Thursday, June 25, 2009

America's Hypocricy Concerning Iranian Elections

I'm so sick and tired of hearing American politicians and news media expressing how outraged Americans are by the post-election violence in Iran.

Fact: We do not know there was any voter fraud in Iran. Just because we are historically geo-political enemies with Iran does not mean every accusation of wrongdoing levelled at Iran must be true. WE DO NOT KNOW! Maybe there was, maybe there wasn't. Maybe there was, but even without it the same guy would have won. WE DO NOT KNOW.

Fact: Hundreds of thousasnds of protestors marching in the streets does NOT prove there was voter fraud. Iran has over 70 MILLION PEOPLE!! It is utterly fallacious reasoning to assume that if hundreds of thousands of people are marching in the streets, there must have been fraud. Apparently, it is less than 1% of Iranians who feel so incensed by the election results that they are taking to the streets. In fact, allowing those protestors to dictate post-election events would itself be to give power to a small minority of the population -- the antithesis of a democracy.

Fact: American riot police have maimed and killed protestors in circumstances far less volatile and provocative than what is happening in Iran right now. It is hypocritical of Americans to act as if a few dead protestors signifies an evil totalitarian regime.

Fact: Protestors and riot police are a dangerous combination and create a serious risk that innocent -- or at least relatively innocent -- people will die. I'm sure the woman being referred to as "Neda" committed no crime for which death was an appropriate punishment. However, until Americans can answer for every "Neda" killed by American authorities on American soil during American protests, I do not think we are in any position to talk.

Fact: News media have reported that protestors were throwing rocks. I'll be the first to say it seems overkill to respond to a thrown rock with bullets. But, in fact, that is often the same way American police respond to rocks being thrown at them by protestors or rioters! A rock can maim or even kill a police officer, and they are not expected to stand there and be stoned to death. Nor are they expected to bend down and pick up stones to throw back. They have guns and, if provoked, are expected to use them.

Fact: There are many volatile third world nations where post-election protests and cries of fraud are relatively common. It does not necessarily mean it occurred, only that those in charge of the losing party are unwilling to give up WHETHER OR NOT there was any real fraud.

I'm not pro-Iran, or pro the current Iranian regime. I'm not even saying there was no fraud, or there was no unjustified violence against protestors. All I'm saying is, from what our news media is reporting, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL. Nothing the news media has broadcasts indicates, in any clear manner, that there WAS voter fraud, or that the violence at protests was disproportionate to what American authorities might do -- or have done in the past -- when faced with protestors exhibiting a similar level of provocation.

Because I DO NOT and CANNOT know there is any justification for condemning Iran, I choose not to do so. Anyone who does condemn them is, to me, a hypocrite and is speaking out of their arse because they do not and cannot know there is any such justification either.

My cynical side believes European and American political leaders understand this, but are publicly condemning Iran in the hope of bolstering the spirits of the rebellious Iranians, as a means of soliciting further rebellion. The reasoning being that the current Iranian government being toppled, or at least shaken up a good deal, can only improve matters.

My other side -- also cynical -- believes our leaders condemn the Iranian government to curry favor with losing candidate in the event he does come to power. We can go to him and say, "Hey, we were in your corner all along. How about making us a preferred buyer of some of that oil you control?"

My third side -- still cynical -- believes our news media is inherently biased, not in any particular political manner, but biased in favor of presenting a good story. To them, that means having villains and heroes and inciting passion in the reader. It is the news media that began reporting the post-election unrest in Iran in a manner that seemed to assume the unrest was justified and the government's response was unjustified. It is the news media that, purporting to speak for Americans, projected a sense that we are all outraged by this. It is politicians out of touch with real Americans, but relying on the news media to guage public sentiment, who then thought, "Oh, crap, I better condemn Iran to placate my constituency!"

I bet without the news media's spin and politicians jumping on the bandwagon, you could have asked the average American what they thought about cries of voter fraud in Iran, and of protestors dying, and they would have said something like, "wouldn't surprise me if it's true, though of course I have no way of knowing; shame about the violence. Of course, it's none of our business. Now, getting back to our present economic crisis . . . " I'm pretty sure that would be an average, unbiased American's reasonable response to the Iranian situation, absent a whole lot of media and political attention and spin.

This sort of plays into my theory that politicians are inherently "answer men" (and women). They claim to have answers to all problems, which is how they got elected. No one ever got elected saying, "I'm not sure" or "I don't know" even if that is the most intelligent and reasonable response. So, our politicians are fundamentally incapable of saying something as simple, reasonable and true as, "I just don't know if there was voter fraud, or if the Iranian government's response was so disproportionate as to call for universal condemnation -- we've had our own share of unfortunate casualties at protests on American soil, and we aren't even a third world country. The bottom line is, Iran is its own country and, if the people of Iran do not like their government, they are the ones who must take charge of modifying it to suit the will of the people. I will say that if those in charge of Iran did steal the past election by fraud, and are now seeking to hold onto that stolen election by force against those who are righteously outraged and protesting, then they do warrant sound condemnation. But, again, I simply do not have the information needed to know that is the case, so I must reserve judgment or condemnation. It is neither required, nor even easonable, for us as Americans to pass judgment on every political dispute happening on other nations, particularly where our knowledge of events is limited."

Is that really so hard?

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