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Arts and Culture

Nikki Keddie on Iran

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Posted on Jul 25, 2008
book cover

By Nikki Keddie

(Page 2)

During the war, the Guards created the Qods (Jerusalem) Force to spread the Iranian revolution abroad. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, Iran sent in Revolutionary Guards, who helped local Shiites form the Hezbollah group, whose resistance to Israeli invaders began its growing role and reputation. Although lines of blame are often unclear, the Qods Force seems tied to various major terrorist incidents and assassinations through 1997, and it may have been responsible for the 2002 seizure of the Karine A ship, said to have been carrying arms to Palestine, an incident that sabotaged President Khatami’s efforts to improve relations with the United States.

The Guards also control major businesses and have had a growing role in politics, culminating in the election of former Guard officer Ahmadinejad and his appointment of many ex- or current Guards to governmental positions. Slavin writes, however, that not all the Guard rank and file are reactionary; members hold a range of political views, and some leading reformers are ex-Guards.

Leading reformers often came from Khomeinist backgrounds, including the leading reformist thinker, Abdulkarim Soroush, who claims that true Islam is unknowable and that human interpretations of it must vary with time and circumstance. Also from such a background is the activist and writer Akbar Ganji, who exposed murders committed by governmental figures and who continues to write eloquently for nonviolent resistance and democracy from his post-imprisonment exile in the United States. Several of the students who led in the hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in 1979 have also become prominent reformers.

A chapter on youth notes the frustration and disillusionment of many, some of whom turn to drugs and partying. Many had exaggerated hopes of what President Khatami could accomplish, followed by exaggerated disillusionment. Many popular class youths remain strict in their outlook, and some have joined the Hezbollah offshoot of the young mobilized Basij, and attack and arrest those who flout the rules on dress and behavior. Many youths have lost interest in politics, and thousands go abroad, usually for higher education, and do not return except for visits.

A chapter on the mullahs describes the range of their views. The author spent time in the shrine city Qom, with its many seminaries and mullahs. She briefly notes, without explaining, the distinctive Shiite history of clerical involvement in modern politics, which is based in part on the belief that the 12th, hidden, imam’s will can be understood only by those with clerical training, and that his will encompasses both religion and politics. There is, she shows, no unity among clerics regarding politics. Hardly any of the top ayatollahs accept vilayat-e faqih, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s formulation justifying the rule of a top cleric. On Khomeini’s death in 1989, the Assembly of Experts could not find an ayatollah to fulfill his role, and the Assembly of Experts named Khamenei, who had only a lesser rank, though he was then given the rank of ayatollah. Few Shiites worldwide follow his religious rulings, however. A few ayatollahs, notably the demoted heir apparent, Hossein Ali Montazeri, remain open critics of the regime and what it has done to Iran. Many of the world’s Shiites now choose the Iranian-born Iraqi Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf as their source for rulings to follow, and he rejects vilayat-e faqih and clerical rule.

Clerics have become widely unpopular in Iran, and many will not appear in public in clerical garb, especially if they want taxis to stop for them. The result of clerical rule has been a documented turn away from religion, prayer and other forms of observance, and city dwellers celebrate Iranian holidays, notably the long New Year festival, more than Islamic holidays, apart from a very secularized celebration of the martyrdom of Imam Husain.

In her final chapters on Iran-U.S. relations, Slavin shows how these relations ever since the Clinton administration have been out of sync, with the United States prepared to make overtures when the Iranians were not and vice versa. Specifically, Iranians did not respond to President Clinton’s overtures, and then after 2001, when Iran helped the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, George Bush called it part of the “axis of evil” and failed to respond to serious Iranian overtures for compromise and negotiation on all outstanding questions. Slavin details Iranian overtures that were either ignored or rejected by the United States. She has useful comments on the role of Israel in promoting a hard-line U.S. policy, but does not give this the comprehensive treatment it deserves.

Slavin’s book is well informed and will give both novices and specialists a comprehensive overview of its topic and a balanced approach that could be a basis for a more productive U.S. policy toward Iran by a new administration.

  Nikki R. Keddie is professor emeritus of history at UCLA and the author of “Women in the Middle East” and “Modern Iran.”


