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Friday, October 3, 2014

Roger Cohen, "Iran, the Thinkable Ally": Sick!

Today, in an editorial evidencing extreme ignorance entitled "The Fundamental Horror of ISIS," The New York Times declares:

"The mind rebels at the reports of cruelty by the Islamic State, the beheadings, crucifixions, tortures, rapes and slaughter of captives, children, women, Christians, Shiites. The evidence is there on YouTube, in gruesome images and the cries of witnesses too numerous to deny or doubt.

. . . .

[N]o Islamist group before, no other offshoot of Al Qaeda or Hamas or Hezbollah, has so nakedly adopted a cult of sadism, not only as a weapon in its stated goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate but as the very reason for its existence.

. . . .

Even to call what this group does 'crimes against humanity' is to put a legalistic spin on raw evil; as Roger Cohen, the New York Times columnist, wrote in a recent piece about ISIS, there is no 'why' in the heart of darkness."

No other Islamist group "has so nakedly adopted a cult of sadism"? Rubbish! The editorial board of The New York Times has chosen to turn a blind eye to Iran's stoning to death of women, hanging of homosexuals, and persecution and oppression of Baha'is, Kurds, Christians and Sunnis. Believe it or not, Iran, which has the second highest annual number of executions after China, sentences its citizens to death for such "crimes" as "enmity toward God."  Last week, Mohsen Amir Aslani was hanged in Iran for "corruption on earth and heresy in religion" after daring to declare that Jonah was not swallowed by a whale.

In its editorial, The New York Times would make a moral compass of columnist Roger Cohen. Cohen? You will recall that during the first six months of 2009, while engaged in a campaign to seek rapprochement between the United States and Iran, Cohen took the position that Iran is not totalitarian. Ignoring Iran's executions and systematic persecution of minorities, Cohen, in a June 2009 op-ed entiled "Iran Awakens Yet Again," declared:

"For months now, I’ve been urging another look at Iran, beyond dangerous demonization of it as a totalitarian state. Seldom has the country looked less like one than in these giddy June days."

But much to Cohen's chagrin, this opinion piece was soon followed by Iran's brutal suppression of the Green Revolution in July 2009, which shattered his hopes for a Pulitzer Prize.

But Cohen was not about to quit. In 2013, Cohen again told us, "Iran is no Nazi-like totalitarian state with a single authority but an authoritarian regime subject to liberalizing and repressive waves."  Once more, not a totalitarian state with no single authority? Oh really? As reported by Joshua Norman in a 2011 CBS News article entitled "The world's enduring dictators: Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Iran":

"Ayatollah Khamenei was president of Iran from 1981 to 1989, when he ascended to the role of Supreme Leader. While current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may garner all the international headlines, make no mistake about it, Khamenei is the Islamic Republic of Iran's spiritual leader and highest authority until he chooses to give up the post, dies, or is deposed. His veto is final in Iranian political affairs.

Iran has long been plagued by widespread allegations of abuse, torture and summary executions of political opponents. Public executions are also regularly held for those accused of drug use and possession, murder, prostitution and being gay. In late 2009, hundreds may have been killed after government forces crushed a mass popular uprising over the disputed presidential elections that year which saw Ahmadinejad reelected. Iran was also accused of using child soldiers to crush more recent protests against the hard-line government."

But why believe Joshua Norman? During the June 4, 2013 funeral of the Iranian dissident cleric Ayatollah Jalaluddin Taheri, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets calling for the death of the dictator Khamenei.

Today, in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Iran, the Thinkable Ally," Cohen is back to his old tricks. Calling for the United States to reach agreement with Iran over its nuclear development program prior to the November 24 deadline for conclusion of the P5+1 negotiations, Cohen writes:

"The Islamic Republic, 35 years after the revolution, is — like it or not — a serious and stable power in an unstable region. Its highly educated population is pro-Western. Its actions and interests are often opposed to the United States and America’s allies, and its human rights record is appalling, but then that is true of several countries with which Washington does business.

. . . .

A deal can and must be done for the simple reason it is far better — for Iran, the United States, Europe and Israel — than any of the alternatives."

Employing the same logic, Cohen would have supported Chamberlain's call for "peace for our time" in 1939.

By contrast, in an editorial entitled "Hold the line with Iran," The Washington Post today observes:

"U.S. negotiators have responded to Iranian intransigence on key issues with creative but sometimes disturbing counterproposals. Most notably, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has declared that the regime will not dismantle any of the 19,000 centrifuges it has constructed to enrich uranium. So the United States and its allies, which once insisted that most of the machines be eliminated, reportedly have floated a proposal to leave the centrifuges in place but take away the plumbing that connects them.

If Iran has made similar efforts to bridge the gaps between the two sides, there is no report of them. Instead, Tehran appears to be sticking to its insistence on maintaining and eventually vastly expanding its nuclear infrastructure while offering only a temporary slowdown in uranium enrichment and 'increased transparency.' It is refusing to discuss its ballistic missile program and still isn’t cooperating with international inspectors’ probe into its past nuclear weapons design work."

The US should offer Khamenei further concessions to strike a deal with this maniacal state, which is on the verge of building its first atomic weapon? I don't think so.

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