The Early Days of a Better Nation

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


What with Ahmedinejad's letter to Bush and the more specific Hassan Rohani open letter,
Jim Henley first thought a deal between the US and Iran might be in the offing, then last Sunday had second thoughts on reading the news that the carriers are heading for the Gulf. (The significance or otherwise of the carriers is discussed in comments to Henley's second post.) I don't know either. But here are a few links.

We start, of course, with the Hersh article that dragged discussion of the war plans into the mainstream. Professor Paul Rogers of the Oxford Research group has produced a detailed study of the likely causes, course, and consequences of a war, available in print and PDF formats and online here.

On the Left, Immanuel Wallerstein doesn't think an attack is likely. The editors of Monthly Review think it's a definite possibility, as does MRzine writer Pham Binh. Michele Brand looks at how the the European powers have stoked the crisis. From the other side of the antiwar spectrum, a British conservative weighs in, as do Brian Cloughley and military historian Martin Van Creveld. Arthur Silber has been on his usual eloquent form, Billmon likewise, also the World Socialist Web Site. See also Juan Cole here and here.

Has Ahmedinejad threatened to destroy Israel? No, but the endlessly repeated assertion that he has is likely to be even more dangerous than 'Saddam threw out the weapons inspectors'. When it was claimed that Ahmedinejad had called for Israel to be 'wiped off the map' my first reaction was that several states have recently been wiped off the map - the USSR, the GDR, Yugoslavia - in a way that did not involve the massacre of their populations. Every proponent of the one-state solution wants to see Israel 'wiped off the map' in this sense. Several sources now argue that Ahmedinejad didn't say that in the first place, and the argument between Christopher Hitchens and Juan Cole over the import of what he did say hasn't disputed that. Gary Leupp sums it up nicely.


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