Thursday, November 1, 2012

The HuffPo's "Collective Punishment" Hypocrisy

We've all known the Huffington Post has been a far-left "newspaper" for some time now, and that it is militantly anti-West and pro-anyone who is also anti-West. And although they are happy to publish every crazy story that comes out of Iran (and even some that aren't true), their blogger stable is more than willing to defend Iran at every turn. Rarely has this been so blatant than a new article by Richard Javad Heydarian titled "Iran Sanctions: Collective Punishment." For the record, three out of his four articles on the Huffington Post have been about this issue. 

He begins by playing the card he will play throughout the article, that of the poor suffering Iranian people:
"There was hardly any trace of concern for tens of millions of ordinary Iranians who are struggling to cope with the absolute terror of spiraling inflation, collapsing currency and unfathomable economic uncertainty due to the crippling sanctions of the West."
Of course more countries than just "the West" have been sanctioning Iran, but let's not worry too much about telling the truth, this is the Huffington Post after all. This article is interesting because when it comes to the debate about what to do regarding Iran's nuclear program: Most people take either a side that we should attack now (the minority) or that we shouldn't. Sanctions to pressure Iran's leaders into stopping the program is a good compromise, which is why both Obama and Romney are in favor of them continuing. Only on the Huffington Post and places like it do we get far leftists saying what Mr. Heydarian is saying, which is that we should leave Iran alone and hope the nuclear issue resolves itself.

Most of the article he spends describing the effects the sanctions have, probably with the intention of making us feel bad for the Iranians, but from my perspective it shows that the sanctions are working and doing what they are supposed to be doing. Here's the only time he discusses Iran's nuclear program:
"Although touted as 'targeted' measures against Iran's nuclear and ballistic programs, the sanctions are ruthlessly eroding the very foundations of a $900 billion economy, upon which almost 75 million Iranians depend for daily survival."
Well, that's just too bad. Isn't this how all sanctions work? Wasn't that the goal of the sanctions against (wait for it) apartheid South Africa? I'm sure a lot of innocent white people had trouble finding jobs because of the sanctions, but I didn't hear anyone whining about it then! Iran is hardly the first country to be sanctioned, and it seems disingenuous for Mr. Heydarian to imply that they are the first people to have encountered this kind of situation. Maybe they should consider putting pressure on their own government (since they claim to be a democracy) to agree to the world's demands, because whining on the Huffington Post isn't going to get them anywhere. Finally, the "CP" shows up:
"In the language of international law, we are speaking of 'collective punishment.''
Uh, no we're not. I think the anti-Zionists have themselves to thank for this, as they were the first ones to take "gotcha" phrases out of the Geneva Conventions and throw them at things they don't like. But unfortunately for Mr. Heydarian and his friends, "collective punishment" has a very specific meaning and requires a very specific context. We were busting this talking point all the way back in 2010, and although the discussion then was about Gaza, the definition of collective punishment remains the same. In order for that term to apply, at the very least Iran would have to be occupied by "the West," and they are not.

What this is more like is the blockade of Germany during World War II. Although every German was affected by it, it was a direct result of the decisions of a government that they put and kept in power, and so was completely lawful. Besides, considering the UNSC is the only body that makes international law, and the UNSC has approved of Iran sanctions many times over, how can they be breaking the law?

Let's move on, I thought this was interesting:
"When a deadly earthquake hit Iran's northwestern provinces in early August, causing massive casualties and infrastructural damage, many international aid agencies as well as members of the Iranian Diaspora found it almost impossible to make direct humanitarian donations. The problem is that many essential products -- from medicine and advanced medical equipments [sic], to even diapers as well as agricultural inputs -- could fall under the notorious 'dual-use items and technology' category."
The earthquake and aid question is an interesting point, and definitely complicates the morality question of how far should sanctions go. Naturally, when Israel was hit by a natural disaster the Huffington Posters were saying that they were getting what they deserve, but that's besides the point.

No, what caught my eye about this paragraph is that "the West" also endorses the "dual-use items and technology" category to deny things like medicine and diapers to Iran. How often have the Huffington Posters implied that only Israel did stuff like that? I would wager most of us couldn't count that high.

Before we finish with Mr. Heydarin's article, let me give you a brief example of the hand wringing he engages in for the Iranian people, an expression of solidarity that has never been seen with any of their victims:
"Personally, I can't help but draw a heart-wrenching comparison between those nostalgic and hopeful moments I spent in Tehran back in the spring of 2009, when the country was drenched in an election fever and President Obama promised to reach out to the Iranian nation, on one hand, and today's utter misery, cynicism and mutual-hostility in a winter of destructive sanctions, which is bringing two great nations ever closer to confrontation, on the other."
Boo freaking hoo. That's what happens when you do this:

Now it's time for the hypocrisy roundup. How many times has the Huffington Post played host to bloggers who endorse collective punishment of Israel in the form of boycotts, divestment and sanctions? There was JVP defending those who want aid to Israel to be caught off, six articles from people like Code Pink, Robert "Flotilla" Naiman, and Sam Bahour attacking the Presbyterian's decision not to boycott Israel. Huffington post bloggers have called for boycotts against Caterpiller (without caring about the innocent workers who might be laid off), and marched out their best propagandists against Israel's anti-boycott law. Let's not forget either how they won't hesitate to give boycotts of Israel publicity, even when the situation doesn't call for it. They've even given leaders of the BDS "movement" column space on their website.

So I guess the Huffington Post doesn't mind collective punishment at all, as long as it is against people that they don't like and not people that they do. Any questions where their loyalties lie?

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