Monday, June 29, 2009

About ten days ago, I committed a cardinal sin, especially for someone who calls himself a Republican: I wasted my time arguing with someone who skips facts and goes right to criticism, name-calling and finger-pointing. Invariably, I find myself in this position with regularity because of several reasons, most prominent of which is due to the fact that I rarely take a position until I've drenched myself in as much fact as possible. In general, whether wrong or right, I find it's better to make an educated guess once I've opted to become educated.

Unfortunately, the scope of this particular argument to which I refer above was Obama's limited reaction to the implosion resulting from Iran's "election" which maintained President Ahmadinejad. Rather than bother rehashing the facts, let's assume that the election was a complete joke, and that two-thirds of the nation of Iran has had it with Ahmadinejad, the symbol of lies, control and dictatorship.

The post-election demonstrations that resulted in bloodshed, unrest and, in some cases, death, was notable in that it was the largest such show of dissent by the people of Iran since 1979, the year there was a revolution which overturned the leadership of that nation.

The original premise that started the discussion was that the people of Iran largely support the West and are not anti-Israel, and are in fact opposed to terrorism and suicide bombing.

And it went downhill from there.

I won't bother rehashing the back and forth, as it was nauseating to experience it first-hand and even moreso when I posted the entire text thereof on a Facebook page. I didn't do so to prove a point or to vindicate myself in bothering making the argument with the other person; I did so to make sure my points were clear and that I wasn't clueless, as I suspected the other person with whom I was arguing.

Once I had a variety of people review the text, I was a bit relieved, because most of the people with whom I shared this reacted in much the same way I did, ostensibly suggesting the person with whom I was arguing had absolutely no clue what she was talking about and was merely spewing anger and hate at Obama for, ostensibly, no reason that any sane person would be comfortable to determine.

In either case, I came across two articles which I think are useful in the context of part of that particular discussion, was the premises I suggested supporting Obama's restrained response to Iran's implosion. Rather than go rushing in as the Big Powerful USA and dictate to the people of Iran the direction their nation should go, which was already perfected in the 70's with disastrous results, which is what my discussion partner demanded Obama do, my supposition was that by allowing the people of Iran to choose their own path -- even if difficult, painful and circuitous -- we would eventually gain better results. Of course, this was met with scoffs, ridicule and more name-calling and derision. Considering that the person with whom I was arguing seems to skip using facts to support her position, it makes a lot of sense that these other options were her main supporting cast.

The first article I came across discusses the notion, put forth by a Afghan cleric, of how suicide bombing in certain situations is acceptable. Never mind that my discussion partner downplayed the fact that most Iranians, who are Muslim, would probably agree with this cleric in his theory. What is most disturbing about this statement is it was offered up by the son of another Afghan cleric who, after decreeing that suicide bombing is wrong, was killed by a Taliban suicide bomber. Beyond the irony of the situation, what's really disturbing is that the son, by way of the article, indicates one very cold, chilling point of view: "suicide bombings in Afghanistan against U.S. and NATO troops are justified because they are invaders killing Muslims."

Next up, this article discloses the fact that Iraq as a nation is celebrating the deadline for American troops to begin their gradual withdrawal from that nation.

What these two articles share in common is that we are still in the business of "doing good," even for people that clearly don't want our help or assistance. Celebrating the US exit from a nation and earmarking our troops for suicide bombings simply because we don't belong involved in their affairs are two pretty stark, strong statements. And frankly, while I don't suggest we turn our back on the strife in Iran or other hot parts of the Middle East, I can't particularly understand why, given these facts, anyone rational or sane -- significant caveats, I know -- would advocate involving ourselves in the natural progression of events in or outside Iran.

Inevitably, I think it's clear that people who want to criticize Obama will do so regardless of the facts or the long-term successes or damage he achieves or inflicts. The fact is, although I'm not a huge supporter of his, I can't really fault much of anything he's been doing. I continue to be leery of his treatment of Israel, but thus far he hasn't done anything to warrant my criticism or scorn, except to say that his mere presence has given license to foolish, right-wing nuts who feel satisfied by exerting their anger and frustration -- for whatever the reason -- and who use him as a target.

In either case, aside from the universal fact that Muslim nations will always detest, resent and be hostile toward and suspicious of any involvement by Western nations in their affairs unless it saves them from a worse fate, what I've learned in all of this is the following: when you ask someone to explain their anger, frustration and/or their overall depression and their answer to same is by insulting or chiding you for asking the question, you're better off ignoring their disdain and advising them to seek qualified professional help. And, much like with many nations in the Middle East, it's advisable to learn from one's mistake(s) and get the hell out of the way and staying out of the way forever.

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