Authoritarianism by the Numbers

Via a commenter over on Winds of Change, I found this post on The Spirit of Man, which in turn pointed to A Question of Numbers.

Short version: the Shah’s regime, odious as it was, killed a little over 3,000 people between the early ’60s and its fall in the late ’70s.

The mullahs have killed unknown but vastly greater numbers, by execution, incompetent defense during the Iran-Iraq war, and generalized misrule — many times the Shah’s entire toll, each year. The grand total may reach into seven figures.

Ironically, by suppressing the relatively timid elements of his opposition, the Shah all but guaranteed that he would be succeeded by the most unhesitating killers among them. See Daughter of Persia for a terrifying account of the revolution (there is also a website for the author, Sattareh Farman Farmaian).

Quote of the Day II

Michael Ledeen agrees that, WRT Iran, unfortunately, nothing is up:

Those killer quotes from the Times show once again the failure of strategic vision that has plagued us from the beginning of the war. We can only win the war—the real war, the regional-or-maybe-even-global war—if we stop playing defense in Iraq and go after regime change in Damascus and Tehran. Everyone in the region, above all, the Iraqis, knows this. And everyone in the region is looking for evidence that we might be able to muster the will to win this thing.

But dumping responsibility for dealing with Iran in the quivering laps of the Iraqi leaders is precisely the wrong thing to do. We have to lead this war, we have to go after the Iranians. Otherwise, surge or no surge, fifty or a hundred thousand troops more or less, we’re gonna lose. Because the peoples of the Mideast, who have seen many armies come and go over the centuries, are going to throw in with the likely winners. And we can’t win if we refuse to engage the main enemy, which is the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran – Is Something Really Up?

Both Spook86 and Michael Ledeen suggested a few days ago that the USA might be adopting a stronger position towards Iran. Are we?

Look at Tradesports’ price history for its AIRSTRIKE.IRAN.DEC07 contract:

(Click the thumbnail to display a large version of this chart.)

So what does this combination of an increase in stern American and British rhetoric, and stagnant odds in the geopolitical wagering market, mean? I think it’s clear. The rhetoric is most likely not intended as a prelude to action by us. It is intended as a substitute for action. This is business as usual and not at all encouraging.

(See also this post.)

Cross-posted at Midas Oracle.

UPDATE: Chicago Boyz is an Intrade affiliate.

Messages to Ahmadinejad

In 1933, the Oxford Union debating society considered a resolution: “This House will under no circumstances fight for King and Country.” It passed by 275 votes to 153. Apparently, Hitler was told of the passage of his resolution, and it encouraged him to believe that Britain would do nothing to interfere with his depradations. Many other events–in Britain, in France, and in the US–sent similar messages.

Fast-forward to the present. Put yourself in the shoes of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and consider what conclusions you might draw from recent events in the U.S.

Read more

Important–Please Read

Once again, I am reminded of W H Auden’s lines:

The mass and majesty of this world, all
That carries weight and always weighs the same
Lay in the hands of others; they were small
And could not hope for help, and no help came

Kobra Rahmanpoor, an Iranian woman in her mid-20s, faces imminent execution by hanging. She was convicted of murdering her mother-in-law; however, she says that it was a matter of self-defense, and that she had previously been abused by both her mother-in-law and her husband.

Here is the eloquent plea of Kobra’s father:

Read more