Friday, February 3, 2012

Barry Lando Rehashes Tired Arguments

Even as the flurry of Iran-related articles take a break for another week or so, Barry Lando comes in a little late to the party with his contributions. Unfortunately he treads exactly no new ground and instead resorts to the failed argument known as the deflect to Israel. He begins with this dichotomy which is clearly meant to be shocking but just falls flat:
"One of the most uncommented on ironies today is that Israel is threatening military action to prevent Iran from continuing the same clandestine route to nuclear weapons that Israel took; just as Israeli planes destroyed nuclear reactors in Syria and Iraq to prevent those countries from following Israel's lead."
How is that an irony? Israel and Iran are two different countries. Maybe Mr. Lando would like to expand further on what he meant by that but in true Huffington Poster tradition he just keeps right on going. Even though it continues to be equally illogical:
"A parallel irony: President Obama champions an economic embargo to force Iran to back off its nuclear program. Yet, for more than half a century one American president after another declined to sound any alarums over Israel's secret drive for nukes. Indeed, U.S. leaders refused to even officially acknowledge the foreboding intelligence about Israel's intentions that American analysts were providing. That flimflam continues to this day."
Right....because Israel and Iran are two different countries. Seriously, what's so hard about this? Am I missing something? Iran's situation in the beginning of the 21st century is very different from Israel's in the middle of the 20th. I'm getting a sense of deja vu because I could swear that another Huffington Post blogger used this exact same line of argument. Hmm. Who could it be? Actually pretty much this entire article could have been written by Renee Parsons and not Barry Lando and no would have known the difference. Some offense to him.

This hypothesis seems to be proven when for the meat of the article Mr. Lando, like Ms. Parsons, proceeds to rehash a long and intricate history of Israel's nuclear program which nobody cares about. Here's the short version: Israel got nuclear weapons and America let them do it. Bum bum bum. Having reached the end, Mr. Lando comes to a strange conclusion:
""Which makes our case!" defenders of Israel's nuclear program will exclaim. Faced with the implacable Arab hostility, Israel was obliged to get the bomb. And thank God they did."
So what's the problem?
"The problem is that other embattled regimes, make the same argument. Since the days of the Shah, for instance, Iran's leaders, feeling threatened first by the Soviet Union, then after 1979, by the United States, have pushed for nuclear weapons. And not without reason. To this day, American presidents -- not to mention rabid primary candidates -- openly discuss attacking Iran." 
If by "other embattled regimes," you mean, "Iran," then there we go. However, Iran also openly discussing attacking America and Israel. And of course Iran's support for worldwide terrorism goes unmentioned just like in all the other Huffington Post articles about it blah blah blah et cetera.

Unlike some other authors Mr. Lando is aware that not all the Iranian governmental officials are on the up and up and unlike them he confronts it head on. By which I mean, he engages in the classic two step of denial and deflections. First up!
"Not to defend the tyrants running Iran, but experts convincingly dispute that Ahmadinejad actually threatened nuclear annihilation of Israel. "
If you click the link you will find that Mr. Lando's "experts" is Juan Cole, not exactly known for his impartiality. And his dispute is that Ahmadinejad never said in so many words "we will nuke the country of Israel," a tired argument that has made the rounds on the Huffington Post and elsewhere more times than I can count. However, no amount of translation fun can hide Iran's support for terrorism, their Holocaust denial conferences, and their "World Without Zionism" programs. Put it all together and it becomes clear that this is not a regime that one should trust with nuclear weapons, and the nations of the world react accordingly. Next, the deflection! 
"In addition, the Zionist state has had its own share of crazies who have long advocated using force to create a "Greater Israel." Ariel Sharon, for instance, who precipitated a bloody invasion of Lebanon in 1982 in a futile attempt to wipe out the PLO. He also openly talked about overthrowing King Hussein to turn Jordan by force into a Palestinian State."
I feel like this is a case of not reading the paragraph as a whole and intend looking at each piece. Does Israel (or as Lando calls it in a not at all unbiased manner, "the Zionist state") have maximalists who want "Greater Israel?" Is Ariel Sharon one of them? Maybe, but Lando doesn't prove it in his examples. Firstly, Sharon was the defense minister in 1982, not the Prime Minister. Menachem Begin was. Secondly, invading Lebanon to wipe out the PLO does not prove that Sharon wants a "Greater Israel," so I'm not sure why it was included. Thirdly, forcing Jordan into a Palestinian state is also not necessarily proof of a desire for "Greater Israel." And finally, Sharon was in favor of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and was completely in charge of the pullout from Gaza. So I have to give Mr. Lando a 0 out of 5 for that.

Now having finished his deflections and off topic meanderings, he tries to tie it all together:
"The bottom line is this -- whatever your view about Iran or Israel's right to nuclear weapons -- how can statesmen or reporters or anyone seriously discuss the current crisis over Iran when a key part of the dispute is officially hidden from view? How can the U.S. and Israel deal with proposals for a nuclear free Middle East when they still refuse officially to acknowledge that the region is not nuclear free -- and hasn't been for the past 50 years?"
Point 1: I'm not sure at what point Mr. Lando believed that the U.S. and Israel wanted a nuclear free Middle East. I always thought that they didn't want Iran to have nukes, because that would lead to a regional arms race. I could be wrong though so feel free to correct me.

Point 2: I have read hundreds of articles talking about Iran which acknowledges that Israel has nuclear weapons. I'm not sure at what point Mr. Lando believed that just because our governments don't have a policy of recognition of them it somehow translates to silencing journalists or hindering serious discussion? What kind of discussion would Mr. Lando have with that recognition that he can't have right now?

I guess I'll have to wait and find out.

1 comment:

  1. Right now on Chris "I would sell my children to Obama" Matthews, "Hardball" he has Zbig on who's on the one hand pooh poohing the stupid Jews who in his words "Have predicted since 1994 that Iran would get the bomb next year" and on the other hand asserting that there's lots of things in the world worse than a nuclear Iran - - - a nuclear Israel for instance.


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