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Monday, March 10, 2008

Lucid thoughts on Iran

rtsp:// James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA, under Bill Clinton, speaking at the American Foreign Policy Council’s conference on missile defense.

See the video

In the speech Woolsey discussed the Occultation of the Twelfth Imam. And tocuhed on a sidebar fact that only genuine students of the region grasp. The fact that Wollsey illustrated was the connection between the "true believers" who seek to provoke an apocalypse where the twelth Imam and Jesus team up with the other true believers and I guess the red-heifer crowd and play dungeons and dragons with nuclear arms.

The genuine point is that the rational mind seems to discount these radicals as a convention of our own understandings, that these religous texts are allegorical, but to the true believer they are not.

It is not often that in the US press you will hear the beliefs of these people discussed in such candor. I'm not sure if "internal public consumption" of United States christians are ready to hear the marginalization of these beliefs, or the fact that these people believe in Christ also.

But rarely will you get a lucid and pragmatic assesment of the challenges that we face as a culture and the options that we have to mitigate these dangerous beliefs, and a set of constructive and applicable steps to address them.

James Woolsey is no wild eyed, fear mongering, sensationalist. Nor can James Woolsey be marginalized as a war pimp for big business, or a neoconservative dead ender.

But the assesment of the group whom seek to get nuclear weapons, the realities of the region, are clearly enumerated by Woolsey.

I recall 15 months of mentoring an individual and sharing with him the fact that these people were like Charles Manson campers, and that they were shilling the WFW narrative of zoroastrism. And the individual I was sharing this with, taught his children at home, was devout in faith, regular in church, and as rigid as his faith was in our tradition, he still seemed to lack the zealout nature of these people, whom had more in common with Branch Davidians in their fatalistic world view.

But for some background on the topic,

And in brief Will the 12th Imam cause war with Iran?

I want to point out that I don't support the idea of pre-emptive attacks on Iran but do support the further isolation of this regime. In particular I was impressed with the observation that the US had not "effectively" used media to educate the Iranian people to the perception of the world to Iran's leadership, and in particular had not used creative content to make that point.

Even if there was a need for multiple channels of content beamed in free, a political channel, a secular channel, a humor channel (an idea I fully support) gauging the response to SNL skits on US elections, and even a soft-core channel. I mean to drive home the point of the former director, I would rather have unemployed youth stuck to a kleenex in their homes glued to a boob tube than rioting in the streets.

I really feel that you have to use all the tools in the arsenal and that a multitide of messages will promote discussion which will weaken the extremist regime control of Iran. You cannot train for creativity, you cannot subcontract that effort out, there should be no confusion with echo chamber messages where the content mirrors the preacher singing to the choir, but instead an irreverent content that is more akin to 60-minutes, Jon Stewart, and Keith Olbermann. It needs to be compelling content that leaves behind repeated political slogans and allows cell-phone videos to allow a C-span type contribution in videos and talk.

I like Gates and Woolsey and I'm pretty disappointed that Admiral Fallon has resigned. What America needs, Fallon says, is a "combination of strength and willingness to engage."

Those are fighting words to your average neocon--not to mention your average supporter of Israel, a good many of whom in Washington seem never to have served a minute in uniform. But utter those words for print and you can easily find yourself defending your indifference to "nuclear holocaust."

I agree with Fallon and Woolsey, but a Rumsfeld type act is the last thing we need now, embargo of refined oil products is a better approach. We cannot brute dictate to the world, and if in the marketplace of ideas we cannot offer something better than what the crazies in Iran are promoting, the military solution is a short-term solution to an inevitable failed set of ideas.

We need to be smarter not tougher, and that sometimes means engaging in a multitide of forms. Beaming some content into Iran is cheap when you consider the price of ordinance.

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