester).

  30. we had

    very good reasons for turning down the offer of extradition, if there even was one.

    They include:

    1.) Our not entering into a non-aggression agreement with a country that just comitted a blatant act of war against us.

    2.) The very low liklihood that the Taliban was actually going to find Bin Ladin and turn him over to the United States.

    3.) The fact that accepting this deal would have meant that terrorist regimes could effectively buy off the United States.

  31. Anonymous

    Last comment from me on this. Time to move on.

    I do care about human rights, but I recognize what you don't. That is that military occupation and conditional soveriegnty bring their own human rights violations. Hundreds of thousands of innocents have died in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of innocents have died in Iraq. Military intervention does not save lives. Abu Ghraib was not an isolated incident. It was the exemplar of the power structure that comes from military occupation. Iraq has gone from Saddam committing human rights violations to a foriegn occupying force committing violations. That force happens to be our brothers and sisters in the armed forces, and I don't want our people put in those positions. War is not pretty, it is quite ugly. That should be an uncontroversial point. Creating a war to end atrocity is backwards logic, because with the war come additional atrocities.

    I support resistance to aggression. Japan aggressed against our country and resistance was justified. Dropping nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not so justified. Germany aggressed against Eastern and Western Europe and resistance was justified. The fire-bombing of Dresden, not so justified.

    If we as Americans care about human rights, we must stop committing human rights abuses ourselves before we galavant around the world claiming to be without sin so we may cast the first stone. First, we must stop our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, we must grant appealable, judicial hearings to all detainees, and we must cut off all military aid to countries using that aid to commit human rights abuses (Israel and Saudi Arabia both).

    Soveriegnty and self determination are important because the tools of colonialism were conditional soveriegnty and usurpation of self determination. Political development in the third world can only come once soveriegnty and self determination are reasserted and respected. Without them, there is little rule of law, and the desecration of the rule of law is what has both enabled colonial atrocities and post-colonial atrocities. The root source is the violation and disenfranchisement of the polities of the former colonies. This might be the most idealistic read on the third world possible, but I feel that simply reasserting state soveriegnty through non-intervention and non-military assistance can, over time, lead to the political re-maturation of post-colonial polities. Call me naive or utopian, but don't call me a terrorist apologist.

    #75- We disagree on some basic facts. The Taliban was and is not the same thing as Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda, a non-state actor, committed the act of against the US. The extradition offer did exist. I saw the Taliban's Foreign Minister give a press conference in Islamabad, PK on 9/13 or 9/14 making the offer, televised on CNN.

    1) Given that Afghanistan did not commit an act of war against us, and that the government of Afghanistan offered to assist us in aprehending the culprets, why would we want to consider aggression against Afghanistan?

    2) The Taliban would have been more effective in conducting investigations in their own country than our troops have been in conducting investigations in a foreign country. Home field advantage is a big deal.

    3) I don't understand how the Taliban handing over Al Qaeda members for trial would constitute a "buy off."

    Anywho, I'm done with this bit. I'll sign off with a Kofi Annon quote (9/12/02):

    [I]nternational security is not a zero-sum game. Peace, security and freedom are not finite commodities — like land, oil or gold — which one state can acquire at another's expense. On the contrary, the more peace, security and freedom any one state has, the more its neighbors are likely to have.

    • Sakib's confused  

      I don't think Sakib knows quite what to think. On the one hand, we should use force to stop aggression. On the other hand, "creating a war to end atrocity is backwards logic." The fact is, in Darfur there is both an atrocity and aggression. And, just like WWII ended atrocity (particularly something called the HOLOCAUST), military action in Sudan can end atrocity.

      Yes, atrocities are committed in war, but it is worth it in the long run. Sometimes you have to commit 'bad deeds' in the short run to end bigger 'bad deeds' in the long run.

      I pray that Sakib is never running US foreign policy.

  32. deeply troubled

    So you think that Iran can do whatever it wants short of aggressing against another state. It can do whatever it wants to its own people--hell, it can even give over $100 million to a terrorist organization comitted to aggressing against other states. But until it invades...well we can't be "neo-colonialists" can we?

    Bottom line: Soverignty and moral relativism are not justifications for tyranny. If we adhere to Sakib's viewpoint that any attempt by the outside word to moderate the inhumane behavrior of another government is the neo-colonialist imposition of "conditional soveignty" that will eventually escalate into aggressive war, then soverignty and moral relativism will serve as convenient ideas for tyrannical regimes--and their apologists--to hide behind.

  33. I pray

    the same.

    the illogical argument that many make is that america has its own problems at home so what gives them the right to try to ameliorate the situation (e.g. human rights violations, etc) in other countries.

    if you are going to look at it that way, then i invite you to look at the NYPD, or really any police force. I have great respect for the police, but who ever even SUGGESTED that they are flawless and do not make mistakes-- i am sure a lot of illegal actions take place amongst cops. does that mean that they should not try to police their neighborhoods, and try to keep violations from taking place?

    obviously not. likewise, while america is not perfect and irreputable actions take place within our country, that does not mean that america should not try to keep human rights violations from continuing in other parts of the world.

  34. yep  

    As bad as the internment of the Japanese and many Japanese Americans was during WWII (some argue it was a good policy, I don't), that doesn't mean we were out of line to send troops to Europe and the Pacific.

    Plus, you have to consider that no country is pure. Yet we know a of the really bad guys out there will be both aggressive/repressive at home and abroad, and if we have to be 'pure' before we can fight, it's like having our hands tied behind our back in international relations.

    What worries me is that everyone in, say, the Middle East knows about our human rights errors, but no one seems to be talking about how the US came to the rescue of countless Muslims in Bosnia/Kosovo, or how we kicked Saddam out of Kuwait, etc. Even on seemingly uncontroversial conflicts, America has always done something wrong - like fighting for oil. It's a sickening lack of gratitude, if you ask me.

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