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By mrmb, August 7, 2008 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nice try alchemy. Is this the sorta democracy you intend to bring to your people. By calling people names and accusing them of all sorta things? Lets look at your comments and count the number of slanders and accustaions you leveled against me. Also lets assume for the sake of argument that I am either an iranian or a bleeding heart liberal. What does that have to do with anything.

Since when working with NGO’s is a bad thing or a crime? Ah, I know, if they disagree with you then they deserved to be killed. Right? Your gift to a democratic Iran in not so distant a future. Good luck.

As far as the 70% electoral turnout is concerned I guess since I dont follow exclusive sources of news that like FOX news and other sources are more interested in fabricating news rather than reporting it, I end up checking various online sources. Perhaps you would have become really happy if I had said that electoral participation is 20%. Would you like me to fabricate a few things, does that put a smile on your face? I guess it does. So democratic and free arent we?Why dont you check Mr. Khatami’s election results. But then again you dont like sources that disagree with your preconcieved notions either. I mean check UPI, AFP, Reuters and our own CNN and CBS and ........

Now to Obama. I really dont think that you have a clear picture of the American polity and electoral system as you seem to misunderstand a few facts.

I can not just sign up and run for president. Maybe you can but then again its obvious that since you were not born here you cant run for presidency. So undemocratic.

Lets get back to the issue at hand, you either are part of the two party system and then the party politics and process vets you in or out, or you are an outsider that belongs to the libertarian or green party or socialist party and etc.. that pretty much are also excluded from the process by the mere fact of not having the financial resources and access to the media.

For your information we here in the USA dont allow people to run for high office if they dont declare their allegiance to the constitution and take an oath to defend it. High office includes: presidency, senate, congress, governorship, mayor and etc….

Mr. Obama is a senator and a member of the democratic party and he has already declared his allegiance to the constitution and if you think not wearing the pin is an indication of lack of allegiance then i got a bridge that i would like to sell you.

I dont claim that Iran has a perfect system or the human rights record is perfect but one thing I can certainly claim is that the opposition to the Islamic republic does not rate very well on any of these grounds.

The MEK and other forces that advocate violent overthrow have a dismal human rights track record that is not necessary for me to elaborate.
The monarchy was overthrown by the Iranian people in 1978 so I cant see how they can ever get back their kingdom unless our CIA and Mossad and MI6 succeed in overthrowing the regime.
The secular nationalist or islamist democratic forces probably fare a lot better against other opposition members but i suspect that only applies to the people who are inside the country and trying to work and change things for better and establish a long history of honest political and social activity.

Anyway, enjoy your day.

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By alchemy, August 6, 2008 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

with all due respect your responses to my comment were highly contadictive.
How can you compare the political elections in Iran to USA or any other secular government system. here in USA you can nominate yourself and run for offices and no one will care if you are a moslem or christian or an athiest. I dare you to run for presidency in Iran and declare that you are a devoted Bahai, you are lucky if they don’t kill you.
Just few days ago Islamic Republic hanged 29 youth in Evin where they keep political prisoners.
I quote your remark, “Here in the US if you dont accept the constitution then its a folly to think that you can run for office.” Mr. Obama is a strong contendor for presidency and he does not pledge allegence and up to few weeks ago refrained from wearing a pin representing American Flag.
With your permission I would like to end another quote from you, “the 1978 revolution has proven to be very resilient, dynamic, able to absorb alot of external and internal challanges and its very well managed by” using force and irradicating any opposition groups through serial murders and assasinations inside and outside Iran.
The system has not been able to deliver the goods on a variety of fronts, from education which after 30 years we still see Iranian students being educated in various institutions throughout the world, to agriculture which most agricultural products are imported from other countries, to medicine which you can not find the medicine you need sometimes even in the black market, to infrastructure which I don’t have to get in to this one, to consumer products which all the factories are closed down and the Islamic Republic mafia are importing almost all the goods from Chima, Korea, and European countris, and a host of other things which are public hangings in the streets of Tehran while innocent childeren watching, stoning women, Systematic gender aprthied and so on.
You are trying to portray this regime as a tolerable and reformable one. Sir it has been 30 years and during which we did not see any reform or any changes, many of our youth, scholars, and think tanks were killed, even during Khatami’s presidency and the dialog within nations.
I don’t know who you are since you are a non-registered commentator but my experience tells me that either you are an American lobbyist for this regime or you are an Iranian with a good command in english language dependant of the Islamic republic and or an ill informed liberal who is not in touch with the Iranian populous and just repeats what he hears from the regimes agents.
Where did you get the statistic of 70% election turn out? let me guess NGOs that are connected to the regime or the regime itself.

