Standing for Iran

The situation in Iran has had my heart stirred for a while now, since I first started hearing about it, no thanks to the mainstream media (yes, I heard it first on Twitter). There are people demanding freedom from an oppressive regime, there are people being murdered for their conviction.

Who will stand for these people?

Neda Soltani, the angel of Iran
Neda Soltani, the angel of Iran

On the one hand, it is nice to believe that our government shouldn’t intervene in the sovereign affairs of other nations. We’re stretched thin as it is with operations still underway in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention North Korea potentially knocking at Hawaii’s door.

But on the other hand, I dare not elevate money, effort, or time above the lives of the Iranians.

I confess that I have no sympathy for Islam, but I cannot — nor should anyone — turn a blind eye to what has taken place. I have seen the videos coming out of Iran for myself. I have seen real people bleeding and dying in the streets. I’ve never seen real-life death before. No amount of movies or otherwise fictional death could have prepared me for what it’s like. It unnerved me, and I’ll never be able to shake the images from my mind.

And I can only wonder why no one is stopping this. Certainly President Obama knows that the United States military is capable of forceful corrections. Certainly there are stronger measures than the oh-so-threatening sanctions which we’ve unleashed on the still-defiant North Korean regime?

How many must die?

Or are we all too busy worrying about anti-smoking measures, reforming health care, and trying to fundamentally altar the definition of “marriage” to care? Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if an exceeding number of Americans care more about how Uncle Sam handles their next pay checks than if a few Iranians are being killed by a jacked up government.

Our nation — still perhaps the greatest nation on the planet — was birthed out of the struggle for independence, for freedom, for the reclaimanation of God-given liberties of which no man should be deprived. That is our heritage. Perhaps the Iranians are on the verge of the same.

Will the nations of the world sit idly by while the protesting voices are silenced by state police forces? Or will force be lent to their voices?

9 thoughts on “Standing for Iran”

  1. Rick;

    You might be asking people to reverse their opinions or rationalizations by asking them to help people in Iran. Iraq was supposed to have WMD’s, but didn’t but because we did not find WMDs people were opposed to staying and helping the people of Iraq. How then, can they reverse their stand and say “Let’s go to Iran and do the same thing there!”

    Regardless the reason we went to Iraq, the staying to help people was deeply frowned upon (but not by me, I assure you). WMDs aside, leaving a people to deal with the likes of Saddam is inexcusable. But what you are asking people to do is go to war for no other reason than to help people. I say that last with a snort of derision and sarcasm.

    In our countries history of fighting we have been to war for all manner of reasons, typically financial, but often to help people. The end result, for the most part but not entirely, was a better place to live for those we freed.

    So you are fighting a war on two fronts – again, note the derision in my voice – Where is the financial incentive to fight Iran? and How will you get people that wanted to turn their backs on Iraq to allow us to help Iran?

  2. I hope you apologized to the nail after you hit it squarely in the head, Bart.

    I suspect that Obama realizes that after having spent so much time sucking up to Muslim leadership, it’d take a lot of, well, spine to actually stand up to the leadership of Iran.

    All the while, the Iranians will continue to protest, will continue to be beaten and murdered for their conviction, and will continue to cry out for someone (hello, McFly) to help them out of this plight.

    But it’s okay. I’m sure today’s epidemic of celebrity deaths will get everyone’s minds off of the weightier matters which need urgently addressed.

  3. I agree that there is an unfortunate theme of “for the money” in the history of America’s foreign interventions. I’ve seen a good case made for the invasion of Afghanistan as done “for the money” even though, for all intents and purposes the government of Afghanistan (the Taliban and al Qaeda being closely aligned) attacked us on 9/11. The lesson isn’t that we should be intervening when it isn’t “for the money”, the lesson is that we should rarely be intervening. When we do intervene it should be because it is likely to be successful.

    But I am curious just what anyone thinks the US should do regarding Iran. Even if we were not currently occupying Iraq and fighting a war in Afghanistan, what good would we do in Iran?

