Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fighting off Allies and Foes

In the last few days, I’ve received a number of harried emails about an imminent attack on Iran.

Here are a sampling of the news stories and analysis that have been flooding my mailbox:

Pentagon 'three-day blitz plan for Iran'
Do We Have the Courage to Stop War with Iran?

The Next Quagmire
US Preparing “Massive” Military Attack Against Iran

These terrifying revelations about an impending war were not unexpected, but I am surprised at some of the people who are forwarding this material to listservs I am on.

The “well meaning, left-leaning” folks who usually distribute dire—and often ill-contexualized and uninformed—pronouncements about Iran’s internal affairs are suddenly worried about a devastating attack on Iran. And yet they too are responsible for building an environment where a war on Iran has become possible, if not inevitable.

It may seem unfair to speak about “well meaning, left-leaning” activists in the same breath as one addresses warmongers and mercenaries, but the sad fact of the matter is that they share a number of disturbing parallels, the most important of which is that both of them go down the path of paternalistic intervention.

Ironically, the biggest challenge for anyone who is working towards preventing war and ending punitive sanctions on Iran may not come only from the belligerent right-wingers and neo-cons who are willing to go to any lengths to start another war; it also comes from our “allies” who think that it is their “responsibility” to supervise and help their little brown brothers and sisters in their various quests for social and political change.

This is a hard subject to tackle for a number of reasons, mostly because it is bound to anger many who consider themselves the friends and allies of the "Iranian people." But unless these issues are confronted head on, Iran-related activism will continue to be caught in the uncomfortable space between the military backed impositions of the right and the condescending "humanitarian" interferences of the left.