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By mrmb, August 6, 2008 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

alchemy,

Mikki Kedie has come a long way sine the 70’s. As for the comments that Iran has no elections, you are wrong. I think being biased is no remedy for thougtful political discussion and dialogue.

Iran does have elections at local, city and national levels like clock work.

I beleive the issue you may have intended to raise is if the elections are 100% free. The answer is no. Its not.

The system is set up to vet candidates just like we do here in USA and other democracies do all over the world. You just have to understand the context and the idea behind it.

Since the council of guardians is mostly conservative they tend to vet out non conservatives more often than not. The other side of the issue is that those who dont beleive in the constitution are not allowed to run for office either. That means a lot of nationalist, socialist secular figures who are barred.
Here in the US if you dont accept the constitution then its a folly to think that you can run for office.

The other question is that, those who beleive in the system and participate in the political process and vote, are they satisfied with what they are getting?

As an observer it seems that they are. The participation in the electoral process is above average and at times close to 70% or more.

Can the political system be relaxed to allow alot more variety of candidates to participate? I think so. But not under these circumstances. Iran’s domestic scene is hostage to its national security environment. Once the percieved threats are diminshed and or reduced the internal political dynamics will also change for better.

Having said that, the Islamic republican system put in place by Ayatollah Khomeini after the 1978 revolution has proven to be very resilient, dynamic, able to absorb alot of external and internal challanges and its very well managed by a diverse set of people and institutions that clearly know their boundaries and areas of responsibility.

The system has been able to deliver the goods on a variety of fronts, from education, to agriculture, to medicine, to infrastructure, to consumer products, and a host of other things.

Is the system perfect? The answer is NO. Can it absorb and manage change? The answer is YES.

Will it survive? I think it will for the mere fact that it has very deep roots amongst the masses and it tries very hard to deliver on what it promises.

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By alchemy, August 5, 2008 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

Ms keddie, the authur, claims Ahmadinejad as an elected President. that was enough for me not to buy and read the book. She teaches History at UCLA and probably has lived most of her life in USA, she writes a book about Iran, knows all the name of the players in that country’s political arena, yet doesn’t know that there are no elections in Iran.
Supreme leader selects few people and then tells people to vote.
Ms. Nikky, this is not election it is called selection.
I am sure the rest of your book is full of ambiguis points such as I addressed. Please don’t write about Iran anymore. You are disqualified.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, July 30, 2008 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

re: Sodium
Your point is well taken. If ever there was a need to have advice from people who actually know the subject they’re advising, it is now. Thank you.

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By Sodium, July 30, 2008 at 2:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Subject:The real experts on Iran and Iraq….

Barbara Slavin is,indeed,an expert on Iran;as Scott Ritter is an expert on Iraq.I have followed their writings for the last two years and I am fully convinced of their respective expertise.

The current occupant of the White House,and the future occupants as well,will serve themselves,their administrations and the nation well by using the expertise of Slavin and Ritter on Iran and Iraq, respectively,in order to form objective policies for the two neighboring countries-away from the bias views of the ideologues.

Enough craps from the self-appointed “experts” who
infest the think tank institutes controlled and run
by the neoconservatives chicken-hawks who have lead us to the quagmire we have found ourselves in,in Iraq
and now they want to repeat the same craps in Iran.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

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By cyrena, July 29, 2008 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

re: By nefertiti, July 28 at 11:28 am

Nefertiti..

Thanks for this very excellent ‘compare and contrast’ between the saudis and Iran.