    Iran had an election. The present government appears to have rigged the vote. But it is not clear that the challenger, Moussavi, would be all that different than Ahmadinejad (much as the differences between Bush and Obama are not as great as some would like to think).

    Yes, thousands of Iranians have taken exception to the “stealing” of the election, but it isn’t like they are marching to completely overthrow the whole system (although I’m sure some are). They are marching in support of the candidate who lost (or “lost”).

    The Iranian government should not be using violence against peaceful protesters, but what should the US do about it?

    How would Americans felt if a foreign government intervened when the Chicago cops beat up on protesters in 1968? Or when cops beat up on African-Americans during the early civil rights movement?

  4. Well, Americans wouldn’t have liked it. I’ve been sent to another store to help out before, and the employees there were more than a little visibly perturbed that outside help had been sent. I’d imagine on a national level, the same sort of pride exists.

    But what if the incidents didn’t stop? What if no one intervened? How far does something have to go before someone does do something?

    What’s happening in Iran may calm down. It may not. American may intervene. It may not. Someone else might.

    I guess I’m just shaken at the helplessness I’ve seen in videos taken from the streets of Iran. I guess it makes me feel helpless, hoping that someone somewhere who can do something for those people will do something for those people.

  5. I understand the impulse. I do.

    But this is the Iranian’s problem. They have to solve it. Even if the present unrest calms down and Ahmadinejad remains in power, progress was made.

    We intervened in Iraq, but it will be several more years before we can say it was a success, or tomorrow can bring events to mark it as a failure. It is a tricky business invading another county.

  6. Rick,
    It is painful to see the massive killing and oppression of the Iranian people by their own government and religious leaders. How terrible that wholesale murder can be justified by a religious cleric. The desire to acquire and retain power corrupts all dictators and that is what they have in Iran. They may elect a president, but the clerics rule with an iron fist.

    However, to justify a war because of this would be hard by any standard. Just war theory says war must have a just cause. From Wikipedia,
    “Just cause: The reason for going to war needs to be just and cannot therefore be solely for recapturing things taken or punishing people who have done wrong; innocent life must be in imminent danger and intervention must be to protect life. A contemporary view of just cause was expressed in 1993 when the US Catholic Conference said: “Force may be used only to correct a grave, public evil, i.e., aggression or massive violation of the basic human rights of whole populations.”

    So does this situation in Iran meet the just cause criteria? Is innocent life in danger? Yes!
    Is their “aggression or massive violation of the basic human rights of whole populations.”? No! How many need to be killed to say the whole population is in danger? Here I don’t think you can say that the “whole population” is in danger. Many are, but those who choose not to protest are not being killed.

    The fact that protest is being suppressed does violate the human rights of the whole nation, but we don’t go to war for this reason alone. There has to be more. We also have to respect the sovereignty of other nations , as difficult as it is to see so many leaders mistreat their people. Once again, we must thank God for the freedoms we have in this country. I hope we can retain them!

    So I don’t think we have a just war basis for military action. We can however, use the power of words to condemn and support fair elections and the right to civil protest. Obama was too slow to do this and made it easier for the clerics to crack down with violence on the protesters.

    Where are the Arab and other Middle East nations voices? Sadly, free speech and human rights are not highly valued in Islamic countries.

  7. Rick, Iran is a very complicated matter. You can’t judge what happened in Iran with American secular norm. In Iran, religion is the spine of the country. Just because 1-2 people stir up the whole situation for their benefits, the government must do what it takes to ensure nationwide peace. Please don’t ‘help’ anyone else around the world. No, especially not US. Afghanistan and Iraq is clearly what people got when US helped them. Despite them being oppressed or whatever you’d like to call them, but the majority of people in Iraq lived a far better lives than what the US government is currently offering them. Sacrifices need to be made to ensure a nationwide peace. It’s for the greater good. What good is freedom of speech when the society is in chaos and hunger?

  8. max fairchild

    I will always take sides for the freedom fighter. The American Government is well on their way to having our country doing the same thing. They have their peace signs high and they got my respect! Iranians are the #1 martyrs in the world with suicide bombing as their best weapon. It should be an interesting battle.

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