more doublethink on the right

Jim Lobe has a great post on the neo-con right’s spin on Iran. For years and years, they have publicly ignored the fact that Khamenei runs foreign policy, and used Ahmedinejad’s insane comments as fodder to help garner support for an invasion of Iran. But this quote from Daniel Pipes shows that apparently, proponents of this view were always aware of this fact:

“I’m sometimes asked who I would vote for if I were enfranchised in this election, and I think that, with due hesitance, I would vote for Ahmadinejad,” Pipes said. The reason, Pipes went on, is that he would “prefer to have an enemy who’s forthright and obvious, who wakes people up with his outlandish statements.”

Now, whether or not you agree with this line of thinking – and I do not – is irrelevant. The point to remember is this is a cardinal example of Orwell’s ‘doublethink’. One minute we’re at war with Eurasia, the next with Eastasia. One minute we hang on the Iranian President’s every word, and the next what he says counts for nothing. Simply stunning.

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8 Responses to “more doublethink on the right”


  1. 1 PMA June 10, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    You’re missing the point. The point is not whether or not Ahmadinejad does or does not have true power. Rather, the point is how the world views Iran.

    When Iran has a so-called “moderate” president who does not make such incendiary statements to the world, that does not make Iran a more peaceful member of the global community; it just means that we hear less of their intentions.

    The risk of that comes into play when you have inexperienced leaders like Obama who actually swallow such “moderate” rhetoric hook, line and sinker and do not see Iran for the threat that they really are.

    Therefore, it’s better to be dealing with the an enemy who will call you “enemy” to your face, rather than an enemy who smiles at you and pretends to play nice, all the while cooking up nuclear bombs in his backyard.

    At least with someone like Ahmadinejad as the mouthpiece of Iran, we can hope that even an idiot like Obama can see the danger they pose. With another leader who masks his hatred and anti-Semitism better, though, we would run the risk of Obama not catching on.

  2. 2 Eli June 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Congratulations, PMA, for the first comment actually on the site, not Facebook 😉

    There very well may be some merit to that argument. Personally, I think a win by Moussavi will make the mullahs think twice: remember, all dictators are by definition insecure. Ahmadinejad, in contrast, would strengthen their hand. Certainly Moussavi would be better for the actual citizens of Iran, especially the throngs of city dwellers turning out to support him. Does it matter not at all that so much of the Iranian public is embarrassed by this guy?

    Anyway, this wasn’t what my post was about. For the last four years, every single bloviator on the right has been going on and on about Ahmadinejad – never ONCE did we hear about the mullahs. Why Iran was all of a sudden more of a threat under Ahmadinejad as opposed to Rafsanjani, if it is true like the claim now that whomever is President is ultimately irrelevant, was never explained.

    You could say, like me, that having an Ahmadinejad in power empowers the mullahs, as opposed to a Moussavi would empower – and is empowered by – rational people, even if they don’t necessarily like us. I never heard this line of logic from any of the leaders of the cabal – Limbaugh, Savage, et al – and I used to listen to them very often (the Deal commute is a bitch). In fact, I never heard a peep about the mullahs the whole time.

    John McCain, candidate for President and supposedly the foreign policy “expert” last election, wouldn’t even answer when asked, point blank, why he focused so much on Ahmadinejad’s comments and kept referring to him as the leader when the actual power lies with the mullahs! Four years later, when it seems like the right might lose their a valuable tool for promoting war with Iran, they suddenly wake up.

    And there is a difference between this and changing an actual policy. You might change or shift a policy due to the facts on the ground changing, and that would be fine – that’s called sanity, as long as you don’t do an abrupt and complete reversal, and even that might be justified if the facts warrant it.
    Over here, the entire rationale for an opinion has been completely reversed! The opinion itself, however, doesn’t change! There is not even a shred of an actual acknowledgment of this major, major shift in rationale. Either we go bonkers and hang on every misogynistic, antiSemitic, hateful line from this known wackjob, or we dismiss him as having no real direct say over the people really in charge. They jumped from one to the other unceremoniously. And in the face of what might be a positive development for the people of Iran – the enthusiasm of Moussavi’s crowds is telling – we throw it in back in their faces, and say this guy is purely a Trojan Horse. Newsflash: Iran is still a freer country if you compare them to two dictatorships we’ve had to prop up. The two are not equivalent, even if the right so wants them to be – yes, wants them to be! these shameless promoters of freedom above all! – to help buttress their arguments.

