Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Apparently the Iranians have been reading Semour Hersh articles and aren’t yet satisfied that they’ve given Britain and the U.S. enough excuses for a round of bombing.

The whole “we’ll show you by making you our captive photo-op guests and have you write letters home to your parents about how bad you’ve been” is simply creepy — much more disturbing than the rhetoric of Ahmednejad, which is obviously calculated to piss people off.

No, this was not written with guidance from an Iranian communications mullah I’m sure:

Dear Mum & Dad,

I am writing to you from Iran where I am being held. I will try to explain to you the best what has happened. We were out in the boats when we were arrested by Iranian forces as we had apparently gone into Iranian waters. I wish we hadn’t because then I’d be home with you all right now. I am so sorry we did, because I know we wouldn’t be here now if we hadn’t. I want you all to know that I am well and safe. I am being well looked after. I am fed three meals a day and have a constant supply of fluids.

The people are friendly and hospitable, very compassionate and warm. I have written a letter to the Iranian people to apologize for us entering into their waters. Please don’t worry about me, I am staying strong. Hopefully it won’t be long until I am home to get ready for Molly’s birthday party with a present from the Iranian people.

Look after everyone for me, especially Adam and Molly.

I love you all more than you will ever know.

All my love,


“Dear pairs, I wish I hadn’t gone to Iran, because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t be in Iran. One thing I’ll say about going into other people’s waters, there are always plenty of fluids. and they’re such nice people, not creepy at all, much unlike this letter or my being put on TV. I’m sure they’ll let me come home, as long as England and America don’t do something naughty like I did.”

Very creepy. Not cruel, like Guantanamo and indefinite detention without trial and no evidence in cages and (in the case of Padilla) solitary confinement. Rather, creepy and psychologically cruel. As a friend pointed out, “it’s got that unmarried scoutmaster feel” to it.

Part of that feel comes from the “you’ve been bad, you must been punished” theme, where the transgression is minor, technical, unintentional, contrived, and possibly non-existent. The soldiers were “trespassing” because they got the border wrong by a few yards, assuming that’s true. When the infraction depends on such precise measurement, how can you tell? Should Iran’s fragile pride be wounded or not? Should the spies be hanged or not? Break out the ruler.

And then we have the gradual release, ladies first, as if Iran were held up in a bank. We know why bank-robbers get themselves into banks in the first place and why the generosity of hostage release is such a thrill: they’re used to having nothing to give.

“Obviously we trespassed”, says Faye Turney — no, not obvious, though obviously you’re under duress. Someone in Iran thinks they’re involved in successful public relations campaign, when in fact they’re revealing the creepiness and dysfunction of their government: no, your coercion of mea culpas for public consumption and the humiliation of your enemies is not sophisticated , it’s stupid and naive. Your reputation sucks, your morons, and you just made it worse. You don’t know how to interact with the world, and you think people are impressed by behavior that is truly pathetic.

I wish I could say the United States weren’t guilty of similar stupidity. An appeal to the rednecks who would run our country like the Mullahs: going forward, let’s try not look this pathetic, OK? But I fear Iran will give the Bush administration the excuse it needs.


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It’s Not Evidence of Absence

More bogus weapons claims from an administration that has no shame:

officials call the best evidence yet that the deadliest roadside bombs in Iraq are manufactured in Iran, but critics contend that the forensic case remains circumstantial and inferential.

Sound familiar? We get it, we get it: “I want to go to war: here’s some contrived bullshit (my reasons — you see, reasons are just the things I say when I want something, and don’t have anything to do with actual reasoning)”.

It’s the job of the press to take every little thing, every one of these “reasons”, seriously, even when they are sopping with ulterior motives. And now the pundits can trade words about them. You can practically see the sheep being herded into their pens — with “reasons”.

But critics assert that nearly all the bomb components could have been produced in Iraq or somewhere else in the region. Even if the evidence were to establish that Iran is the source, they add, that does not necessarily mean that the Iranian leadership is responsible.

Ahem: “inferential evidence is not evidence of absence; if we have to swallow global warming and evolution, then ….”

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