Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More Iran Paranoia

The Iranians test a longer-range missile, and the White House responds with words about how they've undermined trust, and the NY Times (courtesy of the AP) graces us with a breakdown of Iran's "missile arsenal."

Obviously, no one's especially happy to see Iran (or any other country, for that matter) working on missile programs (unless they're to boost payloads for space exploration, which personally I'm all for, when we can afford it), but the obvious insinuation is that the evil Iranians - those "mad mullahs" -  are just itching for, even craving, the opportunity to launch their someday-nukes against Israel and finish the job that Ahmadinejad's precursor, Adolf Hitler (which is exactly how Benjamin Netanyahu styles him), began.  I'm sure that editors are combing their files now to resurrect that (mis)quote of Ahmadinejad to the effect that Israel should be "wiped off the face of the earth."  (As Juan Cole has discussed - repeatedly - he said no such thing, but the mistranslation has nonetheless made it into the store of lore about Iran's inherent evil and irrationality.)

Before the West collectively begin to hyperventilate, let's remember that Iranians are very aware of their history of being messed with by the West, that the US currently has them surrounded with armies and fleets (with another 30,000 troops - plus almost twice that many "contractors" - en route to Afghanistan), and that Israel has missiles and nukes aplenty and has been threatening - very vocally - to use its military in a strike against Iran, in the very foreseeable future.

If I were the Iranians, why wouldn't I be working on longer-range missiles, or even a nuclear deterrent?

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