    Of course, this isn’t the first time this has happened in recent years; see: Iraq War. (Though in that case, we really didn’t have much of a choice after the mess we got ourselves in to.) Like I said, simply stunning.

  3. 3 Eli June 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    You are also projecting when you say ‘hatred’. This guy is not a known quantity yet. This guy is being supported by young, Western-oriented urbanites. They’ve probably got no love for Israel, but the same cannot be said about America. At the end though, as usual, it’s hard to really get a pulse to these people – which is why these support rallies and sudden newscasts and reports are so significant.

  4. 4 PMA June 11, 2009 at 1:39 am

    You have to make up your mind. Either you maintain that Ahmadinejad carries the power or you maintain that the mullahs (led by Khamenei) carries the power. You can’t have it both ways.

    On the one hand, you acknowledge that the mullahs are the true power behind the government. Then, you go and say something like “having an Ahmadinejad in power empowers the mullahs, as opposed to a Moussavi would empower – and is empowered by – rational people”, which implies that the true power lies with the president and NOT the mullahs. Which is it???

    The truth is, the power currently lies with the mullahs (mainly Khamenei). Ahmadinejad derives his power from them, just as Moussavi would were he to win the election. In fact, Khamenei has the full power to throw out the results of the election if he doesn’t like them!

    So, even if Moussavi does win, it will not at all decrease any power that the mullahs have and will not empower “rational” people. That’s just hope detached from reality.

    (Incidentally, where exactly have you ever found “rational” people in Iran, the country whose most popular phrase is “death to America”?)

  5. 5 Eli June 11, 2009 at 1:53 am

    There is a difference between ‘being in control of the country’ and ‘by being elected, making those who have the real power think twice’. I was deliberately careful about that.

    Of course Khamenei can through out the results of the election. But I wonder when the last time this happened was…? After all, this guy is not significantly different from Rafsanjani, and they didn’t invalidate his election (even if they are actively discrediting Mousavi. I heard they blocked facebook because Moussavi had like 6,000 supporters in his group…)

    That’s not what I meant by ’empower, and I never said the word ‘decrease’. The point was a Moussavi win will be encouraging to the urbanites who support him, and embolden them. Ahmadinejad winning would be demoralizing for these people, in which the hope of Iran is embedded, and great for the hardline wackos who run the country. I wasn’t trying to suggest that we have a revolution on our hands, and there’s an actual chance that the clerics get overthrown.

  6. 6 PMA June 11, 2009 at 3:11 am

    I strongly suggest you read Amir Taheri’s detailed history of Iran’s government in the latest National Review, entitled “Ahmadinejad’s Last Stand?”.

    Since I’d probably pass out of shock if you get National Review , let me point you to an free online “reproduction” of the article here:

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Ahmadinejad's+last+stand%3F+The+meaning+of+Iran's+upcoming+presidential…-a0199802200

  7. 8 Eli June 11, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Alright, this has gotten way beyond the original post, again. The article was interesting, but I have to object to the ‘bending over backward’ comment. (Direct television addresses to the populace aimed at underminding the government I suppose strengthens the mullahs hands now, does it!?)

    Meanwhile, it’s not like I haven’t acknowledged the guys points about Iran not being a complete democracy or the clerics keeping the real power. Also, he makes the same point I do about the middle-class urbanites being able to rock the vote; in fact he cites them as a reason the mullahs will find it hard pressed to invalidate election results. So again, far from a perfect democracy, but leagues ahead of Egypt, the Saudis, etc.

    This line was farfetched but intriguing:
    “Does it require much imagination to guess that Ahmadinejad, underneath all his Twelfth Imam talk, might have a secret agenda aimed at marginalizing the Supreme Guide and reorganizing the Islamic Republic as something closer to a secular revolutionary state?”

    The info on all these people’s backgrounds – Rafsanjani, Khatamei, Moussavi, Ahmadinejad, etc – was still very informative. I don’t understand what this article was going supposed to convince me of, since a lot of the points that wasn’t historical but argumentative you already argued for.

    Still, thanks for pointing it out.


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