Anne Applebaum makes the case for a U.S. taxpayer-funded “human rights campaign that battles Iran from within”.

In today’s Washington Post (WaPo), Anne Applebaum—who is also a ‘realist‘ adjunct fellow at the neoconservative, State apologist think-tank, the American Enterprise Institute—makes the case for an overt non-military campaign against the Iranian government by using the stolen fruits of Americans’ labor to aggressively support “a sustained and well-funded human rights campaign” because (a) sanctions “probably won’t work”; (b) a bombing campaign “might not hit all of Iran’s nuclear facilities”; and (c) war would be a “catastrophe”, adding:

What do Iran’s rulers truly fear? I’ll wager that the answer is not sanctions and that it might not be a bombing raid, either. An economic boycott can be circumvented, after all, with the help of Venezuela or maybe the Russian mafia, and an attack on Iranian soil might help the regime once again consolidate power. By contrast, a sustained and well-funded human rights campaign must be a terrifying prospect. So what if we told the Iranian regime that its insistence on pursuing nuclear weapons leaves us with no choice but to increase funding for dissident exile groups, smuggle money into the country, bombard Iranian airwaves with anti-regime television and, above all, to publicize widely the myriad crimes of the Islamic Republic? [my emphasis]

Forget that Iran is not a threat. Ms. Applebaum asserts that Iran “leaves [the U.S.] with no choice” but to intervene by “[increasing] funding for dissident exile groups [et al.]” because “one can learn quite a lot about how these Iranian decision-makers will behave abroad by observing their behavior at home”.

Translation: If you don’t fear Iran’s non-operational facilities because there’s no reason to believe its intent is anything but a civilian nuclear energy program, you should fear governments that torture innocent people and militarize local thugs to abuse the domestic population and extend your resources to overthrow said governments. And to overthrow those governments way over there—who commit such atrocities toward mankind—you should fully consent to contracting the atrocious government here to carry out the task. You know, the government that:

  • killed 1.3 million people right next door in Iraq during the prior regime and over a million—including 500,000 children—during the regime before that in the 90’s;
  • created millions of refugees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan;
  • unleashed a pseudo-genocidal terrorism campaign on Latin America;
  • has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians by proxy; and
  • tortured hundreds of kidnapped men to death in its War of Terror.

All of this is among a wealth of “human rights violations” committed by the U.S. since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran. I didn’t even get into crimes against Africans and the millions of petty so-called “criminals” kidnapped and held captive in the domestic Gulags, but Ms. Applebaum wants us to focus on the fact that “the people who make decisions about Iran’s nuclear program are the same people who order the arrests, tortures and murders of dissidents”. Never mind that “the same people who order the arrests, tortures and murders” on behalf of the U.S. government are the “people who make decisions” about its policy on Iran and are those called on by Ms. Applebaum to lead “dissident exile groups” in a “human rights campaign”.

Ms. Applebaum adds: “[T]he West has some foreign-policy tools in Iran that it has not yet seriously tried to use”—fully acknowledging that doing so “would allow [Iran] to cry ‘foreign meddling’ and attack its opponents as spies,” to which she says: “But so what? They do that already.”

As if the accusations by the Iranian government are fully fallacious.

Never mind that the U.S. government already conducts covert operations in Iran and supports militant Iranian “dissident exile groups” such as the Marxist Mujahideen-e-Khalq (M.E.K.) and Jundallah—once “allegedly” headed by the mainstream-accepted 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

U.S. officials were outwardly “not happy” with the Iraq government raiding M.E.K. camps in late July.

Abdolhamid Rigi, brother of Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi and a high ranking member of the Balochi separatist movement which “has been launching high profile suicide bombings for years“, claimed, “that the U.S. was directing the group’s attacks, saying, ‘[the U.S.] told us whom to shoot and whom not to. All orders came from them,’ ” AntiWar News editor Jason Ditz wrote last month, adding: “Previously, U.S. officials had insisted the government was deliberately avoiding direct funding to avoid Congressional oversight, but the Bush Administration did funnel considerable money into ‘covert’ operations against the Iranian government.”

Days after the heavily-disputed Iran presidential election last June, Legislative Aide to Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) Daniel McAdams at The LRC Blog blogged an informative post titled, “Who Put the ‘Green’ in the Green Revolution?” My thoughts on how the Green Revolution was manufactured is more along the lines of editorial director Justin Raimondo than Mr. McAdams or Former Assistant Treasury Secretary and Wall Street Journal editor Paul Craig Roberts. That said, Mr. McAdams brought to light—in the midst of media insanity—that Ms. Applebaum’s own WaPo reported in June 2007 that Congress “allowed up to $400 million in covert spending for activities ranging from spying on Iran’s nuclear program to supporting rebel groups opposed to the country’s ruling clerics” based on Seymour Hersh’s reporting at The New Yorker of U.S. support for Iranian “dissident exile groups”, adding admission of Beltway support for dissident groups within:

Arch neo-conservative Kenneth Timmerman spilled the beans on activities of the other arm of U.S. meddling overseas, the obscenely mis-named National Endowment for Democracy, in a piece written one day before the election, stating curiously that “there’s the talk of a ‘green revolution’ in Tehran.” Interesting. I wonder where that “talk” was coming from. Timmerman did not appear to be writing from Iran.

