Ahmadinejad's confrontational style plays into Cheney's hands
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The Daily Star
US Vice President Dick Cheney is once again leading his country down the path of unnecessary war. On Tuesday, Cheney delivered a speech to a pro-Israel lobby group in Washington, outlining his view of the "war on terror" by arguing that "the only option for our security and survival is to go on the offensive, facing the threat directly, patiently and systematically until the enemy is destroyed."
Cheney's words ought to serve as a warning, both to Americans and to the people of this region, that the despite all the failures in Iraq, the neoconservative logic of "preventive war" is not dead. On the contrary, a number of powerful American politicians and their highly influential supporters are now clamoring for a military attack on Iran.
Attacking Iran would obviously be a bad idea. America has manifestly bitten off more than it can chew in Iraq, and the Islamic Republic is a much more formidable foe. But if the Americans ultimately prove foolish enough to tread down this path again, the Iranians, particularly their outspoken president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will share the blame.
The Iranian people know that they are justified - both morally and legally - in having a peaceful nuclear program. But they have not had a leader who has made their case plain to the international community. They have not made sufficient effort to explain previous lapses of transparency, or the secrecy under which they have conducted their nuclear activities. Instead of seeking consistently to calm the fears of the international community about Iran's real intentions, too many of the country's leaders have maintained a posture of belligerence. The Iranian people also realize that their president's mercurial style does not play well abroad. On Monday, several editorials in the Iranian press urged the president to call off his plans for a "costly trip to New York" - where he hopes to address the United Nations Security Council about Iran's nuclear program - no doubt fearing that he will create an even bigger mess.
Directly or indirectly, everyone from Iran's hard-line supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to reformist former President Mohammad Khatami has urged Ahmadinejad to change course. But they have not done enough to rein him in. If Cheney succeeds in starting a new and even more disastrous war, many Iranians will know who else is to blame.
A Media Artist's Response To Failing Diplomacy
When BriAnna Olson's pacifist views were confronted by an adamant American couple, she decided to heed their challenge and head to Tehran-- the epicenter of the Axis of Evil nation.
Amongst a landscape of failed diplomacy and media smear campaigns, she and fellow artist Michael Pope found a society far more alive and hospitable than they'd ever been led to believe.
Like jesters of a modern-day Magellan, they've returned with stories and insights to a culture few American's have seen first hand.