O’Reilly and Ron Paul debate U.S. Middle East policy

| September 10, 2007 | 2 Replies

This one is difficult to watch because O’Reilly is so utterly condescending and so unwilling to allow his guest (Ron Paul) to speak. The debate does capture the neocon perspective (O’Reilly) and Paul’s view, to which I am sympathic. Ron Paul argues that our “troubles” in the Middle East are largely blowback for inappropriate actions the U.S. has taken for decades in the Middle East. We have been interfereing in Middle East politics in grotesque ways, installing puppet leaders and acting under the assumption that it is our oil under their sand.

Now, our policies regarding Iran are causing the Iranian government to associate all internal Iranian dissent with the United States, which has led to the squelching of dissent. We caused many of our own problems in the Middle East by ramping up tensions with our preemptory invasion of Iraq, our rhetoric and our conduct in building permanent military bases all over the region, including 14 permanent bases in Iraq alone.

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Category: Iraq, Politics, The Middle East, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich and his wife, Anne Jay, live in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where they are raising their two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Jason Rayl says:

    Erich,

    Have to quibble over one point. You say:

    "Now, our policies regarding Iran are causing the Iranian government to associate all internal Iranian dissent with the United States, which has led to the squelching of dissent."

    This implies the Iranian leadership is too stupid to know what is actually going on in their own country. Just as back in the 50s and 60s when it became "popular" for our leaders (and subsequently most people) to blame the communists for stirring up dissent over issues which we ALREADY did not wish to deal with, this is a dodge. The Iranians don't want dissent period. Saying there is a link to the U.S. and our policies is nothing but an after-the-fact convenience, a bone thrown to fence sitters. It's nonsense. They know better, as did we throughout the Cold War. (There is a new book out—I forget the title just now—dxetailing Johnson's domestic policies with regards to the Vietnam War and the antiwar movement, wherein it is revealed that he ordered the CIA to "find" a link to communism, even after the Intelligence community came back and told him it was entirely homegrown.)

    I suppose this irks me a bit because the habit—and it becomes a habit— of exercising our discontent with our own government's policies, justified or otherwise, leads to a kind of blindness to the fact that some of these folks–like Abadinajad(sp?)—are indeed assholes. Just because they occasionally make a few points about what we're doing that's wrong should not persuade us that they are somehow nice people.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Jason: I agree that the people who run Iran are despots. What I was trying to write is that it is hard enough for dissenters in such places to amass political power. They are likely to be crushed whether or not an outside country (the U.S.) intervenes in the process. If fear, however, that our intervention into Iranian politics has given the despots more excuses to crush the (purely Iranian) dissenters. These dissenters can now be painted as CIA-supported traitors rather than Iranian people who had (legitimate) issues with current Iranian leaders.

    I fear that we've also polarized the Iranian political divide with our our intervention and militarization of the region. The stakes have been increased dramatically, "justifying" swift rebukes to anyone who dares to question the current Iranian power structure. It's much like 9/11 made neocons out of many Americans who weren't of that mindset before 9/11. I fear that U.S. intervention in Iran and the Middle East has inflamed the current Iranian power structure, justifying the crushing of anything that is American or looks American or reminds them of anything American. It's a bad time to be a political dissenter in Iran, even if your dissent was not supported or inspired by anything American.

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