Monday, March 06, 2006

(dis)Information loop

We are entering a more dangerous phase of this old conflict. I’d like to offer a few cautionary notes by way of keeping a promise (in passing) I made to one of my readers about doing another post on Mr. Ledeen.

It has been a while and it appears to me that I have even more readers enamored of the gentleman than I had originally thought. But first a brief digression about a number of blogs that have come to my attention recently! Now that I have had access to faster internet, I can read a bit more extensively.

The UK’s Channel 4 now offers extensive coverage of Iran. More intimate, first hand impressions of life in the heartland of evil.

Two blogs, The Pill Box and Pau-Au-Dela make for some fascinating reads and are always engaging. Thanks to this latter, a poignant poem by Joyce, and an old Situationist International tract, The Power of Negative Thinking or Robin Hood Rides Again.

Note the variation of the-by-now infamous meme of the creative destruction and do try to spare our good Ledeen the unnecessary flak on account of his fascination with the subject! That’s why we all ‘adore’ Mr. Ledeen, ultimately.

Aside from his charm and wits, of course, whether the midwife is a cruise missile, plane or flying gunship, or the suffering people of Iran as the “most devastating weapon,” a “most lethal weapon,” Mr. Ledeen is certainly unique since Freedom in his world is not an attribute of something eatable with ketchup or merely weaponized human bodies effortlessly instrumentalized with a few meager bucks to be guided by the ancillary brainpower from afar.

Freedom is virility is virility.

There is also a personal translation of some significant excerpts from Schmitt’s “Theory of the Partisan” Amir has posted on his titillating multi-lingual blog. I’ll get back to the piece shortly.

A more recent article by Mr. Amir Taheri, an influential observer of the Iranian scene, offering background on some of the philosophical battles in Iran. Make sure you read Amir’s qualifier and exchange in the comment section of his blog.

Remember that practically everything we come to rely on to shape our opinions has certain sources. This omnipresent meme, for instance, of Ahamdi Nejad as one of Iran’s most honest men in action is partially one of Taheri’s creation. Mr. Taheri also broke the “news”of Ahmadi Nejad Gang’s fascination with Huntington’s notion of the “Clash of Civilizations” recently. His timing, though, has been a puzzle!

Iran, of course, continues to be as baffling as ever. There is a perpetual information/disinformation battle raging everywhere and it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.

To begin with, there are great many divergent views about the past, present and conflicting expectations for the future. As I’ve repeatedly stressed in this blog, Iran might be populated by about 70 million people, but it actually remains a nation of gzillion angry, confused/confusing voices. We are all fighting ourselves and each other perpetually. Iran is a highly divided, fragmented society.

And there are always trial balloons as well given the many voices involved. It doesn’t matter whether it catches on or not. Who really remembers finally the particularities of a story with these ever diminishing attention spans and the shortening news cycles?

Remember all the hoopla about Ahmadi Nejad’s picture?

Was the issue whether he was in some way involved in the torment of the hostages or that the creature in the picture was indeed the younger Ahmadi Nejad. Of course, the man in the picture wasn’t him if you look carefully thanks to the side by side pirctures put together by this blogger who figured it out quickly enough.

But who cares, really. There were hostages. And he was an Iranian who looked like any number of other millions. There was the MEK and there is Iran Focus. And Ahmadi Nejad is one well rounded murderous odious being, after all. Of that there can be no doubt.

Or all the frenzy about Ahmadi Nejad, the delusional man seeing lights? If Mr. Taheri is to be believed, that too was a con job!

And there is additionally an ongoing joust the exact nature of which has been hard to figure out for me. I don’t know who is kidding whom for now. It remains a mystery whether it is the murderous Iranian officials and the various experts /enemies going at each other or that they are both having laughs at our (collective) expense.

Note for instance that while Iranian bloggers end up persecuted for the slightest infractions of the tedious, suffocating speech codes or those “redlines,” Messrs. Ledeen and Taheri have their own personal translators in some of the highest official circles judging by their always “privileged” information which get circulated either as fact or as humor in Iran.

To give you two examples: Mr. Taheri entertained us recently with his tall speculations about how Iranian authorities were preparing for the invading American invasion force with the expectations of ultimately winning the impending war. It was translated and posted to the Baztab site which is associated with the murderous (revolutionary guard commander) Rezai without naming names.

And Mr. Ledeen’s recent piece about some insider debates and speculations about the “Supreme Leader” was also posted on the same site (full credit) which led some sarcastic reader to propose a new Lie Tax as means of countering the spread of simple bunk.

Which all brings me back to Mr. Taheri again and his justified lament:

A couple of years ago, Jurgen Habermas, the most fashionable German philosopher alive, visited Iran as a guest of the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and was surprised by the domination of Iranian thought by “ misunderstood Western philosophies.”

The problem, of course, is not limited exclusively to the influence of all the fashionable Europeans on (what is) Iranian philosophizing today. There is a marked American presence as well. And there is also that more problematic arena of the Political.

And, finally, simple ways to counter some of the damage before a lot of innocent people on both sides get cinched.

The most sensible thing, I can think of, is for the editors and some of the more senior writers of the (American journal) National Interest to take a trip to Iran and have a direct, and honest exchange with some in the identically named Iranian journal (something about imitation being the highest form of flattery) National Interest published by the Mullah’s (Expediency Council) Center for Strategic Research (cut and past please in a different window three w (dot) csr dot ir). There are a few less visible faces that urgently require some stern lectures from some of the more heavy weight (American) thinkers.

Hours of patient explanations about how they persistently get a lot of things wrong when it comes to sovereignty, rule of law, religious passions, the enlightenment and wars, the state of emergency or exceptions and international relations might do the trick before it becomes too late for the rest of us.

And we might even avoid the sort of direct negotiations between the respective governments which might get everyone locked in a terribly counterproductive arrangement long-term.

A tête-à-tête working breakfast between Ledeen and that notorious chatterbox Abassi of the Center for Doctrinal Analysis for Security without Borders might actually prove helpful as well (three w dot andishkadeh dot ir/e_index.asp).

It would really be a lot more productive for the rest of us if someone were to hack the site and get some of the more creatively distructive analyses liberated so we can finally figure out what it is they are really thinking instead of trying to reconstruct everything by conjecture or long, tedious conversations or having to listen to taped lectures.

In the meanwhile, I am sure this junior conservative Mullah, or some other more senior figures, would be happy to reciprocate by explaining to the visiting Americans why some of the “neocons” might have actually gotten what they think they know about Leo Strauss wrong.

With all the collective brain powers of our various rulers, ruler wannabes and liberators focused on clearing up myriad misunderstandings about who is getting what wrong, why, where and when, the rest of us might get a chance to focus on and set our houses in order.

The bonus in all of this for me personally, of course, is a chance to finally validate a possible answer to the question I have been dying to figure out for some times now: how did Carl Schmitt get to be in the middle of this maddening labyrinth?


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