As of late the rhetoric surrounding the situation developing between the US and Iran, may at once seem serious enough, but on the other hand may also be part of decades old tactics commonly used by both sides to subdue and control the populace.
Fear as it turns out, rules.
Strangely enough, it appears that those that portend to love us the most, seem to instill the greatest fear in us.
Take for example the current fear being played out in the US.
The Bush administration has successfully raised the fear that Iran's mysteriously vague nuclear intentions are somehow dangerous to the average American. Everyone in the administration is lockstep in this performance and portrayal of the fear, that were Iran to acquire nuclear technology, the consequences would be certainly dire.
Successfully painting this around the ongoing work of art with Iran as the largest sponsor of terror in the world, not a difficult attribute to attach to an already established enemy of the free world, and consequently every American.
Once fear has been established, getting the public's approval for far flung budgets and tactics and strategies to address this fear or any others that may be even remotely connected, are easily accomplished, allowing even the most questionable responses to this fear to be unanimously approved, even by the most skeptical senators. Even if questioned on these seemingly inappropriate responses to fear, the administration merely re-affirms and reminds us of the very fear they are trying to protect us from, and with renewed fear, we are assuaged.
Apply this to any situation recent or past and it fits the m.o. perfectly.
By establishing that Saddam Hussein was to be feared after 911, the administration successfully convinced the populace that invasion was an obvious response. If this was in fact all about oil as many have suggested, the use of fear to gain license to acquire control of Iraq's oil, was merely textbook.
The inability of the most sophisticated military and clandestine information gathering organization in the world to somehow be incapable of hunting down and bringing to justice, the man or men behind 911 becomes somewhat plausible, if not all the more convenient. If fear is the valid intention, having a real boogeyman has its advantages.
Now, around this time, the typical cowardly Iranian in me says that I've made my point and I can end this article right here. Our character as faint of heart Iranians seems to allow us to easily criticize the US, whether we live inside or outside of it. Our unique observational skills it seems is always conveniently pointed outward, never willing to consider the stains, skidmarks, and soil of our own land and laundry.
So I attempt to purge myself of this sin in this piece. Forgive me if I don't get it right, it is a new page for me. Maybe for you as well.
Through decades, those that have ruled Iran have also used this same tactic of fear. But not through the more unobvious tactic of implied fear, but more or less the direct kind. Such as the false imprisonment of tens of thousands of so called, agitators by the Shah, or the hundreds of thousands similarly removed from society at large by the current rulers. That fear of imprisonment, death, or torture is very real. Just ask anyone in Iran. Almost everyone knows someone who has either been killed in the Iraq war, killed in a University protest, killed accidentally during a sweep by the baseejis or the pasdar militia, arrested for the slightest hint of insolence, arrested for the slightest rumor, or outright disappeared without a trace.
The Iranian administration uses this brand of fear to build strangely similar huge financial investment as the means to its own ends. Seeming to address the fears they have instilled in their people. The Iranian administration has successfully instilled the fear of the US, by pointing to it as historically the world's largest demonstrated producer of terror, and that if Iran does not have nuclear power, they may be attacked by the US. They point to Nagasaki and Hiroshima and other examples, carefully leaving out any hint of the overriding causes. Nuclear power or 'Nuclear Power' need not be clarified. The fear of being bombed is there for all to feel it.
Although by any measurement, Iran is still largely an undeveloped nation, with continual problems of the poor and uneducated outnumbering any other issue by a far margin, the Iranian administration, like any other before it, has managed to side step any responsibility for this, and would rather work on far flung projects that can feed its own internal minions. Those in the club eating so well these days. Those with so much that investing it in Dubai only seems to make sense.
The contracts and construction concessions of huge defense or any other remotely related projects they can get their rosewater tinted hands on, are more delicious than reforming and funding any boring agricultural or educational programs whose seemingly pointless results would take decades to realize. Even the sizeable corruption and kickbacks possible on small yet impactful projects such as simply paving the many roads to the many small cities, towns, and villages in Iran, is small potatoes compared to a nuclear reactor and all of it's shiny foreign machinery, tools, and spare parts, the sheer potential of all the euro-dollar graft and greed deposited safely in numbered Swiss banks. God is great indeed!
