I backed the war in Iraq even though I have always been a democrat. My reason for cheering the Americans when they invaded Iraq was simple: I was hoping that the American success there would ignite unrest in Iran and bring about the fall of the theocratic regime. While I disagreed with Bush’s policies in every other area I was pro-war. I was a liberal hawk, as a friend pointed out, giving me the very American comfort of a label.
Now, like most people, including Hillary Clinton, I have come to realize that the war was a mistake. It was a mistake because Americans don’t know how to be an occupying force in a time when information and ideology travel freely and ruthlessly. In fact occupation of a country and its colonization is very foreign to the American psyche. They don’t have a vocabulary for it. Liberators they have been before. But colonizers never really. The British, who should be well-versed in occupying exotic lands far from home, seemed incapable of steering the Americans the right way. It matters little now why the Coalition failed -- the truth is that they failed miserably in Iraq and the Iranian regime ended-up winning a war it never fought.
The recent triumphal visit of Ahmadinejad to Baghdad audaciously paraded the fact that Iran won the war that America waged in Iraq. So having failed miserably in Iraq and not achieving the goal of bringing about change in Iran, America has only one chance to save face in the region and that is to pull out and implement a new strategy. The best way for her to achieve a face-saving withdrawal is to elect Obama. Only Obama represents a clean break with the past and only he has the freshness and foresight that is needed to bring about a badly needed paradigm shift.
At this point the sooner they reopen the American Embassy in Tehran the better for all of us. If Obama is elected and he talks to the Iranians (like he says he will), then at least the regime will lose its favorite and best scapegoat. Then we just have to wait and let the poor state of the economy, MTV and You-Tube do the rest. It may take a while but the theocratic regime will fall under the pressure of its own repeated failures to deliver a better life to the Iranian people.
I truly believe that Obama will be better for not only the U.S but also Iran and the world. He is the only candidate who can, over-night, change the view that people have of the U.S. He is so much the anti-cowboy candidate, so much the anti-Bush, so much the global leader, like a younger version of Mandela, that it would be hard to accuse the U.S of old style cold-war bullying once he is in power.
I have always wanted a woman to become the president. But Hillary Clinton is such a part of the “establishment” that she does not seem to be the “woman” in this race. Here I mean “woman” as the underdog candidate whose election will correct the wrongs of history. In fact as Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton the first black president I will venture to call Obama the female candidate in this race! The truth is that no matter how much of a feminist I am I still can’t stomach Hillary. Here is why:
For one she represents the old way women came to wield power: through their husband’s positions of power. There is nothing new or revolutionary about her-- we have had this phenomenon since at least Catherine de Medici! Second, and I really think this is why many women voters in America have chosen Obama as their candidate, she is a woman who has reached this position of power because she put up with her husband’s infidelities. It is the old "besooz o besaaz" (burn and take it) school of thinking as we Iranians say that has crippled women for centuries. Nothing refreshing about knowing some woman became the president of the U.S because she did not raise hell when her husband was caught getting a blow job from a young intern!
If Hillary had left Bill, become a single mom, and still became a successful candidate in the primaries, then I would definitely vote for her. Because then she would represent a new kind of woman: one who does not put up with unfairness and who reaches a position of power on her own rather than her husband’s merit. As it is right now she and Bill seem to have signed a Faustian pact that makes everyone else running for president seem like the Virgin Mary. Hillary seems more like the old style politician than the “woman” candidate.
Obama on the other hand seems like a new kind of politician. The biggest contrast comes when you compare the two couples Obama and Michelle seem like they actually love each other--everyone can tell that Bill and Hillary have stopped having sex a long time ago! Their marriage is a sham and everyone can tell so it is hard to buy her rap about being a caring idealist.
Another reason that a smile comes to my face every time I hear that Obama has picked up more delegates is that he has never changed his name. Those of you who have easy to pronounce Anglo-Saxon names will not really appreciate this. But those of us exiles and immigrants who have sent around resumes wondering if the weirdness of our name was what caused the rejection understand.
I know so many Iranians who have become hard working highly educated citizens who have changed or anglicized their names just to get a job. I know a Hussein who is a Robert now a Mohammad who is Mat and a Khosrow who is Hus. For Obama to keep his name and still get this much of the white male vote is revolutionary. I chose my children’s name according to what I liked and not how user friendly they would be in America and Obama is my answer to all those relatives and friends who criticized me for it!
The right to keep your name is not a small matter and one that touches ones very sense of self. He is the champion of those of us Americans who never changed our names, who grew up all over the world, who have grandfathers whose name could be Hussein (mine actually is!), who want a new image for America as fair and tolerant and as far removed as possible from the general who sat on the falling bomb waving his cowboy hat in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.
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