I am Jewish and I can’t understand why attacking Iran over the threat of nuclear is a great idea. It’s not that I believe what Iran says. Of course they will develop nuclear weapons, but also Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And Pakistan is a very unstable country and we live with them and their weapons. And India, a country which most of us find easier to live with, has had to live with Pakistan, their weapons and their terrorists.
Pakistan is a country ruled by people who like us but populated by people who mostly hate us, and I don’t mean hate Jews, but the whole West, India and China. Polls show that in the mid 00s most Pakistanis liked Bin Laden as a leader. And some clearly liked him enough to give him shelter for so many years. And this is a country has nuclear weapons and we tolerate it. And Israel and maybe EU and USA are planning to go to war with Iran because they may have nuclear weapons and be where Pakistan is today. Going to war with a country because it will have nuclear weapons is hardly a way to increase world security. Why didn’t USA go to war with USSR when they developed nuclear weapons? Why didnt we go to war with North Korea whose lunatic leadership is far worse than the Iranian leadership. In each of those circumstances we estimated the cost of war to be greater than the cost of preventing nuclear proliferation. North Korea for example, could already wipe out a third of South Korea with conventional artillery, in the face of that threat, we let them go nuclear. I am sure the South Koreans would prefer another neighbor, but they do what they can given the circumstances. Even after a nuclear Iran, Israel’s situation won’t be as bad as that of South Korea at war with a nation that borders it and can destroy it with conventional and nuclear weapons and threatens to do so very frequently. Plus Iran is a threat to Israel already through its proxy armies of Hezbollah and Hamas. But Syria was partners with Iran and another serious threat to Israel under the leadership of Bashar Al Assad and look at where he is now, exterminating his own people, hated by his own people. Qaddafi said there was going to be a Middle East without Israel and we ended having a Libya without Qaddafi. I think there is enough evidence that Iran is going in the same direction. Preventive warfare is flawed. It’s a doctrine that says that because you may not like war in the future you start a war now. We squandered trillions of dollars of USA and EU money with this doctrine, and precious human lives, and achieved nothing. Anyone doubts that Saddam Hussein would have survived the Arab uprisings? If we intervene we should so so to tip the balance, not to go as an invasive force trying to conquer, police and rebuild a nation for a decade. It’s wrong and we can’t afford it.
Nuclear weapons have this weirdly positive aspect to them that their utilization is so serious, so incredibly harmful, that those who have them so far in history have stayed put. It’s as if their owners developed a deep sense of nausea just about having them. The only exception in history, is of course USA, who whether we like it or not, was the only nation brutal enough to overcome their nausea and use them. Probably because nobody had used them before and the images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not on anyone’s minds.
I think that we should all put more hope in the people of Iran. Iran is the opposite of Pakistan, a country ruled by people who hate us but populated by people who are fed up with them and like us and our lifestyle. Every protest in Iran seems to be about people who want to be free and a government who puts them down. So we should not give these freedom seeking people who almost overthrew Ahmadinejad, a real reason to hate us. And let’s remember that under attack everyone becomes a nationalist and sides with whoever is the dictator who rules the country. From a Jewish point of view, now that the Muslim world is finally focused on their problems attacking Iran would be to go for the limelight at the worse possible moment.
We should accept that this situation is ugly, confusing, tough to deal with and there no easy answers. And for Israel attacking Iran a country of 80 million people that is twice as big as France and far away is a daunting task, nothing like the Operation Babylon of 1981. Israel, USA, EU, should continue with covert operations and other tactics that are short of war, and put all sorts of pressures to show how great life would be for all if Iran stops. But at the same time we have to learn to live with our fears, accept that Iran may go nuclear, and focus on promoting a change of leadership that is more aligned with the Iranian people and our interests.
Last Friday was the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan invasion. Why we are there is beyond my comprehension. We have killed so many innocent people, both our own soldiers who we sent to a hopeless war and countless innocent victims of our bombardments. We are at fault, both Europe and USA. Why did we stay in Iraq beyond overthrowing Saddam and in Afghanistan beyond overthrowing the Taliban? EU and USA are not meant to invade countries for decades and try to administer them. Why did we not wait until they had their Arab uprising as so many other countries? I can understand the use of military force in Libya, to tilt the balance without invading, to provide air support. But to invade, police, stay for a decade, be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, accomplish nothing and waste trillions of our own savings is barbaric.
I am debating with too many people on Twitter. I give up. Most people seem to believe that EU and USA went to war in the Arab countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya because somehow we are making money doing so. They don’t get it that Europe and USA lost trillions in these wars. That their people, their economies… lost trillions and a horrible sacrifice of human lives on all sides. That yes there are some minor beneficiaries of this disasters like some people in the military industry and military contracting but that for the economies of USA, UK and some EU countries have been wasting $3 trillion only in Iraq as you can see here. And this is madness. Most on my twitter stream believe that somehow we will get paid back. How? Stealing their oil? Well that will never happen and should not happen. Did Saddam or Gaddafi not want to sell oil? Because now we get somebody else to sell us oil at $107 per barrel is that enough reason to invade Iraq? If all we wanted was to buy oil we would not go to war. We went to war because of some idiotic reasoning in the case of Iraq and some smarter reasoning in the case of Libya (where we invested much much less, worked with Libyans and got what seems to be like a good outcome). We went to war because we believed that toppling people who kill their people and sometimes foreigners with oil money don’t deserve to be in power. But the Iraqi money and human lives spent in the Iraq War are gone for good. We should have done nothing in Iraq, Saddam had nothing to do with Al Qaeda and he would have fallen like Gaddafi did, at a much smaller cost if we had waited a decade.
You probably remember the uproar that was caused by the publication of Danish cartoons that some Muslims found offensive. Demonstrations around the world were massive. According to Wikipedia there were over 100 deaths. Now let’s leave aside the controversy over how offensive those cartoons were. To me the point is that when Muslims want to organize and protest over something that is dear to them, they do.
Presently there are 16 million Muslims in the European Union who are watching their brothers getting massacred in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain and now Libya. Demonstrators who die for the liberation of their country from cleptodictators who have been violating human rights and stealing for themselves and their own families for decades. So why not massively demonstrate against them? Muslims are a political force in Europe. If Muslims organzed and obtained the support of the rest of society they could very well influence foreign policy in Europe towards democratization of North Africa and the Middle East. Myself for example, I am a secular Jew, and I gladly would join a demonstration against Muammar Gaddafi. A demonstration for democracy in Libya. A demonstration for the end of violence and free elections throughout the region. But so far demonstrations are very timid. In London for example yesterday, as their people were getting murdered only 200 went to a demonstration for Libyan liberation.
As the Danish cartoons show it is not lack of organization that is preventing Muslims for demonstrating because that time they were very well organized and even extremely violent. A violence that goes on even 5 years after the publication. So what explains this lack of support for Muslim brotherhood? Could it be that Imams themselves are concerned that these demonstrations in the Arab world are mostly political, secular and in favor of democracy and modernization which they oppose? I know Muslim friends of mine in Europe are glued to Aljazzera and Twitter as I am on the issue of the Arab revolts. Why don’t they organize and influence EU foreign policy?
- Why Are the Muhammad Cartoons Still Inciting Violence? (nybooks.com)
- Massacres in Libya As Protests Grow (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- 5 arrested over Danish cartoon daily terror plot (windsorstar.com)