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America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bachmann Endangers the World with Her Lies

It’s way past time for Michele Bachmann to be ridiculed into the obscurity she so richly deserves. Nothing could be more irresponsible – indeed, pernicious – than her routine peddling of the lie that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has  said that "if he has a nuclear weapon he will use it to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. He will use it against the United States of America." (This is far from her only venture into idiocy.)

Iran has said that it is not developing a nuclear weapon, and quarterly inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency support this claim. Moreover, two National Intelligence Estimates, compiled in 2007 and 2011 by America’s dozen and a half intelligence agencies, say Iran stopped work on a nuclear weapon in 2003. Finally, according to Wikipedia:
On ideological grounds, a public and categorical religious decree (fatwa) against the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons has been issued by the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic Ali Khamenei along with other clerics, while it is supported by others in the religious establishment.
(As president Ahmadinejad has no authority over Iran’s military.)

Bachmann of course has zero chance of getting the Republican presidential nomination, but her repetition of this vicious lie could be effective in scaring the American people into supporting the other forces drumming up support for war against Iran. These include the neoconservatives, Israel, and the Israel lobby.

Bachmann should be challenged on this matter at every opportunity. It is disgraceful that she was allowed to get away with her reckless statement at the debate the other night. But who’s surprised? Wolf Blitzer, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute would all love to see a war with Iran.

19 comments:

stefminus said...

i believe that the religious decree should be emphasized. let's say that these guys really are making nukes, and they're just making these decrees to fool the population. i am pretty sure there'd be some revolution-minded iranians when they find out.

Sheldon Richman said...

The fatwa is perfectly consistent with Iran's situation. A nuclear attack on the U.S. or Israel would be suicidal. You think they don't know that?

Kevin Carson said...

"venture into idiocy"? I thought she'd been sending us postcards from there all the time.

Joseph Zrnchik said...

The word-for-word translation showed the terms "Israel", "wipe off" and "map" were never used.

The correct translation was, "The regime occupying Jerusalem should vanish from the pages of time."

This is much like what happened to the Soviet Union and connotative of destroying Israel of its people.

As an American, I wish the U.S. police state would vanish from the pages of history. That does not mean I want to destroy the land or its people. Bachmann wants us to wage war for Israel. That is not going to happen.

Sheldon Richman said...

Alas, it's a bit more complicated. See this.

David R. Henderson said...

Good post.
Thanks for that last clarification, Sheldon. I had not read this NYT piece before.
BTW, I think that in your blog post above, you should have a comma after the word “president” in your parenthetical sentence.

Sheldon Richman said...

I'm a comma minimalist. Re Ahmadinejad, he does not have jurisdiction over the military, so what he says about Israel should be kept in perspective.

Kevin Carson said...

It does seem rather odd that a statement in Farsi would be translated into what just happens to be a colloquial English idiom, and just happens to be used in American political discourse by redneck jingoists. It suggests there was an awful lot of -- ahem -- creative judgment involved in the translation.

I do recall seeing a subsequent quote from Ahmedinejad in which he asked "You don't see the Soviet Union on maps today, do you?"

Sheldon Richman said...

That's an entirely reasonable conclusion, Kevin.

James said...

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=NOR20070120&articleId=4527 - Read the Ahmedinejad speech for yourself here.

Sheldon Richman said...

Thanks, James. That does make quite a difference.

Sheldon Richman said...

On the general subject of Muslims' attitude toward Jews, I wish to draw attention to this post by Juan Cole debunking the claim that a recent Egyptian rally featured a call for the death of Jews.

Kevin Carson said...

I would add that until around WWI or so, the Islamic world was far less anti-semitic than Europe. That goes without saying in the Middle Ages, and as late as 1900 I can't imagine something like the Dreyfuss case occurring in Palestine or Iraq. From the beginning of large-scale Zionist settlement after WWI, though, European bigots found a bull market for Arabic translations of "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." It's certainly not right, but people who are being screwed over tend to latch onto jusifications for thinking the worst about the people who are screwing them over.

Sheldon Richman said...

Quite true, Kevin. The "anti-Jewish" (more accurately "anti-Zionist") violence in the 1920s came after Arabs were expelled from land their families had worked for a millennium, much of it bought from absentee feudal landlords in Turkey and Lebanon. The violence, condemnable as it was, certainly was not unprovoked. See this important paper by Stephen Halbrook.

Kevin Carson said...

I actually saw an Israeli apologist, in a TED LinkedIn discussion on the Palestinian issue, cite the fact that the Zionists acquired their land from willing native sellers as if that was some kind of justification. I doubt the people actually working the land and paying rent on it were too happy. Too bad T.E. Lawrence didn't arrange for Arab fellahin to get 40 acres and a mule, along with the rest of his grandstanding.

The argument that "their own landlords sold the land to us" is about as facile as the "slavery wasn't so bad" apologists who never tire of pointing out that slave traders bought slaves from Africans.

Sheldon Richman said...

The Halbrook study is enlightening on that score. The land sales could never pass Lockean muster.

martin said...

Kevin,

The argument that "their own landlords sold the land to us" is about as facile as the "slavery wasn't so bad" apologists who never tire of pointing out that slave traders bought slaves from Africans.

The argument that "their own landlords sold the land to us" is plain bogus. (Although probably sincerely believed by many.)

But slave traders *did* buy slaves from Africans. That doesn't make slavery not bad, and I can't say I've ever seen it used as an argument for slavery not being bad, just as an argument for slavery not being a particularly "white" or "western" crime.

Kevin Carson said...

martin: not to defend the African slavers, but the model of slavery they were familiar with differed considerably from that of the people they sold to. An African slave was usually a member of the household who lived with the family, had customarily defined roles, and whose children were born free. Quite a bit different from the Western model of chattel slavery.

martin said...

Kevin,

Whatever model of slavery they were familiar with, they sold people to men who would chain those people and cram them in a ship's hold, to be taken off to who knows where. Let's not make excuses for them (them being the african slavers).