Monday, February 20, 2012

MJ Rosenberg's Illogical Argument

Once again, there isn't much to say about MJ Rosenberg's latest column from last week. It's the usual: "Iran can be contained, don't go to war." However, there were a couple of interesting statements that he made that I wanted to highlight, especially the latter, just because they are so strange, when he tackles the subject of MAD. Here's the first bit:
"But no nation has ever committed suicide and Persians, whose pride in their own culture and sense of nationalism knows no bounds, are clearly among the least likely candidates for the course of self-immolation."
The trouble with this kind of an argument is it involves a lot of assuming things (and of course not a link in sight, but that's nothing new). It's not unreasonable for Mr. Rosenberg to assume that the Iranian people don't want to all die. What is less reasonable is for him to say that the Iranian people would have some kind of a say in what their government does. I don't want to get into the whole "is Iran a democracy" or not, but from what I can tell the mullahs are the ones who are in power there and don't much care about what their people want.

But if we are assuming that the Persians are the ones who make the decisions, does that mean they approve of hanging gay people and raping female capital prisoners? Or of "Death to America Day?" Does the holding of collective responsibility cut more than one way?

Let's leave those questions hanging for a moment move on to the second part of that paragraph, in which we see even more assumptions:
"But, even assuming they hate Israel so much that they would happily self-destruct, there is also the matter of the Palestinians who would also die in any nuclear attack on Israel. It is hard to believe that in the name of Palestine, Iran would slaughter a few million Palestinians."
First things first: I have never see any evidence anywhere that Iran has done anything to Israel or Israelis "in the name of Palestine." The closest I know is when Khameini said "It is incorrect, irrational, pointless and nonsense to say that we are friends of Israeli people... we are on a collision course with the occupiers of Palestine and the occupiers are the Zionist regime. This is the position of our regime, our revolution and our people." But even then it's more about the land of Palestine than the Arabs who live there.

Secondly, it's kind of funny that Mr. Rosenberg thinks that Iran cares about the lives of Arabs. Their actions in Syria and Lebanon (not to mention Gaza) would seem to indicate quite the opposite, that they see the Arabs and the Arab states as pawns on a chessboard to move around. Unless Mr. Rosenberg would like to show me some criticism of Assad by Iran, in which case I will change my opinion.

Finally, what a freaking joke there in the last paragraph! Does Mr. Rosenberg really expect anyone to believe that the Iranians will be stopped from MAD not for their own sake but for the sake of the Palestinians? Like they will say to themselves, "we're perfectly willing to lose not only our own lives but the lives of everyone we know and love if it means destroying Israel. Oh but wait we shouldn't because it would mean wiping out the Palestinians too."

Are you serious? Do you really think the Iranians (or the Iranian government) cares more about the Palestinians than they do about their own people? Or themselves? I mean, just because you do don't assume everyone else does. This behavior is very classic Palestinian supporter, assuming that just because you care more about the Palestinian than anything else then everyone must be feeling the same way. Hopefully it won't take an actual nuclear exchange for Mr. Rosenberg to rethink his point of view on that.

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