Sunday, November 09, 2008

Let's Talk Iran

Understanding Iran

There is a striking tendency among people in modern Western governments not to recognize the existence of evil in the world. My professional career has largely been spent studying evil. My Ph.D. is in Modern European History, and I studied fascism. Before that I was research assistant for a historian named George Mosse, who wrote books on National Socialism. People from my generation studied these things because we were trying desperately to understand how men like Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin came to power, and why nobody saw it coming and understood what was at stake. Why was there the humiliation of Munich and then the Nazi invasion of Poland before an appeasement government in Britain fell and Winston Churchill came to power? Why did it require Pearl Harbor for the U.S. to enter World War II? Could we get to the point where we understood these evil regimes so well that when the next one came along we would see it coming and stop it in its tracks? But over the past 30 years we have seen the same situation play out with Iran, and still we dream of negotiation.

In Natan Sharansky’s useful formulation, if you want to know how a country will behave internationally, look at the way it treats its own people. The Iranian regime treats its people with total contempt. Consider its treatment of women. Although you will never hear the American women’s rights movement complain about it, women in Iran are officially worth half a man. It is in Iran’s Constitution. If a woman who is pregnant with a male fetus gets killed in an automobile accident, Sharia law requires the guilty party in the other car to pay a full fine for the fetus and only half that fine for the woman. This carries through every aspect of Iranian society. Women can’t own or dispose of property. If a woman’s husband dies, the family of the husband disposes of his estate. That’s the contempt that awaits us if the Iranians have their way. In fact, they view the entire non-Muslim world as worth even less than Muslim women.

But I repeat: They tell us America is the problem nation. People who grew up and live in America have the gall to tell us that. Again I say: Ha! America is the shining city on a hill compared to the rest of the world. But as we kick God out of our American dream, so God will let our dream fade.

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