I just read two articles about why Iranian-American community should vote for Bush. After I got over my nausea I thought I should write back. I wholeheartedly believe that it is critical for us to participate in the US voting to be a force in our adopted country for the betterment of our native land. So go and vote.
Here are my reasons why you should not vote for Bush and cast instead for Kerry;
1- Bush foreign policy towards Iran has been disastrous. His declaration of Iran as an “Axis of Evil” helped Conservatives to clamp down hard on the Reformists when Reformists clearly were hoping for an opening dialogue after the outpouring of Iranian sympathy towards the victims of 9/11.
Allow me to take the opportunity to say that my friends who think that US can land couple of divisions outside of Darvazeh Ghazvin and by doing so it will crumble the Mullah regime are as wrong as those who thought Ahura Pirouz is going to Iran. Our native land will change only slowly, unfortunately from within the current government and with the sweat of those currently in Iran.
Bush has only damaged their cause several times when he boisterously expressed his unwelcome opinion about democracy in Iran. His comments landed squarely in all the Iranian Conservative media who used his speech to crumble the Iranian movement.
The policies of Clinton towards Iran as expressed by Madeline Albright were correct but slow. You need a passive engagement policy as Kerry advocates. Bush in 4 years has never tried to engage the Iranian in any dialogue, except perhaps those his VP was engaged in to dig some more oil in Iran. I believe that Kerry will change that by following what Albright started to do albeit late in her tenure.
Also, when was the last time that a Republican helped Iran? Wasn't Ronald Reagan who backed Saddam? Wasn't it Rumsfeld who was in Iraq shaking Saddam's hand after he used chemical weapons on Iranian? And I am not even going to mention the coup of 1953- Eisenhower- as this may ruffle my royalist friends.
2- Bush's Patriot Act is a disaster for any and all of us who have Iranian/Arabic sounding names. Have you noticed that the guards in the airport harass your poor relative without any qualm about decency because they are backed by Aschcroft/Bush government policy?
I'll be the first to admit that when you have 19 people with Arabic/Moslem last names kill 3000 people the suspicious of the guards should be increased towards those with similar name. But they were freaking Arabs. Do you think that any Saudi Arabian get harassed as much as your 70-year-old Iranian mother?
That boldness of behavior, this harassment ,although part of reactionary human nature, is wholeheartedly supported by Bush and Ashcroft. Patriot Act II is far scarier and if it get implemented it will be far worse. So next time when you go to Amazon.com and order a book about Iran, you will be tagged for sure.
Bush used 9/11 the same way Khomeini used Iraq invasion to silence any dissent. Although I am not saying that they are equal, they follow the same practices and for someone who was there at the time of Khomeini's reign of terror, I am eerily familiar with Bush's declarations.
Also, do you know that because of this Patriot Act, many qualified Iranian students who are yearning to leave Iran, would not get admission to graduate schools? This is all Bush's doing; why are you supporting this guy?
3- Do you guys have not had enough suspicion about those who constantly declare their religious beliefs when talking about their actions? I challenge you to read Aschcroft and Bush's speeches and compare them with those of any Iranian/clergy post-revolutionary leader. Haven't you had enough of the bastard right-wing self-righteous pig that claims that he has the keys to heaven or directions from God?
Evolutionary science, abortion, lack of separation of religion and state, right of a person to follow his/her sexual proclivity, etc. are as much a victims of Iranian government as they will be when Bush is re-elected and then he has his puppets in the Court. These are major issues.
4- Iraq war was wrong. I like to take this opportunity to say that if the entire Iraqi soldiers get thrown in the Persian Gulf I will not lose sleep. I was there when Saddam attacked Iran. I did not go to war, paralleling a story similar to that of Bush, for which I am ashamed, but I saw the suffering before I left.
My stories are not unique and so I was very happy to see the bastard in the hole. But when 208 Iraqi die every week (see NYT), if you are human with any compassion, you need to sit down and ask why. When 1000+ kids, mostly poor, go and die because of the false declaration of a puppet of an oil company, you need to question that judgment.
You know that in our culture that we share with other Middle Eastern nations killing your cousin only makes you angry. Any dead Iraqi ultimately will make us less safe in US. They will come to our adopted cities, unfortunately, like a nest of hornet that you tried to destroy by going on “offensive”. Bush's reason for going to Iraq was all falsehood and it will come and hunt us.
5- Draft. I WILL NOT ALLOW MY SONS EVER TO GO TO WAR. Bush's policies will make the draft almost impossible not to implement.
6- Healthcare and malpractice; Bush will never correct the malpractice insurance issue despite all the nonsense he mentions. I believe that Kerry's idea of having a panel reviewing the claims are far more reasonable and can pass the “constitutionality” test. This model is tested in several states with quite success as it also keeps the filing attorney responsible for monetary damages if a claim is thrown out.
The idea that you can somehow cap the damages wills never passes the “constitutionality” test. This is because the American Bar Association is against that and ABA is a large contributor to his and Republican campaigns and Bush never wants attorneys in his enemy column. So, do not believe the hype.
As for as his healthcare policies, well folks, as a provider I have to tell you that it is not the first time that there has been a shortage of vaccines. We have had shortage of tetanus vaccine several times this past 4 years among other vaccines. This is a man who is supposed to protect us against biological weapons and yet cannot provide enough flu vaccine. You know what will happen if there is not enough vaccine? Well, next time in November-April, God forbid, if you are in an ER and you have to wait 15 hours to be seen, well you have Bush to thank for.
About Mohammad H. Eslami, MD, RVT, FACS, is Asstsitant Professor of Surgery, Division of Vascular Sugery, UMass Medical Center. Worcester, Massachusetts.