Timmerman went on to write, with admirable candor and honesty, that:

“The National Endowment for Democracy has spent millions of dollars during the past decade promoting ‘color’ revolutions in places such as Ukraine and Serbia, training political workers in modern communications and organizational techniques.

“Some of that money appears to have made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups, who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds.”

Yes, you say, but what does a blow-hard propagandist like Timmerman know about such things? Well, he should know! His very spooky Foundation for Democracy in Iran has its own snout deep in the trough of NED’s “open covert actions” against the Iranian government.

In a June 23 post, Sayyid and I wrote—citing Daniel Luban at—that the powers that be would begin “playing up an intervention under a Democratic Party president to be some sort of ‘humanitarian intervention’, the M.O. of Democratic Party-backed warmongering, analyzed best by Prof. Noam Chomsky. The Neo-Con’s adopted this angle to sell the Iraq War after Plan A of selling weapons of mass destruction was an ex post facto fail in the face of empirical evidence. Plan 1A was: spreading democracy [sic]. What are the Neo-Con’s Plan 1A for selling intervention in Iran after Plan A of selling Iran as a nuclear threat has failed against empirical evidence? Spreading democracy [sic].” (For more read: “U.S. Funding Regime Change in Iran“)

With all due respect to Ms. Applebaum, I’m currently reading and heavily engaged by her Pulitzer-winning work on the Soviet labor system and the atrocities committed by its concentration camp administration, Gulag: A History (2003). It’s sucked me in for the last couple of weeks and I’ve found myself re-reading chapters to further bookmark excerpts and am somewhat encouraged to see an voice as important as hers clearly stating that “potential for disaster” is “lurking behind almost every other policy option” which involve high degrees of violence—civilian-crippling economic sanctions, self-defeating bombing campaigns and ‘catastrophic’ war. But, one of the lessons from her book is that short-term alliances in the name of short-term ‘interests’ sow the enabling seeds for de facto collabortion with long-term atrocity.

Conveniently ignored is Ken Ballen of Terror Free Tomorrow: The Center for Public Opinion. Mr. Ballen is one of the very few polling Iranians leading up to the June 12 election. On June 8, Mr. Ballen wrote a commentary at CNN that his polls [.pdf] revealed that incumbent President Mahmound Ahmadinejad was leading, but was not at the 50% to avoid a runoff—let alone the ~62% majority asserted by the Iranian government on June 13—but wrote with his partner, Patrick Doherty, at Ms. Applebaum’s WaPo on June 15: “[O]ur nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin—greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday’s election.”

The significance of this is that Ms. Applebaum’s claim—like those of so-called “liberals” like Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington—all go back to the assertion that Iran’s election was significantly less legitimate than the ones commonplace in the U.S (where a Rasmussen poll says today that 50% of Americans believe U.S. election rules are “rigged to benefit members of Congress”, only 23% of people believe Congresspeople get reelected because “they do a good job representing their constituents”, and only 15% “say that voters carry more sway” over “special interest lobbyists”). This assertion creates the illusion that the U.S. has the legitimacy as a government to participate in overthrowing the ‘unpopular’ regime in Iran—‘democratically’, but aggressively.

I’m neither validating the Iran government’s authority nor am I contesting that hanky-panky by pro-incumbent factions existed to distort the data of the presidential election, but the assertion that an election in ‘good faith’ accordance with Iran’s election policy would’ve yielded different results is inconclusive, at best. Without proving that assertion as true, the Iran government possesses the political capital to brutally persecute dissidents catalyzed by “foreign meddling” and Ms. Applebaum’s version of an overtly U.S.-backed “human rights campaign” would become even more self-defeating than the logic is flawed from the start.

The suggestion of Ms. Applebaum today that the U.S. engage in “foreign meddling” because the U.S. is accused of it anyway, suggests that the status quo is unacceptable and that said status quo is devoid of current meddling by the U.S.

Ms. Applebaum assumes that the U.S. would be capable of intervening peacefully—but, disinterested—and ignores that meddling is the cause of the U.S. geopolitical nightmare in the Middle East. Fueling it ignites fires unimaginable by the darkest night terrors.

You won’t see me objecting to individuals funding the overthrow of brutal regimes—especially through peaceful means—or aggressive advocacy for civil liberties, but how the deteriorating wealth of everyday people is used should be the decision of those individuals. Not the murdering inflationist thieves of the State to cynically prop up those sold as ‘lesser evils’ and certainly not the assertions of Anne Applebaum.

  1. […] See the original post: Applebaum's Soft n' Cuddly Proxy War With Iran « Little Alex in … […]

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