And yes, Lelah Saddigh is one of my very favorite women. She drives fast cars the way I used to fly mostly fast airplanes. smile

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By nefertiti, July 28, 2008 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

I find it strange that Saudi is an ALLY and a friend , yet Iran is a hated Enemi . Now lets compare the 2 shall we ? (im Arab not persian But i cant stand saudia )

Iran has elections , and a parliament that decides internal and external affairs .
Iran allows women to be part of that parliament .
Iran has Hundreds of thousands of Christians , Armenians , zorostrians , and those communities have their churches and temples for worship .
Iran has 30 000 Jews Living in Iran . Yep IN IRAN . they hav been offered money to move to Israel , they were outraged (guardian article) they are represented by Mr Maurice Motamed who often travels to Europe .
Iran allows women to play Golf , Soccer , POLO , and have all sorts of jobs , Movie maker, journalist, architect , you name it .

women can even drive Fast cars in Rallies in Tehran have you seen the beautiful Laleh Saddigh

http://img.stern.de/_content/54/19/541980/DST20D_IRAN-RACE_0610_03_250.jpg

Can ANY Of this apply to saudi Arabia , America s friend ?  NOPE .  no elections in saudi , women are not allowed to play sports let alone drive cars . no christians , no jews in saudi either .

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By nefertiti, July 28, 2008 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

sophrosyne,

No i dont think you can have your own foreign policies , they have first to please the Israelis (and the advisors who most of the time are Israeli friends ) and because many Jews contribute generously to the elections and other perks , you have better please Israel if you want to succeed in your political Career . If someone dares criticize israel openely he will be isolated , mocked , insulted the whole media will hound him , if he is a journalist he can kiss his column good Bye .

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By thebeerdoctor, July 27, 2008 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

All of this religious nonsense will eventually destroy this world. The point about the hard liners in the U.S.A. and Iran is well taken. They both feed intolerance. So it is very troubling when our so-called leaders invoke the name of God to authenticate whatever worldly actions they deem to be righteous.
“Precious time is slipping, it doesn’t matter to which God you pray, precious time is slipping away.”
VAN MORRISON

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By cyrena, July 27, 2008 at 12:02 am Link to this comment

Dr. Knowitall..