And whether in Iran or out, fear works. It works so well, they even have us fearful here, long distance fear, our voices tremble over the Iranian government funded and monitored 7cent per minute long distance phone calls we make (via Toronto), or the 24hour overly made up and barely dressed satellite TV programs, as we who live here, neither speak out amongst ourselves, nor do we speak out even in the safest of circumstances. After all who wants to be held up at Mehrabad airport on the way to those friendly cousins, wonderful pastries, and delightfully cheap 90cm kababs! Iran it seems covers all the bases of Iranian fear, real fear, or the perceived fear.
Take for example the recent various petitions and even several organized marches against the current US fear reinforcing statements against Iran, included with it, the possibility of using nuclear weapons to destroy Iran's nuclear activities. Double fear. There was even an illustration of the predicted radiation fallout. Scary!
In all of the petitions and marches, slogans, or even the many articles written in this esteemed publication, embarrassingly few have questioned or called the Iranian administration out. I mean really out. Few question in detail the very shaky legitimacy of the Iranian government to govern.
A question that certainly begs asking, especially given the sham of the recent election. A sham so perfectly perpetrated that it has seemingly fooled even the brilliant mind (or mastermind?) Condoleeza Rice who instead of raising the obvious and known details of the election process in Iran, which would disqualify the result of Iran's presidential election by any standard, merely commented that she was concerned over the result. Why would any sane person be concerned over an invalid result? It is after all invalid!
Declare it so, and tell Iran, “Nice try, come back when you've held a real election, and we can talk.” But that would diffuse fear.
Meanwhile the free email-based and surveymonkey.com and the like petitions created during lunch hour by the bold and the nameless “Internet Iranians” anonymously attack the rumor that the US is thinking of attacking Iran. Yet they never once acknowledging that both systems are broken, or think to even mention Iran's policy flaws, or demand Iran change correspondingly. Even Reza Pahlavi came out against a US invasion of Iran. Let me repeat what I just said, The Pahlavis are against the US intervening in Iran! Now that's fear!
There has not been a real mention of the Iranian administration in any of this. The closest we have come were calls for referendum by opposing opposition, who couldn't even get along long enough to agree on a single referendum! Nevermind the whole idea of a referendum is moot. Because only a government can call for a referendum when it is unsure which direction the people want it to go. This government knows exactly where it's people want it to go which is precisely why they don't need a referendum. People who have conveniently given up their citizenship, and don't happen to like the colors of the country they have willingly and voluntarily abandoned, should think long and hard before they speak. Then act on what they have decided what to say. Any action.
The various weak Iranians-abroad marches eager to portray and capitalize on the faintest American nostalgia and connection between this and the long forgotten anti-war movement of the seventies, blind themselves not surprisingly to what is really needed, something more akin to the freedom marches of the sixties. Yet not one banner calls for freedom in Iran.
Fear always wins, and in this case too, fear is winning again.
One other uncanny observation is how both sides of this Yo Mama show, have successfully added the use of an alleged and not surprisingly absent supreme being and accompanying swindle of the afterlife judgment, as yet one more tool in their boxed sets of fear. Both the US and Iran have used their newly re-branded and repositioned product of institutionalized religion to instill yet one more kind of fear in us. Now even what we think is subject to the allmighty's approval. So don't even think about it. And 'It' can now be anything that you might wonder if your brand of God may disapprove of. Because God knows what you or I am thinking! And he's waiting for you! Up there!
As long as people are afraid, they will continue to allow the masters instilling fear, to rule them. Any way they damn well choose to. The masters have shown that they will stop at nothing to continue to rule us through fear, using reason and outright lies, god and the devil, religion and culture, art and science, whatever they have to do or use, just as long as it instills fear in us.
Because fear leads to hate, and hate is even easier to control than fear.