Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Shayne Lee Defends the Iranian Regime

Ready for yet another "AIPAC is evil" blog post, that isn't even by MJ Rosenberg? Shayne Lee (bio: "sociologist") has principally spent his time on the Huffington Post writing about Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, and Lil Wayne. This time he is here to show us just how little he knows about the Iranian nuclear issue. He probably should have just stuck with the celebrities that he knows best.

After griping about Joe Biden at AIPAC for a while, Mr. Lee lays out why he doesn't think there should be an attack on Iran:
"For starters, the U.S. and Israel's repeated allusions to military strikes against Iran violate Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, which precludes the threat or use of force against sovereign nations in matters "inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." Similarly, there are no provisions within the stipulations of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols that justify preemptive strikes against perceived Iranian nuclear sites."
I didn't realize it was all a question of priorities. How selfish of Israel! They should clearly let themselves all die in nuclear fire before they violate the precious United Nations Charter, that has done exactly nothing to keep a single person safe from the ugly world that we live in. As for his actual point, Article 2(4) also prohibits the "threat or use of force" against member nations. In which case Iran broke it a long time ago with their support of terrorists against the US and Israel, not to mention threatening both. Obviously this also applies to the Geneva Convention as well, though Mr. Lee seems to think that just because there's no information about it in the Convention it therefore must be forbidden. So as childish as it sounds, "he started it" actually applies in this situation. I have a feeling that Mr. Lee has no idea about the history of Iran since the revolution, and thinks that the only questionable actions they have taken is seek nuclear weapons.

This ignorance only continues into his next paragraph:
"Secondly, U.S. and Israeli gripes against Iran are more fear-based and hegemonic than objective and policy-based. What I mean is that if Iran was in violation of a technical or legal stipulation with their nuclear program, the U.S. and Israel could appeal to international law to resolve the discrepancy through rational diplomacy."
To paraphrase someone who has a lot in common with Ahmadinejad: "How many divisions does international law have?"

It's hilarious, not at all surprising, and very typical of the Huffington Post that Mr. Lee thinks "appealing to international law" will accomplish something for the first time ever. International law didn't help the people of Darfur, Tibet, Chechnya, Cambodia, or any other number of other places you'd care to name. The problem is not that Iran is "in violation of a legal stipulation," it is that the international community does not believe them when they say that they don't want nuclear weapons. People like Mr. Lee make up the exception, I should say.

We live in a world where the only real way to settle disputes is with force. I hate to say it, I wish it wasn't true, but that's how it is. International law only works when there is an international police force to make people comply with it, and there isn't one. I'm sure the US and Israel would love to call in a world police to deal with Iran, but they can't, so here we are. And whining on the Huffington Post isn't going to change that.

It goes without saying that he dismisses the number of real threats that come from a nuclear-armed Iran and instead turns half of his column into the most tired of tired arguments: the deflection onto Israel. We've busted it many times before, I see no reason to go over it again.

Finally he goes into full denial mode:
"But more profound than the U.S. and Israel's lack of rational legality and absence of moral authority, is their failure to provide cogent evidence that a nuclear Iran poses an existential threat to Israel or any other nation."
Apparently "death to Israel day" just isn't enough to satisfy some people. Nor is Iran's support for terror groups. But don't worry! Even though Iran calls for Israel's destruction on a regular basis, including statements from Ahmadinejad that they will be "wiped" in some way shape or form, Mr. Lee has a counter argument for that as well:
"Ahmadinejad desiring Israel's expulsion is very different from the president threatening to eject Israel off the planet. Just like wishing for my noisy neighbor to get hit by a car is vastly different from me threatening to run over a noisy neighbor with my car. At least the police would recognize such a distinction. But Netanyahu would like us to see the two as one and the same, deflecting attention away from his lack of evidence of any Iranian official making a direct threat to strike or harm Israel."
This is the weakest of weak sauce arguments, and believe me I've seen my fair share on the Huffington Post. But okay, let's take Mr. Lee's metaphor to his fullest conclusion. If you had a noisy neighbor, often told your buddies how often you wished he was dead, started teaching your kids to also hate him, had your friend make proxy attacks against him, and proclaimed publicly your wish that he be dead, that's another story. Then imagine you started loading boxes into your home every day for weeks on end while refusing to let anybody see what's inside them. All of that alone is worth a visit from the police. Mr. Lee seems to have us believe that the person is this scenario is above reproach until he comes charging out of his home wearing body armor and wielding two machine guns. That's just dumb, kind of like his argument.

He praises Ahmadinejad a little more, which I find too nauseating to repeat, but let's let him conclude with this:
"Once again, Mr. Ahmadinejad does have a point. Didn't Jesus say something about first taking the plank out of your own eye before attempting to remove the speck from your neighbor's eye? (Matthew 7:5) Ironically, on the issue of nuclear proliferation, an irascible Muslim leader named Mahmoud is the vociferous mouthpiece for Jesus's sentiment."
First of all, I find his referring to "Mahmoud" as a "Muslim leader" to be offensive.

Secondly, Ahmadinejad is the hypocrite here, so the Jesus statement would apply to him. He's the one violating a treaty, while Israel and America haven't signed it. The law doesn't apply to them and it does apply to him. You can argue what's morally wrong if you want, but Iran is building a clandestine nuclear weapons program while demanding nuclear non-proliferation. Any way you slice, that is hypocrisy.

But don't expect Mr. Lee to notice that. He's too blinded by his left-wing prejudices.

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