That Persian Pussycat

Ilana Mercer, April 14, 2006

It’s official. In case you missed the very gay burlesque, broadcast from Iran, in which a bevy of AhmadiNijinskies pirouetted around canisters of uranium hexaflouride: Iran has enriched uranium.


President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad broke the news in a ceremony almost as tacky as the last Academy Awards. He was speaking symbolically from the holy city of Mashad.


That Iran has edged closer to The Bomb does not perturb everyone. Surprisingly, many of those who courageously exposed neoconservative jerry-built justifications for war in Iraq are now fudging the truth about Iran.


I opposed the invasion of Iraq. Most libertarians were able to weigh the “evidence,” consider natural and Just-War law as well as the Constitution, and then promptly dismiss the nonsense about Iraq’s WMD and about Saddam and Osama sitting in a tree, kissing.


So it’s not easy to admit that neoconservatives come closest to articulating the dangers the Mullahs and Iran’s Majnun-in-Chief pose. As satirist Jon Stewart is fond of pointing out, Bush’s invasion was one alphabetical letter off.


I doubt Stewart would condone an invasion of Iran. I don’t. But opposing such action should not translate into finessing the dangers the Islamic Republic presents. Yet some on both the hard Left and Right have pronounced Iran as innocent as pre-invasion Iraq.


Since the evidence suggests otherwise, ideology must be at play.


An ideologue is someone who is prepared to suppress what he suspects to be true, mused philosopher Isaiah Berlin. Since Berlin most certainly held to timeless principles, he was objecting to the suppression of the truth when it conflicted with one’s worldview.


One example of such intellectual corruption is offering up Iraq and its ink-stained voters in support of the glories of Dubya’s democratization doxology. Neoconservatives do that. Another is submitting savage Somalia as proof of the wonders of stateless spontaneous order. Libertarians do that.


Yet another is eschewing the truth about Iran.


Especially conspicuous in subordinating truth to ideology are those who lost credibility by supporting the invasion of Iraq. Desperate not to repeat the error, these newfangled Iranophiles have taken to equating Iran with Iraq, both apparently victims of Bush.


Back on terra firma, besides the last letters of their names, Iran and the pre-invasion, hobbled, Third-World country we pulverized differ vastly on the menace scale. Iran is Jihad central—it’s a gaily-open supporter of terrorism across the Islamic world. It finances Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon and Syria and Hamas in the Palestinian Authority; its tentacles innervate Iraq, Bosnia and Croatia—and beyond.


Iran is also the last nation on earth that needs nuclear power, and the first to have solemnly promised to atomically annihilate a regional neighbor.  


Mention to Iran’s apologists that Israel is being considered by Ahmadinejad as The Bomb’s designated test site, and the reply one invariably gets is, “Oh, c’mon; are you referring to all that ‘wipe Israel off the map’ stuff?  Haven’t you heard of ‘Scheherazade of the Thousand and One [Arabian] Nights? Ahmadi’s excitable. That’s his style. Chill, man.”


The other excuse I’ve heard made is that Mad Mahmoud isn’t really in charge. Look to the more senior, level-headed Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani for cues on Iran’s intentions, they admonish.


Rafsanjani, right-hand man to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is also the low-key bloke who once explained with lethal logical that “a single atomic bomb has the power to completely destroy Israel, while an Israeli counter-strike can only cause partial damage to the Islamic world.” Indeed, a most measured mullah is Rafsanjani.


Iran has failed to convince the International Atomic Energy Agency of the peaceful purpose of its nuclear program, yet the excuse-makers unscrupulously misrepresent—even co-opt—Director Mohamed ElBaradei’s words to serve their ends. He’s been quoted as saying, vis-à-vis Iran, that “the IAEA inspectors have found no evidence of a weapons program.”


Not quite. ElBaradei told Newsweek that he was “not able to confirm the peaceful nature of that program after three years of intensive work.” The UN’s Security Council confirmed as much on March 29, stating that “the Agency was unable to conclude that there were no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran.”


The agency said Iran has resumed enrichment-related activities without IAEA permission and had “suspended cooperation with the IAEA.” An earlier assessment, derestricted on March 8, concluded Iran was well into mastering “an independent nuclear fuel cycle,” as we now know, many aspects of which were being concealed from the IAEA.


Iran’s Western ideologues have been only too eager to defer to ElBaradei’s good work in what was once Iraq. If you recall, he had criss-crossed the place in late 2002 and 2003, conducting aggressive no-notice inspections, subsequent to which he announced confidently in February 2003 to deaf and dumb media dolts: “We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq.”


When the same man issues a string of nervous reports, the overriding theme of which is a lack of confidence in Iran, ideologues for Iran conveniently ignore him.


Finally in power again, Kadima’s Shimon Peres is sitting pretty; he is not too worried. “I am sure the United States is aware of the expected danger and the matter is in its hands,” he noodled. Since Kadima’s ascension, America’s satellite state has ceded to the U.S. on almost all matters pertaining to its national security.


Not to be outdone, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz astounded by stating he was “not sure whether Israel will top the list of Iranian targets.” Since Israel’s main defense man has not gotten wind of Iran’s plan to test The Bomb in the Holy Land, I suspect he’s equally unaware of Iran’s “unprecedented new fatwa, or holy order, sanctioning the use of atomic weapons against its enemies.” It was issued, according to the Daily Telegraph, by “Iran’s hardline spiritual leaders.”


For the edification of the know-nothing Israeli defense forces chief, I have it on good sources that orthodox Muslims—and you don’t get more orthodox than the fatwa’s ruling Mullah, Mohsen Gharavian—define “enemies” very liberally. Jews have made the grade, Mr. Halutz!


Of course, you want to keep Pinocchio and his peons away from the conflict (by Pinocchio I don’t mean President Ahmadinejad; he’s been extremely honest with the American—and the Israeli—people). One has to be congenitally stupid and stark raving mad to entertain the notion, as our president does, that any Muslim nation is hunkering for a delivery of U.S.-style democracy. Not after Iraq.


In fairness to Iran, one can’t deny that it legitimately fears an American army that advanced on its neighbor, conquered and occupied it, absent provocation. Indeed, by obliterating international law strictures against aggressive, gratuitous wars, Bush, in his Solomonic wisdom, has exacerbated dangers to America and revived the nuclear arms race. That Bush has made the world safer for aggression and bears a great deal of responsibility for the recent escalation, however, does nothing to diminish the threat from Iran.


Even so, do we want to further enable and encourage Israeli and European torpor? If the U.S. steps down, these parties may finally step up, or be forced to deal with the fallout.



© 2006 By Ilana Mercer (Also in the Ottawa Citizen, April 20, where it was entitled “The neo-cons are

    right this time”)

    April 14


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