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Why Attack Libya and Not Iran?

Elan Journo makes the case against the United State’s double standard in it’s foreign policy in the Middle East:

Consider the situation in Libya and the one in Iran. When massive protests took place in Iran during 2009/10, Washington was mute then grudging in its wishy-washy response; ultimately, it failed to lend the protesters even a shred of moral support against the militant, Islamist regime in Tehran, a regime that poses a demonstrable, existential threat to our interests. Contrast that with the response to the Libyan uprising (tribal civil war?). Yes, Gaddafi can be classified as a menace, but a trifling one, far less of a problem than the threat from Iran. Yet it is in Libya that America decides to take military action to back rebels against Gaddafi’s regime.

Let’s unpack that for a moment: we do move against a minor, tinpot dictatorship where we have little at stake, while leaving the fire-breathing Tehran regime in place — tacitly endorsing its rule by failing to help the protesters. We do launch bombing raids in Libya — if the UN and Arab League approve it — for the sake of rebels whose goals we don’t know if we share, against a regime that’s of minor significance to our security. But against a threat to us, from Iran, we adopt statue-like passivity. [Libya vs. U.S. self-interest — VOICES for REASON]

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

    Why not attack both regimes?

  • Asdf

    Why not attack the entire middle east? I mean we could become the world police.

    America, FUCK YEAH!
    Coming again, to save the mother fucking day yeah

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MRFBKMN5I73ZWTY5MV57WEBEDI Sam Winston

    Geez…Elan Journo makes George W. Bush look a pacifist.

    I love it when people use the cliche “our interests.” Not only is it vague, it sort of suggests we all want the same thing. Not so. Journo wants war.

    • Anonymous

      You failed to grasp his point. This administration is willing to go to war when there is no real existential threat to our security. When the stakes are high and the threat is real, we sit by passively and do nothing about it. Journo is suggesting that we are going into the wrong war again. By the way, “our interests” are the interests of the country as judged objectively. It is not determined by majority wants or wishes or votes. Either Iran is a threat to us or not.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MRFBKMN5I73ZWTY5MV57WEBEDI Sam Winston

        I understood the point. US foreign policy is foolish and hypocritical. Obama is no different than past presidents. War is not really about security. Tell us something we don’t know. The problem is the author’s tacit assumption that Iran is actually a threat and that our military force would be better directed there. The question should not be where to wage war but whether we actually need to wage war at all.

        But I will tell you what I’m still failing to grasp though: what “our interests” are. Your response is just as vague as the author’s. By country, do you mean the interests of US citizens or US government? They’re two completely different sets of interests. Judged objectively by whom? And how do we establish objectivity?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

          “The problem is the author’s tacit assumption that Iran is actually a threat and that our military force would be better directed there.”

          If you like, you can go to Iran and find out for yourself. I hear they take very kindly to people speaking their own mind. As a sign of appreciation, they put a you on a box, tighten a rope around your neck then kick the box away. Happy swinging.

          Oh yes, and they are the biggest sponsor of jihadist terrorism in the world and willing to go nuclear “for peaceful purposes”

          “The question should not be where to wage war but whether we actually need to wage war at all.”

          If you want peace, prepare for war.

          “But I will tell you what I’m still failing to grasp though: what “our interests” are.”

          How we judge a governemnt is based on how well they ensure the protection of the individual rights. Protection of individual rights is in turn based on a morality of individual self-interst. By protecting individual rights, a government protects its citizens self-interest.

          “By country, do you mean the interests of US citizens or US government? ”

          He means: by the government, for the people.

          “Judged objectively by whom? And how do we establish objectivity? ”

          Read Ayn Rand… Wikipedia is a good start, just search for “Objectivism (Ayn Rand)” and you should have a good summary.

        • Anonymous

          You still don’t get it. Interests means the interests of what is good for the country. A country is comprised of its individual citizens. If something or someone is threatening our way of life or our life,including the government, it is a threat. You need to start at the very beginning and take Martin Lundqvist’s suggestion. Read Ayn Rand to understand what “Objective” is. Have fun in your learning process!!

        • Anonymous

          You still don’t get it. Interests means the interests of what is good for the country. A country is comprised of its individual citizens. If something or someone is threatening our way of life or our life,including the government, it is a threat. You need to start at the very beginning and take Martin Lundqvist’s suggestion. Read Ayn Rand to understand what “Objective” is. Have fun in your learning process!!

  • Ltjames1

    Does Iran pose a threat? Yes, but mainly in a tangential way. For example, by supporting the terrorist group Hezbollah Iran helps funnel arms and finances to a group that seeks to destroy Israel and has an explicit anti-West agenda. Is it best to attack Iran with a wave of cruise missiles and carrier launched strike aircraft? Probably not because a) it would pose a massive disruption to oil shipments from the Persian gulf, b) it would require an enormous amount of U.S. military resources, c) it would embolden anti-US groups around the world to launch reprisals and d) it would anger other countries (such as China) that obtain energy resources from Iran. The end result, in an age where the mere threat of a conflict can cause a $10 shift in oil prices, would be a worldwide economic catastrophe. The current Shiite Islamic government is not popular but it is highly entrenched with ideolgically motivated military officers.

    It is in the best interest of the U.S. to undermine Iran through subterfuge and clandestine operations. We should take measures to infliltrate the Iranian economy by introducing counterfeit currency thereby creating inflation. We should covertly fund internal seperatist groups to foster discontent in outlying provinces. We could introduce crop diseases and water borne illnesses. We can sell Iran defective merchandise through 3rd parties to break down the reliability of their infrastructure. We should “subvert” their youth with Internet broadcasts. There are many, many illegal but effective mechanisms that we could implement to chip away at the current regime’s power. While frustratingly slow this would nevertheless be a better strategy as it would raise the prospect of a coup d’etat and lead to an internal revolution. This is not a glorious strategy with guns blazing and muscles pumping. American has too much debt to start a war when our major creditor is one of Iran’s largest buyers of oil. Instead, we should adopt aFabian strategy of wearing away at the Iranian government’s hold on power.

    I can’t help but make an analogy between Bush and Obama and the Roman statesman Marcus Licinius Crassus. Crassus was an extremely wealthy Roman statesman and general. He obtained much of his wealth through political schemes and property speculation. Craving recognition for his military skills he carelessly led a Roman army of mostly foot soldiers to modern-day Syria where he was utterly defeated by a mounted Parthian army fighting with unconventional tactics. Crassus fought the wrong war for the wrong reasons. Rome never defeated the Parthians. Rather, the Parthians were overthrown by the rising Sassanids to the East. Of course, thereafter the Sassanids became the new enemy of Rom. We can learn something from this bit of history. Obama’s unprincipled strike against Libya is Pragmatism at its finest. At best, we’ll end up with a new regime with questionable intentions. At worst, we’ll have a failed state like Somalia ruled by warring factions and fractious coalitions bleeding the country’s resources for all their worth. Libya and Ghaddafi just happened to be a convenient target for the flavor-of-the-month humanitarian project.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=100000501085308 Martin Lundqvist

      Very interesting comment! I am not so picky about if the methods are direct or indirect, and I think your method of approach is worth considering.

  • Dave

    why not just nuke them?