•  …I should think kids would like much better and benefit much more from watching programs that promoted a world community than, say, stupid stuff, often cartoony with idiotic voices, meant only to keep kids’ attention long enough to wedge in a cereal commercial or two. ..”

~~~
It is so ‘telepathic’ that you’d mention this, about the cartoons. Strange as it is, (maybe) when I was growing up, it was one of the few real ‘rules’ that my dad had about stuff. He didn’t want us watching cartoons. Now we’re not talking about some draconian punitive system if we got caught at it, but he was pretty adamant about it. Like, if he’d come though while we were watching TV, and cartoons happened to be on, he’d say something like, “Hey…Put some PEOPLE on that TV, or turn it off!” (he made an exception for me and the Jetson’s) And, he and my sister were AVID Star Treck fans…they never missed an episode. So, it was mostly the critters that would chase other critters off of steep cliffs, only to have the affected critter immediately bounce back. He had real issues with that. But NOW, he watches soap operas, and *I* have issues with THAT. But, he’s 83, so I guess he’s entitled.

Meantime, I’m just not much of a TV watcher myself, and I never really have been. But I agree that there is definitely an educational value there, IF one can find the right programming. That really isn’t so easy to come by these days, in so far as what the PTB make available.

I’m still strongly pushing the documentary film, “Taxi to the Dark Side”, for ADULTS. I’m convinced that we need to know what kind of stuff these criminals have been engaged in, and there’s no denying that the American public *doesn’t* know, because of the overwhelming secrecy of this criminal enterprise of the shadow government. That’s the cruelest part of the irony of Bush pushing this good v evil agenda. Everything they’ve done over the past near 8 years has been the EPITOME of EVIL!

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By cyrena, July 26, 2008 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment

By JBlack, July 26 at 2:32

I’m not even taking the bait on this one JBlack, because it’s obvious that you’re retarded, and basically an evil sorta dude. If you’d actually read the article, and followed the links, you might have a better perspective. Then again, I doubt it.

For the record however, the Iranians have an election system that is as ‘democratic’ (if not more) as the one operating here in the US. Ahmadinejad was not APPOINTED by the Mullah’s. He ran against other opponents. HOWEVER, if the Mullah’s hadn’t ‘approved’ of him, (and whomever else he was running against) he wouldn’t have been among the selections of candidates to choose from.

Notice any similarities moron?

As for this…

“…You almost daily change your mind and focus to suite your needs of the time. Do you have any convictions of your own or, will you continue lying on these pages as you see fit?..”

I would suggest that you simply kiss my ass, but of course that’s what you’re drooling to do.

Quit with the accusations JBlack. You’re that type that my mother has always described..the kind that just can’t stand prosperity. Are you a masochist? Why else would you engage in such aggressive behavior and personal attacks on someone without even a clue to what the repercussions might be?

Oh, I know, it’s because you think you’re protected by the internet. COWARDS love to talk shit on the internet.

Meantime, I DO change my mind when facts and reality changes, as it is won’t to do. THIS isn’t one of those times, and my point of the election of Ahmadinejad stands. He was elected by the people of Iran, based on who was available for them to elect.

I haven’t changed my mind about you either. You’re a sick mother F#@ker, and you keep showing your dangerous nature every time you post here.

Keep it up. I’m collecting it all.

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By sophrosyne, July 26, 2008 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Israel will neevr allow the Americans to have peace with Iran.  They will hound America into another disasterous war.  Bush may be a stooge for America’s AIPAC and Big Oil, But McPain terrifies me.  He is totally dominated by the Neo-cons and is still fighting the Vietnam War in his pea-mind.

Can’t we ever get control over our own foreign policy?  Can’t we ever have an American President who puts American interests ahead of Israel’s? Get ready for more war and more economic decline for America.  No getting out of the hole we are digging for ourselves.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, July 26, 2008 at 4:44 am Link to this comment

Cyrena, “Imadinnerjacket!?!?!?”  Good one!!!

No one in my memory has been as persistent with the good vs. evil propaganda as the Bush administration.  I have to wonder if American kids can ever grow up getting a real view of the rest of the world’s citizens being brainwashed by DC as effectively as they are.  One or two books probably won’t help much. 

The answer might be in TV.  Fred Rogers was onto something.  I should think kids would like much better and benefit much more from watching programs that promoted a world community than, say, stupid stuff, often cartoony with idiotic voices, meant only to keep kids’ attention long enough to wedge in a cereal commercial or two. 

A TV is a terrible thing to waste!

(What a curse idealism is)

I have nothing but the greatest respect for those who are real and virtuous at the same time.

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By cyrena, July 25, 2008 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment

Ok first, before I respond to the entertainment, I wanted to just suggest my appreciation for the book review by Nikki Keddie. She’s an expert on Iran, and I’ve enjoyed much of her own scholarly work and publications, specifically Women of the Middle East. She’s great. So is this review; enough for me to get the book. So, as an admirer of her work, I highly recommend it myself, for anyone really interested in a more in-depth look at Iran, including it’s political structure and the history of it.

I say that because I agree that the hard-line stance that the US has taken against Iran, has (more than anything) increased the nationalistic mood of the Iranian people, despite Imadinnerjacket’s (rowdy’s title for him, not mine) failure to address the economic woes of that nation. And a reminder, (though I’m not sure she mentions it here) is that the president of Iran, (regardless of whom that is) is not really in control of as much as Westerner’s seem to think. The Mullahs decide who can even run for president, and they select most of the other civil office holders as well. That said, the structure of the Iranian government/parliament, (at least the formally organized structure) is actually quite sophisticated, once you get down to the rank and file of it.

