December 16, 2010

Equivalence Beheaded

Justin Katz

Whenever I express concerns about the odd and threatening behavior of such regimes as that currently ruling Iran, our comment sections become host to statements of blame-America relativism. No doubt, the same will prove true upon my posting this bit of news from the benighted region:

A Christan pastor in Iran has been sentenced to death for allegedly renouncing his Muslim religion and another faces a possible indictment on the same charge of apostasy, according to a prominent activist group working for human rights in Iran.

Youcef Nadarkhani, a 32-year-old member of the Church of Iran ministry and pastor of an approximately 400-person congregation in the northern city of Rasht, faces death, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Elsewhere in Iran, Christian pastor Behrouz Sadegh-Khanjani is up on charges of apostasy. In other Muslim nations, Christians are feeling the heat, as well.

Nadarkhani cleverly asserts that he's not an apostate because he rejected all religions until the age of 19. I'd wager that he shares my concerns about the sanity of those who implemented and enforce the laws that he's supposedly transgressed, and who are widely acknowledged to be working toward nuclear empowerment.

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This can't be true. Islam is "the religion of peace!"

Posted by: Contrarian View at December 16, 2010 6:13 PM

We have two or three fools who "contribute"here who still act like lapdogs when this issue comes up.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 16, 2010 6:57 PM

""and who are widely acknowledged to be working toward nuclear empowerment"'
posted by Justin

Iran is just trying to emulate great countries like the USA, France,the UK and Israel and many others in obtaining nuclear capability........ can you blame them??
(they want to be just like the USA)

Countries nearly always follow the tracks made by others and proceed in their affairs by imitation, even though they cannot entirely keep to the tracks of others or emulate the prowess of their models. So a prudent country should always follow in the footsteps of "great" countries and imitate those who have been outstanding. If their own prowess fails to compare with theirs, at least it has an air of greatness about it. They should behave like those archers who, if they are skilful, when the target seems too distant, know the capabilities of their bow and aim a good deal higher than their objective, not in order to shoot so high but so that by aiming high they can reach the target


Posted by: Sammy at December 16, 2010 10:57 PM

Keep in mind, also, that in Iran, they "do not have this phenomenon" of gays.

What's stunning is that, in April, the United Nations placed Iran on its Commission on the Status of Women.

Posted by: Monique at December 17, 2010 8:15 AM

Keep in mind, also, that in Iran, they "do not have this phenomenon" of gays.
Posted by Monique at December 17, 2010 8:15 AM

I heard a joke around the time of Ahmajinead's visit -"The good news is that yesterday morning Iran had its first seven gay weddings...
the bad news-by sundown they had 14 more gay funerals"

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at December 17, 2010 7:07 PM

Keep in mind, also, that in Iran, they "do not have this phenomenon" of gays.
Posted by Monique at December 17, 2010 8:15 AM

Are we sure that "dancing boys" are restricted to Afghanistan?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 18, 2010 3:06 PM

"Moral equivalence is a term used in political debate, usually to criticize any denial that a moral hierarchy can be assessed of two sides in a conflict, or in the actions or tactics of two sides. The term originates from a 1906 address by William James entitled The Moral Equivalent of War, subsequently published in essay form in 1910.[1]

The term has some limited currency in polemic debates about the Cold War, and more currently, the Arab-Israeli conflict. "Moral equivalence" began to be used as a polemic term-of-retort to "moral relativism", which had been gaining use as an indictment against political foreign policy that appeared to use only a situation-based application of widely-held ethical standards.

The purveyors of the device usually start by believing their side is by definition morally superior by who they are, not by what they do. They then use selective history to cast the situation as a big-picture struggle against an evil power. This evil could be totalitarianism, or genocidal policies or some other ostentatious villainy. They then justify the atrocities of their own side by claiming it to be a lesser evil compared with allowing the evil power to have its own way - usually culminating in genocide or mass enslavement. These atrocities in this way become acts of good, not evil.

International conflicts are sometimes viewed similarly, and interested parties periodically urge both sides to conduct a ceasefire and negotiate their differences. However these negotiations may prove difficult in that both parties in a conflict believe that they are morally superior to the other, and are unwilling to negotiate on basis of moral equivalence." from wikipedia

Justin- you use a slamdunk case to justify all the other statements you have made- most of those comments supporting totally authoritation positions and those positions have relied on questionable sources. Reading your right wing sources have not convinced me.

Posted by: David S at December 18, 2010 6:53 PM

Thanks David S,

To focus David S’s comments please recall The USS Liberty incident which was handled on a case by case basis and most of our dealings with Iran which are handled on the basis of moral equivalency where we claim the high ground on any conflict.

As a concrete example, please recall the USS Liberty incident. According to Wikipedia the incident was an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, USS Liberty, by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy torpedo boats, on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War. My emphasis is added.

The combined air and sea attack killed 34 crew members (naval officers, seamen, two Marines, and one civilian), wounded 170 crew members, and severely damaged the ship.[3] At the time, the ship was in international waters north of the Sinai Peninsula, about 25.5 nmi (29.3 mi; 47.2 km) northwest from the Egyptian city of Arish. Both the Israeli and U.S. governments conducted inquiries and issued reports that concluded the attack was a mistake due to Israeli confusion about the identity of the USS Liberty. Some survivors, in addition to some U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials involved in the incident continue to dispute these official findings, saying the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was not a mistake and it remains "the only maritime incident in U.S. history where [U.S.] military forces were killed that was never investigated by the [U.S.] Congress.

On the other hand, all transgressions with Iran are treated as “policy infringements” and handled on the basis of morality which automatically sets the two powers at loggerheads and invites more conflict.

Palestinian rockets that kill or injure Israeli civilians are treated as moral transgressions. Pakistani and Afghans killed by US drones are treated as “collateral damage”, no morality involved there!

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at December 19, 2010 11:39 AM
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