Monday, February 7, 2011
Iran's Gangster Government
Two hapless Americans, Shane Bauer and Joseph Fattal, have been held hostage in Iran for eighteen months. Hikers, they and Sarah Shourd, were taken prisoner in what is generally described as “an unmarked border area between Iraq and Iran.”
As much as I sympathize with their problem, I keep asking myself how can three Americans, two aged 29 and one 32, have been so oblivious to the danger of hiking anywhere near Iran, let alone in northern Iraq? Their naiveté is appalling. The world is filled with other places to hike.
Ms. Shourd was released by the Iranians on a $500,000 bail in September and you can bet that it was provided by the U.S. via the Swiss ambassador, our go-to guy there.
On Sunday, Bauer and Fattal, charged with illegally entering Iran for the purpose of espionage, were subject to a judicial hearing before Judge Abolghasem Salavati, the Iranian version of Vlad the Impaler. Their lawyer was not given the opportunity to meet with them before the three-hour session to prepare a defense. This is what passes for justice in Iran.
Lawyer Masoud Shafii said that he had requested that “they are freed immediately. We reject all the charges, and I think the 18 months they’ve already served is more than enough.”
This is the equivalent of Iranian kabuki theatre because justice has nothing to do with the fate of the two hikers. They, like every other hostage the Iranians have taken since their 1979 revolution, are just bargaining chips, pawns to be used in their endless war with America and the West.
It began with 52 American diplomats and embassy staff that were held for 444 days until the day Ronald Reagan took the oath of office at his first inaugural.
Does Barack Obama today look any less weak than Jimmy Carter did? The answer is that America and other nations, Great Britain and France for example, have grown so accustomed to negotiating with the Iranians over their hostage nationals that it has become “normal” to do so.
It is a very bad “normal” and it ignores the criminal, fascist nature of a regime for whom hostage taking is routine. Indeed, Iran “is open to a deal, saying the country would be willing to negotiate an exchange for Iranian prisoners held in the U.S.—a notion the U.S. has rejected”, according to The Wall Street Journal.
For now the two hikers will remain in jail before an equally bogus trial is held. Reporting for The Wall Street Journal, Farnaz Fassihi wrote, “Analysts say that the hiker’s case has become caught up in Iran’s internal political rivalries and its standoff with the West over its nuclear program.” You think?
Bauer and Fattal will be set free only if the U.S. agrees to a secret deal with the Iranians and that will be a bad deal for the U.S. If there is no deal, they will rot in an Iranian prison, guilty of extreme stupidity.
No matter their fate, there are far greater future options at stake. The closer the Iranians get to weaponizing nuclear materials, the closer the world gets to running out of options to stop them.
The deal I would offer them is to put those hiking morons on the first plane out of Tehran or expect a couple of guided missiles to arrive at the several known nuclear facilities in Iran.
Even Bill Clinton let fly a few to try to kill Osama bin Laden and managed to blow up a Libyan aspirin factory thanks to bad intelligence. Still, it sent a message.
Think about it. The Iranians don’t have missiles that can hit the U.S. homeland. Their navy would be obliterated by ours in hours. We already have 50,000 troops in Iraq and others in Afghanistan. If you think they are there on “training missions”, you’re dreaming.
Not only do we have nukes, but the Israelis do as well and they need to send a signal to their “neighbors” in the Mideast, most of whom are praying they nuke Tehran anyway.
It’s not like we haven’t been patient and forbearing in the face of years of insults and threats. It’s time to send an “or else” message, but I doubt that day will arrive for at least two more years; say sometime after January 2013 when Barack the Uncertain is sent packing to Chicago.
Like the final days in office of Jimmy Carter, the Iranians have concluded that America has elected a sissy.
© Alan Caruba, 2011