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Posts Tagged ‘ John Podhoretz Iran war ’

  • 27 May 2010
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Nuclear file, US-Iran War

Why Aren’t More Iran War Hawks Called Anti-Israel?

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John Podhoretz, the editor of the neoconservative Commentary Magazine, had this to say yesterday about Obama’s approach to Iran (via the Corner):

Nothing would both surprise me, please me, and make me revisit a great deal of my thinking over the last couple of years, than if Barack Obama chooses to strike the Iranian nuclear program. I would revisit most of what I think about his foreign policy and his approach to the world.  But that the United States would take military action against Iran – that seems almost science fictional to me at this point.

He goes on with the usual bit about “Ahmadinejad is a nutty guy who wants to nuke Israel to bring about the Messiah, etc.”  But here’s what I find really interesting: he seems to be unfazed by the cognitive dissonance surrounding the idea that we should start a war with Iran that would generate a large-scale counterattack (likely aimed at Israel) in order to support Israel herself.

He says it explicitly: if Israel were to strike Iran, it would trigger a counterattack that could claim the lives of thousands of Israelis.  Given that Iran’s defense plans most certainly call for activating its Hezboallah proxies, and given that Hezboallah’s primary target is Israel — why does Podhoretz think Iran’s plans still wouldn’t call for that same counterattack if it’s the US instead of Israel that drops the bombs?

The fact is, a war with Iran would cause an enormous amount of hardship, instability, and loss of life for the state of Israel, regardless of whether it’s the US or Israel that starts it.  So why is Podhoretz in such a rush to bring that about?

I often wonder why commentators like Podhoretz aren’t more frequently labeled anti-military or anti-Israel.  Because nothing is more certain to take a disastrous toll on the lives of American troops and Israeli civilians than an unjustified military attack on Iran.

(To say nothing of the devastation to innocent Iranian civilians that comes with dropping a bomb on a facility that houses tons of radioactive material.  It’s not often said, but an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites would be the second time in history a radiological attack was carried out against civilians — the first being Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

I assume there are those who would take issue with my premise by saying the US should take the initiative precisely because it could attack Iran in such a devastating fashion as to neutralize Iran’s retaliatory capabilities.  But that argument doesn’t hold up, since unconventional forces like Hezboallah are already in place in the Levant, and unless we’re prepared to open up two fronts in this war against Iran (on top of the Iraq and Afghanistan fronts that we’re already deeply committed to), then Iran’s proxies would be immune from an American preemptive strike.

So I ask again: if prominent commentators like John Podhoretz truly support the military and Israel, then why do they so zealously advocate for what could be the most costly decision of the 21st Century for both?

Sign the Petition


7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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