Tuesday, March 08, 2005

What do I want?

Dan Darling appears to have augmented his previous post with some more of his insights. He poses a question:

In the end…back to Morden's question: "What do you want?"

Tough one. My very long list might include a Just political order. Life free from (unreasonable) fear. A vanishing of the threat of war which has been looming over our heads. A society perhaps which offers citizens maximum opportunities for self realization and fulfillment.. Respect for human dignity, especially in enmity. Getting those who enabled Saddam to gas tens of thousands here to admit for once that they were in the wrong and redress.

A political regime that does not condone or resort to torture nor jails dissidents. Programming free from televised confession of the accused. A citizenry sophisticated enough to urinate away the sort of false national pride which comes with weapons that can incinerate millions in an instant. An end to this particularly blood soaked chapter of Iranian history and as rapid a farewell as possible to this reigning imbecility here, if you know what I mean.

And who knows, perhaps in some happier day soon even a vast network of old fashioned institutions of higher learning all over Iran and if you really think you can help, I personally don't mind a lasting relationship with a brilliant multilingual, cantankerous Spartan of a dominatrix just in case I don't get any of the other things I want.

From you, Dan, I almost got everything I wanted in the shorter version of your post. A simple clarification that you "don't support the practice of televised confessions," no buts, ands, ifs or special cases.

I wished, though, that you could have just left it at that. But, I can appreciate how we all have to write until we feel free of the burden of the unsaid. And we each have our own styles.

Your characterization of mine was pretty. A Jeremiad captures the spirit nicely. I do lament. It has been a while, but if memory serves, doesn't that particular text evoke suffering, national captivity, assassinations, chaos, and exile? Sort of sums things up accurately, don’t you think?

You know Dan, living in a grotesquely patriarchal society; some of us have become rather acutely attentive to some of the practices that perpetuate it. One is not allowing others to emerge from a Patriarch's shadow. The other always accusing people of speaking with someone else's voice.

Your voice merits being heard as your own and it was never my intention to merge yours with Ledeen's. My style of writing doesn't help much, I know. As you rightly observe, I lament—and that about a wide variety of subjects and different people in one sitting. So I can understand the confusion. I am a Brooding Persian after all.

But despite the fact that there has been a marked deterioration of character in Iranian society –something I complain about often enough, and those omnipresent betrayals you rightly allude to—getting your one example wrong of course, we Iranians know a thing or two about friendships and those lasting bounds of affection.

So I can certainly empathize if you feel the fire that compels one to stand up for one's friend. But do be attentive to the demands of truth on friendships:

And there goes the "Ledeen is a monarchist" canard again - and here I thought he was working with the MEK, can't you people make up your minds?

Overlooking the obvious question of which people exactly it is you're asking about, here is Mr. Ledeen from a virtual Q & A session before the invasion of Iraq:

There is a very good Iraqi Government in Exile, the Iraqi National Congress et. al., with a very good leader, Ahmad Chalabi. He has held this leaky ship together for more than a decade, despite repeated betrayals by the United States--Bush the Elder, Clinton, and the State Department always. I believe he'll be, at a minimum, an excellent leader of the transition period (just as I expect Reza Pahlavi will be an excellent leader of the Iranian transition period).

And when you write:

I believe the Brooding Persian is misrepresenting Ledeen's argument (apparently not the first time, as I have read other references in the past suggesting that he thinks that Ledeen envisions himself as some kind of Bremer in Tehran or that he wants to invade Iran, neither of which are, y'know, true). If the Brooding Persian desires to rail against his straw man, I will be more than happy to leave h in peace to do so

The following might be what you are referring to I presume; the first Ledeen's two years ago July, the second mine last June:

In Iran, where treachery has long been the national sport and superstition the bedrock of political analysis, the people are casting runes and reading entrails, searching for certainty about the American strategy. Once they know it, they will act accordingly.

I am beginning to be disappointed with our potential. Gauleiter in Tehran. (Pity though, he prefers Positano So collectively heartbroken we are!) I mean, he is such a sharp fellow, educated, witty and likable. Surely he must by now have developed a measure of familiarity with some features of the dominant Iranian psyche.

Mine is an account of what I had found funny about a three way exchange between Ledeen, Buchanan and Hanson as reported by the Frontpage mag. And I have continued the joke with an occasional reference to Viceroy-in- Waiting as I personally found myself--after greater reflection upon the connotations of the original term—unable to use it in reference to Mr. Ledeen given the historical excess baggage implied.

But details, I am going to assume, are going to be hard to remember accurately, especially for someone who reads as much as you Dan. And I was hoping though, that a fellow reader might appreciate the need for closer textual readings, no matter how off the mark one considers the interpretations.

But that too we'll overlook given the fragmented and contentious nature of our reality today.

What is not so easy to overlook, however, is that urge to simply dismiss all criticisms, no matter how legitimate, of one's friend. No real favor to true friendship, if you ask me.

About the other matters in question, I will have more to say when the spirit moves me. Something having to do with that peculiar quality of Jeremiads, you understand.

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