Meantime,

Re: By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, July 25 at 11:56 am

Thanks for the laughs. Seriously…guys running around in nightgowns in the day time, (some of ‘em even dark skinned) and reminding you of Wee Willy Winkle, just set me off. The nightgowns all the better to hide the guns. Nope..wrong..no reason to hide ‘em.

As for Kim Jong Il’ ‘straightening up’, I had to laugh at that too. A visual image comparison of him and Imadinnerjacket just made me laugh out loud. Can you see Ahmadinejad with a pompadour? Or the two of them at a club party for members of the Carry a Big Stick Club?

I admit I have my doubts about Tehran ‘straightening up’ at least to the extent that they will accept a prohibition of their right to enrich uranium, and that’s what the bottom line actually is, even though the US and it’s cohorts are trying to make it about something else. (Iran’s ‘bad reputation). It’s the whole principle of the thing..they are within their rights to enrich uranium, based on the terms of the NPT, as long as they comply with all of the obligations of the treaty, and…THEY HAVE.

They have also voluntarily suspended their program in the past, in efforts to establish a good faith basis of ‘good behavior’ but the West basically demands that they simply NEVER exercise their rights of the Treaty, including the acquisition of the technology that everyone else has access to. So the it goes without saying that Iran has every reason to feel like the west is trying to keep them in the stone ages. So the additional reality, since the 70% of Iran’s population is under the age of 30, (as of about a 2004 check) is that regardless of whether or not they support of approve of Ahmadinejad or even the Theocracy, they are in fact very proud and protective of their nuclear energy program.

They know that oil isn’t going to last forever, and more importantly, that it is the major source of income, ONLY by selling it to the nations that can afford it. So, it makes perfectly good sense (at least to them) to use nuclear power as a reliable source of energy, and to make use of the technology that goes with it. (Nuclear medicine comes to mind, since I’ve been a recipient myself, of a nuclear medicine procedure – the doctor was Iranian).

So, this remains a very complex problem, created by the US Totalitarians, bent on global hegemony, and keeping everybody else in line.

That’s my 2 cents worth.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, July 25, 2008 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

Purple Girl, I have just asked the Lord in the name of righteousness, to strike Ahmadinijad with some affliction, frogs or scabs or something like that, and render him powerless to rule so that the Nookuler powers of the world could continue to enjoy their elitist membership in the “Carry a Big Stick Club (CBSC).”

Young Ill Kim straightened up; so can Ahmadinijad.

In this comic-book world struggle between good and evil, the US, being good, has the divine right to dicktate who gets membership in the CBSC.  We know we won’t ever nook anyone.  This is 2000 now, not 1945.  But we can’t trust the evil guys, many of whom have dark skin, some almost black, and unpronounceable monikers and are heathens, join militia, wear nightgowns during the day, speak in tongues, and don’t hold day jobs.  Most of the time they’re running around with guns and masks and through towns—reminding me of Wee Willie Winkle—and up in the mountains looking for something—who knows what—when they should be gainfully employed to secure their future and their retirement years.  How the hell do they feed their families?  Who’s going to foot their kid’s college bills?  Cripes, who the hell do they think is going to pay their social security if they’re not making a monthly wage?  Then, after they retire, they expect workers to pick up their tab.  I hate guys like that.  Freeloaders.
No wonder their gas is .17/gal.  Maybe they expect that the US is going to help craft for each MidEasterner a lucrative citizen oil benefit for them that will secure their future and that of their kids.  Now, doesn’t that fry you?  Here we are struggling to pay our monthly bills with only an occasional stimulus from Uncle Sam while he’s over there securing everyone’s future with across-the-board oil roilties.   

Right on USA.  Bushwhack the Freeloaders!  And above all, get the jerk leaders of furrin’ countries who don’t listen.

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By Alan, July 25, 2008 at 8:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Having been a large empire 2500 years ago,
Iran (a.k.a. Persia) has some predilection to
look back to way before Islam.  The “Shah”
paid sham hommage to those traditions, but
modern Iran has factions which aspire to
a military empire.  U.S. policy vis a vis
Iran has been dubious for decades.  But the
mere existence of that undeniable fact does
not negate the undeniable patent fact that
Iran’s 50,000 isotope separating centrifuges
are spinning on behalf of a sought after
nuclear weapon with which to arm the imperial
armies of Persia.

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By Purple Girl, July 25, 2008 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

Both Georgie & Ahmmy are using each other to build their own egos and pose as some type of Global tough guys.
it amazes me that this admin and Congress have granted Ahmmy the International podium to pull off this scam- of course Georgie, & Ronny were allowed this undeserved credence & stage too. although I feel the mentally challenged should have a voice- they should not be given ultimate control or adherence to all they think.
The typical Iranian faces the same Crazy BS religious Fanatism we face here in Our country- Sociopathic Islamic extremeist vs Sociopathic Christian Extremeist.Both need to be sent back to their places of worship by being run out of the Public Square!
If we could get rid of our village idiots we could help Iranians get rid of theirs.
First and Foremost we Must End this ‘Christian Nation’ BS Treasonous Rhetoric- Pick up a Constitution- it only refers to ‘God’ not Jesus, David or Mohammad or Buddha or…. Just ‘God’.As a long time recovered Catholic, I am offended and outraged by the Highjacking of religion and disregard for ‘God’ in the name of these mere mortal idols. They were only messengers- Not Creators nor an Almighty entity.If they were ‘sent’ it was to TEACH humans, not take over the Faith!

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